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MESSIAH.

А

Sacred Eclogue,

In Imitation of

VIRGIL'S POLLIO.

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IN

N reading several passages of the Prophet Isaiah,

which foretell the coming of Christ and the felicities attending it, I could not but observe a remarkable parity between many of the thoughts, and those in the Pollio of Virgil. This will not seem surprising, when we reflect, that the Eclogue was taken from a Sibylline prophecy on the same subject. One may judge that Virgil did not copy it line by line, but selected such ideas as best agreed with the nature of paftoral poetry, and disposed them in that manner which served most to beautify his piece. I have endeavoured the fame in this imitation of him, though without admitting any thing of my own ; since it was written with this particular view, that the reader, by comparing the several thoughts, might see how far the images and deferiptions of the Prophet are superior to those of the Poet. But as I fear I have prejudiced them by my management, I shall subjoin the passages of Isaiah, and those of Virgil, under the fame disadvantage of a literal translation, P.

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SACRED ECLOGUE

In Imitation of VIRGIL'S POLLIO.

Y Nymphs of Solyma! begin the song:

To heav'nly themes sublimer strains belong
The mossy fountains, and the sylvan shades,
The dreams of Pindus and th’Aonian maids,
Delight no more---( thou my voice inspire
Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire!

Rapt into future times, the Bard begun:
A Virgin shall conceive, a Virgin bear a Son!

5.

IMITATIONS.
Ver. 8. A Virgin shall conceive --- All crimes shall cease, etc.)
VIRG. E. iv. * 6.

Jam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna ;
Jam nova progenies cælo demittitur alto.
Te duce, fi qua manent sceleris veftigia noftri,

Irrita perpetua folvent formidine terras
- Pacatumque reget patriis virtutibus orbem.

“ Now the Virgin returns, now the kingdom of Saturn re“ turns, now a new progeny is sent down from high heaven. By “ means of thee, whatever reliques of our crimes remain, shalt “ be wiped away, and free the world from perpetual fears. He “ Thall govern the earth in peace, with the virtues of his Father.

ISAIAH, Ch. vii. * 14. *s Behold a Virgin shall conceive and “ bear a Son. --- Chap. ix. * 6,7. Unto us a Child is born, unto “ us a Son is given; the Prince of Peace: of the ingrcase of his Vol. I,

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II

From a Jesse's root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flow'r with fragrance fills the skies:
Th’Ætherial spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic Dove.
Ye'Heav'ns! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft filence shed the kindly show'r!
The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes Thall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail;
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale;

IMITATIONS. “ government, and of his peace, there shall be no end: Upon “ the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order and to “ ftablish it, with judgment, and with justice, for ever and ever. P.

REMARKS. Ver. 13. Ye Heav'ns ! from high the dewy nečlar pour, And in soft silence thed the kindly show'r !] His Original says, “ Drop “ down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down “ righteousness : let the earth open, and let them bring forth “ falvatiori, and let righteousness spring up together."---This is a very noble description of divine grace Thed abroad in the hearts of the faithful under the Gospel dispensation. And the poet understood all its force, as appears from the two lines preceding thele,--- Th' Ætherial Spirit, etc. The prophet describes this under the image of rain, which chiefly fits the firft age of the Gospel : The poet, under the idea of dew, which extends it to every age. And it was his purpose it should be so understood, as appears from his expression of soft silence, which agrees with the common, not the extraordinary effufions of the Holy Spirit. The figurative term is wonderfully happy. He who would moralize the antient Mythology in the manner of Bacon, must say, that by the poetical nectar, is meant theological grace.

VER. 17. ancient fraud.] i. e. the fraud of the Serpent a Ifai. xi. 1. Ch. xlv. x 8. Ch. xxv. ¥ 4. Ch. ix. 7. 25

Peace o’er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-rob’d Innocence from heav'n descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise th’expected morn! 2 1
Oh spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born!
See Nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incense of the breathing spring:
See lofty Lebanon his head advance,
See nodding forests on the mountains dance:
See spicy clouds from lowly Saron rise,
And Carmel's flow’ry top perfumes the skies !
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert chears;
Prepare the way! a God, a God appears: 30.

IMITATIONS.
VER. 23. See Nature haftes, etc.)
Virg. E. iv. y 18.

At tibi prima, puer, nullo munuscula cultu,
Errantes hederas paffim cum baccare tellus,
Mixtaque ridenti colocasia fundet acantho ---

Ipfa tibi blandos fundent cunabula flores.
“For thee, O Child, shall the earth, without being tilled,
“ produce her early offerings; winding ivy, mixed with Baccar,
“ and Colocasia with smiling Acanthus. Íhy cradle shall pour
“ forth pleasing Alowers about thee.

ISAIAH, Ch. xxxv. * 1. " The wilderness and the folitary

place shall be glad, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as “the rose.” Ch. Ix. Ý 13. “ The glory of Lebanon shall come

unto thee, the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box together,
to beautify the place of thy fanctuary. P.
VER. 29. Hark, a glad Voice, etc.]
VIRG. E. iv. y 46.

Aggredere ô magnos, aderit jam tempus, honores,
Cara deûm foboles, magnum Jovis incrementum---
Ch. XXXV. 2.

Ch. xl. x 30 4:

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