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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 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 for 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 imi. tation 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.
Y E Nymphs of Solyma! begin the song:
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
5 Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire !
Rapt into future times, the Bard begun:
Ver. 8. A Virgin shall conceive-All crimes shall cease, &c.] Virg. Ecl. iy. ver. 6. Jam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna ; Jam nova progenies coelo demittitur alto. Te duce, fi qua manent sceleris vestigia noltri, Irrita perpetua
solvent formidine terras Pacatumque reget patriis virtutibus orbem. “ Now the Virgin returns, now the kingdom of Sa
turn returns, now a new progeny is fent down from " high heaven. 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."
From * Jesse's root behold a branch arise,
See IMITATIONS. ISAIAH, Ch. vii. ver. 14. “ Behold a Virgin shall os conceive and bear a Son.- Chap. ix. ver. 6,7. Un6. to 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 establish it, with judgment and with justice,
for ever and ever.' Ver. 23. See Nature hastes, &c.] Virg. Ecl, iv. ver. 18.
At tibi prima, puer, nullo munuscula cultu,
* Isai. xi. ver. I. + Ch. xlv. ver. 8.
f Ch. ix, ver. 7.
6 For | Ch. xxv.
See * lofty Lebanon his head advance,
solitary place shall be glad, and the desert shall re-
29. Hark! a glad voice, &c. Virg. Ecl. iv. ver. 46.
Aggredere ô magnos (aderit jam tempus) honores,
Cara deûm soboles, magnum Jovis incrementum
Ipsi lætitiâ voces ad fidera jactant
great increase of Jove! The uncultivated mountains
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
* Ch. XXXV, ver. 2. + Ch. xl. ver. 3, 4. VOL. I.
« Lord 1
A God, a God! the vocal hills reply,
the visual ray, And on the fightlefs eye-ball pour the day: 'Tis he th' obstructed paths of sound Aall clear, And bid new music charm th' unfolding ear : The dumb thall fing, the lame his crutch forego, And leap exulting like the bounding roe. No sigh, no murmur, the wide world thall hear,
every face he wipes off every tear.
66 Lord ! make straight in the desert a high-way " God ! 'Every valley shall be exalted, and every moun6. tain and hill fhall be made low, and the crooked fhall “ be made straight, and the rough places plain.” Ch.
“Break forth into singing, ye mounóc tains ; O forest, and every tree therein ! for the Lord. de hath redeemed Ifrael."
| Ch. xliii. ver. 18. Ch. xxxv. ver. 5, 6. xxv. ver. 8. & Ch. xl. ver. 11,
iv. ver. 23