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I live in a barbarous country, the language of The inwhich I don't understand; I have no conversa- terior of tion but with the rudest people. My walks are tery on the inaccessible shore of a sea which is always
stormy. My monks are known only for their dissoluteness, and live without any rule or order. Could you see the abbey, Philintus, you would not recognise it for one: the doors and walls are without any ornament save the heads of wild boars and the feet of hinds, which are nailed up, and the hides of frightful animals. The cells are hung with the skins of deer; the monks have not so much as a bell to wake them, the cocks and dogs supply that defect. In short, they pass their time in hunting, and I would to God that were their greatest fault! Their pleasures do not terminate there, and I try in vain to recall them to their duty; they all combine against me, and I only expose myself to continual vexations and dangers. I imagine I see every moment a naked sword hang over my head. Sometimes they sur
round me and load me with infinite abuses; sometimes they abandon me, and I am left alone to my own tormenting thoughts. I make it my endeavour to merit by my sufferings and so appease an angry God. Sometimes I grieve for the loss of the house of the Paraclete and wish to see it again. Ah, Philintus! does not the love for Heloise yet burn in my heart! I have not yet triumphed over that unhappy passion. In the midst of my retirement I sigh, I weep, I pine, I speak the dear name of Heloise, and delight to hear the sound! I complain of the severity of Heaven; but oh! let us not deceive ourselves, I
Love still have not yet made a right use of grace. reigns thoroughly wretched; I have not yet torn from my
heart the deep roots which vice has planted in it, for if my conversion were sincere, how could I take pleasure in relating my past faults? Could I not more easily comfort myself in my afflictions; could I not turn to my advantage those words of God Himself—If they have persecuted Me they will also persecute you; if the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me also. Come, Philintus, let us make a strong effort, turn our misfortunes to our advantage, make them meritorious, or at least wipe out our offences: let us receive without murmuring what comes from the hand of God, and let us not oppose our will to His. Adieu; I give you advice which, could I myself follow, I should be happy.
Heloise to Abelard
To her Lord, her Father, her Husband, ber Brother; his Servant, his Child, his Wife, his Sister, and to express all that is humble, respectful and loving to her Abelard, Heloise writes this.
A CONSOLATORY letter of yours to a friend Mournful
occasion, and how surprised I was to find the
The What reflections did I not make! I began to sorrows consider the whole afresh, and perceived myself of pressed with the same weight of grief as when we first began to be miserable. Though length of time ought to have closed up my wounds, yet the seeing them described by your hand was sufficient to make them all open and bleed afresh. Nothing can ever blot from my memory what you have suffered in defence of your writings. I cannot help thinking of the rancorous malice of Alberic and Lotulf. A cruel Uncle and an injured Lover will always be present to my aching sight. I shall never forget what enemies your learning, and what envy your glory raised against you. I shall never forget your reputation, so justly acquired, torn to pieces and blasted by the inexorable cruelty of pseudo pretenders to science. Was not your treatise of Divinity condemned to be burnt? Were you not threatened with perpetual imprisonment? In vain you urged in your defence that your enemies imposed upon you opinions quite different from your meanings. In vain you condemned those opinions; all was of no effect towards your justification, 'twas resolved you should be a heretic! What did not those two false prophets accuse you of who declaimed so severely against you before the Council of Sens? What scandals were vented on occasion of the name of Paraclete given to your chapel ! What a storm was raised against you by the treacherous monks when you did them the honour to be called their brother! This history of our numerous misfortunes, related in so true and moving a manner, made my heart bleed within me
My tears, which I could not refrain, have blotted Heloise half your letter; I wish they had effaced the weeps whole, and that I had returned it to you in that condition; I should then have been satisfied with the little time I kept it; but it was demanded of
me too soon.
I must confess I was much easier in my mind before I read your letter. Surely all the misfortunes of lovers are conveyed to them through the eyes: upon reading your letter I feel all mine renewed. I reproached myself for having been so long without venting my sorrows, when the rage of our unrelenting enemies still burns with the same fury. Since length of time, which disarms the strongest hatred, seems but to aggravate theirs ; since it is decreed that your virtue shall be persecuted till it takes refuge in the grave—and even then, perhaps, your ashes will not be allowed to rest in peace!-let me always meditate on your calamities, let me publish them through all the world, if possible, to shame an age that has not known how to value you. I will spare no one since no one would interest himself to protect you, and your enemies are never weary of oppressing your innocence. Alas! my memory is perpetually filled with bitter remembrances of passed evils; and are there more to be feared still? Shall my Abelard never be mentioned without tears? Shall the dear name never be spoken but with sighs? Observe, I beseech you, to what a wretched condition you have reduced me; sad, afflicted, without any possible comfort unless it proceed from you. Be not then unkind, nor deny me, I beg of you, that little relief which you