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How often hope, despair, resent, regret,
Conceal, disdain,—do all things but forget.
But let heav'n seize it, all at once 'tis fired;
Not touched, but wrapt; not wakened, but inspired!
Oh, come! oh, teach me nature to subdue,
Renounce my love, my life, myself—and you.
Fill my fond heart with God alone, for he
Alone can rival, can succeed to thee.
How happy is the blameless Vestal's. lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot:
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resigned;
Labour and rest, the equal periods keep:
“Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;"!
Desires composed, affections ever even:
Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to heav'n.
Grace shines around her with serenest beams,
And whisp'ring angels prompt her golden dreams.
For her th' unfading rose of Eden blooms,
And wings of seraphs shed divine perfumes,
For her the spouse prepares the bridal ring,
For her white virgins hymenæls sing,
To sounds of heav'nly harps she dies away,
And melts in visions of eternal day.
Far other dreams my erring soul employ,
Far other raptures, of unholy joy;
When at the close of each sad, sorrowing day,
Fancy restores what vengeance snatched away.
Then conscience sleeps, and leaving nature free,
All my loose soul unbounded springs to thee.
Oh curst, dear horrors of all-conscious night;
How glowing guilt exalts the keen delight!
Provoking demons all restraint remove,
And stir within me every source of love
I hear thee, view thee, gaze o’er all thy charms,
And round thy phantom glue my clasping arms.
I wake:—no more I hear, no more I view,
The phantom flies me, as unkind as you.
I call aloud; it hears not what I say:
I stretch my empty arms; it glides away.
To dream once more I close my willing eyes;
Ye soft illusions, dear deceits, arise!
Alas, no more! methinks we wand'ring go
Through dreary wastes, and weep each other's woe,
Where round some mould’ring tower pale ivy creeps,
And low-browed rocks hang nodding o'er the deeps.
Sudden you mount, you beckon from the skies;
Clouds interpose, waves roar, and winds arise.
I shriek, start up, the same sad prospect find,
And wake to all the griefs I left behind.
For thee the fates, severely kind, ordain
A cool suspense from pleasure and from pain;
Thy life a long dead calm of fixed repose;
No pulse that riots, and no blood that glows,
Still as the sea, ere winds were taught to blow,
Or moving spirit bade the waters flow;
Soft as the slumbers of a saint forgiv'n,
And mild as op'ning gleams of promised heav'n.
Come, Abelard! for what has thou to dread ?
The torch of Venus burns not for the dead,
Nature stands checked; religion disproves;
Even thou art cold—yet Eloïsa loves.
Ah, hopeless, lasting flames! like those that burn
To light the dead, and warm th' unfriutful urn.
What scenes appear where'er I turn my view!
The dear ideas, where I fly, pursue,
Rise in the grove, before the altar rise,
Stain all my soul, and wanton in my eyes.
I waste the matin lamp in sighs for thee,
Thy image steals between my God and me,
Thy voice I seem in ev'ry hymn to hear,
With ev'ry bead I drop too soft a tear.
When from the censer clouds of fragrance roll,
And swelling organs lift the rising soul,
One thought of thee puts all the pomp to flight,
Priests, tapers, temples, swim before my sight:
In seas of flame my plunging soul is drowned,
While altars blaze, and angels tremble round.
While prostrate here in humble grief I lie,
Kind, virtuous drops just gath’ring in my eye,
While praying, trembling, in the dust I roll,
And dawning grace is op'ning on my soul:
Come, if thou dar’st, all charming as thou art!
Oppose thyself to heav'n; dispute my heart;
Come, with one glance of those deluding eyes
Blot out each bright idea of the skies;
Take back that grace, those sorrows, and those tears;
Take back my friutless penitence and pray’rs;
Snatch me, just mounting, from the blest abode;
Assist the fiends, and tear me from my God!
No, fly me, fly me, far as pole from pole;
Rise Alps between us! and whole oceans roll!
Ah, come not, write not, think not once of me,
Nor share one pang of all I felt for thee.
Thy oaths I quit, thy memory resign;
Forget, renounce me, hate whate'er was mine.
Fair eyes, and tempting looks (which yet I view!)
Long loved, adored ideas, all adieu!
Oh grace serene! oh virtue heav'nly fair!
Divine oblivion of low-thoughted care!
Fresh blooming hope, gay danghter of the sky!
And faith, our early immortality!
Enter, each mild, each amicable guest;
Receive, and wrap me in eternal rest!
See in her cell sad Eloïsa spread,
Propt on some tomb, a neighbour of the dead.
In each low wind methinks spirit calls,
And more than echoes talk along the walls.
Here, as I watched the dying lamps around,
From yonder shrine I heard a hollow sound.
“ Come, sister, come! (it said, or seemed to say)
Thy place is here, sad sister, come away!
Once like thy self, I trembled, wept, and prayed,
Love's victim then, though now a sainted maid:
But all is calm in this eternal sleep;
Here grief forgets to groan, and love to weep.
Even superstition loses every fear:
For God, not man, absolves our frailities here."
I come, I come, prepare your roseate bow’rs,
Celestial palms, and ever-blooming flow'rs.
Thither, where sinners may have rest, I go,
Where flames refined in breasts seraphic glow
Thou, Abelard! the last sad office pay;
And smooth my passage to the realms of day:
See, my lips tremble, and my eyeballs roll,
Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul!
Ah no—in sacred vestments mayest thou stand,
The hallowed taper trembling in thy hand,
Present the cross before my lifted eye,
Teach me at once, and learn of me to die,
Ah then, thy once-loved Eloïsa see!
It will be then no crime to gaze on me.
See from my cheek the transient roses fly!
See the last sparkle languish in my eye!
Till ev'ry motion, pulse, and breath be o'er;
And even my Abelard be loved no more.
O death all-eloquent! you only prove
What dust we dote on, when 'tis man we love.
Then, too, when fate shall thy fair frame destroy,
(That cause of all my guilt, and all my joy)
In trance ecstatic may thy pangs be drowned,
Bright clouds descend, and angels watch thee round,
From opening skies may streaming glories shine,
And saints embrace thee with a love like mine.
May one kind grave unite each hapless name, And graft my love immortal on thy fame! Then, ages hence, when all my woes are o er, When this rebellious heart shall beat no more; If ever chance two wand'ring lovers brings To Paraclete's white walls and silver springs, O’er the pale marble shall they join their heads, And drink the falling tears each other sheds; Then sadly say, with mutual pity moved, “Oh, may we never love as these have loved !” From the full choir when loud hosannas rise, And swell the pomp of dreadful sacrifice, Amid that scene if some relenting eye Glance on the stone where our cold relics lie, Devotion's self shall steal a thought from heav'n, One human tear shall drop and be forgiv’n. And sure, if fate some future bard shall join In sad similitude of griefs to mine, Condemned whole years in absence to deplore, And image charms he must behold no more; Such if there be, who loves so long, so well; Let him our sad, our tender story tell! The well-sung woes will soothe my pensive ghost; He best can paint them who shall feel them most.
The “Dunciad” was published first in Dublin with a humorous frontispiece representing an ass laden with books. This was succeeded by another edition, also printed in Dublin, with an owl, &c. Its being published in Dublin was probably a contrivance between Swift and Pope.
Pompous notes under the assumed characters of various authors were added. Most of these were written by Arbuthnot. Pope writes thus to Swift on the subject :-
“The ‘Dunciad' is going to be printed with all pomp with the inscription which makes me proudest (to Swift). It will be attended with Proëme, Prolegomena, Testimonia Scriptorum, Index Authorum and Notes Variorum. As to the latter, I desire you will read over the text and make a few in any way you like best; whether dry raillery upon the style and way of commentary of trivial critics : or humorous upon the authors of the poem; or historical of persons, places, times, or explanatory, or collecting the parallel passages of the ancients."
These curious notes were thought by inany people at the time to have been written in earnest. Some few of them have been omitted in this edition. A P. will be put to all those retained. In the Appendix will be found “A Letter to the Publisher,” and “Martinus Scriblerus-his Prolegomena and Illustrations to the Dunciad, Testimonies of Authors, Hypercritics of Aristarchus,” &c., &c.
PREFIXED TO THE FIVE FIRST EDITIONS OF THE DUNCIAD.
THE PUBLISHER TO THE READER.
It will be found a true observation, though somewhat surprising, that when any scandal is vented against a man of the
1 Who he was is uncertain; but Edward Ward tells us, in his preface to“ Durgen,” “that most judges are of opinion this preface is not of English extraction, but Hibernian," &c. He means it was written by Dr. Swift, who, whether publisher or not, may be said in a sort to be author of the poem. For when he, together with Mr. Pope (for reasons specified in the preface to their miscellanies) determined to own the most trifting pieces in which they had any hand, and to destroy all that remained in their power; the first sketch of this poem was snatched from the fire by Dr. Swift, who persuaded his friend to proceed in it, and to him it was therefore inscribed. But the occasion of printing it was as follows:
There was published in those miscellanies a treatise of the Bathos, or Art of Sinking in Poetry, in which was a chapter, where the species of bad writers were ranged in classes, and initial letters of names prefixed, for the most part at random. But such was the number of poets eminent in that art, that some one or other took overy letter to himself. All fell into so violent a fury, that for halt