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What tho' no credit doubting Wits may give ?
Ver. 47. As now your own, &c.] The Poet here forsakes the Rosicrucian system ; which, in this part, is too extravagant even for ludicrous Poetry; and gives a beautiful fiction of his own, on the Platonic Theology, of the continuance of the passions in another state, when the mind, before its leaving this, has not been well purged and purified by philosophy; which furnishes an occasion for much useful satire.
The graver Prude sinks downward to a Gnome,
Know further yet ; whoever fair and chaste
Ver. 67. Know further yet;] Marmontel has, on this idea, framed one of his most popular Tales. I must again and again repeat, that it is on account of the exquisite skill, and humour, and pleasantry of the use made of the machinery of the Sylphs, that this poem has excelled all the heroi-comic poems in all languages. The Ver-vert of Gresset, in point of delicate satire, is perhaps next to it, but far inferior for the want of such machinery. Warton.
Ver. 68. Is by some Sylph embrac'd :) Here again the Author resumes the Rosicrucian system. But this tenet, peculiar to that wild philosophy, was founded on a principle very unfit to be employed in such a sort of poem, and therefore suppressed, though a less judicious writer would have been tempted to expatiate upon
“Quæ gratia currûm
Virg. Æneid, vi. P.
'Tis but their Sylph, the wise Celestials know, Though Honour is the word with Men below. Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their
face, For life predestin’d to the Gnomes embrace. 80 These swell their prospects and exalt their pride, When offers are disdain'd, and love deny'd: Then gay Ideas croud the vacant brain, While Peers, and Dukes, and all their sweeping
train, And Garters, Stars, and Coronets appear, 85 And in soft sounds, YOUR GRACE salutes their ear. 'Tis these that early taint the female soul, Instruct the eyes of young Coquettes to roll, Teach Infant-cheeks a bidden blush to know, And little hearts to flutter at a Beau.
90 Oft, when the world imagine women stray, The Sylphs through mystic mazes guide their way, Through all the giddy circle they pursue, And old impertinence expel by new. What tender maid but must a victim fall 95 To one man's treat, but for another's ball ? When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand, If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand ? With varying vanities, from ev'ry part, They shift the moving Toyshop of their heart; 100
Ver. 78. Though Honour is the word with Men below.] Parody of Homer.
Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword
knots strive, 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, 105 A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name. Late, as I rang’d 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 heav'n reveals not what, or how, or where: Warn’d 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 Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue;
NOTES. Ver. 108. In the clear mirror] The language of the Platonists, the writers of the intelligible world of Spirits, &c.
P. Ver. 113. This to disclose, &c.] There is much pleasantry in the conduct of this scene. The Rosicrucian Doctrine was delivered only to Adepts, with the utmost caution, and under the most solemn injunctions of secrecy. It is here communicated to a Woman, and in that way of conveyance, which a Woman most delights to make the subject of her conversation ; that is to say, her Dreams.
Warburton. IMITATIONS. Ver. 101. “ Jam clypeus clypeis, umbone repellitur umbo, Ense minax ensis, pede pes, et cuspide cuspis,” &c. Stat.
Twas then, Belinda, if report say true,
And now, unveil'd, the Toilet stands display'd, Each silver Vase in mystic order laid.
Ver. 121. And now, unveild, &c.] The translation of these verses, containing the description of the toilet, by our Author's friend, Dr. Parnell, deserve, for their humour, to be here inserted.
“ Et nunc dilectum speculum, pro more retectúm,,
Emicat in mensa, quæ splendet pyxide densa :
E VOL. III.