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Mrs. Arabella Fermor.
since I dedicate it to you. Tet 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 imper. feet copy having been offer'd to a book. seller, you had
the good nature for my Jake to consent to the publication of one more correct: This I was forced to before I had executed half my de. fign, 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 demons, are made to act in a poem : For tbe ancient poets are in one respect like many modern ladies; let an action be never so trivial in it felf, they al. ways make it appear of the utmost importance. These machines I determined 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 so 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 Rosicrucians 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 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 Demous 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 pasages 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 name with reverence.) The human perfons are as fiétitious as the airy ones; and the character of Belinda, as it is now manag’d, resembles you in no. thing 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 should pass thro’ the world half so uncensitred as you have done.
have done. But let its for. tune be what it will, mine is happy enough, to have given me this occasion of asuring you that I am, with the truest esteem,
HAT dire offence from am'rous cau
Say what strange motive, Goddess ! conld compc!