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And ever-musing Melancholy reigns,
What means this tumult in a vestal's veins ?
Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat?
Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat?
Yet, yet I love !—from Abelard it came,
And Eloisa yet must kiss the name.
Dear fatal name! rest ever unrevealed,
Nor pass these lips, in holy silence sealed.
Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise,
Where, mixed with God's, his loved idea lies.
Oh, 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 shagged with horrid thorn;
Shrines, where their vigils pale-eyed virgins keep;
And pitying saints, whose statues learn to weep;
Though cold like you, unmoved and silent grown,
I have not yet forgot myself to stone.
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.
Oh, name forever sad! forever dear!
Still breathed in sighs, still ushered 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,
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 quenched th' unwilling flame;
There died the best of passions, love and fame.
Yet write, oh write me all, that I may join
Griefs to thy griefs, and echo 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;
Love but demands what else were shed in prayr.
No happier task these faded eyes pursue;
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!
Heav'n first taught letters for some wretch's aid,
Some banished 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,
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.
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 resigned;
Labour and rest, that equal periods keep;
"Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;"
Desires composed, affections ever ev'n;
Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heav'n.
Grace shines around her with serenest beams,
And whisp'ring 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 hymenæals sing;
To sounds of heav'nly harps she dies away,
And melts in visions of eternal day.
Far other dreams my erring soul employ,
Far other raptures of unholy joy.
When, at the close of each sad, sorr'wing day,
Fancy restores what vengeance snatched away,
Then conscience sleeps, and leaving nature free,
All my loose soul unbounded springs to thee!
O curst, dear horrors of all-conscious night!
How glowing guilt exalts the keen delight!
Provoking demons all restraint remove,
And stir within me ev'ry 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;
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 inore I close my willing eyes;
Ye soft illusions, dear deceits, arise!
Alas, no more! methinks we wand'ring go
Through dreary wastes, and weep each other's woe,
Where round some mould'ring tow'r pale ivy creeps,
And low-browed rocks hang nodding o'er the deeps.
Sudden you mount, you beckon from the skies;
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.
While prostrate here in humble grief I lie,
Kind, virtuous drops just gath'ring in my eye,
While praying, trembling, in the dust I roll,
And dawning grace is op'ning on my soul,
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 tears;
Take back my fruitless penitence and pray’rs;
Snatch me, just mounting, from the blest abode;
Assist the fiends, and tear me from my God!
-No, fly me, fly me, far as pole from pole!
Rise Alps beween us! and whole oceans roll !
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 !),
Long loved, adored ideas, all adieu !
Oh, Grace serene! oh, Virtue heav'nly fair!
Divine Oblivion of low-thoughted care!
Fresh blooming Hope, gay daughter of the sky!
The mighty mother and her son, who brings
The Smithfield Muses to the ear of kings,
I sing. Say you, her instruments the great,
Called to this work by Dulness, Jove, and Fate,
You by whose care, in vain decried and cursed,
Still dunce the second reigns like dunce the first,
Say how the goddess bade Britannia sleep,
And poured her spirit o'er the land and deep.
In eldest time, ere mortals writ or read,
Ere Pallas issued from the Thund'rer's head,
Dulness o'er all possessed her ancient right,
Daughter of Chaos and eternal Night:
Fate, in their dotage, this fair idiot gave,
Gross as her sire, and as her mother grave;
Laborious, heavy, busy, bold, and blind,
She ruled in native anarchy the mind.
Still her old empire to restore she tries,
For, born a goddess, Dulness never dies.
Oh thou, whatever title please thine ear,
Dean, Drapier, Bickerstaff, or Gulliver;
Whether thou choose Cervantes' serious air,
Or laugh and shake in Rab'lais' easy chair,
Or praise the court or magnify mankind,
Or thy grieved country's copper chains unbind;
From thy Boeotia though her pow'r retires,
Mourn not, my Swift, at aught our realm acquires;
Here, pleased, behold her mighty wings outspread
To hatch a new Saturnian age of lead.
Close to those walls where Folly holds her throne,
And laughs to think Monroe would take her down,
Where o'er the gates, by his famed father's hand,
Great Cibber's brazen brainless brothers stand,
One cell there is, concealed from vulgar eye,
The cave of Poverty and Poetry.
Keen hollow winds howl through the bleak recess,
Emblem of music caused by emptiness.
Hence bards, like Proteus long in vain tied down,
Escape in monsters, and amaze the town.
Hence Miscellanies spring, the weekly boast
Of Curll's chaste press and Lintot's rubric post;
Hence hymning Tyburn's elegiac lines;
Hence Journals, Medleys, Merc'ries, Magazines,
Sepulchral lies, our holy walls to grace,
And new-year odes, and all the Grub Street race.
In clouded majesty here Dulness shone.
Four guardian Virtues, round, support her throne:
Fierce champion Fortitude, that knows no fears
Of hisses, blows, or want, or loss of ears;
Calm Temperance, whose blessings those partake
Who hunger and who thirst for scribbling sake;
Prudence, whose glass presents th' approaching gaol;
Poetic Justice, with her lifted scale,
Where, in nice balance, truth with gold she weighs,
And solid pudding against empty praise.
Here she beholds the chaos dark and deep,
Where nameless somethings in their causes sleep,
Till genial Jacob or a warm third day
Call forth each mass, a poem or a play:
How hints, like spawn, scarce quick in embryo lie;
How new-born nonsense first is taught to cry;
Maggots, half formed, in rhyme exactly meet,
And learn to crawl upon poetic feet.
Here one poor word an hundred clenches makes,
And ductile Dulness new meanders takes;
There motley images her fancy strike,
Figures ill paired, and similes unlike.
She sees a mob of metaphors advance,
Pleased with the madness of the mazy dance;
How Tragedy and Comedy embrace;
How Farce and Epic get a jumbled race;
How Time himself stands still at her command,
Realms shift their place, and ocean turns to land,
Here gay description Egypt glads with show'rs,