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Soft yielding minds to water glide away,
And sip with Nymphs, their elemental tea.
The graver Prude sinks downward to a gnome,
In search of mischief still on earth to roam.
The light Coquettes in sylphs aloft repair.
And sport and flutter in the fields of air.

The description of the * toilette, which succeeds, is judiciously given in such magnificent terms as dignify the offices performed at it. Belinda dressing, is painted in as pompous a manner as Achilles arming. The canto ends with a circumstance artfully contrived to keep this beautiful machinery

Mortua lascivum resoluta liquescit in ignem,

Aut abit in molles singula nympha notos:
.Sitheriosque trahens haustus, tenuissima turba,

Versat ad aestivum lucida membra jubar. 1
Gaudet adhuc circum molles operosa puellas

Versari, et veneres suppeditare novas.
Curat uti dulces commendent oscula risus,

Purior ut sensim prodeat ore rubor:
Ne quatiat comptos animosior aura capillos,

Nec ftpdet pulcras pustula saeva genas:
Neve recens macula violetur purpura palli,

Excidat aut niveo pendula gemma sinu.
Corpora nympharum vacuas tenuentur in auras;

At studia in memori pectore prisca manent.

Carm. Quadrages. vol. ii. pag. 32. Oxon. 1748.

* Cant. i. ver. 121.

nery in the reader's eye: for after the poet has said, that the fair heroine

Repairs her smiles, awakens ev'ry grace,
And calls forth all the wonders of her face,*

He immediately subjoins,

The busy sylphs surround their darling care;
These set the head, and those divide the hair:
Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown;
And Betty's prais'd for labours not her own.

The mention of the LocK,f on which the poem turns, is rightly reserved to the second canto. The sacrifice of the Baron to implore success to his undertaking, is another instance of our poet's judgment, in heightening the subject. J The succeeding scene of sailing upon the Thames is most gay and delightful, and impresses very pleasing pictures upon the imagination. Here, too, the machinery is again introduced with much propriety. Ariel summons his denizens of air,


* Ver. 141. t Cant. ii. ver. 21,

% Ver. 37.

who are thus painted with a rich exuberance of fancy:

Some to the sun their insect wings unfold,

Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold:

Transparent forms, too thin for mortal sight,

Their fluid bodres half dissolv'd in light.
Loose to the wind their airy garments flew,

Thin glittering textures of the filmy dew,

Dipt in the richest tincture of the skies,

Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes;

While'every beam new transient colours flings;

Colours, that change whene'er they wave their wings.'1*

Ariel afterwards enumerates the functions and employments of the sylphs, in the following manner; where some are supposed to delight in more gross, and others in more refined, occupations.

Ye know the spheres and various tasks, assign'd
By laws eternal to th' aerial kind.
Some in the fields of purest aether play,
And bask and brighten in the blaze of day;
Some guide the course of wand'ring orbs on high,
Or roll the planets through the boundless sky;
Some, less refin'd, beneath the moon's pale light,
Pursue the stars, that shoot across the night.


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Or suck the mists in grosser air below,
Or dip their pinions in the painted bow,
Or brew fierce tempests on the wintry main,
Or o'er the glebe distil the kindly rain.*

Those who are fond of tracing images and sentiments to their source, may, perhaps, be inclined to think, that the hint of ascribing tasks and offices to such imaginary beings, is taken from the Fairies and the Ariel of Shakespeare: let the impartial critic determine which has the superiority of fancy. The employment of Ariel, in the Tempest, is said to be,

— To tread the ooze

Of the salt deep;

To run upon the sharp wind of the north;
To do—business in the veins of th' earth,
When it is bak'd with frost;To dive into the fire; to ride


On the curl'd clouds.

And again,

-T- — In the deep nook, where once

Thou call'd'stme up at midnight, to fetch dew

From the still-vext Bermoothes.— — —

Cant. ii. ver. 75.


Nor must I omit that exquisite song, in which his favourite and peculiar pastime is expressed.

Where the bee sucks, there suck I;

In a cowslip's bell I lie;

There I couch when owls do cry.

On the bat's back I do fly,

After sun-set, merrily:
Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.

With what wildness of imagination, but yet with what propriety, are the amusements of the fairies pointed out in the Midsummer Night's Dream: amusements proper for none but fairies!

Tore the third part of a minute, hence:

Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds:
Some war with rear-mice for their leathern wings.
To make my small elves coats; and some keep back
The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots, and wonders
At our queint spirits. — — — — —

Shakespeare only could have thought of the following gratifications for Titania's lover; and they are fit only to be offered, to her lover, by a fairyqueen.


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