« PreviousContinue »
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight, Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain,
While clogg'd he beats his silken wings in vain;
He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend : Superior by the head, was Ariel plac'd;
Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend ; His purple pinions opening to the Sun,
Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair; He rais'd his azure wand, and thus begun : Some hang upon the pendants of her ear;
Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear; With beating hearts the dire event they wait, Fays, Fairies, Genii, Elves, and Demons, hear! Anxious, and trembling for the birth of Fate. Ye know the spheres, and various tasks assign'd By laws eternal to th' aëreal kind. Some in the fields of purest ether play,
Can'to III. And bask and whiten in the blaze of day; Some guide the course of wandering orbs on high, Close by those meads, for ever crown'd with flowers, Or roll the planets through the boundless sky; Where Thames with pride surveys his rising lowers, Some, less refind, beneath the Moon's pale light There stands a structure of majestic frame, Pursue the stars that shoot athwart the night, Which from the neighboring Hampton takes its Or suck the mists in grosser air below, Or dip their pinions in the painted bow,
Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom Or brew fierce tempests on the wintery main, Of foreign tyrants, and of nymphs at home; Or o'er the glebe distil the kindly rain.
Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey, Others on earth o'er human race preside,
Dost sometimes counsel take-and sometimes lea. Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide: Hither the heroes and the nymphs resort, of these the chief the care of nations own, To taste awhile the pleasures of a court; And guard with arms divine the British throne. In various talk th' instructive hours they past,
“Our humbler province is to tend the fair, Who gave the ball, or paid the visit last; Not a less pleasing, though less glorious care ; One speaks the glory of the British queen, To save the powder from too rude a gale,
And one describes a charming Indian screen; Nor let th' imprison'd essences exhale ;
A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes ;
Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day,
The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, “ This day, black omens threat the brightest fair And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine; That e'er deserv'd a watchful spirit's care : The merchant from th’ Exchange returns in peace Some dire disaster, or by force, or sleight; And the long labors of the toilet cease. But what, or where, the Fates have wrapp'd in night. Belinda now, whom thirst of fame invites, Whether the nymph shall break Diana's law, Burns to encounter two adventurous knights, Or some frail china-jar receive a flaw;
At ombre singly to decide their doom ; Or stain her honor, or her new brocade;
And swells her breast with conquests yet to come. Forget her prayers, or miss a masquerade ; Straight the three bands prepare in arms to join, Or lose her heart, or necklace at a ball;
Each band the number of the sacred nine. Or whether Heaven has doom'd that Shock must Soon as she spreads her hand, th' aëreal guard fall.
Descend, and sit on each important card :
Then each according to the rank they bore ;
For Sylphs, yet mindful of their ancient race, And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine ;
Are, as when women, wondrous fond of place. Do thou, Crispissa, tend her favorite lock;
Behold, four kings in majesty rever'd, Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock. With hoary whiskers and a forky beard ; “ To fisty chosen Sylphs, of special note,
And four fair queens, whose hands sustain a flower We trust the important charge, the petticoat: Th'expressive emblem of their softer power; Oft have we known that seven-fold fence to fail, Four knaves in garbs succinct, a trusty band; Though stiff with hoops, and arm'd with ribs of Caps on their heads, and halberts in their hand; whale.
And party-colored troops, a shining train, Form a strong line about the silver bound, Drawn forth to combat on the velvet plain. And guard the wide circumference around.
The skilful nymph reviews her force with care : "Whatever spirit, careless of his charge, Let spades be trumps! she said, and trumps they His post neglects, or leaves the fair at large, Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his sins, Now move to war her sable Matadores, Be stopp'd in vials, or transfix'd with pins; In show like leaders of the swarthy Moors. Or plunged in lakes of bitter washes lie,
Spadillio first, unconquerable lord ! Or wedg'd whole ages in a bodkin's eye:
Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board.
As many more Manillio forc'd to yield,
Ah cease, rash youth ; desist ere 'tis too late, And march'd a victor from the verdant field. Fear the just Gods, and think of Scylla's fate! Him Basto follow'd, but his fate more hard Chang'd to a bird, and sent to fit in air, Gain'd but one trump, and one plebeian card. She dearly pays for Nisus' injur'd hair! With his broad sabre next, a chief in years,
But when to mischief mortals bend their will, The hoary Majesty of Spades appears,
How soon they find fit instruments of ill! Puts forth one manly leg, to right reveal'd, Just then, Clarissa drew, with tempting grace, The rest, his many-color'd robe conceal'd. A two-edg'd weapon from her shining case : The rebel knave, who dares his prince engage, So ladies, in Romance, assist their knight, Proves the just victim of his myal rage.
Present the spear, and arm him for the fight. Ev'n mighty Pam, that kings and queens o'erthrew, He takes the gift with reverence, and extends And mow'd down armies in the fights of Lu, The little engine on his fingers' ends ; Sad chance of war! now destitute of aid, This just behind Belinda's neck he spread, Falls undistinguish'd by the victor Spade! As o'er the fragrant steams she bends her head.
Thus far both armies to Belinda yield; Swift to the Lock a thousand Sprites repair, Now to the baron Fate inclines the field.
A thousand wings, by turns, blow back the hair; His warlike Amazon her host invades,
And thrice they twitch'd the diamond in her ear; Th' imperial consort of the crown of Spades. Thrice she look'd back, and thrice the foe drew neai The Club's black tyrant first her victim died, Just in that instant, anxious Ariel sought Spite of his haughty mien, and barbarous pride : The close recesses of the virgin's thought; What boots the regal circle on his head,
As on the nosegay in her breast reclin'd, His giant limbs in state unwieldy spread ; He watch'd th' ideas rising in her mind, That long behind he trails his pompous robe, Sudden he view'd, in spite of all her art, And, of all monarchs, only grasps the globe ? An earthly lover lurking at her heart.
The baron now his Diamonds pours apace; Amaz'd, confus'd, he found his power expir'd, Th' embroider'd king who shows but half his face, Resign'd to fate, and with a sigh retir'd. And his refulgent queen, with powers combin'd, The peer now spreads the glittering forfex wide of broken troops an easy conquest find.
T" inclose the Lock; now joins it, to divide. Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, in wild disorder seen, Ev'n then, before the fatal engine clos'd, With throngs promiscuous strow the level green. A wretched Sylph too fondly interpos'd ; Thus when dispers'd a routed army runs,
Fate urg'd the shears, and cut the Sylph in twain, Of Asia's troops, and Afric's sable sons,
(But airy substance soon unites again,) With like confusion different nations fly,
The meeting points the sacred hair dissever Of various habit, and of various dye,
From the fair head, for ever, and for ever! The pierc'd battalions disunited fall,
Then flash'd the living lightning from her eyes, In heaps on heaps; one fate o'erwhelms them all. And screams of horror rend th' affrighted skies.
The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts, Not louder shrieks to pitying Heaven are cast,
(The victor cried,) the glorious prize is mine! And now (as oft in some distemper'd state)
While fish in streams, or birds delight in air, On one nice trick depends the general fate, Or in a coach and six the British fair, An Ace of Hearts steps forth : the king unseen As long as Atalantis shall be read, Lurk’d in her hand, and mourn'd his captive queen : Or the small pillow grace a lady's bed, He springs to vengeance with an eager pace, While visits shall be paid on solemn days, And falls like thunder on the prostrate Ace. When numerous wax-lights in bright order blaze, The nymph exulting fills with shouts the sky; While nymphs take treats, or assignations give, The walls, the woods, and long canals reply. So long my honor, name, and praise, sball live!
O thoughtless mortals ! ever blind to fate, What time would spare, from steel receives its date, Too soon dejected, and too soon elate.
And monuments, like men, submit to Fale. Sudden, these honors shall be snatch'd away,
Steel could the labor of the gods destroy, And curs'd for ever this victorious day.
And strike to dust th' imperial powers of Troy ; For lo! the board with cups and spoons is crown'd, Steel could the works of mortal pride confound, The berries crackle, and the mill turns round: And hew triumphal arches to the ground. On shining Altars of Japan they raise
What wonder then, fair nymph! thy hairs should feel The silver lamp; the fiery spirits blaze : The conquering force of unresisted steel? From silver spouts the grateful liquors glide, While China's earth receives the smoking tide : At once they gratify their scent and taste,
CANTO IV. And frequent cups prolong the rich repast. Straight hover round the fair her airy band ; But anxious cares the pensive nymph oppress'd, Some, as she sipp'd, the fuming liquor fann'd, And secret passions labor'd in her breast. Some o'er her lap their careful plumes display'd, Not youthful kings in battle seiz'd alive, Trembling, and conscious of the rich brocade. Not scornful virgins who their charms survive, Coffee (which makes the politician wise,
Not ardent lovers robb'd of all their bliss, And see through all things with his half-shut eyes) Not ancient ladies when refus'd a kiss, Sent up in vapors to the baron's brain
Not tyrants fierce that unrepenting die, New stratagems, the radiant lock to gain. Not Cynthia when her manteau 's pinn'd awry,
E'er felt such rage, resentment, and despair, Hear me, and touch Belinda with chagrin:
For, that sad moment, when the Sylphs withdrew, The goddess with a discontented air
Seems to reject him, though she grants his prayer. Umbriel, a dusky, melancholy sprite,
A wondrous bag with both her hands she binds, As ever sullied the fair face of light,
Like that where once Ulysses held the winds; Down to the central earth, his proper scene, There she collects the force of female lungs, Repair'd to search the gloomy cave of Spleen. Sighs, -sobs, and passions, and the war of tongues.
Swist on his sooty pinions fits the Gnome, A vial next she fills with fainting fears,
Soft sorrows, melting griefs, and flowing tears.
Surk in Thalestris' arms the nymph he found,
Full o'er their heads the swelling bag he rent,
Two handmaids wait the throne : alike in place, Belinda burns with more than mortal ire,
And fierce Thalestris fans the rising fire.
The bodkin, comb, and essence, to prepare ?
For this with torturing irons wreath'd around? Shows in her cheek the roses of eighteen, For this with fillets strain'd your tender head, Practis'd to lisp, and hang the head aside,
And bravely bore the double loads of lead ?
Ease, pleasure, virtue, all our sex resign.
Already hear the horrid things they say,
How shall I, then, your helpless fame defend ?
Unnumber'd throngs on every side are seen, On that rapacious hand for ever blaze !
Safe past the Gnome through this fantastic band, And the nice conduct of a clouded cane,)
And thus broke out:-“ My Lord, why, what the
devil ? Parent of vapors, and of female wit,
7-d8! damn the Lock! 'fore Gad, you must be Who give th' hysteric, or poetic fit,
civil! On various tempers act by various ways,
Plague on't! 'tis past a jest-nay pr’ythee, pox ! Make some take physic, others scribble plays; Give her the hair"-he spoke, and rapp'd his box. Who cause the proud their visits to delay,
“It grieves me much (replied the peer again), And send the godly in a pet to pray.
Who speaks so well should ever speak in vain;
Clipp'd from the lovely head where late it grew.)
This hand, which won it, shall for ever wear."
He spoke, and, speaking, in proud triumph spread Or rumpled petticoats, or tumbled beds,
The long-contended honors of her head. Or caus'd suspicion where no soul was rude,
But Umbriel, hateful Gnome! forbears not so; Or discompos'd the head-dress of a prude,
He breaks the vial whence the sorrows flow. Or c'er to costive lap-dog gave disease,
Then see! the nymph in beauteous grief appears, Which not the tears of brightest eyes could ease : Her eyes half-languishing, half-drown'd in tears ;
On her heay'd bosom hung her drooping head, Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll ; Which, with a sigh, she rais'd; and thus she said : Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul." “For ever curs'd be this detested day,
So spoke the dame, but no applause ensued : Which snatch'd my best, my favorite curl away: Belinda frown'd, Thalestris call'd her prude. Happy ! ah ten times happy had I been,
“To arms, to arms !" the fierce virago cries, If Hampton-Court these eyes had never seen! And swift as lightning to the combat flies, Yet am not I the first mistaken maid
All side in parties, and begin th' attack; By love of courts to numerous ills betray'd. Fans clap, silks rustle, and tough whalebones Oh had I rather unadmir'd remain'd
crack ; In some lone isle, or distant northern land; Heroes' and heroines' shouts confus'dly rise, Where the gilt chariot never marks the way, And base and treble voices strike the skies. Where none learn ombre, none e'er taste bohea! No common weapons in their hands are found; There kept my charms conceal'd from mortal eye, Like gods they fight, nor dread a mortal wound. Like roses, that in deserts bloom and die.
So when bold Homer makes the gods engage, What mov'd my mind with youthful lords to roam ? And heavenly breasts with human passions rage; Oh had I stay'd, and said my prayers at home! 'Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latona Hermes arms; 'Twas this, the morning omens seem'd to tell, And all Olympus rings with loud alarms; Thrice from my trembling hand the patch-box fell; Jove's thunder roars, Heaven trembles all around, The tottering china shook without a wind, Blue Neptune storms, the bellowing deeps resound: Nay, Poll sat mute, and Shock was most unkind ! Earth shakes her nodding towers, the ground gives A Sylph too warn'd me of the threats of Fate,
way, In mystic visions, now believ'd too late!
And the pale ghosts start at the flash of day! See the poor remnants of these slighted hairs ! Triumphant Umbriel on a sconce's height My hand shall rend what ev'n thy rapine spares : Clapp'd his glad wings, and sate to view the fight : These in two sable ringlets taught to break, Propp'd on their bodkin spears, the Sprites survey Once gave new beauties to the snowy neck ; The growing combat, or assist the fray. The Sister-lock now sits uncouth, alone,
While through the press enrag'd Thalestris flies, And in its fellow's fate foresees its own;
And scatters death around from both her eyes, Uncurl'd it hangs, the fatal shears demands, A beau and witling perish'd in the throng, And tempts, once more, thy sacrilegious hands. One died in metaphor, and one in song. Oh hadst thou, cruel! been content to seize "O cruel nymph! a living death I bear," Hairs less in sight, or any hairs but these !" Cried Dapperwit, and sunk beside his chair.
A mournful glance Sir Fopling upwards cast,
“Those eyes are made so killing"-was his last. CANTO V.
Thus on Mæander's flowery margin lies
Th' expiring swan, and as he sings he dieg. She said : the pitying audience melt in tears; When bold Sir Plume had drawn Clarissa down But Fate and Jove had stopp'd the baron's ears. Chloe stepp'd in, and kill'd him with a frown; In vain Thalestris with reproach assails,
She smil'd to see the doughty hero slain, For who can move when fair Belinda fails? But, at her smile, the beau reviv'd again. Not half so fix'd the Trojan could remain,
Now Jove suspends his golden scales in air, While Anna begg'd and Dido rag'd in vain. Weighs the men's wits against the lady's hair; Then grave Clarissa graceful wav'd her fan; The doubtful beam long nods from side to side; Silence ensued, and thus the nymph began : At length the wits mount up, the hairs subside.
“Say, why are beauties prais'd and honor'd most, See, fierce Belinda on the baron flies, The wise man's passion, and the vain man's toast ? With mor than usual lightning in her eyes : Why deck'd with all that land and sea afford, Nor fear'd the chief th' unequal fight to try, Why angels callid, and angel-like ador'd ? [beaux ? Who sought no more than on his foe to die. Why round our coaches crowd the white-glov'd But this bold lord, with manly strength endu'd, Why bows the side-box from its inmost rows ? She with one finger and a thumb subdued : How vain are all these glories, all our pains, Just where the breath of life his nostrils drew, Unless good sense preserve what beauty gains : A charge of snuff the wily virgin threw; That men may say, when we the front-box grace, The Gnomes direct, to every atom just, Behold the first in virtue as in face!
The pungent grains of titillating dust. Oh! if to dance all night and dress all day, Sudden, with starting tears each eye o'erflows, Charm'd the small-pox, or chas'd old-age away : And the high dome re-echoes to his nose. Who would not scorn what housewife's cares pro- “Now meet thy fate," incens'd Belinda cried, duce,
And drew a deadly bodkin from her side. Or who would learn one earthly thing of use ? (The same, his ancient personage to deck, To patch, nay ogle, may become a saint;
Her great-great-grandsire wore about his neck, Nor could it sure be such a sin to paint.
In three seal rings; which after, melted down, But since, alas, frail beauty must decay;
Form'd a vast buckle for his widow's gown : Curl'd or uncurl'd, since locks will turn to grey ; Her infant grandame's whistle next it grew, Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade, The bells she jingled, and the whistle blew; And she who scorns a man must die a maid ; Then in a bodkin grac'd her mother's hairs, What then remains, but well our power to use, Which long she wore, and now Belinda wears.) And keep good-humor still, whate'er we lose? “Boast not my fall (he cried), insulting foe! And trust me, dear, good-humor can prevail, Thou by some other shalt be laid as low. When airs, and flights, and screams, and scolding Nor think, to die dejects my lofty mind :
All that I dread is leaving you behind!
Rather than so, ah! let me still survive,
Here tears shall flow from a more generous caide, And burn in Cupid's flames_but burn alive." Such tears as patriots shed for dying laws :
Restore the Lock," she cries; and all around, He bids your breasts with ancient ardor rise, “ Restore the Lock!" the vaulted roofs rebound. And calls forth Roman drops from British eyes. Not fierce Othello in so loud a strain
Virtue confess'd in human shape he draws, Roar'd for the handkerchief that caus'd his pain. What Plato thought, and godlike Cato was : But see how oft ambitious aims are cross'd, No common object to your sight displays, And chiefs contend till all the prize is lost! But what with pleasure Heaven itself surveys, The Lock, obtaind with guilt, and kept with pain, A brave man struggling in the storms of fate, In every place is sought, but sought in vain : And greatly falling with a falling state. With such a prize no mortal must be blest, While Cato gives his little senate laws, So Heaven decrees! with Heaven who can contest? What bosom beats not in his country's cause ?
Some thought it mounted to the lunar sphere, Who sees him act, but envies every deed ? Since all things lost on Earth are treasur'd there. Who hears him groan, and does not wish to bleed ? There heroes' wits are kept in ponderous vases, Ev'n when proud Cæsar midst triumphal cars, And beaux in snuff boxes and twcezer-cases : The spoils of nations, and the pomp of wars, There broken vows and death-bed alms are found, Ignobly vain, and impotently great, And lovers' hearts with ends of riband bound; Show'd Rome her Cato's figure drawn in state ; The courtier's promises, and sick man's prayers,
As her dead father's reverend image past, The smiles of harlots, and the tears of heirs, The pomp was darken'd, and the day o'ercast; Cages for gnats, and chains to yoke a flea, The triumph ceas'd, tears gush'd from ev'ry eye; Dried butterflies, and tomes of casuistry.
The world's great victor pass'd unheeded by; But trust the Muse-she saw it upward rise, Her last good man dejected Rome ador'd, Though mark'd by none but quick, poetic eyes :
And honor'd Cæsar's less than Cato's sword. (So Rome's great founder to the Heavens withdrew, Britons, attend : be worth like this approv'd, To Proculus alone confess'd in view :)
And show, you have the virtue to be mov'd, A sudden star, it shot through liquid air,
With honest scorn the first fam'd Cato view'd And drew behind a radiant trail of hair.
Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she subNot Berenice's locks first rose so bright, The Heaven bespangling with dishevellid light. Your scene precariously subsists too long The Sylphs behold it kindling as it flies,
On French translation, and Italian song. And pleas'd pursue its progress through the skies. Dare to have sense yourselves; assert the stage,
This the beau-monde shall from the Mall survey, Be justly warm’d with your own native rage ; And hail with music its propitious ray.
Such plays alone should win a British ear,
As Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear.
ELOISA TO ABELARD.
Argument. Which adds new glory to the shining sphere! Abelard and Eloïsa flourished in the twelfth cen Not all the tresses that fair head can boast,
tury; they were two of the most distinguished Shall draw such envy as the Lock you lost.
persons of their age in learning and beauty, but For, after all the murders of your eye,
for nothing more famous than for their unfortuWhen, after millions slain, yourself shall die;
nate passion. After a long course of calamities, When those fair suns shall set, as set they must, they retired each to a several convent, and conAnd all those tresscs shall be laid in dust,
secrated the remainder of their days to religion. This Lock the Muse shall consecrate to fame,
It was many years after this separation, that a And midst the stars inscribe Belinda's name.
letter of Abelard's to a friend, which contained the history of his misfortune, fell into the hands of Eloïsa. This awakening all her tenderness,
occasioned those celebrated letters (out of which PROLOGUE
the following is partly extracted) which give so
lively a picture of the struggles of grace and na TO MR. ADDISON'S TRAGEDY OF CATO. ture, virtue and passion. To wake the soul by tender strokes of art, In these deep solitudes and awful cells, To raise the genius, and to mend the heart; Where heavenly-pensive Contemplation dwells, To make mankind in conscious virtue bold, And ever-musing Melancholy reigns; Live o'er each scene, and be what they behold : What means this tumult in a vestal's veins ? For this the Tragic Muse first trod the stage, Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat? Commanding tears to stream through every age; Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat?
Tyrants no more their savage nature kept, Yet, yet I love !--From Abelard it came, . And foes to Virtue wonder'd how they wept. And Eloïsa yet must kiss the name. Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move
Dear, fatal name! rest ever unreveal'd, The hero's glory, or the virgin's love;
Nor pass these lips in holy silence seald: In pitying Love, we but our weakness show, Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise, And wild Ambition well deserves its woe.
Where, mixd with God's, his lov'd idea lies :