« ПретходнаНастави »
IN reading feveral paffages of the Prophet Ifaiah, which foretel the coming of Chrift 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 feem furprising, 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 by line, but felected fuch ideas as beft agreed with the nature of paftoral poetry, and difpofed them in that manner which ferved most 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 descriptions of the Prophet are fuperior to thofe of the Poet. But as I fear I have prejudiced them by my management, I fhall fubjoin the paffages of Ifaiah, and those of Virgil, under the fame difadvantage of a literal tranflation*. POPE.
*As Pope made ufe of the old tranflation of Ifaiah in the paffages which he fubjoined, it was thought proper to use the fame, and not have recourse to the more accurate and more ani. mated version of Bishop Lowth.
The fpurioufnefs of thofe Sibylline verfes which have been applied to our Saviour, has been so fully demonftrated by many able and judicious critics, that, I imagine, they will not be again. adduced as proofs of the truth of the Chriftian Religion, by any found and conclufive reafoner. The learned. Heyne has difcuffed this point in his notes on the second eclogue of Virgil, p. 73. v. 1.; and he adds an opinion about prophecy in general, too remarkable to be omitted, but of too delicate a nature to be quoted in any words but his own. "Scilicet inter omnes populos, magna imprimis calamitate oppreffos, Vaticinia circumferri folent, quæ five graviora minari, five lætiora folent polliceri, eaque, neceffariâ rerum viciffitudine, melioribus aliquando fuccedentibus temporibus, ferè femper eventum habent. Nullo tamen tempore vaticiniorum infanius fuit ftudium, quàm fub extrema Republicæ Romanæ tempora, primofque imperatores; cum bellorum civilium calamitates hominum animos terroribus omnis generis agitatos; ad varia portentorum prodigiorum, et vaticiniorum ludibria convertiffent. Quafcunque autem hoc in genere defcriptiones, novæ felicitatis habemus, five in Orientis five in Græcis et Romanis poetis, omnes inter fe fimiles funt: beftiæ ac feræ cicures, ferpentes innocui, fruges nullo cultû enatæ, mare placidum, dii prefentes in terris, aliaque ejufmodi in omnibus memorantur." In contradiction to this opinion the reader is defired to turn to as remarkable a paffage at the end of the twenty-first of Bishop Lowth's excellent Lectures on the Hebrew Poetry. WARTON.
A SACRED ECLOGUE.
E Nymphs of Solyma! begin the fong:
VER. 5. Delight no more-] This paufe and words are evidently from Dryden, a greater HARMONIST, if I may say so, than Pope : "The lovely shrubs and trees that shade the plain,
"Delight not all.”
I mention this because it is the first break we have had in the couplet.
VER. 8. A Virgin fball 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 vestigia noftri, Irrita perpetua folvent formidine terrasPacatumque reget patriis virtutibus orbem." "Now the Virgin returns, now the kingdom of Saturn returns, now a new progeny is fent down from high heaven.. By means of thee, whatever reliques of our crimes remain, fhall be wiped away, and free the world from perpetual fears. He shall govern the earth in peace, with the virtues of his father."
* Dante fays, that Statius was made a Christian by reading this paffage in Virgil. See L. Gyraldus, p. 534. WARTON.
From Jeffe's root behold a branch arife,
Whofe facred flow'r with fragrance fills the fkies:
VER. R. 13. Fe Heav'ns! &c.] Dr. Warburton has a note on this paffage, in which he labours to prove, that the Prophet defcribes the "Ethereal Spirit," under the idea of rain, which he
fuits the first age of the gofpel; the Poet, under the idea of dew, which extends it to every age!
Dr. Warton juftly obferves, that Warburton frequently difgraced his acuteness and great talents, by endeavouring to find out and extort new meanings, in the Authors he undertook to criticize. He adds, "This interpretation is near a-kin to that "marvellous one which he has given to a speech in the second A& "of Hamlet, where he contends that the words, if the fun breeds "maggots in a dead dog, being a God, kiffing carrion,' point out "the fupreme caufe diffufing its bleffings on mankind, who is, as "it were, a dead carrion, dead in original fin, man, instead of a proper return of duty, fhould breed only corruption, and vices. "Are these fort of interpretations a jot lefs ridiculous than that of "Father Harduin's on the twentieth ode of the second book of "Horace, who tells us, this ode is a profopopeia of Christ tri"umphing and addreffing the Jews after his refurrection? That " biformis
Ifaiah, ch. vii. ver. 14. "Behold a Virgin fball conceive and bear a fon.". -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 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 judgment, and with juftice, for ever and ever."
VER. 14. And in foft filence fbed the kindly show'r!] From Dryden's Don Sebastian.
"But bed from nature like a kindly show'r."
a Ifai. ch. xi. ver. 1.
b Ch. xlv. ver. 8.