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Sudden, with starting tears each eye o'erflows, 85 And the high dome re-echoes 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, 90 In three seal-rings; which after, melted down, Form'd 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 grac'd her mother's hairs, Which long she wore, and now Belinda wears.) Boast not my fall (he cry'd) 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! Rather than so, ah let me still survive, And burn in Cupid's flames-but burn alive.
duct is a little inartificial; but has given the satirist an opportunity of indulging his ruling passion, the exposing bad poets, with which France, at that time, abounded. Swift's Battle of the Books, at the end of the Tale of a Tub, is evidently taken from this battle. of Boileau (Cant. v.) which is excellent in its kind. The fight of the Physicians in the Dispensary, is one of its most shining parts. There is a vast deal of propriety in the weapons Garth has given to his warriors. They are armed, much in character, with caustics, emetics, and cathartics; with buckthorn, and steel-pills; with syringes, bed-pans, and urinals. The execution is exactly proportioned to the deadliness of such irresistible weapons; and the wounds inflicted, are suitable to the nature of each different instrument said to inflict them. Warton.
Ver. 89. (The same, his ancient personage to deck,] In imitation of the progress of Agamemnon's sceptre in Homer, Il. ii. P.
Restore the Lock! she cries; and all around Restore the Lock! the vaulted roofs rebound. Not fierce Othello in so loud a strain Roar'd for the handkerchief that caus'd his pain. But see how oft ambitious aims are cross'd, And chiefs contend till all the prize is lost! The Lock, obtain'd with guilt, and kept with pain, In ev'ry place is sought, but sought in vain: 110
Ver. 105. fierce Othello] Rhymer, with a tasteless insensibility, laughed at the incident of losing the handkerchief, as trifling. Neither he, nor the Spectator, seem to have known, that this incident, so beautifully natural, is in the Italian novel, which Shakespeare copied. Warton.
Ver. 109. obtain'd with guilt.] We are now arrived at the grand catastrophe of the poem; the invaluable Lock which is so eagerly sought, is irrecoverably lost! And here our Poet has made a judicious use of that celebrated fiction of Ariosto; that all things lost on earth, are treasured in the moon. How such a fiction can properly have place in an epic poem, it becomes the defenders of this agreeably extravagant writer to justify; but in a comic poem, it appears with grace and consistency. The whole passage in Ariosto is full of wit and satire; for wit and satire were, perhaps, among the chief and characteristical excellencies of this incomparable Italian.
In this repository in the lunar sphere, says the sprightly Italian, were to be found,
"Cio che in somma quà giù perdesti mai,
Là su saltendo ritrovar potrai."
It is very remarkable, that the Poet had the boldness to place among these imaginary treasures, the famous deed of Constantine to Pope Silvester, "if (says he) I may be allowed to say this," "Questo era il dono (se pero dir lece)
Che Constantino al buon Silvestro fece."
It may be observed in general, to the honour of the poets, both ancient and modern, that they have ever been some of the first, who have detected and opposed the false claims and mischievous usurpations of superstition and slavery. Nor can this be won
With such a prize no mortal must be blest,
Some thought it mounted to the Lunar sphere,
But trust the Muse-she saw it upward rise,
A sudden Star, it shot through liquid air,
And pleas'd pursue its progress through the skies.
dered at, since these two are the greatest enemies, not only to all true happiness, but to all true genius. Warton.
Ver. 114. Since all things lost] Vide Ariosto, Canto xxxiv. P. Ver. 132. through the skies.] One cannot sufficiently applaud
Ver. 131. The Sylphs behold] These two lines added, for the same reason, to keep in view the Machinery of the Poem.
Ver. 128. "Flammiferumque trahens spatioso limite crinem
Stella micat." Ovid.
This the Beau monde shall from the Mall survey, And hail with music its propitious ray;
This the blest Lover shall for Venus take,
Then cease, bright Nymph! to mourn thy ravish'd hair,
Which adds new glory to the shining sphere!
the art of the Poet, in constantly keeping in the reader's view, the Machinery of the Poem, to the very last: even when the Lock is transform'd, the Sylphs, who had so carefully guarded it, are here once again artfully mentioned, as finally rejoicing in its honourable transformation. Warton.
Ver. 137. This Partridge socn] John Partridge was a ridiculous Star-gazer, who in his Almanacks every year never failed to predict the downfal of the Pope, and the King of France, then at war with the English.
UPON the whole, I hope it will not be thought an exaggerated panegyric to say, that the Rape of the Lock is the best Satire extant; that it contains the truest and liveliest picture of modern life; and that the subject is of a more elegant nature, as well as more artfully conducted, than any other heroi-comic poem.
Our nation can boast also, of having produced some other poems of the burlesque kind, that are excellent; particularly the Splendid Shilling, that admirable copy of the solemn irony of Cervantes, who is the father and unrivalled model of the true mock heroic; and the Muscipula, written with the purity of Virgil, whom the author so perfectly understood, and with the pleasantry of Lucian; to which I cannot forbear adding, the Scribleriad of Mr. Cambridge, the Machinæ Gesticulantes of Addison, the Hobbinol of Somerville, and the Trivia of Gay; the Battle of the Wigs of Thornton, and the Triumph of Temper of Hayley.
If some of the most candid among the French critics begin to acknowledge, that they have produced nothing in point of sublimity and majesty equal to the Paradise Lost, we may also venture to affirm, that in point of delicacy, elegance, and fine-turned raillery, on which they have so much valued themselves, they have produced nothing equal to the Rape of the Lock. What comes nearest to it, is the pleasing and elegant Ver-vert of Gresset, in which the foibles of the Nuns are touched with so delicate a hand, and such nice ridicule, that it cannot disgust the most religious prude.
The learned and ingenious Mr. Cambridge has, in the Preface to his Scribleriad, made a remark so new and so solid, as to deserve examination and attention.
He says, that in first reading the four celebrated mock-heroic poems, he perceived they had all some radical defect. That at last he found, by a diligent perusal of Don Quixote, that propriety was the fundamental excellence of that work. That all the marvellous was reconcileable to probability, as the author leads his hero into that species of absurdity only, which it was natural for an imagination, heated with the continual reading of books of chivalry, to fall into. That the want of attention to this was the fundamental error of those poems. For with what propriety do Churchmen, Physicians, Beaux, and Belles, or Booksellers, in the