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THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.
CLOSE by those meads, for ever crown'd with
Where Thames with pride surveys his rising tow'rs,
Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom 5
Ver. 11, 12. Originally in the first edition,
Ver. 1. Close by those meads,] The first edition continues from this line to ver. 24 of this Canto.
In various talk the chearful hours they past,
Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day,
Then each according to the rank they bore;
And four fair Queens whose hands sustain a flow'r,
is crown'd. spoons
Ver. 22. And wretches hang] From Congreve. Warton.
Ver. 24. And the long labours of the Toilet cease.] All that follows of the game at Ombre, was added since the first edition, till ver. 105, which connected thus,
Sudden the board with
And party-colour'd troops, a shining train,
The skilful Nymph reviews her force with care: Let Spades be trumps! she said, and trumps they
Now move to war her sable Matadores,
In show like leaders of the swarthy Moors.
Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board.
And march'd a victor from the verdant field.
And mow'd down armies in the fights of Lu,
Thus far both armies to Belinda yield;
Ver. 53. Him Basto follow'd,] The magnificent and majestic style in which this game of cards is described, artfully and finely heightens the ridicule. Warton.
Ver. 65. Belinda yield;] It is finely contrived that she should be victorious; as it occasions a change of fortune in the dreadful.
His warlike Amazon her host invades,
The Baron now his Diamonds pours apace! 75
loss she was speedily to undergo, and gives occasion to the Poet to introduce a moral reflection from Virgil, which adds to the pleasantry of the story. In one of the passages where Pope has copied Vida, he has lost the propriety of the original, which arises from the different colours of the men, at Chess.
Thus, when dispers'd, a routed army runs, &c.
The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts, And wins (oh shameful chance!) the Queen of Hearts. At this, the blood the Virgin's cheek forsook, A livid paleness spreads o'er all her look; She sees, and trembles at th' approaching ill, Just in the jaws of ruin, and Codille. And now (as oft in some distemper'd State) On one nice Trick depends the gen'ral fate: An Ace of Hearts steps forth: The King unseen 95 Lurk'd in her hand, and mourn'd his captive Queen: He springs to vengeance with an eager pace, And falls like thunder on the prostrate Ace. The nymph exulting fills with shouts the sky; The walls, the woods, and long canals reply. 100 Oh thoughtless mortals! ever blind to fate, Too soon dejected, and too soon elate.
Ver. 95. An Ace of Hearts steps forth :] Nothing can exceed Pope's powers of description, as displayed in this game of Cards. His mock-heroic paintings of the Kings, their ensigns, and characters, are inimitable. Warton in his Essay, speaking of Windsor Forest, says, descriptive Poetry was by no means the shining talent of Pope. Of rural objects Pope was not an able describer, as he could not be an accurate observer; but in description of scenes taken from artificial Life, his powers are very manifest. This distinction should be always attended to, in estimating Pope's poetical character. Bowles.
It is of no importance whether the materials are derived from real or artificial life, from objects of nature or of art; from the external, or the intellectual world. It is the use that the writer makes of them which determines his claim to the title of a poet.
"Nescia mens hominum fati sortisque futuræ ;