Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]




IN 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 sure prising, 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 endeavour'd 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 fuperior 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 disadvantage of a literal translation. P.



In Imitation of VIRGIL'S POLLIO.



E Nymphs of Solyma ! begin the song:
To heav'nly themes sublimer strains

The mofly fountains, and the sylvan shades,
The dreams of Pindus and th'Aonian maids,
Delight no more-0 thou my voice inspire 5
Who touch'd Ifaiah's hallow'd lips with fire !

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



IMITATIONS. VER. 8. A Virgin fhall conceive All crimes fall ceaf, etc.] VIRG. E. iv. v. 6.

Jam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna ; Jam nova progenies cælo demittitur alto. Te duce, fi qua manent sceleris vestigia noftri, Irrita perpetua solvent formidine terrasPacatumque reget patriis virtutibus orbem. Now the Virgin returns, now the kingdom of Saturn reIurns, now a new Progeny is sent down from high heaven. By means of thee, whatever reliques of our crimes remain, fall 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. v. 14. Behold a Virgin Mall conceive and bear a Son.--Ch. ix. v. 6, 7. Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; the Prince of Peace : of the indreasi




From * Jesse's root behold a branch arise,
Whose facred flow'r with fragrance fills the skies :
Th’Æthereal spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its tops descends the mystic Dove.
Ye + Heav'ns! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly show'r!
The f fick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail ;
Returning | Justice lift aloft her scale;
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-rob'd Innocence from heay'n defcend.
Swift fly the years, and rise th' expected morn! 21
Oh spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born!
See Nature hastes her earliest wreathes to bring,
With all the incense of the breathing spring:

See IMITATION S. of his government, and of his peace, there hall be no end: Upon the throne of David, and upon bis kingdom, to order and to stablish it, with judgment, and with juslice, for ever and ever.

VER. 23. See Nature haftes, etc.)
VIRG. E. iv. v. 18.

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

Ipsa tibi blandos fundent cunabula flores. For ibee, O Child, shall the earth, without being tillsl, produce her early offerings ; winding ivy, mixed with Baccar, and Colocafia with smiling Acanthus. Thy cradle pall pour forth pleasing flowers about thee.

IsALAH, Ch. xxxv. v. 1. The wilderness and the folitary place shall be glad, and the difart shall rejoice and blo

Jom * Isai xi, v. 1. + Ch. xlv. v. 8. # Ch. xxv. V. 4. !!Cb. ix. V. 7.

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 desart chears;
Prepare the + way! a God, a God appears : 30
A God, a God! the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim th' approaching Deity.
Lo, earth receives him from the bending skies!
Sink down yé mountains, and ye valleys rise,



[ocr errors]

IMITATIONS. fom as the role. Ch. lx. v. 13. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of the sanctuary., P.

VER. 29. Hurk, a glad Voice, etc.)
Virg. E. iv. v. 45.

Aggredere ô magnos, aderit jam tempus, honores,
Cara deûm soboles, magnum Jovis incrementum
Ipfi lætitia voces ad fydera jactant
Intonfi montes, ipfæ jam carmina rupes,
Ipfa sonant arbusta, Deus, deus ille Menalca !

E. v. ver. 62. Oh come and receive the mighty honours : the time draws nigh, O beloved offspring of the Gods, Ogreat encrease of Jove! The uncultivated mountains fend fouts of joy to the stars, the very rocks fong in verse, the very shrubs cry out, A God, a God!

IS A 1A H, Ch. xl. v. 3, 4. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord ! make Arait in the defart a high way for our God! Every val. ley shall be exalted, and every mountain and bill fall be made low, and the crooked shall be made Arait, and the rough places plain. Ch. iv. v. 23. Break forth into finging, ye mountains ! O forest, and every tree therein! for the Lord hath redeemed Ifrael. P.

* Ch. xxxv. V. 2. + Ch. xl. v. 3, 4.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »