The Rape of The Lock: Lines 13-26 - Summary & Analysis

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Lines: 13-26. Sol through white.....or seem'd to say

      Summary: In this extract from The Rape of the Lock, Pope describes humorously Belinda’s long sleep till twelve in the noon.

      The sun fearfully cast a ray through the white curtain on the bed of Belinda (he was afraid to disturb her sleep) and opened those eyes excelled even the splendour of the day; it was the time when lap dogs give a shake to their body to rouse themselves from lethargy and lovers, who go sleepless through the greater part of the night and sleep late, continue sleeping till noon. Belinda rang her bell thrice to call her maid and as she received no response, she knocked the ground with her slipper and pressed her repeater which gave a silvery or sweet sound. She then fell asleep again, pressing her pillow which was stuffed with the softest feathers. The Sylph whose duty was to protect her from all harm extended the period of her soothing sleep. It was Sylph who had induced to her silent bed the morning dream which now floated in her brain. He took the form of a young man more brightly dressed than one who is first presented at court on the anniversary of the royal birthday and this caused a flush in her cheeks even during her sleep. He seemed to place his persuasive lips close to her ears and speak in a low tone.

      Critical Analysis: As we can see from the above explanation, the poet here merely wishes to state that the sunrays filtered through the white curtains into Belinda's bed-chamber and that she woke up from her sleep. But the poet employs a language which is mock-serious. He makes it appear by using the word 'timorous' that even the sun is afraid of sending its rays into Belinda's bed-room. He further exaggerates the brightness of her eyes and calls them "those eyes that must eclipse the day." But at the same time, Pope is satirising the 'beaus' and 'belles' of his age. The waking time of lap dogs and the ladies are the same. Both wake up around mid-noon. Even the morning dream is mentioned here to expose the hypocrisy of the ladies of his time.

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