Page images

they are fit only to be offered, to her lover, by a fairy-queen.

Be kind, and courteous to this gentleman,
Hop in his walks, and gambol in his eyes;
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries.
The honey-bags ftral from the humble-bees,
And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs,
And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes,
To have my love to bed, and to arife:
And pluck the wings from painted butterflies,
To fan the moon-beams from his fleeping eyes.

If it should be thought, that Shakespeare has the merit of being the first who affigned proper employments to imaginary perfons, in the foregoing lines, yet it must be granted, that by the addition of the most delicate fatire to the most lively fancy, POPE, in the following paffage, has excelled any thing in Shakespeare, or in any other author,

Our humbler province is to tend the fair,
Not a lefs pleafing, though less glorious care;
To fave the powder from too rough a gale,
Nor let th'imprifon'd effences exhale;


To draw fresh colours from the vernal flow'rs;
To steal from rainbows, e'er they drop in show'rs,
A brighter wash; to curl their waving hairs,
Affift their blushes, and inspire their airs;
Nay oft, in dreams invention we bestow,
To change a flounce, or add a furbelow. *

THE feeming importance given to every part of female drefs, each of which is committed to the care and protection of a different fylph, with all the folemnity of a general appointing the several pofts in his army, renders the following paffage admirable, on account of it's politenefs, poignancy, and poetry.

Hafte then ye fpirits, to your charge repair;
The fluttering fan be Zephyretta's care;
The drops to thee, Brillante we confign;
And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine;
Do thou, Crifpiffa, tend the fav'rite lock
Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock. †


The celebrated raillery of Addison on the hoop-petticoat, has nothing equal to the fol

*Cant. 2. Ver. 91.

+ Cant. 2. Ver. 111.

lowing circumstance; which marks the difficulty of guarding a part of dress of such high confequence.

To fifty chofen fylphs, of special note,

We truft th'important charge the PETTICOAT:
Oft have we known that sevenfold fence to fail,
Though ftiff with hoops, and arm'd with ribs of mail;
Form a ftrong line about the filver bound,

And guard the wide circumference around. *


OUR poet ftill rises in the delicacy of his fatire, where he employs, with the utmost judgment and elegance, all the implements and furniture of the toilette, as inftruments of punishment to thofe fpirits, who shall be careless of their charge: of punishment such as fylphs alone could undergo. Each of the


Shall feel sharp vengeance foon o'ertake his fins,

Be ftop'd in vials, or transfix'd with pins;

Or plung❜d in lakes of bitter washes lie;

Or wedg'd whole ages in a bodkin's eye;

*Cant. 2. Ver. 117.


Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain,
While clog'd he beats his filver wings in vain ;
Or alum-ftyptics with contracting pow'r,
Shrink his thin effence like a rivell'd flow'r,
Or, as Ixion fix'd, the wretch fhall feel
The giddy motion of the whirling mill;
In fumes of burning chocolate fhall glow,
And tremble at the fea that froths below. *

If Virgil has merited fuch perpetual commenmendation for exalting his bees, by the majesty and magnificence of his diction, does not POPE deferve equal praises, for the pomp and luftre of his language, on so trivial a fubject?

THE fame mastery of language, appears in the lively and elegant description of the game at Ombre; which is certainly imitated from the Scacchia of Vida, and as certainly equal to it, if not fuperiour. Both of them have elevated and enlivened their fubjects, by fuch fimiles as the epic poets use; but as chefs is a play of a far higher order than Ombre,

* Cant. 2. Ver. 122.


POPE had a more difficult task than Vida, to raise this his inferior fubject, into equal dignity and gracefulness. Here again our poet artfully introduces his machinery:

Soon as she spreads her hand, th'aërial guard
Defcend, and fit on each important card;
First Ariel perch'd upon a mattadore. *

The majesty with which the kings of spades and clubs, and the knaves of diamonds and clubs, are fpoken of, is very amusing to the imagination: and the whole game is conducted with great art and judgment. I question whether Hoyle could have played it better than Belinda. It is finely contrived that she fhould be victorious; as it occafions a change of fortune in the dreadful lofs the was speedily to undergo, and gives occafion to the poet to introduce a moral reflection from Virgil, which adds to the pleasantry of the story. In one of the paffages where POPE has copied Vida, he has lost the propriety of the original,

[blocks in formation]
« EelmineJätka »