Line By Line Explanation Of The Rape of the Lock By Pope

Line By Line Explanation Of The Rape of the Lock By Pope

Line By Line Explanation Of The Rape of the Lock By Pope

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;

The following lines appear in “The Rape of the Lock” Canto Five, lines 25-28. In Canto Five, the action of the poem turns to the consideration regarding the beauty of women and how society looks at the beauty of women.

This being said, at the end of the poem and Canto Five, the recognition regarding one’s ability to sustain immortality comes into question. The lines above refer to the fact that only in Heaven can a person and or more importantly, the locks sustain their glory. The lines, therefore, refer to the fact that on earth beauty diminishes (including the golden colour of the locks changing to grey). Only in Heaven, in the stars, can Belinda and her locks remain beautiful and admired for their beauty in a timeless way. But since beauty is weak and hence it must decay sooner or later and lock whether curled or uncurled, will become grey one day and since faces whether painted or not. It will fade and then no man will think of marrying her.

Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,

Quick as her eyes, and as unfix’d as those:

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.

The lines have been taken from Canto-2 of The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope. Pope was a satirist and moralist.

Belinda, whose beauty excelled the glory of The rays of the sun when it rises in the east and brightens the water of the ocean, embarked on a pleasant boat trip on the transparent water of the river Thames.

Her lively, ever-vivacious eyes disclosed her keen and intelligent brain which was as restless and wandering as her eyes. She bestowed her smiling looks on all the young men in her company without showing any special favour to anyone. She often declined the advances of ardent lovers but she did so with such charming tact and grace that none of them felt offended. Her eyes, bright as the dazzling sun, charmed all who looked at her face. Just as the sun bestows his light and warmth impartially on all. Similarly she directed her bright looks with equal favour to all her admirers without any discrimination. If it is at all possible that beautiful and fashionable ladies have any faults and if Belinda had any, they were left unobserved by anyone because of her natural graceful manners and her freedom from pride.

What dire offence from am’rous causes springs,

What mighty contests rise from trivial things,

These are the opening lines of the poem The Rape of the Lock written by Alexander Pope. It is written in the voice of the narrator, and addressed to, or overheard, as it were, by the reader of the poem. It refers to the central incident in the poem, the seizing of Belinda’s lock of hair (the “rape” referred to in the title of the poem) by Lord Petre, that constitutes the main action of the poem. The seizing of Belinda’s lock of hair is a “trivial” event which nonetheless will inspire “mighty contests,” which the poem will record in true Homeric fashion. Its significance is that it sets the tone of the poem as a mock epic, dealing with a contest not over great kingdoms and deeds, as in serious epic, but over trivia.

These lines indicate that very serious quarrels may often rise from love affairs and mighty struggles may ensue from trifling incidents.

There Affectation, with a sickly mien,

Shows in her cheek the roses of eighteen,

Practis’d to lisp, and hang the head aside,

Faints into airs, and languishes with pride,

These lines have been taken from Canto-IV of The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope.

Two maid-servants waited upon throne i.e. her bed. They were equal in rank but they differed widely in their body and shapes. One of the two was ill natured who stood one side like an old maid. Her wrinkled body was clothed in black and white dress. She offered so many prayers in the morning, noon and night, yet her heart was full of abuses and satires.

She seemed to conceal her wicked thoughts by outward platy. The other was affectation. Although she looked an elderly lady with pale and repulsive appearance. It tried to produce on her cheeks the rosy freshness that can be seen on the cheeks of a healthy youthful girl of eighteen. She was skillful in pronouncing words in a broken and indistinct manner like children and bent her head on one side as if out of great modesty so that she might look like a copy of an innocent maiden. She would fall into pretended fits of swooning to attain charming attitudes or pretend to fall suddenly ill like a delicate girl to show her pride. In her pretended illness she, wrapped in her new gown would slowly stretch herself on her artistic bed-cover with a charming posture which showed her suffering and at the same time gave her a graceful appearance. Whenever she got a new fashionable gown she pretends illness to her lovers.

The adventurous baron the bright locks admired,

He saw, he wish’d and to the prize aspired,

Resolved to win, he meditates the way,

By force to ravish, or by fraud betray;

The line has been taken from Canto-2 of The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope. The lines have been spoken by Baron for Belinda’s beauty.

The beautiful lady Belinda had carefully reared two locks for the ruin of the male sex. These beautiful locks of hair collaborated with the glittering ringlets, gracefully hung on her white and smooth neck making it more beautiful. The locks of Belinda were intricate mazes of hair and attracted the hearts of her lovers and imprisoned the hearts of even the mightiest of men kings and warriors. Just as birds are deceived and entrapped by the snares of hair, and the fishes are caught with the fishing lines made of hair, similarly locks of hair on the head of beautiful women entrap the hearts of the haughty and domineering men. A beautiful lady attracts and captivates the hearts of men with nothing more than a single her head.

The bold Baron, Lord Petre, admired the beautiful locks of Belinda. As soon as he saw them, a strong desire to possess them arose in his heart. He determined to get them and thought of the way to get success in his aim. He determined to possess them either by violence or by some treacherous trick because when a lover gets success in winning his prize, none asks whether he achieved his end by fraud or by foul trick.

How vain are all these Glories, all our Pains,

Unless good Sense preserve what Beauty gains:

The following lines appear in “The Rape of the Lock”, Canto Five, lines 15-16. The lines refer to the fact that beauty is questioned in regards to its being honored by the “wise Man’s passion” and the “vain Man’s Toast.” This is compounded when the question arises about women being compared to angels in regards to their beauty alone- men do not compare women to angels because of their minds or morality.

The lines above refer to the fact that vanity, above all else, seems to be on the minds of men. The women find it insensible that beauty alone holds men and that good sense does not factor into the equation at all. These sad words had been said by Belinda to Baron.

Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,

If she inspire, and he approve my lays.

Say what strange motive, Goddess! could compel

A well-bred lord t’ assault a gentle belle?

In these lines of The Rape of the Lock, Alexander Pope is invoking the Muse in the true epic manner. He says that although the subject of his mock- heroic poem is trivial and unimportant yet its execution is grand and dignified. Pope being conscious of the trifling subject, justly says that the poem can command praise only if the subject is treated in an effective manner. He is sure that inspired by the beauty and charm of Belinda, he will be able to compose an exquisite verse. But at the same time he also seeks the approval of his friend, Carlyle, who suggested the subject to him and entreated him to write a humourous poem to bring about reconciliation between the two families-Miss Fermor’s and Lord Petre’s. Having invoked the Muse, the poet comes to introduce his immediate subject-matter. He says that it is strange that a well-bred lord, renowned for his urdainity, should offend a highborn lady. Here Pope refers to the rape of a beautiful lock of Miss Arabella Fermor an aristocratic lady, committed by Lord Petre, a distant relation of Belinda.

As now your own, our beings were of old,

And once inclos’d in woman’s beauteous mould;

Thence, by a soft transition, we repair

From earthly vehicles to these of air.

In these lines of The Rape of the Lock Pope begins the work of the ‘machinery’, Aerial, the guardians sylph of Belinda, informed her in a dream that innumerable spirits of air look after her. Now he says that the incorporeal spirits were once beautiful women of fashion like her. They have existed since very old times; death affected a transition and they passed from women’s lovely bodies to serial existence.

Think not, when woman’s transient breath is fled,

That all her vanities at once are dead;

Succeeding vanities she still regards,

And tho’ she plays no more, o’ erlooks the cards.

Having given an account of the origin of these spirits to her, he tells her that when a woman dies, her fondness for earthly foolish frivolities does not die with her. She retains all her vanities and pursuits of fashionable follies even in her airy existence. In other words, the trivialities of fashion and the frivolities of which she was fond on the earth, still occupy her mind even in her airy existence. The only difference is in her position. Just as when fashionable women plays a game of cards, some old and infirm women sit and watch the game, similarly, the disembodied spirit of a dead woman who is no longer in a position to play her part, watches and takes interest with the same fondness in the fashionable follies and frivolities in which the living ones indulge themselves. Thus her old vanities and frivolities continue even in her airy existence.

Oft, when the world imagine women stray,

The Sylphs through mystic mazes guide their way,

Thro’ all the giddy circle they pursue,

 And old impertinence expel by new.

Having informed Belinda in a dream that it is the duty of the sylph to protect the honour of fashionable ladies like her, Aerial, the guardian sylph of Belinda, now describes how the airy spirits accomplish this task. Aerial says that often it so happens that when people think that women are deviating from the path of virtue and are indulging themselves in frivolities, the sylphs lead them safely away from the intricate ways of a feeling pleasure-seeking life. When the sylphs-see the young girls feeling giddy at the advances of young lovers, they protect them from their loss of virtue and conduct them out of danger by diverting them from old extravagance and of foolery to new ones, from one presumptuous lover to one less forward in his address.

Th’ inferior priestess, at her altar’s side,

Trembling begins the sacred rites of pride.

Unnumber’d treasures ope at once, and here

The various off’rings of the world appear;

From each she nicely culls with curious toil,

And decks the goddess with the glitt’ring spoil.

When Belinda began her toilet, Betty, her maid servant, stood beside her. The image of Belinda in the mirror appeared like that of a goddess. Betty. the inferior priestess at the altar of female vanity, began to tremble with reverence as she proceeds to perform the solemn work of beautifying her mistress. Belinda. the chief priestess. There lay on the dressing table innumerable treasures brought from various countries of the world to be offered to the Goddess of Beauty. Out of these varied articles of luxury Betty carefully selected the best specimens and decorated her mistress in a lovely manner with the glittering trifles.

The busy Sylphs surround their darling care;

These set the head, and those divide the hair,

Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown;

And Betty’s prais’d for labours not her own.

These concluding lines of Canto I, of Pope’s the Rape of the Lock complete the toilet of Belinda. As stated in the earlier part of the poem by Aerial, the guardian sylph of Belinda, she is the object of care of innumerable spirits of air, the sylphs do the whole work of toilet. Although Betty. her maid-servant, decorated her, the real work is done by the unseen sylphs. Some adjust her hair to give her a fine and attractive pose. Some fold her sleeves over her hands and some set the folds of her gown in order. Thus decorated by the sylphs Belinda attains bewitching beauty, the credit for which goes to Betty although in reality the sylphs deserve all praise.

Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains,

And mighty hearts are held in slender chains

With hairy springes we the birds betray,

Slight lines of hair surprise the finney prey,

Fair tresses man’s imperial race ensnare,

And beauty draws us with a single hair.

In these lines Pope has described the awful charm of the two beautiful locks of hair which Belinda had nourished for the destruction of man folk. They were her most dreadful weapons to captivate young dandies. These locks were so beautiful that the hearts or her lovers were entangled hopelessly in the labyrinths of her tresses. These slender chains of hair captivated the hearts of the mightiest of men. Just as bird are entrapped by nets made of horse hair and fishes are captured by slender strands of hair smiley proud at domineering men, who call themselves rulers of empires and women, are ensnared by the graceful tresses of a beautiful maiden. A beautiful woman captures a bean with nothing more than a single hair of her head.

Of twelve vast French romances, neatly gilt.

There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves:

And all the trophies of his former loves:

With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre.

And breathes three am’rous sighs to raise the fire.

When the Baron saw the beautiful locks of Belinda he aspired to possess one by fair or foul means. He implored the gods, especially the god of love, to grant him the possession of Belinda’s lock of hair. He built an altar consisting of twelve voluminous French romances which were beautifully gilt at the backs, for the worship of the god of love. Then he placed on the altar three garters, half a pair of gloves and other trophies of love which he had received from his former beloved. He offered all these trophies to Cupid to propitiate him for his help in securing the prized lock of Belinda. Then he lighted the pyre with love-letters which were so full of tender and fiery passions that they served the purpose of match-sticks and heaved three sighs so that the fire (of love) might burst into flames.

Whether the nymph shall break Diana’s law,

Or some frail china jar receive a flaw:

Or stain her honour, or her new brocade,

Forget her pray’rs, or miss a masquerade:

Or lose her heart, or necklace, at a ball;

Or whether Heav’n has doom’d that Shock must fall.

When Belinda went out in the company of her fashionable admirers, Ariel, her guardian Sylph, foresaw some imminent calamity to befall Belinda Here he mentions a few possible dangers. He did not know whether Belinda would break her vow of chastity or suffer pain caused by the breakage of her ornamental China jar. He could not foresee whether she would blot her fair name by submitting to some scandalous love-affair or stain her new silk dress. He was not aware whether the reason for her suffering would be the forgetting of her usual prayers or her inability to attend a ball dance of masquerade. Probably she might lose her heart or her necklace at a ball. He also felt that perhaps she might have been doomed by heaven to suffer the death of Shock. her lap-dog, which would be the greatest imaginable calamity for her.

One speaks the glory of the British queen,

And one describes a charming Indian screen;

A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes;

At ev’ry word a reputation dies.

Snuff, or the fan, supply each pause of chat,

With singing, laughing, ogling, and all that.

When Belinda and her companions reached the Hampton Court where ministers held meetings and where Queen Anne met her ministers, all the lords and ladies indulged in idle gossip. Some praised the grandeur of the British Queen while others praised one or the other object. Another began to interpret the looks and motions of women in a malicious way. The fashionable ladies and gentlemen often engaged themselves in scandals.

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In these lines, Pope presents a true picture of the life in his age. One of the youths gathered there eloquently spoke of Queen Anne’s greatness, another talked about the picturesquely painted Indian screen, while a third interpreted the motions, looks and eyes of the ladies in such a way that every word spoken about her brought infamy to her. At every word of such a scandalous talk the reputation of a celebrity was sacrificed. To employ the interval between the conversation fruitfully the fops took snuff and the ladies moved their fans. Some sang, laughed and exchanged amorous glances.

Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day,

The sun obliquely shoots his burning ray;

The hungry judges soon the sentence sign,

And wretches hang that jury-men may dine;

When Belinda and her friends, reached the Hampton Court, they engaged themselves in social and political chats and scandals. While they were gossiping the sun having passed the midday was descending towards the west and was casting slanting rays. The hour of dinner was near and all feel hungry. Yielding. to the natural pressure of hunger, the judges finished off the trial hand and signed the sentence hastily. The jury men too gave the verdict of guilty without any scruple in order to be away from the law court and go to dinner.

Now move to war her sable Matadores,

In show like leaders of the swarthy Moors.

Spadillio first, unconquerable lord!

Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board.

As many more Manillio fore’d to yield,

And march ‘d a victor from the verdant field.

Having spent the day in gossip. Belinda wished to defeat the Baron and his partner single handed in the game of Ombre. The cards were dealt. After scrutinising her hand carefully Belinda declared spades to be the trump. Now the game begins. Pope maintaining the mock-heroic tone describes the game as a war. The green velvet covered surface of the table is the battle-field and the various cards are warriors. Belinda begins the game with her black Matadors who in appearance resemble the chieftains of the black Moors of Africa. The first card that comes forward is Spadillio… the ace of spades. Since spades is the trump, it is the highest card and hence it is unconquerable. It captures two trumps and the board is swept clean. Then she moves Manillio. the second or deuce of spades. It being the second highest card. it also captures two trumps and returns victoriously from the green velvet covered field.

Ev’n mighty Pam, that kings and queens o’erthrew

And mow’d down armies in the fights of loo,

 Sad chance of war! now destitute of aid,

Falls undistinguish’d by the victor Spade!

Belinda has decided to defeat the Baron and his partner single handed in the game of Ombre. She has declared spades to be the trump and the game is in progress. Belinda now moves the king of spades which is the third highest card The Baron plays the knave of spades and his partner discards the knave of clubs as he has played all his cards or spades. The knave of clubs is the highest card in the game of Lu and can capture even the kings and queens (not to mention other ordinary cards) but in the game of ombre it has no power and suffers a disgraceful defeat at the hands of Belinda’s king of spades. It is the sad uncertainty of war that even the mightiest is shorn of power and is left helpless to suffer defeat and humiliation.

Thus when dispers’d a routed army runs,

Of Asia’s troops, and Afric’s sable sons,

With like confusion diff’rent nations fly,

Of various habit, and of various dye,

The pierc’d battalions disunited fall.

In heaps on heaps; one fate o’crwhelms them all.

When Belinda had won the first few tricks in the game of Ombre, Pate smiled on the Baron. After winning his queen of spades, he played with his suit of diamonds. Belinda and the third player, the Baron’s partner discarded cards of other suits they lay on the table in a disorderly manner. Pope says that the forces of Belinda and the third player could not stand erect before the attack launched by the army of the Baron. They lay on the verdant field in wild confusion. The condition of the worsted battalions of diamonds, hearts and clubs was like that of the defeated and retreating black troops of Asia and Africa belonging to different nations and wearing different uniforms of different colours. Just as when their battle formation is broken the soldiers run helter-skelter and get killed in large numbers. Similarly, the vanquished battalions of diamonds, hearts and clubs were completely disorganized and fell dead on the verdant field, the same fate overtook them all.

Oh thoughtless mortals! ever blind to fate,

Too soon dejected, and too soon elate!

Sudden, these honours shall be snatch’d away,

And curs’d forever this victorious day.

When Belinda got victory over the Baron and his partner in the game of Ombre she was overjoyed. She was puffed up with pride and filled the sky with her joyous shouts. The whole atmosphere echoed them. Here Pope laments human nature. He says that human beings do not have the power to know what their fate would be in future. They never have the slightest knowledge of the mysterious destiny. They are unthinking and foolish. They gave way to despair at the slightest adversity and are muffed up with joy and pride when they achieve some trifling success & prosperity. They little realise that their success and hence joy is short-lived. The poet means to say that when Belinda got victory over the Baron in the game of Ombre, she became extremely hilarious and not know that very soon all her exultation would be converted into sorrow and she would have to curse the victorious day.

Ah cease, rash youth! desist ere ’tis too late,

Fear the just gods, and think of Seylla’s fate!

Chang’d to a bird, and sent to flit in air,

She dearly pays for Nisus’ injur’d hair!

The Baron ardently wished to possess the beautiful lock of Belinda’s hair. As he was sipping coffee in the Hampton Court in the company of Belinda and other fashionable gentlemen and ladies, the fume of coffee filled his brain with new stratagems to own the prize lock and he decided to cut it off. The poet says that the Baron should refrain from cutting the lock of Belinda’s hair because once he had done it, it would not be possible for him to undo it. He should think that by attempting to do so he will provoke the wrath of good who are just and who never let a wrong go unpunished. He should also think of the fate of Scylla who was changed into a bird and sent to wander in the air for stealing the purple hair of her father Nisus’ head and giving it to Minos for the sake of her love. Just as she was doomed forever by gods like-wise he might also be subjected to similar fate.

Here living teapots stand, one arm held out,

One bent; the handle this, and that the spout:

 A pipkin there, like Homer’s tripod, walks;

Here sighs a jar, and there a goose pie talks;

Men prove with child, as powerful fancy works,

And maids, turned bottles, call aloud for corks.

In these lines Pope has described the Cave of Spleen. So many human bodies had been changed into various shapes like bottles, teapots, etc. by Spleen. He means to say that persons suffering from Spleen fancied themselves as being transformed into fantastic forms. Some sickly women who imagined themselves to have been changed into tea-pots stood there with one arm outstretched representing the spout through which tea is poured out and the other arm curved so as to represent the handle. There was a lady who imagined herself to be an earthen vessel and walked about like the three-legged stools made by Vulcan (Mulcible) as mentioned by Homer in the loud, XVIII. Another lady who imagined herself to be a China-jar stood sighing in another corner. while another lady who thought herself to be changed into a goose-pye talked incessantly. (According to Pope this alludes to a real-fact; a lady of distinction imagined herself in this condition). Yet most strange spectacle was that of some men who believed themselves to be pregnant and of some women who thought themselves to have been transformed into bottles and called aloud for corks.

Not half so fix’d the Trojan could remain,

While Anna begg’d and Dido rag’d in vain.

Belinda wept bitterly when the Baron refused to return the lock of hair. Thalestris reproached him but in vain. He turned a deaf ear to Belinda’s importunities and passionate appeals and Thalestris’ reproaches. He was adamant to keep it. In these lines Pope says that the Baron was more firm than Aeneas, the Trojan prince who was bent upon leaving Carthage and paid heed to the importunities of Dicks, his c dear wife and the solicitations of Anna, her sister. In other words even Aeneas did not show half such obstinacy before the plaintive appeals of Anna and the dignified wrath of her sister Queen Dido when he deserted the latter as the Baron was showing so Belinda

What dire offence from am’rous causes springs,

What mighty contests rise from trivial things.

These are the opening lines of The Rape of the Lock written by Alexander Pope. These lines. Pope suggests that people are taking a trivial incident too seriously, displaying an exaggerated sense of their own importance. Very serious quarrels may often rise from love affairs and mighty struggles may ensue from trifling incidents. Throughout the poem Pope continues to make this point through his use of the mock-epic style, which itself takes a trivial incident too seriously, and uses disproportionately grand language to describe an unworthy subject

Hear and believe! thy own Importance know,

Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.

Some secret Truths, from Learned pride concealed,

To Maids, alone and children are reveal’d


What tho’ no Credit doubting Wits may give?

 The Fair and Innocent shall still believe.

These lines have been taken from The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope. The gallant young man of Belinda’s dream told her that she was the most beautiful of all the creatures living on the earth. She should listen to and believe whatever he told her. She should know her importance. She should not allow herself to be tied to the narrow views of men of this world. There were certain truths which were kept concealed from men who took pride in their learning. Those truths were revealed only to maids and children because learned men doubted the existence of fairies and angels whereas children and maids being Innocent and credulous believed in the existence of fairies and angels and in their association with men and women of the earth.

What guards the purity of melting maid,

In Courtly Balls, and Midnight Masquerades.


Safe from the treach’rous Friend the daring Spark,

The Glance by day, the Whisper in the Dark,

When kind occassion prompts their warm Desires,

When Musick softens and when Dancing fires?

‘Tis but their Sylph, the wise celestials know,

Tho’ Honour is the Word with Men below.

These lines have been taken from The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope. In these lines Pope says that what guards the chastity of minds who are inclined to yield to the advance of lovers in stately dances and masked dances which continue till midnight and how they are saved from deceitful friends? What protects them from gay and fashionable young men and from the evil looks which are cast at them in the day and from the whisper that is spread against them in the night? When a favourable opportunity excites their passions, how are able to check themselves? What saves them from moral degradation when tilting notes of music soften the hearts and when dancing fires up their passions? All the heavenly beings know that it is sylph, the attending spirit, that protects their chastity from the amorous nets on the above stated occasions although worldly people believe that the lady rejects the amorous advances of a lover because of her sense of honour and modesty.

In tasks so bold can little men engage,

And in soft Bosoms dwells such Mighty Raye?

These lines are taken from Canto I of The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope. In these lines Pope juxtaposes grand emotions with unheroic character-types, specially “little men” and “women”. It is strange to think that men of short stature (Like Lord Peter) can become too bold as it cut off a young beautiful lady’s lock of hair and that the gentle heart of a lady (Like Belinda) should be filled with violent anger.

The irony of pairing epic characteristics with lowly human characters contributes to Pope’s mock heroic style. Pope uses the mock-heroic genre to elevate and ridicule his subjects simultaneously, creating a satire that chides society for its misplaced values and emphasis on trivial matters.

Where wigs with wigs,

With sword-knots sword-knots strive,

Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive.

These lines are taken from Canto I line-101-102 of The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope. Once Belinda saw a dream in which she saw a gallant young man. He said the following words to Belinda. He said that often when wordly people think that women are going astray from the path of morality, the sylphs, the attending spirits, safely guide them through the intricate paths which may make them giddy if the sylphs do not come to their help. Further he said that fashionable lovers who put up wigs and the knots of love round about their swords, fight and banish one another. The people of the world who have a wrong view of the whole show may call it moral depravity or coquetry on the part of women but they do not know the truth. In fact the sylphs, the guardian spirits of the ladies organise and arrange all this show of coquetry in women. These lines show Pope invoking the muse in the true epic manner.

But heav’n reveals not what or how, or where;

Warn’d by the sylph, oh, pions maid, beware!

These lines are taken from Canto-I of The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope. Once Belinda saw a dream in which she sees a gallant young man named Ariel. He informed Belinda that he is one of the spirits that guards her. He said to Belinda that some dreadful event was to happen in her life that day before sunset. But he does not know where and when this calamity befall her. Being her guardian spirit he feels its his duty to inform her about the calamity and warns her that she should be cautious all the time and keep herself away from the company of man. These lines show Pope invoking the muse in the true epic manner.

Resolved to win, he mediates the way,

By force to ravish, or by fraud betray.

These lines are taken from Canto-II of The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope. in these lines Baron admired the beautiful locks of Belinda. As soon as he saw them, a strong desire to possess them arose in his heart. He determined to get them and thought of the way to get success in his aim. He determined to possess them either by violence or by some treacherous trick because when a lover gets success in winning his prize, none asks whether he achieved his end by fraud or by foul trick. Though these lines are trivial and unimportant yet their execution is grand and dignified.

Not fierce Othello in so loud a strain,

Roared for the handkerchief that caused his pain.

These lines have been taken from Canto-V of The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope. Belinda loudly asks Baron to restore the lock but the lock itself has gone missing. The vaulted roofs of the Hampton court echoed and re-echoed with her cries. Pope makes an allusion to his fellow Brit, William Shakespeare where he gives references of Othello and his wife’s infamous handkerchief. He equates Belinda’s lock of hair with the handkerchief that causes Othello’s jealousy and his eventual murder of Desdemona. Othello itself did not cry when he demanded the handkerchief from Desdemona, as Belinda did.

This time Pope got more juxtaposition here with a high tragedy to the comedy of this scene.



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