Eloisa to Abelard
1In these deep solitudes and awful cells, 2Where heav'nly-pensive contemplation dwells, 3And ever-musing melancholy reigns;
4What means this tumult in a vestal's veins? 5Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat? 6Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat? 7Yet, yet I love!--From Abelard it came, 8And Eloisa yet must kiss the name.
9 Dear fatal name! rest ever unreveal'd, 10Nor pass these lips in holy silence seal'd. 11Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise, 12Where mix'd with God's, his lov'd idea lies: 13O write it not, my hand--the name appears 14Already written--wash it out, my tears!
15In vain lost Eloisa weeps and prays,
16Her heart still dictates, and her hand obeys.
17 Relentless walls! whose darksome round contains 18Repentant sighs, and voluntary pains:
19Ye rugged rocks! which holy knees have worn; 20Ye grots and caverns shagg'd with horrid thorn! 21Shrines! where their vigils pale-ey'd virgins keep, 22And pitying saints, whose statues learn to weep! 23Though cold like you, unmov'd, and silent grown, 24I have not yet forgot myself to stone.
25All is not Heav'n's while Abelard has part, 26Still rebel nature holds out half my heart; 27Nor pray'rs nor fasts its stubborn pulse restrain, 28Nor tears, for ages, taught to flow in vain.
29 Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose, 30That well-known name awakens all my woes. 31Oh name for ever sad! for ever dear!
32Still breath'd in sighs, still usher'd with a tear. 33I tremble too, where'er my own I find,
34Some dire misfortune follows close behind. 35Line after line my gushing eyes o'erflow, 36Led through a sad variety of woe:
37Now warm in love, now with'ring in thy bloom, 38Lost in a convent's solitary gloom!
39There stern religion quench'd th' unwilling flame, 40There died the best of passions, love and fame.
41 Yet write, oh write me all, that I may join 42Griefs to thy griefs, and echo sighs to thine. 43Nor foes nor fortune take this pow'r away; 44And is my Abelard less kind than they?
45Tears still are mine, and those I need not spare, 46Love but demands what else were shed in pray'r; 47No happier task these faded eyes pursue; 48To read and weep is all they now can do.
49 Then share thy pain, allow that sad relief; 50Ah, more than share it! give me all thy grief. 51Heav'n first taught letters for some wretch's aid, 52Some banish'd lover, or some captive maid; 53They live, they speak, they breathe what love inspires, 54Warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires, 55The virgin's wish without her fears impart, 56Excuse the blush, and pour out all the heart, 57Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul, 58And waft a sigh from Indus to the Pole.
59 Thou know'st how guiltless first I met thy flame, 60When Love approach'd me under Friendship's name; 61My fancy form'd thee of angelic kind,
62Some emanation of th' all-beauteous Mind. 63Those smiling eyes, attemp'ring ev'ry day, 64Shone sweetly lambent with celestial day. 65Guiltless I gaz'd; heav'n listen'd while you sung; 66And truths divine came mended from that tongue. 67From lips like those...