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Some thought it mounted to the lunar sphere, Since all things lost on earth are treasured there. There heroes' wits are kept in ponderous vases, And beaux' in snuff-boxes and tweezer-cases: 116 There broken Vows and death-bed alms are
found, And lovers' hearts with ends of riband bound; The courtier's promises, and sick men's prayers, The smiles of harlots, and the tears of heirs, 120 Cages for gnats, and chains to yoke a flea, Dried butterflies, and tomes of casuistry.
But trust the Muse—she saw it upward rise, Though mark’d by none but quick, poetic eyes : So Rome's great founder to the heavens withdrew,
125 To Proculus alone confess'd in view. A sudden star, it shot through liquid air, And drew behind a radiant trail of hair. Not Berenice's locks first rose so bright, The heavens bespangling with dishevelld light. The sylphs behold it kindling as it flies, 131 And pleased pursue its progress through the skies.
113 Mounted to the lunar sphere. This is scarcely more than a translation of Ariosto’s lines:
Cio che in somma quà giù perdesti mai,
Là su saltendo ritrovar potrai. Warton observes Ariosto's fearlessness in placing among the fictions in the lunar limbo, the notorious · Deed of Constantine,' by which he was said to have given temporal dominion to the church of Rome.
Questo era il dono (se pero dir lece)
Che Constantino al buon Silvestro fece. 128 Flammiferumque trahens spatioso limite crinem Stella micat.
Ovid. Met. xv. 849.
This the beau-monde shall from the Mall sur
vey, And hail with music its propitious ray; This the bless'd lover shall for Venus take, 135 And send up vows from Rosamonda's lake; This Partridge soon shall view in cloudless skies, When next he looks through Galileo's eyes ; And hence the egregious wizard shall foredoom The fate of Louis and the fall of Rome. 140 Then cease, bright nymph! to mourn thy ra
vish'd hair, Which adds new glory to the shining sphere ! Not all the tresses that fair head can boast, Shall draw such envy as the lock you lost. For after all the murders of your eye, 145 When, after millions slain, yourself shall die; When those fair suns shall set, as set they must, And all those tresses shall be laid in dust; This lock the Muse shall consecrate to fame, And ʼmidst the stars inscribe Belinda's name. 150 KEY TO THE LOCK.
139 The egregious wizard. 'Partridge, the almanac-maker, who had incurred the especial wrath of Pope and Swift: he was the popular prophet of wind and weather, of the death of great men, and the fall of kingdoms; the Francis Moore of his day. Partridge had a peculiar aversion to the pope and the French king; and regularly predicted the extinction of the one, and the overthrow of the other.
On the republication of the RAPE OF The Lock, with the additions, in 1714, Dennis attacked it again, making strong charges of disloyalty against the author. The times were turbulent, and perpetual rumors of conspiracies made public and private characters equally unsafe. Pope, whose politics were known to be unfavorable to the court, was peculiarly exposed to those calumnies; and for the purpose of showing their weakness, thus humorously allegorised his poem.
KEY TO THE LOCK;
A TREATISE, proving beyond all contradiction the dangerous
tendency of a late poem, intitled, “The RAPE OF THE Lock,' to government and religion.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR MDCCXIV.
Since this unhappy division of our nation into parties, it is not to be imagined how many artifices have been made use of by writers to obscure the truth, and cover designs which may be detrimental to the public: in particular, it has been their custom of late to vent their political spleen in allegory and fable.* If an honest believing nation is to be made a jest of, we have a story of John Bull and his wife; if a treasurer is to be glanced at, an ant with a white straw is introduced ; if a treaty of commerce is to be ridiculed, it is immediately metamorphosed into a tale of count Tariff.
But if any of these malevolents have a small talent in rhyme, they principally delight to convey their malice in that pleasing way; as it were, gilding the pill, and concealing the poison under the sweetness of numbers.
* Alluding to Swift's allegorical history of John Bull, and other ironical pieces, on the side of the tories.
The ant with the white straw, is lord Oxford, with the treasurer's white wand.-Bowles.
It is the duty of every well-designing subject to prevent, as far as he can, the ill consequences of such pernicious treatises; and I hold it mine to warn the public of a late poem, intitled, “The Rape of the Lock;' which I shall demonstrate to be of this nature.
It is a common and just observation, that, when the meaning of any thing is dubious, one can no way better judge of the true intent of it, than by considering who is the author, what is his character in general, and his disposition in particular.
Now, that the author of this poem is a reputed papist, is well known; and that a genius so capable of doing service to that cause may have been corrupted in the course of his education by Jesuits or others, is justly very much to be suspected ; notwithstanding that seeming coolness and moderation, which he had been, perhaps artfully, reproached with by those of his own persuasion. They are sensible, that this nation is secured by good and wholesome laws, to prevent all evil practices of the church of Rome; particularly the publication of books, that may in any sort propagate that doctrine: their authors are therefore obliged to couch their designs the deeper; and though I cannot aver the intention of this gentleman was directly to spread popish doctrines, yet it comes to the same point if he touch the government ; for the court of Rome knows very well, that the church at this time is so firmly founded on the state, that the only way to shake the one is by attacking the other.
What confirms me in this opinion, is an accidental discovery I made of a very artful piece of management among his popish friends and abettors, to hide his whole design on the government, by taking all the characters on themselves.
On the day that this poem was published, it was my