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THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.

AN HEROI-COMICAL POEM

WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1712.

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

Mart.

BY ALEXANDER POPE.

NEW-YORK:

GEORGE DE ARBORN, PUBLISHER.

1836.

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THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.

CANTO 1.

What dire offence from amorous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
I sing--this verse to Caryl, Muse ! is due :
This e'en Belinda may vouchsafe to view :
Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,
If she inspire, and he approved my lays. (pel

Say what strange motive, goddess ! could com-
A well-bred lord t' assault a gentle belle ?
O say what stranger cause, get unexplor'd,
Could make a gentle belle reject a lord ?
In tasks so bold, can little men engage ?
And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage ?

Sol through white curtains shot a timorous ray, And ope'd those eyes that must eclipse the day: Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake, And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake : Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knockd the

ground, And the press'd watch return'd a silver sound. 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 birth-night 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, distinguish'd care Of thousand bright inhabitants of air! If e'er one vision touch 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, (flowers ; With golden crowns and wreaths of heavenly Hear, and believe! thy own importance know, Nor bound they narrow views to things below. Some secret truths, from learned pride conceald, To maids alone and children are reveald; What, though no credit doubting wits may give, The fair and innocent shall still believe. Know then, urinumber'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 ware of old,

And once inclos'd in woman's beauteous mould ;
Thence, by a soft transition, we repair
From earthly vehicles to these of air.
Think not, when woman's transient breath is flede
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:
The sprites of fiery termagants in flame
Mount up, and take a Salamander's name.
Soft yielding minds to water glide away,
And sip, with nymphs, their elemental tea.
The graver prude sinks downward to a Gnome,
In search of mischief still on Earth to roam.
The light coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair,
And sport and flutter in the fields of air.

“Know farther yet; whoever fair and chaste
Rejects mankind, is by some Sylph embrac'd :
For, spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease
Assume what sexes and what shapes they please.
What guards the purity of melting maids,
In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades,
Safe from the treacherous friend, the daring spark,
The glance by day, the whisper in the dark,
When kind occasion prompts their warm desires,
When music softens, and when dancing fires ?
'Tis but their Sylph, the wise celestials know,
Though honour is the word with men below.
“Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their

face, For life predestin'd to the Gnome's embrace. These swell their prospects, and exalt their pride, When offers are disdain'd, and love denied : Then gay ideas crowd the vacant brain, (train, While peers, and dukes, and all their sweeping And garters, stars, and coronets appear, And in soft sounds, 'your grace' salutes their ear. 'Tis there that early taint the female soul, Instruct the eyes of young coquettes to roll, Teach infant cheeks a bidden blush to know, And little hearts to flutter at a beau.

“Oft, when the world imagine women stray, The Sylphs through mystic mazes guide their way, Through all the giddy circle they pursue, And old impertinence expel by new. What tender maid but musta victim fall To one man's treat, but for another's ball ?

When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand, Fair nymphs and well-dress'd youths around her If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand ? But every eye was fix'd on her alone.

[shone, With varying vanities, from every part,

On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore, They shift the moving Toy-shop of their heart; Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore. Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword- Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose, knots strive,

Quick as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those : Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive. Favours to none, to all she smiles extends; This erring mortals levity may call;

Oft she rejects, but never once offends. Oh, blind to truth! the Sylphs contrive it all. Bright as the Sun, her eyes the gazers strike,

“Of these am I, who thy protection claim, And, like the Sun, they shine on all alike. A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name.

Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride, Late, as I rang'd the crystal wilds of air,

Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide: In the clear mirror of thy ruling star

If to her share some female errors fall, I saw, alas ! some dread event impend,

Look on her face, and you'll forget them all. Ere to the main this morning sun descend;

This nymph, to the destruction of mankind, But Heaven reveals not what, or how, or where. Nourish'd two locks, which graceful hung behind, Warn’d by the Sylph, oh pious maid, beware! In equal curls, and well conspir’d to deck This to disclose is all thy guardian can :

With shining ringlets the smooth ivory neck. Beware of all, but most beware of man!"

Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains, He said ; when Shock, who thought she slept And mighty hearts are held in slender chains. too long

With hairy springes we the birds betray; Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue. Slight lines of hair surprise the finny prey; 'Twas then, Belinda, if report say true,

Fair tresses man's imperial race ensnare, Thy eyes first opend on a billet-doux;

And Beauty draws us with a single hair. Wounds, charms, and ardours were no sooner Th’adventurous baron the bright locks admir'd; read,

He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspir'd. But all the vision vanish'd from thy head.

Resolv'd to win, he meditates the way, And now, unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd, By force to ravish, or by fraud betray; Each silver vase in mystic order laid.

For when success a lover's toil attends, First, rob'd in white, the nymph intent adores, Few ask if fraud or force attain'd his ends. With head uncoverd, the cosmetic powers.

For this, ere Phæbus rose, he had implor'd A heavenly image in the glass appears,

Propitious Heaven, and every power adord ; To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears; But chiefly Love to Love an altar built, Th' inferior priestess, at her altar's side,

Of twelve vast French roniances, neatly gilt. Trembling, begins the sacred rites of Pride. There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves, Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here And all the trophies of his former loves. The various offerings of the world appear; With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre, From each she nicely culls with curious toil, And breathes three amorous sighs to raise the fire. And decks the goddess with the glittering spoil. Then prostrate falls, ard begs with ardent eyes This casket India's glowing gems unlocks, Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize : And all Arabia breathes from yonder box. The powers gave ear,

and granted half his prayer ; The tortoise here and elephant unite,

The rest, the winds dispers’d in empty air. Transform'd to combs, the speckled and the white. But now secure the painted vessel glides, Here files of pins extend their shining rows, The sunbeams trembling on the floating tides : Puffs, powders, patches, Bibles, billet-doux. While melting music steals upon the sky, Now awful Beauty puts on all its arms;

And soften'd sounds along the waters die; The fair each moment rises in her charms, Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gentle play, Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace,

Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay, And calls forth all the wonders of her face: All but the Sylph—with careful thoughts opprest, Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,

Th’ impending woe sat heavy on his breas. And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes. He summons straight his denizens of air ; The busy Sylphs surround their darling care : The lucid squadrons round the sails iepair : These set the head, and those divide the hair; Soft o'er the shrouds aëreal whispers breathe, Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown ; That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath. And Betty's prais'd for labours not her own. Some to the Sun their insect wings unfold,

Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold;
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight,

Their fluid bodies half dissolv'd in light.
Nor with more glories in th’ ethereal plain, Loose to the wind their airy garments flew,
The Sun first rises o'er the purpled main,

Thin glittering textures of the filmy dew, Than, issuing forth, the rival of his beams

Dipp'd in the richest tinctures of the skies, Launch'd on the bosom of the silver'd Thames. Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes,

CANTO II.

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