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RAPE of the LOCK.
Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
HAT dire offence from am'rous caufes
What mighty contests rife from trivial things,
*It appears, by this Motto, that the following Poem was written or published at the Lady's requeft. But there are fome further circumftances not unworthy relating. Mr. Caryl (a Gentleman who was Secretary to Queen Mary, wife of James II. whofe fortunes he followed into France, Author of the Comedy of Sir Solomon Single, and of feveral tranflations in Dryden's Mifcellanies) originally propofed the fubject to him in a view of putting an end, by this piece of ridicule to a quarrel that was rifen between two noble Families, thofe of Lord Petre and of Mrs. Fermor, on the trifling occafion of his having cut off a lock of her hair. The Author fent it to the Lady, with whom he was acquainted; and she took it fo well as to give about copies of it. That first sketch (we learn from one of his Letters) was written in less than a fortnight, in 1711. in two Canto's only, and it was fo printed; firft, in a Mifcellany of Bern. Lintot's, without the name of the Author. But it was received fo well that he made it more confiderable the next year by the addition
Slight is the fubject, but not fo the praise,
Say what strange motive, Goddess! could compel A well-bred Lord t'affault a gentle Belle? Oh say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd, Could make a gentle Belle reject a Lord ? In tasks fo bold, can little men engage, And in soft bofoms dwells fuch mighty Rage? Sol thro' white curtains shot a tim❜rous ray, And ope'd those eyes that must eclipse the day: Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake, And fleepless lovers, juft at twelve, awake: 16 Thrice rung the bell, the flipper knock'd the ground, And the prefs'd watch return'd a filver found.
addition of the machinery of the Sylphs, and extended it to five Canto's. We fhall give the reader the pleasure of seeing in what manner these additions were inferted, fo as to feem not to be added, but to grow out of the Poem. See Notes, Cant. I. v. 19, etc.
This infertion he always efteemed, and justly, the greatest effort of his skill and art as a Poet.
VER. II, 12. It was in the first editions,
And dwells fuch rage in fofteft bofoms then,
R. 13, etc. Stood thus in the first Edition,
And striking watches the tenth hour refound. P.
Belinda ftill her downy pillow prest,
The morning dream that hover'd o'er her head.
With golden crowns and wreaths of heav'nly flow'rs;
Thefe, tho' unfeen, are ever on the wing,
Hang o'er the Box, and hover round the Ring.
VER. 19. Belinda ftill, etc.] All the verses from hence to the end of this Canto, were added afterwards.
Thence, by a foft tranfition, we repair
From earthly Vehicles to thefe of air.
Think not, when Woman's tranfient breath is fled, That all her vanities at once are dead;
Succeeding vanities fhe ftill regards,
And tho' fhe plays no more, o'erlooks the cards.
And love of Ombre, after death furvive.
Know farther yet; whoever fair and chaste
The glance by day, the whisper in the dark,
VER. 54, 55. Quæ gratia currúm
Armorumque fuit vivis, quæ cura nitentes
Virg. En. vi. P.
'Tis but their Sylph, the wife Celestials know, Tho' Honour is the word with Men, below.
Some nymphs there are, too confcious of their face,
For life predeftin'd to the Gnomes embrace.
These swell their prospects and exalt their pride,
While Peers, and Dukes, and all their sweeping train,
Oft, when the World imagine women stray,
VER. 78. Tho' Honour is the word with Men below.] Parody of Homer.
VER. 79. too confcious of their face,] i. e. too fenfible of their beauty,