BOOK V. CONTAINING A PORTION OF TIME SOMEWHAT LONGER THAN HALF A YEAR.
11. Chapter xi. In which a simile in Mr Pope's period...
In which a simile in Mr Pope's period of a mile introduces as bloody a
battle as can possibly be fought without the assistance of steel or
As in the season of rutting (an uncouth phrase, by which the vulgar
denote that gentle dalliance, which in the well-wooded[*] forest of
Hampshire, passes between lovers of the ferine kind), if, while the
lofty-crested stag meditates the amorous sport, a couple of puppies,
or any other beasts of hostile note, should wander so near the temple
of Venus Ferina that the fair hind should shrink from the place,
touched with that somewhat, either of fear or frolic, of nicety or
skittishness, with which nature hath bedecked all females, or hath at
least instructed them how to put it on; lest, through the indelicacy
of males, the Samean mysteries should be pryed into by unhallowed
eyes: for, at the celebration of these rites, the female priestess
cries out with her in Virgil (who was then, probably, hard at work on
--Procul, o procul este, profani;
Proclamat vates, totoque absistite luco.
--Far hence be souls profane,
The sibyl cry'd, and from the grove abstain.--DRYDEN.
[*] This is an ambiguous phrase, and may mean either a forest well
cloathed with wood, or well stript of it.
If, I say, while these sacred rites, which are in common to genus
omne animantium, are in agitation between the stag and his mistress,
any hostile beasts should venture too near, on the first hint given by
the frighted hind, fierce and tremendous rushes forth the stag to the
entrance of the thicket; there stands he centinel over his love,
stamps the ground with his foot, and with his horns brandished aloft
in air, proudly provokes the apprehended foe to combat.