« PreviousContinue »
RAPE OF THE LOCK.
Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
WHAT dire offence from amorous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things, I sing; this verse to Caryl, Muse! is due: This ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view: Slight is the subject, but not so the praise, If she inspire, and he approve my lays.
Say what strange motive, goddess! could compel A well-bred lord to t' assault a gentle belle? O say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd, Could make a gentle belle reject a lord? In tasks so bold, can little men engage? And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage?
Sol through white curtains shot a timorous ray, And ope'd 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 prest, 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
• Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care
and take a Salamander's name. Soft yielding minds to water glide away, And sip, with nymphs, their elemental tea.
The graver prude sinks downward to a Gnome,
Know farther yet; whoever fair and chaste
face, For life predestin'd to the Gnomes embrace. These swell their prospects, and exalt their pride, When offers are disdain'd, and love denied:
ideas crowd the vacant brain, While peers, and dukes, and all their sweeping
train, And garters, stars, and coronets appear, And in soft sounds, your grace' salutes their ear. 'Tis these that early taint the female soul, Instruct the eyes of young coquettes to roll, Teaclı infant cheeks a bidden blush to know, And little hearts to flutter at a beau.
• Oft, when the world imagine women stray, The Sylphs through mystic wazes 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-knots
• Of these am I, who thy protection claim,
long, Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue. 'Twas then, Belinda, if report say true, Thy eyes first open'd on a billet-doux; Wounds, charms, and ardours were no sooner read, But all the vision vanish'd from thy head.
And now, unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd, Each silver vase in mystic order laid. First, rob'd in white, the nymph intent adores, With head uncover'd, the cosmetic powers. A heavenly image in the glass appears, To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears; Th' inferior priestess, at her altar's side, Trembling, begins the sacred rites of pride. Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here The various offerings of the world appear; From each she nicely culls with curious toil, And decks the goddess with the glittering spoil. This casket India's glowing gems unlocks, And all Arabia breathes from yonder box. The tortoise here and elephant unite, Transform'd to combs, the speckled and the white. Here files of pins extend their shining rows, Puffs, powders, patches, Bibles, billet-doux.
Now awful beauty puts on all its arms;
NOT with more glories in th’ ethereal plain,
The sun first rises o'er the purpled main, Than, issuing forth, the rival of his beams Launch'd on the bosom of the silver'd Thames. Fair nymphs and well-dress'd youths around her
shone, But every eye was fix'd on her alone. On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore, Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore. Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose, Quick as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those: Favours to none, to all she smiles extends; Oft she rejects, but never once offends. Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike, And, like the sun, they shine on all alike. Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride, Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide: If to her share some female error3 fall, Look on her face, and you'll forget them all.
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind, Nourish'd two locks, which graceful huug behind