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Rape of the Lock


Lord Petre, in a thoughtless moment of frolic gallantry, cut off a lock of Arabella Fermor’s hair; and this liberty gave rise to a bitter feud between the two families, which Alexander Pope has worked up into the best heroi-comic poem of the language. The first sketch was published in 1712 in two cantos. The machinery of sylphs and gnomes is most happily conceived. Pope, under the name of Esdras Barnevelt, apothecary, says the poem is a covert satire on Queen Anne and the Barrier Treaty. In the poem the lady is called Belinda, and the poet says she wore on her neck two curls, one of which the baron cut off with a pair of scissors borrowed of Clarissa. Belinda, in anger, demanded back the ringlet, but it had flown to the skies and become a meteor there. (See Coma Bereniʹces.)

Say what strange motive, goddess, could compel

A well-bred lord to assault a gentle belle,

O say, what stranger cause, yet unexplored,

Could make a gentle belle reject a lord.”

Introduction to the Poem.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Random (Roderick)
Rank and File
Rank distinguished by Colour
Ranz des Vaches
Rape of the Lock
Raphael of Cats (The)
Rara Avis (Latin, a rare bird)
Rare Ben
Raree Show
Rascal Counters

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Rape of the Lock