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of those who less presum’d and better knew, 720 who durst assert the juster ancient cause, and here restor'd Wit's fundamental laws. Such was the Muse whose rules and practice tell “ Nature's chief masterpiece is writing well.” Such was Roscommon, not more learn'd than good, with manners gen'rous as his noble blood; 726 to him the wit of Greece and Rome was known, and ev'ry author's merịt but his own. Şuch late was Walsh---the Muse's judge and friend. who justly knew to blame or to commend ; 730 to failings mild, but zealous for desert, the clearest head, and the sincerest heart. This humble praise, lạmented shade! ¡eceive; this praise at least a grateful Muse may give: the Muse whose early voice you taught to sing, 735 prescrib'd her heights, and prun'd her tender wing, (her guide how lost) no more attempts to rise, but in low numbers short excursions tries;' ;' content if hence th' unlearn’d their wants may view, the learn'd reflect on what before they knew: 740 careless of censure, nor too fond of fame;" still pleas’d to praise, yet not afraid to blame; averse alike to flatter or offend; not free from faults, nor yet too vain to mend. 744
Abelard and Eloisa Rourished in the twelfth century; they were two of the most distinguished persons of their age in learning and beauty, but for nothing more famous than for their unfortunate passion. After a long course of calamities, they retired each to a several convent, and consecrated the remainder of their days to religion. It was many years after this separation that a letter of Abelard's to a friend, which contained the history of his misfortune, fell into the hands of Eloisa. This awakening all her tenderness, occasioned those celebrated Letters (out of which the following is partly extracted), which give so lively a picture of the struggles of Grace and Nature, Virtue and passion. [P.]
In these deep solitudes and awful cells, where heav'nly-pensive Contemplation dwells, and ever-musing Melancholy reigns; what means this tumult in a vestal's veins ? why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat? 5 why feels my heart it's long-forgotten heat? yet, yet I love !---From Abelard it came, and Eloisa yet must kiss the name.
Dear fatal name! rest ever unreveal'd, nor pass these lips, in holy silence seald : hide it, my heart, within that close disguise, where mix'd with God's, his lov'd idea lies: O write it not, my hand---the name appears already written---wash it out, my tears? in vain lost Eloisa weeps and prays, her heart still dictates, and her hand obeys.
Relentless walls? whose darksome round contains repentant sighs, and voluntary pains: ye rugged Rocks! which holy knees have worn; ye Grots and Caverns shaggʻd with horrid thorn! 20 shrines ! where their vigils pale-eye'd virgins keep,
15 and pitying saints, whose statues learn to weep! though cold like you, unmov'd and silent grown, I have not yet forgot myself to stone. All is not Heav'n's wbile Abelard has part, 25 still rebel Nature holds out half my heart; nor pray’rs nor fasts it's stubborn pulse restrain, nor tears for ages taught to flow in vain.
Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose, that well-known name awakens all my woes. 30 Oh name for ever sad! for ever dear! still breath'd in sighs, still usher'd with a tear. I tremble too, where'er my own I find, some dire misfortune follows close behind. Line after line my gushing eyes o'erflow, 35 led through a sad variety of woe; now warm in love, now with’ring in my bloom, lost in a convent's solitary gloom! there stern Religion quench'd th’ unwilling flame; there dy'd the best of passions, love and fame. 40
Yet write, oh write me all, that I may join griefs to thy griefs, andecho sighs to thine. Nor foes nor fortune take this pow'r away; and is my Abelard less kind than they? Tears still are mine, and those I need not spare 45 love but demands what else were shed in pray'r; no happier task these faded eyes pursye; to read and weep is all they now can do.
Then share thy pain, allow that sad relief; ah, more than share it, give me all thy grief. 50 Heav'n first taught letters for some wretch's aid, some banish'd lover, or some captive maid; they live, they speak, they breathe what love inspires, warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires; the virgin's wish without her fears impart, 3
excuse the blush, and pour out all the heart, speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul, and waft a sigh from Indus to the pole.
Thou know'st how guiltless first I met thy flame, when love approach'd me under Friendship's name; iny fancy formi'd thee of angelic kind,
61 some emanation of th' all-beautious mind. Those smiling eyes, attemp'ring ev'ry ray, shone sweetly lambent with celestial day. Guiltless I gaz'd; Heav'n listen'd while you sung; 65 and truths divine came mended from that tongue. . From lips like those what precept faild to move? too soon they taught me 't was no sin to love: back through the paths of pleasing sense I ran, nor wish'd an angel whom I lov'd a man.
70 Dim and remote the joys of saints I see; nor envy them that heav'n I lose for thee.
How oft, when press'd to marriage, have I said, Curse on all laws but those which Love has made! Love, free as air, at sight of human ties,
75 preads his light wings, and in a moment flies. et wealth, let honour, wait the wedded dame, Lugust her deed, and sacred be her fame; vefore true passion all those views remove; ame, wealth, and honour! what are you to Love? The jealous god, when we profane his fires, 81 lose restless passions in revenge inspires, nd bids them make mistaken mortals groan, ho seek in love for aught but love alone. hould at my feet the world's great master fall, 85 mself, his throne, his world, I'd scorn 'em all:
t Cæsar's empress would I deign to prove; ), make me mistress to the man I love! there be yet another name more free,
more fond than mistress, make me that to thee 905 oh happy state! when souls each other draw, when love is liberty, and nature law: all then is full, possessing and possess'd, no craving void left aching in the breast : ev'n thought meets thought, ere from the lips it part, and each warm wish springs mutual from the heart. This sure is bliss (if bliss on earth there be), and once the lot of Abelard and me.
Alas, how chang'd! what sudden horrors rise! a naked lover bound and bleeding lies ! where, where was Eloïse i her voice, her hand, ber poniard had oppos'd the dire command. Barbarian, stay! that bloody stroke restrain; the crime was common, common be the pain. I can no more ; by shame, by rage suppress'd, 105 Jet tears and burning blushes speak the rest.
Capst thou forget that sad, that solemn day, when victims at von altar's foot we lay? canst thou forget what tears that moment fell, when, warm in youth, I bade the world farewell? as with cold lips I kiss'd the sacred veil, !l! the shrines all trembled, and the lamps grew pale; Heav'n scarce believ'd the conquest it surrey'd, and saints with wonder heard the vows I made. Yet then, to those dread altars as I drew, 115 not on the cross my eyes were fix'd, but you: not grace, or zeal, love only was my call, and if I lose thy love, I lose my all. Come! with thy looks, thy words, relieve my woe; those still at least are left thee to bestow. Still on that breast enamour'd let me lie, still drink delicious poison from thy eye, pant on thy lip, and to thy heart be press'd;