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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.

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Y E Nymphs of Solyma! begin the song:

To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
The moffy fountains, and the fylvan fhades,
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!

From

IMITATIONS.

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."

ISAIAH,

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From * Jesse's root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies : IO
Th' Æthercał spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic Dove.
Ye + Heavens! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly shower !
The I fick and weak the healing plant fhall aid, 15
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient frauds shall fail;
Returning $ Justice lift aloft her scale;
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-rob'd Innocence from heaven descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise the 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 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,
Errantes hederas paflim cum baccare tellus,
Mixtaque ridenti colocasia fundet acanthom
Ipfa tibi blandes fandent cunabula flores.

* Isai. xi. ver. I. + Ch. xlv. ver. 8.

f Ch. ix, ver. 7.

6 For | Ch. xxv.

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See * lofty Lebanon his head advance,

25
See nodding forests on the mountains dance :
See spicy clouds from lowly Saron rise,
And Carmel's flowery top perfumes the skies !
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert chears;
Prepare the † way! a God, a God appears :

30

A God,
IMITATIONS.
" For thee, O Child, shall the earth, without being
“ tilled, produce her early offerings; winding ivy, mix-
“ ed with Baccar, and Colocassia with smiling Acan-
“ thus. Thy cradle shall pour forth pleasing flowers
« about thee."
ISAIAH, Ch. x'xxi. ver. 1. " The wilderness and the

solitary place shall be glad, and the desert shall re-
“ joice 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 fanctuary."

29. Hark! a glad voice, &c. Virg. Ecl. iv. ver. 46.

Aggredere ô magnos (aderit jam tempus) honores,

Cara deûm soboles, magnum Jovis incrementum
Ecl. v. ver. 62.

Ipsi lætitiâ voces ad fidera jactant
Intorsi montes, ipfæ jam carmina rupes,
Ipsa fonant arbusta, Deus, Deus ille Menalca!
" 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
“ lend shouts of joy to the stars, the very rocks fing in
verse, the very

shrubs

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.

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Ver.

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40

A God, a God! the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim th' approaching Deitý.
Lo, earth receives him from the bending fkies!
Sink down, ye mountains; and ýe vallies, 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 him, ye deaf; and all ye blind, behold!
He from thick films shall

purge

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,

45 From

every face he wipes off every tear.
In adamantine chains shall Death be bound,
And Hell's grim tyrant feel th’ eternal wound.
As the good || shepherd tends his fleecy.care,
Seeks frefheft pasture, and the purest air,
Explores the loft, the wandering sheep directs,
By day o'ersees them, and by night protects,

The

50

IMITATIONS.

for our

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

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