October 7, 2004


Eloisa to Abelard (Alexander Pope)

Ah wretch! believ'd the spouse of God in vain,
Confess'd within the slave of love and man.
Assist me, Heav'n! but whence arose that pray'r?
Sprung it from piety, or from despair?
Ev'n here, where frozen chastity retires,
Love finds an altar for forbidden fires.
I ought to grieve, but cannot what I ought;
I mourn the lover, not lament the fault;
I view my crime, but kindle at the view,
Repent old pleasures, and solicit new;
Now turn'd to Heav'n, I weep my past offence,
Now think of thee, and curse my innocence.
Of all affliction taught a lover yet,
'Tis sure the hardest science to forget!
How shall I lose the sin, yet keep the sense,
And love th' offender, yet detest th' offence?
How the dear object from the crime remove,
Or how distinguish penitence from love?
Unequal task! a passion to resign,
For hearts so touch'd, so pierc'd, so lost as mine.
Ere such a soul regains its peaceful state,
How often must it love, how often hate!
How often hope, despair, resent, regret,
Conceal, disdain — do all things but forget.
But let Heav'n seize it, all at once 'tis fir'd;
Not touch'd, but rapt; not waken'd, but inspir'd!
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 resign'd;

Labour and rest, that equal periods keep;
"Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;"
Desires compos'd, affections ever ev'n,
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 hymeneals sing,
To sounds of heav'nly harps she dies away,
And melts in visions of eternal day.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is out on DVD and, though everyone should see it--not least because it confirms again Jim Carrey's status as one of the great conservatives in film--we'd particularly recommend it for those who are troubled by the fatuous argument that God can't exist because there's unhappiness in the world.

-REVIEW ARCHIVES: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) (mrqe.com)
-REVIEW: of Eternal Sunshine (James Bowman)
-REVIEW: of Eternal Sunshine (Jeffrey Overstreet, Looking Closer)
-REVIEW: of Eternal Sunshine (Anthony Lane, The New Yorker)

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 7, 2004 12:17 AM

Having taken my children to 'Ace Ventura, Pet Detective' on a rainy-day opening weekend because I thought physical humor might amuse them, so many years ago, and thereafter having seen every one of his movies (at my childrens' urging), I'd ordinarily agree with you, oj. But how do you square 'The Majestic' with this theme?

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at October 7, 2004 1:27 AM


It's his one bomb, no?

Posted by: oj at October 7, 2004 1:37 AM

Well, there's also 'The Cable Guy', and the Kaufman bio.

Was 'Me, Myself, and Irene' conservative ?

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 7, 2004 7:14 AM


Laughing at other people's problems is conservative by definition.

Posted by: oj at October 7, 2004 9:09 AM

Also, the lesson that the children born of your wife are your kids, and you should love them unreservedly, is definitely conservative.

Posted by: David Cohen at October 7, 2004 9:13 AM