Title: The Rape of the Lock.
Author: Alexander Pope.
Genre: Poetry, humour, satire, fantasy.
Publication Date: May, 1712.
Summary: The poem satirizes a minor incident by comparing it to the epic world of the gods and based on an actual story told to Pope by a friend. Arabella Fermor and her suitor, Lord Petre, were both from aristocratic recusant Catholic families at a period in England when under such laws as the Test Act, all denominations except Anglicanism suffered legal restrictions and penalties (for example Petre could not take up his place in the House of Lords as a Catholic). Petre, lusting after Arabella, had cut off a lock of her hair without permission, and the consequent argument had created a breach between the two families.
My rating: 8.5/10.
♥ Say, why are Beauties prais'd and honour'd most,
The Wise Man's Passion, and the Vain Man's Toast?
Why deck'd with all that Land and Sea afford,
Why Angels call'd, and Angel-like ador'd?
Why round our Coaches crowd the white-gloved Beaux,
Why bows the Side-box from its utmost Rows?
How vain are all these Glories, all our Pains,
Unless good Sense preserve what Beauty gains:
That Men may say, when we the Front-bx grace,
Behold the first in Virtue as in Face!
Oh! if to dance all Night, and dress all Day,
Charm'd the Small-pox, or chas'd old Age away;
Who would not scorn what Housewife's Cares produce,
Or who would learn one earthly Thing of Use?
To patch, nay ogle, might become a Saint,
Nor could it sure be such a Sin to paint.
But since, alas! frail Beauty must decay,
Curl'd or uncurl'd, since Locks will turn to grey;
Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade,
And she who scorns a Man, must die a Maid,
What then remains but well our Pow'r to use,
And keep good Humour still whate'er we lose?
And trust me, dear! good Humour can prevail,
When Airs, and Flights, and Screams, and Scolding fail.
Beauties in vain their pretty Eyes may roll;
Charms strike the Sight, but Merit wins the Soul.
♥ A heav’nly Image in the Glass appears,
To that she bends, to that her Eyes she rears;
Th’ inferior Pristess, at her Altar’s side,
Trembling, begins the sacred Rites of Pride.
♥ Th’ Advent’rous Baron the bright Locks admir’d:
He saw, he wish’d, and to the Prize aspir’d:
Resolv’d to win, he meditates the way,
By Force to ravish, of by Fraud betray;
For when Success a Lover’s Toil attends,
Few ask, if Fraud or Force attain’d his Ends.
♥ But when to Mischief Mortals bend their Will,
How soon they find fit Instruments of Ill!
♥ Say what strange Motive, Goddess! cou’d compel
A well-bred Lord t’ assault a gentle Belle?
Oh say what stranger Cause, yet unexplor’d,
Cou’d make a gentle Belle reject a Lord?
In tasks so bold, can little Men engage,
And in soft Bosoms, dwell such mighty Rage?
♥ Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your Chief give ear,
Fays, Fairies, Genii, Elves, and Daemons hear!
Ye know the Spheres and various Tasks assign’d
By Laws Eternal to th’ Aerial Kind.
Some in the Fields of purest Aether play,
And bask and whiten in the Blaze of Day.
Some guide the Course of wand’ring Orbs on high,
On roll the Planets through the boundless Sky.
Some less refin’d, 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,
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.