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The meeting points the sacred hair dissever
Then flash'd the living lightning from her eyes,
As long as Atalantis shall be read,
Or the small pillow grace a Lady's bed,
While visits shall be paid on solemn days,
"Not youthful kings, in battle seiz'd alive,
Not scornful virgins who their charms survive," &c. Which is much superior to a similar passage in the Dispensary, Canto v.
Ver. 165. Atalantis] A famous book written about that time by a woman: full of Court and Party scandal; and in a loose effeminacy of style and sentiment, which well-suited the debauched taste of the better vulgar. Warburton.
Mrs. Manley, the author of it, was the daughter of Sir Roger Manley, Governor of Guernsey, and the author of the first volume of the famous Turkish Spy, published, from his papers, by Dr. Midgley. She was known and admired by all the wits of the times. She wrote three plays; Lucius, the last, 1717, was dedicated to Sir Richard Steele, with whom she had quarrelled some time before. He wrote the prologue to it, and Prior the epilogue. She was also celebrated by Lord Lansdown. She died in the house of Alderman Barber, Swift's friend; and was said to have been the mistress of the Alderman.
While nymphs take treats, or assignations give,
Ver. 163, 170.]
"Dum juga montis aper, fluvios dum piscis amabit, Semper honos, nomenque tuum, laudesque manebunt."
Quid faciant crines, cum ferro talia cedant ?"
"Ille quoque eversus mons est, &c.
THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.
BUT anxious cares the pensive nymph oppress'd,
Not Cynthia when her manteau's pinn'd awry,
As thou, sad Virgin! for thy ravish'd Hair.
For, that sad moment, when the Sylphs withdrew, And Ariel weeping from Belinda flew, Umbriel, a dusky, melancholy sprite,
As ever sully'd the fair face of light,
Down to the central earth, his proper scene,
Repair'd, to search the gloomy Cave of Spleen.
Ver. 16. Cave of Spleen.]
"Thro' me ye pass to Spleen's terrific dome,
Thro' me to Discontent's eternal home!
Ver. 11. For, that sad moment, &c.] All the lines from hence to
the 94th verse, that describe the house of Spleen, are not in the
first Edition; instead of them followed only these,
While her rack'd Soul repose and peace requires,
The fierce Thalestris fans the rising fires.
And continued at the 94th verse of this Canto.
Ver. 1.] "At regina gravi," &c.-Virg. Æneid. iv.
Swift on his sooty pinions flits the Gnome, And in a vapour reach'd the dismal dome. No cheerful breeze this sullen region knows, The dreaded East is all the wind that blows. Here in a grotto, shelter'd close from air, And screen'd in shades from day's detested glare, She sighs for ever on her pensive bed, Pain at her side, and Megrim at her head.
Two handmaids wait the throne: alike in place, But diff'ring far in figure and in face.
Here stood Ill-nature like an ancient maid,
Her wrinkled form in black and white array'd!
With store of pray'rs, for mornings, nights, and
Her hand is fill'd; her bosom with lampoons. 30
Shows in her cheek the roses of eighteen,
Thro' me, to those who sadden'd human life,
By sullen humour or vexatious strife;
And here thro' scenes of endless vapour hurl'd,
Are punish'd in the forms they plagu'd the world;
All ye who enter, every hope forego!
It is thus Mr. Hayley, in allusion to Dante's striking inscription over hell-gate, begins his description of the dwelling of Spleen. She and her attendants are afterwards painted with force and spirit in the next 200 verses, and more. His mild and engaging Serena, her prim and sour aunt Penelope, and the good old Squire, are admirable portraits.
On the rich quilt sinks with becoming woe, 35
Ver. 41. Dreadful, as hermits' dreams in kaunted shades,
The Poet by this comparison would insinuate, that the temptations of the mortified Recluses in the Church of Rome, and the extatic visions of their female Saints, were as much the effects of hypochondriac disorders, the Spleen, or, what was then the fashionable word, the Vapours, as any of the imaginary transformations he speaks of afterwards. Warburton.
Ver. 51. Homer's Tripod walks;] See Hom. Iliad. xviii. of Vulcan's walking Tripods.
Ver. 52. and there a Goose-pye talks;] Alludes to a real fact, a Lady of distinction imagined herself in this condition.