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For while he march'd on to the fight,

Like hero nothing fearing,
Namur was taken in his sight,

And Mons within his hearing.

This is not fair, or true, but it is smart, and neat.



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Alexander Pope-The Rape of the Lock'-The Moral Essays'-The 'Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot'-EpigramsJonathan Swift-Epigrams-The Journal of a Modern Lady' The Furniture of a Woman's Mind'-John Gay -Elegy on a Lap-Dog'-To a Lady on Her Passion for Old China'-The 'Song of Similes'-Matthew Prior -Epigrams-William Congreve-Lines on AmoretEpigrams-Lady Mary Wortley Montagu- The Lover' -A Lady in the Country-Lord Lyttelton-Lines— Thomas Tickell-On a Woman of Fashion'-John Bramston-The Man of Taste'- The Art of Politics'Matthew Green-Epigram-Allan Ramsay-Epigrams.

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As we proceed farther and farther down the stream of English wit and humour, we find it gradually expanding, until it becomes more and more difficult for the voyager to see the shores which bound it on each side. There is a wider space, and also a richer area, to cover with our gaze; and it takes one longer even to glance round and make one's hurried notes than it has done before. Especially do we feel this when, after leaving the company of Dryden and Butler and their courtly and polished contemporaries, we come into that of Pope and the men and women who stand round about him. The eighteenth century, even more than the seventeenth, becomes too unwieldy for a single chapter, and we are forced to regard the author of The Dunciad and his fellows apart from Goldsmith and the writers of his day. There are, in fact, more than one reason why we should do so; and foremost among them is the difference of style and (generally) of subject. Pope and his contemporaries were essentially poets of the artificial; their satire is satire of society, and is, for the most part, as starched in character as were the manners of the period. Pope, Swift, Prior, Gay, and Congreve-all occupied themselves in strictures on the follies of fine ladies and gentlemen, and couched those strictures usually in terms as polished as the habits of their victims. Pope especially is the satirist, par excellence, of the beau monde; he is also a personal satirist who, in absolute perfection of expression, surpasses even Dryden; but he is, on the whole, greatest as the poet of haut ton. His Dunciad is a wonderful monument to the wit and skill, as well as the littleness of nature, of the writer; but The Rape of the Lock is unquestionably the more thoroughly admirable and wonderful of the two. It is perfect as a work of art. None of Pope's performances can surpass it

for form, style, and wit-the first is so beautifully mature, the second so exquisitely fitting, and the third so brightly lambent. The whole poem is so perfectly in keeping. Everything in it is proportioned to the motive, which, it is well known, was nothing more serious than the rape of a lock' of hair from the head of a lady of fashion. The opening is felicitous in itself:

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Say what strange motive, Goddess, could compel
A well-bred lord t' assault a gentle belle?

O say what stranger cause, yet unexplored,
Could make a gentle belle reject a lord?

The fairy machinery which Pope adopted at the suggestion
of Garth is managed with consummate ease and grace.
Thus are the powers of the gnomes and sylphs enumerated:
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 hidden blush to know,
And little hearts to flutter at a beau.

Oft, when the world imagines women stray,

The sylphs thro' mystic mazes guide their way; . . .

With varying vanities, from every part,

They shift the moving toyshop of their heart;

Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-knots strive, Beaus banish beaus, and coaches coaches drive.

This erring mortals levity may call;

O blind to truth! the sylphs contrive it all.

Then, in the second canto, we come upon the origin of the poem. Belinda, the heroine, having been sketched for us while at her toilet, we learn that

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