Here you will find the entire text of one of Pope's most famous poems "The Rape of the Lock,"
at the end of the poem you will find illustrations of a quote from each canto.
The Rape of the Lock
Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
Sedjuvat, hoc precibus me tribuisse tuis.
What dire offence from am'rous 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 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 thro' white curtains shot a tim'rous ray,
And op'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 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 glitt'ring than a birthnight beau,
(That ev'n in slumber caus'd 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 pow'rs,
With golden crowns and wreaths of heav'nly flow'rs,
Hear and believe! thy own importance know,
Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.
Some secret truths from learned pride conceal'd,
To maids alone and children are reveal'd:
What tho' no credit doubting wits may give?
The fair and innocent shall still believe.
Know then, unnumber'd spirits round thee fly,
The light militia of the lower sky;
These, though unseen, are ever on the wing,
Hang o'er the box, and hover round the Ring.
Think what an equipage thou hast in air,
And view with scorn two pages and a chair.
As now your own, our beings were of old,
And once inclos'd in woman's beauteous mould;
Thence, by a soft transition, we repair
From earthly vehicles to these 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 tho' 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,
To their first elements their souls retire:
The sprites of fiery termagants in flame
Mount up, 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,
In search of mischief still on earth to roam.
The light coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair,
And sport and flutter in the fields of air.
Know further yet; whoever fair and chaste
Rejects mankind, is by some sylph embrac'd:
For spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease
Assume what sexes and what shapes they please.
What guards the purity of melting maids,
In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades,
Safe from the treach'rous friend, the daring spark,
The glance by day, the whisper in the dark,
When kind occasion prompts their warm desires,
When music softens, and when dancing fires?
'Tis but their sylph, the wise celestials know,
Though honour is the word with men below.
Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their 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:
Then gay 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,
Teach 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 mazes guide their way,
Thro' 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 ev'ry part,
They shift the moving toyshop of their heart;
Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-knots strive,
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 rang'd the crystal wilds of air,
In the clear mirror of thy ruling star
I saw, alas! some dread event impend,
Ere to the main this morning sun descend,
But Heav'n reveals not what, or how, or where:
Warn'd by the Sylph, oh pious maid, beware!
This to disclose is all thy guardian can.
Beware of all, but most beware of man!"
He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too 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 ardors 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 pow'rs.
A heav'nly 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 off'rings of the world appear;
From each she nicely culls with curious toil,
And decks the goddess with the glitt'ring 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;
The fair each moment rises in her charms,
Repairs her smiles, awakens ev'ry grace,
And calls forth all the wonders of her face;
Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.
The busy Sylphs surround their darling care,
These set the head, and those divide the hair,
Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown;
And Betty's prais'd for labours not her own.
Not with more glories, in th' etherial 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 Thames.
Fair nymphs, and well-dress'd youths around her shone,
But ev'ry 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 errors fall,
Look on her face, and you'll forget 'em all.
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind,
Nourish'd two locks, which graceful hung behind
In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck
With shining ringlets the smooth iv'ry 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 finney prey,
Fair tresses man's imperial race ensnare,
And beauty draws us with a single hair.
Th' advent'rous baron the bright locks admir'd;
He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspir'd.
Resolv'd to win, he meditates the way,
By force to ravish, or by fraud betray;
For when success a lover's toil attends,
Few ask, if fraud or force attain'd his ends.
For this, ere Phœbus rose, he had implor'd
Propitious Heav'n, and ev'ry pow'r ador'd,
But chiefly love--to love an altar built,
Of twelve vast French romances, neatly gilt.
There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves;
And all the trophies of his former loves;
With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre,
And breathes three am'rous sighs to raise the fire.
Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes
Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize:
The pow'rs gave ear, and granted half his pray'r,
The rest, the winds dispers'd in empty air.
But now secure the painted vessel glides,
The sun-beams trembling on the floating tides,
While melting music steals upon the sky,
And soften'd sounds along the waters die.
Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play,
Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay.
All but the Sylph--with careful thoughts opprest,
Th' impending woe sat heavy on his breast.
He summons strait his denizens of air;
The lucid squadrons round the sails repair:
Soft o'er the shrouds aerial whispers breathe,
That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath.
Some to the sun their insect-wings unfold,
Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold.
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight,
Their fluid bodies half dissolv'd in light,
Loose to the wind their airy garments flew,
Thin glitt'ring textures of the filmy dew;
Dipp'd in the richest tincture of the skies,
Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes,
While ev'ry beam new transient colours flings,
Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings.
Amid the circle, on the gilded mast,
Superior by the head, was Ariel plac'd;
His purple pinions op'ning to the sun,
He rais'd his azure wand, and thus begun.
"Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear!
Fays, Fairies, Genii, Elves, and Dæmons, hear!
Ye know the spheres and various tasks assign'd
By laws eternal to th' aerial kind.
Some in the fields of purest æther play,
And bask and whiten in the blaze of day.
Some guide the course of wand'ring orbs on high,
Or roll the planets through the boundless sky.
Some less refin'd, beneath the moon's pale light
Pursue the stars that shoot athwart the night,
Or suck the mists in grosser air below,
Or dip their pinions in the painted bow,
Or brew fierce tempests on the wintry main,
Or o'er the glebe distil the kindly rain.
Others on earth o'er human race preside,
Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide:
Of these the chief the care of nations own,
And guard with arms divine the British throne.
"Our humbler province is to tend the fair,
Not a less pleasing, though less glorious care.
To save the powder from too rude a gale,
Nor let th' imprison'd essences exhale,
To draw fresh colours from the vernal flow'rs,
To steal from rainbows e'er they drop in show'rs
A brighter wash; to curl their waving hairs,
Assist their blushes, and inspire their airs;
Nay oft, in dreams, invention we bestow,
To change a flounce, or add a furbelow.
"This day, black omens threat the brightest fair
That e'er deserv'd a watchful spirit's care;
Some dire disaster, or by force, or slight,
But what, or where, the fates have wrapt in night.
Whether the nymph shall break Diana's law,
Or some frail china jar receive a flaw;
Or stain her honour, or her new brocade,
Forget her pray'rs, or miss a masquerade;
Or lose her heart, or necklace, at a ball;
Or whether Heav'n has doom'd that Shock must fall.
Haste, then, ye spirits! to your charge repair:
The flutt'ring fan be Zephyretta's care;
The drops to thee, Brillante, we consign;
And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine;
Do thou, Crispissa, tend her fav'rite lock;
Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock.
"To fifty chosen Sylphs, of special note,
We trust th' important charge, the petticoat:
Oft have we known that sev'n-fold fence to fail,
Though stiff with hoops, and arm'd with ribs of whale.
Form a strong line about the silver bound,
And guard the wide circumference around.
"Whatever spirit, careless of his charge,
His post neglects, or leaves the fair at large,
Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his sins,
Be stopp'd in vials, or transfix'd with pins;
Or plung'd in lakes of bitter washes lie,
Or wedg'd whole ages in a bodkin's eye:
Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain,
While clogg'd he beats his silken wings in vain;
Or alum styptics with contracting pow'r
Shrink his thin essence like a rivell'd flow'r.
Or, as Ixion fix'd, the wretch shall feel
The giddy motion of the whirling mill,
In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow,
And tremble at the sea that froths below!"
He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend;
Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend,
Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair,
Some hang upon the pendants of her ear;
With beating hearts the dire event they wait,
Anxious, and trembling for the birth of fate.
Close by those Meads for ever crown'd with Flow'rs,
Where Thames with Pride surveys his rising Tow'rs,
stands a Structure of Majestic Fame,
Which from the neighb'ring Hampton takes its Name.
Statesmen oft the Fall foredoom
Of foreign Tyrants, and of Nymphs at home;
Here Thou, great Anna! whom three
Dost sometimes Counsel take-and sometimes Tea.
Hither the Heroes and the Nymphs resort,
To taste awhile the Pleasures of a Court;
In various Talk th' instructive
Hours they past,
Who gave a Ball, or paid the Visit last:
One speaks the Glory of the British Queen,
one describes a charming Indian Screen;
A third interprets Motions, Looks, and Eyes;
At every Word a Reputation
Snuff, or the Fan, supply each Pause of Chat,
With singing, laughing, ogling, and all that.
while, declining from the Noon of Day,
The Sun obliquely shoots his burning Ray;
The hungry Judges soon the Sentence
And Wretches hang that Jury-men may Dine;
The Merchant from th' Exchange returns in Peace,
And the long
Labours of the Toilet cease.
Belinda now, whom Thirst of Fame invites,
Burns to encounter two adventrous Knights,
At Ombre singly to decide their
Doom; Ombre explained
And swells her Breast with Conquests yet to come.
Straight the three Bands prepare in Arms to join,
Each Band the
number of the Sacred Nine.
Soon as she spreads her Hand, th' Aerial Guard
Descend, and sit on each important Card:
Ariel perch'd upon a Matadore,
Then each, according to the Rank they bore;
For Sylphs, yet mindful
of their ancient Race,
Are, as when women, wond'rous fond of Place.
Behold, four Kings, in Majesty rever'd,
With hoary Whiskers and a forky Beard;
And four fair Queens
whose Hands sustain a Flow'r,
Th' expressive Emblem of their softer Pow'r;
Four Knaves in Garbs succinct, a trusty
Caps on their heads, and Halberds in their hand;
And particolour'd Troops, a shining Train,
Draw forth to combat
on the Velvet Plain.
The skilful Nymph reviews her Force with Care;
Let Spades be Trumps! she said, and Trumps they were.
Now move to War her Sable Matadores,
In show like Leaders of the swarthy Moors.
Let off two captive Trumps, and swept the Board.
As many more Manillio forc'd to yield,
march'd a Victor from the verdant Field.
Him Basto follow'd, but his Fate more hard
Gain'd but one Trump and
one Plebian card.
With his broad Sabre next, a Chief in Years,
The hoary Majesty of Spades appears;
forth one manly Leg, to sight reveal'd,
The rest, his many-colour'd Robe conceal'd.
The Rebel-Knave, that dares
his Prince engage,
Proves the just Victim of his Royal Rage.
Ev'n mighty Pam, that Kings and Queens o'erthrew,
mow'd down Armies in the Fights of Lu,
Sad Chance of War! now, destitute of Aid,
Falls undistinguish'd by the
Thus far both Armies to Belinda yield;
Now to the Baron Fate inclines the Field.
His warlike Amazon
her Host invades,
Th' Imperial Consort of the Crown of Spades.
The Club's black Tyrant first her Victim
Spite of his haughty Mien, and barb'rous Pride:
What boots the Regal Circle on his Head,
His Giant Limbs, in
State unwieldy spread;
That long behind he trails his pompous Robe,
And of all Monarchs only grasps the Globe?
The Baron now his Diamonds pours apace;
Th' embroider'd King who shows but half his Face,
his refulgent Queen, with pow'rs combin'd,
Of broken Troops an easy Conquest find.
Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts,
in wild Disorder seen,
With Throngs promiscuous strew the level Green.
Thus when dispers'd a routed Army runs,
Asia's Troops, and Afric's Sable Sons,
With like Confusion different Nations fly,
In various Habits, and
of various Dye,
The pierc'd Battalions dis-united fall,
In Heaps on Heaps; one Fate o'erwhelms them all.
The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily Arts,
And wins (oh shameful Chance!) the Queen of Hearts.
this, the Blood the Virgin's Cheek forsook,
A livid Paleness spreads o'er all her Look;
She sees, and trembles at th'
Just in the Jaws of Ruin, and Codille.
And now (as oft in some distemper'd State)
nice Trick depends the gen'ral Fate,
An Ace of Hearts steps forth: The King unseen
Lurk'd in her
Hand, and mourn'd his captive Queen.
He springs to Vengeance with an eager Pace,
And falls like Thunder on the
The Nymph exulting fills with Shouts the Sky;
The Walls, the Woods, and long Canals reply.
Oh thoughtless Mortals! ever blind to Fate,
Too soon dejected, and too soon elate!
Sudden these Honours shall be
And curs'd for ever this Victorious Day.
For lo! the Board with Cups and Spoons is crown'd,
The Berries crackle, and the Mill turns round;
On shining Altars of
Japan they raise
The silver Lamp, and fiery Spirits blaze:
From silver Spouts the grateful Liquors glide,
China's earth receives the smoking Tyde.
At once they gratify their Scent and Taste,
While frequent Cups prolong
the rich Repast.
Strait hover round the Fair her Airy Band;
Some, as she sipp'd, the fuming Liquor fann'd,
her Lap their careful Plumes display'd,
Trembling, and conscious of the rich Brocade.
Coffee (which makes the
And see through all things with his half-shut Eyes)
Sent up in Vapours to the Baron's Brain
Stratagems, the radiant Lock to gain.
Ah cease rash Youth! desist ere 'tis too late,
Fear the just Gods, and think of
Chang'd to a Bird, and sent to flit in Air,
She dearly pays for Nisus' injur'd Hair!
But when to Mischief Mortals bend their Will,
How soon they find fit Instuments of Ill!
Just then, Clarissa
drew with tempting Grace
A two-edg'd Weapon from her shining Case;
So Ladies in Romance assist their Knight,
the Spear, and arm him for the Fight.
He takes the Gift with rev'rence, and extends
The little Engine on his Fingers'
This just behind Belinda's Neck he spread
As o'er the fragrant Steams she bends her Head:
Swift to the
Lock a thousand Sprights repair,
A thousand Wings, by turns, blow back the Hair;
And thrice they twitch'd the Diamond
in her Ear,
Thrice she look'd back, and thrice the Foe drew near.
Just in that instant, anxious Ariel sought
close Recesses of the Virgin's thought;
As on the Nosegay in her Breast reclin'd,
He watch'd th' Ideas rising in her
Sudden he view'd, in spite of all her Art,
An Earthly Lover lurking at her Heart.
Amaz'd, confus'd, he found
his Power expir'd,
Resign'd to Fate, and with a Sigh retir'd.
The Peer now spreads the glittering Forfex wide,
T' inclose the Lock; now joins it, to divide. The Rape...(Beardsley)
Ev'n then, before the fatal Engine clos'd,
A wretched Sylph too fondly interpos'd; Fate
urged the Sheers, and cut the Sylph in twain,
(But Airy Substance soon unites again)
The meeting Points the sacred
From the fair Head, for ever and for ever!
Then flah'd the living Lightnings from her Eyes,
And Screams of Horror rend th' affrighted Skies.
Not louder Shrieks
to pitying Heav'n are cast,
When Husbands, or when Lapdogs breath their last,
Or when rich China Vessels, fal'n
In glitt'ring Dust and painted Fragments lie!
Let Wreaths of Triumph now my Temples twine,
(The Victor cry'd) 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,
the small Pillow grace a Lady's Bed,
While Visits shall be paid on solemn Days,
When num'rous Wax-lights in bright
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 cou'd the Labour
of the Gods destroy,
And strike to Dust th' Imperial Tow'rs of Troy;
Steel cou'd the Works of mortal Pride confound,
hew Triumphal Arches to the Ground.
What Wonder then, fair Nymph! thy Hair shou'd feel
The conqu'ring Force of unresisted
But anxious Cares the pensive Nymph oppress'd,
And secret Passions labour'd in her Breast.
Not youthful Kings in
Battle seiz'd alive,
Not scornful Virgins who their Charms survive,
Not ardent Lovers robb'd of all their Bliss,
ancient Ladies when refus'd a Kiss,
Not Tyrants fierce that unrepenting die,
Not Cynthia when her Manteau's
E'er felt such Rage, Resentment, and Despair,
As Thou, sad Virgin! for thy ravish'd Hair.
For, that sad moment, when the Sylphs withdrew,
And Ariel weeping from Belinda flew,
a dusky, melancholy Sprite,
As ever sully'd the fair Face of Light,
Down to the Central Earth, his proper Scene,
to search the gloomy Cave of Spleen.
Swift on his sooty Pinions flits the Gnome,
And in a Vapour reach'd the dismal Dome. No
cheerful Breeze this sullen Region knows,
The dreaded East is all the Wind that blows.
Here in a Grotto, shelter'd
close from Air, And screen'd in Shades from Day's detested Glare,
She sighs for ever on her pensive
Pain at her Side, and Megrim at her Head.
Two Handmaids wait the Throne: Alike in Place,
But diff'ring far in Figure and in Face.
Here stood Ill-nature
like an ancient Maid,
Her wrinkled form in Black and White array'd;
With store of Pray'rs, for
Mornings, Nights, and Noons,
Her Hand is fill'd; her Bosom with Lampoons.
There Affectation with a sickly Mien,
Shows in her Cheek the Roses of Eighteen,
Practis'd to Lisp, and hang
the Head aside,
Faints into Airs, and languishes with Pride;
On the rich Quilt sinks with becoming Woe,
a Gown, for Sickness, and for Show.
The Fair ones feel such Maladies as these,
When each new Night-Dress gives a new
A constant Vapour o'er the Palace flies;
Strange Phantoms rising as the Mists arise;
Dreadful, as Hermits'
Dreams in haunted Shades,
Or bright, as Visions of expiring Maids.
Now glaring Fiends, and Snakes on rolling Spires,
Spectres, gaping Tombs, and Purple Fires:
Now Lakes of liquid Gold, Elysian Scenes,
And Crystal Domes, and Angels
Unnumber'd Throngs, on ev'ry side are seen,
Of Bodies chang'd to various forms by Spleen.
Here living Teapots
stand, one Arm held out,
One bent; the Handle this, and that the Spout:
A Pipkin there like Homer's Tripod walks;
sighs a Jar, and there a Goose-pye talks;
Men prove with Child, as pow'rful Fancy works,
And Maids turn'd Bottels, call
aloud for Corks.
Safe past the Gnome through this fantastic Band,
A branch of healing Spleenwort in his Hand.
addrest the Pow'r-Hail wayward Queen;
Who rule the Sex to Fifty from Fifteen,
Parent of Vapors and of Female Wit,
give th' Hysteric or Poetic Fit,
On various Tempers act by various Ways,
Make some take Physic, others
Who cause the Proud their Visits to delay,
And send the Godly in a Pett, to pray.
A Nymph there is,
that all thy pow'r disdains,
And thousands more in equal Mirth maintains.
But oh! if e'er thy Gnome could spoil
Or raise a Pimple on a beauteous Face,
Like Citron-Waters Matrons' Cheeks inflame,
Or change Complexions
at a losing Game;
If e'er with airy Horns I planted Heads,
Or rumpled Petticoats, or tumbled Beds,
Or cause'd Suspicion
when no Soul was rude,
Or discompos'd the Head-Dress of a Prude,
Or e'er to costive Lap-Dog gave Disease,
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, tho' she grants his Pray'r.
A wond'rous Bag with both her
Hands she binds,
Like that where once Ulysses held the Winds;
There she collects the Force of Female Lungs,
Sobs, and Passions, and the War of Tongues.
A Vial next she fills with fainting Fears,
Soft Sorrows, melting Griefs,
and flowing Tears.
The Gnome rejoycing bears her Gift 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 issu'd at the Vent.
Belinda burns with more than mortal Ire,
fierce Thalestris fans the rising Fire.
O wretched Maid! she spread her Hands, and cry'd,
Ecchoes, wretched Maid! reply'd)
Was it for this you took such constant Care
The Bodkin, Comb and Essence
For this your Locks in Paper-Durance bound,
For this with tort'ring Irons wreath'd around!
For this with
Fillets strain'd your tender Head,
And bravely bore the double Loads of Lead?
Gods! shall the Ravisher display your
While the Fops envy, and the Ladies stare!
Honour forbid! at whose unrivall'd Shrine
Virtue, All, our Sex resign.
Methinks already I your Tears survey,
Already hear the horrid Things they say,
see you a degraded Toast,
And all your Honour in a Whisper lost!
How shall I, then, your hapless Fame defend?
then be Infamy to seem your Friend!
And shall this Prize, th' inestimable Prize,
Expos'd through Crystal to the gazing
And heighten'd by the Diamond's circling Rays,
On that Rapacious Hand for ever blaze?
Sooner shall Grass in
Hide-Park Circus grow,
And Wits take Lodgings in the sound of Bow;
Sooner let Earth, Air, Sea, to Chaos
Men, Monkeys, Lap-dogs, Parrots, perish all!
She said; then raging to Sir Plume repairs,
And bids her Beau demand the precious Hairs:
of Amber Snuff-box justly vain,
And the nice Conduct of a Clouded Cane)
With earnest Eyes and round unthinking
He first the Snuff-box open's, then the Case,
And thus broke out--"My Lord, why, what the Devil!
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 rapp'd his Box.
It grieves me much (replied the Peer again)
Who speaks so well shou'd 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,
from the lovely Head where late it grew)
That while my Nostrils draw the vital Air,
This Hand, which won it, shall for
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 Vial whence the Sorrows flow.
the Nymph in beauteous Grief appears,
Her Eyes half-languishing, half-drown'd in Tears;
On her heav'd Bosom hung her
Which with a Sigh, she rais'd; and thus she said.
For ever curs'd be this detested Day,
Which snatch'd my best, my fav'rite Curl away!
Happy! ah ten times happy had
If Hampton-Court these Eyes had never seen!
Yet am not I the first mistaken Maid,
By love of Courts
to num'rous Ills betray'd.
Oh had I rather unadmir'd remain'd
In some lone Isle, or distant Northern land;
the gilt Chariot never mark'd the way,
Where none learn Ombre, none e'er taste Bohea!
my Charms conceal'd from the mortal Eye,
Like Roses that in Desarts bloom and die.
What mov'd my Mind with youthful
Lords to rome?
O had I stay'd, and said my Pray'rs at home!
'Twas this the Morning Omens did foretel;
from my trembling Hand the Patch-box fell;
The tott'ring China shook without a Wind,
sate mute, and Shock was most Unkind!
A Sylph too warn'd me of the Threats of Fate,
In mystic Visions,
now believ'd too late!
See the poor Remnants of these slighted Hairs!
My Hands shall rend what ev'n thy Rapine spares.
in two sable Ringlets taught to break,
Once gave new Beauties to the snowy Neck.
The Sister-Lock now sits uncouth, alone,
in its Fellow's Fate foresees its own;
Uncurl'd it hangs, the fatal Sheers demands;
And tempts once more thy sacrilegious
Oh hadst thou, Cruel! been content to seize
Hairs less in sight, or any Hairs but these!
She said: The pitying Audience melt in Tears,
But Fate and Jove had stopp'd the Baron's Ears.
vain Thalestris with Reproach assails,
For who can move when fair Belinda fails?
Not half so fix'd the
Trojan could remain,
While Anna begg'd and Dido rag'd in vain.
Then grave Clarissa graceful
wav'd her Fan;
Silence ensu'd, and thus the Nymph began.
Say, why are Beauties prais'd and honour'd most,
The Wise Man's Passion, and the Vain Man's Toast?
Why deck'd with
all that Land and Sea afford,
Why Angels call'd, and Angel-like ador'd?
Why round our Coaches crowd the white-gloved
Why bows the Side-box from its inmost Rows?
How vain are all these Glories, all our Pains,
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!
if to dance all Night, and dress all Day,
Charm'd the Small-pox, or chas'd old Age away;
Who would not scorn what Housewife's
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,
Curl'd or uncurl'd, since Locks will turn to
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,
Airs, and Flights, and Screams, and Scolding 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 ensu'd:
Belinda frown'd, Thalestris call'd her Prude.
To Arms, to Arms!
the fierce Virago cries,
And swift as Lightning to the Combate flies. All side in Parties,
and begin th' Attack;
Fans clap, Silks rustle, and tough Whalebones crack;
Heroes' and Heroins' Shouts confus'dly rise,
base, and treble Voices strike the Skies.
No common Weapons in their Hands are found,
Gods they fight, nor dread a mortal Wound.
So when bold Homer makes the Gods engage,
And heav'nly Breasts with human Passions rage;
Mars; Latona, Hermes, Arms;
And all Olympus rings with loud Alarms.
Jove's Thunder roars, Heav'n trembles
Blue Neptune storms, the bellowing Deeps resound;
Earth shakes her nodding Tow'rs, the Ground
And the pale Ghosts start at the Flash of Day!
Triumphant Umbriel on a Sconce's Height
Clapp'd his glad Wings, and sate to view the Fight,
Propp'd on their
Bodkin Spears the Sprites survey
The growing Combat, or assist the Fray.
While through the Press enrag'd Thalestris flies,
And scatters Death around from both her Eyes,
and Witling perish'd in the Throng,
One dy'd 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 upwards cast,
eyes are made so killing--was his last:
Thus on Meander's flow'ry Margin lies
Th' expiring Swan, and as he
sings he dies.
As bold Sir Plume had drawn Clarissa down,
Chloe stepp'd in, and kill'd him with a Frown;
to see the doughty Hero slain,
But at her Smile, the Beau reviv'd 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,
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 endu'd,
with one Finger and a Thumb subdu'd:
Just where the Breath of Life his Nostrils drew,
A charge of Snuff the wily
The Gnomes direct, to ev'ry Atome just,
The pungent Grains of titillating Dust,
starting Tears each Eye o'erflows,
And the high Dome re-ecchoes to his Nose.
Now meet thy Fate, incens'd Belinda cry'd,
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,
a vast Buckle for his Widow's Gown:
Her infant Grandame's Whistle next it grew,
The Bells she gingled,
and the Whistle blew;
Then in a Bodkin grac'd her Mother's hairs,
Which long she wore, and now Belinda
Boast not my Fall (he cry'd) insulting Foe!
Thou by some other shalt be laid as low.
Nor think, to die dejects my
All that I dread, is leaving you behind!
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.
Othello in so loud a Strain
Roar'd for the Handkerchief that caus'd his Pain.
But see how oft Ambitious Aims
And Chiefs contend 'till all the Prize is lost!
The Lock, obtain'd with Guilt, and kept with Pain,
ev'ry place is sought, but sought in vain:
With such a Prize no Mortal must be blest,
So Heav'n decrees! with Heav'n
who can contest?
Some thought it mounted to the Lunar Sphere,
Since all things lost on Earth, are treasur'd there.
There Heroe's Wits
are kept in pond'rous Vases,
And Beau's in Snuff-boxes and Tweezer-cases.
There broken Vows, and Death-bed
Alms are found,
And Lovers' Hearts with Ends of Riband bound;
The Courtier's Promises, and the Sick Man's Pray'rs,
Smiles of Harlots, and the Tears of Heirs,
Cages for Gnats, and Chains to Yoak a Flea;
Dried Butterflies, and Tomes
But trust the Muse-she saw it upward rise,
Tho' marked by none but quick Poetic eyes:
(So Rome's great Founder to
the Heav'ns withdrew,
To Proculus alone confess'd 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 Skies bespangling
with dishevel'd Light.
The Sylphs behold it kindling as it flies,
And pleas'd pursue its Progress through the
This the Beau-monde shall from the Mall survey,
And hail with Musick its propitious Ray.
the blest Lover shall for Venus take,
And send up Vows from Rosamonda's Lake.
This Partridge soon
shall view in cloudless Skies
When next he looks through Gallileo's Eyes;
And hence th' Egregious Wizard shall
The fate of Louis, and the fall of Rome.
Then cease, bright Nymph! to mourn the ravish'd Hair
Which adds new Glory to the shining Sphere!
Not all the Tresses
that fair Head can boast
Shall draw such Envy as the Lock you lost.
For, after all the Murders of your Eye,
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