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M ESS I A H.

A

Sacred ECLOGUE,

In Imitation of

VIRGIL’s POLLIO.

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N 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 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, P.

M Μ Ε S S Ι Α Η.

A SACRED ECLOGUE, In Imitation of VIRGIl's POLLIO.

E Nymphs of Solyma! begin the fong:

To heav'nly themes sublimer strains belong. The moffy fountains, and the sylvan shades, 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 fhall conceive, A Virgin bear a Son!

IMITATIONS.
VER. 8. A Virgin small conceive-All crimes shall cease, etc.)
VIRG. E. iv. x 6.

Jam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna ;
jam nova progenies cælo demittitur alto.
Te duce, fi qua manent sceleris vestigia noftri,
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 high heaven, “ By means of thee, whatever reliques of our crimes remain, « shall be wiped away, and free the world from perpetual sears. “ He shall govern the earth in peace, with the virtues of his 66 Father,

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From a Jeffe's root behold a branch arise,
Whose facred flow'r with fragrance fills the skies:
Th’Ætherial spirit o'er its leaves thall move,
And on its top descends the mystic Dove.
Ye b Heav'ns! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly show'r!
The cfick and weak the healing plant shall aid, 15
From storms a shelter, and from heat a fade.
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.
Swift fly the years, and rise th' expected morn! 21
Oh spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born!
See Nature haftes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incense of the breathing spring :

IMITATIONS. Is AIAH, Ch. vi. I4. « Behold a Virgin shall conceive and “ bear a Son.-Chap. ix. $ 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 «s and to stablish it, with judgment, and with justice, for ever « and ever.

Ver. 23. See Nature bastes, etc.] VIRG.E. iv. v 18.

At tibi prima, puer, nullo munuscula cultu,

Errantes hederas paffim cum baccare tellus, a Ifai. xi. * 1. Ch. xlv. x' 8. Ch. xxv. 4. 4 Ch. ix. *74

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