Written in 1715 by Pope (using the pseudonym Esdras Barnivelt), this humorous interpretation of The Rape of the Lock serves as a warning to critics not to take the poem too seriously. In the Key Pope exposes his own poem as a dangerous political allegory (Belinda represents Great Britain, the Lock represents the Barrier Treaty...). The Key also shows Pope trying to placate Sir George Brown (the original for Sir Plume, Sir George was none too happy with the role he played in the poem) by indicating there were at least two possible originals for Sir Plume.
Or a Treatise proving, beyond all Contradiction, the dangerous Tendency of a late Poem entitled The Rape of the Lock to Government and Religion by Esdras Barnivelt, Apothecary
Though it may seem foreign to my Profession, which is that of making up and dispensing salutary Medicines to his Majesty's Subjects, (I might say my Fellow-Subjects, since I have had the Advantage of being naturalised) yet cannot I think it unbecoming me to furnish an Antidote against the Poyson which hath been so artfully distilled through your Quill, and conveyed to the World through the pleasing Vehicle of your Numbers. Nor is my Profession as an Apothecary so abhorrent from yours as a Poet, since the Ancients have thought fit to make the same God the Patron of Both. I have, not without some Pleasure, observ'd the mystical Arms of our Company, wherein is represented Apollo killing the fell Monster Python; this in some measure admonishes me of my Duty, to trample upon and destroy, as much as in me lies, that Dragon, or baneful Serpent, Popery.
I must take leave to make you my Patient, whether you will or no; though out of the Respect I have for you, I should rather Chuse to apply Lenitive than corrosive Medicines, happy, if they may prove an Emetic sufficient to make you cast up those Errors, which you have imbibed in your Education, and which, I hope, I shall never live to see this Nation digest.
Sir, I cannot but lament, that a Gentleman of your acute Wit, rectified Understanding, and sublimated Imagination, should misapply those Talents to raise ill Humours in the Constitution of the Body Politick, of which your self are a Member, and upon the Health whereof your Preservation depends. Give me leave to say, such Principles as yours would again reduce us to the fatal Necessity of the Phlebotomy of War, or the Causticks of Persecution.
In order to inform you of this, I have sought your Acquaintance and Conversation with the utmost Diligence; for I hoped in Person to persuade you to a publick Confession of your Fault, and a Recantation of these dangerous Tenets. But finding all my Endeavors ineffectual, and being satisfied with the Conscience of having done all that became a Man of an honest Heart and honourable Intention; I could no longer omit my Duty in opening the Eyes of the World by the Publication of this Discourse. It was indeed written some Months since, but seems not the less proper at this Juncture, when I find so universal an Encouragement given by both Parties to the Author of a libellous Work that is designed equally to prejudice them both. The uncommon Sale of this Book (for above 6000 of 'em have been already vended) was also a farther Progress, and to preserve his Majesty's Subjects, by exposing the whole Artifice of your Poem in Publick.
Sir, to address my self to so florid a Writer as you, without collecting the Flowers of Rhetorick, would be an unpardonable Indecorum; but when I speak to the World, as I do in the following Treatise, I must use a simple Stile, since it would be absurd to prescribe an universal Medicine, or Catholicon, in a Language not universally understood.
As I have always professed to have a particular Esteem for Men of Learning, and more especially for your self, nothing but the Love of Truth should have engaged me in a Design of this Nature. Amicus Plato, Amicus Socrates, sed magis Amica Veritas. I am
Your most Sincere Friend, and Humble Servant, E. Barnivelt.
Since this unhappy Division of our Nation into Parties, it is not to be imagined how many Artifices have been made use of by Writers to obscure the Truth, and cover Designs, which may be detrimental to the Publick; in particular, it has been their Custom of late to vent their Political Spleen in Allegory and Fable. If an honest believing Nation is to be made a Jest of, we have a Story of John Bull and his Wife; if a Treasurer is to be glanced at, an Ant with a white Straw is introduced; if a Treaty of Commerce is to be ridiculed, 'tis immediately metamorphosed into a Tale of Count Tariff.
But if any of these Malevolents have never so small a Talent in Rhime, they principally delight to convey their Malice in that pleasing way, as it were, gilding the Pill, and concealing the Poyson under the Sweetness of Numbers. Who could imagine that an Original Canto of Spencer should contain a Satyr upon one Administration; or that Yarhel's Kitchin, or the Dogs of Egypt, should be a sarcasm upon another.
It is the Duty of every well designing Subject to prevent, as far as in him lies, the ill Consequences of such pernicious Treatises; and I hold it mine to warn the Publick of the late Poem, entituled, the Rape of the Lock; which I shall demonstrate to be of this nature. Many of these sort of Books have been bought by honest and well-meaning People purely for their Diversion, who have in the end found themselves insensibly led into the Violence of Party Spirit, and many domestick Quarrels have been occasioned by the different Application of these Books. The Wife of an eminent Citizen grew very noisy upon reading Bob Hush; John Bull, upon Change, was thought not only to concern the State, but to affront the City; and the Poem we are now treating of, has not only dissolved an agreeable Assembly of Beaus and Belles, but (as I am told) has set Relations at as great a distance, as if they were Married together.
It is a common and just Observation, that when the Meaning of any thing is dubious, one can no way better judge of the true Intent of it, than by considering who is the Author, what is his Character in general, and his Disposition in particular.
Now that the Author of this Poem is professedly a Papist, is well known; and that a Genius so capable of doing Service to that Cause, may have been corrupted in the Course of his Education by Jesuits of others, is justly very much to be suspected; notwithstanding that seeming Coolness and Moderation, which he has been (perhaps artfully) reproached with, by those of his own Profession. They are sensible that this Nation is secured with good and wholesome Laws, to prevent all evil Practices of the Church of Rome; particularly the Publication of Books, that may in any sort propagate that Doctrine: Their Authors are therefore obliged to couch their Designs the deeper; and tho' I cannot averr that the Intention of this Gentleman was directly to spread Popish Doctrines, yet it comes to the same Point, if he touch the Government: For the Court of Rome knows very well, that the Church at this time is so firmly founded on the State, that the only way to shake the one is by attacking the other.
What confirms me in this Opinion, is the accidental Discovery I made of a very artful Piece of Management among his Popish Friends and Abettors, to hide this whole Design upon the Government, by taking all the Characters upon themselves.
Upon the Day that this Poem was published, it was my Fortune to step into the Cocoa Tree, where a certain Gentleman was railing very liberally at the Author, with a Passion extremely well counterfeited, for having (as he said) reflected upon him in the Character of Sir Plume. Upon his going out, I enquired who he was, and they told me, a Roman Catholick Knight.
I was the same Evening at Will's, and saw a Circle round another Gentleman, who was railing in like manner, and shewing his Snuff-box and Cane, to prove he was satyrized in the same Character. I asked this Gentleman's Name, and was told, he was a Roman Catholick Lord.
A Day or two after I was sent for, upon a slight Indisposition, to the young Lady's to whom the Poem is dedicated. She also took up the Character of Belinda with much Frankness and good Humour, tho' the Author has given us a Key in his Dedication, that he meant something further. This Lady is also a Roman Catholick. At the same time others of the Characters were claim'd by some Persons in the Room; and all of them Roman Catholicks.
But to proceed to the Work itself.
In all things which are intricate, as Allegories in their own Nature are, and especially those that are industriously made so, it is not to be expected we should find the clue at first sight; but when once we have laid hold on that, we shall trace this our Author through all the Labyrinths, Doublings and Turnings of this intricate Composition.
First let it be observed, that in the most demonstrative Sciences, some Postulata are to be granted, upon which the rest is naturally founded. I shall desire no more than one Postulatum to render this obvious to the meanest Capacity; which being granted me, I shall not only shew the Intent of this Work in general, but also explain the very Names, and expose all his fictitious Characters in their true Light; and we shall find, that even his Spirits were not meerly contrived for the sake of Machinary.
The only Concession which I desire to be made me, is that by the Lock is meant
The BARRIER TREATYI. First then I shall discover, that BELINDA represents GREAT BRITAIN, or (which is the same thing) her late MAJESTY. This is plainly seen in his Description of her.
On her white Breast a sparkling Cross she bore.
There are other inferior Characters, which we shall observe upon afterwards; but I shall first explain the foregoing.
The first Part of the Baron's Character is his being adventrous, or enterprizing, which is the common Epithet given to the E[arl] of O[xfor]d by his Enemies. The Prize he aspires to is the T[reasur]y, in order to which he offers a Sacrifice.
-----------------------------an Altar builtOur Author here takes occasion maliciously to insinuate this Statesman's Love to France; representing the Books he chiefly studies to be vast French Romances. These are the vast Prospects from the Friendship and Alliance of France, which he satyrically calls Romances, hinting thereby, that these Promises and Protestations were no more to be relied on than those idle Legends. Of these he is said to build an Altar; to intimate, that all the Foundation of his Schemes and Honours was fix'd upon the French Romances abovementioned.
Of twelve vast French Romances neatly gilt.
A Fan, a Garter, Half a Pair of Gloves.One of the Things he sacrifices is a Fan, which both for its gaudy Show and perpetual Flutt'ring, has been made the Emblem of Woman. This points at the Change of the Ladies of the Bedchamber; the Garter alludes to the Honours he conferr'd on some of his Friends; and we may without straining the Sense, call the Half Pair of Gloves, a Gauntlet; the Token of those Military Employments, which he is said to have sacrificed to his Designs. The Prize, as I said before, means the T[reasur]y, which he makes it his Prayers soon to obtain, and long to possess.
The Pow'rs gave ear, and granted half his Pray'r,In the first of these Lines he gives him the T[reasur]y, and in the last suggests that he should not long posses that Honour.
The rest the Winds dispers'd in empty Air.
That Thalestris is the D[uches]s of M[arlborou]gh, appears both by her nearness to Belinda, and by this Author's malevolent Suggestion, that she is a Lover of War.
To Arms, to Arms, the bold Thalestris cries.But more particlary in several Passages in her Speech to Belinda, upon the cutting off the Lock, or Treaty. Among other Things she says, Was it for this you bound your Locks in Paper Durance? Was it for this so much Paper has been spent to secure the Barrier Treaty?
Methinks already I your Tears survey,This describes the Aspersions under which that good Princess suffer'd, and the Repentance which must have followed the Dissolution of that Treaty, and particularly levels at the Refusal some People made to drink Her M[ajest]y's Health.
Already hear the horrid Things they say;
Already see you a degraded Toast.
Sir Plume (a proper Name for a Soldier) has all the Circumstances that agree with P[rin]ce Eu[ge]ne.
Sir Plume of Amber Snuff-box justly vain,'Tis remarkable, this General is a great Taker of Snuff as well as Towns; his Conduct of the clouded Cane gives him the Honour which is so justly his due, of an exact Conduct in Battle, which is figured by his Truncheon, the Ensign of a General. His earnest Eye, or the Vivacity of his Look, is so particularly remarkable in him, that this Character could be mistaken for no other, had not this Author purposely obscur'd it by the fictitious Circumstance of a round, unthinking Face.
And the nice Conduct of a clouded Cane,
With earnest Eyes-----------
Having now explained the chief Characters of his Human Persons (for there are some others that will hereafter fall in by the by, in the Sequel of this Discourse) I shall next take in pieces his Machinary, wherein his Satyr is wholly confined to Ministers of State.
The Slyphs and Gnomes at first sight appeared to me to signify the two contending Parties of this Nation; for these being placed in the Air, and those on the Earth, I thought agreed very well with the common Denomination, High and Low. But as they are made to be the first Movers and Influencers of all that happens, 'tis plain they represent promiscuiosly the Heads of Parties, whom he makes to be the Authors of all those Changes in the State, which are generally imputed to the Levity and Instability of the British Nation.
This erring Mortals Levity may call,But of this he has given us a plain Demonstration; for speaking of these Spirits, he says in express Terms,
Oh blind to Truth! The Sylphs contrive it all.
---------The chief the Care of Nations own,
And guard with Arms Divine the British Throne.
And here let it not seem odd, if in this mysterious way of Writing, we find the same Person, who has before been represented by the Baron, again described in the Character of Ariel; it being a common way with Authors, in this fabulous Manner, to take such a Liberty. As for instance, I have read in the English St. Evremont, that all the different Characters in Petronius are but Nero in so many different Appearances. And in the Key to the curious Romance of Barclay's Argenis, that both Polarchus and Archombrotus mean only the King of Navarre.
We observe in the very Beginning of the Poem, that Ariel is possess'd of the Ear of Belinda; therefore it is absolutely necessary that this Person must be the Minister who was nearest the Queen. But whoever would be further convinc'd, that he meant the late T[reasure]r, may know him by his Ensigns in the following Line.
He rais'd his Azure Wand.--------
His sitting on the Mast of a Vessel shows his presiding over the S[ou]th S[e]a Tr[a]de. When Ariel assigns to his Sylphs all the Posts about Belinda, what is more clearly described, than the Tr[easure]r's disposing all the Places of the Kingdom, and particularly about her M[ajest]y? But let us hear the Lines.
-------Ye Spirits to your Charge repair,He has here particularized the Ladies and Women of the Bed-Chamber, the keeper of the Cabinet, and her M[ajest]y's Dresser, and impudently given Nicknames to each.
The flutt'ring Fan be Zephyretta's Care;
The Drops to thee, Brillant, we consign,
And, Momentilla, let the Watch be thine:
Do thou, Crispissa, tend her fav'rite Lock.
To put this Matter beyond all Dispute, the Sylphs are said to be wond'rous fond of Place, in the Canto following, where Ariel is perched uppermost, and all the rest take their Places subordinately under him.
Here again I cannot but observe, the excessive Malignity of this Author, who could not leave this Character of Ariel without the same invidious Stroke which he gave him in the Character of the Baron before.
Amaz'd, confus'd, he saw his Power expir'd,Being another Prophecy that he should resign his Place, which it is probable all Ministers do with a Sigh.
Resign'd to Fate, and with a Sigh retir'd.
At the Head of the Gnomes he sets Umbriel, a dusky melancholy Spright, who makes it his Business to give Belinda the Spleen; a vile and malicious Suggestion against some grave and worthy Minister. The Vapours, Fantoms, Visions, and the like, are the Jealousies, Fears, and Cries of Danger, that have so often affrighted and alarm'd the Nation. Those who are described in the House of Spleen, under those several fantastical Forms, are the same whom their Ill-willers have so often called the Whimsical.
The two fore-going Spirits being the only considerable Characters of the Machinary, I shall but just mention the Sylph that is wounded with the Scissars at the Loss of the Lock, by whom is undoubtedly understood my L[ord] To[wnshen]d, who at that Time received a Wound in his Character for making the Barrier Treaty, and was cut of his Employment upon the Dissolution of it: But that Spirit reunites, and receives no Harm; to signify, that it came to nothing, and his L[o]rdsh[i]p had no real Hurt by it.
But I must not conclude this Head of the Characters, without observing, that our Author has run through every Stage of Beings in search of Topicks for Detraction; and as he has characteriz'd some Persons under Angels and Men, so he has represented an eminent Clergy-man as a Dog, and a noted Writer as a Tool. Let us examine the former.
----But Shock, who thought she slept too long,By this Shock, it is manifest he has most audaciously and profanely reflected on Dr. Sach[evere]ll, who leap'd up, that is, into the Pulpit, and awaken'd Great Britain with his Tongue, that is, with his Sermon. which made so much Noise; and for which he has frequently been term'd by others of his Enemies, as well as by this Author, a Dog: Or perhaps, by his Tongue, may be more literally meant his Speech at his Trial, since immediately thereupon, our Author says, her Eyes open'd on a Billet-doux; Billets-doux being Addresses to Ladies from Lovers, may be aptly interpreted those Addresses of Loving Subjects to her M[ajest]y, which ensued that Trial.
Leapt up, and wak'd his Mistress with his Tongue.
'Twas then, Belinda, if Report say true,
Thy Eyes first open'd on a Billet-doux.
The other Instance is at the End of the third Canto.
Steel did the Labours of the Gods destroy,
And strike to Dust th' Imperial Tow'rs of Troy.
Steel could the Works of mortal Pride confound,
And hew Triumphal Arches to the Ground.
Here he most impudently attributes the Demolition of Dunkirk, not to the Pleasure of her M[ajest]y, or her Ministry, but to the frequent Instigations of his Friend Mr. Steel; a very artful Pun to conceal his wicked Lampoonery!
Having now consider'd the general Intent and Scope of the Poem, and open'd the Characters, I shall next discover the Malice which is covered under the Episodes, and particular Passages of it.
The Game at Ombre is a mystical Representation of the late War, which is hinted by his making Spades the Trump; Spade in Spanish signifying a Sword, and being yet so painted in the Cards of that Nation; to which it is well known we owe the Original of our Cards. In this one Place indeed he has unawares paid a Compliment to the Queen, and her Success in the War; for Belinda gets the better of the two that play against her, the Kings of France and Spain.
I do not question but ev'ry particular Card has its Person and Character assign'd, which, no doubt, the Author has told his Friends in private; but I shall only instance the Description of the Disgrace under which the D[uke] of M[arlborou]gh then suffer'd, which is so apparent in these Verses.
Ev'n mighty Pam, that Kings and Queens o'erthrew,
And mow'd down Armies in the Fights of Lu,
Sad Chance of War! now destitute of Aid,
That the Author here had an Eye to our modern Transactions, is very plain from an unguarded Stroke towards the End of this Game.
And now, as oft in some distemper'd State,
On one nice Trick depends the gen'ral Fate.
After the Conclusion of the War, the publick Rejoicings andThanksgivings are ridiculed in the two following Lines.
The Nymph exulting , fills with Shouts the Sky,Immediately upon which there follows a malicious Insinuation, in the manner of a Prophecy, (which we have formerly observ'd this seditious Writer delights in) that the Peace should continue but a short Time, and that the Day should afterwards be curst which was then celebrated with so much Joy.
The Walls, the Woods, and long Canals reply.
Sudden these Honours shall be snatch'd away,
And curst for ever this victorious Day.
As the Game at Ombre is a satyrical Representation of the late War; so is the Tea-Table that ensues, of the Council-Table and its Consultations after the Peace. By this he would hint, that all the Advantages we have gain'd by our late extended Commerce, are only Coffee and Tea, or Things of no greater Value. That he thought of the Trade in this Place, appears by the Passage where he represents the Sylphs particularly careful of the rich Brocade; it having been a frequent Complaint of our Mercers, that French Brocades were imported in too great Quantities. I will not say, he means those Presents of rich Gold Stuff Suits, which were said to be made for M[ajest]y by the K[ing] of F[rance], tho' I cannot but suspect, that he glances at it.
Here this Author, as well as the scandalous John Dunton, represents the Mi[nist]ry in plain Terms taking frequent Cups.
And frequent Cups prolong the rich Repast.
Upon the whole, it is manifest he meant something more than common Coffee, by his calling it,
Coffee that makes the Politician wise.And by telling us, it was this Coffee, that
Sent up in Vapours to the Baron's BrainI shall only further observe, that 'twas at this Table the Lock was cut off; for where but at the Council Board should the Barrier Treaty be dissolved?
The ensuing Contentions of the Parties upon the Loss of that Treaty, are described in the Squabbles following the Rape of the Lock; and this he rashly expresses, without any disguise in the Words.
All sides in Parties--------Here first you have a Gentleman who sinks beside his Chair: A plain Allusion to a Noble Lord, who lost his Chair of Pre[side]nt of the Co[unci]l.
I come next to the Bodkin, so dreadful in the Hand of Belinda; by which he intimates the British Scepter, so rever'd in the Hand of our late August Princess. His own Note upon this Place tells us he alludes to a Scepter and the Verses are so plain, the need no Remark.
The same (his ancient Personage to deck)
Her great great Grandsire wore about his Neck
In three Seal Rings, which, after melted down,
Form'd avast Buckle for his Widow's Gown;
Her Infant Grandame's Whistle next it grew,
The Bells she gingled, and the Whistle blew,
Then in a Bodkin grac'd her Mother's Hairs,
Which long she wore, and now Belinda wears.
An open Satyr upon Hereditary Right. The three Seal Rings plainly allude to the three Kingdoms.
These are the chief Passages in the Battle, by which, as hath before been said, he means the Squabble of Parties. Upon this Occasion he could not end the Description of them, without testifying his malignant Joy at those Dissentions, from which he forms the Prospect that both should be disappointed, and cries out with Triumph, as if it were already accomplished.
Behold how oft ambitious Arms are crost,
And Chiefs contend till all the Prize is lost.
The Lock at length is turn'd into a Star, or the Old Barrier Treaty into a new and glorious Peace; this no doubt is what the Author, at the time he printed his Poem, would have been thought to mean, in hopes by that Complement to excape Punishment for the rest of his Piece. It puts me in mind of a Fellow, who concluded a bitter Lampoon upon the Prince and Court of his Days, with these Lines.
God save the King, the Commons, and the Peers,
And grant the Author long may wear his Ears.
Whatever this Author may think of that Peace, I imagine it the most extraordinary Star that ever appear'd in our Hemisphere. A Star that is to bring us all the Wealth and Gold of the Indies; and from whose Influence, not Mr. John Partridge alone, (whose worthy Labours this Writer so ungenerously ridicules) but all true Britains may, with no less Authority than he, prognosticate the Fall of Lewis, in the Restraint of the exorbitant Power of France, and the Fate of Rome in the triumphant Condition of the Church of England.
We have now considered this Poem in its Political View, wherein we have shewn that it hath two different Walks of Satyr, the one in the Story itself, which is a Ridicule on the late Transactions in general; the other in the Machinary, which is a Satyr on the Ministers of State in particular. I shall now show that the same Poem, taken in another Light, has a Tendency to Popery, which is secretly insinuated through the whole.
In the first place, he has conveyed to us the Doctrine of Guardian Angels and Patron Saints in the Machinary of his Sylphs, which being a Piece of Popish Superstition that hath been endeavoured to be exploded ever since the Reformation, he would here revive under this Disguise. Here are all the Particulars which they believe of those Beings, which I shall sum up in a few Heads.
1st. The Spirits are made to concern themselves with all human Acts in general.
2dly. A distinct Guardian Spirit of Patron is assigned to each Person in particular.
Of these am I, who thy Protection claim,
A watchful Sprite-------
3dly. They are made directly to inspire Dreams, Visions, and Revelations.
Her Guardian Sylph prolong'd her balmy Rest,
'Twas he had summon'd to her silent Bed
The Morning Dream--------
4thly. They are made to be subordinate, in different degrees, some presiding over others, So Ariel hath his several Under-Officers at command.
Superior by the Head was Ariel plac'd.
5thly. They are employed in various Offices, and each hath his Office assigned him.
Some in the Fields of purest Aether play,
And bask and whiten in the Blaze of Day.
Some guide the Course, &c.
6thly. He hath given his Spirits the Charge of the several Parts of Dress; intimating thereby, that the Saints preside over the several Parts of Human Bodies. They have one Saint to cure the Tooth-ach, another cures the Gripes, and another the Gout,and so all the rest.
The flutt'ring Fan be Zephyretta's Care,
The drops to thee, Brillante, we consign, &c.
7thly. They are represented to know the Thoughts of Men.
As on the Nosegay in her Breast reclin'd,
He watch'd th' Ideas rising in her Mind.
8thly. They are made Protectors even to Animals and irrational Beings.
Ariel himself shall be the Guard of Shock.So St. Anthony presides over Hogs, &c.
9thly. Others are made Patrons of whole Kingdoms and Provinces.
Of these the chief the Care of Nations own.So St. George is imagined by the Papists to defend England: St. Patrick, Ireland: St. James, Spain, &c. Now what is the Consequence of all this? By granting that they have this Power, we must be brought back again to pray to them.
The Toilette is an artful Recommendation of the Mass, and pompous Ceremonies of the Church of Rome. The unveiling of the Altar, the Silver Vases upon it, being rob'd in White, as the Priests are upon the chief Festivals, and the Head uncover'd, are manifest Marks of this.
A heav'nly Image in the Glass appears,Plainly denotes Image-Worship.
To that she bends--------
The Goddess, who is deck'd with Treasures, Jewels, and the various Offerings of the World, manifestly alludes to the Lady of Loretto. You have Perfumes breathing from the Incense Pot in the following Line.
And all Arabia breaths from yonder Box.
The Character of Belinda, as we take it in this third View. represents the Popish Religion, or the Whore of Babylon; who is described in the State this malevolent Author wishes for, coming forth in all her Glory upon the Thames, and overspreading the Nation with Ceremonies.
Not with more Glories in th' aetherial Plain,
The Sun first rises o'er the purple Main,
Than issuing forth the Rival of his Beams,
Launch'd on the Bosom of the Silver Thames.
She is dress'd with a Cross on her Breast, the Ensign of Popery, the Adoration of which is plainly recommended in the following Lines.
On her white Breast a sparkling Cross she wore,
Which Jews might kiss, and Infidels adore.
Next he represents her as the Universal Church, according to the Boasts of the Papists.
And like the Sun she shines on all alike.After which he tells us,
If to her Share some Female Errors fall,Tho' it should be granted some Errors fall to her Share, look on the pompous Figure she makes throughout the World, and they are not worth regarding. In the Sacrifice following soon after, you have these two Lines.
Look on her Face, and you'll forget them all.
For this, e'er Phoebus rose, he had implor'dIn the first of them, he plainly hints at their Matins; in the second, by adoring ev'ry Power, the Invocation of Saints.
Propitious Heav'n, and en'ry Pow'r ador'd.
Belinda's Visits are described with numerous Waxlights, which are always used in the Ceremonial Parts of the Romish Worship.
----------Visits shall be paid on solemn Days,
When num'rous Wax-lights in bright Order blaze.
The Lunar Sphere he mentions, opens to us their Purgatory, which is seen in the following Line.
Since all Things lost on Earth are treasur'd there.It is a Popish Doctrine, that scarce any Person quits this World, but he must touch at Purgatory in his Way to Heaven; and it is here also represented as the Treasury of the Romish Church. Nor is it much to be wonder'd at, that the Moon should be Purgatory, when a Learn'd Divine hath in a late Treatise proved Hell to be in the Sun.
I shall now before I conclude, desire the Reader to compare this Key with those upon any other Pieces, which are supposed to be secret Satyrs upon the State, either antient or modern; as with those upon Petronius Arbiter, Lucian's true History, Barclay's Argenis, or Rablais's Garagantua; and I doubt not he will do me the Justice to acknowledge, that the Explanations here laid down, are deduced as naturally, and with as little Force, both from the general Scope and Bent of the Work, and from the several Particulars, and are every Way as consistent and undeniable as any of those; and ev'ry way as candid as any modern Interpretations of either Party, on the mysterious State Treatises of our Times.
To sum up my whole Charge against this Author in a few Words: He has
ridiculed both the present Ministry and the last; abused great
Statesmen and great Generals; nay the Treaties of whole Nations have not
escaped him, nor has the Royal Dignity itself been omitted in the
Progress of his Satyr; and all this he has done just at the Meeting of a
new Parliament. I hope a proper Authority may be made use of to bring
him to condign Punishment: In the mean while I doubt not, if the
Persons most concern'd would but order Mr. Bernard Lintott, the
Printer and Publisher of this dangerous Piece, to be taken into Custody,
and examin'd; many further Discoveries might be made both of this Poet's
and his Abettor's secret Designs, which are doubtless of the utmost
Importance to the Government.
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