Explain these lines from The Rape of the Lock:  "Snuff, or the fan, supply each pause of chat, with singing, laughing, ogling, and all that."

arkaless | Student

The two lines you have cited are from the third canto of Pope's mock-heroic poem, The Rape of the Lock.

As Belinda is about to play the game of Ombre, the narrator of the poem gives out the characteristic features of the Hampton Court where in a chamber the card game is going to be played out. The lines cited suggest in a mock-serious vein the ambiance of the Court chambers as characterised by fashionable habits and trivial acts of flippancy and flirtation, an ambiance obviously mismatched with that of a place of royal gravity and reputation.

The lines refer to the habit of snuff-taking by the idling men. There are further references to the decorative fans in the hands of the pretty women like Belinda, the fashionable habit of singing, the flirtatious laughing and ogling of eyes. Conversations are intricately punctuated with all these habitual and gestural signals that tend to suggest the levity of the situation loaded with amorous and erotic overtures.

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The Rape of the Lock

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