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Guiltless I gaz'd. heav'n liften'd while you fung; 65 And truths divine came mended from that tongue.
famous Romance of the Rofe; which, however, was indifputably written by John of Meun, a little city on the banks of the Loire, about four leagues from Orleans; which gave occafion to Marot to exclaim, De Jean de Meun s'enfle le cours de Loire. It was he who continued and finished the Romance of the Rofe, which William de Loris had left imperfect forty years before. If chronology did not abfolutely contradict the notion of Abelard's being the author of this very celebrated piece, yet are there internal arguments fufficient to confute it. The mistake seems to have flowed from his having given Eloifa the name of Rose, in one of the many fonnets he addreffed to her. In this romance there are many fevere and fatirical strokes on the character of Eloifa, which the pen of Abelard never would have given. In one paffage fhe is introduced speaking with indecency and obfcenity; in another, all the vices and bad qualities of women are reprefented as affembled together in her alone :
Qui les mœurs féminins favoit,
Car tres-tous en foi les avoit.
In a very old epiftle dedicatory, addreffed to Philip the Fourth of France, by this fame John of Meun, and prefixed to a French tranflation of Boetius, a very popular book at that time, it appears, that he also tranflated the Epiftles of Abelard to Heloifa, which were in high vogue at the court. He mentions alfo, that he had tranflated Vagetius on the Art Military, and a book called the Wonders of Ireland. Thefe works fhew us the taste of the age. His words are: "T'envoye ores Boece de Confolation, que j'ai tranflaté en François, jaçoit que bien entendes le Latin.
It is to be regretted that we have no exact picture of the perfon and beauty of Eloifa. Abelard himself says that she was "Facie non infima." Her extraordinary learning many circumstances concur to confirm; particularly one, which is, that the Nuns of the PaEN Cete are wont to have the office of Whitfunday read to them in wife Greek, to perpetuate the memory of her understanding that language. The curious may not be difpleafed to be informed, that the Paraclete was built in the parish of Quincey, upon the little river of
From lips like those what precept fail'd to move?
How oft, when prefs'd to marriage, have I faid, Curfe on all laws but those which love has made? Love, free as air, at fight of human ties, Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies.
Arduzon, near Nogent, upon the Seine. A lady, learned as was Eloifa in that age, who indifputably understood the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew tongues, was a kind of prodigy. Her literature, says Abelard, "in toto regno nominatiffimam fecerat ;" and, we may be fure, more thoroughly attached him to her. Buffy Rabutin fpeaks in high terms of commendation of the purity of Eloifa's Latinity; a judgment worthy a French Count! There is a force, but not an elegance, in her style, which is blemished, as might be expected by many phrafes unknown to the pure ages of the Roman language, and by many Hebraifms, borrowed from the translation of the Bible.
VER. 66. And truths divine, &c.] He was her Preceptor in Philofophy and Divinity.
VER. 73. How oft] Thefe extraordinary fentiments are plainly from the Letters: Nihil unquam, Deus fcit, in te, nifi te requifivi; te purè, non tua concupifcens. Non matrimonii fœdera, non dotes aliquas expectavi. Et fi uxoris nomen fanctius videtur, dulcius mihi femper extitit amicæ vocabulum, aut, fi non indigneris, concubinæ vel fcorti. Pope has added an injudicious thought about Cupid; mythology is here much out of its place.
VER. 75. "Love will not be confin'd by Maifterie:
"When Maisterie comes, the Lord of Love anon
I Let wealth, let honour, wait the wedded dame,
Who feek in love for aught but love alone.
Should at my feet the world's great mafter fall, 85
No, make me mistress to the man I love;
Ev'n thought meets thought, ere from the lips it part, And each warm wish springs mutual from the heart. This fure is blifs (if blifs on earth there be)
And once the lot of Abelard and me.
Alas how chang'd! what fudden horrors rife! A naked Lover bound and bleeding lies!
VER. 88. Make me miftrefs] A great inaccuracy !-She was his wife.
VER. 100. A naked Lover] One cannot forbear wifhing, that, notwithstanding all the dexterity and management our poet has exerted on the occafion, thefe fix lines had been omitted.
Where, where was Eloïfe? her voice, her hand!
Come! with thy looks, thy words, relieve my woe;
Still on that breast enamour'd let me lie,
Still drink delicious poifon from thy eye,
VER. 108. Yon altar's] The altar of Paraclete, fays Mr. Berrington, did not then exift; they were not profeffed at the fame time or place; one was at Argentieul, the other at St. Denys.
VER. 111. As with cold lips] This defcription of the folemnity of her taking the veil, the prognostics that attended it, her paffion intruding itself in the midst of her devotion, VER. 115; the fudden check to her paffion, VER. 125; need not be pointed out to any reader of fenfibility, and lover of true poetry.
Pant on thy lip, and to thy heart be press'd;
Ah no! instruct me other joys to prize,
With other beauties charm my partial eyes,
Full in my view fet all the bright abode,
Ah think at least thy flock deferves thy care,
You rais'd these hallow'd walls; the defert fmil'd,
No weeping orphan faw his father's ftores
Our shrines irradiate, or emblaze the floors;
VER. 133. You rais'd thefe hallow'd walls] He founded the Monaftery. P.
VER. 136. Our shrines irradiate] Non magis auro fulgentia atque ebore, fimulacra, quàm lucos, & in iis filentia ipfa adoramus, fays Pliny very finely of places of worship.
VER. 141. In thefe lone] All the images drawn from the Convent, from this line down to line 170, and particularly the perfonification of Melancholy, expanding her dreadful wings over its whole circuit, cannot be sufficiently applauded. The fine epithet, browner borror, is from Dryden. It is amusing to read with this paffage