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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, tho' 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.



Ver. 47. As now your own, &c.] The Poet here forsakes the Rosicrucian system; which, in this part, is too extravagant even for ludicrous Poetry; and gives a beautiful fiction of his own, on the Platonic Theology, of the continuance of the passions in another state, when the mind, before its leaving this, has not been well purged and purified by philosophy; which furnishes an occasion for much useful satire. Warburton.

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. 70 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?



Ver. 67. Know further yet;] Marmontel has, on this idea, framed one of his most popular Tales. I must again and again repeat, that it is on account of the exquisite skill, and humour, and pleasantry of the use made of the machinery of the Sylphs, that this poem has excelled all the heroi-comic poems in all languages. The Ver-vert of Gresset, in point of delicate satire, is perhaps next to it, but far inferior for the want of such machinery. Warton.

Ver. 68. Is by some Sylph embrac'd:] Here again the Author resumes the Rosicrucian system. But this tenet, peculiar to that wild philosophy, was founded on a principle very unfit to be employed in such a sort of poem, and therefore suppressed, though a less judicious writer would have been tempted to expatiate upon it. Warburton.

Ver. 54, 55.


"Quæ gratia currûm

Armorumque fuit vivis, quæ cura nitentes
Pascere equos, eadem sequitur tellure repostos."

Virg. Æneid, vi.


'Tis but their Sylph, the wise Celestials know, Though Honour is the word with Men below. Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their


For life predestin'd to the Gnomes embrace.


These swell their prospects and exalt their pride, When offers are disdain'd, and love deny'd: Then gay Ideas croud the vacant brain,

While Peers, and Dukes, and all their sweeping



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, 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 ev'ry part,

They shift the moving Toyshop of their heart; 100


Ver. 78. Though Honour is the word with Men below.] Parody of Homer.


Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots swordknots 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, 115

Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue;



Ver. 108. In the clear mirror] The language of the Platonists, the writers of the intelligible world of Spirits, &c.


Ver. 113. This to disclose, &c.] There is much pleasantry in the conduct of this scene. The Rosicrucian Doctrine was delivered only to Adepts, with the utmost caution, and under the most solemn injunctions of secrecy. It is here communicated to a Woman, and in that way of conveyance, which a Woman most delights to make the subject of her conversation ; that is to say, her Dreams.


Ver. 101.

"Jam clypeus clypeis, umbone repellitur umbo,

Ense minax ensis, pede pes, et cuspide cuspis," &c. Stat.


"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.


Ver. 121. And now, unveil'd, &c.] The translation of these verses, containing the description of the toilet, by our Author's friend, Dr. Parnell, deserve, for their humour, to be here inserted.

"Et nunc dilectum speculum, pro more retectum,,
Emicat in mensa, quæ splendet pyxide densa :
Tum primum lympha se purgat candida Nympha,
Jamque sine menda, cœlestis imago videnda,
Nuda caput, bellos retinet, regit, implet ocellos.
Hæc stupet implorans, ceu cultûs numen adorans.
Inferior claram Pythonissa apparet ad aram,
Fertque tibi caute, dicatque Superbia! laute,
Dona venusta; oris, quæ cunctis, plena laboris,
Excerpta explorat, dominamque deamque decorat.
Pyxide devota, se pandit hic India tota,
Et tota ex ista transpirat Arabia cista ;
Testudo hic flectit dum se mea Lesbia pectit ;
Atque elephas lente, te pectit Lesbia dente;
Hunc maculis noris, nivei jacet ille coloris.
Hic jacet et munde, mundus muliebris abunde ;
Spinula resplendens aeris longo ordine pendens,
Pulvis suavis odore, et epistola suavis amore,
Induit arma ergo Veneris pulcherrima virgo;
Pulchrior in præsens tempus de tempore crescens,
Jam reparat risus, jam surgit gratia visus,
Jam promit cultu, mirac'la latentia vultu;
Pigmina jam miscet, quo plus sua Purpura gliscet,
Et geminans bellis splendet mage fulgor ocellis.
Stant Lemures muti, Nymphæ intentique saluti,
Hic figit Zonam, capiti locat ille Coronam,
Hæc manicis formam, plicis dat et altera normam,



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