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Come! with thy looks, thy words, relieve my woe;
Ah, think at least thy flock deserves thy care, Plants of thy hand, and children of thy pray'r; 130 From the false world in early youth they fled, By thee to mountains, wilds, and deserts led. You rais'd these hallow'd walls; the desert smil'd, And Paradise was open'd in the Wild.
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 you can. 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 rais'd these hallow'd walls;] He founded the Monastery.
No weeping orphan saw his father's stores
In these lone walls (their days' eternal bound)
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
To walk the studious cloysters pale,
As may with sweetness through mine ear
And bring all heav'n before mine eyes.
Il Penseroso, v. 155.
Thy eyes diffus'd a reconciling ray,
And gleams of glory brighten'd all the day.
But why should I on others' pray'rs depend?
Or lull to rest the visionary maid.
But o'er the twilight groves and dusky caves,
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,
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?
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,
How shall I lose the sin, yet keep the sense,
For hearts so touch'd, so pierc'd, so lost as mine.
Ver. 177. Ah wretch !] From the Letters; as also v. 133; and also v. 251; from the Letters. Epist. ii. p. 67.
Ver. 201. But let heav'n seize it,] Here is the true doctrine of
Oh come! oh teach me nature to subdue,
How happy is the blameless Vestal's lot!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd; 210
Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to heaven.
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.
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.
Ver. 215. Grace shines around 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: