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Thy charms than those may far more pow'rful be,
And Phœbus' self is less a God to me.


Ah! canst thou doom me to the rocks and sea,
Oh, far more faithless and more hard than they?
Ah! canst thou rather see this tender breast
Dash'd on these rocks than to thy bosom prest? 225
This breast which once, in vain! you lik'd so well;
Where the Loves play'd, and where the Muses dwell.
Alas! the Muses now no more inspire,

Untun'd my lute, and silent is my lyre.
My languid numbers have forgot to flow,
And fancy sinks beneath the weight of woe.
Ye Lesbian virgins, and ye Lesbian dames,
Themes of my verse, and objects of my flames,


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:
Absent from thee, the Poet's flame expires;
But ah! how fiercely burn the lover's fires?
Gods! can no pray❜rs, no sighs, no numbers move
One savage heart, or teach it how to love?


The winds my pray'rs, my sighs, my numbers bear,

The flying winds have lost them all in air!
Or when, alas! shall more auspicious gales


To these fond eyes restore thy welcome sails!

If you return-ah why these long delays?
Poor Sappho dies while careless Phaon stays.
O launch the bark, nor fear the wat❜ry plain;
Venus for thee shall smooth her native main.
O launch thy bark, secure of prosp❜rous gales;
Cupid for thee shall spread the swelling sails.
If you will fly-(yet ah! what cause can be,
Too cruel youth, that you should fly from me?)
If not from Phaon I must hope for ease,
Ah let me seek it from the raging seas:
To raging seas unpity'd I'll remove,
And either cease to live or cease to love!




O Abelard, ill-fated youth,
Thy tale shall justify this truth.
But well I weet, thy cruel wrong
Adorns a nobler Poet's song:

Dan Pope for thy misfortune griev'd,
With kind concern and skill has weav'd
A silken web; and ne'er shall fade
Its colours; gently has he laid
The mantle o'er thy sad distress,
And Venus shall the texture bless.



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




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