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MESSIAH

A SACRED BCLOGUE, COMPOSED OF SEVERAL

PASSAGES OF ISAIAH THE PROPHET.

Aggredere, O magnos, aderit jam tempus, ho. nores.

VIRG. Ecl. iv, ver. 48. Mature in years, to ready honours move.

DRYDEN.

Written in imitation of Virgil's Pollio.

YE nymphs of Solyma! begin the song,

To heav'nly themes sublimer strains belong.
The mossy fountains, and the sylvan shades,
Ihe dreams of Pindus, and th’ Aonian maids,
Delight po more thou my voice inspire,
Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire!

Rapt into future times, the bard begun,
A virgin shall conceive, a virgin bear a son!
From Jesse's root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flow'r with fragrance fills the skies
Th' ethereal spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic dove.
Ye heav'ns! froin bigb the dewy nectar pourt,
And in soft silence shed the kindly show'r!
The sick and weak, the healing plant shall aid I,
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail;
Returning justice lift aloft her scales;
Peace o'er the world ber olive wand extend,
And white-rob'd innocence from heav'n descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise th’expected morn!
Oh, spring to light, auspicious Babe be born!

Isa. cap. 11. v.1. * Cap. 25. v. 4.

+ Cap. 45. v. 8.

Cap. 9. v. 7.

See nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incense of the breathing spring *:
See lofty Lebanon bis head advance,
See nodding forests on the mouutains dance;
See spicy clouds from lowly Sharon rise,
And Carmel's flow'ry top perfumes the skies!
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers t;
Prepare the way! a God, a God appears!
A God! a God! the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim th’approaching Deity.
Lo, earth receives bim from the bending skies !
Sink down ye mountains, and ye vallies rise!
With beads decl id, ye cedars, homage pay!
Be smooth ye rocks, ye rapid floods give way!
The Saviour comes! by ancient bards foretold:
Hear him ye deaf, and all ye blind behold i!
He from thick films shall

purge

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 shall sing, the lame his crutch forego, And leap exulting like the bounding roe. No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall bear, From ev'ry face he wipes off ev'ry tear. In adamantine chains shall death be bound $, And hell's grim tyrant feel th' eternal wound. As the good shepherd tends his fleecy carell, Seeks freshest pastures and the purest air, Explores the lost, the wand'ring sheep directs, By day o'ersees them, and by night protects; The tender lambs he raises in his arms, Feeds from his hand, and in his bosom warms: Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage, The promis’d fatber of the future age.

* Cap. 35. v. 3.

Cap. 42. v. 18.
Cap. 25. v. 8.
Cap. 9. v.6.

+ Cap. 40. v. 3, 4. cap. 35. v. 5, 6.

|| Cap. 40. v. 11,

No more shall nation against nation rise,
Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes,
Nor fields with gleaming steel be cover'd o'er,
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more;
Bat useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad falchion in a ploughshare end.
Then palaces shall rise; the joyful sont
Shall finish what his short-liv'd sire begun;
Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield,
And the same hand that sow'd shall reap the field.
The swain in barren deserts with surprise
Sees lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise,
And starts amidst the thirsty wilds to hear
New falls of water murm'ring in his ear.
On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes,
The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods.
Waste sandy vallies, once perplex'd with thorns,
The spiry fir and shapely box adorn;
The leafless shrubs the flow'ring palms succeed,
And od’rvus myrtle to the noisome weed.
The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead II,
And boys in flow'ry bands the tiger lead;
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
And barmless serpents lick the pilgrim's feet.
The smiling infant in his hand shall take
The crested basilisk and speckled snake;
Pleas'd the green lustre of his scales survey,
And with their forky tongue and pointless sting shall

play
Rise, crown'd with light, imperial Salem rise ;
Exalt thy tow'ry head, and lift thy eyes!
See, a long race thy spacious courts adorn **;
See future sons and daughters yet unborn,

* Cap. 2. v. 1.

+ Cap. 65. v. 21, 22. Cap, 35. v. 1, 7. Cap. 41. v. 19. & cap. 55. v. 13. Cap. 11. v. 6, 7, 8. Cap. 60. v. 1. ** Cap. 60. v. 4.

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In crowding ranks on ev'ry side arise,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies !
See barb'rous nations at thy gates attend
Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend;
See thy bright altars throng'd with prostrate kings,
And beap'd with products of Sabæan springst!
For thee Idume's spicy forests blow,
And seeds of gold in Ophir's mountains glow.
See heav'n its sparkling portals wide display,
And break upon thee in a flood of day!
No more the rising sun shall gild the morn 1,
Nor ev'ning Cynthia fill her silver horn;
But lost, dissolvd in thy superior rays,
One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze,
O'erflow thy courts: the Light Himself shall shine
Reveald, and God's eternal day be thine!
The seas shall waste, the skies in smoke decay 9,
Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away;
But fix'd His word, His saving power remains,
Thy realm for ever lasts, thy own Messiah reigns.

T.

DECLAMATION.

abest facundis gratia dictis,

OVID.

Eloquent words a graceful manner want.

MOST foreign writers who bave given any charac

ter of the English nation, whatever vices they ascribe to it, allow, in general, that the people are naturally modest. It proceeds perhaps from this our na. tional virtue, that our orators are observed to make

* Cap. 60. v.3.

+ Ib. v. 6.
Cap. 60. v. 19, 20.
Cap. 51. v. 6. & cap. 54. v. 10.

use of less gesture or action than those of other courtries. Our preachers stand stock-still in the pulpit, and will not so much as move a finger to set off the best sermons in the world. We meet with the same speaking statues at our bars, and in all public places of debate. Our words flow from us in a smooth continued stream, without those strainings of the voice, motions of the body, and majesty of the hand, which are so much celebrated in the oratory of Greece and Rome. We can talk of life and death in cold blood, and keep our temper in a discourse wbich turns upon every thing that is dear to us. Though our zeal breaks out in the finest tropes and figures,

is uot able to stir a limb about us. I have heard it observed more than once by those who have seen Italy, that an untravelled Englishman cannot relish all the beauties of Italian pictures, because the postures which are ex. pressed in them are often such as are peculiar to that country. One who has not seen an Italian in the palpit, will not know what to make of that noble gesture in Raphael's picture of St. Paul preaching at Athens, where the Apostle is represented as lifting up both his arms, and ponring out the thunder of his rhetoric arnidst an audience of pagan philosophers.

It is certain that proper gestures and vehement exertions of the voice cannot be too much studied by a public orator. They are a kind of comment to what he utters, and enforce every thing he says, with weak hearers, better than the strongest argument he can make use of. They keep the andience awake, and fix their attention to what is delivered to them, at the same time that they show the speaker is in earnest, and affected himself with what he so passionately recommends to others. Violent gesture and vociferation naturally shake the hearts of the ignorant, and fill them with a kind of religious horror. Nothing is more frequent than to see women weep and tremble at the sight of a moving preacher, though he is placed quite out of their bearing; as in England we very frequently

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