Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VII. Descriptive: Narrative
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VII. Descriptive: Narrative.  1904.
 
Descriptive Poems: II. Nature and Art
The Toilet
Alexander Pope (1688–1744)
 
From “The Rape of the Lock,” Canto I.

  AND now, unveiled, the toilet stands displayed,
Each silver vase in mystic order laid.
First, robed in white, the nymph intent adores,
With head uncovered, the cosmetic powers.
A heavenly image in the glass appears,        5
To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears;
The inferior priestess, at her altar’s side,
Trembling begins the sacred rites of pride.
Unnumbered treasures ope at once, and here
The various offerings of the world appear;        10
For each she nicely culls with curious toil,
And decks the goddess with the glittering spoil.
This casket India’s glowing gems unlocks,
And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
The tortoise here and elephant unite,        15
Transformed to combs, the speckled and the white.
Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billets-doux.
Now awful beauty puts on all its arms;
The fair each moment rises in her charms,        20
Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace,
And calls forth all the wonders of her face;
Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.
The busy sylphs surround their darling care,        25
These set the head, and those divide the hair,
Some fold the sleeve, while others plait the gown;
And Betty’s praised for labors not her own.
 
 
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