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Now sleeping flocks on their soft fleeces lie,
Thyr. Behold the groves that shine with silver
Lyc. So may kind rains their vital moisture yield, And swell the future harvest of the field. Begin this charge the dying Daphne gave, And said, Ye shepherds, sing around my grave!' Sing, while beside the shaded tomb I mourn, And with fresh bays her rural shrine adorn.
Thyr. Ye gentle Muses, leave your crystal spring; Let nymphs and silvans cypress-garlands bring: Ye weeping loves, the stream with myrtles hide, And break your bows, as when Adonis died;" And with your golden darts, now useless grown, Inscribe a verse on this relenting stone: 'Let nature change, let heaven and earth deplore, Fair Daphne's dead, and love is now no more!'
'Tis done; and nature's various charms decay, See gloomy clouds obscure the cheerful day! Now hung with pearls the dropping trees appear, Their faded honours scatter'd on her bier. See, where on earth the flowery glories lie, With her they flourish'd, and with her they die. Ah! what avail the beauties nature wore? Fair Daphne's dead, and beauty is no more!
For her the flocks refuse their verdant food, The thirsty heifers shun the gliding flood;
The silver swans her hapless fate bemoan,
In notes more sad than when they sing their own;
Her name with pleasure once she taught the shore;
No more the mounting larks, while Daphne sings, Shall, listening in mid air, suspend their wings; No more the birds shall imitate her lays, Or, hush'd with wonder, hearken from the sprays; No more the streams their murmurs shall forbear, A sweeter music than their own to hear; But tell the reeds, and tell the vocal shore, Fair Daphne's dead, and music is no more!
Her fate is whisper'd by the gentle breeze,
Swell'd with new passion, and o'erflows with tears; The winds and trees and floods her death deplore, Daphne, our grief, our glory now no more!
But see! where Daphne wondering mounts on Above the clouds, above the starry sky! Eternal beauties grace the shining scene, Fields ever fresh, and groves for ever green!
There while you rest in amaranthine bowers,
Lyc. How all things listen, while thy Muse complains!
Such silence waits on Philomela's strains,
Thy name, thy honour, and thy praise slrall live!
A SACRED ECLOGUE.
IN IMITATION OF VIRGIL'S POLLIO.
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.
Ye nymphs of Solyma! begin the song:
Rapt into future times, the bard begun; A virgin shall conceive, a virgin bear a son1! From Jesse's root behold a branch arise, Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies: The' ethereal spirit o'er its leaves shall move, And on its top descends the mystic dove. Ye heavens 3 from high the dewy nectar pour, And in soft silence shed the kindly show'r! The sick 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 5 lift aloft her scale; Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend, And white-rob'd Innocence from Heav'n descend. Swift fly the years, and rise the' expected morn! O spring to light, auspicicus babe! be born."
Virg. Ecl. iv. ver. 6.
Jam redit et virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna;
Te duce, si qua manent sceleris vestigia nostri,
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 sball 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 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.' 3 Ch. xiv. ver. 8. 4 Ch. xxv. ver. 4.
2 Isa. xi. ver. 1.
5 Ch. ix. ver. 7.