Eloisa to Abelard

In these deep solitudes and awful cells, Where heav'nly-pensive contemplation dwells, 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 unreveal'd, Nor pass these lips in holy silence seal'd. Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise, Where mix'd with God's, his lov'd idea lies: O 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 shagg'd with horrid thorn! Shrines! where their vigils pale-ey'd virgins keep, And pitying saints, whose statues learn to weep! Though cold like you, unmov'd, 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 for ever sad! for ever dear! Still breath'd in sighs, still usher'd 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 thy bloom, Lost in a convent's solitary gloom! There stern religion quench'd 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 pray'r; 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 banish'd lover, or some captive maid; They live, they speak, they breathe what love inspires, Warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires,

ere from the lips it part. My fancy form'd thee of angelic kind. possessing.The virgin's wish without her fears impart. his throne. common be the pain. Shone sweetly lambent with celestial day. August her deed. Let tears. by shame. stay! that bloody stroke restrain. Excuse the blush. I'd scorn 'em all: Not Caesar's empress would I deign to prove. and sacred be her fame. And waft a sigh from Indus to the Pole. and honour! what are you to Love? The jealous God. When victims at yon altar's foot we lay? Canst thou forget what tears that moment fell. When love is liberty. Back through the paths of pleasing sense I ran. wealth. have I said. attemp'ring ev'ry day. that heav'n I lose for thee. make me that to thee! Oh happy state! when souls each other draw. No craving void left aching in the breast: Ev'n thought meets thought. How oft. Spreads his light wings. When. When Love approach'd me under Friendship's name. make me mistress to the man I love. Barbarian. Let wealth. warm in youth. her hand. Some emanation of th' all-beauteous Mind. wait the wedded dame. Nor envy them. where was Eloise? her voice. Himself. Those restless passions in revenge inspires. and burning blushes speak the rest. Should at my feet the world's great master fall. Those smiling eyes. free as air. And truths divine came mended from that tongue. and in a moment flies. and pour out all the heart. Nor wish'd an Angel whom I lov'd a Man. how chang'd! what sudden horrors rise! A naked lover bound and bleeding lies! Where. Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul. No. Alas. that solemn day. his world. I can no more. and nature. And each warm wish springs mutual from the heart. The crime was common. Canst thou forget that sad. Before true passion all those views remove. when press'd to marriage. let honour. at sight of human ties. heav'n listen'd while you sung. Thou know'st how guiltless first I met thy flame. Guiltless I gaz'd. More fond than mistress. by rage suppress'd. If there be yet another name more free. when we profane his fires. And bids them make mistaken mortals groan. From lips like those what precept fail'd to move? Too soon they taught me 'twas no sin to love. had oppos'd the dire command. Who seek in love for aught but love alone. Dim and remote the joys of saints I see. Fame. Curse on all laws but those which love has made! Love. law: All then is full. This sure is bliss (if bliss on earth there be) And once the lot of Abelard and me. and possess'd. Her poniard. I bade the world farewell? .

and murmur to the hollow wind. and deserts led. Pant on thy lip. By thee to mountains. thy love! The darksome pines that o'er yon rocks reclin'd Wave high. From the false world in early youth they fled. by dying misers giv'n. And all those tender names in one. And make my soul quit Abelard for God. And saints with wonder heard the vows I made. And only vocal with the Maker's praise. the desert smil'd. No weeping orphan saw his father's stores Our shrines irradiate. daughter move. or continual tears. but you: Not grace. and children of thy pray'r. sister. Plants of thy hand. (O pious fraud of am'rous charity!) But why should I on others' pray'rs depend? Come thou. And Paradise was open'd in the wild. And if I lose thy love. and the lamps grew pale: Heav'n scarce believ'd the conquest it survey'd. Still on that breast enamour'd let me lie. And the dim windows shed a solemn light. to those dread altars as I drew. Black Melancholy sits. Give all thou canst — and let me dream the rest. Still drink delicious poison from thy eye. thy words. Ah. No silver saints. or emblaze the floors. With other beauties charm my partial eyes. Those still at least are left thee to bestow. husband. The lakes that quiver to the curling breeze. See how the force of others' pray'rs I try. No more these scenes my meditation aid. 'Tis all blank sadness. my father. But o'er the twilight groves and dusky caves. love only was my call. Here brib'd the rage of ill-requited heav'n: But such plain roofs as piety could raise. The wand'ring streams that shine between the hills. The shrines all trembl'd. Yet then. and intermingled graves. But now no face divine contentment wears. and to thy heart be press'd. brother. And gleams of glory brighten'd all the day. Long-sounding aisles.As with cold lips I kiss'd the sacred veil. Where awful arches make a noonday night. Or lull to rest the visionary maid. wilds. Full in my view set all the bright abode. Not on the Cross my eyes were fix'd. The dying gales that pant upon the trees. I lose my all. relieve my woe. and a dread repose: . You rais'd these hallow'd walls. friend! Ah let thy handmaid. The grots that echo to the tinkling rills. Come! with thy looks. or zeal. Thy eyes diffus'd a reconciling ray. In these lone walls (their days eternal bound) These moss-grown domes with spiry turrets crown'd. think at least thy flock deserves thy care. and round her throws A death-like silence. Ah no! instruct me other joys to prize.

despair. can succeed to thee. Grace shines around her with serenest beams. or from despair? Ev'n here. Heav'n! but whence arose that pray'r? Sprung it from piety. but cannot what I ought. For her the Spouse prepares the bridal ring. shall my cold dust remain. Now think of thee. Renounce my love. Love finds an altar for forbidden fires. And love th' offender. can break the lasting chain. But let Heav'n seize it. Confess'd within the slave of love and man. only death. all its flames resign. ever must I stay. yet keep the sense. Deepens the murmur of the falling floods. For her th' unfading rose of Eden blooms. 'Tis sure the hardest science to forget! How shall I lose the sin. Not touch'd. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray'r accepted. and each wish resign'd. Assist me. How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting. myself — and you. Of all affliction taught a lover yet. Repent old pleasures. so pierc'd. I weep my past offence. "Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep. And wings of seraphs shed divine perfumes. Fill my fond heart with God alone. Now turn'd to Heav'n. Or how distinguish penitence from love? Unequal task! a passion to resign. And here. And whisp'ring angels prompt her golden dreams. How often must it love. Labour and rest. my life. and sighs that waft to Heav'n. ev'n then. so lost as mine. Sad proof how well a lover can obey! Death. For hearts so touch'd. For her white virgins hymeneals sing. not waken'd." Desires compos'd. and curse my innocence. Ere such a soul regains its peaceful state. resent. I mourn the lover. I view my crime. I ought to grieve. not lament the fault. And melts in visions of eternal day. that equal periods keep. Ah wretch! believ'd the spouse of God in vain. To sounds of heav'nly harps she dies away. for he Alone can rival. and darkens ev'ry green. Tears that delight. where frozen chastity retires. all at once 'tis fir'd. And breathes a browner horror on the woods. Yet here for ever. affections ever ev'n. by the world forgot. . but inspir'd! Oh come! oh teach me nature to subdue. regret. and solicit new. yet detest th' offence? How the dear object from the crime remove. Here all its frailties. Shades ev'ry flow'r. but rapt. And wait till 'tis no sin to mix with thine.Her gloomy presence saddens all the scene. how often hate! How often hope. but kindle at the view. Conceal. disdain — do all things but forget.

swim before my sight: In seas of flame my plunging soul is drown'd. Where round some mould'ring tower pale ivy creeps. When from the censer clouds of fragrance roll. the same sad prospect find. Ah hopeless. dead calm of fix'd repose. dear deceits. dear horrors of all-conscious night! How glowing guilt exalts the keen delight! Provoking Daemons all restraint remove. While prostrate here in humble grief I lie. Ye soft illusions. I hear thee. and weep each other's woe. For thee the fates. you beckon from the skies. Thy voice I seem in ev'ry hymn to hear. Sudden you mount. and wanton in my eyes. temples. Come. Rise in the grove. before the altar rise. ere winds were taught to blow. Fancy restores what vengeance snatch'd away. The phantom flies me. Oh curs'd. I wake — no more I hear. And mild as opening gleams of promis'd heav'n. And low-brow'd rocks hang nodding o'er the deeps. and no blood that glows. Clouds interpose. I stretch my empty arms. I shriek. Then conscience sleeps. it glides away. and warm th' unfruitful urn. view thee. and angels tremble round. of unholy joy: When at the close of each sad. no more I view. . start up. and leaving nature free. and winds arise. Nature stands check'd. as unkind as you. And swelling organs lift the rising soul. I waste the matin lamp in sighs for thee. What scenes appear where'er I turn my view? The dear ideas. Kind. virtuous drops just gath'ring in my eye. arise! Alas. And wake to all the griefs I left behind. tapers. where I fly. Still as the sea. waves roar. Far other raptures. And round thy phantom glue my clasping arms. sorrowing day. Priests. Stain all my soul. No pulse that riots. lasting flames! like those that burn To light the dead. it hears not what I say. I call aloud. And stir within me every source of love. Religion disapproves. Thy image steals between my God and me. Abelard! for what hast thou to dread? The torch of Venus burns not for the dead. While altars blaze. no more — methinks we wand'ring go Through dreary wastes. Ev'n thou art cold — yet Eloisa loves. severely kind. One thought of thee puts all the pomp to flight.Far other dreams my erring soul employ. Or moving spirit bade the waters flow. Thy life a long. ordain A cool suspense from pleasure and from pain. gaze o'er all thy charms. With ev'ry bead I drop too soft a tear. pursue. To dream once more I close my willing eyes. Soft as the slumbers of a saint forgiv'n. All my loose soul unbounded springs to thee.

Come. far as pole from pole. "Come. where sinners may have rest. Take back my fruitless penitence and pray'rs. sad sister. and ever-blooming flow'rs." I come. From yonder shrine I heard a hollow sound. Present the cross before my lifted eye. and pray'd. from the blest abode. not man. Propp'd on some tomb. Teach me at once. and tear me from my God! No. wept. thy memory resign. See my lips tremble. Fair eyes.While praying. See from my cheek the transient roses fly! See the last sparkle languish in my eye! Till ev'ry motion. in the dust I roll. Here. trembling. absolves our frailties here. all adieu! Oh Grace serene! oh virtue heav'nly fair! Divine oblivion of low-thoughted care! Fresh blooming hope. and catch my flying soul! Ah no — in sacred vestments may'st thou stand. fly me. I come! prepare your roseate bow'rs. come not. Here grief forgets to groan. hate whate'er was mine. In each low wind methinks a spirit calls. The hallow'd taper trembling in thy hand. dispute my heart. Where flames refin'd in breasts seraphic glow: Thou. just mounting. or seem'd to say) "Thy place is here. fly me. sister. each amicable guest. Nor share one pang of all I felt for thee. and those tears. Celestial palms. And more than echoes talk along the walls. Receive. Assist the fiends. gay daughter of the sky! And faith. renounce me. with one glance of those deluding eyes Blot out each bright idea of the skies. and breath be o'er. and tempting looks (which yet I view!) Long lov'd. I trembled. those sorrows. and wrap me in eternal rest! See in her cell sad Eloisa spread. Forget. each mild. pulse. . thy once-lov'd Eloisa see! It will be then no crime to gaze on me. come away! Once like thyself. a neighbour of the dead. our early immortality! Enter. Abelard! the last sad office pay. Thy oaths I quit. And ev'n my Abelard be lov'd no more. and my eye-balls roll. Love's victim then. if thou dar'st. Thither. come!" (it said. write not. think not once of me. all charming as thou art! Oppose thyself to Heav'n. And dawning grace is op'ning on my soul: Come. though now a sainted maid: But all is calm in this eternal sleep. ador'd ideas. and love to weep. I go. Suck my last breath. Take back that grace. and learn of me to die. as I watch'd the dying lamps around. Ah then. Rise Alps between us! and whole oceans roll! Ah. Ev'n superstition loses ev'ry fear: For God. And smooth my passage to the realms of day. Snatch me.

"Oh may we never love as these have lov'd!" From the full choir when loud Hosannas rise. And swell the pomp of dreadful sacrifice. and all my joy) In trance ecstatic may thy pangs be drown'd. O'er the pale marble shall they join their heads. And graft my love immortal on thy fame! Then. And drink the falling tears each other sheds. and angels watch thee round.O Death all-eloquent! you only prove What dust we dote on. The well-sung woes will soothe my pensive ghost. May one kind grave unite each hapless name. who loves so long. when fate shall thy fair frame destroy. when 'tis man we love. And image charms he must behold no more. If ever chance two wand'ring lovers brings To Paraclete's white walls and silver springs. (That cause of all my guilt. Bright clouds descend. He best can paint 'em. From op'ning skies may streaming glories shine. with mutual pity mov'd. Condemn'd whole years in absence to deplore. Amid that scene if some relenting eye Glance on the stone where our cold relics lie. when all my woes are o'er. And saints embrace thee with a love like mine. so well. ages hence. Then too. When this rebellious heart shall beat no more. our tender story tell. Then sadly say. One human tear shall drop and be forgiv'n. who shall feel 'em most. And sure. if fate some future bard shall join In sad similitude of griefs to mine. Let him our sad. . Such if there be. Devotion's self shall steal a thought from Heav'n.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful