Page images

The silver flood, so lately calm, appears
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 high,
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,
Or from those meads select unfading flowers,
Behold us kindly, who your name implore,
Daphne, our goddess, and our grief no more!

LYCIDAS. How all things listen, while thy muse complains! Such silence waits on Philomela's strains, In some still evening, when the whispering breeze Pants on the leaves, and dies upon the trees. To thee, bright goddess, oft a lamb shall bleed, If teeming ewes increase my fleecy breed. While plants their shade, or flowers their odours give, Thy name, thy honour, and thy praise, shall live!


THYRSIS. But Orion sheds unwholesome dews; Arise, the pines a noxious shade diffuse; Sharp Boreas blows, and nature feels decay, Time conquers all, and we must Time obey. Adieu, ye vales, ye mountains, streams, and groves; Adieu, ye shepherds' rural lays and loves; Adieu, my flocks; farewel, ye sylvan crew; Daphne, farewel! and all the world adieu !


A sacred Eclogue, in Imitation of Virgil's Pollio.

ADVERTISEMENT. In reading several passages of the prophet Isaiah, which foretel the coming of Christ, and the feli. cities 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 Sibyline prophecy on the same subject. One may judge that Virgil did not copy it line for 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 ad. mitting 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 Vir. gil, under the same disadvantage of a literal translation.

YE nymphs of Solyma! begin the song:

To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong. The

mossy fountains and the sylvan shades, The dreams of Pindus and th' Aonian maids,

Delight no more...O thou my voice inspire
Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire!

Rapt into future times, the bard beguns
A Virgin shall conceive, a Virgin bear a Son!
From Jesse's (a) root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies:
Th' æthereal spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic Dove.
Ye heavens! (6) from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly shower!
The sick (c) and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storm a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient frauds shall fail;
Returning justice (d) lift aloft her scale;

IMITATIONS. 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 maneant 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 high heaven. By means of thee, whatever reliques of our crimes remain, shall 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 judgement and with justice, for ever and ever.'

(a) Isa. xi. ver. 1. (6) Ch. xlv. ver. 8.
(c) Ch. xxv, ver. 4. (d) Ch. ix. ver. 7.

Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-rob'd innocence from heaven descend,
Swift fly the years, and rise the 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,
See nodding forests on the mountains dance:
See spicy clouds from lowly Saron rise,
And Carmel's flowery top perfumes the skies!
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers;
Prepare the way! (f) a God, a God appears!

IMITATIONS. 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 thee, O child, shall the earth, without being tilled, produce her early offerings; winding ivy, mixed with baccar, and colocassia with smiling acanthus. Thy cradle shall pour forth pleasing flowers about thee.'

Isaiah, ch. xxxv. ver. 1. The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.' Ch. Ix. ver. 13. • The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of thy sanctuary.'

Ver. 29. Hark! a glad voice, &c.
Virg. Ecl. iv, ver. 46.
Aggredere ô magnos (aderit jam tempus) honores,

Cara deûm soboles, magnum Jovis incrementum.-. Ecl. v. ver. 62.

Ipsi lætitiâ voces ad sidera jactant
Intonsi montes, ipsæ jam carmina rupes,
Ipsa sonant arbusta, Deus, Deus ille Menalca!

(e) Ch. xxxv, ver. 2. 6) Ch. xl. ver. 3, 4.

A God, a God! the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim th' approaching Deity.
Lo, earth receives him from the bending skies!
Sink down, ye mountains; and ye valleys, rise!
With heads declin'd, ye cedars, homage pay;
Be smooth, ye rocks; ge rapid foods, give way!
The Saviour comes! by ancient bards foretold:
Hear him, ye deaf; and all ye blind, behold!
He from thick filmis shall


the visual ray, And on the sightless eye-ball pour the day: 'Tis he th' obstructed paths of sound shall clear, And bid new music charm th' unfolding ear: The dumb (g) shall sing, the lame bis crutch forego, And leap exulting, like the bounding roe. No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear, From every face he wipes off every tear. In adamantine (h) chains shall death be bound, And hell's grim tyrant feel th' eternal wound. As the good shepherd (i) tends his fleecy care, Seeks freshest pasture, and the purest air;

IMITATIONS. • O come and receive the mighty honours: the time draws nigh, 0 beloved offspring of the gods! O great increase of Jove! The uncultivated moultains send shouts of joy to the stars; the very rocks sing in verse, the very shrubs cry out, A God,

a God!'

Isaiah, ch. xl. ver. 3, 4. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord! make straight in the desert a highway for our God! Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.' Ch. xliv. ver. 23. ·Break forth into singing, ye mountains; O forest, and every tree therein, for the Lord hath redeemed Israel.'

(8) Ch. xliii. ver. 18. Ch. xxxv. ver. 5, 6.
(h) Ch. xxv. ver. 8. (i) Ch, xl. ver. 11.

« EelmineJätka »