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lations of the first book of the Iliad, it must be

confessed that the accusation is not entirely

devoid of probability.

Before the Rape of the Lock appeared, our

writers were distinguished in the eyes of fo

reigners by vigorous thought, and powerful

expression. Mr. Pope has shewn that we were

equally qualified to sacrifice at the shrine of

the Graces.

It would be unnecessary, and almost im

pertinent, to point out the particular beauties

of a poem so universally read and admired,

and upon which so much has been already

written. Pope's writings are perhaps a greater

accession to our literature than those of any

other poet, and, amongst them, the Rape of

the Lock stands pre-eminent, at least in that

first characteristic of a poet, invention.

It is a curious circumstance that Parnell,

hearing Pope repeat the description of Belinda's toilet, immediately translated it into

monkish Latin verses, and accused Pope of

plagiarism, who did not discover the stratagem

till undeceived by Parnell.

Doctor Johnson has made a few observa

tions upon the Rape of the Lock, which we

shall here transcribe.

“To the praises,” says he, “ which have

been accumulated on the Rape of the Lock'

by readers of every class, from the critic to :

the waiting-maid, it is difficult to make any.

addition. Of that which is universally allowed

to be the most attractive of all ludicrous com

positions, let it rather be now enquired from

what sources the power of pleasing is de

rived.

“Dr. Warburton, who excelled in critical

perspicacity, has remarked that the preter

natural agents are very happily adapted to the

purposes of the poem. The heathen deities

can no longer gain attention: we should have

turned away from a contest between Venus

and Diana. The employment of allegorical

persons always excites conviction of its own

absurdity;a they may produce effects, but cannot conduct actions: when the phantom is put

a This remark of Dr. Johnson's seems rather shallow,

and it is certainly ill applied; for what are Spleen and her attendants but allegorical actors?

in motion it dissolves: thus Discord may raise

a mutiny; but Discord cannot conduct a march,

a

nor besiege a town. Pope brought in view a

new race of beings, with powers and passions

proportionate to their operation. The Sylphs

and Gnomes act, at the toilet and the table,

what more terrific and more powerful phan

toms perform on the stormy ocean, or the field

of battle; they give their proper help, and do

their proper mischief.

66

Pope is said, by an objector, not to have

been the inventor of this petty nation; a

charge which might with more justice have

6

been brought against the author of the “Iliad,'

who doubtless adopted the religious system of his country; for what is there, but the names

of his agents, which Pope has not invented?

Has he not assigned them characters and ope

rations never heard of before? Has he not,

at least, given them their first poetical exist

ence? If this is not sufficient to denominate

his work original, nothing original ever can be

written.

- In this work are exhibited, in a very

high degree, the two most engaging powers of

an author. New things are made familiar,

and familiar things are made new.

A race of

aërial people, never heard of before, is pre

sented to us in a manner so clear and

easy,

that the reader seeks for no further informa

tion, but immediately mingles with his new

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