« AnteriorContinuar »
I ought to grieve, but cannot what I ought;
I mourn the lover, not lament the fault;
I view my crime, but kindle at the view,
Repent old pleasures, and solicit new;
Now turn'd to heaven, I weep my past offence,
Now think of thee, and curse my innocence.
Of all affliction taught a lover yet,
'Tis sure the hardest science to forget !
How shall I lose the sin, yet keep the sense,
And love th' offender, yet detest th' offence ?
How the dear object from the crime remove,
Or how distinguish penitence from love?
Unequal task ! a passion to resign,
For hearts so touch'd, so pierced, so lost as mine!
Ere such a soul regains its peaceful state,
How often must it love, how often hate!
How often hope, despair, resent, regret,
Conceal, disdain-do all things but forget!
But let heaven seize it, all at once 'tis fired:
Not touch'd, but rapt; not waken'd, but inspired !
Oh come! oh teach me nature to subdue,
Renounce my love, my life, myself—and you.
Fill my fond heart with God alone, for he
Alone can rival, can succeed to thee.
How happy is the blameless vestal's lot;
The world forgetting, by the world forgot!
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind;
Each prayer accepted, and each wish resign'd;
Labour and rest that equal periods keep;
• Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;'
Desires composed, affections ever even;
Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to heaven.
Grace shines around her with serenest beams,
And whispering angels prompt her golden dreams.
For her th' unfading rose of Eden blooms,
And wings of seraphs shed divine perfumes ;
For her the spouse prepares the bridal ring;
For her white virgins hymenæals sing;
To sounds of heavenly harps she dies away,
And melts in visions of eternal day.
Far other dreams my erring soul employ, Far other raptures of unholy joy;
When, at the close of each sad, sorrowing day,
Fancy restores what vengeance snatch'd away,
Then conscience sleeps, and, leaving nature free,
All my loose soul unbounded springs to thee.
O curst, dear horrors of all-conscious night!
How glowing guilt exalts the keen delight!
Provoking demons all restraint remove,
And stir within me every source of love,
I hear thee, view thee, gaze o'er all thy charms,
And round thy phantom glue my clasping arms:
I wake:--no more I hear, no more I view ;
The phantom flies me, as unkind as you.
I call aloud; it hears not what I say:
I stretch my empty arms; it glides away.
To dream once more, I close my willing eyes:
Ye soft illusions, dear deceits, arise!
Alas, no more ! methinks we wandering go
Through dreary wastes, and weep each other's woe,
Where round some mouldering tower pale ivy creeps,
And low-brow'd rocks hang nodding o'er the deeps.
Sudden you mount, you beckon from the skies;
Clouds interpose, waves roar, and winds arise.
I shriek, start up, the same sad prospect find,
And wake to all the griefs I left behind.
For thee the Fates, severely kind, ordain
A cool suspense from pleasure and from pain;
Thy life a long dead calm of fix'd repose;
No pulse that riots, and no blood that glows.
Still as the sea, ere winds were taught to blow,
Or moving spirit bade the waters flow;
Soft as the slumbers of a saint forgiven,
And mild as opening gleams of promised heaven.
Come, Abelard! for what hast thou to dread?
The torch of Venus burns not for the dead.
Nature stands check'd; religion disapproves;
E’en thou art cold-yet Eloisa loves.
Ah, hopeless, lasting flames ! like those that burn
To light the dead, and warm th' unfruitful urn.
What scenes appear where'er I turn my view!
The dear ideas, where I fly, pursue,
Rise in the grove, before the altar rise,
Stain all my soul and wanton in my eyes.
I waste the matin lamp in sighs for thee,
Thy image steals between my God and me,
Thy voice I seem in every hymn to hear,
With every bead I drop too soft a tear.
When from the censer clouds of fragrance roll,
And swelling organs lift the rising soul,
One thought of thee puts all the pomp to flight,
Priests, tapers, temples, swim before my sight:
In seas of flame my plunging soul is drown'd,
While altars blaze, and angels tremble round.
While prostrate here in humble grief I lie,
Kind, virtuous drops just gathering in my eye;
While praying, trembling, in the dust I roll,
And dawning grace is opening on my soul;
Come, if thou darest, all-charming as thou art;
Oppose thyself to Heaven; dispute my heart;
Come, with one glance of those deluding eyes
Blot out each bright idea of the skies :
Take back that grace, those sorrows, and those tears;
Take back my fruitless penitence and prayers:
Snatch me, just mounting, from the bless'd abode;
Assist the fiends, and tear me from my God!
No, fly me, fly me, far as pole from pole ;
Rise Alps between us! and whole oceans roll !
Ah, come not, write not, think not once of me,
Nor share one pang of all I felt for thee.
Thy oaths I quit, thy memory resign;
Forget, renounce me, hate whate'er was mine.
Fair eyes, and tempting looks (which yet I view !)
Long loved, adored ideas, all adieu !
O grace serene! O virtue heavenly fair!
Divine oblivion of low-thoughted care !
Fresh-blooming hope, gay daughter of the sky!
And faith, our early immortality!
Enter, each mild, each amiable guest;
Receive and wrap me in eternal rest!
See in her cell sad Eloïsa spread,
Propp'd on some tomb, a neighbour of the dead.
In each low wind methinks a spirit calls,
And more than echoes talk along the walls.
Here, as I watch'd the dying lamp around,
From yonder shrine I heard a hollow sound:
Come, sister, come l'it said, or seem'd to say,
• Thy place is here; sad sister, come away!
Once, like thyself, I trembled, wept, and pray'd,
Love's victim then, though now a sainted maid:
But all is calm in this eternal sleep;
Here grief forgets to groan, and love to weep :
E'en superstition loses every fear;
For God, not man, absolves our frailties here,
I come, I come! prepare your roseate bowers,
Celestial palms, and ever-blooming flowers ;
Thither, where sinners may have rest, I go,
Where flames refined in breasts seraphic glow:
Thou, Abelard ! the last sad office pay,
And smooth my passage to the realms of day;
See my lips tremble, and my eye-balls rull,
Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul!
Ah, no-in sacred vestments mayst thou stand,
The hallow'd taper trembling in thy hand,
Present the cross before my lifted eye,
Teach me at once, and learn of me to die.
Ah, then thy once-loved Eloïsa see!
It will be then no crime to gaze on me.
See from my cheek the transient roses fly!
See the last sparkle languish in my eye!
Till every motion, pulse, and breath be o'er;
And e'en my Abelard be loved no more.
O Death all eloquent! you only prove
What dust we dote on, when 'tis man we love.
Then too, when fate shall thy fair frame destroy
(That cause of all my guilt, and all my joy),
In trance ecstatic may thy pangs be drown'd,
Bright clouds descend, and angels watch thee round,
From opening skies may streaming glories shine,
And saints embrace thee with a love like mine!
May one kind grave unite each hapless name,
And graft my love immortal on thy fame!
Then, ages hence, when all my woes are o'er,
When this rebellious heart shall beat no more ;
If ever chance two wandering lovers brings
To Paraclete's white walls and silver springs,
O'er the pale marble shall they join their heads,
And drink the falling tears each other sheds;
Then sadly say, with mutual pity moved,
0, may we never love as these have loved !!
From the full choir, when loud hosannas rise,
And swell the pomp of dreadful sacrifice,
Amid that scene if some relenting eye
Glance on the stone where our cold relics lie,
Devotion's self shall steal a thought from heaven,
One human tear shall drop, and be forgiven.
And sure if fate some future bard shall join
In sad similitude of griefs to mine,
Condemn'd whole years in absence to deplore,
And image charms he must behold no more;
Such, if there be, who loves so long, so well;
Let him our sad, our tender story tell !
The well-sung woes will soothe my pensive ghost :
He best can paint them who shall feel them most!
THE TEMPLE OF FAME.
Written in the Year 1711.
ADVERTISEMENT. The hint of the following piece was taken from Chaucer's House of Fame. The design is in a manner entirely altered, the descriptions and most of the particular thoughts my own ; yet I could not suffer it to be printed without this acknowledgment. The reader who would compare this with Chaucer, may begin with his third book of Fame, there being nothing in the first two books that answers to their title.
The poem is introduced in the manner of the Provençal poets, whose works were for the most parts visions, or pieces of ima. gination, and constantly descriptive. From these, Petrarch and Chaucer frequently borrowed the idea of their poems. See the Trionfi of the former, and the Dream, Flower and the Leaf, &c. of the latter. The author of this, therefore, chose the same sort of exordium. In that soft season, when descending showers Call forth the greens, and wake the rising flowers; When opening buds salute the welcome day, And earth, relenting, feels the genial ray; As balmy sleep had charm'd my cares to rest, And love itself was banish'd from my breast (What time the morn mysterious visions brings, While purer slumbers spread their golden wings), A train of phantoms in wild order rose, And, join'd, this intellectual scene compose.