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Belinda still her downy pillow prest,
Her guardian SYLPH prolong‘d the balmy rest: 20
'Twas He had summon’d to her silent bed
The morning-dream that hover'd o'er her head,
A Youth more glittring than a Birth-night Beau,
(That e'en in slumber caus’d her cheek to glow)
Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay, 25
And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say.

NOTES.

Chapelle, who was one of the company, and who, as usual, had drank freely, stopt him, and objected strongly to the expression, silver sounds. Boileau disregarded his objections, and continued to read; but Chapelle again interrupting him, “You are drunk," said Boileau; “ I am not so much intoxicated with wine (replied Chapelle) as you are with your own verses.” It is a singular circumstance that Boileau was buried in the very spot on which the Lutrin stood.

Warton. Silver sound," is a combination often used by the early English Poets. Spenser uses it, Shakespear, Dryden, and our Author very frequently. Hence Shakespear's humourous dialogue in Romeo and Juliet ;

Peter. Why music with her silver sound ? —What say you, Simon Catling?

1 Mus. Marry, Sir; because silver hath a sweet sound. Peter. Pretty!—What say you, Hugh Rebeck ?2 Mus. I say, silver sound ; because Musicians sound for silver. Peter. Pretty too!— What say you, James Sound-post ? 3 Mus. Faith, I know not what to say.”

(Act 4th.)

Bowles. Ver. 19. Belinda still, &c.] All the verses from hence to the end of this Canto were added afterwards.

P.

VARIATIONS.

Shock just had given himself the rousing shake,
And Nymphs prepar'd their Chocolate to take;
Thrice the wrought slipper knock'd against the ground,
And striking watches the tenth hour resound.

P.

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; 30
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 heav'nly

flow'rs;
Hear and believe! thy own importance know, 35
Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.
Some secret truths, from learned pride conceald,
To Maids alone and Children are reveal'd:

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NOTES., Ver. 27. Fairest of mortals,] These machines were vastly superior to the allegorical personages of Boileau and Garth; not only on account of their novelty, but for the exquisite poetry, and oblique satire, which they have given the poet an opportunity to display. The business and petty concerns of a fine lady, receive an air of importance from the notion of their being perpetually overlooked and conducted by the interposition of celestial agents. The first time these beings were mentioned by any writer in our language was by Sir W. Temple, Essays, iv. p. 255. " I should (says he) as soon fall into the study of the Rosicrucian philosophy, and expect to meet a Nymph or a Sylph for a wife or a mistress.” They are also mentioned in a letter of Dryden to Mrs. Thomas, 1699; “Whether Sylph or Nymph I know not; those fine creatures, as your author, Count Gabalis, assures us, have a mind to be christened, and since you desire a name from me, take that of Corinna, if you please." Sylphs are mentioned, as invisible attendants, and as interested in the affairs of the ladies, in the 101st, 104th, and 195th, of Madame de Sevigné's celebrated Letters; as they are also in the second chapter of Le Sage's Diable Boiteux. M. de Sevigné says, remarkably enough, letter 90, “If we had a few Sylphs at our command now, one might furnish out a story to divert

you with."

Warton,

What tho' no credit doubting Wits may give?
The Fair and Innocent shall still believe. 40
Know then, unnumber'd Spirits round thee fly,
The light Militia of the lower sky:
These, tho’ unseen, are ever on the wing,
Hang o'er the Box, and hover round the Ring,
Think what an equipage thou hast in Air, 45
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 these of air.

50
Think not, when Woman's transient breath is fled,
That all her vanities at once are dead;
Succeeding vanities she still regards,
And tho' she plays no more, o'erlooks the cards.
Her joy in gilded Chariots, when alive, 55
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. 60
Soft yielding minds to Water glide away,
And sip, with Nymphs, their elemental Tea.

NOTES.

Ver. 47. As now your own, &c.] The Poet here forsakes the Rosicrucian system ; which, in this part, is too extravagant even for ludicrous Poetry; and gives a beautiful fiction of his own, on the Platonic Theology, of the continuance of the passions in another state, when the mind, before its leaving this, has not been well purged and purified by philosophy; which furnishes an occasion for much useful satire.

Warburton.

The graver

Prude sinks downward to a Gnome, In search of mischief still on earth to roam. The light Coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair, 65 And sport and flutter in the fields of Air.

Know further 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. 70 What guards the purity of melting Maids, In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades, Safe from the treach'rous 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?

NOTES.

Ver. 67. Know further yet;] Marmontel has, on this idea, framed one of his most popular Tales. I must again and again repeat, that it is on account of the exquisite skill, and humour, and pleasantry of the use made of the machinery of the Sylphs, that this poem has excelled all the heroi-comic poems in all languages. The Ver-vert of Gresset, in point of delicate satire, is perhaps next to it, but far inferior for the want of such machinery. Warton.

Ver. 68. Is by some Sylph embrac'd :) Here again the Author resumes the Rosicrucian system. But this tenet, peculiar to that wild philosophy, was founded on a principle very unfit to be employed in such a sort of poem, and therefore suppressed, though a less judicious writer would have been tempted to expatiate upon it.

Warburton.

IMITATIONS.

Ver. 54, 55.

“Quæ gratia currům Armorumque fuit vivis, quæ cura nitentes Pascere equos, cadem sequitur tellure repostos."

Virg. Æneid, vi.

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'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 Gnomes embrace. 80 These swell their prospects and exalt their pride, When offers are disdain'd, and love deny'd : Then

gay

Ideas croud the vacant brain, While Peers, and Dukes, and all their sweeping

train, And Garters, Stars, and Coronets appear,

85 And in soft sounds, YOUR GRACE salutes their ear. 'Tis these 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.

90 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 must a victim fall 95 To one man's treat, but for another's ball ? When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand, If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand ? With varying vanities, from ev'ry part, They shift the moving Toyshop of their heart; 100

NOTES.

Ver. 78. Though Honour is the word with Men below.] Parody of Homer.

Warburton.

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