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He that has these may pass his life,
A SACRED ECLOGUE.
ADVERTISEMENT. In reading several passages of the prophet Isaiah, which foretel 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 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 disadvantage of a literal translation. VE nymphs of Solyma ! begin the song:
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong. The mossy fountains, and the silvan shades, The dreams of Pinduş, and the’ Aonian maids,
Delight no more-o thou my voice inspire
Rapt into future times, the bard begun:
IMITATIONS. A virgin shall conceive-all crimes shall cease, &c.] · Virg. Ecl. iv. ver. 6.
Jam redit et virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna ;
Pacatumque reget patriis virtutibus orbem. * Now the virgin returns, now the kingdom of Saturn returns, now a new progeny is sent down from high heaven. By means of thee, whatever relics 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 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 governiment, and of his peace, there shall be no end: upon
Isaiah xi. ver. 1. + Ch, xiv. ver. 8.
Swift fly the years, and rise the expected morn! ,
IMITATIONS. the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order and to establish it, with judgment, and with justice, for ever and ever.' See Nature hastes, &c.] Virg. Ecl. iv. 18. At tibi prima, puer, nullo munuscula cultu, Errantes hederas passim cum baccare tellus Mixtaque ridenti colocasia fundet acanthoIpsa tibi blandos fundent cupabula 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 solitary 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 sanctuary.' Hark! a glad voice, &c.] Virg. Ecl. iv. ver. 46. Aggredere O magnos, aderit jam tempus, honores, Cara deum soboles, magnum Jovis incrementum Ipsi lætitia voces ad sidera jactant Intonsi montes, ipsæ jam carmina rupes, Ipsa sonant arbusta, Deus, Deus ille Menalca!
Ecl. v. ver. 62.
Isaiah, ch. XXXV. ver. 2:
+ Ch. xl. ver. 3, 4.
Ą God, a God! the vocal hills reply ;
IMITATIONS. ‘O.come and receive the mighty honours: the time draws nigh, O beloved offspring of the Gods, o great increase of Jove! 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, 4. "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord ! make straight in the desert a high way for our God ! Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.' Chap. iv. ver. 23. ! Break forth
Isaiah, ch. xliii. Ver. 18. and ch. xxxv. ver. a, 6. + Ch, XX. ver. 8. * Ch. xle per, 11.
Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage,
IMITATIONS. into singing, ye mountains ! O forest, and every tree therein ! for the Lord hath redeemed Israel.' The swain in barren deserts.] Virg. Ecl. iv. ver. 28.
Molli paulatim flavescet campus arista, Incultisque rubens pendebit sentibus uva, Et duræ quercus sudabunt roscida mella. 'The fields shall grow yellow with ripened ears, and the red grape shall hang upon the wild bram. bles, and the hard oaks shall distil honey like dew.' Isaiah, chap. xxxv. ver. 7. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water : in the habitation where dragons lay, shall
Isaiah, ch, ix. ver. 6. + Ch. ii. ver. 4. # Ch, Ixv. ver. 21; 22. & Ch. XXXV. ver, 1, 7. Ch. xli, ver, 19. and ch, lv, ver. 13.