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Inty Walker
Walker Del: el Sculp

This Lock the Muse shall consecrate to Fame,
And midst the Stars inscribe Belinda's Name...
Rape of the Lock.




T 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 Secret, it foon found its way into the world. An imperfect copy having been offer'd to a Bookfeller, you had the good-nature for my fake to consent to the publication of one more correct: This I was forc'd to, before I had executed half my defign, for the Machinery was entirely wanting to compleat it.

The Machinery, Madam, is a term invented by the Critics, to fignify that part which the Deities, Angels, or Dæmons are made to act in a Poem: For the ancient Poets are in one refpect like many modern Ladies: let an action be never fo trivial in itfelf, they always make it appear of the utmost importance. Thefe Machines I determin'd to raife on a very new and odd foun→ dation, the Rofiçrufian doctrine of Spirits.

I know how difagreeable it is to make ufe of hard 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 muft give me leave to explain two or three difficult terms.

The Roficrufians are a people I muft bring you ac

a French book call'd 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 miftake. According to these Gentlemen, the four Elements are inhabited by Spirits, which they call Sylphs, Gnomes, Nymphs, and Salamanders. The Gnomes or Dæmons of Earth delight in mischief; but the 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 thefe gentle Spirits, upon a condition very easy to all true Adepts, an inviolate prefervation of Chastity.

As to the following Canto's, all the paffages of them are as fabulous, as the Vifion 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 manag'd, 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 it fhould pafs thro' the world half fo Uncenfur'd as You have done. But let its fortune be what it will, mine is happy enough, to have given me this occafion of af furing you that I am, with the truest esteem,


Your most obedient, Humble Servant,



RAPE of the LOCK.

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


HAT dire offence from am'rous caufes



What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
Ifing---This verse to CARYL, Muse! is due;
This ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view:


It appears by this Motto, that the following Poem was written or published at the Lady's request. But there are fome further circumstances not unworthy relating. Mr. Caryl (a Gentleman who was Secretary to Queen Mary, wife of James II. whofe fortunes he followed into France, Author of the Comedy of Sir Solomon Single, and of several translations 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 risen between two noble Families, thofe of Lord Petre and of Mrs Fermor, on the trifling occasion of his having cut off a lock of her hair. The Author fent it to the Lady, with whom he was acquainted; and she took it fo well as to give about copies of it. That firft 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; first, in a Mifcellany of Bern.


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