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First, rob'd in white, the Nymph intent adores,
Et tibi vel Betty tibi vel nitidissima Letty!
Gloria factorum temere conceditur horum."
Warton observes, that "some of these Latin lines are not classical;" perhaps this was intended, as being more like the Monkish. The accents of "Sine, Arabia," &c. are wrong. Bowles.
Ver. 122. Each silver Vase] Parnell accidentally hearing Pope repeat this description of the Toilette, privately turned them into these Monkish Latin verses, and Pope, to whom he immediately communicated them, was astonished at the resemblance, till Parnell undeceived him. Mr. Harte told me, that Dryden had been imposed on by a similar little stratagem. One of his friends translated into Latin verse, printed, and pasted on the bottom of an old hat-box, a translation of that celebrated passage,
"To die is landing on some silent shore," &c.
and that Dryden, on opening the box, was alarmed and amazed. Warton. Ver. 131. From each she] Evidently from Addison's Spectator, No. 69; "The single dress of a woman of quality is often the product of an hundred climates. The muff and the fan come together from the different ends of the earth. The scarf is sent from the Torrid Zone, and the tippet from beneath the Pole. The brocade petticoat arises out of the mines of Peru, and the diamond necklace out of the bowels of Indostan." Warton.
The tortoise here and elephant unite,
Transform'd to combs, the speckled, and the white.
And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.
Ver. 145. The busy Sylphs, &c.] Ancient Traditions of the Rabbis relate, that several of the fallen Angels became amorous of women, and particularise some; among the rest Asael, who lay with Naamah, the wife of Noah, or of Ham; and who continuing impenitent, still presides over the women's toilets. Bereshi Rabbi, in Genes. vi. 2.
THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.
Nor with more glories, in th' ethereal plain,
Fair Nymphs, and well-drest Youths around her
But ev'ry eye was fix'd on her alone.
On her white breast a sparkling Cross she wore,
Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride, 15 Might hide her faults, if Belles had faults to hide ; If to her share some female errors fall,
Look on her face, and you'll forget them all.
This Nymph, to the destruction of mankind, Nourish'd two Locks, which graceful hung behind
Ver. 4. Launch'd on the bosom, &c.] From hence the poem continues, in the first Edition, to ver. 46.
"The rest the winds dispers'd in empty air;" all after, to the end of this Canto, being additional.
In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck,
Th' advent'rous Baron the bright locks admir'd; He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspir'd. Resolv'd to win, he meditates the way, By force to ravish, or by fraud betray; For when success a Lover's toil attends, Few ask, if fraud or force attain'd his ends. For this, ere Phoebus rose, he had implor'd 35 Propitious heav'n, and ev'ry pow'r ador'd, But chiefly Love-to Love an Altar built, Of twelve vast French Romances, neatly gilt. There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves, And all the trophies of his former loves; With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre, And breathes three am'rous sighs to raise the fire.
Ver. 28. with a single hair.] In allusion to those lines of Hudibras, applied to the same purpose:
"And tho' it be a two foot Trout,
'Tis with a single hair pull'd out."
Ver. 28. And beauty draws us, &c.] Steevens quotes Bucha
nan's Epigrams, lib. I. xiv. p. 77.
"Et modo membra pilo vinctus miser abstrahor uno."
Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes
But now secure the painted Vessel glides, The sun-beams trembling on the floating tides: While melting music steals upon the sky, And soften'd sounds along the waters die; Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play, Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay. All but the Sylph-with careful thoughts opprest, Th' impending woe sat heavy on his breast. He summons straight his denizens of air; The lucid squadrons round the sails repair: Soft o'er the shrouds aërial whispers breathe, That seem❜d but Zephyrs to the train beneath. Some to the sun their insect-wings unfold, Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold; Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight, Their fluid bodies half dissolv'd in light, Loose to the wind their airy garments flew, Thin glitt'ring textures of the filmy dew, Dipp'd in the richest tincture of the skies, Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes; While ev'ry beam new transient colours flings, Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings. Amid the circle, on the gilded mast,
Superior by the head, was Ariel plac'd;
Ver. 45. The pow'rs gave ear,] Virg. Æneid. xi.