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Vol. I. facing p.231,
Seturreaths of Triumph
my Temples twine, The Nictor cryd
Rape of the Lock. THE
RAPE of the LOCK. .
. Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos ;
Sed juvat, hoc precibus me tribuiffe tuis. Mart.
WHAT dire offence from am'rous caules
CAN T Ó Í.
It appears by this Motto, that the following Poem was written or published at the Lady's request. But there are fome further circumstances not unworthy relating. Mr. Ca. rýl (a Gentleman who was Secretary to Queen Mary, wife of James II. whose fortunes he followed into France, Author of the Comedy of Sir Solomon Single, and of feveral translations in Dryden's Miscellanies) originally proposed the subject to him, in a view of putting an end by this piece of ridicule, to a quarrel that was risen between two noble Families, those of Lord Petre and of Mrs. Fermor, on the trifting 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 so 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 Cantos only, and it was so printed ; first, in a Mifcellany of Bern. Lintor's, without the name of the Au
Slight is the subject, but not so the praise, 5
Say what strange motive, Goddess! couldcompel
Sol thro' white curtains shot a tim'rous ray,
VER. II, 12. It was in the first editions,
And dwells such rage in sofreft bofoms then,
And lodge such daring Souls in little Men? P.
Sol thro' white curtains did his beams display,
thor. But it was received so well, that he made it more considerable the next year by the addition of the machinery of the Sylphis, and extended it to five Canto's. We shall give the reader the pleasure of seeing in what manner thefe additions were inserted, so as to feem not to be added, but to grow out of the Poem. See Notes, Cant. I. ver. 19, etc. P.
This insertion he always esteemed, and justly, the greates effort of his skill and art as a Poet.
Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake, And Heepless lovers, just at twelve, awake : 16 Thrice rung the bell, the flipper knock'd the
ground, And the press’d watch return'd a silver sound. Belinda still her downy pillow prest, 19 Her guardian Sylph prolong'd the balmy rest : 'Twas He had summon'd to her filent będ The morning-dream that hover'd o'er her head,
NOTES. Ver. 19. Belinda still, etc.] All these verses from hence to the end of this Canto were added afterwards. P. Ver. 20. Her Guardian Sylph] When Mr.
projected to give The Rape of the Lock its present form of a mockheroic poem, he was obliged to find it with its Machinery, For as the subject of the Epic consists of two parts, the metaphysical and the civil; fo this mock epic, which is of the satyric kind, and receives its grace from a ludicrous mimicry of the other's pomp and folemnity, was to have the like compofition. And, as the civil part is intentionally debased by the choice of a trifling action : fo should the metaphysical, by the application of some very extravagant system. A rule, which tho' neither Boileau nor Garth had been careful enough to attend to, our Author's good sense would not suffer him to overlook. And that fort of Machinery which his judgment taught him was only fit for his use, his admirable INVENTION foon supplied. There was but one System in all nature which was to his purpose, the ROSICRUCIAN PHILOSOPHY; and this by the effort of a well-directed imagination, he presenti feized upon.
The fanatic Alchemists in their search after the great fecret, had invented a means altogether fuitable to their end. It was a kind of Theological Philosophy, made up in a mixture of almost equal parts of Pagan Platonal in, Christian Quietism, and the Jewish Cabbala; a mixture monstrous enough to fright Reafon from human commerce. This system, he tells us, he took as he found it in a little French tract called, Le Comte de Gabalis. The book is written in Dia31
A Youth more glittring than a Birth-night Beau, (That ev’n in slumber caus’d her cheek to glow) Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay, 25 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 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-pow'rs, With golden crowns and wreaths of heav'nly flow'rs;
NOTES. logue, and is a delicate and very ingenious piece of raillery by the Abbé Villiers, on that invisible sect, of which, the stories that went about at that time, made a great deal of noise at Paris. But, as in this satirical Dialogue, Mr. P. found several whimsies of a very high mysterious nature, told of thefe elementary Beings, which were very unfit to come into the machinery of such a sort of poem, he has, in their stead, with great judgment introduced the Legendary stories of Guar dian Angels, and the Nursery Tales of the Fairies ; and artfully accommodated them, to the rest of the Rosicrucian System. And to this artful address (unless we will be fo uncharitable to think he intended to give a needless scandal) we must fuppofe he referred, in these two lines,
“ If e’er one Vision touch'd thy infant thought,
“ Of all the nurse, and all the priest have taught.” Thus, by the most beautiful invention imaginable, he has contrived, that, as in the serious Epic, the popular belief fupports the Machinery; so, in his mock epic, the Machinery, taken from a circumstance the most humbling to reason, in all philofophic fanaticism, should be employed to dismount learn. ed pride and arrogance.