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Rather than so, ah! let me still survive,
Here tears shall flow from a more generous cave, And burn in Cupid's flames—but burn alive.” Such tears as patriots shed for dying laws:
“ Restore the Lock," she cries; and all around, He bids your breasts with ancient ardor rise, “Restore the Lock!" the vaulted roofs rebound. And calls forth Roman drops from British eyes. Not fierce Othello in so loud a strain
Virtue confess'd in human shape he draws, Roar'd for the handkerchief that caus’d his pain. What Plato thought, and godlike Cato was : But see how oft ambitious aims are cross'd, No common object to your sight displays, And chiefs contend till all the prize is lost!
But what with pleasure Heaven itself surveys, The Lock, obtain'd with guilt, and kept with pain, A brave man struggling in the storms of fate, In every place is sought, but sought in vain : And greatly falling with a falling state. With such a prize no mortal must be blest, While Cato gives his little senate laws, So Heaven decrees! with Heaven who can contest? What bosom beats not in his country's cause?
Some thought it mounted to the lunar sphere, Who sees him act, but envies every deed ? Since all things lost on Earth are treasur’d there. Who hears him groan, and does not wish to bleed ? There heroes' wits are kept in ponderous vases, Ev'n when proud Cæsar midst triumphal cars, And beaux in snuff-boxes and tweezer-cases : The spoils of nations, and the pomp of wars, There broken vows and death-bed alms are found, Ignobly vain, and impotently great, And lovers' hearts with ends of riband bound; Show'd Rome her Cato's figure drawn in state; The courtier's promises, and sick man's prayers,
As her dead father's reverend image past, The smiles of harlots, and the tears of heirs, The pomp was darken'd, and the day o'ercast; Cages for gnats, and chains to yoke a flea, The triumph ceas'd, tears gush'd from ev'ry eye; Dried butterflies, and tomes of casuistry.
The world's great victor pass'd unheeded by; But trust the Muse—she saw it upward rise, Her last good man dejected Rome ador’d, Though mark'd by none but quick, poetic eyes : And honor'd Caesar's less than Cato's sword. (So Rome's great founder to the Heavens withdrew, Britons, attend : be worth like this approv'd, To Proculus alone confess'd in view :)
And show, you have the virtue to be mov'd. A sudden star, it shot through liquid air,
With honest scorn the first fam'd Cato view'd And drew behind a radiant trail of hair.
Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she subNot Berenice's locks first rose so bright, The Heaven bespangling with dishevellid light. Your scene precariously subsists too long The Sylphs behold it kindling as it flies,
On French translation, and Italian song. And pleas'd pursue its progress through the skies. Dare to have sense yourselves; assert the stage,
This the beau-monde shall from the Mall survey, Be justly warm’d with your own native rage ; And hail with music its propitious ray.
Such plays alone should win a British ear,
As Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear.
ELOISA TO ABELARD.
Argument. Which adds new glory to the shining sphere! Abelard and Eloïsa flourished in the twelfth cen Not all the tresses that sair head can boast,
tury; they were two of the most distinguished Shall draw such envy as the Lock you lost.
persons of their age in learning and beauty, but For, after all the murders of your eye,
for nothing more famous than for their unfortuWhen, after millions slain, yourself shall die;
nate passion. After a long course of calamities, When those fair suns shall set, as set they must, they retired each to a several convent, and conAnd all those tresses shall be laid in dust,
secrated the remainder of their days to religion. This Lock the Muse shall consecrate to fame,
It was many years after this separation, that a And midst the stars inscribe Belinda's name.
letter of Abelard's to a friend, which contained the history of his misfortune, fell into the hands of Eloïsa. This awakening all her tenderness,
occasioned those celebrated letters (out of which PROLOGUE
the following is partly extracted) which give so
lively a picture of the struggles of grace and na
Yet, yet I love !-From Abelard it came,
Dear, fatal name! rest ever unreveal'd,
Nor pass these lips in holy silence seald :
O, write it noi, my hand--the name appears
And bids them make mistaken mortals groan, Already written-wash it out, my tears !
Who seek in love for aught but love alone. In vain lost Eloïsa weeps and prays,
Should at my feet the world's great master fall, Her heart still dictates, and her hand obeys. Himself, his throne, bis world, I'd scorn them all :
Relentless walls! whose darksome round contains Not Cæsar's empress would I deign to prove ; Repentant sighs, and voluntary pains :
No, make me mistress to the man I love. Ye rugged rocks! which holy knees have worn; If there be yet another name more free, Ye grots and caverns shagg‘d with horrid thorn! More fond than mistress, make me that to thee! Shrines! where their vigils pale-ey'd virgins keep; Oh, happy state! when souls each other draw, And pitying saints, whose statues learn to weep! When love is liberty, and Nature law : 'Though cold like you, unmov’d and silent grown, All then is full, possessing and possess'd, I have not yet forgot myself to stone.
No craving void left aching in the breast : All is not Heaven's while Abelard has part, Ev'n thought meets thought, ere from the lips it part, Still rebel Nature holds out half my heart; And each warm wish springs mutual from the heart. Nor prayers nor fasts its stubborn pulse restrain, This sure is bliss (if bliss on Earth there be) Nor tears, for ages taught to flow in vain.
And once the lot of Abelard and me. Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose,
Alas, how chang'd! what sudden horrors rise ! That well-known name awakens all my woes. A naked lover bound and bleeding lies! Oh, name for ever sad! for ever dear!
Where, where was Eloïsa ? her voice, her hand, Sull breath'd in sighs, still usher'd with a tear. Her poniard had oppos'd the dire command. I tremble too, where'er my own I find,
Barbarian, stay! that bloody stroke restrain ; Some dire misfortune follows close behind.
The crime was common, common be the pain. Line after line my gushing eyes o'erflow,
I can no more ; by shame, by rage suppressid, Led through a sad variety of woe :
Let tears and burning blushes speak the rest. Now warm in love, now withering in my bloom, Canst thou forget that sad, that solemn day, Lost in a convent's solitary gloom !
When victims at yon altar's foot we lay ? There stern Religion quench'd th' unwilling flame, Canst thou forget what tears that moment fell, There died the best of passions, love and fame. When, warm in youth, I bade the world farewell ?
Yet write, oh write me all, that I may join As with cold lips I kiss'd the sacred veil, Griefs to thy griefs, and echo sighs to thine. The shrines all trembled and the lamps grew pale: Nor foes nor Fortune take this power away ;
Heaven scarce believ'd the conquest it survey'd, And is my Abelard less kind than they?
And saints with wonder heard the vows made. Tears still are mine, and those I need not spare, Yet then, to those dread altars as I drew, Love but demands what else were shed in prayer; Not on the cross my eyes were fix'd, but you : No happier task these faded eyes pursue ; Not grace, or zeal, love only was my call; To read and weep is all they now can do. And if I lose thy love, I lose my all.
Then share thy pain, allow that sad relief; Come! with thy looks, thy words, relieve my woe; Ah, more than share it, give me all thy grief. Those still at least are left thee to bestow. Heaven first taught letters for some wretch's aid, Still on that breast enamour'd let me lie, Some banish'd lover, or some captive maid ; [spires, Still drink delicious poison from thy eye, They live, they speak, they breathe what love in- Pant on thy lip, and to thy heart be pressid ; Warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires, Give all thou canstand let me dream the rest. 'The virgin's wish without her fears impart, Ah, no! instruct me other joys to prize, Excuse the blush, and pour out all the heart, With other beauties charm my partial eyes, Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul, Full in my view set all the bright abode, And wast a sigh from Indus to the Pole.
And make my soul quit Abelard for God. Thou know'st how guiltless first I met thy flame, Ah! think at least thy flock deserves thy care, When Love approach'd me under Friendship's name; Plants of thy hand, and children of thy prayer. My fancy form’d thee of angelic kind,
From the false world in early youth they fled, Some emanation of th' All-beauteous Mind. By thee to mountains, wilds, and deserts led. Those smiling eyes, attempering every ray, You rais'd these hallow'd walls; the desert smil'd, Shone sweetly lambent with celestial day. And Paradise was open'd in the wild. Guiltless I gaz'd; Heaven listen'd while you sung; No weeping orphan saw his father's stores And truths divine came mended from that tongue. Our shrines irradiate, or emblaze the floors; From lips like those what precept fail'd to move ? No silver saints, by dying misers given, Too soon they taught me 'twas no sin to love: Here bribe the rage of ill-requited Heaven; Back through the paths of pleasing sense I ran, But such plain roofs as Piety could raise, Nor wish'd an angel whom I lov'd a man.
And only vocal with the Maker's praise, Dim and remote the joys of saints I see,
In these lone walls, (their days eternal bound) Nor envy them that Heaven I lose for thee. These moss-grown domes with spiry turrets crown'd,
How oft, when press'd to marriage, have I said, Where awful arches make a noon-day night, Curse on all laws but those which love has made! And the dim windows shed a solemn light; Love, free as air, at sight of human ties
Thy eyes diffus'd a reconciling ray, Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies. And gleams of glory brighten'd all the day. Let wealth, let honor, wait the wedded dame, But now no face divine contentment wears, August her deed, and sacred be her fame ; 'Tis all blank sadness, or continual tears. Before true passion all those views remove; See how the force of others' prayers I try, Fame, wealth, and honor! what are you to love ? O pious fraud of amorous charity!) The jealous god, when we profane his fires, But why should I on others' prayers depend ? Those restless passions in revenge inspires, Come thou, my father, brother, husband, friend!
Ah, let thy handmaid, sister, daughter, move, Far other dreams my erring soul employ,
All my loose soul unbounded springs to thee.
O curst, dear horrors of all-conscious night! The lakes that quiver to the curling breeze; How glowing guilt exalis the keen delight! No more these scenes my meditation aid,
Provoking demons all restraint remove, Or lull to rest the visionary maid :
And stir within me every source of love. But o'er the twilight groves and dusky caves, I hear thee, view thee, gaze o'er all thy charms, Long-sounding aisles, and intermingled graves, And round thy phantom glue my clasping arms. Black Melancholy sits, and round her throwe I wake:- no more I hear, no more I view, A death-like silence, and a dread repose ;
The phantom flies me, as unkind as you. Her gloomy presence saddens all the scene, I call aloud ; it hears not what I say: Shades every flower and darkens every green, I stretch my empty arms; it glides away. Deepens the murmur of the falling floods, To dream once more I close my willing eyes; And breathes a browner horror on the woods. Ye soft illusions, dear deceits, arise ! Yet here for ever, ever must I stay ;
Alas, no more! methinks we wandering go Sad proof how well a lover can obey !
Through dreary wastes, and weep each other's woe Death, only Death, can break the lasting chain ; Where round some mouldering tower pale ivy creeps, And here, ev'n then, shall my cold dust remain; And low-brow'd rocks hang nodding o'er the deeps. Here all its frailties, all its flames resign,
Sudden you mount, you beckon from the skies : And wait till 'tis no sin to mix with thine. Clouds interpose, waves roar, and winds arise.
Ah, wretch! believ'd the spouse of God in vain, I shriek, start up, the same sad prospect find, Confess'd within the slave of love and man. And wake to all the griefs I left behind. Assist me, Heaven! but whence arose that prayer? For thee the Fates, severely kind, ordain Sprung it from piety, or from despair ?
A cool suspense from pleasure and from pain; Ev'n here where frozen Chastity retires,
Thy life a long dead calm of fix'd repose : Love finds an altar for forbidden fires.
No pulse that riots, and no blood that glowe. I ought to grieve, but cannot what I ought; Still as the sea, ere winds were taught to blow, I mourn the lover, not lament the fault;
Or moving spirit bade the waters flow; I view my crime, but kindle at the view,
Soft as the slumbers of a saint forgiven, Repent old pleasures, and solicit new;
And mild as opening gleams of promis'd Heaven. Now turn'd to Heaven, I weep my past offence, Come, Abelard! for what hast thou to dread ? Now think of thee, and curse my innocence. The torch of Venus burns not for the dead. Of all affliction taught a lover yet,
Nature stands check'd; Religion disapproves; 'Tis sure the hardest science to forget!
Ev’n thou art cold-yet Eloïsa loves.
Rise in the grove, before the altar rise,
I waste the matin lamp in sighs for thee,
Thy image steals between my God and me; How often hope, despair, resent, regret,
Thy voice I seem in every hymn to hear, Conceal, disdain,--do all things but forget! With every bead I drop too soft a tear. But let Heaven seize it, all at once 'tis fir'd : When from the censer clouds of fragrance roll, Not touch'd, but rapt; not waken'd, but inspir'd! And swelling organs list the rising soul, Oh, come, oh, teach me Nature to subdue, One thought of thee puts all the pomp to flight, Renounce my love, my life, myself—and you. Priests, tapers, temples, swim before my sight: Fill my fond heart with God alone, for he In seas of flame my plunging soul is drownd, Alone can rival, can succeed to thee.
While altars blaze, and angels tremble round. How happy is the blameless vestal's lot;
While prostrate here in humble grief I lie, The world forgetting, by the world forgot! Kind, virtuous drops just gathering in my eye, Eternal sun-shine of the spotless mind !
While, praying, trembling, in the dust I roll, Each prayer accepted, and each wish resign'd; And dawning grace is opening on my soul : Labor and rest that equal periods keep;
Come, if thou dar'st, all charming as thou art! "Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;" Oppose thyself to Heaven ; dispute my heart; Desires compos'd, affections ever even;
Come, with one glance of those deluding eyes, Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heaven. Blot out each bright idea of the skies; Grace shines around her with serenest beams, Take back that grace, those sorrows, and those tears: And whispering angels prompt her golden dreams. Take back my fruitless penitence and prayers : For her th' unfading rose of Eden blooms, Snatch me, just mounting, from the blest abode; And wings of seraphs shed divine perfumes ; Assist the fiends, and tear me from my God! For her the spouse prepares the bridal ring;
No, fly me, fly me, far as pole from pole! For her white virgins hymenæals sing:
Rise Alps between us! and whole oceans roll! To sounds of heavenly harps she dies away, Ah, come not, write not, think not once of me, And melts in visions of eternal day.
Nor share one pang of all I felt for thee.
Thy oaths I quit, thy memory resign!
Come, sister, come!" (it said, or seem'd to say) "Thy place is here, sad sister, come away! Once like thyself, I trembled, wept, and pray'd, Love's victim then, though now a sainted maid: But all is calm in this eternal sleep:
Here Grief forgets to groan, and Love to weep;
I come! I come! prepare your roseate bowers, Celestial palms, and ever-blooming flowers. Thither, where sinners may have rest, I go, Where flames refin'd in breasts seraphic glow; Thou, Abelard! the last sad office pay, And smooth my passage to the realms of day; See my lips tremble, and my eyeballs roll, Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul! Ah, no-in sacred vestments may'st thou stand, The hallow'd taper trembling in thy hand, Present the cross before my lifted eye, Teach me at once, and learn of me to die. Ah, then thy once-lov'd Eloïsa see! It will be then no crime to gaze on me. See from my cheek the transient roses fly! See the last sparkle languish in my eye! Till every motion, pulse, and breath be o'er; And ev'n my Abelard be lov'd no more. O Death all eloquent! you only prove What dust we dote on, when 'tis man we love.
Then too, when Fate shall thy fair frame destroy (That cause of all my guilt, and all my joy,) In trance ecstatic may thy pangs be drown'd, Bright clouds descend, and angels watch thee round. From opening skies may 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, When this rebellious heart shall beat no more; If ever chance two wandering 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 ; Then sadly say, with mutual pity mov'd, "O, may we never love as these have lov'd!" 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 relics lie, Devotion's self shall steal a thought from Heaven, One human tear shall drop, and be forgiven. 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:
Such, if there be, who loves so long, so well;
THE TEMPLE OF FAME.
Written in the Year 1711.
The hint of the following piece was taken from Chaucer's House of Fame. The design is in a manner entirely altered, the descriptions and most of the particular thoughts my own; yet I could not suffer it to be printed without this acknowledgment. The reader, who would compare this with Chaucer, may begin with his third book of Fame, there being nothing in the two first books that answers to their title.
The poem is introduced in the manner of the Provençal poets, whose works were for the most part visions, or pieces of imagination, and constantly descriptive. From these, Petrarch and Chaucer frequently borrowed the idea of their poems. See the Trionfi of the former, and the Dream, Flower and the Leaf, &c. of the latter. The author of this therefore chose the same sort of exordium.
IN that soft season, when descending showers
As balmy sleep had charm'd my cares to rest,
I stood, methought, betwixt earth, seas, and skies;
O'er the wide prospect as I gaz'd around, Sudden I heard a wild promiscuous sound, Like broken thunders that at distance roar, Or billows murmuring on the hollow shore: Then gazing up, a glorious pile beheld, Whose towering summit ambient clouds conceal'd. High on a rock of ice the structure lay. Steep its ascent, and slippery was the way; The wondrous rock like Parian marble shone, And seem'd, to distant sight, of solid stone. Inscriptions here of various names I view'd, The greater part by hostile time subdued; Yet wide was spread their fame in ages past, And poets once had promis'd they should last. Some fresh engrav'd appear'd of wits renown'd; I look'd again, nor could their trace be found.
Critics I saw, that other names deface,
of talismans and sigils knew the power,
Who taught that useful science, to be good.
But on the south, a long majestic race But felt the approaches of too warm a sun; Of Egypt's priests the gilded niches grace, For Fame, impatient of extremes, decays
Who measur'd Earth, describ'd the starry spheres, Not more by Envy, than excess of Praise. And trac'd the long records of lunar years. Yet part no injuries of Heaven could feel, High on his car Sesostris struck my view, Like crystal faithful to the graving steel :
Whom sceptred slaves in golden harness drew: The rock's high summit, in the temple's shade, His hands a bow and pointed javelin hold ; Nor heat could melt, nor beating storm invade. His giant limbs are arm'd in scales of gold. Their names inscrib'd unnumber'd ages past Between the statues obelisks were plac'd, From Time's first birth, with Time itself shall last; And the learn'd walls with hieroglyphics grac'd. These ever new, nor subject to decays,
Of Gothic structure was the northern side, Spread and grow brighter with the length of days. O'erwrought with ornaments of barbarous pride.
So Zembla's rocks (the beauteous work of frost) There huge Colosses rose, with trophies crown'd, Rise white in air, and glitter o'er the coast;
And Runic characters were gravid around. Pale suns, unfelt, at distance roll away,
There sat Zamolxis with erected eyes, And on th' impassive ice the lightnings play; And Odin here in mimic trances dies. Eternal snows the growing mass supply,
There on rude iron columns, smear'd with blood, Till the bright mountains prop th' incumbent sky; The horrid forms of Scythian heroes stood, As Atlas fix’d, each hoary pile appears,
Druids and bards (their once loud harps unstrung), The gather'd winter of a thousand years.
And youths that died to be by poels sung. On this foundation Fame's high temple stands ; These and a thousand more of doubtful fame, Stupendous pile! not rear'd by mortal hands. To whom old fables gave a lasting name, Whate'er proud Rome or artful Greece beheld, In ranks adorn'd the temple's outward face; Or elder Babylon, its frame excell’d.
The wall in lustre and effect like glass, Four faces had the dome, and every face
Which, o'er each object casting various dyes, Of various structure, but of equal grace!
Enlarges some, and others multiplies : Four brazen gates, on columns listed high, Nor void of emblem was the mystic wall, Salute the different quarters of the sky.
For thus romantic Fame increases all. Here fabled chiefs in darker ages born,
The temple shakes, the sounding gates unfold, Or worthies old, whom arms or arts adorn, Wide vaulis appear, and roofs of fretted gold : Who cities rais'd, or tam'd a monstrous race, Rais'd on a thousand pillars wreath'd around The walls in venerable order grace :
With laurel-foliage, and with eagles crown'd: Heroes in animated marble frown,
or bright transparent beryl were the walls, And legislators seem to think in stone.
The friezes gold, and gold the capitals : Westward, a sumptuous frontispiece appear'd, As Heaven with stars, the roof with jewels glows, On Doric pillars of white marble reard,
And ever-living lamps depend in rows.
His feet on sceptres and tiaras trod,
There Cæsar, grac'd with both Minervas, shone; And half the mountain rolls into a wall :
Cæsar, the world's great master, and his own; There might you see the lengthening spires ascend, Unmovid, superior still in every state, The dome swell up, the widening arches bend, And scarce detested in his country's fate. The growing towers like exhalations rise,
But chief were those, who not for empire fought, And the huge columns heave into the skies. But with their toils their people's safety bought :
The eastern front was glorious to behold, High o'er the rest Epaminondas stood ; With diamond flaming, and Barbaric gold. Timoleon, glorious in his brother's blood; There Ninus shone, who spread th’ Assyrian fame, Bold Scipio, savior of the Roman state, And the great founder of the Persian name : Great in his triumphs, in retirement great ; There in long robes the royal Magi stand, And wise Aurelius, in whose well-taught mind Grave Zoroaster waves the circling wand: With boundless power unbounded virtue join'd, The sage Chaldæans rob’d in white appear'd, His own strict judge, and patron of mankind. And Brachmans, deep in desert woods rever'd. Much-suffering heroes next their honors claim, These stopp'd the Moon, and call'd the unbodied Those of less noisy, and less guilty fame, shades
Fair Virtue's silent train : supreme of these To midnight banquets in the glimmering glades; Here ever shines the godlike Socrates; Made visionary fabrics round them rise,
He whom ungrateful Athens could expel, And airy specires skim before their eyes;
At all times just, but when he sign'd the shell