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In vain loft Eloïfa weeps and prays,

Her heart ftill dictates, and her hand obeys.

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Relentless walls! whofe darksome round contains

Repentant fighs, and voluntary pains :

Ye rugged rocks, which holy knees have worn ;
Ye grots and caverns fhagg'd with horrid thorn! 20
Shrines! where their vigils pale-ey'd virgins keep,
And pitying faints, whose statues learn to weep!
Tho' cold like you, unmov❜d and filent grown,
I have not yet forgot myself to ftone.

All is not Heav'n's while Abelard has part,
Still rebel nature holds out half my heart;
Nor pray'rs nor fasts its 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.




VER. 25.] "Heav'n claims me all in vain, while he❞— was the former reading.


VER. 24. Forgot myself to flone.] This is an expreffion of Milton; as is alfo, caverns fhagged with horrid thorn, and the epithets, pale-ey'd, twilight, low thoughted care, and others, are first used in the smaller poems of Milton, which Pope feems to have been just reading.

Some of thefe circumftances, in the fcenery view of the monaftery, have perhaps a little impropriety when introduced into a place fo lately founded as was the Paraclete; but are fo well imagined, and fo highly painted, that they demand excuse.


VER. 24.]" "Forgot myself to marble."



Oh name for ever fad! for ever dear!

Still breath'd in fighs, ftill ufher'd with a tear.
I tremble too, where'er my own I find,

Some dire misfortune follows clofe behind.
Line after line my gushing eyes o'erflow,


Led through a fad variety of woe:

Now warm in love, now with'ring in my bloom,
Loft in a convent's folitary gloom!

There ftern Religion quench'd th' unwilling flame,
There dy'd the best of paffions, Love and Fame. 40
Yet write, oh write me all, that I may join
Griefs to thy griefs, and echo fighs 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 fpare, 45
Love but demands what else were fhed in pray'r;
No happier task these faded eyes purfue;
To read and weep is all they now can do.



VER. 40. Love and Fame.] Fame for ambition.

VER. 41. Yet write,] This is taken from the Latin letters that paffed betwixt Eloifa and Abelard, and which had been a few years before published in London by Rawlinfon, and which our poet has copied and translated in many other paffages: Per ipfum Chriftum obfecramus, quatenus ancillulas ipfius & tuas, crebris literis de his, in quibus adhuc fluctuas, naufragiis certificare digneris, ut nos faltem quæ tibi foli remanfimus, doloris vel gaudii participes habeas. Epift. Heloiffæ, p. 46. From the fame alfo, the use of letters, ver. 51, is taken and amplified; and it is a little remarkable that this ufe of letters is in the fourth book of Diodorus Siculus.

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Then share thy pain, allow that fad relief;


Ah, more than share it, give me all thy grief.
Heav'n first taught letters for fome wretch's aid,
Some banish'd lover, or fome captive maid;
They live, they speak, they breathe what love inspires,
Warm from the foul, and faithful to its fires,
The virgin's wish without her fears impart,
Excuse the blush, and pour out all the heart,
Speed the foft intercourfe from foul to foul,
And waft a figh from Indus to the Pole.


Thou know'ft how guiltlefs first I met thy flame, When Love approach'd me under friendship's name; My fancy form'd thee of angelic kind,

Some emanation of th' all-beauteous Mind.

Those fmiling eyes, attemp'ring ev'ry ray,

Shone fweetly lambent with celestial day.




VER. 59. Thou know'ft, &c.] This is the moft exquifite de scription of the first commencement of paffion, that our language, or perhaps any other, affords.

VER. 63. Thofe fmiling eyes,] Abelard was reputed the most handsome, as well as the most learned man of his time, according to the kind of learning then in vogue. An old chronicle, quoted by Andrew du Chefne, informs us, that fcholars flocked to his lectures from all quarters of the Latin world; and his cotemporary, St. Bernard, relates, that he numbered many principal eeclefiaftics and cardinals at the court of Rome.-Abelard himself boasts, that when he retired into the country, he was followed by fuch immense crouds of scholars, that they could get neither lodgings nor provifions fufficient for them: "Ut nec locus hofpitiis, nec terra fufficeret alimentis." (Abelardi Opera, p. 19.) He met


Guiltless I gaz'd, heav'n liften'd while you fung; 65 And truths divine came mended from that tongue. From


with the fate of many learned men, to be embroiled in controverfy and accused of herefy; for St. Bernard, whofe influence and au thority was very great, got his opinion of the Trinity condemned, at a council held at Sens 1140. But the talents of Abelard were not confined to theology, jurifprudence, philofophy, and the thorny paths of fcholasticism; he gave proofs of a lively genius by many poetical performances, infomuch that he was reputed to be the author of the famous Romance of the Rofe; which, however, was indifputably written by John of Meun, a little city on the banks of the Loire, about four leagues from Orleans; which gave occafion to Marot to exclaim, De Jean de Meun s'enfe le cours de Loire. It was he who continued and finished the Romance of the Rofe, which William de Loris had left imperfect forty years before. If chronology did not abfolutely contradict the notion of Abelard's being the author of this very celebrated piece, yet are there internal arguments fufficient to confute it. The mistake feems to have flowed from his having given Eloisa the name of Rofe, in one of the many fonnets he addreffed to her. In this romance there are many fevere and fatirical strokes on the character of Eloifa, which the pen of Abelard never would have given. In one paffage fhe is introduced fpeaking with indecency and obfcenity; in another, all the vices and bad qualities of women are represented as affembled together in her alone :

Qui les mœurs féminins favoit,

Car tres-tous en foi les avoit.

In a very old Epiftle-dedicatory, addressed to Philip the Fourth of France, by this fame John of Meun, and prefixed to a French tranflation of Boetius, a very popular book at that time, it appears, that he also translated the Epiftles of Abelard to Heloifa, which were in high vogue at the court. He mentions also, that he had tranflated Vagetius on the Art Military, and a book called the Wonders of Ireland. Thefe works fhew us the taste of the age. His words are: T'envoye ores Boece de Confolation, que j'ai tranflaté en François, jaçoit que bien entendes le Latin."

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From lips like those what precept fail'd to move?
Too foon they taught me 'twas no fin to love:
Back through the paths of pleasing sense I ran,
Nor wifh'd an Angel whom I lov❜d a Man.
Dim and remote the joys of faints I fee;
Nor envy them that heav'n I lofe for thee.

How oft, when prefs'd to marriage, have I faid,
Curfe on all laws but those which love has made?




It is to be regretted that we have no exact picture of the perfon and beauty of Eloisa. Abelard himself says that she was "Facie non infima." Her extraordinary learning many circumstances concur to confirm ; particularly one, which is, that the Nuns of the Paraclete are wont to have the office of Whitsunday read to them in Greek, to perpetuate the memory of her understanding that language. The curious may not be difpleafed to be informed, that the Paraclete was built in the parish of Quincey, upon the little river of Arduzon, near Nogent, upon the Seine. A lady, learned as was Eloisa in that age, who indisputably understood the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew tongues, was a kind of prodigy. Her literature, fays Abelard, "in toto regno nominatiffimam fecerat ;" and, we may be fure, more thoroughly attached him to her. Buffy Rabutin fpeaks in high terms of commendation of the purity of Eloifa's Latinity; a judgment worthy a French Count! There is a force, but not an elegance, in her style, which is blemished, as might be expected, by many phrafes unknown to the pure ages. of the Roman language, and by many Hebraisms, borrowed from the tranflation of the Bible. WARTON.

VER. 66. And truths divine, &c.] He was her Preceptor in Philofophy and Divinity. WARBURTON. VER. 73. How oft,] Thefe extraordinary fentiments are plainly from the Letters: Nihil unquam, Deus fcit, in te, nifi te requifivi;


VER. 74.


"And own no laws but thofe which love ordains."

DRYDEN, Cinyras and Myrrha.

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