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Page 174

CHAPTER IX
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY - THE AGE OF ANNE

Th' inferior priestess, at her altar's side,
Trembling begins the sacred rites of pride.

The adventurous baron resolves to gain the curl, and builds to Love an altar consisting of billets-doux, a glove, and gilt-edged French romances. The " fays, fairies, genii, elves, and demons " are propitious, and he sets out. He arms himself with a" little engine," a" two-edged weapon," that is, a pair of scissors.

The meeting points the sacred hair dissever
From the fair head, for ever and for ever !

A mimic war ensues and the lock vanishes. It takes its place among the stars and " adds new glory to the shining sphere."
Pope's next work was not a mock epic but a real epic, for he translated the Iliad; later, and with considerable assistance, the Odyssey, though his work can hardly be called a translation, for he knew very little Greek. It is rather a versification of the rendering of others. It is smooth, clear, and easy to read, but has not a touch of the old Greek simplicity or fire. Homer's Iliad comes from the wind-swept plain of Troy and the shore of the thundering sea ; Pope's Iliad from a nicely trimmed garden. Nevertheless, gardens are not to be despised, and Pope's verses have the rare charm of a most exquisite finish and perfectness. Homer wrote, " The stars about the bright moon shine clear to see." Pope puts it :

The moon, refulgent lamp of night !
O'er heaven's clear azure spreads her sacred light.

Around her throne the vivid planets roll,
And stars unnumber'd gild the glowing pole.

travel books:
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