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MRS. ARABELLA FERMOR.

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MADAM,

will be in vain to deny that I have fome regard for this piece, fince I dedicate it to You. Yet you may bear me witness, it was intended only to divert a few young Ladies, who have good fenfe and good humour enough to laugh not only at their fex's little unguarded follies, but at their own. But as it was communicated with the air of a fecret, it soon found its way into the world. An imperfect copy having been offered to a Bookfeller, you had the good nature for my fake to confent to the publication of one more correct: this I was forced to, before I had executed half my defign, for the Machinery was entirely wanting to complete it.

The Machinery, madam, is a term invented by the Critics, to fignifie that part which the Deities, Angels, or Daemons are made to act in a Poem: for the ancient Poets in one refpect are like many modern Ladies: let an action be never so trivial in itself, they always make it appear of the utmost importance. These Machines I determin'd to raise on a very new and odd foundation, the Roficrucian doctrine of Spirits.

I know how disagreeable it is to make use of hard
VOL. I.

I

words before a Lady; but tis fo much the concern of a Poet to have his works understood, and particularly by your Sex, that you must give me leave to explain two or three difficult terms.

The Roficrucians are people I must bring you acquainted with. The beft account I know of them is in a French book called Le Comte de Gabalis, which both in its title and fize, is fo like a novel, that many of the Fair Sex have read it for one by mistake. According to thefe Gentlemen, the four elements are inhabited by these spirits which they call Sylphs, Gnomes, Nymphs, and Salamanders. The Gnomes, or Daemons of Earth, delight in mifchief; but Sylphs, whofe habitation is in the Air, are the best condition d creatures imaginable. For, they fay, any mortals may enjoy the most intimate familiarities with these gentle Spirits, upon a condition very eafy to all true Adepts, an inviolate prefervation of Chastity.

As to the following Cantos, all the paffages of them are as fabulous, as the Vision at the beginning, or the Transformation at the end; (except the lofs of your hair, which I always mention with reverence.) The Human perfons are as fictitious as the Airy ones and the character of Belinda, as it is now managed, refembles you in nothing but in Beauty.

If this Poem had as many graces as there are in your Perfon, or in your mind, yet I could never hope

fhould pafs through the world half fo uncenfur

ed as You have done.

But let its fortune be what

it will, mine is happy enough, to have given me this occasion of affuring you that I am, with the trueft esteem,

MADAM,

Your most obedient,

Humble Servant,

A. POPE.

THE

RAPE OF THE LOCK

Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
Sed juvat, hoc precibus me tribuiffe tuis. MART.

CANTO I.

WHAT dire offence from am'rous caufes fprings,

I fing

What mighty contests rife from trivial things,
This verfe to CARYL, Mufe! is due:

This, ev'n Belinda may vouchfafe to view:
Slight is the fubject, but not fo the praise,
If She infpire, and He approve my lays.

Say what strange motive, Goddefs! could compel
A well bred Lord taffault a gentle Belle?
O fay what ftranger caufe, yet unexplor d,
Could make a gentle Belle reject the Lord?
In talks fo bold can little men engage,
And in foft Bofoms dwells fuch mighty rage?

Sol thro' white curtains fhot a tim'rous ray, And op'd thofe eyes that must eclipse the day: Now lap-dogs gave themselves the rouzing shake, And fleepless lovers, just at twelve awake:

Thrice rung the bell, the flipper knock'd the ground, And the prefs'd watch returnd a filver found.

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