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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.

POPE.

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MESSIAH,

A SACRED ECLOGUE.

YE Nymphs of Solyma ! begin the song:

To heav'nly themes sublimer strains belong.
The mossy fountains, and the sylvan shades,
The dreams of Pindus and th' Aonian maids,
Delight no more - Thou my voice inspire S
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

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.
Te duce, si qua manent sceleris vestigia nostri,
Irrita perpetua solvent formidine terras-

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.

a son.

K

II

From a Jesse's root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flow'r with fragrance fills the skies:
Th’ Ethereal Spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic Dove.
Ye "heav'ns! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly show'r !

The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid, 15
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail ;
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale ;
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-rob’d Innocence from heav'n descend. 20
Swift fly the years, and rise th' 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 lofty Lebanon e his head advance,

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,
Mixtaque ridenti colocasia fundet acantho

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.

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