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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 a 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:

At quanto melius jungi mea pectora tecum,
Quam poterant saxis præcipitanda dari!

Hæc sunt illa, Phaon, quæ tu laudare solebas;
Visaque sunt toties ingeniosa tibi.

Nunc vellem facunda forent: dolor artibus obstat;
Ingeniumque meis substitit omne malis.

Non mihi respondent veteres in carmina vires:
Plectra dolore tacent; muta dolore lyra est.
Lesbides æquoreæ, nupturaque nuptaque proles;
Lesbides, Æolia nomina dicta lyra;

Lesbides, infamem quæ me fecistis amatæ ;

Desinite ad citharas turba venire meas:




Abstulit omne Phaon, quod vobis ante placebat. 236 (Me miseram! dixi quam modo pene, meus!)

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!
Oh 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 thy 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?) 255

Efficite ut redeat: vates quoque vestra redibit.
Ingenio vires ille dat, ille rapit.


Ecquid ago precibus? pectusne agreste movetur?

An riget? et zephyri verba caduca ferunt? Qui mea verba ferunt, vellem tua vela referrent.


Hoc te, si saperes, lente, decebat opus.

Sive redis, puppique tuæ votiva parantur
Munera; quid laceras pectora nostra mora ?

Solve ratem: Venus orta mari, mare præstet eunti.
Aura dabit cursum; tn modo solve ratem.

Ipse gubernabit residens in puppe Cupido;
Ipse dabit tenera vela legetque manu.


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!

Sive juvat longe fugisse Pelasgida Sappho;
(Non tamen invenies, cur ego digna fuga.)
[O saltem miseræ, Crudelis, epistola dicat:

Ut mihi Leucadia fata petantur aquæ.]




The Argument.

Abelard and Eloisa flourished in the twelfth century; they were two of the most distinguished persons of their age in learning and beauty; but for nothing inore 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 Eloisa. 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.

In these deep solitudes and awful cells,

Where heav'nly-pensive Contemplation dwells,
And ever-musing Melancholy reigns,

What means this tumult in a vestal's veins?

Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat?
Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat?
Yet, yet I love!---From Abelard it came,
And Eloisa yet must kiss the name.

Dear fatal name! rest ever unreveal'd,
pass these lips, in holy silence seal'd;
Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise,
Where mix'd with God's, his lov'd idea lies;
O write it not, my hand---the name appears
Already written---wash it out, my tears!
In vain lost Eloisa weeps and prays,

Her heart still dictates, and her hand obeys.


Relentless walls! whose darksome round contains

Repentant sighs, and voluntary pains;

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Volume I.


Ye tugged Rocks! which holy knees have worn;
Ye Grots and Caverns shagg'd with horrid thorn!
Shrines! where their vigils pale-ey'd virgins keep;
And pitying saints, whose statutes learn to weep!
Though cold like you, unmov'd and silent grown,
I have not yet forgot myself to stone.

All is not heav'n's while Abelard has part,
Still rebel Nature holds out half my heart;
Nor pray'rs nor fasts its stubborn pulse restrain,
Nor tears for ages taught to flow in vain.
Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose,



That well-known name awakens all my woes.
O name for ever sad! for ever dear!


Still breath'd in sighs, still usher'd with a tear.

I tremble too, where'er my own I find,

Some dire misfortune follows close behind.

Line after line my gushing eyes o'erflow,


Led through a sad variety of woe:

Now warm in love, now with'ring in my bloom,

Lost in a convent's solitary gloom!

There stern Religion quench'd th' unwilling flame;

There dy'd the best of passions, love and faine.


Yet write, oh write me all, that I may join Griefs to thy griefs, and echo sighs to thine. Nor foes nor fortune take this pow'r away; And is my Abelard less kind than they?

Tears still are mine, and those I need not spare,


Love but demands what else were shed in pray'r;

No happier task these faded eyes pursue;

To read and weep is all they now can do.

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