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Come! with thy looks, thy words, relieve my woe;
Ah, think at least thy flock deserves thy care,
Ver 119. Come ! with thy looks, &c.] These lines cannot be justified by any thing in the letters of Eloisa. What approaches the nearest to them is a passage in the first Epistle, which is thus given in Mr. Berrington's translation. “I am not to have the happiness of your company; give me therefore what else
I ask but a few lines; and can you, who are so rich in words, refuse me that faint image of yourself?” The original affords still less grounds for the passage in the poem.“ Attende, obsecro, quæ requiro; et parva hæc videbuntur, et tibi facillima. Dum tui præsentia fraudor, verborum saltem votis, quorum tibi copia est, tuæ mihi imaginis præsenta dulcedinem. Frustrà te in rebus dapsilem expecto, si in verbis avarum sustineo.”
Ver. 130. Ah think at least, &c.] “ Hujus quippe loci tu, post Deum, solus es fundator, solus hujus oratorii constructor, solus hujus Congregationis ædificator--in ipsis cubilibus ferarum, in ipsis latibulis latronum, ubi nec nominari Deus solet! divinum erexisti Tabernaculum, &c.—Heloisa Abelardo. Ep. I.
Ver. 133. You ruis'd these hallow'd walls;] He founded the Monastery.
No weeping orphan saw his father's stores 135
Ver. 136. Our shrines irradiate,] Non magis auro fulgentia atque ebore, simulacra, quàm lucos, et in iis silentia ipsa adoramus, says Pliny very finely, of places of worship.
Warton. Ver. 141. In these lone] All the images drawn from the Convent, from this line down to line 170, and particularly the personification of Melancholy, expanding her dreadful wings over its whole circuit, cannot be sufficiently applauded. The fine epithet, browner horror, is from Dryden. It is amusing to read with this passage Mr. Gray's excellent Account of his Visit to the Grande Chartreuse. Works, 4to. p. 67. These exquisite lines will be highly relished by all those,
Who never fail
may with sweetness through mine ear
Il Penseroso, v. 155.
Thy eyes diffus'd a reconciling ray,
145 And gleams of glory brighten'd all the day. But now no face divine contentment wears, 'Tis all blank sadness, or continual tears. See how the force of others' pray’rs I'try, O pious fraud of am'rous charity!
150 But why should I on others' pray’rs depend ? Come thou, my father, brother, husband, friend! Ah, let thy handmaid, sister, daughter, move, And all those tender names in one, thy love! The darksome pines that, o'er yon rocks reclin'd, Wave high, and murmur to the hollow wind, The wand'ring streams that shine between the hills, The grots that echo to the tinkling rills, The dying gales that pant upon the trees, The lakes that quiver to the curling breeze; 160 No more these scenes my meditation aid, Or lull to rest the visionary maid. But o'er the twilight groves and dusky caves, Long sounding isles, and intermingled graves, Black Melancholy sits, and round her throws 165 A death-like silence, and a dread repose : Her gloomy presence saddens all the scene, Shades ev'ry flow'r, and darkens ev'ry green, Deepens the murmur of the falling floods, And breathes a browner horror on the woods. 170
Yet here for ever, ever must I stay; Sad proof how well a lover can obey ! Death, only death, can break the lasting chain; And here, ev’n then, shall my cold dust remain ;
Here all its frailties, all its flames resign, 175 And wait till 'tis no sin to mix with thine.
Ah wretch! believ'd the spouse of God in vain, Confess'd within the slave of love and man. Assist me, heav'n! but whence arose that pray'r? Sprung it from piety, or from despair ? 180 Ev'n here, where frozen chastity retires, Love finds an altar for forbidden fires. I ought to grieve, but cannot what I ought; I mourn the lover, not lament the fault; I view my crime, but kindle at the view, 185 Repent old pleasures, and solicit new; Now turn'd to heav'n, I weep my past offence, Now think of thee, and curse my innocence: Of all affliction taught a lover yet, 'Tis sure the hardest science to forget! 190 How shall I lose the sin, yet keep the sense, And love th' offender, yet detest th' offence ? How the dear object from the crime remove, Or how distinguish penitence from love? Unequal task ! a passion to resign,
195 For hearts so touch’d, so piercd, so lost as mine. Ere such a soul regains its peaceful state, How often must it love, how often hate! How often hope, despair, resent, règret, Conceal, disdain,-do all things but forget. 200 But let heav'n seize it, all at once 'tis fir’d; Not touch'd, but rapt; not waken'd, but inspir'd!
Ver. 177. Ah wretch !] From the Letters; as also v. 133; and also v. 251; from the Letters. Epist. ii. p. 67. Warton. Ver. 201. But let heao’n seize it,] Here is the true doctrine of
Oh come! oh teach me nature to subdue,
205 Alone can rival, can succeed to thee.
How happy is the blameless Vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot : Eternal sun-shine of the spotless mind! Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign'd; 210 Labour and rest, that equal periods keep; “ Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;" Desires compos'd, affections ever even; Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to heaven. Grace shines around her, with serenest beams, 215 And whisp’ring Angels prompt her golden dreams. For her, th' unfading rose of Eden blooms, And wings of Seraphs shed divine perfumes,
the Mystics. There are many such strains in Crashaw, particularly in a poem called The Flaming Heart, and in the Seraphical Saint Teresa in Crashaw.
Warton. But how beautiful an use has Pope here made of this doctrine ! At the same time, nothing is introduced that here offends our serious ideas.
Bowles. Ver. 212. Obedient slumbers, &c.] Taken from Crashaw. P.
Milton also honoured Crashaw by borrowing some lines from his translation of Marino's Slaughter of the Innocents. See Crashaw, in the Letters, vol. vii.
Warton. Ver. 215. Grace shines uround her.] Dr. Warton, in a note on this passage, has given a long extract on Divine Grace, from the works of Fenelon; a writer of the purest mind and warmest devotional feelings, but surely not to be confounded with such persons as talk of " whispering angels,” and “wings of seraphs, that shed divine perfumes;" and consequently not much honoured by being placed in such company.
Ver. 218. Wings of Seraphs] A late poet, (T. Warton,) speaking of a Hermit at his evening prayers, says beautifully: