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Here Eloifa glances with great modesty and delicacy, at the irreparable misfortune of her mutilated lover, which the always mentions with regret.
A HINT in the Letters has been beautifully heightened, and elevated into exquifite poetry, in the next paragraph. Eloifa fays only, "Inter ipfa miffarum folemnia, ubi purior effe debeat oratio, obfcœna earum voluptatum phantafmata ita fibi penitus miferrimam captivant animam, ut turpitudinibus illis, magis quam orationi, vacem.Nec folum quæ egimus, fed loca pariter & tempora*, &c.-Let us fee how this has been improved.
What fcenes appear, where'er I turn my view t
Rife in the grove, before the altar rife
Then follows a circumstance peculiarly ten› der and proper, as it refers to a particular excellence of Abelard,
To which fucceed that fublime description of a high mafs, which came from the poet's foul, and is very striking.
THY VOICE I feem in every hymn to hear *,
y! When from the cenfer clouds of fragrance roll †, And swelling organs lift the rifing foul,
One thought of thee puts all the pomp to flight, Priefts, tapers, temples, fwim before my fight, In feas of flame my plunging foul is drown'd, ** While altars blaze, and angels tremble round.
I BELIEVE few perfons have ever been prefent at the celebrating a mass in a good choir, but have been extremely affected with awe, if not with devotion; which ought to put us on our guard, against the infinuating nature of fo pompous and alluring a religion as popery. Lord Bolingbroke being one day prefent at this folemnity, in the chapel at Versailles, and feeing the archbishop of Paris elevate the hoft, whispered his com
+ V. 259.
* V. 269.
panion the Marquis de **** " If I were king of France, I would always perform this ceremony myself."
ELOISA now acknowledges the weaknefs of her religious efforts, and gives herself up to the prevalence of her paf
Come, with one glance of those deluding eyes*,
Take back that grace, that forrow, and these tears,
Suddenly, religion rushes back on her mind, and she exclaims eagerly,
No; fly me, fly me! far as pole to pole !—†
This change is judicious and moving. And the following invocation to hope, faith, and christian grace, to come and take full poffeffion of her foul, is folemn, and suited to the condition of her mind; for it seems to be the poet's intention to fhew the force of religion over paffion at laft, and to reprefent her as a little calm and refigned to her destiny, and way of life. To fix her in which holy temper, the circumftance that follows may be fuppofed to contribute. For the relates an incident to Abelard, which had made a very deep impreffion on her mind, and cannot fail of making an equal one, on the mind of thofe readers, who can relish true poetry, and ftrong imagery. The scene fhe paints is awful: fhe reprefents herself lying on a tomb, and thinking fhe heard fome* fpirit calling to her in every low wind,—
Here as I watch'd the dying lamps around †,
• V. 303.
+ Virgil may however have given the hint. Hinc exau. diri voces, & verba vocantis vifa viri-L. iv. 460.
ESSAY ON THE GENIUS
Edw sauholcim ni tofifl & lo llco eidt. TA
Once like thyself I trembled, wept and pray'd*, to tu on uw bainty, used Bat Love's victim then, but now a fainted maid. ROPY 70 et diw alsing This fcene would make a fine fubject for the pencil; and is worthy a capital painter. He might place Eloifa in the long ile of a great Gothic church; a lamp should hang over her head, whofe dim and dismal ray should afford only light enough to make darkness visible. She herself fhould be reprefented in the inftant, when the first hears this aerial voice, and in the attitude of starting round with aftonishment and fear. And this was the method a very great master took, ta paint a found, if I may be allowed the expreffion. This subject was the baptifm of Jefus Chrift and, in order to bring into the piece the ret markable incident of the voice from heaven, which cried aloud, "This is is my beloved my fon he reprefented all the affembly that attended on the banks of Jordan, gazing up into heaven, with the utmost ardor of
---Û ‚ÍA twoiled sd T
It is well contrived, that this invifible speaker fhould be a person that had been under the very fame kind of misfortunes with Eloifa.