Thursday, March 16, 2006

Eloisa to Abelard (Alexander Pope / 1688-1744)

Gracias a una muy buena película (Eterno resplandor de una mente sin recuerdos) fue como llegué a este magistral poema de Alexander Pope, publicado en 1717!!!.

Después de verla, me di a la tarea de buscarlo; no tenía más que una frase, la que daba título a la película y que es dicha sólo una vez por uno de los personajes: "How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! /The world forgetting, by the world forgot. / Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!" (versos 207 a 209), pero pude encontrarlo.

Y así, de la mera curiosidad sensible, pasé a un muy grato y asombroso descubrimiento: el de disfrutar de la musicalidad y la belleza de la rima en inglés. Además, la expresión estética de este poema, sus metáforas y la forma como llega al alma...no creo tener las palabras suficientes y certeras para contar lo que produce este poema, así que lo dejo a disposición de aquellos que quieran arriesgarse a hacer ese viaje que nos significan la poesía y la literatura, esta vez con este poema.



1 In these deep solitudes and awful cells,
2 Where heav'nly-pensive contemplation dwells,
3 And ever-musing melancholy reigns;
4 What means this tumult in a vestal's veins?
5 Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat?
6 Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat?
7 Yet, yet I love!--From Abelard it came,
8 And Eloisa yet must kiss the name.


9 Dear fatal name! rest ever unreveal'd,
10 Nor pass these lips in holy silence seal'd.
11 Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise,
12 Where mix'd with God's, his lov'd idea lies:
13 O write it not, my hand--the name appears
14 Already written--wash it out, my tears!
15 In vain lost Eloisa weeps and prays,
16 Her heart still dictates, and her hand obeys.


17 Relentless walls! whose darksome round contains
18 Repentant sighs, and voluntary pains:
19 Ye rugged rocks! which holy knees have worn;
20 Ye grots and caverns shagg'd with horrid thorn!
21 Shrines! where their vigils pale-ey'd virgins keep,
22 And pitying saints, whose statues learn to weep!
23 Though cold like you, unmov'd, and silent grown,
24 I have not yet forgot myself to stone.
25 All is not Heav'n's while Abelard has part,
26 Still rebel nature holds out half my heart;
27 Nor pray'rs nor fasts its stubborn pulse restrain,
28 Nor tears, for ages, taught to flow in vain.


29 Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose,
30 That well-known name awakens all my woes.
31 Oh name for ever sad! for ever dear!
32 Still breath'd in sighs, still usher'd with a tear.
33 I tremble too, where'er my own I find,
34 Some dire misfortune follows close behind.
35 Line after line my gushing eyes o'erflow,
36 Led through a sad variety of woe:
37 Now warm in love, now with'ring in thy bloom,
38 Lost in a convent's solitary gloom!
39 There stern religion quench'd th' unwilling flame,
40 There died the best of passions, love and fame.


41 Yet write, oh write me all, that I may join
42 Griefs to thy griefs, and echo sighs to thine.
43 Nor foes nor fortune take this pow'r away;
44 And is my Abelard less kind than they?
45 Tears still are mine, and those I need not spare,
46 Love but demands what else were shed in pray'r;
47 No happier task these faded eyes pursue;
48 To read and weep is all they now can do.


49 Then share thy pain, allow that sad relief;
50 Ah, more than share it! give me all thy grief.
51 Heav'n first taught letters for some wretch's aid,
52 Some banish'd lover, or some captive maid;
53 They live, they speak, they breathe what love inspires,
54 Warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires,
55 The virgin's wish without her fears impart,
56 Excuse the blush, and pour out all the heart,
57 Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul,
58 And waft a sigh from Indus to the Pole.


59 Thou know'st how guiltless first I met thy flame,
60 When Love approach'd me under Friendship's name;
61 My fancy form'd thee of angelic kind,
62 Some emanation of th' all-beauteous Mind.
63 Those smiling eyes, attemp'ring ev'ry day,
64 Shone sweetly lambent with celestial day.
65 Guiltless I gaz'd; heav'n listen'd while you sung;
66 And truths divine came mended from that tongue.
67 From lips like those what precept fail'd to move?
68 Too soon they taught me 'twas no sin to love.
69 Back through the paths of pleasing sense I ran,
70 Nor wish'd an Angel whom I lov'd a Man.
71 Dim and remote the joys of saints I see;
72 Nor envy them, that heav'n I lose for thee.


73 How oft, when press'd to marriage, have I said,
74 Curse on all laws but those which love has made!
75 Love, free as air, at sight of human ties,
76 Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies,
77 Let wealth, let honour, wait the wedded dame,
78 August her deed, and sacred be her fame;
79 Before true passion all those views remove,
80 Fame, wealth, and honour! what are you to Love?
81 The jealous God, when we profane his fires,
82 Those restless passions in revenge inspires;
83 And bids them make mistaken mortals groan,
84 Who seek in love for aught but love alone.
85 Should at my feet the world's great master fall,
86 Himself, his throne, his world, I'd scorn 'em all:
87 Not Caesar's empress would I deign to prove;
88 No, make me mistress to the man I love;
89 If there be yet another name more free,
90 More fond than mistress, make me that to thee!
91 Oh happy state! when souls each other draw,
92 When love is liberty, and nature, law:
93 All then is full, possessing, and possess'd,
94 No craving void left aching in the breast:
95 Ev'n thought meets thought, ere from the lips it part,
96 And each warm wish springs mutual from the heart.
97 This sure is bliss (if bliss on earth there be)
98 And once the lot of Abelard and me.


99 Alas, how chang'd! what sudden horrors rise!
100 A naked lover bound and bleeding lies!
101 Where, where was Eloise? her voice, her hand,
102 Her poniard, had oppos'd the dire command.
103 Barbarian, stay! that bloody stroke restrain;
104 The crime was common, common be the pain.
105 I can no more; by shame, by rage suppress'd,
106 Let tears, and burning blushes speak the rest.


107 Canst thou forget that sad, that solemn day,
108 When victims at yon altar's foot we lay?
109 Canst thou forget what tears that moment fell,
110 When, warm in youth, I bade the world farewell?
111 As with cold lips I kiss'd the sacred veil,
112 The shrines all trembl'd, and the lamps grew pale:
113 Heav'n scarce believ'd the conquest it survey'd,
114 And saints with wonder heard the vows I made.
115 Yet then, to those dread altars as I drew,
116 Not on the Cross my eyes were fix'd, but you:
117 Not grace, or zeal, love only was my call,
118 And if I lose thy love, I lose my all.
119 Come! with thy looks, thy words, relieve my woe;
120 Those still at least are left thee to bestow.
121 Still on that breast enamour'd let me lie,
122 Still drink delicious poison from thy eye,
123 Pant on thy lip, and to thy heart be press'd;
124 Give all thou canst--and let me dream the rest.
125 Ah no! instruct me other joys to prize,
126 With other beauties charm my partial eyes,
127 Full in my view set all the bright abode,
128 And make my soul quit Abelard for God.


129 Ah, think at least thy flock deserves thy care,
130 Plants of thy hand, and children of thy pray'r.
131 From the false world in early youth they fled,
132 By thee to mountains, wilds, and deserts led.
133 You rais'd these hallow'd walls; the desert smil'd,
134 And Paradise was open'd in the wild.
135 No weeping orphan saw his father's stores
136 Our shrines irradiate, or emblaze the floors;
137 No silver saints, by dying misers giv'n,
138 Here brib'd the rage of ill-requited heav'n:
139 But such plain roofs as piety could raise,
140 And only vocal with the Maker's praise.
141 In these lone walls (their days eternal bound)
142 These moss-grown domes with spiry turrets crown'd,
143 Where awful arches make a noonday night,
144 And the dim windows shed a solemn light;
145 Thy eyes diffus'd a reconciling ray,
146 And gleams of glory brighten'd all the day.
147 But now no face divine contentment wears,
148 'Tis all blank sadness, or continual tears.
149 See how the force of others' pray'rs I try,
150 (O pious fraud of am'rous charity!)
151 But why should I on others' pray'rs depend?
152 Come thou, my father, brother, husband, friend!
153 Ah let thy handmaid, sister, daughter move,
154 And all those tender names in one, thy love!
155 The darksome pines that o'er yon rocks reclin'd
156 Wave high, and murmur to the hollow wind,
157 The wand'ring streams that shine between the hills,
158 The grots that echo to the tinkling rills,
159 The dying gales that pant upon the trees,
160 The lakes that quiver to the curling breeze;
161 No more these scenes my meditation aid,
162 Or lull to rest the visionary maid.
163 But o'er the twilight groves and dusky caves,
164 Long-sounding aisles, and intermingled graves,
165 Black Melancholy sits, and round her throws
166 A death-like silence, and a dread repose:
167 Her gloomy presence saddens all the scene,
168 Shades ev'ry flow'r, and darkens ev'ry green,
169 Deepens the murmur of the falling floods,
170 And breathes a browner horror on the woods.


171 Yet here for ever, ever must I stay;
172 Sad proof how well a lover can obey!
173 Death, only death, can break the lasting chain;
174 And here, ev'n then, shall my cold dust remain,
175 Here all its frailties, all its flames resign,
176 And wait till 'tis no sin to mix with thine.


177 Ah wretch! believ'd the spouse of God in vain,
178 Confess'd within the slave of love and man.
179 Assist me, Heav'n! but whence arose that pray'r?
180 Sprung it from piety, or from despair?
181 Ev'n here, where frozen chastity retires,
182 Love finds an altar for forbidden fires.
183 I ought to grieve, but cannot what I ought;
184 I mourn the lover, not lament the fault;
185 I view my crime, but kindle at the view,
186 Repent old pleasures, and solicit new;
187 Now turn'd to Heav'n, I weep my past offence,
188 Now think of thee, and curse my innocence.
189 Of all affliction taught a lover yet,
190 'Tis sure the hardest science to forget!
191 How shall I lose the sin, yet keep the sense,
192 And love th' offender, yet detest th' offence?
193 How the dear object from the crime remove,
194 Or how distinguish penitence from love?
195 Unequal task! a passion to resign,
196 For hearts so touch'd, so pierc'd, so lost as mine.
197 Ere such a soul regains its peaceful state,
198 How often must it love, how often hate!
199 How often hope, despair, resent, regret,
200 Conceal, disdain--do all things but forget.
201 But let Heav'n seize it, all at once 'tis fir'd;
202 Not touch'd, but rapt; not waken'd, but inspir'd!
203 Oh come! oh teach me nature to subdue,
204 Renounce my love, my life, myself--and you.
205 Fill my fond heart with God alone, for he
206 Alone can rival, can succeed to thee.


207 How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
208 The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
209 Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
210 Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd;
211 Labour and rest, that equal periods keep;
212 "Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;"
213 Desires compos'd, affections ever ev'n,
214 Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heav'n.
215 Grace shines around her with serenest beams,
216 And whisp'ring angels prompt her golden dreams.
217 For her th' unfading rose of Eden blooms,
218 And wings of seraphs shed divine perfumes,
219 For her the Spouse prepares the bridal ring,
220 For her white virgins hymeneals sing,
221 To sounds of heav'nly harps she dies away,
222 And melts in visions of eternal day.


223 Far other dreams my erring soul employ,
224 Far other raptures, of unholy joy:
225 When at the close of each sad, sorrowing day,
226 Fancy restores what vengeance snatch'd away,
227 Then conscience sleeps, and leaving nature free,
228 All my loose soul unbounded springs to thee.
229 Oh curs'd, dear horrors of all-conscious night!
230 How glowing guilt exalts the keen delight!
231 Provoking Daemons all restraint remove,
232 And stir within me every source of love.
233 I hear thee, view thee, gaze o'er all thy charms,
234 And round thy phantom glue my clasping arms.
235 I wake--no more I hear, no more I view,
236 The phantom flies me, as unkind as you.
237 I call aloud; it hears not what I say;
238 I stretch my empty arms; it glides away.
239 To dream once more I close my willing eyes;
240 Ye soft illusions, dear deceits, arise!
241 Alas, no more--methinks we wand'ring go
242 Through dreary wastes, and weep each other's woe,
243 Where round some mould'ring tower pale ivy creeps,
244 And low-brow'd rocks hang nodding o'er the deeps.
245 Sudden you mount, you beckon from the skies;
246 Clouds interpose, waves roar, and winds arise.
247 I shriek, start up, the same sad prospect find,
248 And wake to all the griefs I left behind.


249 For thee the fates, severely kind, ordain
250 A cool suspense from pleasure and from pain;
251 Thy life a long, dead calm of fix'd repose;
252 No pulse that riots, and no blood that glows.
253 Still as the sea, ere winds were taught to blow,
254 Or moving spirit bade the waters flow;
255 Soft as the slumbers of a saint forgiv'n,
256 And mild as opening gleams of promis'd heav'n.


257 Come, Abelard! for what hast thou to dread?
258 The torch of Venus burns not for the dead.
259 Nature stands check'd; Religion disapproves;
260 Ev'n thou art cold--yet Eloisa loves.
261 Ah hopeless, lasting flames! like those that burn
262 To light the dead, and warm th' unfruitful urn.


263 What scenes appear where'er I turn my view?
264 The dear ideas, where I fly, pursue,
265 Rise in the grove, before the altar rise,
266 Stain all my soul, and wanton in my eyes.
267 I waste the matin lamp in sighs for thee,
268 Thy image steals between my God and me,
269 Thy voice I seem in ev'ry hymn to hear,
270 With ev'ry bead I drop too soft a tear.
271 When from the censer clouds of fragrance roll,
272 And swelling organs lift the rising soul,
273 One thought of thee puts all the pomp to flight,
274 Priests, tapers, temples, swim before my sight:
275 In seas of flame my plunging soul is drown'd,
276 While altars blaze, and angels tremble round.


277 While prostrate here in humble grief I lie,
278 Kind, virtuous drops just gath'ring in my eye,
279 While praying, trembling, in the dust I roll,
280 And dawning grace is op'ning on my soul:
281 Come, if thou dar'st, all charming as thou art!
282 Oppose thyself to Heav'n; dispute my heart;
283 Come, with one glance of those deluding eyes
284 Blot out each bright idea of the skies;
285 Take back that grace, those sorrows, and those tears;
286 Take back my fruitless penitence and pray'rs;
287 Snatch me, just mounting, from the blest abode;
288 Assist the fiends, and tear me from my God!


289 No, fly me, fly me, far as pole from pole;
290 Rise Alps between us! and whole oceans roll!
291 Ah, come not, write not, think not once of me,
292 Nor share one pang of all I felt for thee.
293 Thy oaths I quit, thy memory resign;
294 Forget, renounce me, hate whate'er was mine.
295 Fair eyes, and tempting looks (which yet I view!)
296 Long lov'd, ador'd ideas, all adieu!
297 Oh Grace serene! oh virtue heav'nly fair!
298 Divine oblivion of low-thoughted care!
299 Fresh blooming hope, gay daughter of the sky!
300 And faith, our early immortality!
301 Enter, each mild, each amicable guest;
302 Receive, and wrap me in eternal rest!


303 See in her cell sad Eloisa spread,
304 Propp'd on some tomb, a neighbour of the dead.
305 In each low wind methinks a spirit calls,
306 And more than echoes talk along the walls.
307 Here, as I watch'd the dying lamps around,
308 From yonder shrine I heard a hollow sound.
309 "Come, sister, come!" (it said, or seem'd to say)
310 "Thy place is here, sad sister, come away!
311 Once like thyself, I trembled, wept, and pray'd,
312 Love's victim then, though now a sainted maid:
313 But all is calm in this eternal sleep;
314 Here grief forgets to groan, and love to weep,
315 Ev'n superstition loses ev'ry fear:
316 For God, not man, absolves our frailties here."


317 I come, I come! prepare your roseate bow'rs,
318 Celestial palms, and ever-blooming flow'rs.
319 Thither, where sinners may have rest, I go,
320 Where flames refin'd in breasts seraphic glow:
321 Thou, Abelard! the last sad office pay,
322 And smooth my passage to the realms of day;
323 See my lips tremble, and my eye-balls roll,
324 Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul!
325 Ah no--in sacred vestments may'st thou stand,
326 The hallow'd taper trembling in thy hand,
327 Present the cross before my lifted eye,
328 Teach me at once, and learn of me to die.
329 Ah then, thy once-lov'd Eloisa see!
330 It will be then no crime to gaze on me.
331 See from my cheek the transient roses fly!
332 See the last sparkle languish in my eye!
333 Till ev'ry motion, pulse, and breath be o'er;
334 And ev'n my Abelard be lov'd no more.
335 O Death all-eloquent! you only prove
336 What dust we dote on, when 'tis man we love.


337 Then too, when fate shall thy fair frame destroy,
338 (That cause of all my guilt, and all my joy)
339 In trance ecstatic may thy pangs be drown'd,
340 Bright clouds descend, and angels watch thee round,
341 From op'ning skies may streaming glories shine,
342 And saints embrace thee with a love like mine.


343 May one kind grave unite each hapless name,
344 And graft my love immortal on thy fame!
345 Then, ages hence, when all my woes are o'er,
346 When this rebellious heart shall beat no more;
347 If ever chance two wand'ring lovers brings
348 To Paraclete's white walls and silver springs,
349 O'er the pale marble shall they join their heads,
350 And drink the falling tears each other sheds;
351 Then sadly say, with mutual pity mov'd,
352 "Oh may we never love as these have lov'd!"


353 From the full choir when loud Hosannas rise,
354 And swell the pomp of dreadful sacrifice,
355 Amid that scene if some relenting eye
356 Glance on the stone where our cold relics lie,
357 Devotion's self shall steal a thought from Heav'n,
358 One human tear shall drop and be forgiv'n.
359 And sure, if fate some future bard shall join
360 In sad similitude of griefs to mine,
361 Condemn'd whole years in absence to deplore,
362 And image charms he must behold no more;
363 Such if there be, who loves so long, so well;
364 Let him our sad, our tender story tell;
365 The well-sung woes will soothe my pensive ghost;
366 He best can paint 'em, who shall feel 'em most.

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