Gallery page 26

 
Abelard  &  Heloise
Part 2. Letter 4. Abelard to Heloise
In this, further long letter, Abelard attempts to give explanation and to instruct Heloise.
The music is by Peter Abelard and, again, comes from his' 'Hymns and Sequences for Heloise'.
I thought the music very appropriate for the letter. This particular piece is titled, 'Dolarum Solatium'. I have,again, arranged the original chant for the virtual Garritan Personal Orchestra. 
Abelard  &  Heloise
Part 2. Letter 5. Heloise to Abelard
Extracts:..........I will therefore restrain my hand from writing words which cannot restrain my tongue from speaking: would that a grieving heart would be as ready to obey as a writer's hand ! And yet you have it in your power to remedy my grief, even if you cannot entirely remove it..........and so all we handmaidens of Christ, who are your daughters in Christ, come as suppliants to demand of your paternal interest two things which we see as very necessary for ourselves. One is that you will teach us how the order of nuns began and what authority there is for our profession. The other is that you will prescribe some Rule for us, and write it down, a Rule that shall be suitable for women, and also describe fully the manner and habit of our way of, which we find was never done by our Holy Fathers. Through lack and need of this it is the practice to-day for men and women alike to be received  into monasteries to profess the same Rule, and the same yoke of monastic ordinance is laid on the weaker sex as on the stronger............how can women be concerned with what is written there about cowls,drawers or scapulars? Or indeed, with tunics or woollen garments worn next to the skin, when the monthly purging of their superflous humours must avoid such things? How are they affected by the ruling for the abbot, that he read aloud the Gospel himself and afterwards start the hymn? What about the abbot's table set apart for him with pilgrims and guests? Which is more fitting for our religious life: for an abbess never to offer hospitality to men, or for her to eat with men she has allowed in? It is all too easy for the souls of men and women to be destroyed if they live together in one place, and especially at table, where gluttony and drunkeness are rife, and wine which leads to lechery is drunk and enjoyment..................


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