The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope

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What happens in the card game in lines 29-54?

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Keep in mind that "The Rape of the Lock" is a mock epic. Pope is satirizing--skewering, really--the silliness of high society of his day by placing an incident within the form of an epic, complete with the invocation of the muse, the intercession of supernatural creatures, and the "arming" of the characters. Of course, the supernatural creatures are not the Zeus and Apollo of Homeric fame; they are nymphs. The main character, Belinda, "arms" herself with makeup and fancy clothing and jewelry. Think of this poem as an extravagant, 18th century way of saying, "First World Problems." 

In the first through third stanzas, Belinda heroically sleeps in until noon while her guardian sylph--a spirit of the air--tries to warn her in a dream that someone in her social circle is up to mischief. Part of that warning is to beware of the card game discussed in stanza 3: 

Fairest of Mortals, thou distinguish'd Care
Of thousand bright Inhabitants of Air!

He calls her the "Fairest of Mortals" and says she has the protection of a thousand sylphs and nymphs of the air. 

If e'er one Vision touch'd thy infant Thought,
Of all the Nurse and all the Priest have taught,
Of airy Elves by Moonlight Shadows seen,
The silver Token, and the circled Green,
Or Virgins visited by Angel-Pow'rs,
With Golden Crowns and Wreaths of heav'nly Flowers,
Hear and believe! thy own Importance know,
Nor bound thy narrow Views to Things below.

He says she is naive, having "infant thought," having been tutored only by her nurse and priest, both too chaste to know what will happen or warn her. She should beware of "the...

(The entire section contains 563 words.)

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