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Take back that grace, those sorrows, and those
Take back my fruitless penitence and prayers;
Snatch me, just mounting, from the blest 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 lov'd, ador'd 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,
Propt 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 lamps, around,
From yonder shrine I heard a hollow sound.
'Come, sister, come!' 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:
Ev'n 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 refin'd 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 roll,
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-lov'd 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 ev'n my Abelard be lov'd 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
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 wand'ring 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 mov'd,
'O, may we never love as these have lov'd!'
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 sooth my pensive ghost; He best can paint them who shall feel them most!
Written in the Year 1711.
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 acknowledgement. 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 part visions, or pieces of imagination, 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.
THE TEMPLE OF FAME.
that soft season, when descending showers Call forth the greens, and wake the rising
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.
I stood, methought, betwixt earth, seas, aud skies; The whole creation open to my eyes:
In air self-balanc'd hung the globe below,
Where mountains rise, and circling oceans flow;
Here naked rocks, and empty wastes were seen:
There tow'ring cities, and the forests green:
Here sailing ships delight the wandering eyes;
There trees and intermingled temples rise:
Now a clear sun the shining scene displays;
The transient landscape now in clouds decays.
O'er the wide prospect as I gaz'd around,
Sudden I heard a wild promiscuous sound,
Like broken thunders that at distance roar,
Or billows murmuring on the hollow shore :
Then gazing up, a glorious pile beheld,
Whose tow'ring summit ambient clouds conceal'd
High on a rock of ice the structure lay,
Steep its ascent, and slippery was the way:
The wondrous rock like Parian marble shone,
And seem'd, to distant sight, of solid stone.
Inscriptions here of various names I view'd,
The greater part by hostile time subdued;
Yet wide was spread their fame in ages past,
And poets once had promis'd they should last.
Some fresh engrav'd appear'd of wits renown'd;
I look'd again, nor could their trace be found.
Critics I saw, that other name deface,
And fix their own, with labour, in their place:
Their own, like others, soon their place resign'd,
Or disappear'd, and left the first behind.
Nor was the work impair'd by storms alone,
But felt th' approaches of too warm a sun ;
For fame, impatient of extremes, decays
Not more by envy, than excess of praise.