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Or stain her honour, or her new brocade;
To fifty chosen Sylphs, of special note,
Ver. 112. Zephyretta] The names of his Sylphs are happily chosen. Castelvetro mentions an odd circumstance, that the names which Boiardo gave to his heroes in his Orlando Inamorato, were only the names of some of the principal tenants and peasants on his estate of Scandiano.
Warton. Ver. 118. the Petticoat :] It is impossible here not to recollect that matchless piece of raillery and exquisite humour, of Addison, in the 127th Spectator, on this important part of female dress.
Ver. 119.--clypei dominus septemplicis Ajax.-Ovid.
Warburton. Ver. 121. about the silver bound,] In allusion to the shield of Achilles :
“ Thus the broad shield complete the Artist crown'd,
With his last hand, and pour'd the Ocean round:
Whatever spirit, careless of his charge, His post neglects, or leaves the fair at large, Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o’ertake his sins, Be stopp'd in vials, or transfix'd with pins; Or plung’d in lakes of bitter washes lie, Or wedg’d, whole ages, in a bodkin's eye: Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain, While clogg'd he beats his silken wings in vain; 130 Or alum styptics with contracting pow'r Shrink his thin essence like a rivell’d flow'r: Or, as Ixion fix'd, the wretch shall feel The giddy motion of the whirling mill, In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow, 135 And tremble at the sea that froths below!
He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend; Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend; Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair ; Some hang upon the pendants of her ear; 140 With beating hearts the dire event they wait, Anxious, and trembling for the birth of Fate.
Ver. 125. Shall feel sharp Vengeance] Our Poet still rises in the delicacy of his satire, where he employs, with the utmost judgment and elegance, all the implements and furniture of the toilet, as instruments of punishment to those spirits, who shall be careless of their charge; of punishment, such as Sylphs alone could undergo.
If Virgil has merited such perpetual commendation for exalting his bees by the majesty and magnificence of his diction, does not Pope deserve equal praises, for the pomp and lustre of his language so trivial a subject
THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.
Close by those meads, for ever crown'd with
Hither the Heroes and the Nymphs resort,
the ball, or paid the visit last;
In various talk the chearful hours they past,
Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day, The sun obliquely shoots his burning ray; 20 The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang that jury-men may dine; The merchant from th’ Exchange returns in peace, And the long labours of the Toilet cease. Belinda now, whom thirst of fame invites,
25 Burns to encounter two advent'rous Knights, At Ombre singly to decide their doom; And swells her breast with conquests yet to come. Straight the three bands prepare in arms to join, Each band the number of the sacred Nine. 30 Soon as she spreads her hand, th' aërial guard Descend, and sit on each important card : First Ariel perch'd upon a Matadore, Then each according to the rank they bore; For Sylphs, yet mindful of their ancient race, 35 Are, as when women, wond'rous fond of place.
Behold, four Kings, in majesty rever'd, With hoary whiskers and a forky beard; And four fair Queens whose hands sustain a flow'r, Th' expressive emblem of their softer pow'r; 40 Four Knaves in garbs succinct, a trusty band; Caps on their heads, and halberts in their hand;
Ver. 22. And wretches hang] From Congreve.'
Ver. 24. And the long labours of the Toilet cease.] All that follows of the game at Ombre, was added since the first edition, till ver. 105, which connected thus,
Sudden the board with cups and spoons is crown'd. P.
And party-colour'd troops, a shining train,
The skilful Nymph reviews her force with care: Let Spades be trumps! she said, and trumps they
were. Now move to war her sable Matadores, In show like leaders of the swarthy Moors. Spadillio first, unconquerable Lord ! Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board. As many more Manillio forc'd to yield, And march'd a victor from the verdant field. Him Basto follow'd, but his fate more hard Gain'd but one trump and one Plebeian card. With his broad sabre next, a chief in years, 55 The hoary Majesty of Spades appears, Puts forth one manly leg, to sight reveald, The rest, his many-colour'd robe conceal’d. The rebel Knave, who dares his prince engage, Proves the just victim of his royal rage.
60 Ev'n mighty Pam, that Kings and Queens o'er
65 Now to the Baron fate inclines the field.
Ver. 53. Him Basto follow'd,] The magnificent and majestic style in which this game of cards is described, artfully and finely heightens the ridicule.
Warton. Ver. 65. Belinda yield;] It is finely contrived that she should be victorious; as it occasions a change of fortune in the dreadful