Sleep may be "exil'd from this tortur'd breast"

— Jerningham, Edward (1727-1812)

Place of Publication
Printed for J. Robson
Sleep may be "exil'd from this tortur'd breast"
Metaphor in Context
Yon midnight bell, that frights the peaceful air!
Commands the Fathers to their wonted pray'r:
Now in long order flows the sable throng,
Like a dark, sullen stream that creeps along:
Why joins not Abelard the sainted train?
Does torpid sloth his ling'ring steps detain?
These walls, that pillow steep'd in tears, attest
That sleep is exil'd from this tortur'd breast:
This lamp proclaims the same, whose trembling beam
Guides while my hand pursues the glowing theme:
While the dread secret from my soul I tear,
And unreserv'd my bosom'd feelings bare.
Ah me! the passion that my soul misled
Was check'd, not conquer'd; buried, but not dead:
Now bursting from the grave, in evil hour,
It hastens to its prey with fiercer pow'r,
And, vulture-like, with appetite increas'd
It riots on the undiminish'd feast.
Daughter of Paraclete dost thou complain
In iron silence that I lock'd my pain?
That not to thee (soft solacer in woe)
I bad the troubled waves of Anguish flow?
Methought the course of three long years' retreat
Would scarce thy length'ning sacrifice complete:
Methought I should profane the hallow'd rite,
Did my laments thy pitying ear affright:
Thus at the altar, wrapt in holy dread,
The youth of Macedon in silence bled,
Nor from his tortur'd and consuming hand
Dismiss'd the living close-adhering brand[1].
But now thy slow inauguration's o'er,
And thou hast reach'd Religion's tranquil shore,
Now that stern habit throws without controul
Her chain of adamant around thy soul,
May not th' unhappy Abelard disclose
(To her who pities most) his train of woes?
Searching in HDIS (Poetry)
See Abelard to Eloisa: a Poem. By Mr. Jerningham. (London: Printed for J. Robson, 1792).

Text from Poems and Plays, by Mr. Jerningham. 4 vols, 9th ed. (London: Printed by Luke Hansard for Nornaville and Fell, 1806). <Link to ECCO>
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.