The Rape of the Lock
1. Oh thoughtless Mortals! ever blind to Fate,
2. Too soon dejected, and too soon elate!
3. Sudden these Honours shall be snatch'd away,
4. And curs'd for ever this Victorious Day.
5. For lo! the Board with Cups and Spoons is crown'd,
6. The Berries crackle, and the Mill turns round.
7. On shining Altars of Japan they raise
8. The silver Lamp; the fiery Spirits blaze.
9. From silver Spouts the grateful Liquors glide,
10. And China's Earth receives the smoking Tyde.
11. At once they gratify their Scent and Taste,
12. While frequent Cups prolong the rich Repast.
13. Strait hover round the Fair her Airy Band;
14. Some, as she sip'd, the fuming Liquor fann'd,
15. Some o'er her Lap their careful Plumes display'd,
16. Trembling, and conscious of the rich Brocade.fb4
17. Coffee, (which makes the Politician wise,
18. And see thro' all things with his half shut Eyes)
19. Sent up in Vapours to the Baron's Brain
20. New Stratagems, the radiant Lock to gain.
21. Ah cease rash Youth! desist e'er 'tis too late,
22. Fear the just Gods, and think of Scylla's Fate!
23. Chang’d to a Bird, and sent to flit in Air,
24. She dearly pays for Nisus' injur'd Hair!
25. But when to Mischief Mortals bend their Will,
26. How soon they find fit Instruments of Ill!
27. Just then, Clarissa drew with tempting Grace
28. A two-edg'd Weapon from her shining Case;
29. So Ladies in Romance assist their Knight,
30. Present the Spear, and arm him for the Fight.
31. He takes the Gift with rev'rence, and extends
32. The little Engine on his Finger's Ends:
33. This just behind Belinda's Neck he spread,
34. As o'er the fragrant Steams she bends her Head:
35. Swift to the Lock a thousand Sprights repair,
36. A thousand Wings, by turns, blow back the Hair,
37. And thrice they twitch'd the Diamond in her Ear,
38. Thrice she look'd back, and thrice the Foe drew near…
39. The Peer now spreads the glitt'ring Forfex wide,
40. T’inclose the Lock; now joins it, to divide.
41. Ev’n then, before the fatal Engine clos'd,
42. A wretched Sylph too fondly interpos'd;
43. Fate urg'd the Sheers, and cut the Sylph in twain,
44. (But Airy Substance soon unites again)
45. The meeting Points that sacred Hair dissever
46. From the fair Head, for ever and for ever!
47. Then flash'd the living Lightnings from her Eyes,
48. And Screams of Horror rend th' affrighted Skies.
49. Not louder Shrieks to pitying Heav'n are cast,
50. When Husbands or when Lap-dogs breath their last,
51. Or when rich China Vessels, fal'n from high,
52. In glittring Dust and painted Fragments lie!
53. Let Wreaths of Triumph now my Temples twine,
54. (The Victor cry'd) the glorious Prize is mine!
The “glorious Prize” (line 54) refers to