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I ought to grieve, but cannot what I ought?
I mourn the lover, not lament the fault;
I view my crime, but kindle at the view, 18k
Repent old pleasures, and solicit new;
Now turn'd to Heav'n, I weep my past offence,
Now think of thee, and curse my innocence.
Of all affliction taught a lover yet,
"Ti$ sure the hardest science to forget! 190
How shall I lose the sin, yet keep the sense,
And love th' offender, yet detest th' offence?
How the dear object from the crime remove,
Or how distinguish penitence from love?
Unequal task! a passion to resign, 195
For hearts so touch'd, so pierc'd, so lost as mine.
Ere such a soul regains its peaceful state,
How often must it love, how often hate!
How often hope, despair, resent, regret,
Conceal, disdain—do all things but forget! 200
But let Heav'n seize it, all at once 'tis fir'd;
Not touch'd, but rapt; not waken'd, but inspir'd;
O come! O teach me nature to subdue,
Renounce my love, my life, myself—and you:
Fill my fond heart with God alone, for he 205
Alone can rival, can succeed to thee.
How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot:
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd; S10
Labour and rest, that equal periods keep;
Obedient slumbers, that can wake and weep;
Desires compos'd, affections ever ev'n:
Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heav'n;
Grace shines around her with serenest beams. SIS
And whispering angels prompt her golden dreams.
For her th' unfading rose of Eden blooms,
And wings of seraphs shed divine perfumes;
For her the spouse prepares the bridal ring;
For her white virgins hymenaeal sing; 2S0
To sounds of heavenly harps she dies away,
And melts in visiens of eternal day.
Far other dreams my erring soul employ,
Far other raptures of unholy joy:
When at the close of each sad, sorrow ing day, 225
Fancy restores what vengeance snatch'd away,
Then conscience sleeps and leaving nature free,
All my loose soul unbounded springs to thee.
Oh curst, dear horrors of all-conscious night!
How glowing guilt exalts the keen delight! 230
Provoking demons all restraint remove,
And stir within me every source of love.
I hear thee, view thee, gaze o'er all thy charms,
And round thy phantom glue my clasping arms.
I wake:—no more I hear, no more I view, 235
The phantom flies me, as unkind as you.
I call aloud; it hears not what I say:
I stretch my empty arms; it glides away.
To dream once more I close my willing eyes;
Ye soft illusions, dear deceits, arise! 240
Alas, no more! methinks we wandering go
Through dreary wastes, and weep each other's woe,
Where round some mouldering tow'r pale ivy
And low-brow'd rocks hang nodding o'er the deeps.
Sudden you mount, you beckon from the skies; 244
Clouds interpose, waves roar, and winds arise.
I shriek, start up, the same sad prospect find,
And wake to all the griefs I left behind.
For thee the fates, severely kind, ordain A cool suspense from pleasure and from pain; 250 Thy life a long dead calm of fix'd repose; No pulse that riots, and no blood that glows. Still as the sea, ere winds were taught to blow, Or moving spirits bid the waters flow; Soft as the slumbersof a saint forgiv'n, 1H
And mild as opening gleams of promis'd Heav'n.
Come, Abelard! for what hast thou to dr«ad? The torch of Venus burns not for the dead. Nature stands check'd; Religion disapproves; Ev'n thou art cold—yet Eloisa loves. 260
VOL. II. t
Ah hopeless, lasting flames! like those that burn To light the dead, and warm th' unfruitful urn.
What scenes appear where'er 1 turn my view?
The dear ideas, where I fly, pursue;
Rise in the grove, before the altar rise, 265
Stain all my soul, and wanton in my eyes.
I waste the matin lamp in sighs for thee;
Thy image steals between my God and me:
Thy voice I seem in every hymn to hear,
With every bead I drop too soft a tear. 870
When from the censer clouds of fragrance roll,
And swelling organs lift the rising soul,
One thought of thee puts all the pomp to flight;
Priests, tapers, temples, swim before my sight:
In seas of flame my plunging soul is drown'd, 275
While altars blaze, and angels tremble round.
While prostrate here in humble grief I lie,
Kind virtuous drops just gathering in my eye;
While praying, trembling, in the dust I roll,
And dawning grace is opening on my soul; 280
Come, if thou dar'st, all charming as thou art!
Oppose thyself to Heav'n; dispute my heart;
Come with one glance of those deluding eyes
Blot out each bright idea of the skies;
Take back that grace, those sorrows and those
Take back my fruitless penitence and pray'rs;
Snatch me, just mounting, from the blest abode;
Assist the (lends, and tear me from my God!
No, fly me, fly me, far as pole from pole;
Rise Alps between us! and whole oceans roll! 290
Ah, come not, write not, think not once of me,
Nor share one pang of all I felt for thee.
Thy oaths I quit, thy memory resign;
Forget, renounce me, hate whate'er was mine.
Fair eyes, and tempting looks (which yet I view), J95
Long lov'd, ador'd ideas, all adieu!
O grace serene ! O virtue heav'nly fair!
Divine oblivion of low-thoughted care!
Fresh blooming Hope, gay daughter of the sky!
And Faith, our early immortality! 30O
Enter each mild, each amicable guest;
Receive, and wrap me in eternal rest!
See in her cell sad Eloi'sa spread,
Propt on some tomb, a neighbour of the dead.
In each low wind methiriks a spirit calls, 305
And more than echoes talk along the walls.
Here, as I watch'd the dying lamps around,
From yonder shrine I heard a hollow sound:
"Come, sister, come! (it said, or seem'd to say)
Thy place is here, sad sister, come away; 310
Once like thyself, I trembled, wept, and pray'd,
Love's victim then, though now a sainted maid:
But all is calm in this eternal sleep:
Here grief forgets to groan, and love to weep;
Even superstition loses every fear: 314
For God, not man, absolves our frailties here."
I come, I come! prepare your roseate bowers,
Celestial palms, and ever-blowing flowers.
Thither, where sinners may have rest, I go,
Where flames refin'd in breasts seraphic glow: 320
Thou, Abelard! the last sad office pay,
And smooth my passage to the realms of day:
See my lips tremble, and my eye-balls roll,
Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul!
Ah, no—in sacred vestments mayst thou stand, 32A
The hallow'd taper trembling in thy hand,
Present the cross before my lifted eye,
Teach me at once, and learn of me to die.
Ah then, thy once-lov'd Eloi'sa see!
It will be then no crime to gaze on me; 330
See from my cheek the transient roses fly!
See the last sparkle languish in my eye!
Till every motion, pulse, and hreath be o'er;
And ev'n my Abelard be lov'd no more.
O Death, all-eloquent! you only prove 33S
What dust we dote on, when 'tis man we love.
Then too, when fate shall thy fair frame def troy (That cause of all my guilt, and all myjoy,)
In trance ecstatic may thy pangs be drown'd,
Bright clouds descend, and angels watch thee
From opening skies may streaming glories shine.
And samts embrace thee with a love like mine,
May one kind grave unite each hapless name,
And graft my love immortal on thy fame!
Then, ages hence, when all my woes are o'er, 345
When this rebellious heart shall beat no more;
If ever chance two wandering lovers brings
To Paraclete's white walls and silver springs,
O'er the pale marble shall they join their heads,
And drink the falling tears each other sheds; SSO
Then sadly say, with mutual pity mov'd,
"Oh may we never love as these havelov'd!"
From the fuH choir when loud hosannas rise,
And swell the pomp of dreadful sacrifice,
Amid that scene if some relenting eye 3SS
Glance on the stone where our cold relics lie,
Devotion's self shall steal a thought from Heav'n,
One human tear shall drop, and be forgiv'n.
And sure if fate some future bard shall join,
In sad similitude of griefs to mine, 380
Condemn'd whole years in absence to deplore,
And image charms be must behold no more;
Such if there be, who loves so long, so well,
Let him our sad, our tender story tell;
The well-sung woes will sooth my pensive ghost;
He best can paint 'em who shall feel 'em most; 866
MEMORY OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY.
What beck'ning ghost along the moon-light shade
Invites my steps and points to yonder glade?
'Tis she—but why that bleeding boson, gor'd!
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?