« AnteriorContinuar »
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight, Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain,
While clogg'd he beats his silken wings in vain ;
Shrink his thin essence like a shrivell’d flower : Dipp'd in the richest tinctures of the skies, Or, as Ixion fix'd, the wretch shall feel Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes, The giddy motion of the whirling mill, While every beam new transient colors flings, In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow, Colors that change whene'er they wave their wings. And tremble at the sea that froths below !" Amid the circle on the gilded mast
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,
CANTO 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 refin’d, 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 tea. 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, Nay oft, in dreams, invention we bestow,
The Sun obliquely shoots his burning ray: To change a flounce, or add a furbelow.
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 bod kin's eye: Led off two captive trumpe, and swept the board.
As many more Manillio forc'd to yield,
Ah cease, rash youth ; desist ere 'tis too late,
But when to mischief mortals bend their will,
How soon they find fit instruments of ill!
Present the spear, and arm him for the fight.
Swift to the Lock a thousand Sprites repair,
A thousand wings, by turns, blow back the hair;
And thrice they twitch'd the diamond in her ear;
As on the nosegay in her breast reclin'd,
Sudden he view'd, in spite of all her art,
Amaz'd, confus'd, he found his power expir'd,
T" inclose the Lock; now joins it, to divide.
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,)
The meeting points the sacred hair dissever
From the fair head, for ever, and for ever!
Then flash'd the living lightning from her eyes,
The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts, Not louder shrieks to pitying Heaven are cast,
(The victor cried,) the glorious prize is mine!
O thoughtless mortals ! ever blind to fate, What time would spare, from steel receives its date,
And monuments, like men, submit to Fale.
Steel could the labor of the gods destroy,
And strike to dust th' imperial powers of Troy ;
What wonder then, fair nymph! thy hairs should feel
Not ardent lovers robb'd of all their bliss,
Not tyrants fierce that unrepenting die,
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 flits the Gnome, A vial next she fills with fainting fears, And in a vapor reach'd the dismal dome.
Soft sorrows, melting griess, and flowing tears. No cheerful breeze this sullen region knows, The Gnome rejoicing bears her gifts away, The dreaded east is all the wind that blows. Spreads his black wings, and slowly mounts to-day Here in a grotto, shelter'd close from air,
Sunk in Thalestris' arms the nymph he found, And screen'd in shades from day's detested glare, Her eyes dejected, and her hair unbound. She sighs for ever on her pensive bed,
Full o'er their heads the swelling bag he rent, Pain at her side, and Megrim at her head. And all the Furies issued at the vent.
Two handmaids wait the throne: alike in place, Belinda burns with more than mortal ire, But differing far in figure and in face,
And fierce Thalestris fans the rising fire. Hero stood Ill-nature like an ancient maid, “O wretched maid !” she spread her hands, and cried, Her wrinkled form in black and white array'd ; (While Hampton's echoes, wretched maid! replied) With store of prayers, for mornings, nights, and "Was it for this you took such constant care noons,
The bodkin, comb, and essence, to prepare ? Her hand is fill’d; her bosom with lampoons. For this your locks in paper durance bound, There Affectation, with a sickly mien,
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 ? Faints into airs, and languishes with pride, Gods! shall the ravisher display your hair, On the rich quilt sinks with becoming woe, While the fops envy, and the ladies stare ! Wrapt in a gown, for sickness, and for show. Honor forbid! at whose unrivall’d shrine The fair-ones feel such maladies as these,
Ease, pleasure, virtue, all our sex resign.
A constant vapor o'er the palace flies ; 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! of bodies chang’d to various forms by Spleen. Sooner shall grass in Hyde-Park Circus grow, Here living tea-pots stand, one arm held out, And wits take lodgings in the sound of Bow! One bent; the handle this, and that the spout: Sooner let earth, air, sea, to chaos fall, A pipkin there, like Homer's tripod, walks ; Men, monkeys, lap-dogs, parrots, perish all !" Here sighs a jar, and there a goose-pie talks ; She said ; then raging to Sir Plume repairs, Men prove with child, as powerful fancy works, And bids her beau demand the precious hairs : And maids, turn'd bottles, call aloud for corks. (Sir Plume of amber snuff-box justly vain,
Safe past the Gnome through this fantastic band, And the nice conduct of a clouded cane,) A branch of healing spleen-wor: in his hand, With earnest eyes, and round unthinking face, Then thus address'd the power :-"Hail, wayward He first the snuff-box open'd, then the case, queen!
And thus broke out:-“ My Lord, why, what the Who rule the sex to fifty from fifteen :
deyil? 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; A nymph there is, that all thy power disdains, But by this Lock, this sacred Lock, I swear, And thousands more in equal mirth maintains. (Which never more shall join its parted hair; But, oh! if e'er thy Gnome could spoil a grace, Which never more its honors shall renew, Or raise a pimple on a beauteous face,
Clipp'd from the lovely head where late it grew.) Like citron-waters, matrons' cheeks inflame, That while my nostrils draw the vital air, Or change complexions at a losing game;
This hand, which won it, shall for ever wear." If e'er with airy horns I planted heads,
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 heav'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 Mwander's flowery margin lies
Th' expiring swan, and as he sings he dies. 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 smild 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 more 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 lights, and screams, and scolding Nor think, to die dejects my losty 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 caree, 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 confessd in human shape he draws, Roard for the handkerchief that caus'd his pain. What Plato thought, and godlike Cato was : But see how oft ambitious aims are crossd, 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, obtain'd 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 onvies 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 alre 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 ea,
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,
dued ; 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.
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 unfortu. When, 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 tresses 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
Tyrants no more their savage nature kept, Yet, yet I love ! -From Abelard it came,
Dear, fatal name! rest ever unreveal'd,
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, mix'd with God's, his lov'd idea lies :