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us it appears as grave and harmless a line as ever was penned; lifa. 105 he who can take umbrage at it, muft be as fore on the article cer, and he establishments, as the North Briton was on the subject of a certain f an an difeafe, when he ran his dirk into a poor fow that was rubbing and to herfelf against a poft, because he confidered her as cafting a national reflection. Laugh where we must, be candid where we can, is the maxim we would ourselves obferve, and prefcribe to others. To accufe Milton of reflecting on the establishment, on fuch flender evidence, discovers no great inclination for doing juftice to his character.
Many other obfervations, with an evident view of expofing his Author's principles, are made in various parts of this work; obfervations which, as they contradict one another, appear to us rather fuggested by prejudices than difpaffionate reason. We are told (p. 95.) that no man was ever fo difqualified to turn Puritan as Milton:'-' that the cold and philofophical principles of Calvinifm were unpoetical, and furnished no pleasures to the imagination.' How then did Milton after he adopted thefe unpoetical principles write the Paradife Loft? Mr. W. folves this queftion; but in doing it, he completely refutes the foregoing affertions; for he informs us (p. 154.) that poetry is of all religions: nor does he merely confute them in this general way; but directly affirms (p. 234.) that what was enthusiasm in most of the puritanical writers, was poetry in Milton.'
But why is the Puritanism of Milton made fuch a perpetual theme? His works demonstrate that he loved the Mufe before and after he avowed himself a Calvinist. However abfurd and ridiculous, therefore, Mr. W. may deem the religious principles of his Author, they are evidently not chargeable with thofe evils which he imputes to them. Nor will his readers thank him for making them fo very confpicuous; for turning aside their thoughts from the charms of his verfe to points of religious controversy. Milton the Puritan has long flept with his fathers, and let him fleep in peace. As a Poet, we wish more especially to remember him; and as fuch he must ever live the pride of the English Mufe.
We must not forget to add, that this volume is honoured with fome occafional illuftrations by Dr. Jofeph Warton. With his opinion of the comparative merit of Milton's English Poems, we shall conclude this article, and leave the Latin Poems for a future review:
If I might venture to place Milton's Works, according to their degrees of Poetic Excellence, it fhould be perhaps in the following order; PARADISE LOST, COMUS, SAMSON AGONISTES, LYCIDAS, L'ALLEGRO, IL PENSEROSO *. The three laft are in fuch an
Quere, in point of merit, ought not Il Penferofo to have been named before L'Allegro ?
fays Fenton, that though he had left no other monuius behind him, his name had been immortal.'
[To be continued.]
ry of the Lives of Abeillard and Heloifa; comof eighty-four Years, from 1079 to 1163: with e Letters from the Collection of Amboife. The Second
By the Rev. Jofeph Berington. 4to. 11. Is. Rofons. 1788.
HOUGH the loves of Abeillard and Heloifa have long been famous, and have given birth to one of the moit beautiful and pathetic poems in any language, their story may, by fome, perhaps, be thought fcarcely deferving of an industrious investigation in the page of ferious hiftory. It can now, they may fuppofe, be of little moment, to determine the exact degree of criminality which attended this celebrated amour. Mr. Berington, however, feems to be of a different opinion. Finding, as he apprehends, many particulars in the hiftory of Abeillard and Heloifa mifreprefented by biographers, as well as by the poet, he undertakes to free from obloquy two characters that have been much afperfed.' He has not, however, confined himself to this fingle object. He has exhibited Abeillard in the character of a philofopher, as well as in that of a lover. And he has stepped beyond the province of the critical biographer into that of the general hiftorian, by giving fome sketches of the great events, refpecting policy and religion, which diftinguished the period in which his principal characters appeared.
Amboife's edition of Abeillard's works (printed at Paris in 1616), with an apologetic Preface, and Notes on Abeillard's Memoirs of his own Life, by And. Du Chefne; Gervaife's Lives of Abeillard and Heloifa, publifhed at Paris in 1720; and the Life of Abeillard in Moreri's General Dictionary, have furnished our Author with his principal materials. In his arrangement he has chiefly followed Gervaife. From thefe fources, and from the records of general hiftory, he has drawn together incidents, which he has digefted into an entertaining, and, in fome refpects, an interefting work.
In the narration of the amour between Abeillard and Heloifa, he has fhewn much ingenuity and ability. As a fpecimen of this part of the work, we shall extract his account of what paffed between thefe lovers, at the time when Abeillard, after his miftrefs had brought him a fon, made her a propofal of marriage:
*The first edition, which was published about two years ago, efcaped our notice.
I am come, faid he, (after the first falutations were over, and he had kiffed his child, whom Heloifa, with the countenance of an an gel, prefented to him,) I am come to take you back to Paris, and to marry you.-Heloifa laughed, for the imagined, that he only spoke from gaiety, which was an ufual thing with him.-I am ferious, continued he: I have feen your uncle; he is reconciled to me, and I have promtifed to marry you. If you be ferious, replied Heleifa, it becomes me likewife to be fo; and I tell you seriously, that I can never confent to be your wife.-The firm tone, in which the last words were fpoken, ftruck Abeillard with furprise.-Your affertion, faid he, is peremptory; but I must hear your reafons.-You fhall, faid fhe; and then proceeded.
"If you imagine this ftep will fo far fatisfy my uncle, as to appeafe his anger, Abeillard, you are deceived. I know him well, and he is implacable.-If to fave my honour be your object; most evidently you mistake the means. Is it by difgracing you that I must be exalted? What reproaches fhould I merit from the world, from the church, from the fchools of philofophy, were I to draw from them their brightest star? and a woman dare to take to herfelf that man, whom nature meant to be the ornament and the benefactor of the human race? No, Abeillard, I am not yet fo fhameless.-Then reflect on the fta e of matrimony itself: with its littleneffes and its cares, how inconfiftent is it with the dignity of a wife man! St. Paul earnestly diffuades from it; fo do the faints; fo do the philofophers of ancient and modern times. Think on their admonitions, and imitate their example.-I will fuppofe you engaged in this honourable wedlock. What an enviable affociation; the philofopher and chamber-maids, writing defks and cradles, books and diftaffs, pens and fpindles! Intent on fpeculation, when the truths of nature and religion are breaking on your eye; will you bear the fudden cry of children, the lullaby of nurfes, or the turbulent buflling of diforderly fervants? I fpeak not of your delicacy, which, at every turn, must be disagreeably offended. In the houfes of the rich thefe inconveniences, I own, can be avoided: with you and me, Abeillard, it must be otherwife.-In the ferious purfuits of wisdom, I am well aware, there is no time to lofe; worldly occupations are inconfiftent with the state. Is philofophy only to have your vacant hours? Believe me, as well totally withdraw from literature, as attempt to proceed in the midft of avocations. Science admits no participation with the cares of life. View the fages of the heathen world, view the philofophifing fects among the Jews, and among us view the real Monks of the prefent day. It was in retirement, in a total feclufion from noify folicitudes, that thefe men pretended to give ear to the infpiring voice of wifdom.-May I fpeak of fobriety and con-tinence, Abeillard? But it does not become me to inftruct you. I know, however, how the fages, of whom I fpeak, did live.-You, moreover, are a churchman, bound to feverer duties. Is it in wedlock you mean to practife them? Will you rife from my fide to fing the holy praifes of the Lord ?-The prerogative of the church may perhaps weigh lightly with you; fupport then the character of a philofopher: if you have no refpect for holy things, let common decency check the intemperance of your defigns. Socrates, my Abeil
lard, was a married man; and the example of his life has been fet up as a beacon, to warn his followers from the fatal rock. The feats of Xantippe are upon faithful record. -The hidden feelings of my foul fhall be open to you. Abeillard, it is in you only that all my wifhes centre. I look for no wealth, no alliances, no provision. I have no pleasures to gratify; no will to ferve, but your's. In the name of wife there may be fomething more holy, fomething more impofing: but I vow to heaven, fhould Auguftus, mafter of the world, offer me his hand in marriage, and fecure to me the uninterrupted controul of the universe, I would deem it more honourable to be called the mistress of Abeillard, than the wife of Cæfar."
During this addrefs, Abeillard was filent; but a conflict of paffions, varying his countenance, marked their ftrong emotions. Heloifa fixed her eyes on his, and waited his reply. A pause of fome moments enfued.-My honour is pledged to your uncle, faid he at last, and it must be done.-If it muft, replied Heloifa with a figh that spoke the reluctance of her foul, it muft: "But God grant that the confequences of this fatal ftep be not as painful, as the joys, which preceded it, have been great!"
Uttering these words, her eyes were raised towards heaven; and from the folemn tone, with which they were delivered, it feemed, fays Abeillard, as if her mind prefaged fome difaftrous event.'
The refult of this converfation was, that the lovers were privately married; the confequences of which, with respect to Abeillard, are well known. Although the whole narrative is fufficiently interefting, yet, as it would fuffer by mutilation, we fhall make no farther extract from this part of the work, but fhall proceed to obferve Abeillard in the character of a philofopher. After many difappointments and mortifications, he determined to retire from the world.
As formerly he had wandered through the forefts of Champagne, he had obferved a fpot, the recollection of which now returned upon his mind. It was a small fequeftered vale, furrounded by a wood, not diftant from Nogent fur Seine, and a rivulet ran near its fide. It did not appear that the foot of any mortal had hitherto difturbed its folitude. To this place Abeillard haftened, and he spent his first night, as did the other tenants of the foreft, protected only by the wide branches which spread over his head. Heloifa fays, it was, at that time, the receptacle of wild beafts, and the retreat of robbers; that it had not seen the habitations of men, or known the charms of domeftic life. He had one companion, who was an ecclefiaftic.
Abeillard, delighted with the novelty of his fituation, (for when the mind is warmed by a degree of enthufiafm, it can discover beauties in a wilderness,) waited on the owners of the land, and expreffed to them his wishes of becoming an inhabitant of their woods. The undertaking was then no unufual thing; and they very freely gave their confent, and even made him a prefent of any extent of foil he might chufe to occupy.-The philofopher returned, and had foon measured out the district which could bound his defires.-His next ftep was to apply to the bishop of Troyes, in whofe diocese his new poffeffions lay, for permiffion to build a fmall oratory. This likewife
was granted. Without lofs of time, Abeillard then, and his companion, planned the new building, and with the fame hands began to erect it. The materials were not diftant, nor was great fkill required to put them together. They collected fome boughs of trees; thefe they tied with twigs; and the structure rofe vifibly into form before their eyes.-Having completed what they called their oratory, and folemnly dedicated it to the holy Trinity, to exprefs his difapprobation of the Unitarian fyftem, which his enemies had alfo imputed to him, they conftructed a fecond building, which was to be their own dwelling. This, it may be prefumed, was not more highly finished than the temple they had dedicated to their Maker.
• Seldom had Abeillard been more happy than at this bufy moment. Free from anxious cares, his mind enjoyed the prefent object. It was not brilliant indeed; but it occupied him. He had efcaped from trouble; the voice of malevolence founded no longer in his ears; and perfecution ceafed to opprefs him. It was the fituation of a weary traveller, who, at the end of his journey, lays down his heavy burden, and feels contented, because the load, which preffed him to the earth, is taken from his fhoulders.-Abeillard rofe with the fun to adore his Maker; he thanked him for the repofe he enjoyed, and he lamented the follies of his life. The day he spent in ftudy, or in converfation with his friend, to whom he recounted the adventures and the perils he had gone through. The water of the brook allayed his thirst, and of the very fcanty provifions, which the forefts of Champagne could fupply, he made his meal. With the birds which fang round him, he retired to reft; and he laid his head down on the turf, careless and undisturbed.-A mind like his could not indeed circumfcribe itself within the precincts of his lonely habitation it would range the ideal world; enter there into active scenes; and fometimes perhaps be pleased with the profpect of future honours and renown. But foresee he could not, that this career of glory was ready to open in the very wilderness, which feemed to have put an eternal bar to the familiar intercourfe of mortals.
When it was publicly known, that Abeillard was again an independent man, and had feceded entirely from the world, the lovers of fcience, and many who had before been his scholars, enquired anxiously for his abode, refolved, could the learned folitary be difcovered, to put themselves under his tuition, and once more to draw fcience from his lips. Their fearch was foon crowned with fuccefs: they found him fituated, as I have defcribed, in the foreft near Nogent; and they opened their wishes to him.-Abeillard in vain refifted; he faw every avenue to his hermitage filling with young men, and crowds were round him, before he had time to take the advice of friends, or to confult the feelings of his own heart. The step could not at first feem pleafing, unless already the pure delights of folitude had begun to pall upon his mind. With one voice they requefted, he would again become their master. He fhewed them his humble cell, the oratory he had raised, and he pointed to the wilderness, which their eager fteps had juft penetrated. "Your propofal, faid he to them, is inconfiderate. I can but applaud your thirst after knowlege; and the choice you make of me for an inftructor is truly flattering. But you forget yourselves. In a moment, this