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raise a mutiny; but Discord cannot conduct a march, nor besiege a town. Pope brought in view a new race of beings, with powers and passions proportionate to their operation. The Sylphs and Gnomes act, at the toilet and the table, what more terrific and more powerful phantoms perform on the stormy ocean, or the field of battle; they give their proper help, and do their proper mischief.
"Pope is said, by an objector, not to have been the inventor of this petty nation; a charge which might with more justice have been brought against the author of the 'Iliad,' who doubtless adopted the religious system of his country; for what is there, but the names of his agents, which Pope has not invented? Has he not assigned them characters and operations never heard of before? Has he not, at least, given them their first poetical existence? If this is not sufficient to denominate his work original, nothing original ever can be written.
"In this work are exhibited, in a very high degree, the two most engaging powers of an author. New things are made familiar, and familiar things are made new. A race of aerial people, never heard of before, is presented to us in a manner so clear and easy, that the reader seeks for no further information, but immediately mingles with his new acquaintance, adopts their interests, and attends their pursuits; loves a Sylph, and detests a Gnome.
"That familiar things are made new, every paragraph will prove. The subject of the poem is an event below the common incidents of common life; nothing real is introduced that is not seen so often as to be no longer regarded; yet the whole detail of a female-day is here brought before us, invested with so much art of decoration that, though nothing is disguised, every thing is striking, and we feel all the appetite of curiosity for that from which we have a thousand times turned fastidiously away.
"The purpose of the poet is, as he tells us, to laugh at' the little unguarded follies of the female sex.' It is therefore without justice that Dennis charges the ' Rape of the Lock' with the want of a moral, and for that reason sets it below the ' Lutrin,' which exposes the pride and discord of the clergy. Perhaps neither Pope nor Boileau has made the world much better than he found it; but, if they had both succeeded, it were easy to tell who would have deserved most from public gratitude. The freaks, and humours, and spleen, and vanity, of women, as they embroil families in discord, and fill houses with disquiet, do more to obstruct the happiness of life in a year than the ambition of the clergy in many centuries, b It has been well observed, that the misery of man proceeds not from any single crush of overwhelming evil, but from small vexations continually repeated.
b Perhaps the reverse of this might with more truth be asserted; but we are generally little concerned about the evils which seem at too great a distance to affect us.
"It is remarked by Dennis likewise, that the machinery is superfluous; that, by all the bustle of preternatural operation, the main event is neither hastened nor retarded. To this charge an efficacious answer is not easily made. The sylphs cannot be said to help or to oppose; and it must be allowed to imply some want of art, that their power has not been sufficiently intermingled with the action. Other parts may likewise be charged with want of connection; the game at ombre might be spared: but, if the lady had lost her hair while she was intent upon her cards, it might have been inferred that those who are too fond of play will be in danger of neglecting