Pope begins the poem by describing Belinda, the heroine, awaking from sleep.
Next Belinda set out upon the Thames to go by boat to Hampton Court, and as she sat in her gayly decorated boat she looked so beautiful that every eye was turned to gaze upon her--
He, greatly admiring Belinda's shining locks, longs to possess one, and makes up his mind that he will.
It was in vain, "Fate urged the shears, and cut the sylph in twain." Then, while Belinda cried aloud in anger, the Baron shouted in triumph and rejoiced over his spoil.
The poem goes on to tell how Umbriel, a dusky melancholy sprite, in order to make the quarrel worse, flew off to the witch Spleen, and returned with a bag full of "sighs, sobs, and passions, and the war of tongues," "soft sorrows, melting griefs, and flowing tears," and emptied it over Belinda's head.
Belinda, however, at length disarmed the Baron with a pinch of snuff, and threatened his life with a hair pin.
Pocket, with a rather anxious contraction of his eyebrows, which were black and handsome, "Belinda, I hope you have welcomed Mr.
"But has she not taken me down stairs, Belinda," returned Mr.
"It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda
"; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.
Then up rose Mrs Cratchit, Cratchit's wife, dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned gown, but brave in ribbons, which are cheap and make a goodly show for sixpence; and she laid the cloth, assisted by Belinda Cratchit, second of her daughters, also brave in ribbons; while Master Peter Cratchit plunged a fork into the saucepan of potatoes, and getting the corners of his monstrous shirt collar (Bob's private property, conferred upon his son and heir in honour of the day) into his mouth, rejoiced to find himself so gallantly attired, and yearned to show his linen in the fashionable Parks.
Mrs Cratchit made the gravy (ready beforehand in a little saucepan) hissing hot; Master Peter mashed the potatoes with incredible vigour; Miss Belinda sweetened up the apple-sauce; Martha dusted the hot plates; Bob took Tiny Tim beside him in a tiny corner at the table; the two young Cratchits set chairs for everybody, not forgetting themselves, and mounting guard upon their posts, crammed spoons into their mouths, lest they should shriek for goose before their turn came to be helped.
But now, the plates being changed by Miss Belinda, Mrs Cratchit left the room alone -- too nervous to bear witnesses -- to take the pudding up and bring it in.