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This Sock the Muse shall consecrate to é tamel, • Ind imidst the Stars inscribe Belinda's Namena
Rape of the Sock.
Mrs. ARABELLA FERMOR,
MADAM, I T will be in vain ta deny that I have some regard I for this piece, since I dedicare it to you. Yet you may bear me witness, it was intended only to divert a few young Ladies, who have good sense and good humour enough to laugh not only at their fex's little unguarded follies, but at their own. But as it was communicated with the air of a Secret, it soon found its way into the world. An imperfect copy having been offer'd to a Bookseller, you had the good-nature for my fake to consent to the publication of one more correct: This I was forc'd to, before I had executed half my design, for the Machinery was entirely wanting to compleat it.
The Machinery, Madam, is a term invented by the Critics, to signify that part which the Deities, Angels, or Dæmons are made to act in a Poem : For the ancient Poets are in one respect like many modern Ladies: let an action be never so trivial in itself, they always make it appear of the utmost importance. These Machines I determind to raise on a very new and odd foundation, the Rosicrusian doctrine of Spirits.
I know how disagreeable it is to make use of hard words before a Lady ; but 'tis fo much the concern of a Poet to have his works understood, and particularly by your Sex, that you must give me leave to explain two or three difficult terms.
The Rosicrusians are a people I must bring you acquainted with. The best account I know of them is in
a French book calld Le Comte de Gabalis, which both in its title and size is so like a Novel, that many of the Fair Sex have read it for one by mistake. According to these Gentlemen, the four Elements are inhabited by Spirits, which they call Sylphs, Gnomes, Nymphs, and Salamanders. The Gnomes or Dæmons of Earth delight in mischief; but the Sylphs, whose habitation is in the Air, are the best condition'd creatures imaginable. For they say, any mortals may enjoy the most intimate familiarities with these gentle Spirits, upon a condition very easy to all true Adepts, an inviolate preservation of Chastity.
As to the following Canto's, all the passages of them are as fabulous, as the Vision at the beginning, or the
Transformation at the end ; (except the loss of your Hair, which I always mention with reverence.) The Human persons are as fictitious as the Airy ones; and the character of Belinda, as it is now manag'd, resem bles you in nothing but in Beauty,
If this Poem had as many Graces as there are in your Person, or in your Mind, yet I could never hope it Thould pass thro' the world half so Uncensur'd as You have done. But let its fortune be what it will, mine is happy enough, to have given me this occasion of as, suring you that I am, with the truest esteem,
Your most obedient, Humble Serrant,
A. POPE. THE
RAPE of the LOCK,
:Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
Sed juvat hoc precibus me tribuiffe tuis. Mart.
What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
NOTES. • It appears by this Motto, that the following Poem was written or published at the Lady's request. But there are some further circumstances not unworthy relating, Mr. Caryl (a Gentleman who was Secretary to Queen Mary, wife of James II. whose fortunes he followed into France, Author of the Co. medy of Sir Solomon Single, and of several translations in Dryden's Miscellanies) originally proposed the subject to him in a view of putting an end, by this piece of ridicule, to a quarrel that was risen between two noble Families, those of Lord Petre and of Mrs Fermor, on the trifing occasion of his having cut off a lock of her hair. The Author sent it to the Lady, with whom he was acquainted; and she took it so well as to give about copies of it. That first sketch, (we learn from one of his Letters) was written in less than a fortnight, in 1711. in two Canto's only, and it was so printed ; first, in a Miscellany of Bern. Lint