Page images







IN reading feveral paffages of the prophet Ifaiah, which foretell the coming of Chrift, and the felicities attending it, I could not but observe a remarkable parity between many of the thoughts, and thofe in the Pollio of Virgil. This will not feem furprifing, when we reflect, that the Eclogue was taken from a Sibylline prophecy on the fame fubject. One may judge that Virgil did not copy it line for line; but felected fuch ideas as beft agreed with the nature of paftoral poetry, and difpofed them in that manner which ferved moft to beautify his piece. I have endeavoured the fame in this imitation of him, though without admitting any thing of my own; fince it was written with this particular view, that the reader, by comparing the feveral thoughts, might fee how far the images and defcriptions of the Prophet are fuperior to thofe of the Poet. But as I fear I have prejudiced them by my management, I shall subjoin the paffages of Ifaiah, and thofe of Virgil, under the fame disadvantage of a literal translation.

M E S S I A H.




E Nymphs of Solyma! begin the song:


To heavenly themes fublimer 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
Who touch'd Ifaiah's hallow'd lips with fire!
Rapt into future times, the Bard begun :
A Virgin fhall conceive, a Virgin bear a Son!




Ver. 8. A Virgin fhall conceive-All crimes fhall ceafe,

&c.] Virg. Ecl. iv. ver. 6.

Jam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna;

Jam nova progenies cœlo demittitur alto.
Te duce, fi qua manent fceleris veftigia noftri,
Irrita perpetua folvent 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 fhall govern the earth "in peace, with the virtues of his Father."


From Jeffe's root behold a branch arise,

Whofe facred flower with fragrance fills the skies:
Th' Ethereal 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 foft filence fhed the kindly shower!
The fick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes fhall cease, and ancient frauds shall fail;
Returning Juftice lift aloft her scale;

[ocr errors]

Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-rob'd Innocence from heaven defcend.
Swift fly the years, and rife the expected morn!
Oh fpring to light, aufpicious Babe, be born!
See Nature haftes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incenfe of the breathing spring:






ISAIAH, Ch. vii. ver. 14. "Behold a Virgin fhall <conceive and bear a Son.-Chap. ix. ver. 6, 7. Un"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 fhall 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. งา

Ver. 23. See Nature haftes, &c.] Virg. Ecl. iv. ver. 18,
At tibi prima, puer, nullo munuscula cultu,
Errantes hederas paffim cum baccare tellus,
Mixtaque ridenti colocafia fundet acantho---
Ipfa tibi blandos fundent cunabula flores.

*Ifai. xi. ver. 1. + Ch. xlv. ver. 8. §. Ch. ix. ver. 7.

ver. 4.


Ch. xxv,

« EelmineJätka »