« PreviousContinue »
N reading feveral paffages of the prophet Ifaiah, which foretell the coming of Christ, and the feliities 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 feem furprising, when we reflect, that the Eclogue was taken from a Sibylline prophecy on the fame fubject. One may judge that Virgil did not copy it line by line, but felected fuch ideas as beft agreed with the nature of paftoral poetry, and difpofed them in that manner which ferved most to beautify his piece. I have endeavoured the fame in this imitation of him, though without admitting any thing of my own; fince it was written with this particular view, that the reader, by compar ing the feveral thoughts, might fee how far the images and defcriptions of the Prophet are fuperior to those of the Poet. But as I fear i have prejudiced them by my management, I fhall fubjoin the paffages of Ifaiah, and thofe of Virgil, under the fame difadvantage of a literal tranflation.
In Imitation of VIRGIL'S POLLIO.
E Nymphs of Solyma! begin the fong:
VER. 8. A Virgin fhall conceive — All crimes shall ceafe, etc.]
Jam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna;
Te duce, fi qua manent fceleris veftigia noftri,
"Now the Virgin returns, now the kingdom of Saturn returns,
ISAIAH, Ch. vii. ver. 14. "Behold a Virgin fhall conceive 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 shall be no end: Upon the "throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order and to eft.blish "it, with judgment and with juftice, for ever and ever."
From a Jeffe's root behold a branch arife,
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
See lofty Lebanon his head advance,
Ver. 23. See Nature baftes, etc.] Virg. Ecl, iv. ver. 18.
At tibi prima, puer, nullo munufcula cultu,
Ipfa tibi blandos fundent sunabula flores.
"For thee, O Child, fhall the earth, without being tilled, pro"duce her early offerings; winding ivy, mixed with Baccar, and "Colocaffia with fmiling Acanthus. Thy cradle fhall pour forth "pleafing flowers about thee."
a Ifai. xi. ver. 1. d Ch. ix. ver. 7.
ISAIAH, Ch. xxxv. ver. 1. "The wilderness and the folitary place fhall be glad, and the defert fhall rejoice and bloffom as "the rofe. 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 fanctuary.”
b Ch. xlv. ver. 8. e Ch, xxxv. ver. 2.
c Ch, xxv. ver. 4.
Hark! a glad voice the lonely defert chears;
VER. 29. Hark! a glad voice, etc.]
Aggredere ô magnos, aderit jam tempus, honores,
E. v. ver. 62.
"O come and receive the mighty honours: the time draws "nigh, O beloved offspring of the Gods, O great encrease of Jove! "The uncultivated mountains fend fhouts of joy to the ftars, "the very rocks fing in verse, the very fhrubs cry out, A God, a "God!"
ISAIAH, Ch. xl. ver. 3, 4. "The voice of him that cryeth in "the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord! make ftraight "in the defert a high way for our God! Every valley fhall be ex"alted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the "crooked fhall be made ftraight, and the rough places plain." Ch. iv. ver. 23. "Break forth into finging, ye mountains! Q "foreft, and every tree therein! for the Lord hath redeemed "Ifrael."
f Ch, xl, ver. 3, 4. g Ch. xliii. ver, 18. Ch. xxxv. ver. 5, 6.