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In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck,
Th’advent'rous Baron the bright locks admir'd;
For this, ere Phoebus rose, he had implord 35 Propitious heav'n, and ev'ry pow'r ador’d, But chiefly Love—to Love an Altar built, Of twelve vast French Romances, neatly gilt. There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves, And all the trophies of his former loves; 40 With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre, And breathes three am'rous sighs to raise the fire.
NOTES. Ver. 28. with a single hair.] In allusion to those lines of Hudibras, applied to the same purpose :
“ And tho' it be a two foot Trout,
Ver. 28. And beauty draws us, &c.] Steevens quotes Buchanan's Epigrams, lib. I. xiv. p. 77.
“ Et modo membra pilo vinctus miser abstrahor uno."
Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes
But now secure the painted Vessel glides,
Ver. 45. The pow'rs gave ear,] Virg. Æneid. xi.
His purple pinions op'ning to the sun,
Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear!
Ver. 75. Ye know] Those who are fond of tracing images and sentiments to their source, may, perhaps, be inclined to think, that the hint of ascribing tasks and offices to such imaginary beings, is taken from the Fairies, and the Ariel of Shakespear; let the impartial critic determine, which has the superiority of fancy. The employment of Ariel in the Tempest, is said to be
“ To tread the ooze
the sharp wind of the north ;
To dive into the fire; to ride
On the curl'd clouds."
-"In the deep nook, where once
From the still vext Bermoothes.” Nor must I omit that exquisite song, in which his favourite and peculiar pastime is expressed :
“ Where the bee sucks, there suck I,
In a cowslip's bell I lie;
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.” With what wildness of imagination, but yet with what propriety, are the amusements of the fairies pointed out in the Midsummer Night's Dream; amusements proper for none but fairies !
Some in the fields of purest ether play,
85 Or o'er the glebe distil the kindly rain.
At our quaint spirits.". Shakespear only could have thought of the following gratifications for Titania's lover; and they are fit only to be offered to her lover by a fairy-queen.
“ Be kind and courteous to this gentleman,
Hop in his walks, and gambol in his eyes;
To fan the moon-beams from his sleeping eyes." If it should be thought that Shakespear has the merit of being the first who assigned proper employments to imaginary persons, in the foregoing lines, yet it must be granted that by the addition of the most delicate satire to the most lively fancy, Pope, in a following passage (ver. 91) has equalled any thing in Shakespear, or perhaps in any other author,
Others on earth o'er human race preside,
Our humbler province is to tend the Fair,
This day, black omens threat the brightest Fair That e'er deserv'd a watchful spirit's care; Some dire disaster, or by force, or slight; But what, or where, the fates have wrapt in night. Whether the Nymph shall break Diana's law, 105 Or some frail China jar receive a flaw;
Ver. 90. And guard with Arms] The Poet was too judicious to desire this should be understood as a compliment. He intended it for a mere piece of raillery; such as he more openly pursues on another occasion; when he says,
“ Where's now the Star which lighted Charles to rise ?
With that which follow'd Julius to the skies.
Warburton. Ver. 105. Whether the nymph, &c.] The disaster, which makes the subject of this poem, being a trifle, taken seriously; it naturally led the Poet into this fine satire on the female estimate of human mischances.