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Or stain her honour, or her new brocade;
Forget her pray'rs, or miss a masquerade;
Or lose her heart, or necklace, at a ball;


Or whether Heav'n has doom'd that Shock must fall.
Haste then, ye spirits! to your charge repair:
The flutt'ring fan be Zephyretta's care;
The drops to thee, Brillante, we consign;
And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine;
Do thou, Crispissa, tend her fav'rite Lock;
Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock.
To fifty chosen Sylphs, of special note,
We trust th' important charge, the Petticoat:
Oft have we known that seven-fold fence to fail,
Tho' stiff with hoops and arm'd with ribs of whale;
Form a strong line about the silver bound,
And guard the wide circumference around.


Ver. 112. Zephyretta] The names of his Sylphs are happily chosen. Castelvetro mentions an odd circumstance, that the names which Boiardo gave to his heroes in his Orlando Inamorato, were only the names of some of the principal tenants and peasants on his estate of Scandiano. Warton.

Ver. 118. the Petticoat :] It is impossible here not to recollect that matchless piece of raillery and exquisite humour, of Addison, in the 127th Spectator, on this important part of female dress.


Ver. 119.-clypei dominus septemplicis Ajax.—OVID.



Ver. 121. about the silver bound,] In allusion to the shield of Achilles :

"Thus the broad shield complete the Artist crown'd,
With his last hand, and pour'd the Ocean round:

In living silver seem'd the waves to roll,

And beat the Buckler's verge, and bound the whole.”


Whatever spirit, careless of his charge,

His post neglects, or leaves the fair at large, Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his sins, Be stopp'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:
Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain,
While clogg'd he beats his silken wings in vain; 130
Or alum styptics with contracting pow'r
Shrink his thin essence like a rivell'd flow'r:
Or, as Ixion fix'd, the wretch shall feel
The giddy motion of the whirling mill,
In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow,
And tremble at the sea that froths below!

He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend;
Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend;
Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair;
Some hang upon the pendants of her ear;
With beating hearts the dire event they wait,
Anxious, and trembling for the birth of Fate.




Ver. 125. Shall feel sharp Vengeance] Our Poet still rises in the delicacy of his satire, where he employs, with the utmost judgment and elegance, all the implements and furniture of the toilet, as instruments of punishment to those spirits, who shall be careless of their charge; of punishment, such as Sylphs alone could undergo.

If Virgil has merited such perpetual commendation for exalting his bees by the majesty and magnificence of his diction, does not Pope deserve equal praises, for the pomp and lustre of his language on so trivial a subject. Warton.



CLOSE by those meads, for ever crown'd with flow'rs,

Where Thames with pride surveys his rising tow'rs,
There stands a structure of majestic frame,
Which from the neighb'ring Hampton takes its



Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom 5
Of foreign Tyrants, and of Nymphs at home;
Here thou, great ANNA! whom three realms obey,
Dost sometimes counsel take-and sometimes Tea.
Hither the Heroes and the Nymphs resort,
To taste awhile the pleasures of a Court;
In various talk th' instructive hours they past,
Who gave the ball, or paid the visit last;
One speaks the glory of the British Queen,
And one describes a charming Indian screen;
A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes;
At ev'ry word a reputation dies.

Snuff, or the fan, supply each pause of chat,
With singing, laughing, ogling, and all that.



Ver. 1. Close by those meads,] The first edition continues from this line to ver. 24 of this Canto.

Ver. 11, 12. Originally in the first edition,

In various talk the chearful hours they past,

Of, who was bit, or who capotted last,




Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day, The sun obliquely shoots his burning ray; The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang that jury-men may dine; The merchant from th' Exchange returns in peace, And the long labours of the Toilet cease. Belinda now, whom thirst of fame invites, Burns to encounter two advent'rous Knights, At Ombre singly to decide their doom;




And swells her breast with conquests yet to come.
Straight the three bands prepare in arms to join,
Each band the number of the sacred Nine.
Soon as she spreads her hand, th' aërial guard
Descend, and sit on each important card :
First Ariel perch'd upon a Matadore,
Then each according to the rank they bore;
For Sylphs, yet mindful of their ancient race,
Are, as when women, wond'rous fond of place.
Behold, four Kings, in majesty rever'd,
With hoary whiskers and a forky beard;
And four fair Queens whose hands sustain a flow'r,
Th' expressive emblem of their softer pow'r; 40
Four Knaves in garbs succinct, a trusty band;
Caps on their heads, and halberts in their hand;


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 cups and spoons is crown'd.


And party-colour'd troops, a shining train,
Draw forth to combat on the velvet plain.

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.
Spadillio first, unconquerable Lord!

Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board.
As many more Manillio forc'd to yield,
And march'd a victor from the verdant field.
Him Basto follow'd, but his fate more hard
Gain'd but one trump and one Plebeian card.
With his broad sabre next, a chief in years,
The hoary Majesty of Spades appears,
Puts forth one manly leg, to sight reveal'd,
The rest, his many-colour'd robe conceal'd.


The rebel Knave, who dares his prince engage,
Proves the just victim of his royal rage.


Ev'n mighty Pam, that Kings and Queens o'er


And mow'd down armies in the fights of Lu,
Sad chance of war! now destitute of aid,
Falls undistinguish'd by the victor Spade!
Thus far both armies to Belinda yield;
Now to the Baron fate inclines the field.



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 loss

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