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THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.
Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
Sed juvat, hoc precibus me tribuisse tuis. MART.
WHAT dire offence from amorous causes springs, What mighty contests rise from trivial things, this verse to Caryl, Muse! is due:
This e'en Belinda may vouchsafe to view :
Say what strange motive, goddess! could compel
Sol through white curtains shot a timorous ray And oped those eyes that must eclipse the day: Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake, And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake: Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock'd the ground, And the press'd watch return'd a silver sound. Belinda still her downy pillow press'd, Her guardian Sylph prolong'd the balmy rest: "Twas he had summon'd to her silent bed The morning dream that hover'd o'er her head. A youth more glittering than a birth-night beau (That e'en in slumber caused her cheek to glow Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay, And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say: 'Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care Of thousand bright inhabitants of air! If e'er one vision touch'd thy infant thought, Of all the nurse and all the priest have taught: Of airy elves by moonlight shadows seen, The silver token, and the circled green,
Or virgins visited by angel-powers,
With golden crowns and wreaths of heavenly flowers
And once enclosed in woman's beauteous mould;
From earthly vehicles to those of air.
Think not, when woman's transient breath is fled, That all her vanities at once are dead:
Succeeding vanities she still regards,
And though she plays no more, o'erlooks the cards Her joy in gilded chariots, when alive,
And love of ombre, after death survive.
For when the fair in all their pride expire,
'Know farther yet; whoever, fair and chaste,
What guards the purity of melting maids,
'Some nymphs there are, too conscious of thei face,
For life predestined to the Gnomes' embrace,
Then gay ideas crowd the vacant brain,
While peers, and dukes, and all their sweeping train,
And in soft sounds, 'your grace' salutes their ear.
'Oft when the world imagine women stray, The Sylphs through mystic mazes guide their way, Through all the giddy circle they pursue,
And old impertinence expel by new;
What tender maid but must a victim fall
To one man's treat, but for another's ball?
When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand,
If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand?
With varying vanities, from every part,
They shift the moving toy-shop of their heart;
Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-knota
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,
A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name.
Late, as I ranged the crystal wilds of air,
I saw, alas! some dread event impend,
But Heaven reveals not what, or how, or where:
Beware of all, but most beware of man!'
He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too long Leap'd up, and waked his mistress with his tongue. "Twas then, Belinda, if report say true,
Thy eyes first open'd on a billet-doux ;
Wounds, charms, and ardour, were no sooner read, But all the vision vanish'd from thy head.
And now unveil'd the toilet stands display'd,
First robed in white, the nymph intent adores,
Transform'd to combs, the speckled and the white
The busy sylphs surround their darling care,
NOT with more glories, in the ethereal plain,
On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,
Look on her face, and you'll forget them all.
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind, Nourish'd two locks, which graceful hung behind In equal curls, and well conspired to deck With shining ringlets the smooth ivory neck. Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains, And mighty hearts are held in slender chains. With hairy springes we the birds betray; Slight lines of hair surprise the finny prey; Fair tresses man's imperial race ensnare, And beauty draws us with a single hair.
The adventurous baron the bright locks admired He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspired.