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ALEXANDER POPE, an English poet of great emi- ample remuneration for his labor. This noble work Dence, was born in London in 1688. His father, was published in separate volumes, each containwho appears to have acquired wealth by trade, was ing four books; and the produce of the subscripa Roman Catholic, and being disaffected to the tion enabled him to take that house at Twickpolitics of King William, he retired to Binfield, in enham which he made so famous by his residence Windsor Forest, where he purchased a small house and decorations. He brought hither his father and with some acres of land, and lived frugally upon mother; of whom the first parent died two years the fortune he had saved. Alexander, who was from afterwards. The second long survived, to be cominfancy of a delicate habit of body, after learning to forted by the truly filial attentions of her son. About read and write at home, was placed about his eighth this period he probably wrote his Epistle from year under the care of a Romish priest, who taught " Eloisa to Abelard,” partly founded upon the ex. him the rudiments of Latin and Greek. His nat- tant letters of these distinguished persons. He has ural fondness for books was indulged about this rendered this one of the most impressive poems of period by Ogilby's translation of Homer, and San- which love is the subject; as it is likewise the dy's of Ovid's Metamorphoses, which gave him most finished of all his works of equal length, in so much delight, that they may be said to have made point of language and versification. The exag. him a poet. He pursued his studies unde different geration, however, which he has given to the most priests, to whom he was consigned. At length he impassioned expressions of Eloisa, and his deviabecame the director of his own pursuits, the variety tions from the true story, have been pointed out by of which proved that he was by no means deficient Mr. Berrington in his lives of the two lovers. in industry, though his reading was rather excursive During the years in which he was chiefly engaged than methodical. From his early years poetry was with the lliad, he published several occasional adopted by him as a profession, for his poetical works, to which he usually prefixed very elegant reading was always accompanied with attempts at prefaces; but the desire of farther emolument inimitation or translation; and it may be affirmed duced him to extend his translation to the Odyssey, that he rose at once almost to perfection in this walk. in which task he engaged two inferior hands, His manners and conversation were equally beyond whom he paid out of the produce of a new subhis years; and it does not appear that he ever cul- scription. He himself, however, translated twelve tivated friendship with any one of his own age or books out of the twenty-four, with a happiness not condition.
inferior to his Iliad; and the transaction, conducied Pope's Pastorals were first printed in a volume in a truly mercantile spirit, was ihe source of conof Tonson's Miscellanies in 1709, and were generally siderable profit to him. After the appearance of admired for the sweetness of the versification, and the Odyssey, Pope almost solely made himself the lustre of the diction, though they betrayed a known as a satirist and moralist. In 1728 he pul want of original observation, and an artificial cast lished the three first books of the “ Dunciad,” a of sentiment: in fact, they were any thing rather kind of mock-heroic, the object of which was to than real pastorals. In the mean time he was exer- overwhelm with indelible ridicule all his antago cising himself in compositions of a higher class; nists, together with some other authors whom spleen and by his “ Essay on Criticism,” published two or party led him to rank among the dunces, though years afterwards, he obtained a great accession of they had given him no personal offence. Notwith. reputation, merited by the comprehension of thought, standing that the diction and versification of this the general good sense, and the frequent beauty of poem are labored with the greatest care, we shall illustration which it presents, though it displays borrow nothing from it. Its imagery is often ex. many of the inaccuracies of a juvenile author. In tremely gross and offensive; and irritability, ill 1712 his “ Rape of the Lock," a mock-heroic, nature, and partiality, are so prominent through the made its first appearance, and conferred upon him whole, that whatever he gains as a poet he loses as the best title he possesses to the merit of invention. a man. He has, indeed, a claim to the character of The machinery of the Sylphs was afterwards added, a satirist in this production, but none at all to that an exquisite fancy-piece, wrought with unrivalled of a moralist. skill and beauty. The Temple of Fame," altered The other selected pieces, though not entirely from Chaucer, though partaking of the embarrass- free from the same defects, may yet be tolerated ; ments of the original plan, has many passages which and his noble work called the “ Essay on Man," may rank with his happiest efforts.
which may stand in the first class of ethical poems, In the year 1713, Pope issued proposals for pub- does not deviate from the style proper to its topic. lishing a translation Homer's Ilis the success This piece gave an exa of the poet's extraor. of which soon removed all doubt of its making an dinary power of managing argumentation in verse, accession to his reputation, whilst it afforded an and of compressing his thoughts into clauses of 45
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the most energetic brevity, as well as of expanding tion of a Catholic friend, with the ceremonies of them into passages distinguished by every poetic that religion, he quietly expired on May 30th, 1744, ornament. The origin of this essay is, however, at the age of fifty-six. He was interred at Twicken. generally ascribed to Lord Boling broke, who was ham, where a monument was erected to his memory adopted by the author as his “guide, philosopher, by the commentator and legatee of his writings, and friend ;" and there is little doubt that, with re- bishop Warburton. spect to mankind in general, Pope adopted, without Regarded as a poet, while it is allowed that Pope always fully understanding, the system of Boling. was deficient in invention, his other qualifications broke.
will scarcely be disputed ; and it will generally be On his works in prose, among which a collection admitted that no English writer has carried to a of letters appears conspicuous, it is unnecessary here greater degree correctness of versification, strength to remark. His life was not prolonged to the period and splendor of diction, and the truly poetical of old age: an oppressive asthma indicated an early power of vivifying and adorning every subject that decline, and accumulated infirmities incapacitated he touched. The popularity of his productions has him from pursuing the plan he had formed for new been proved by their constituting a school of English works After having complied, through the instiga- poetry, which in part continues to the present time.
Or virgins visited by angel-powers,
Hear, and believe! thy own importance know,
Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.
Some secret truths, from learned pride conceal'd, Written in the Year 1712.
To maids alone and children are reveal'd;
What, though 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, though unseen, are ever on the wing,
Hang o'er the box, and hover round the ring. What dire offence from amorous causes springs, Think what an equipage thou hast in air, What mighty contests rise from trivial things, And view with scorn two pages and a chair. I sing—this verse to Caryl, Muse! is due : As now your own, our beings were of old, This e'en Belinda may vouchsafe to view:
And once inclos'd in woman's beauteous mould; Slight is the subject, but not so the praise, Thence, by a soft transition, we repair If she inspire, and he approve my lays.
From earthly vehicles to these of air. Say what strange motive, goddess! could compel Think not, when woman's transient breath is filed, A well-bred lord t' assault a gentle belle ? That all her vanities at once are dead : O say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd, Succeeding vanities she still regards, Could make a gentle belle reject a lord ?
And though she plays no more, o'erlooks the cards In tasks so bold, can little men engage?
Her joy in gilded chariots, when alive, And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage? And love of ombre, after death survive. Sol through white curtains shot a timorous ray,
For when the fair in all their pride expire, and ope'd those eyes that must eclipse the day :
To their first elements their souls retire: Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake, The sprites of fiery termagants in flame And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake: Mount up, and take a Salamander's name. Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock'd the ground, Soft yielding minds to water glide away, And the press'd watch return'd a silver sound. And sip, with nymphs, their elemental iea. Belinda still her downy pillow prest,
The graver prude sinks downward to a Gnome, Her guardian Sylph prolong'd the balmy rest : In search of mischief still on Earth to roam. 'Twas he had summon’d to her silent bed
The light coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair, The morning dream that hover'd o'er her head. And sport and futter in the fields of air. A youth more glittering than a birth-night beau “Know farther yet; whoever fair and chaste (That ev'n in slumber caus'd her cheek to glow) Rejects mankind, is by some Sylph embrac'd : Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay, For, spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say: Assume what sexes and what shapes they please
“Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care What guards the purity of melling maids, of thousand bright inhabitants of air!
In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades, If e'er one vision touch thy infant thought, Safe from the treacherous friend, the daring spark, Of all the nurse and all the priest have taught; The glance by day, the whisper in the dark, Of airy elves by moonlight shadows seen, When kind occasion prompts their warm desires, 'The silver token, and the circled green,
When music softens, and when dancing fires ?
'Tis but their Sylph, the wise celestials know, The busy Sylphs surround their darling care:
And Betty's prais'd for labors her own.
Not with more glories in th' ethereal plain,
The Sun first rises o'er the purpled main, 'Tis these that early taint the female soul, Than, issuing forth, the rival of his beams Instruct the eyes of young coquettes to roll,
Launch'd on the bosom of the silver'd Thames. Teach infant cheeks a bidden blush to know, Fair nymphs and well-dress'd youths around her And little hearts to flutter at a beau.
shone, “Oft, when the world imagine women stray,
every eye was fix'd on her alone. The Sylphs through mystic mazes guide their way, On her wh breast a sparkling cross she wore, Through all the giddy circle they pursue,
Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore. And old impertinence expel by new.
Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,
Quick as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those :
And, like the Sun, they shine on all alike.
If to her share some female errors fall,
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind, Oh, blind to truth! the Sylphs contrive it all.
Nourish'd two locks, which graceful hung behind, “Of these am I, who thy protection claim, In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name. With shining ringlets the smooth ivory neck. Late, as I rang’d the crystal wilds of air,
Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains, In the clear mirror of thy ruling star
And mighty hearts are held in slender chains. I saw, alas ! some dread event impend,
With hairy springes we the birds betray; Ere to the main this morning sun descend ;
Slight lines of hair surprise the finny prey ; But Heaven reveals not what, or how, or where.
Fair tresses man's imperial race ensnare, Warn’d by the Sylph, oh pious maid, beware! And Beauty draws us with a single hair. This to disclose is all thy guardian can:
Th’adventurous baron the bright locks admir'd Beware of all, but most beware of man!" [long, He saw, he wish’d, and to the prize aspir'd.
He said ; when Shock, who thought she slept too Resolv'd to win, he meditates the way, Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue. By force to ravish, or by fraud betray ; 'Twas then, Belinda, if report say true,
For when success a lover's toil attends, Thy eyes first open'd on a billet-doux;
Few ask if fraud or force attain'd his ends. Wounds, charms, and ardors were no sooner read, For this, ere Phæbus rose, he had implor'd But all the vision vanish'd from thy head. Propitious Heaven, and every power ador'd;
And now, unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd, But chiefly Love—to Love an altar built, Each silver vase in mystic order laid.
of twelve vast French romances, neatly gilt. First, rob'd in white, the nymph intent adores, There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves, With head uncover'd, the cosmetic powers. And all the trophies of his former loves. A heavenly image in the glass appears,
With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre, To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears; And breathes three amorous sighs to raise the fire. Th' inferior priestess, at her altar's side,
Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes Trembling, begins the sacred rites of Pride. Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize : Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here The powers gave ear, and granted half his prayer; The various offerings of the world appear;
The rest, the winds dispers'd in empty air. From each she nicely culls with curious toil, But now secure the painted vessel glides, And decks the goddess with the glittering spoil. The sunbeams trembling on the floating tides : This casket India's glowing gems unlocks, While melting music steals upon the sky, And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
And soften'd sounds along the waters die ; The tortoise here and elephant unite,
Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gentle play, Transform’d to combs, the speckled and the white. Belinda smild, and all the world was gay, Here files of pins extend their shining rows, All but the Sylph—with careful thoughts opprest, Puffs, powders, patches, Bibles, billet-doux. Th’impending woe sat heavy on his breast. Now awful Beauty puts on all its arms;
He summons straight his denizens of air; The fair each moment rises in her charms, The lucid squadrons round the sails repair: Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace,
Soft o'er the shrouds aëreal whispers breathe, And calls forth all the wonders of her face: That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath. Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
Some to the Sun their insect wings unfold, And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes. Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold;
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight, Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain,
While clogg'd he beats his silken wings in vain ;
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 towers, 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,
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 10 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 fifty 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 bodkin's eye:
Led off two captive trumps, 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,
( The hoary Majesty of Spades appears,
How soon they find fit instruments of ill!
Present the spear, and arm him for the fight.
As o'er the fragrant steams she bends her head.
Swift to the Lock a thousand Sprites repair,
thousand wings, by turns, blow back the hair ; His warlike Amazon her host invades,
And thrice they twitch'd the diamond in her ear;
As on the nosegay in her breast reclin'd,
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,
(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.
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,