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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.
Written in imitation of Virgil's Pollio.
YE nymphs of Solyma! begin the song,
To heav'nly themes sublimer strains belong.
Rapt into future times, the bard begun,
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,
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. 40. v. 3, 4. cap. 35. v. 5, 6.
|| Cap. 40. v. 11,
No more shall nation against nation rise,
* 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.
In crowding ranks on ev'ry side arise,
abest facundis gratia dictis,
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.
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