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enter into the Imagination of any who had not felt the like Emotions and Diftreffes.
They were originally written in Latin, and are extant in a Collection of the Works of Abelard, printed at Paris in the Year 1616. With what Elegance and Beauty of Stile they were written in that Language, will fufficiently appear to the learned Reader, even by thofe few Citations which are fet at the Bottom of the Page in fome Places of the following Hiftory. But the Book here mentioned confifting chiefly of School Divinity, and of the Learning of thofe Times, and therefore being rarely to be met with but in publick Libraries, and in the Hands of fome learned Men, the Letters of Abelard and Heloife are much more known by a Tranflation, or rather Paraphrase of them in French, first published at the Hague in 1693, and which afterwards received feveral other more compleat Editions. This Tranflation is much applauded, but who was the Author of it is not certainly known. Monfieur Bayle fays, he had been informed it was done by a Woman; and perhaps he thought no one befides could have entered fo thoroughly into the Paffion and Tenderness of fuch Writings, for which that Sex feems to have a more natural Difpofition than the other. This may be judged by the Letters themselves, among which those of Heloise are the moft tender and moving, and the Mafter feems in this Particular to have been excelled by the Scholar.
In fome of the later Editions in French, there has been prefixed to the Letters an Hiftorical Account of Abelard and Heloife; this is chiefly extracted from
the Preface of the Editor of Abelard's Works in Latin, and from the Critical Dictionary of Monfieur Bayle*, awho has put together, under feveral Articles, all the Particulars he was able to collect concerning these two famous Perfons: And though the firft Letter of Abelard to Philintus, in which he relates his own Story, may feem to have rendered this Account in part unnecessary; yet the Reader will not be difpleafed to fee the Thread of the Relation intire, and continued to the Death of the Perfons whofe Misfortunes had made their Lives fo very remarkable.
It is indeed impoffible to be unmoved at the furpriz ing and multiplied Afflictions and Perfecutions which befel a Man of Abelard's fine Genius, when we fee them fo feelingly defcribed by his own Hand. Many of thefe were owing to the Malice of fuch as were his Enemies on the Account of his fuperior Learning and Merit; yet the great Calamities of his Life took their Rife from his unhappy Indulgence of a criminal Paffion, and giving himself a Loofe to unwarrantable Pleafures. After this he was perpetually involved in Sorrow and Diftrefs, and in vain fought for Eafe and Quiet in a Monaftick Life. The Letters between him and his beloved Heloife were not written till long after their Marriage and Separation, and when each of them was dedicated to a Life of Religion. Accordingly we find in them furprizing Mixtures of Devotion and Tenderness, of Penitence and remaining Frailty, and a lively Picture of Human Nature in its Contrarieties of Paffion and Reafon, its Infirmities and its. Sufferings.
Vid, Artis. Abelard, Heloife, Foulques, and Parac
ABELARD and HELOISE.
ETER ABELARD was born in the Village of Palais, in Britany. He lived in the twelfth Century, in the Reigns of Lewis the Grofs, and
Lewis the Young. His Father's Name was Beranger, a Gentleman of a confiderable and wealthy Family. He took Care to give his Children a liberal and pious Education; especially his eldeft Son Peter, on whom he endeavoured to beftow all poffible Improvements, because there appeared
peared in him an extraordinary Vivacity of Wit, joined with Sweetnefs of Temper, and all imagin able Prefages of a great Man.
When he had made fome Advancement in Learning, he grew fo fond of his Books, that, left Affairs of the World might interrupt his Pro ficiency in them, he quitted his Birthright to his younger Brother, and applied himself entirely to the Studies of Philofophy and Divinity.
Of all the Sciences to which he applied himself, that which pleafed him most, and in which he made the greatest Progrefs, was Logick. He had a very fubtle Wit, and was inceffantly whetting it by Difputes, out of a reftlefs Ambition to be a Mailer of his Weapons. So that in a fhort Time he gained the Reputation of the greatest Philofopher of his Age; and has always been efteemed the Founder of what we call the Learning of the Schoolmen.
He finished his Studies at Paris, where Learn ing was then in a very flourishing Condition. In this City he found that famous Profeffor of Philosophy, William des Champeaux, and foon became his fa vourite Scholar; but this did not last long. The Profeffor was fo hard put to it, to answer the subtle Objections of his new Scholar, that he grew uneafy with him. The School foon run into Parties. The fenior Scholars, tranfported with Envy against Abelard, feconded their Master's Refentment. All this ferved only to encrease the young