Page images

From op'ning skies my streaming glories shine, And Saints 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 wand'ring 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; 350 Then sadly say, with mutual pity mov'd, "Oh may we never love as these have lov'd!"


Ver. 339.] These circumstances are conformable to the notions of mystic devotion. The death of St. Jerome is finely and forcibly painted by Dominichino, with such attendant particulars. Warton.

Ver. 343. May one kind grave] This wish was fulfilled. The body of Abelard, who died twenty years before Eloisa, was sent to Eloisa, who interred it in the monastery of the Paraclete; and it was accompanied with a very extraordinary form of absolution, from the famous Peter de Clugny: "Ego Petrus Cluniacensis abbas, qui Petrum Abelardum in monachum Cluniacensem recepi, et corpus ejus furtim delatum Heloissa Abbatissæ et monialibus Paracleti concessi, auctoritate omnipotentis Dei, et omnium sanctorum, absolvo eum, pro officio, ab omnibus peccatis suis." (Epist. Abel. et Heloiss. p. 238.) "Eloisa herself, says Vigneul Marville, (Melanges, t. ii. p. 55.) solicited for this absolution; and Peter de Clugny willingly granted it. On what it could be founded, I leave to our learned theologists to determine. In certain ages, opinions have prevailed for which no solid reason can be given." When Eloisa died in 1163, she was interred by the side of her beloved husband. I must not forget to mention, for the sake of those who are fond of modern miracles, that when she was put into the grave, Abelard stretched out his arms to receive her, and closely embraced her, Warton.

From the full choir when loud Hosannas rise,
And swell the pomp of dreadful sacrifice,
Amid that scene if some relenting eye


Glance on the stone where our cold relicks 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,
Condemn'd whole years in absence to deplore,
And image charms he must behold no more;



Ver. 358. and be forgiv'n.] With this line it appears at first sight, that the poem should have ended; for the eight additional verses, concerning some poet that might arise to sing their misfortune, are rather languid and flat, and might stand, it should seem, for the conclusion of almost any story, were we not informed, as I have credibly been, that they were added by the poet in allusion to his own case, and the state of his own mind. For what determined him in the choice of the subject of this epistle, was the retreat of that lady into a nunnery, whose death he had so pathetically lamented.

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

"A day for ever sad, for ever dear—"

"Now warm in love, now withering in the grave-"

"And own no laws but those which love ordains—”

“And Paradise was open'd in his face—”

"His eyes diffus'd a venerable grace—”

"She hugg'd th' offender, and forgave th' offence-"

"I come without delay; I come—”

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

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


No one that has a heart to feel, but must acknowledge the singular beauties of this finished composition. The inherent inde


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 them who shall feel them most.


licacy of the subject is one objection to it, and who but must lament its immoral effect; for of its beauty there can be but one It may be said of it with truth, in the language of its

sentiment. author:

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

and, as long as the English language remains, it will
"Call down tears thro' every age.



« PreviousContinue »