The Rape of The Lock: Lines 27-40 - Summary & Analysis

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Lines: 27-40. Fairest of mortals.....shall still believe

      Summary: This is an extract from Pope's mock-heroic poem, The Rape of the Lock, The sylph Ariel, appearing in a vision to Belinda assured her that she was under the special protection of thousands of sylphs who inhabit the air. She must have heard many stories about elves and angles in her childhood and must have been impressed by them; so it would not be difficult for her to believe the truth that innumerable spirits of the air always flew around her and guarded her at times. Ariel remarked: "Most beautiful of all the maidens of the earth! You are the object of special attention of the sylphs, the jolly dwellers of the air. If, while you were an infant, your mind had ever been struck or impressed by any of the rural stories you heard from nurses and priests, about fairies dancing in the dim light of the moon, the silver pennies dropped in the shoes of good maids, the rings of glass formed by the midnight dances of fairies and the spotless maidens visited by angelic beings, adorned with golden crowns and garlands of flowers of heaven—then learn how important you are (being the special charge of a thousand sylphs) and do not let your thoughts be limited to things of this world. Some truths, hidden from men who are proud of their learning, are disclosed by God to maids and children only, and though, sceptical wiseacres, may doubt these truths, the beautiful maids and children would believe in them.

      Critical Analysis: Notice how Pope has introduced the celestial beings in this poem a few lines earlier through a dream. It was appropriate that these fairy creatures should be introduced at a moment when Belinda thinks she is dreaming. And Pope, later in the poem, gives a detailed description of them, taking this opportunity to mock at the pettiness of the ladies and lords of his time.

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