« PreviousContinue »
Form a strong line about the silver bound,
Soon as she spreads her hand, th? aërial guard And guard the wide circuinference around.
Descend, and sit on each important card: Whatever spirit, careless of his charge,
First Ariel perch'd upon a Matadore, His post neglects, or leaves the fair at large, Then each according to the rank they bore; Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his sins, For Sylphs, yet mindful of their ancient race, Be stopp'd in vials, or transfix'd with pins; Are, as when women, wondrous fond of place. Or plung'd in lakes of bitter washes lie,
Behold, four kings in majesty rever'd, Or wedg'd whole ages in a bodkin's eye:
With hoary whiskers and a forky beard ; Gums and pomatuins shall his flight restrain, And four fair queens, whose hands sustain a flower, While clogg'd he beats his silken wings in vain; Th'expressive emblem of their softer power ; Or alum styptics with contracting power
Four knaves in garbs succinct, a trusty Vand; Shrink his thin essence like a shrivel'd flower; Caps on their heads, and halberts in their hand; Or, as Ixion fix'd, the wretch shall feel
And party-coloured troops, a shining train, The giddy inotion of the whirling mill,
Drawn forth to combat on the velvet plain. In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow,
The skilful nymph reviews her force with care: And tremble at the sea that froths below!"
Let spades betrimps! shesaid,and trumps they were. He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend: Now move to war her sable Matadores, Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend ; In show like leaders of the swarthy Moors. Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair;
Spadillio first, unconquerable lord ! Some hang upon the pendants of her ear;
Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board.
And march'd a victor from the verdant field.
With his broad sabre next, a chief in years,
The hoary Majesty of Spades appears,
Puts forth one manly leg, to sight reveal’d, Where Thames with pride surveys his rising towers, The rest, his many-colour'd robe conceal'd. There stands a structure of majestic frame,
The rebel knare, who dares his prince engage, Which from the neighbouring Hampton takes its
Proves the just victim of his royal rage.
Evin miglity Pam, that kings and queens o'es. Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom
threw, Of foreign tyrants, and of nymphs at home;
And now'd down armies in the Gghts of Lu, Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey, Sad chance of war! pow destitute of aid, Dost sometiines counsel takeand sometimes tea,
Falls undistinguish'd by the victor Spade ! Hither the heroes and the nymphs resort,
Thus far both armies to Belinda yield; 'To taste awhile the pleasures of a court;
Now to the baron Fate inclines the field. In various talk th' instructive hours they past, 11 His warlike Amazon her host invades, Who gave the ball, or paid the visit last;
Th' imperial consort of the crown of Spades. One speaks the glory of the British queen,
The Club's black tyrant first her victim dy'd, And one describes a charming Indian screen ;
Spite of his haughty inien, and barbarous pride; A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes ;
What boots the regal circle on his head, At every word a reputation dies.
His giant limbs in state unwieldy spread; Snuff, or the fan, supply each pause of chat, That long behind he trails his pompous robe, With singing, laughing, ogling, and all that.
And, of all monarchs, only grasps the globe? Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day,
The baron now his Diamonds pours apace; The Sun obliqnely shoots his burning ray:
Th' embruider'd king who shows but half his face, The hungry judges soon the sentence sign,
And his refulgent qucen, with powers coinbind, And wretches bang, that jurymen may dine; The merchant from th’ Exchange returns in peace, Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, in wild disorder seen,
Of broken troops an easy conquest find. And the long labours of the toilet cease. 24
With throngs promiscuous strow the level green. Belinda now, whom thirst of fame invites,
Thus when dispers'd a routed army runs, Burns to encounter two adventurous knights,
Of Asia's troops, and Afric's sable sons, At Ombre singly to decide their doom;
With like confusion ditlerı nt nations fly, And swells her breast with conquests yet to come, Of various habit, and of various dye, Straight the three bands prepare in arms to join,
The pierc'd battalions disunited fall, Each band the number of the sacred nine.
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 Ver. 1. Close by those meads,] The first edi
Hearts. tion continues from this line to ver. 24, of this At this, the blood the virgin's cheek forsook, Canto, .
A livid paleness spreads o'er all her look;
In various talk the cheerful hours they past, Just in the jaws of ruin, and Codille.
And now (as oft in some distemper'd state) Ver. 24. And the long labours of the toilet On one nice trick depends the general fate, cease.] All that follows of the game at Ombre, was
An Ace of Hearts steps forth : the king unseen added since the first edition, till ver. 105, which Lurk'd in her hand, and mourn'd his captive queen : connected thus :
He springs to vengeance with an eager pace, Sudden the board with cups and spoons is crown'd.
And falls like thunder on the prostrate Ace.'
The nymph exulting fills with shouts the sky; Not louder shrieks to pitying Heaven are cast,
last ! Too soon dejected, and too soon elate.
Or when rich China vessels, fall’n from high, Sudden, these honours shall be snatch'd away,103 In glittering dust and painted fragments lie ! And curs'd for ever this victorious day.
Let wreaths of triumph now my temples twine For lo! the board with cups and spoons is crown'd, (The victor cry'd), the glorious prize is mine! The berries crackle, and the mill turns round: While fish in streams, or birds delight in air, On shining Altars of Japan they raise
Or in a coach and six the British fair, The silver lamp; the fiery spirits blaze;
As long as Atalantis shall be read, From silver spouts the grateful liquors glide,
Or the small pillow grace a lady's bed, While China's earth receives the smoking tide :
While visits shall be paid on solemn days, At once they gratify their scent and taste,
When numerous wax-lights in bright order blaze, And frequent cups prolong the rich repast.
While nymphs take treats, or assignations give, Strait hover round the fair her airy band;
So long my honour, name, and praise, shall live! Some, as she sipp'd, the fuming liquor fann'd, What time would spare, from steel receives its date, Some o'er her lap their careful plumes display'd, And monuments, like men, submit to Fate, Trembling, and conscious of the rich brocade. Steel could the labour of the gods destroy, Coffee (which makes the politician wise,
And strike to dust th' imperial powers of Troy ; And see through all things with his half-shut eyes) Steel could the works of mortal pride confound, Sent up in vapours to the baron's brain
And hew triumphal arches to the ground. New stratagems, the radiant lock to gain.
What worvler then, fair nymph! thy hairs should Ah cease, rash youth ; desist ere 'tis too late, The conquering force of unresisted steel? [feel Fear the just Gods, and think of Scylla's fate! 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 instruments of ill !
But anxious cares the pensive nymph oppress'd, Just then, Clarissa drew, with tempting grace,
And secret passions labour'd in her breast. A two edg'd weapon from her shining case:
Not youthful kings in battle seiz'd alive, So ladies, in Romance, assist their knight,
Not scornful virgins who their charms survive, Present the spear, and arın him for the fight.
Not ardent lovers robb'd of all their bliss, He takes the gift with reverence, and extends
Not ancient ladies when refu'd a kiss, The little engine on his fingers ends;
Not tyrants fierce that unrepenting die, This just behind Belinda's neck he spread,
Not Cynthia when her manteau's pinn’d aury, As o'er the fragrant steams she bends her head. 134
E'er felt such rage, resentment, and despair, Swift to the Lork a thousand Sprites repair, A thousand wings, by turns, blow back the hair ;
As thou, sad virgin! for thy ravishd hair.
For, that sad moment, when the Sylphs withAnd thrice they twitch'd the diamond in her ear; Thrice she look'd back, and thrice the foedrew near.
And Ariel weeping from Belinda tiew,
I'mbriel, a dusky, melancholy sprite,
As ever sully'd the fair face of light,
Down to the central earth, his proper scene, As on the nosegay in her breast recliud,
Repair'd to search the gloomy cave of Spleen. He watch'd th' ideas rising in her mind,
Swift on his sooty pinions Mits the Cinomc, Sudden he view'd, in spite of all her art,
And in a vapour reach'd the dismal dome. An earthly lover lurking at her heart.
No cheerful breeze this sullen region kuows, Amaz'd, confus'd, he found his power expir'd,
The dreaded east is all the wind that blows. Resign'd to fate, and with a sigh retir'd.
Here in a grotto, shelter'd close from air, The peer now spreads the glittering forfex wide,
And screen'd in shades from day's detested glare, T'enclose the lock; now joins it, to divide,
She sighs for ever on her pensive bed,
Pain at her side, and Megrim at her head.
Two handmaids wait the throne: alike in place, (But airy substance soon unites again)
Here stood Ill-nature like an ancient maid, The meeting points the sacred hair dissever
Her wrinkled form in black and white array'd; From the fair head, for ever, and for ever! 154
With store of prayers, for mornings, nights, and Then fash'd the living lightning from her eyes,
noons, And screams of horrour rend th' affrighted skies.
Her hand is fill'd; her bosom with lampoons.
Shows in her chcek the roses of eighteen,
VARIATIONS. Ver. 134. In the first edition it was thus :
Ver. 11. For, that sad moment, &c.] All the As o'er the fragrant stream she bends her head, lines froin hence to the 94th verse, describe the First he expands the glittering forfex wide house of Spieen, and are not in the tirst edition ; T'inclose the Lock; then joins it to divide : instead of them followed only these : The meeting points the sacred hair dissever While her rack'd soul repose and peace requires,
From the fair head, for ever and for ever. Ver: The tierce Thalestris fans the rising fires; All that is between was added afterwards. (154. and continued at the 94th verse of this canto.
Practis'd to risp, and hang the head aside, Gods! shall the rarisher display your hait,
Methinks already I your tears survey,
Already see you a degraded toast, Strange phantoms rising as the mists arise; And all your honour in a whisper lost! Dreadful, as hermits' dreams in haunted shades, How shall I, then, your helpless fame defend ? Or bright, as visions of expiring maids.
"Twill then be infamy to seem your friend! Now glaring fiends, and snakes on rolling spires, And shall this prize, th' inestiinable prize, Pale spectres, gaping tombs, and purple fires : Expos'd through crystal to the gazing eyes, Now lakes of liquid gold, Elysian scenes,
And heighten'd by the diainond's circling rays, And crystal domes, and angels in machines. On that rapacions hand for ever blaze!
Unnumber'd throngs on every side are seen, Sooner shall grass in Hyde-park Circus grow, Of bodies chang’d to various forms by Spleen. And wits take lodgings in the sound of Bow ! Here living tea-pots stand, one arm held out, Sooner let earth, air, sea, to chaos fall, One bent; the handle this, and that the spout: Men, monkeys, lap-dogs, parrots, perish all !** A pipkin there, like Homer's tripod, walks ;
She said ; then raging to sir Plume repairs, Here sighs a jar, and there a goose-pye talks ; And bids her beau demand the precious hairs: Men prove with child, as powerful fancy works, (Sir Plume of amber smuff-box justly vain, And maids, turn'd bottles, call aloud for corks. And the nice conduct of a clouded cane)
Safe past the Gnome through this fantastic band, With earnest eyes, and round unthinking face, A branch of healing spleen-wort in his hand, He first the snuff-box open'd, then the case, Then thus address'd the power-" Hail, wayward And thus broke out—" My Lord, why, what the Who rule the sex to fifty from fifteen : [queen!
“ devil? Parent of vapours, and of female wit,
“Z-ds! damn the Lock! 'fore Gad, you must be Who give th’ hysteric, or poetic fit, 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 (reply'd 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 coul spoil a grace,
Which never more its honours 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 intame, 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 c'er with airy horns I planted heads,
He spoke, and, speaking, in proud triumph spread Or rumpled petticoats, or tumbled beds,
The long-contended honours of her head. Or caus d suspicion where no soul was rude,
But l'mbriel, hateful Gnome! forbears not so; Or discompos'd the head-dress of a prude,
lle breaks the vial whence the sorrows flow. Or e'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 balf-languishing, half-droan'd in tears; Hear me, and touch Belinda with chagrin : On her heav'd bosom hung her drooping head, That single act gives half the world the spleen.” Whicb, with a sigh, she rais'd; and thus she said: The goddess with a discontented air
“For ever curs'd be this detested day,
Yet am pot I the first mistaken maid
Oh bad I rather unadmir'd reinain'd
Where the gilt chariot never marks the way, Spreads his black wings, and slowly mounts to day. Where none learn ombre, none e'er taste bohea!
Sunk in Thalestris' arms the nymph he found, There kept my charms conceal'd from mortal eye, Mer eyes dejected, and her hair unbound.
Like roses, that in deserts bloom and die. Full o'er their heads the swelling bag he rent, What mov's my mind with youthful lorıls to roam ? And all the Furies issued at the vent.
Oh had I stay'd, and said my prayers at home! Belinda burns with more than mortal ire,
"Twas this, the morning omeus seem'd to tell, And fierce Thalestris fans the rising tire. 94 Thrice from my trenibling hand the patch-box fell; "Ouretchul maid!" she spread her hands, and cry'd, The tottering china shonk without a wind, (While Hampton's echoes, wretched maid! reply'd) | Nay Poll sat mute, and Shock was most imkind ! " Was it for this you took such constant care
Sylph too waru'd me of the threats of Fate, The bodkin, comb, and essence, to prepare? In mystic visions, now believ'd 100 late ! For this your locks in paper duranee bond, See the poor reminants of these slighted hairs ! For this with torturing irons wreath'd around? My hand shall rend what evin thy rapine spares: For this with fillets strain'l your tender head, These in two sable ringlets tanght to brcak, And bravely bore the double loads of lead ! Once gave new beauties to the snowy neck ja
The Sister-lock now sits uncouth, alone,
'Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latona Hermes arms; And in its fellow's fate foresees its own ;
And all Olympus rings with loud alarıns; Uncurl'd it hangs, the fatal sheers demands, Jove's thunder roars, Heaven trembles all around, And tempts, once more, thy sacrilegious hands. Blue Neptune storms, the bellowing deeps resound: Oh hadst thou, cruel ! been content to scize Earth shakes her nodding towers, the ground gives Hairs less in sight, or any hairs but these !"
way, And the pale ghosts start at the flash of day!
Triumphant Umbriel on a sconce's height 53 Clapp'd his glad wings, and sate to view the fight :
Propp'd on their bodkin-spears, the sprites survey She said : the pitying audience melt in tears ; The growing combat, or assist the fray. But Fate and Jove had stopp'd the baron's ears.
While through the press enrag'd Thalestris flies In vain Thalestris with reproach assails,
And scatters death around from both her eyes, For who can move when fair Belinda fails ? A beau and witling perish'd in the throng, Not half so fix'd the 'Trojan could remain,
One dy'd in metaphor, and one in song. While Anna beog'd and Dido rag'd in vain. “O cruel nymph! a living death I bear," Then grave Clarissa graceful wav'd her fan; 7 Cry'd Dapperwit, and sunk beside his chair. Silence ensued, and thus the nymph began.
A mournful glance sir Fopling upwards cast, Say,why are beauties prais'd and honour'd most, “ Those eyes are made so killing"-was his last. The wise man's passion, and the vain man's toast ?
Thus on Maander's flowery inargin lies Why deck'd with all that land and sea afford,
Th' expiring swan, and as he sings he dies. Why angels call'd, and angel-like ador'd?
When bold sir Pluine had drawn Clarissa down Why round our coaches crowd the white-glova Chloe stepp'd in, and kill'd him with a frown; beaux ?
She smild to see the doughty hero slain, Why bows the side-box from its innost rows ? But, at her smile, the beau reviv'd again. How vain are all these glories, all our pains,
Now Jove suspends his golden scales in air, Unless good sense prescrve what beauty gains :
Weighs the men's wits against the lady's hair ; That men may say, when we the front-box grace,
The doubtful beam long nods from side to side; Behold the first in virtue as in face!
At length the wits mount up, the hairs subside. Oh! if to dance all night and dress all day,
See, fierce Belinda on the baron flies, Charm'd the small-pox, or chas'd old-age away;
With more than usual lightning in her eyes: Who would not scorn what housewife's cares pro
Nor fear'd the chief th' unequal light to try, duce,
Who sought no more than on his foe to die. Os who would learn one earthly thing of use?
But this bold lord, with manly strength endu'd, To patch, nay ogle, may become a saint ; She with one finger and a thumb subdued : Nor could it sure be such a sin to paint.
Just where the breath of life his nostrils drew, But since, alas! frail beauty must decay ;
A charge of snuff the wily virgin threw; Curld or uncurl'd, since Loks will turn to grey;
The Gnomes direct, to every atom just, Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade, The pungent grains of titillating dust. And she who scorns a man, must dic a maid; Sudden, with starting tears each eye o'erflows, What then remains, but well our power to use,
And the high dume re-echoes to his nose. And keep good-humour still, whatc'er we lose? “Now meet thy fate,” incens'd Belinda cry'd, And trust me, dear! good-humour can prevail, And drew a deadly bodkin froin her side. When airs, and flights, and screams, and scolding (The şaine, his ancient personage to deck, Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll; [fril. Her great-great-grandsire wore about his neck, Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.”
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, " To arms, to arms !” the fierce virago cries, 37 | The bells she jingler, and the whistle blow; And swift as lightning tớ the combat flies.
Then in a bodkin grac'd her mother's hairs, All side in parties, and begin th' attack ;
Which long she wore, and now Belinda wcars.) Fans clap, silks rustle, and tough whalebones crack;
“ Boast not my fall (he cry'd, insulting foe! Heroes' and heroines' shouts confus'dly rise,
Thou by some other shalt be laid as low. And basc and treble voices strike the skics.
Nor think, to die dejects my lofty mind : No common weapon in their hands are found;
All that I dread is leaving you behind ! Like gods they fight, nor dread a mortal wound.
Rather than so, ah let me still survive, So when bold Homer makes the gods engage,
And burn in Cupid's flames—but burn alive." And heavenly breasts with human passions rage;
“ Restore the Lock," she cries; and all around, “Restore the lock!” the vaulted roofs rebound. Not fierce Othello in so loud a strain
Roard for the handkerchief that caus'd his pain. Ver. 7. Then grave Clarissa, &c.) A new cha
But see how oft ambitious aims are cross'd, racter introduced in the subsequent editions, to
And chiefs contend till all the prize is lost! open more clearly the moral of the poern, in a The Lock, obtain’d with guilt, and kept with pain, parody of the specch of Sarpedon to Glaucus in In every place is sought, but sought in vain : Homer.
Ver. 37. To arms, to arms !] From hence the first edition goes on to the conclusion, except a very few short insertions added, to keep the ma
Ver. 53. Triumphant Umbriel] Thesc four lines chinery in view to the end of the poe
added, for the reason before mentioned.
With such a prize no mortal must be blest, Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes ;
Thence to their images on Earth it flows,
Dull sollen prisoners in the body's cage:
And, close confin'd to their own palace, sleep.
From these perhaps (ere Nature bade her die) Cages for gnats, and chains to yoke a flea,
Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky.
As into air the purer spirits Bow,
So flew the soul to its congenial place, (So Rome's great founder to the Heavens with- Nor left one yirtue to redeem her race, drew,
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good, To Proculus alone confess'd in view)
Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood : A sudden star, it shot through liquid air,
See on these ruby lips the trembling breath, And drew hehind a radiant trail of hair.
These checks now fading at the blast of Death;
Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before,
And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates;
There passengers shall stand, and pointing say,
(While the long funerals blacken all the way)
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn'd to glow, Then cease, bright nymph! to mourn thy
For others good, or melt at others woe ravish'd hair,
What can atone (uh ever-injur'd shade!) Which adds new glory to the shining sphere! Thy fate unpity'd, and thy rites unpaid ? Not all the tresses that fair head can boast, .
No friend's complaint, no kind doinestic tear Shall draw such envy as the Lock you lost.
Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier : For, after all the murders of your eye,
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd, When, after millions slain, yourself shall die z
By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos'd, When those fair suns shall set, as set they must,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd, And all those tresses shall be laid in dust,
By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd! This Lock, the Muse shall consecrate to fame,
What though no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face?
What though no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb? TO TIE MEMORY OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY.
Yet shall thy grave with rising Rowers be dress'da WHAT beckoning ghost, along the moon-light And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast : shade,
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
The ground now sacred by thy reliques made.
So, peaceful rests, without a stone, a name, Is it, in Heaven, a crime to love too well?
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame. To bear too tender, or too firm a heart,
How lor'd, how honour'd once, avails thee not, To act a lover's or a Roman's part?
To whom related, or by whom begot ;
A heap of dust alone remains of thee,
Why bade ye else, ve powers ! her soul aspire Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung,
Deaf the prais'd ear, and mute the tuneful tongue,
Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays,
Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays;
Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part, Ver. 131. The Sylphs behold,] These two lines and the last pang shall tear thee from his heart, added for the same reason, to keep in view the Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er, machinery of the poem.
The Muse forgot, and thou belor'd no more!