The Rape of The Lock: Pope's Dedicatory Letter to Mrs. Arabella Fermor

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Nolueram, Belinda, Tuos violatre capillos;
Sed juvat, hoc precibus me tribuisse tuis.
- Martial

Translation of this Latin Verse:

(I had not wished, Belinda to dishonour your hair. But it delights me to have yielded to your request.)



      It will be in vain to deny that I have some Regard for this Piece, since I Dedicate it to you. Yet you may bear me Witness, it was intended only to divert a few young Ladies, who have good Sense and good Humour enough, to laugh not only at their Sex's little unguarded Follies, but at their own. But as it was communicated with the Air of a Secret, it soon found its Way to the World. An imperfect Copy having been offer'd to a Bookseller, you had the Good-Nature for my Sake to consent to the Publication of one more correct: This I was forc'd to before I had executed half my Design, for the Machinery was entirely wanting to compleat it.

      The Machinery, Madam, is a Term invented by the Criticks, to signify that part which the Deities, Angel, or Daemons, are made to act in a Poem: for the ancient Poets are in one respect like many modern Ladies: Let an Action be never so trivial in it self, they always make it appear of the utmost Importance. These Machines I determin'd to raise on a very new and odd Foundation, the Rosicrucian Doctrine of Spirits.

      I know how disagreeable it is to make use of hard Words before a Lady; but 'tis so much the Concern of a Poet to have his Works understood, and particularly by your Sex, that You must give me leave to explain two or three difficult Terms.

      The Rosicrucians are a People I must bring You acquainted with. The Best Account I know of them is in a French Book call'd Le Comte de Gabalis, which both in its Title and Size is so like a Novel, that many of the Fair Sex have read it for one by Mistake. According to these Gentlemen, the four Elements are inhabited by Salamanders. The Gnomes or Daemons of Earth, delight spirits, which they call Sylphs, Gnomes, Nymphs and in Mischief; but the Sylphs, whose Habitation is in the Air, are the best-condition'd Creature imaginable. For they say, any Mortals may enjoy the most intimate Familiarities with these gentle Spirits, upon a Condition very easie to all true Adepts, an inviolate Preservation of Chastity

      As to the following Canto's all the Passages of them are as Fabulous as the Vision at the Beginning, or the Transformation at the End; (except the Loss of your Hair, which I always mention with Reverence). The Human Persons are as Fictitious as the Airy ones; and the Character of Belinda, as it is now manag'd, resembles You in nothing but in Beauty '

      If this Poem had as many Graces as there are in Your Person, or in Your Mind, yet I could never hope it should pass thro’ the World half so Uncensured as you have done. But let its Fortune be what it will, mine is happy enough, to have given me this Occasion of assuring You that I am, with the truest Esteem.


Your Most Obedient Humble Servant.


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