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Thy charms than those may far more pow'rful be,
Ah! canst thou doom me to the rocks and sea,
Untun'd my lute, and silent is my lyre.
No more your groves with my glad songs shall ring, No more these hands shall touch the trembling string : My Phaon's fled, and I those arts resign
(Wretch that I am, to call that Phaon mine!) Return, fair youth, return, and bring along
Joy to my soul, and vigour to my song:
The winds my pray'rs, my sighs, my numbers bear,
The flying winds have lost them all in air!
To these fond eyes restore thy welcome sails!
If you return-ah why these long delays?
ELOISA TO ABELARD.
O Abelard, ill-fated youth,
Dan Pope for thy misfortune griev'd,
ABELARD and Eloïsa flourished in the twelfth century; they were two of the most distinguished persons of their age in learning and beauty, but for nothing more famous than for their unfortunate passion. 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 contained the history of his misfortune, fell into the hands of Eloïsa. This awakening all her tenderness, occasioned those celebrated letters (out of which the following is partly extracted) which give so lively a picture of the struggles of grace and nature, virtue and passion.
A traveller who visited the convent about the year 1768 (see Annual Register) says, that its situation and prospects by no means resemble Pope's beautiful and romantic description of it. Father St. Romain, the officiating priest, walked with him round the whole demesne. The abbess, who was in her eighty-second year, desired to see our traveller, for she said she was his countrywoman, and allied to the extinct families of Lifford and Stafford. She was aunt to the then Duke de Rochfaulcault; and being fifth in succession, as abbess of that convent, hoped it would become a kind of patrimony. We know, alas! what has since happened