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This Lock the Muse shall consecrate to Famel, And midst the Stars inscribe Belinda's Name... Rape of the Lock.
RAPE of the LOCK.
*Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos; Sed juvat, hoc precibus me tribuiffe tuis.
HAT dire offence from am'rous caufes
What mighty contests rife from trivial things,
*It appears, by this Motto, that the following Poem was written or published at the Lady's requeft. But there are fome further circumstances not unworthy relating. Mr. Caryl (a Gentleman who was Secretary to Queen Mary, wife of James II. whose fortunes he followed into France, Author of the Comedy of Sir Solomon Single, and of feveral tranflations in Dryden's Mifcellanies) originally proposed the subject to him in a view of putting an end, by this piece of ridicule, to a quarrel that was rifen between two noble Families, thofe of Lord Petre and of Mrs. Fermor, on the trifling occafion of his having cut off a lock of her hair. The Author fent it to the Lady, with whom he was acquainted; and fhe took it fo well as to give about copies of it. That first sketch (we learn from one of his Letters) was written in less than a fortnight, in 1711. in two Canto's only, and it was fo printed; firft, in a Mifcellany of Bern. Lintot's, without the name of the Author. But it was received fo well that he made it more confiderable. the next year by the addition
Slight is the subject, but not fo the praise,
Say what strange motive, Goddess! could compel A well-bred Lord t'affault a gentle Belle? Oh fay what ftranger caufe, yet unexplor'd, Could make a gentle Belle reject a Lord? In tasks fo bold, can little men engage, And in foft bofoms dwells fuch mighty Rage? Sol thro' white curtains fhot a tim❜rous ray, And ope'd thofe eyes that must eclipse the day: Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake, And fleepless lovers, juft at twelve, awake: 16 Thrice rung the bell, the flipper knock'd the ground, And the prefs'd watch return'd a filver found.
addition of the machinery of the Sylphs, and extended it to five Canto's. We fhall give the reader the pleasure of feeing in what manner these additions were inserted, fo as to feem not to be added, but to grow out of the Poem. See Notes, Cant. I. v. 19, etc.
This infertion he always efteemed, and juftly, the greateft effort of his skill and art as a Poet.
VER. II, 12. It was in the first editions,
And dwells fuch rage in fofteft bofoms then, And lodge fuch daring Souls in little Men? P. VER. 13, etc. Stood thus in the first Edition, Sol thro' white curtains did his beams difplay, And ope'd thofe eyes which brighter fhone than they; Shock juft had giv'n himself the roufing shake, And Nymphs prepar'd their Chocolate to take; Thrice the wrought flipper knock'd against the ground,
And striking watches the tenth hour refound. P.
Belinda ftill her downy pillow preft,
The morning dream that hover'd o'er her head.
With golden crowns and wreaths of heav'nly flow'rs;
VER. 19. Belinda ftill, etc.] All the verses from hence to the end of this Canto, were added afterwards.
Thence, by a foft transition, we repair
From earthly Vehicles to these of air.
Think not, when Woman's tranfient breath is fled, That all her vanities at once are dead;
Succeeding vanities fhe ftill regards,
And tho' fhe plays no more, o'erlooks the cards.
Her joy in gilded Chariots, when alive,
And love of Ombre, after death furvive.
Know farther yet; whoever fair and chaste Rejects mankind, is by fome Sylph embrac'd : For Spirits, freed from mortal laws, with cafe Affume what fexes and what shapes they please. What guards the purity of melting Maids, In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades, Safe from the treach'rous friend, the daring fpark, The glance by day, the whisper in the dark, When kind occafion prompts their warm defires, When mufic foftens, and when dancing fires? 76
VER. 54, 55.
Qua gratia currúm
Armorumque fuit vivis, quæ cura nitentes
Virg. n. vi. P.