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Belard and Eloisa flourish'd in the twelfth Cen
tury; they were two of the most distinguish'd persons of their age in learning and beauty, but for nothing more famous than for their unfortunate paffion. After a long course of calamities, they retired each to a several convent, and consecrated the remainder of their days to religion. It was many years after this separation, that a letter of Abelard's to a friend which contain'd the history of his misfortunes, fell into the hands of Eloisa. This awakening all her tenderness, occafion'd those celebrated letters (out of which the following is partly extracted) which givé so lively a picture of the struggles of grace and nature, virtue and paffion,
A B E L A R D. I
N these deep solitudes and awful cells,
Where heav'nly-pensive contemplation dwells,
And ever-musing melancholy reigns ; What means this tumult in a vestals 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 nåme! rest ever unreveal'd, Nor pass these lips in holy filence feald.**
Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise,
Relentless walls ! whose darksom round contains
Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose, .