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IN reading several passages of the Prophet Isaiah,
which foretel the coming of Christ and the felici. ties 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 supe. rior to those of the Poet. But as I fear I have pre. judiced them by my management, I shall subjoin the passages of Isaiah, and those of Virgil, under the same disadvantage of a literal translation.
A SACRED ECLOGUE.
YE Nymphs of Solyma ! begin the song:
To heav'nly themes sublimer strains belong.
Rapt into future times, the Bard begun :
Ver. 8. A Virgin shall conceive-All crimes shall cease, &c.] Virg. Ecl. iv. ver. 6.
“ Jam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna ;
Jam nova progenies cælo demittitur alto.
Pacatumque reget patriis virtutibus orbem." “ Now the Virgin returns, now the kingdom of Saturn returns, now a new progeny is sent down from bigh beaven. By means of thee, whatever reliques of our crimes remain, shall be wiped away, and free the world from perpetual fears. He sball govern the earth in peace, with the virtues of his father."
Isaiah. Isaiah, ch. vii
. ver. 14. Bebold a Virgin sball conceive and bear
-Ch. ix. ver. 6,7. “ Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given ; the Prince of Peace : of the increase of bis governa ment, and of bis 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.”
Pope, VOL. I.
From a Jesse's root behold a branch arise,
The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid, 15
25 See nodding forests on the mountains dance :
See Ver. 23. See nature hastes, &c.] Virg. Ecl. iv. ver. 18. “ At tibi prima, puer, nullo munuscula cultu,
Errantes hederas passim cum baccare tellus,
Ipsa tibi blandos fundent cunabula flores.” “ For tbec, O Child, shall the earth, without being tilled, produce her early offerings; winding ivy, mixed with Baccar, and Colocasia with smiling Acanthus. Tbycradle shall pour fortb pleasing flow'rs about thee.
Isai. ch. xxxv. ver. 1. “The wilderness and the solitary place sball be glad, and the descrt shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.-Ch.lx. ver. 13. The glory of Lebanon sball come unto thee, the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box togetber, to beautify the place of thy sanctuary.”
Pope. 2 Isaiah, ch. xi. ver. I.
Ó Ch. xlv. ver. 8. c Ch. xxv. ver. 4.
4 Ch. is. Ver, 7: e Ch. xxxv. ver. 2.