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The sister-lock now sits uncouth, alone,
THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.
SHE said the pitying audience melt in tears,
Say, why are Beauties prais'd and honour'd most, The wise man's passion, and the vain man's toast?
Ver. 7. Then grave Clarissa, &c.] A new Character introduced in the subsequent Editions, to open more clearly the Moral of the Poem, in a parody of the speech of Sarpedon to Glaucus in Homer.
Ver. 9. Say why are Beauties, &c.]
Why deck'd with all that land and sea afford,
Why bows the side-box from its inmost rows? How vain are all these glories, all our pains, Unless good sense preserve what beauty gains: That men may say, when we the front-box grace, Behold the first in virtue as in face!
Oh! if to dance all night, and dress all day, Charm'd the small-pox, or chas'd old-age away; 20 Who would not scorn what housewife's cares pro
Or who would learn one earthly thing of use?
Nor could it sure be such a sin to paint.
"Tis ours, the dignity they give, to grace;
That when with wond'ring eyes our martial bands
But since, alas! frail beauty must decay,
Curl'd or uncurl'd, since Locks will turn to grey;
Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade,
Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll;
Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.
Ver. 26. Curl'd or uncurl'd,] Fontenelle writes a gallant and pleasant letter to a beautiful young lady on discovering one grey Warton.
hair on her head.
Ver. 37. To arms, to arms!] From hence the first edition goes on to the conclusion, except a very few short insertions added, to keep the Machinery in view to the end of the poem.
Ver. 35. So spoke the Dame,] It is a verse frequently repeated in Homer after any speech,
"So spoke-and all the Heroes applauded." P.
So when bold Homer makes the Gods engage, 45 And heav'nly breasts with human passions rage; 'Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latona, Hermes arms; And all Olympus rings with loud alarms:
Jove's thunder roars, heav'n trembles all around, Blue Neptune storms, the bellowing deeps resound: Earth shakes her nodding tow'rs, the ground gives
And the pale ghosts start at the flash of day!
Ver. 45. So when bold Homer] Homer, Il. xx.
The ridicule is most artfully heightened by introducing one of
the most sublime passages in Homer:
* Αμφι δ' εσαλπιγξεν μέγας έρανος, ελυμπος τε
Εδδεισεν δ' υπένερθεν αναξ ενέρων Αιδωνευς,
Well might Longinus exclaim, "Do you see, O my friend, how the earth bursts asunder to its centre, Tartarus itself is laid and naked, all things mortal and immortal combat together, and share the danger of this tremendous conflict?"
In none of his many imitations has Virgil shewn his inferiority to Homer so much as in this passage:
"Non secus ac si qua penitus vi terra dehiscens
Infernas reseret sedes, et regna recludat
Pallida, Dîs invisa; superque immane barathrum
Eneid, viii. v. 243.
For not to mention that what is part of the Action in Homer, is only a simile in Virgil, how tame is superque immane barathrum (even though a magnificent image) to
Δείσας δ' εκ θρονα αλτο και ιαχε
How or where has terror ever been so strongly painted as by this circumstance of Pluto himself, suddenly leaping from his throne and shrieking aloud?