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May one kind grave unite each hapless name, And graft my love immortal on thy fame!
VER. 343. May one kind grave] This with was fulfilled. The body of Abelard, who died twenty years before Eloifa, was fent to Eloifa, who interred it in the monaftery of the Paraclete; and it was accompanied with a very extraordinary form of abfolution, from the famous Peter de Clugny: "Ego Petrus Cluniacenfis abbas, qui Petrum Abelardum in monachum Cluniacenfem recepi, & corpus ejus furtim delatum Heloiffe Abbatiffæ & monialibus Paracleti conceffi, auctoritate omnipotentis Dei, & omnium fanctorum, abfolvo eum, pro officio, ab omnibus peccatis fuis.” (Epist. Abæl. & Heloiff. p. 238.) "Eloifa herself, fays Vigneul Marville (Melanges, t. ii. p. 55), folicited for this abfolution; and Peter de Clugny willingly granted it. On what it could be founded, I leave to our learned theologifts to determine. In certain ages opinions have prevailed for which no folid reafon can be given." When Eloifa died in 1163, fhe was interred by the fide of her beloved husband. I muit not forget to mention, for the fake of those who are fond of modern miracles, that when he was put into the grave, Abelard stretched out his arms to receive her, and closely embraced her.
Madam de Rochefaucault, the late abbefs of Paraclete, requested an infcription from the Parifian Academy of Belles Letters in the year 1766 for the tomb of these celebrated lovers, which has been fince put up by Madam de Roucy, her fucceffor:
Sub eodem marmore jacent
Conditor Petrus Abelardus
Et Abbatiffa prima Heloiffa.
Olim ftudiis, amore, infauftis nuptiis,
Nunc æternâ, ut fperamus, felicitate conjuncti.
Curis Carole de Rouci
Then, ages hence, when all my woes are o'er,
"A day for ever fad, for ever dear
"Now warm in love, now withering in the grave-
VER. 358. And be forgiv'n.] With this line it appears, at firft fight, that the poem fhould have ended; for the eight additional verfes, concerning fome poet that might arife to fing their misfortune, are rather languid and flat, and might stand, it should feem, for the conclufion of almost any story, were we not informed, as I have credibly been, that they were added by the poet in allusion to his own cafe, and the state of his own mind. For what determined him in the choice of the subject of this epiftle was the retreat of that lady into a nunnery, whofe death he had fo pathetically lamented in the foregoing elegy.
Dr. Johnson's affertion does not seem to be true, that Eloisa and Abelard found quiet and confolation in retirement and piety.
I will juft add, that many lines in this epistle are taken from various parts of Dryden, particularly the following ones:
And sure if fate fome future bard fhall join
The well-fung woes will footh my pensive ghost; 365
"His eyes diffus'd a venerable grace
"She hugg'd th' offender, and forgave th' offence-
And the two fine verses, 323 and 324, are certainly taken from
Kifs, while I watch thy fwimming eye balls roll,