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And thrice they twitched the diamond in her

ear; Thrice she looked back, and thrice the foe

drew near Just in that instant, anxious Ariel sought The close recesses of the virgin's thought; 140 As on the nosegay in her breast reclined, He watched th' ideas rising in her mind, Sudden he viewed in spite of all her art, An earthly lover lurking at her heart. Amazed, confused, he found his pow'r expired, Resigned to fate, and with a sigh retired. The peer now spreads the glitt'ring forsex

wide T'inclose the lock; now joins it, to divide. Ev'n then, before the fatal engine closed, A wretched sylph too fondly interposed; Fate urged the shears, and cut the sylph in

twain, (But airy substance soon unites again,) The meeting points the sacred hair dissever From the fair head, for ever, and for ever! Then flashed the living lightning from her

eyes, And screams of horror rend th' affrighted skies. Not louder shrieks to pitying heav'n are cast, When husbands, or when lap-dogs breathe

their last; Or when rich China vessels fall’n from high, In glitt'ring dust, and painted fragments lie! 100 "Let wreaths of triumph now my temples

twine," (The victor cried,) “the glorious prize is mine! While fish in streams, or birds delight in air, Or in a coach and six the British fair, As long as Atalantis& shall be read,

165 Or the small pillow grace a lady's bed, While visits shall be paid on solemn days, When num'rous wax-lights in bright order blaze, While nymphs take treats, or assignations give, So long my honour, name, and praise shall

live!” What time would spare, from steel receives

its date, And monuments, like men, submit to fate! Steel could the labour of the gods destroy, And strike to dust th' imperial tow'rs of Troy; Steel could the works of mortal pride con

found, And hew triumphal arches to the ground. 176 What wonder then, fair nymph! thy hair should

feel The conqu’ring force of unresisted steel?

Canto IV But anxious cares the pensive nymph oppressed, And secret passions laboured in her breast. Not youthful kings in battle seized alive, Not scornful virgins who their charms survive, Not ardent lovers robbed of all their bliss, Not ancient ladies when refused a kiss, Not tyrants fierce that unrepenting die, Not Cynthia when her manteau's pinned awry, E'er felt such rage, resentment, and despair, As thou, sad virgin! for thy ravished hair.

8 A popular book of the day.

For, that sad moment, when the sylphs with

drew, And Ariel weeping from Belinda flew, Umbriel, a dusky, melancholy sprite, As ever sullied the fair face of light, Down to the central earth, his proper scene, 15 Repaired to search the gloomy cave of Spleen.

Swift on his sooty pinions flits the gnome, And in a vapour reached the dismal dome. No cheerful breeze this sullen region knows, The dreaded east is all the wind that blows, 20 Here in a grotto, sheltered close from air, And screened in shades from day's detested

glare, She sighs for ever on her pensive bed, Pain at her side, and Megrim at her head. Two handmaids wait the throne; alike in place,

25 But diff'ring far in figure and in face. Here stood Ill-nature like an ancient maid, Her wrinkled form in black and white arrayed; With store of pray'rs, for mornings, nights, and

noons, Her hand is filled; her bosom with lampoons. 30

There Affectation, with a sickly mien, Shows in her cheek the roses of eighteen, Practised to lisp and hang the head aside, Faints into airs, and languishes with pride, On the rich quilt sinks with becoming woe, 35 Wrapt in a gown, for sickness, and for show, The fair ones feel such maladies as these, When each new night-dress gives a new disease.

A constant vapour o'er the palace flies; Strange phantoms rising as the mists arise; 40 Dreadful, as hermit's dreams in haunted shades, Or bright, as visions of expiring maids. Now glaring fiends, and snakes on rolling

spires, Pale spectres, gaping tombs, and purple fires; Now lakes of liquid gold, Elysian scenes, 45 And crystal domes, and angels in machines. Unnumbered throngs on ev'ry side are seen, Of bodies changed to various forms by Spleen. Here living tea-pots stand, one

arm held One bent; the handle this, and that the spout; A pipkin there, like Homer's tripod walks; 51 Here sighs a jar, and there a goose-pye talks; Men prove with child, as pow'rful fancy works, And maids turned bottles call aloud for corks. Safe past the gnome through this fantastic

band, A branch of healing spleenwort in his hand. Then thus addressed the pow'r-"Hail, way

ward queen! Who rule the sex to fifty from fifteen; Parent of vapours and of female wit, Who give th' hysteric, or poetic fit, On various tempers act by various ways, Make some take physic, others scribble plays; Who cause the proud their visits to delay, And send the godly in a pet to pray;. A nymph there is, that all thy pow'r disdains, 65 And thousands more in equal mirth maintains. But, oh! if e'er thy gnome could spoil a grace, Or raise a pimple on a beauteous face,













Like citron-waters' matrons' cheeks inflame,
Or change complexions at a losing game;
Or caus'd suspicion when no soul was rude, 73
Or discompos'd the head-dress of a prude,
Or e'er to costive lapdog gave disease, 75
Which not the tears of brightest eyes could

ease, Hear me, and touch Belinda with chagrin, That single act gives half the world the spleen."

The goddess with a discontented air Seems to reject him, though she grants his

pray'r. A wondrous bag with both her hands she

binds, Like that where once Ulysses held the winds; There she collects the force of female lungs, Sighs, sobs, and passions, and the war of

tongues, A phial next she fills with fainting fears, Sost sorrows, melting griefs, and flowing tears. The gnome rejoicing bears her gifts away, Spreads his black wings, and slowly mounts to

day. Sunk in Thalestris' arms the nymph he

found, Her eyes dejected, and her hair unbound. Full o'er their heads the swelling bag he rent, And all the furies issued at the vent. Belinda burns with more than mortal ire, And fierce Thalestris fans the rising fire. O wretched maid!” she spread her hands, and

cried, (While Hampton's echoes “Wretched maid!”

replied,) “Was it for this you took such constant care The bodkin, comb, and essence to prepare? For this your locks in paper durance bound? For this with tort'ring irons wreathed around? For this with fillets strained your tender

head, And bravely bore the double loads of lead? 102 Gods! shall the ravisher display your hair, While the fops envy, and the ladies stare! Honour forbid! at whose unrivalled shrine 105 Ease, pleasure, virtue, all our sex resign. Methinks already I your tears survey, Already hear the horrid things they say, Already see you a degraded toast, And all your honour in a whisper lost! How shall I, then, your helpless fame defend? 'Twill then be infamy to seem your friend! And shall this prize, th' inestimable prize, Exposed through crystal to the gazing eyes, And heightened by the diamond's circling rays, On that rapacious hand for ever blaze? Sooner shall grass in Hyde Park Circus grow, And wits take lodgings in the sound of Bow;10 Sooner let earth, air, sea, to chaos fall, Men, monkeys, lap-dogs, parrots, perish all!"

She said; then raging to Sir Plume repairs, 121 And bids her beau demand the precious hairs:

• A drink composed of wine with the rind of lemons and citrons in it.

10 i. e., within the sound of the bells of St. Mary le Bow, an oid and famous church in the heart of London. In Pope's time the old part of London in the vicinity of this church was avoided by fashion and the "wits."

(Sir Plume, 11 of amber snuff-box justly vain,
And the nice conduct of a clouded cane)
With earnest eyes, and round unthinking face,
He first the snuff-box opened, then the case, 126
And thus broke out-"My Lord, why, what

the devil! Zounds! damn the lock! 'fore Gad, you must be

civil. Plague on 't!'tis past a jest-nay prithee, pox! Give her the hair”-he spoke, and rapped his box.

130 It grieves me much," replied the peer

again, “Who speaks so well should ever speak in vain, But by this lock, this sacred lock I swear, (Which never more shall join its parted hair; Which never more its honours shall renew, 135 Clipped from the lovely head where late it grew) That, while my nostrils draw the vital air, This hand, which won it, shall for ever wear.” He spoke, and speaking, in proud triumph

spread The long-contended honours of her head.

But Umbriel, hateful gnome! forbears not so; He breaks the phial whence the sorrows flow. Then see! the nymph in beauteous grief appears, Her eyes half-languishing, half-drowned in

tears; On her heaved bosom hung her drooping head, Which, with a sigh, she raised; and thus she said. “For ever cursed be this detested day, Which snatched my best, my fav'rite curl

! Happy! ah ten times happy had I been, If Hampton-Court these eyes had never seen! Yet am not I the first mistaken maid, By love of courts to num'rous ills betrayed. Oh had I rather unadmired remained In some lone isle, or distant northern land, Where the gilt chariot never marks the way, 155 Where none learn ombre, none e'er taste

bohea!12 There kept my charms concealed from mortal

eye, Like roses, that in deserts bloom and die. What moved my mind with youthful lords to

roam? Oh had I stayed, and said my pray’rs at home! 'Twas this, the morning omens seemed to tell, Thrice from my trembling hand the patch-box

fell; The tott'ring china shook without a wind, Nay, Poll sat mute, and Shock was most un

kind! A sylph too warned me of the threats of fate, 165 In mystic visions, now believed too late! See the poor remnants of these slighted hairs! My hands shall rend what ev'n thy rapine

spares: These in two sable ringlets taught to break, Once gave new beauties to the snowy neck; 170 The sister-lock now sits uncouth, alone, And in its fellows' fate foresees its own;





11 Sir George Brown.

12 The name given to the finest tea of that time. Pronounced Buhay, as tea was pronounced tay.










Uncurled it hangs, the fatal shears demands. And tempts, once more, thy sacrilegious hands, Oh hadst thou, cruel! been content to seize 175 Hairs less in sight, or any hairs but these!”

Canto V She said: the pitying audience melt in tears, But fate and Jove had stopped the baron's ears. In vain Thalestris with reproach assails, For who can move when fair Belinda fails? Not half so fixed the Trojan could remain, While Anna begged and Dido raged in vain. Then grave Clarissa graceful waved her fan; Silence ensued, and thus the nymph began: “Say, why are beauties praised and honoured The wise man's passion, and the vain man's

toast? Why decked with all that land and sea afford, Why angels called, and angel-like adored? Why round our coaches crowd the white

gloved beaux, Why bows the side-box from 13 its inmost rows? How vain are all these glories, all our pains, 15 Unless good sense preserve what beauty gains; That men may say, when we the front box

grace, Behold the first in virtue as in face! Oh! if to dance all night, and dress all day, Charmed the small-pox, or chased old age

away; Who would not scorn what housewife's cares

produce, Or who would learn one earthly thing of use? To patch, nay ogle, might become a saint, Nor could it sure be such a sin to paint. But since, alas! frail beauty must decay, Curled or uncurled, since locks will turn to gray; Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade, And she who scorns a man, must die a maid; What then remains but well our pow'r to use, And keep good-humour, still whate'er we lose? And trust me, dear! good-humour can prevail, When airs, and flights, and screams, and scold

ing fail. Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll; Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the

soul." So spoke the dame, but no applause ensued; Belinda frowned, Thalestris called her prude. 36 “To arms, to arms!” the fierce virago cries, And swift as lightning to the combat flies. All side in parties, and begin th' attack; Fans clap, silks rustle, and tough whalebones

crack; Heroes' and heroines' shouts confus'dly rise, And base and treble voices strike the skies. No common weapons in their hands are found, Like gods they fight, nor dread a mortal wound. So when bold Homer makes the gods en

gage, And heav'nly breasts with human passions rage; 'Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latona, Hermes arms; And all Olympus rings with loud alarms:

13 In the theatres the gentlemen occupied the side, and the ladies, the front boxes.

Jove's thunder roars, heav'n trembles all

around, Blue Neptune storms, the bellowing deeps re

sound: Earth shakes her nodding tow'rs, the ground

gives way, And the pale ghosts start at the flash of day!

Triumphant Umbriel on a sconce's height Clapped his glad wings, and sate to view the

fight. Propped on their bodkin spears, the sprites

survey The growing combat, or assist the fray.. While through the press enraged Thalestris

flies, And scatters death around from both her eyes, A beau and witling perished in the throng, One died in metaphor, and one in song, "O cruel nymph! a living death I bear," Cried Dapperwit, and sunk beside his chair. A mournful glance Sir Fopling upward cast, “Those eyes are made so killing”-was his

last. Thus on Meander's flowry margin lies Th' expiring swan, and as he sings he dies. When bold Sir Plume had drawn Clarissa

down, Chloe stepped in, and killed him with a frown; She smiled to see the doughty hero slain, But, at her smile, the beau revived again.

Now Jove suspends his golden scales in air, Weighs the men's wits against the lady's hair; The doubtful beam long nods from side to

side; At length the wits mount up, the hairs subside.

See fierce Belinda on the baron flies, 75 With more than usual lightning in her eyes: Nor fear'd the chief th' unequal fight to try, Who sought no more than on his foe to die. But this bold lord with manly strength endued, Shc with one finger and a thumb subdued; Just where the breath of life his nostrils drew, A charge of snuff the wily virgin threw; The gnomes direct, to ev'ry atom just, The pungent grains of titillating dust. Sudden, with starting tears each eye o'erflows, And the high dome re-echoes to his nose.

"Now meet thy fate,” incensed Belinda cried, And drew a deadly bodkin from her side. (The same, his ancient personage to deck, Her great-great-grandsire wore about his neck, In three seal-rings; which after, melted down, Formed a vast buckle for his widow's gown: Her infant grandame's whistle next it grew, The bells she jingled, and the whistle blew; Then in a bodkin's graced her mother's hairs, 95 Which long she wore, and now Belinda wears.)

“Boast not my fall," he cried, "insulting foe! Thou by some other shalt be laid as low: Nor think, to die dejects my lofty mind; All that I dread is leaving you behind! 100 Rather than so, ah let me still survive, And burn in Cupid's flames—but burn alive."

“Restore the lock!” she cries; and all around “Restore the lock!" the vaulted roofs rebound,

14 A large ornamental hairpin.














Not fierce Othello in so loud a strain
Roared for the handkerchief that caused his

But see how oft' ambitious aims are crossed,
And chiefs contend till all the prize is lost!
The lock, obtained with guilt, and kept with

pain, In ev'ry place is sought, but sought in vain: 110 With such a prize no mortal must be blest, So heav'n decrees: with heav'n who can con

test? Some thought it mounted to the lunar

sphere, Since all things lost on earth are treasured

there. There heroes' wits are kept in pond'rous

vases, And beaus' in snuff-boxes and tweezer-cases. There broken vows, and death-bed alms are

found, And lovers' hearts with ends of ribbon bound, The courtier's promises, and sick man's pray’rs. The smiles of harlots, and the tears of heirs, 120 Cages for gnats, and chains to yoke a flea, Dried butterflies, and tomes of casuistry. But trust the Muse—she saw it upward

rise, Tho' mark'd by none but quick, poetic eyes: (So Rome's great founder to the heav'ns withdrew,

125 To Proculus alone confessed in view) A sudden star, it shot through liquid air, And drew behind a radiant trail of hair. Not Berenice's locks first rose so bright, The heav'ns bespangling with disheveled light. The sylphs behold it kindling as it fies, And pleased pursue its progress through the

skies. This the beau monde shall from the Mall

survey, And hail with music its propitious ray; This the bless'd lover shall for Venus take, And send up vows from Rosamonda's lake;15 This Partridgelê soon shall view in cloudless

skies, When next he looks through Galileo's eyes; And hence th' egregious wizard shall fore

doom The fate of Louis, 17 and the fall of Rome. Then cease, bright nymph! to mourn thy

ravished hair, Which adds new glory to the shining sphere! Not all the tresses that fair head can boast, Shall draw such envy as thc Lock you lost. For after all the murders of your eye, When, after millions slain, yourself shall die; When those fair suns shall set, as set they

must, And all those tresses shall be laid in dust, This lock, the Muse shall consecrate to fame, And 'midst the stars inscribe Belinda's name.

15 A“small oblong piece of water near the Pimlico gate of St. James' Park." Croker.

16 John Partridge, an almanac maker and astrologer, noted for his ridiculous predictions; v. p. 321, and notes 1 and 3,

17 Louis XIV, King of France, 1643–1715.



(1717) What beck’ning ghost, along the moon-light

shade Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade?

she!—but why that bleeding bosom gored? Why dimly gleams the visionary sword? Oh ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell, Is it, in heav'n, a crime to love too well? To bear too tender, or too firm a heart, To act a lover's or a Roman's part? Is there no bright reversion in the sky, For those who greatly think, or bravely die? 10

Why bade ye else, ye pow'rs! her soul aspire Above the vulgar flight of low desire? Ambition first sprung from your blessed abodes; The glorious fault of angels and of gods: Thence to their images on earth it flows, And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows. Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age, Dull sullen pris'ners in the body's cage: Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres; Like Eastern kings a lazy state they keep, And, close confined to their own palace, sleep. From these perhaps (ere nature bade her

die) Fate snatched her early to the pitying sky. As into air the purer spirits flow, And sep'rate from their kindred dregs below; So flew the soul to its congenial place, Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.

But thou, false guardian of a charge too good, Thou mean deserter of thy brother's blood! 30 See on these ruby lips the trembling breath, These cheeks now fading at the blast of death; Cold is that breast which warmed the world be

fore, And those love-darting eyes must roll no more. Thus, if eternal justice rules the ball, Thus shall your wives, and thus your children

fall: On all the a sudden vengeance waits, And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates; Their passengers shall stand, and pointing say, (While the long fun'rals blacken all the way) 40 "Lo! these were they, whose souls the furies

steeled, "And cursed with hearts unknowing how to

yield.” Thus unlamented pass the proud away, The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day! So perish all, whose breast ne'er learned to glow For others' good, or melt at others' woe.

What can atone, oh ever-injured shade! Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid? No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful

bier. By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed, By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed, By foreign hands thy humble grave adorned, By strangers honoured and by strangers








50 25





What though no friends in sable weeds appear, Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year, And bear about the mockery of woe

57 To midnight dances, and the public show? What though no weeping loves thy ashes

grace, Nor polished marble emulate thy face? What though no sacred earth allow thee room, Nor hallowed dirge be muttered o'er thy tomb? Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be

dressed, And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast: There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow, There the first roses of the year shall blow; While angels with their silver wings o'ershade The ground, now sacred by thy reliques made.

So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name, What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and

fame. How loved, how honoured once, avails thee not, To whom related, or by whom begot; A heap of dust alone remains of thee; 'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be! Poets themselves must fall like those they

sung, Deaf the praised ear, and mute the tuneful

tongue. Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays, Shall shortly want the gen'rous tear he pays; Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part, And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart, Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er, The muse forgot, and thou beloved no more!

Let not this weak, unknowing hand

Presume thy bolts to throw,
And deal damnation round the land

On each I judge thy foe.
If I am right, thy grace impart

Still in the right to stay:
If I am wrong, oh teach my heart

To find that better way.
Save me alike from foolish pride,

Or impious discontent,
At aught thy wisdom has denied,

Or aught thy goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's woe,

To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show,

That mercy show to me.
Mean though I am, not wholly so,

Since quickened by thy breath:
Oh lead me wheresoe'er I go,

Through this day's life or death. This day be bread and peace my lot:

All else beneath the sun,
Thou know'st if best bestowed or not,

And let thy will be done.
To Thee, whose temple is all space,

Whose altar, earth, sea, skies,
One chorus let all being raise;

All nature's incense rise!












(Published 1738) Father of all! in ev'ry age,

In ev'ry clime adored,
By saint, by savage, and by sage,

Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!
Thou Great First Cause, least understood! 5

Who all my sense confined
To know but this, that Thou art good,

And that myself am blind;
Yet gave me in this dark estate,

To see the good from ill:
And binding nature fast in fate,

Left free the human will.
What conscience dictates to be done,

Or warns me not to do,
This teach me more than hell to shun, 15

That, more than heav'n pursue.
What blessings thy free bounty gives

Let me not cast away;
For God is paid when man receives:

T' enjoy is to obey.
Yet not to earth's contracted span

Thy goodness let me bound,
Or think Thee Lord alone of man,

When thousand worlds are round:

(Published 1735) P. Shut, shut the door, good John!? fatigued I

said: Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead. The Dog-star rages! nay, 'tis past a doubt, All Bedlam, or Parnassus is let out: Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand, They rave, recite, and madden round the land. What walls can guard me, or what shades can

hide? They pierce my thickets, through my grot' they

glide, By land, by water, they renew the charge, They stop the chariot, and they board the barge.

10 No place is sacred, not the church is free, Ev'n Sunday shines no Sabbath-day to me: Then from the Mint' walks forth the man of

rhyme, Happy! to catch me, just at dinner-time.

1 A Scotch physician, wit, and author, who had become physician in ordinary to the Queen. He was one of the inper circle of London wits, intimate with Pope, Swift, Gay, and others. As the poem intimates, he was Pope's own physician.

· Pope's faithful servant, John Searle.

3 Pope's famous grotto at Twickenham was really a tunnel, adorned with pieces of spar, mirrors, etc., leading under a public road that intersected the poet's grounds.

* A district in Southwark, so called from a Mint established there by Henry VIII. As persons were exempt from arrest within this district, it became a refuge for insolvent debtors, criminals and poor authors.


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