The Rape of The Lock: Lines 535-546 - Summary & Analysis

Also Read

Lines: 535-546. But oh the spleen.

      Summary: The gnome Umbriel passed by the crowd of these fantastic persons, safely with a branch of Spleenwort in his hand. Approaching Spleen, he paid a flattering compliment to her as the wayward Queen who ruled over all women and gave them various foolish fancies, making them take to many ridiculous ways. He then pointed out that there was a sprightly joyous girl named Belinda who gave joy to all around her and did not care for Spleen's power. Next, the gnome described the various mischief he caused to women, marring their beauty, ruffling their dress, giving disease to their pet dogs and doing things which spoiled their good name.

      The gnome Umbriel remarked: "There is a woman who slights all your influence and not only keeps herself cheerful but also imparts this cheerfulness to thousands that surround her. Oh! if ever your serving spirit could mar joy or disfigure the beautiful face of woman, cause a ruddiness on the cheeks elderly maids through the influence of citron waters or make them change color at reverses in a card game; if ever I helped to make cuckolds, disordered the petticoat or tossed the bed or endangered suspicions when there had been no offense whatever, or upset the head-dress of a prudish woman, or caused disease to a constipated lap-dog which no weeping of the fairest ones could heal, listen to me and affect Belinda with anger, for that one act will cause splenetic disorders in half the world."

      Critical Analysis: The earth-spirit, Umbriel, carried a Spleenwort (a kind of her believed to be a cure for diseases of the Spleen) so as to protect himself against the kind of hallucination which the people in that cave suffered from. The poet, here has the entrance of Ulysses into the house of Circe, a witch, in mind. To protect himself being turned into a beast by the enchantress, Ulysses carried a herb called 'Holly.' Pope's allusion is to this incident.

Previous Post Next Post