Sivut kuvina

Then, ages hence, when all my woes are o'er,
When this rebellious heart fhall beat no more;
If ever chance two wand'ring lovers brings
To Paraclete's white walls and filver springs,



Abæl. & Heloiss. p. 238.) "Eloifa herself, fays Vigneul Marville, (Melanges, t. ii. p. 55.) folicited for this abfolution; and Peter de Clugny willingly granted it. On what it could be founded, I leave to our learned theologifts to determine. In certain ages, opinions have prevailed for which no folid reason can be given.' When Eloifa died in 1163, fhe was interred by the fide of her beloved husband. I must not forget to mention, for the fake of those who are fond of modern miracles, that when fhe was put into the grave, Abelard stretched out his arms to receive her, and closely embraced her.

Sub codem marmore jacent
Hujus Monafterii


Madam de Rochefoucault, the late abbefs of Paraclete, requefted an infcription from the Parifian Academy of Belles Lettres in the year 1766 for the tomb of these celebrated lovers, which has been fince put up by Madam de Roucy, her fucceffor:


Conditor Petrus Abelardus
Et Abbatiffa prima Heloiffa.
Olim ftudiis, amore, infauftis nuptiis,
Et penitentia;
Nunc æternâ, ut fperamus, felicitate conjuncti.
Petrus Abelardus ob. 21 Aprilis

Anno 1142.

Heloiffa 17 Maiæ 1163.

Curis Carole de Rouci
Paracleti Abbatiffæ




VER. 347.] I cannot help mentioning how excellently thefe lines from "If ever, c." to "One human tear," are adapted to mufical expreffion, and what effect might be given to them by fome able compofer.

O'er the pale marble fhall they join their heads,
And drink the falling tears each other sheds;
Then fadly fay, with mutual pity mov❜d,
"Oh may we never love as these have lov'd!"
From the full choir when loud Hofannas rife,
And fwell the pomp of dreadful facrifice,
Amid that scene if some relenting eye

Glance on the stone where our cold relicks lie,
Devotion's felf fhall steal a thought from heav'n,
One human tear fhall drop, and be forgiv❜n.
And sure if fate fome future bard shall join
In fad fimilitude of griefs to mine,



360 Condemn'd


VER. 358. and be forgiv'n.] With this line it appears, at first fight, that the poem should have ended; for the eight additional verfes, concerning some poet that might arise to sing their misfortune, are rather languid and flat, and might ftand, it fhould feem, for the conclufion of almost any story, were we not informed, as I have credibly been, that they were added by the poet in allufion to his own cafe, and the ftate of his own mind. For what deter. mined him in the choice of the fubject of this epiftle, was the retreat of that lady into a nunnery, whose death he had so pathetically lamented in the foregoing elegy.

"A day for ever fad, for ever dear-"

Now warm in love, now withering in the grave-"
"And own no laws but those which love ordains-"
"And Paradife was open'd in his face—”
eyes diffus'd a venerable grace—”

E 4

Dr. Johnson's affertion does not seem to be true, that Eloifa and Abelard found quiet and confolation in retirement and piety.

I will just add, that many lines in this epistle are taken from various parts of Dryden, particularly the following:


Condemn'd whole years in abfence to deplore,
And image charms he must behold no more;
Such if there be, who loves fo long, fo well;
Let him our fad, our tender story tell;

The well-fung woes will footh my pensive ghost; 365
He best can paint 'em who fhall feel 'em moft.


"She hugg'd th' offender, and forgave th' offence-"
"I come without delay; I come-


And the two fine verfes, 323 and 324, are certainly taken from Oldham on the death of Adonis:

Kifs, while I watch thy fwimming eye-balls roll,
Watch thy last gasp, and catch thy springing soul !


NO one that has a heart to feel, but muft acknowledge the fingular beauties of this finished compofition. The inherent indelicacy of the fubject is one objection to it, and who but muft lament its immoral effect; for of its beauty there can be but one fentiment. It may be faid of it with truth, in the language of its author:

"It lives, it breathes, it speaks what love inspires,
Warm from the foul, and faithful to its fires !"

and, as long as the English language remains, it will

"Call down tears thro' every age.”

Pope, I have no doubt, wrote the Epistle of Sappho, and this of Eloifa, under the impreffion of ftrong perfonal feelings. It is fuppofed the fubject was fuggefted by the unfortunate young lady going into a convent, whofe untimely death occafioned the beautiful Elegy,

"What beck'ning ghoft --"

This circumftance might have contributed to fix the mind of Pope on cloistered and melancholy fcenes; but I cannot help



thinking the real circumftance that occafioned these touching effufions was his early attachment to Lady Mary W. Montague. The concluding lines allude to her, as I think is evident from his letter. Speaking of a volume he had sent her when abroad, he adds, "Among the reft, you have all I am worth, that is my works there are few things in them but what : you have already seen, except the Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard, in which you will find one perfonage, that I cannot tell whether to wish you should underStand or not."

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