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See, barbarous nations at thy gates attend,
Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend;
See thy bright altars throng'd with prostrate kings,
And heap'd with products of Sabæan springs. *

As profperity and happiness are described in this Eclogue by a combination of the most pleafing and agreeable objects, fo mifery and destruction are as forcibly delineated in the fame Ifaiah, by the circumstances of distress and defolation, that were to attend the fall of that magnificent city, Babylon: and the latter is perhaps a more proper and interesting fubject for poetry than the former; as fuch kinds of objects make the deepest impreffion on the mind: pity being a stronger sensation than complacency. Accordingly a noble ode on the destruction of Babylon, taken from the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah, has been written by Mr. Lowth, whose latin prelections on the inimitable poesy of the Hebrews, abounding in remarks entirely new, delivered in the purest and most expreffive language, are the richest augmentation literature

Ver. 91.


has lately received; and from which the following paffage gradually unfolding the fingular beauties of this prophecy, is here closely, though faintly, tranflated, and inferted as a pattern of juft criticism.

"THE prophet having predicted the deliverance of the Jews, and their return into their own country from their rigorous Babylonish captivity, inftantly introduces them finging a certain triumphal fong on the fall of the king of Babylon; a fong abounding in the most splendid images, and carried on by perpetual, and those very beautiful, perfonifications. The fong begins with a sudden exclamation of the Jews, expreffing their joy and wonder at the unexpected change of their condition, and death of the tyrant. Earth with her inhabitants triumphs; the firs and cedars of Libanus, under which images the allegoric style frequently fhadows the kings and princes of the Gentiles, rejoice, and infult with reproaches the broken power of their most implacable foe.


She is at reft, the whole earth is quiet: they break
forth into finging.

Even the firs rejoice at thee, the cedars of Libanus :
Since thou art laid low, no feller is come up against us.

There follows a moft daring profopopeia of ORCUS, or the infernal regions: he rouzes his inhabitants, the manes of princes, and the shades of departed kings: immediately all of them arise from their thrones, and walk forward to meet the king of Babylon; they infult and deride him, and gather confolation from his calamity.

Art thou also made weak as we? art thou made like unto us?

Is thy pride dashed down to Orcus, the noise of thy harps? The worm is ftrewn under thee, the earth-worm is

thy covering!

The Jews are again reprefented speaking: they most strongly exaggerate his remarkable fall, by an exclamation formed in the manner of funeral lamentations:

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, fon of

the morning!


Thou art dashed down to the earth, thou that didft crufh the nations!

They next represent the king himself speaking, and madly boafting of his unbounded power, whence the prodigiousness of his ruin is wonderfully aggravated. Nor is this enough; a new perfonage is immediately formed: Thofe are introduced who found the body of the king of Babylon caft out: they survey it it closely and attentively, and at last hardly know it.

Is this the man who made earth tremble, who shook the kingdoms?

Who made the world a folitude, and deftroyed it's cities ?

They reproach him with the loss of the common rite of fepulture, which was deservedly denied to him for his cruelty and oppreffion, and curfe his name, his race, and pofterity. The scene is closed by a most awful speech of God himself, menacing a perpetual extirpation to the king of Babylon, to his defcendants, and to his city; and confirm

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ing the immutability of his councils by the ratification of a folemn oath.

WHAT images, how various, how thickfown, how fublime, exalted with what energy, what expreffions, figures, and fentiments, are here accumulated together! we hear the Jews, the cedars of Libanus, the fhades of the departed kings, the king of Babylon, those who find his body, and lastly Jehovah himself, all speaking in order; and behold them acting their feveral parts, as it were in a drama. One continued action is carried on; or rather a various and manifold feries of different actions is connected. Every excellence, more peculiarly appropriated to the fublimer ode, is confummatley displayed in this poem Ifaiah, which is the most perfect and unexampled model, among all the monuments of antiquity. The perfonages are frequent, but not confufed; are bold but not affected; a free, lofty, and truly divine spirit predominates through the whole. Nor is any thing wanting to crown and complete the sublimity



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