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Dr. Warton observes, that this Tranflation is fuperior to any of Dryden's. If, indeed, we compare Pope's Tranflations with those of any other writer, their fuperiority must be ftrikingly apparent. There is a finish in them, a correctness, a natural flow, and a tone of originality, added to a wonderful propriety and beauty of expreffion and language. The literary world has of late been gratified by fome excellent Tranflations from the Clafficks-of the Georgics, by Sotheby-Horace, by Boscawen-Juvenal, by Gifford-and Anacreon, by Moore; whofe verfion, though not always quite faithful, is truly fpirited and elegant.
If Pope ever fails, it is where he generalifes too much This is particularly objectionable, where in the original there is any marked, diftin&t, and beautiful Piare: fo, as it has been observed, Pope only says,
"Cupid for thee fhall fpread the fwelling fail;"
whereas in Ovid, Cupid appears before us in the very act of guiding, the vessel feated as the pilot, and with his tender HAND, (tenera manu) contracting, or letting flow, the fail. I need not point out another beauty in the original, the repetition of the word Ipfe."
ELOISA TO ABELARD.
O Abelard, ill-fated youth!
Dan Pope, for thy misfortune griev'd,
ABELARD and Eloifa flourished in the twelfth century; they
were two of the moft diftinguished perfons of their age in learning and beauty, but for nothing more famous than for their unfortunate paffion. After a long courfe of calamities, they re. tired each to a several Convent, and confecrated the remainder of their days to religion. It was many years after this feparation, that a letter of Abelard's to a Friend, which contained the history of his misfortune, fell into the hands of Eloifa. This awakening all her tenderness, occafioned those celebrated letters (out of which the following is partly extracted) which give fo lively a picture of the ftruggles of grace and nature, virtue and paffion. POPE.
A Traveller who vifited the Convent about the year 1768 (fee Annual Regifter) fays, that its fituation and profpects by no means refemble Pope's beautiful and romantic defcription of it. Father St. Romain, the officiating Prieft, walked with him round the whole demefne. The Abbefs, who was in her eighty-second year, defired to fee our Traveller, for fhe faid fhe 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 fucceffion, as Abbefs of that Convent, hoped it would become a kind of patrimony. We know, alas! what has fince happened both to her Family and her Convent! The community feemed to know but little of the afflicting story of their Founder. Little remains of the original building but a few pointed arches. In examining the tombs of these unfortunate lovers, he observed that Eloifa appeared much taller than Abelard. WARTON.
ELOISA TO ABELARD*.
IN these deep folitudes and awful cells,
What means this tumult in a Veftal's veins?
Dear fatal name! reft ever unreveal'd,
However happy and judicious the subject of this Epistle may be thought to be, as difplaying the various conflicts and tumults between duty and pleasure, between penitence and paffion, that agitated the mind of Eloifa; yet, we must candidly own, that the principal circumftance of distress is of so indelicate a nature, that it is with difficulty disguised by the exquifite art and address of the poet. The capital and unrivalled beauties of the poem arife from the ftriking images and defcriptions of the Convent, and from the fentiments drawn from the myftical books of devotion, particularly Madame Guion and the Archbishop of Cambray.