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Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword
knots strive, Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive. This erring mortals Levity may call, Oh blind to truth! the Sylphs contrive it all.
Of these am I, who thy protection claim, 105 A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name. Late, as I rang'd the crystal wilds of air, In the clear mirror of thy ruling Star I saw, alas! some dread event impend, Ere to the main this morning sun descend, 110 But heav'n reveals not what, or how, or where: Warn’d by the Sylph, oh pious maid, beware! This to disclose is all thy guardian can: Beware of all, but most beware of Man ! He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too long,
115 Leap'd up,
and wak'd his mistress with his tongue;
Ver. 108. In the clear mirror] The language of the Platonists, the writers of the intelligible world of Spirits, &c.
P. Ver. 113. This to disclose, &c.] There is much pleasantry in the conduct of this scene. The Rosicrucian Doctrine was delivered only to Adepts, with the utmost caution, and under the most solemn injunctions of secrecy. It is here communicated to a Woman, and in that way of conveyance, which a Woman most delights to make the subject of her conversation; that is to say, her Dreams.
Warburton. IMITATIONS. Ver. 101. " Jam clypeus clypeis, umbone repellitur umbo, Ense minax ensis, pede pes, et cuspide cuspis," &c. Stat.
'Twas then, Belinda, if report say true,
And now, unveil'd, the Toilet stands display'd, Each silver Vase in mystic order laid.
Ver. 121. And now, unveild, &c.] The translation of these verses, containing the description of the toilet, by our Author's friend, Dr. Parnell, deserve, for their humour, to be here inserted.
“ Et nunc dilectum speculum, pro more retectum,
Emicat in mensa, quæ splendet pyxide densa :
Hæc manicis formam, plicis dat et altera normam,
First, rob’d in white, the Nymph intent adores,
130 From each she nicely culls with curious toil, And decks the Goddess with the glitt'ring spoil. This casket India’s glowing gems unlocks, And all Arabia breathes from yonder box:
Et tibi vel Betty tibi vel nitidissima Letty!
Gloria factorum temere conceditur horum." Warburton. Warton observes, that “ some of these Latin lines are not classical;” perhaps this was intended, as being more like the Monkish. The accents of “ Sinč, Arăbia,” &c. are wrong. Bowles.
Ver. 122. Each silver Vase] Parnell accidentally hearing Pope repeat this description of the Toilette, privately turned them into these Monkish Latin verses, and Pope, to whom he immediately communicated them, was astonished at the resemblance, till Parnell undeceived him. Mr. Harte told me, that Dryden had been imposed on by a similar little stratagem. One of his friends translated into Latin verse, printed, and pasted on the bottom of an old hat-box, a translation of that celebrated passage,
“ To die is landing on some silent shore," &c. and that Dryden, on opening the box, was alarmed and amazed.
Warton. Ver. 131. From each she] Evidently from Addison's Spectator,
“The single dress of a woman of quality is often the product of an hundred climates. The muff and the fan come together from the different ends of the earth. The scarf is sent from the Torrid Zone, and the tippet from beneath the Pole. The brocade petticoat arises out of the mines of Peru, and the diamond necklace out of the bowels of Indostan.”
The tortoise here and elephant unite,
135 Transform'd to combs, the speckled, and the white. Here files of pins extend their shining rows, Puffs, Powders, Patches, Bibles, Billet-doux. Now awful beauty puts on all its arms; The fair each moment rises in her charms, 140 Repairs her smiles, awakens ev'ry grace, And calls forth all the wonders of her face; Sees by degrees a purer blush arise, And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes. The busy Sylphs surround their darling care, 145 These set the head, and those divide the hair, Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown; And Betty's prais’d for labours not her own.
Ver. 145. The busy Sylphs, &c.] Ancient Traditions of the Rabbis relate, that several of the fallen Angels became amorous of women, and particularise some; among the rest Asael, who lay with Naamah, the wife of Noah, or of Ham; and who continuing impenitent, still presides over the women's toilets. Bereshi Rabbi, in Genes. vi. 2.
THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.
Not with more glories, in th’ ethereal plain,
This Nymph, to the destruction of mankind, Nourish'd two Locks, which graceful hung behind
VARIATIONS. Ver. 4. Launch'd on the bosom, &c.] From hence the poem continues, in the first Edition, to ver. 46.
“ The rest the winds dispers’d in empty air ;" all after, to the end of this Canto, being additional,