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This change is judicious and moving. And the following invocation to hope, faith, and christian grace, to come and take full possession of her foul, is folemn, and suited to the condition of her mind; for it seems to be the poet’s intention to shew the force of religion over passion at last, and to represent her as a little calm and resigned to her destiny, and way of life. To fix her in which holy temper, the circumstance that follows may be supposed 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 those readers, who can relish true poetry, and strong imagery. The scene the paints is awful: The represents herself lying on a tomb, and thinking the heard some * spirit calling to her in every low wind, - . + Here as I watch'd the dying lamps around, From yonder fhrine I heard a hollow sound,
* V. 308. f Virgil may however have given the hint.--Hinc exaudiri roces, & verba vocantis visa yiri--I. 4. 460.
Come sister come, (it faid, or seem'd to say)
This scene would make a fine subject for the pencil; and is worthy a capital painter. He might place Eloisa in the long ile of a great Gothic church ; a lamp should hang over her head, whose dim and dismal ray should afford only light enough to make darkness visible. She herself should be represented in the instant, when the first hears this aerial voice, and in the attitude of starting round with astonishment and fear. And this was the method a very great master took, to paint a found, if I may be allowed the expression.
This subject was the baptism of Jesus Christ; and in order to bring into the piece the remarkable incident of the voice from heaven, which cried aloud, “ This is my beloved
* It is well contrived, that this invisible speaker, should be a person that had been under the very fame kind of misfortunes with Eloisa.
fon,” he represented all the assembly that attended on the banks of Jordon, gazing up into heaven, with the utmost ardor of amazes ment.
At this call of a sister in misfortune, who had been visited with a sad fimilitude of griefs with her own, Eloisa breaks out in a religious transport,
I come, I come! prepare your roseate bow'rs,
She then calls on Abelard, to pay her the last fad offices; and to be present with her in the article of death,
See my lips tremble, and my eyeballs roll
And then a circumstance of personal fondness intervenes,
Suck my last breath, and catch the Aying foul !
But she instantly corrects herself, and would have her Abelard attend her at these last
solemn moments, only as a devout priest, and not as a fond lover. The image, in which she represents him coming to administer ex. treme unction, is striking and picturesque ;
Ah no-in sacred vestments mayst thou stand,
She adds, that it will be some consolation to behold him once more, tho' even in the agonies of death,
Ah then! thy once-lov’d Eloisa see!
Which last line I could never read without great emotion; it is at once fo pathetic, and so artfully points back to the whole train and nature of their misfortunes. The circumstances, The wishes may attend the death of Abelard, are poetically imagined, and are also agreeable to the notions of mystic devo
* The words printed in Italics, ought to be looked on as particularly beautiful.
tion. The death of St. Jerome is finely painted by DOMENICHINO, with such attendant particulars:
* In trance ecstatic may thy pangs be drown'd,
Bright clouds descend, and angels watch thee round,
This wish was fulfilled. The body of Abelard, who died twenty years before Eloisa, was sent to Eloisa, who interred it in the monastery of the Paraclete, and it was accompanied with a very extraordinary form of Absolution, from the famous Peter de Clugny; “ Ego Petrus Cluniacenfis abbas, qui Petrum Abelardum in monachum Cluniacensem recepi, & corpus ejus furtim delatum Heloiffæ Abbatiffæ, & monialibus Paracleti conceffi, auctoritate omnipotentis Dei, & omnium fanctorum, absolvo cum, pro officio, ab omnibus
* V. 340. Tt