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SPECIMENS

OF THE

BRITISH POETS.

ALEXANDER POPE.

THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.
An Heroi-Comieal Poem,

Nolneram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;

Bed jurat, hoc precibus me tribuisse tuis. Mart.

CANTO I. TI7HAT dire offence from amorous causes springs, What mighty contests rise from trivial things, 1 sing—This verse to Caryl, muse! is due: This, ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view: Slight is the subject, but not so the praise, If she inspire, and he approve my lays.

Say what strange motive, goddess! could compel A well-bred lord to' assault a gentle belle? O say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd, Could make a gentle belle reject a lord? Id tasks so bold can little men engage, And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage?

Sol through white curtains shot a timorous ray, And op'd those eyes that must eclipse the day. Now lap-dogs give themselves the rouzing shake, And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake: Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock'd the ground, And the press'd watch retura'd a silver sound.

Vol. n. B

Belinda still her downy pillow prest.
Her guardian sylph prolong'd the balmy rest;
Twas he had summon'd to her silent bed
The morning-dream that hover'd o'er her head:
A youth more glittering than a birthnight-beau,
(That ev'n in slumber caus'd her cheek to glow)
Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay,
And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say:
* Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care
Of thousand bright inhabitants of air!
If e'er one vision touch'd thy infant thought.
Of all the nurse and all the priest have taught;
Of airy elves by moonlight-shadows seen,
The silver token, and the circled green,
Or virgins visited by angel powers,
With golden crowns and wreaths of heavenly flowers;
Hear and believe! thy own importance know,
Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.
Some secret truths, from learned pride conceal'd,
To maids alone and children are reveal'd;
What though no credit doubting wits may give?
The fair and innocent shall still believe.
Know then, unnumber'd spirits round thee fly,
The light militia of the lower sky:
These, though unseen, are ever on the wing.
Hang o'er the box, and hover round the ring.
Think what an equipage thou hast in air,
And view with scorn two pages and a chair.
As now your own, our beings were of old,
And once inclos'd in woman's beauteous mould;
Thence, by a soft transition, we repair
From earthly vehicles to those of air.
Think not, when woman's transient breath is fled,
That all her vanities at once are dead;
Succeeding vanities she still regards,
And, though she plays no more, o'erlooks the cards.
Her joy in gilded chariots, when alive,
And love of ombre, after death survive.
For when the fair in all their pride expire,
To their first elements their souls retire:

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