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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.

St. Aubin

The Return to Paraclete

By Louisa Stuart Costello (1799–1870)

  • On the road from Nogent is the village of St. Aubin, on the little river Ardusson, where formerly stood the celebrated Abbey of Paraclete, founded by Abelard,—the retreat of Heloïse, and the last resting-place of both.

  • FROM Argenteuil’s time-honored fane

    Driven forth a fugitive, forlorn,

    When I beheld the world again,

    And shared its pity and its scorn,

    With my sad sisterhood I roved

    Through weary paths unknown and rude;

    Nor knew where he, so sadly loved,

    Had fled to awful solitude.

    With all my sorrows trembling still,

    Fate, vainly lenient, bade us meet,

    Resistless victims of its will!

    And led my steps to Paraclete.

    Thine was the home that gave us rest,

    To us thy holy cells resigned;

    And there I strove to teach my breast

    The calm its weakness could not find.

    Since then, in deep regret and gloom,

    Have twice ten years—all winter—fled,

    And now—thou crav’st of me a tomb!

    And now—I wake to see thee dead!

    O Abelard! why weep I now?

    Hast thou not passed a life of care?

    And could religion’s power bestow

    One charm to still my long despair!

    Thou may’st at last repose in peace,—

    Contemned, pursued, opprest no more—

    For thee the world’s loud surges cease,

    Thy bark has reached a tranquil shore.

    And fame thy worth shall yet reward,

    Great through all time thy name shall be;

    While Eloïse thy dust shall guard,

    And die, as she has lived, for thee!