The poems in question are as follows: Abelard neglecting his philosophical studies to write to Eloisa, designed by Edward Edwards London Abelard to Eloisa by Judith Cowper Madan , a disciple of Pope who published her poem anonymously before she was Writing there from a male point of view, she matched Pope, who had adopted a female identity in his poem. Beginning with the line "As in my Cell, low prostrate on the Ground," her poem appeared under one or other version of her names in some thirteen miscellanies published between Abelard to Eloisa by an unknown hand.
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Know, then, thyself, presume not God to scan; The proper study of mankind is man. Go, wondrous creature! Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule— Then drop into thyself, and be a fool! Could he, whose rules the rapid comet bind, Describe or fix one movement of his mind? Who saw its fires here rise, and there descend, Explain his own beginning, or his end? Alas, what wonder! Two principles in human nature reign; Self-love to urge, and reason, to restrain; Nor this a good, nor that a bad we call, Each works its end, to move or govern all And to their proper operation still, Ascribe all good; to their improper, ill.
Man, but for that, no action could attend, And but for this, were active to no end: Fixed like a plant on his peculiar spot, To draw nutrition, propagate, and rot; Or, meteor-like, flame lawless through the void, Destroying others, by himself destroyed. Most strength the moving principle requires; Active its task, it prompts, impels, inspires.
Sedate and quiet the comparing lies, Formed but to check, deliberate, and advise. Thicker than arguments, temptations throng. At best more watchful this, but that more strong. The action of the stronger to suspend, Reason still use, to reason still attend. Attention, habit and experience gains; Each strengthens reason, and self-love restrains. Let subtle schoolmen teach these friends to fight, More studious to divide than to unite; And grace and virtue, sense and reason split, With all the rash dexterity of wit.
Wits, just like fools, at war about a name, Have full as oft no meaning, or the same. Self-love and reason to one end aspire, Pain their aversion, pleasure their desire; But greedy that, its object would devour, This taste the honey, and not wound the flower: Pleasure, or wrong or rightly understood, Our greatest evil, or our greatest good. Pleasures are ever in our hands or eyes; And when in act they cease, in prospect rise: Present to grasp, and future still to find, The whole employ of body and of mind.
We, wretched subjects, though to lawful sway, In this weak queen some favourite still obey: Ah! Teach us to mourn our nature, not to mend, A sharp accuser, but a helpless friend! Or from a judge turn pleader, to persuade The choice we make, or justify it made; Proud of an easy conquest all along, She but removes weak passions for the strong; So, when small humours gather to a gout, The doctor fancies he has driven them out.
What crops of wit and honesty appear From spleen, from obstinacy, hate, or fear! Thus Nature gives us let it check our pride The virtue nearest to our vice allied: Reason the bias turns to good from ill And Nero reigns a Titus, if he will. The fiery soul abhorred in Catiline, In Decius charms, in Curtius is divine: The same ambition can destroy or save, And makes a patriot as it makes a knave. This light and darkness in our chaos joined, What shall divide?
The God within the mind. If white and black blend, soften, and unite A thousand ways, is there no black or white?
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, As, to be hated, needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace. No creature owns it in the first degree, But thinks his neighbour farther gone than he; Even those who dwell beneath its very zone, Or never feel the rage, or never own; What happier nations shrink at with affright, The hard inhabitant contends is right.
Wants, frailties, passions, closer still ally The common interest, or endear the tie. To these we owe true friendship, love sincere, Each home-felt joy that life inherits here; Yet from the same we learn, in its decline, Those joys, those loves, those interests to resign; Taught half by reason, half by mere decay, To welcome death, and calmly pass away. The learned is happy nature to explore, The fool is happy that he knows no more; The rich is happy in the plenty given, The poor contents him with the care of Heaven.
See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing, The sot a hero, lunatic a king; The starving chemist in his golden views Supremely blest, the poet in his muse. See some strange comfort every state attend, And pride bestowed on all, a common friend; See some fit passion every age supply, Hope travels through, nor quits us when we die. Alexander Pope Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot [Shut, shut the door] P. Shut, shut the door, good John! The Dog-star rages! What walls can guard me, or what shade can hide?
Friend to my Life! A dire dilemma! I sit with sad civility, I read With honest anguish, and an aching head; And drop at last, but in unwilling ears, This saving counsel, "Keep your piece nine years. Dare you refuse him? Good friend, forbear! Out with it, Dunciad! The Queen of Midas slept, and so may I. Alexander Pope.
Eloisa to Abelard
Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat? Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat? Yet, yet I love! Dear fatal name! In vain lost Eloisa weeps and prays, Her heart still dictates, and her hand obeys. Relentless walls! Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose, That well-known name awakens all my woes.