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They shift the moving toy-shop of their heart; Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-knots strive,
101 Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches
drive. This erring mortals levity may call; Oh blind to truth! the Sylphs contrive it all.
“Of these am I, who thy protection claim, A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name. 106 Late, as I ranged the crystal wilds of air, In the clear mirror of thy ruling star I saw, alas! some dread event impend, Ere to the main this morning sun descend ; 110 But Heaven reveals not what, or how, or
where: Warned by the Sylph, oh, pious maid, beware! This to disclose is all thy guardian can: Beware of all, but most beware of man!” He said : when Shock, who thought she slept too long,
115 Leaped up, and waked his mistress with his
tongue. 'Twas then, Belinda, if report say true, Thy eyes first opened on a billet-doux; Wounds, charms, and ardours, were no sooner
read, But all the vision vanished from thy head. 120 And now, unveiled, the toilet stands dis
played, Each silver vase in mystic order laid. First, robed in white, the nymph intent adores, With head uncovered, the cosmetic powers. A heavenly image in the glass appears, 125 To that she bends, to that her eye she rears; The inferior priestess, at her altar's side,
1 The language of the Platonists, the writers of the intelligible world of Spirits, &c.-P.
Trembling begins the sacred rites of pride. Unnumbered treasures ope at once, and here The various offerings of the world appear; 130 From each she nicely culls with curious toil, And decks the goddess with the glittering
spoil. This casket India's glowing gems unlocks, And all Arabia breathes from yonder box. The tortoise here and elephant unite, 135 Transformed to combs, the speckled and the
white. Here files of pins extend their shining rows, Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billets-doux. Now awful beauty puts on all its arms; The fair each moment rises in her charms, 140 Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace, And calls forth all the wonders of her face ; Sees by degrees a purer blush arise, And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes. 144 The busy Sylphs surround their darling care, These set the head, and those divide the hair, Some fold the sleeve, while others plait the
gown; And Betty's praised for labours not her own.
Not with more glories, in the ethereal plain, The sun first rises o'er the purpled main, Than, issuing forth, the rival of his beams
1 Ancient traditions of the Rabbis relate, that several of the fallen angels became amorous of women, and particularize some ; amongst the rest, Asael, who lay with Naamah, the wife of Noah, or of Ham; and who, continuing impenitent, still presides over the women's toilets. Bereshi Rabbi in Genes. vi. 2. —P.
Launched on the bosom of the silver Thames.' Fair nymphs and well-dressed youths around
her shone, But every eye was fixed on her alone. On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore, Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore. Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose, Quick as her eyes, and as unfixed as those: 10 Favours to none, to all she smiles extends; Oft she rejects, but never once offends. Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike, And, like the sun, they shine on all alike. Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride, Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide:
16 If to her share some female errors fall, Look on her face, and you'll forget 'em all.
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind, Nourished two locks, which graceful hung
behind In equal curls, and well conspired to deck, With shining ringlets, the smooth ivory neck. Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains, And mighty hearts are held in slender chains. With hairy springes we the birds betray, 25 Slight lines of hair surprise the finny prey, Fair tresses man's imperial race insnare, And beauty draws us with a single hair. The adventurous Baron the bright locks
admired; ? He saw, he wished, and to the prize aspired. 30
i From hence the poem continues, in the first edition, to ver. 46.
“The rest the winds dispersed in empty air ;" all after, to the end of this Canto, being additional.
2 The Baron was Lord Petre.
Resolved to win, he meditates the way,
For this, ere Phoebus rose, he had implored
fire. Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize : The powers gave ear, and granted half his prayer,
45 The rest, the winds dispersed in empty air.
But now secure the painted vessel glides, The sunbeams trembling on the floating tides ; While melting music steals upon the sky, And softened sounds along the waters die; 50 Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play, Belinda smiled, and all the world was gay. All but the Sylph-with careful thoughts
oppressed, The impending woe sat heavy on his breast. He summons straight his denizens of air; 55 The lucid squadrons round the sails repair : Soft o'er the shrouds aërial whispers breathe, That seemed but zephyrs to the train beneath, Some to the sun their insect-wings unfold, Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold ; Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight, 61 Their fluid bodies half dissolved in light.
1 Virg. Æn. xi. 798.-P.
Loose to the wind their airy garments flew, Thin glittering textures of the filmy dew, Dipped in the richest tincture of the skies, 65 Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes ; While every beam new transient colours flings, Colours that change whene'er they wave their
wings. Amid the circle, on the gilded mast, Superior by the head, was Ariel placed; 70 His purple pinions opening to the sun, He raised his azure wand, and thus begun : “Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give
ear! Fays, Fairies, Genii, Elves, and Demons, hear! Ye know the spheres, and various tasks assigned
75 By laws eternal to the aërial kind. Some in the fields of purest ether play, And bask and whiten in the blaze of day. Some guide the course of wandering orbs on
high, Or roll the planets through the boundless sky.
80 Some, less refined, beneath the moon's pale
light Pursue the stars that shoot athwart the night, Or suck the mists in grosser air below, Or dip their pinions in the painted bow, Or brew fierce tempests on the wintry main, 85 Or o'er the glebe distil the kindly rain. Others on earth o'er human race preside, Watch all their ways, and all their actions
guide : Of these the chief the care of nations own, And guard with arms divine the British throne.
“Our humbler province is to tend the fair, 91 Not a less pleasing, though less glorious care;