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The sister-lock now sits uncouth, alone,
THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.
She said : the pitying audience melt in tears,
Say, why are Beauties prais'd and honour'd most, The wise man's passion, and the vain man's toast?
Ver. 7. Then grade Clarissa, &c.] A new Character introduced in the subsequent Editions, to open more clearly the Moral of the Poem, in a parody of the speech of Sarpedon to Glaucus in Homer.
Ver. 9. Say why are Beauties, &c.] Homer.
Where Xanthus' streams enrich the Lycian plain ;
Why deck'd with all that land and sea afford,
Or let us glory gain, or glory give." Warburton.
But since, alas! frail beauty must decay,
25 Curld or uncurl'd, since Locks will turn to grey; Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade, And she who scorns a man, must die a maid; What then remains but well our pow'r to use, And keep good-humour still, whate'er we lose? 30 And trust me, dear! good-humour can prevail, When airs, and flights, and screams, and scolding
fail. Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll; Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.
So spoke the Dame, but no applause ensu'd; 35 Belinda frown'd, Thalestris call'd her Prude. Το arms, to arms! the fierce Virago cries, And swift as lightning to the combat flies. All side in parties, and begin th' attack; Fans clap, silks rustle, and tough whalebones crack; Heroes' and Heroines' shouts confus’dly rise, And base and treble voices strike the skies. No common weapons in their hands are found, Like Gods they fight, nor dread a mortal wound.
Ver. 26. Curld or uncurld,] Fontenelle writes a gallant and pleasant letter to a beautiful young lady on discovering one grey hair on her head.
Ver. 37. To arms, to arms !] From hence the first edition goes on to the conclusion, except a very few short insertions added, to keep the Machinery in view to the end of the poem.
Ver. 35. So spoke the Dame,] It is a verse frequently repeated in Homer after any speech,
" —So spoke--and all the Heroes applauded." P. VOL. III.
So when bold Homer makes the Gods engage, 45 And heav'nly breasts with human passions rage; 'Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latona, Hermes arms; And all Olympus rings with loud alarms: Jove's thunder roars, heav'n trembles all around, Blue Neptune storms, the bellowing deeps resound: Earth shakes her nodding tow'rs, the ground gives
P. The ridicule is most artfully heightened by introducing one of the most sublime passages in Homer:
« 'Αμφι δ' εσαλπιγξεν μεγας ερανος, ελυμπος τε
, Σμερδαλέ', ευρωενα, τα τε υγεεσι θεοι περ.” Well might Longinus exclaim, "Do you see, O my friend, how the earth bursts asunder to its centre, Tartarus itself is laid open and naked, all things mortal and immortal combat together, and share the danger of this tremendous conflict ?"
In none of his many imitations has Virgil shewn his inferiority to Homer so much as in this passage :
“ Non secus ac si qua penitus vi terra dehiscens
Infernas reseret sedes, et regna recludat
Æneid, viii. v. 243. For not to mention that what is part of the Action in Homer, is only a simile in Virgil, how tame is superque immane barathrum (even though a magnificent image) to
Δεισας do εκ θρονο αλτο και ιαχε--How or where has terror ever been so strongly painted as by this circumstance of Pluto himself, suddenly leaping from his throne and shrieking aloud ?