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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 fuch ideas as best agreed with the nature of pastoral poetry, and disposed them in that manner which served most to beautify his piece. I have endeavoured the same 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 descriptions 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 same difadvantage of a literal translation. P.


SACRED ECLOGUE, In Imitation of VIRGIL's Pollio.

the song:


To heav'nly themes sublimer strains belong. The mosfy fountains, and the sylvan shades, The dreams of Pindus and th' Aonian maids, Delight no more---O thou my voice inspire 5 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!

VER. 8. A Virgin shall conceive---- All crimes shall cease, etc.]
VIRG. Ecl. iv. ver. 6.

Jam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna ;
Jam nova progenies coelo demittitur alto.
Te duce, fi qua manent sceleris vestigia noftri,
Irrita perpetua solvent formidine terras-

Pacatumque reget patriis virtutibus orbem.
“ Now the Virgin returns, now the kingdom of Saturn

returns, now a new progeny is sent down from high hea* ven. By means of thee, whatever reliques of our crimes

remain, shall be wiped away, and free the world from

perpetual fears. He shall govern the earth in peace, with " the virtues of his father.”

Isaiah, Ch. vii. ver. 14. " Behold a Virgin shall con“ ceive and bear a son.-Chap. ix. ver. 6, 7. Unto us a "Child is born, unto us a Son is given ; the Prince of Peace : " of the increase of his government, and of his peace, there " fhall be no end : Upon the throne of David, and upon his


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From Jeffe’s root behold a branch arise,
Whose facred flow'r with fragrance fills the skies:
Th' Ætherial spirit o'er its leaves Thall move,
And on its top descends the mystic Dove.
Ye 'heav'ns! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly show'r !
The ? fick and weak the healing plant shall aid, 15
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail;
Returning “ Justice lift aloft her scale ;

VER 13. Ye Heav'ns ! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in føft filence shed 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 falvation, and let righteousness spring up toge“ ther." -This is a very noble description of divine grace fhed 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 these,—ThÆthereal Spirit, etc. The prophet describes this under the image of rain, which chiefly fits the first 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 fo understood, as appears from his expression of foft 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 ancient Mythology in the manner of Bacon, would say, that by the poetical ne&tar, is meant the grace of the Theologists. Ver. 17. Ancient fraud) i. e. the fraud of the Serpent.

IMITATIONS. kingdom, to order and to stablish it, with judgment, and with justice, for ever and ever.” P. a Ifai. xi. ver. I. b Ch. xlv. ver. 8.

c Ch. xxv. ver. 4.

Ch. ix. ver. 7.

Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend, 19
And white-rob’d Innocence from heav'n descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise th' expected morn!
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 o his head advance, 25
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 cheers ;
Prepare the 'way! a God, a God appears : 30

VER. 23. See Nature hafte, etc.]
VIRG. Ecl. iv. ver. 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. Thy cradle “ shall pour forth pleasing flowers about thee.”

ISAIAH, Ch. xxxv. ver. 1. “ The wilderness and the so“ litary place shall be glad, and the desert shall rejoice and " blossom as the rose." Ch. lx. ver. 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 fanc, “ tuary.” P.

VER. 29. Hark! a glad Voice, etc.)
VIRG. Ecl. iv. ver. 46.

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

f Ch. xl. ver. 3, 4,

the visual ray,

A God, a God! the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim th' approaching Deity.
Lo, earth receives him from the bending skies!
Sink down, ye mountains, and, ye valleys, rise;
With heads declin'd, ye cedars, homage pay : 35
Be smooth, ye rocks; ye rapid floods, give way!
The Saviour comes ! by ancient bards foretold :
Hear 5 him, ye deaf, and all ye blind, behold!
He from thick films shall

purge And on the fightless eye-ball pour the day : 40

REMARKS. VER. 39. He from thick films shall purge the visual ray,] The sense and language shew, that by visual ray, the poet meant the fight, or, as Milton calls it, indeed, something less boldly, tho' more exactly, the visual nerve. However, no critic would quarrel with the figure which calls the instrument of vision by the name of the cause. But tho' the term be noble and fublime, yet the expression of thick films is faulty ; and he fell into it by

Ipfi lætitia voces ad fydera jactant
Intonfi montes, ipfæ jam carmina rupes,
Ipsa fonant arbusta, Deus, deus ille Menalca !

Ecl. v. ver. 62. " Oh come and receive the mighty honours: the time “ draws nigh, O beloved offspring of the Gods, Ogreat en« crease of yove! The uncultivated mountains send shouts of “ joy to the stars, the very rocks sing in verse, the very shrubs

cry out, a God, a God!”

ISAIAH, Ch. xl. ver. 3, • The voice of him that “ crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord ! “ make strait in the desert a high way for our God ! Every

valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall “: be made law, and the crooked shall be made strait, and the " rough places plain.” Ch. iv. ver. 23. Break forth into sing

ing, ye mountains ! O forest, and every tree therein! for * the Lord hath redeemed Ifrael.P.

& Ch. xlii. ver. 18. Ch. xxxv. ver. 5, 6.

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