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from being enemies to pleasantry. thus set free, and they can do a great
They can also afford to be more can- various chances that make up the sum
They have not expected more from tion of physical causes. The man of
We have uniformly found among ..“ Fescennina per hunc invecta licentia
h them that settled love of civil liberty,
which the best minds are most apt to morem Versibus alternis opprobria rustica fuit, venerate as the result of conviction, Libertasque recurrcntis accepta per annos and to love as the product of taste. Liisit amabiliter.” Horat. Ep. ad August. This too, was the inore valuable, as
it seemed to flow from a deliberate in- Reformed Church of Geneva, and its duction of solid thought, -not from adoption by that of England; as well any dreams of perfectibility, but from as to make a slight mention of the the belief that, taking human nature versions that were first appointed for as it is, under all the checks and dis- their use. Scotland received the form advantages which prevent it from get- and substance of her entire service ting fair play, it can never be respect from the one; and to the other she able, except where civil liberty is well stands indebted for the version which understood.
long constituted the basis of this deBut we must have a summing-up lightful portion of divine worship. with the author, of whom it is our The singular fact has often been remore immediate business to speak per marked, of the Protestants owing the sonally.
use of the Psalmody to a body of men M. Say is as correct and learned as from whom they least might have exa German compiler; and while he has pected such an obligation. Clement that force and precision which distin- Marot is usually styled the Prince of guish the thinkers of our own country, the Poets of France, or, to use other with as much directness and honesty of words (the commencement of the epiintention as the best of them, he has yet taph which was on his tomb), “ İcy a portion of the gayety and graceful- gist des François le Virgile et l'Honess of his illustrious countrymen, who mere.” He certainly deserves to rank wrote during the old monarchy, before high in the class of Ancient French a republic and the struggles of military Poets, and is the oldest of them whose ambition had, with the occasional sa works can be read with pleasure. Afcrifice of these qualities, given force, ter a long residence in the Court of vehemence, and restlessness, to the France, where his life had been spent tone of French literature. There cere in the greatest profligacy, he comtainly must be something in the opi- menced a translation of the Psalms nion so current among the continental into French verse. This was towards literati, that the French is, above all the close of 1536, and in 1539 he pubother languages, the one most suited lished thirty (not the first thirty, as for elegant criticism and subjects of they stand in the regular order, as has the belles lettres. And this little vo- been said, but merely thirty in point lume is another reason with us, for a de- of number of the Psalms, which he ference to established opinions, which, dedicated to Francis I., bearing the in matters of taste at least, we are but sanction of the Sorbonne, that they little disposed to concede to them. contained nothing contrary to sound
doctrine. The reception they met
with was favourable in the highest METRICAL VERSIONS OF THE PSALMS.
degree, they eclipsed the brilliancy
of his madrigals and sonnets,—and The Psalmody has always formed an repeated editions were called for ; essential part of the sacred service in while they were sung in public and the Protestant Church. In the follow- in private with the most rapturous ing paper, we mean neither to enter delight.* They certainly received at upon the peculiar nature of these Lyric that time an undue share of praise and Hymns to discuss the various me- admiration. From his own testimony thods in which this portion of devo- it appears he was encouraged to comtional worship is performed-or to plete the versification of the whole, by enumerate the almost innumerable at the king himself. tempts, in Protestant countries, to fur
Puis que voulez, que je poursuivre ô sire, nish appropriate translations for the different churches. All that we intend,
L'oeuvre Royal du Psaultier commencé, &c. is to give a summary and collected view of what can now be ascertained respect
• Hawkins's History of Music, vol. 3. ; ing the Psalmody, in so far as its his. and Warton's History of English Poetry, tory relates to Scotland : -of its first vol. 3.-Hawkins, in particular, gives a reintroduction at the Reformation:-and
markable account of the enthusiasm which some account of the versions that have 1:
they excited in the French court. The
e king, and each of his courtiers, chose one, since been in use. Before this can be which they delighted to sing as their fadone, however, it is necessary to con- vourite air. Before this, they had been a. sider its prirary introduction into the dapted to suitable melodies.
Suspected, however, of secretly fa- Before this, the use of Marot's Psalms vouring Lutheran principles, for his had been interdicted the Catholics, safety he was forced to leave his na- under the severest penalties, till, at tive country, when he retired to Ge- last, psalm-singing and heresy became neva. There, after residing for some nearly synonymous. time, it is said, for a cause of a very At Calvin's request, the rest of the different kind, he was obliged to fly Psalms were translated in a similar rather hastily; he returned back to manner by Beza ;* when they were, France, and was again received into at length, appointed to be used in the favour. Marot did not live to finish exercise of devotion. On the entire the task he undertook, as he only version some writers have bestowed unadded other twenty to the number he qualified commendation, while others first published. The current belief have spoken of it with undue respect. is, that he first was directed to, and we cannot agree with the opinion, that assisted in this employment, by his these “ Cantiques sont bizarrement friend Vatablus, Professor of Hebrew travestis." Though it would be out in Paris, who furnished him with a of place to dilate much on the respecLatin translation. · Be this as it may, tive merits of this, or any of the verit was no doubt an exercise of his sions hereafter to be mentioned, we powers, better fitting bis advanced may be indulged in hazarding a few age, and more becoming his religious remarks. The French language is sentiments, than the subjects of his universally allowed to be unfit for exMuse in his earlier years. Baillet, pressing the grandeur and sublimity and other critics, imagine, that at this so characteristic of the Psalms of time he had renounced his gallantry; David. Marot and Beza's translation and they consider what he performed, possesses great freedom and ease of or intended to finish, as a token of re- versification, with not a small portion pentance, and an act of contrition for of beauty and elegance, but is too parthe follies of his youth, and the ex- aphrastic. And the objections urged cesses of his life. His death took against Sternhold's and Hopkins's come place in 1546 ; but, alas ! he died as with equal, or even additional force, he had lived-in the most unlicensed namely, the frequent use of low and debauchery.
unmeaning expressions,—the feebleThis version accorded with the sen- ness of diction, -the want of energy, timents of Calvin, who published an -as also, the occasional misconception edition, during Marot's life, (of the of the meaning of the Psalmist. In fifty Psalms, in 1543,) with a preface, Marot's portion, the pleasing naiveté addressed “ to all Christians and Lovers of his style is incompatible with the of the Word of God.” Indeed, it is subject, and a forced and inefficient supposed considerably to have aided in endeavour after the sublime is too offorwarding his views; and that by it he ten visible. + sought to effectuate a change in this part of divine worship, by introducing the practice of singing the Psalmody, • This entire version is said, by Dr Burand in making it a stated portion of ney, originally to have been published at the Protestant Service. These sup. Strasburgh, in 1645; while Senebier, in positions may be carried too far, but his life of Beza, informs us, his portion was still they may bear some truth. The
not completed till about eighteen years after
that date. choral anthems (or musical compo
+ The Psalms have at subsequent periods sitions, sung in different parts) of the
been frequently put into a metrical form by Catholics, he considered as too com other French poets. That of Phillippe des plicate and difficult for general use. Portes, is among the most remarkable, It He finally adopted a practice, the sim- possesses merit, so far as metre is concerned, plicity of which corresponded with but is also much too paraphrastic; the very the rest of his ecclesiastical discipline. spirit and substance often evaporates in his “ For some time.” says Sir John İlaw attempts to fill up a stanza with smooth flow
ing words. There was another paraphrase kins,“ Calvin stood in doubt whether ing,
made by A. Godeau, Paris, 1619, 4to, of to adopt the Lutheran choral form of
V which, according to Du Pin (not the most singing in consonance, or to institute impartial or best informed writer), “les proa plain unisonous melody, in which testans n'ont pas fait difficulté de sen servir, all might join : at length he resolved à la place de la traduction de Marot, qui on the latter, &c. (vol. iii. p. 450.) paroissoit consacrée parmi eux."
The Reformation in the Church of Whittyngham, Thomas Norton, and England for a time was productive of William Kethe. There were others a great alteration in the general sys- who furnished a quota, but it is not tem of study; and brought about a our wish unnecessary to dilate on this decided change in the character and point. * subjects of our poetry. Metrical trans Hopkins would seem to have acted lations of parts of the Scriptures were as editor in the first complete edition the usual themes chosen ; while en- that was printed by John Dave, in thusiasm and devotion usurped the 1562. Some that had previously been places of inspiration and genius. The printed in this, he revised and altered, Psalmody was introduced into the or replaced with others. The early English Church after the example of editions are found to vary considerably that of Geneva. The timely appear with each other, but no full and acance of Sternhold's translation of part curate notice of these variations has of the Psalms, afforded the means of yet been given. In this edition, at getting a perfect version of the whole, length, like that of its French protoevery way adapted to general use. * type, they received musical accom
Sternhold only lived to complete paniments, the Psalms being set to about a third of the whole. His trans- simple or unisonous melodies, to renlations were printed by themselves in der them fit for public service, and a separate form ; and, like Marot's, the entire version was joined as a nethe praise they received induced him. cessary addition to the English Lito resolve on translating the rest; as turgy. appears from his dedication of those The long and critical account of he did publish, inscribed to King Ed. Sternhold and Hopkins's Psalıns, given ward. There, he says, “ Seeing that by Warton, has been highly praised. youre tender and godly zeale dooeth On this, as on almost every other topic, more delight in the holye songes of we have to lament his oversight and veritie then in any fayned rymes of want of accuracy, which would seem vanytie, I am encouraged to trauayle to be the inseparable attendant of his further in the said booke of Psalms, otherwise admirable work. His ac. &c. And yf I maye perceyue youre count of this version is almost whol. maiestie wyllynglye to accept my wylly derived (and that without due acherein, where my doyng is no thanke knowledgment) from his predecessor, worthy, and to favour so this my be- Sir John Hawkins. Nor do we conginning, that my labour be acceptable sider his sentiments (judicious and in perfourming the residue, I shall sensible as they generally are) to deendeuoure myself with diligence, not serve over-much regard; for he is only to enterpryse that which better unduly prejudiced against, not only learned ought more iustlye to doe, but the translators of this version, but the also to perfourme that without faulte, whole class of those who imitated their which your maiestie will receyue with example; those, to wit, whom he iuste thanke."
speaks of as indulging “in a species The poets (if such a name they are of poetry, if it may be so called, which suffered to get) who chiefly contri- even impoverishes prose, or rather, by buted, besides John Hopkins, to com- mixing the style of prose with verse, plete the adopted version begun by and of verse with prose, destroys the Thomas Sternhold, were, William character and effect of both,"-or those
he designates as “ the mob of religious • Before this time, some of the Psalms, most unfeigned piety, devoutly la
rhymers, who, from principles of the and other portions of the Scriptures, were translated by the Earl of Surrey, and his friend, Sir Thomas Wyatt. And about the • It might make a small but curious vosame time, various versions of the Psalter ap- lume, and not wholly destitute of interest, peared, by Robert Crowley, William Hun. to give a distinct history of this version, its nis, John Hall, and other English poets. authors, the changes it successively underSurrey and Wyatt's, however, are the only went, and the various multiplication of imthat merit much praise. And these have pressions that are known still to exist. On lately become more accessible to the public this, nothing satisfactory has yet been done, in the hugely-ponderous edition of their if we except a partial attempt in an ac. works, by Dr Nott. The Penitential count of three of the earlier impressions, to Psalms (as they are called), by Wyatt, be found in the pages of the Censura Litewere first ptinted in 1549.
raria, vol. X. p. 5. VOL. III.
boured to darken the lustre, and ener- merely as a contrivance to assist the mevate the force, of the divine pages.” mory. They were little studious of their Warton's dislike to this version, arose numbers, or the elegance of their diction ; not so much from contempt of its po
but they were solicitous to give the full and etical merits, as from his disinclination
precise sense of the Sacred text, according to the use of the Psalmody,—or the in
to the best of their judgment; and their
judgment, with the exception of some few troduction of a version at all, into the
passages, was very good; and at the same service of the English Church. The time they adhered scrupulously to the letfollowing are some of his reflections, ter, they contrived to express it in such which are followed by a few extracts, terms as, like the original, might point to establish the truth of his assertions. clearly the spiritual meaning. It was a
« It is certain (Wharton remarks) that change much for the worse, when the ped. every attempt to clothe the Sacred Scripture
antry of pretenders to taste in literary comin verse will have the effect of presenting
position, thrust out this excellent translaand debasing the dignity of the original;
tion from many of our Churches, to make but this general inconvenience, arising from
room for what still goes by the name of the the nature of things, was not the only diffi.
New Version, that of Tate and Brady, culty which our versifiers of the Psalter had
which, in many places where the Old Ver. to encounter, in common with all other sion is just, accurate, and dignified by its writers employed on a similar task, allowing
simplicity, is careless and inadequate, and, for the state of our language in the middle
in the poverty and littleness of its style, conof the sixteenth sentrey, they appear to
temptible. The innovation, when it was have been but little qualified either by genius
first attempted, was opposed, though in the or accomplishments for poetical composition.
end unsuccessfully, by the soundest divines, It is for this reason that they have produced
the most accomplished scholars, and the a translation entirely destitute of elegance,
men of the truest taste, at that time, in the spirit, and propriety ; the truth is, that they
seat of authority in the Church of England. undertook this work not so much from an
It will be an alteration still more for the ambition of literary fame, or a consciousness
worst, if both these versions should be made of abilities, as from motives of piety, and in
to give place to another of later date, decompliance with the cast of the times. I parting still farther from the strict letter of presume I am communicating no very new
the text, and compensating its want of accriticism, when I observe, that in every part
ř curacy by nothing better than the meretri. of this translation, we are disgusted with a cious ornaments of modern poetry." languor of versification, and a want of com- Sternhold and Hopkins' version, as mon prosody; the most exalted effusions of remarked by Bishop Horsley, was disthanksgiving, and the most sublime ima placed by what is still called the New geries of the divine Majesty, are lowered by Version.' This was the joint produce a coldness of conception, weakened by fri. tion of Dr Nicholas Brady and Na. gid interpolations, and disfigured by a po. ham Tate, and received the royal li. verty of phraseology.” However forcible these opinions of
cense, appointing it to be used in
churches, December 3, 1696.* Warton, and strong his objections may seem to be, we can oppose them
It would be a hopeless task, and unprofitwith those of another critic, who, itable, to undertake a specification of the va. will be allowed, was as fully compe rious attempts to render the Psalms into me. tent, from his learning and judgment, tre. Portions, indeed, occur in the collected as well as his labours on this very works of almost all the English poets, and, portion of the Sacred Scriptures, to
wonderful to say, are usually attended with appreciate its merits with fairness and a similar want of success. We may, howcandour.
ever, cursorily notice those who, in the ver
sification of certain Psalms, or in composing The following are the just and suite
original Hymns and Sacred Songs, have had able remarks of Bishop Horsley: the best success, and are most worthy of
“ The metrical version of the old Singing praise. These are, Surrey and Wyatt, Sir Psalms, by Sternhold and Hopkins, is not Philip Sidney, Lord Bacon, Sir Edward (he says) what I believe it is now generally Sandys, Withers, Dodd, Habington, Slat. supposed to be, nothing better than an awk. yer, Ravenscroft, Milton, Cowley, Blackward versification of a former English tran. more, Addison, and Logan. And of the slation; it was an original translation from more remarkable translations of the entire the Hebrew text, earlier, by many years, Psalter, which ought not to be passed over than the prose translation in the Bible'; and in silence, we may mention those by Bishop all that are in any degree paraphrastic, as Parker, Bishop King, George Sandys, Sir all in verse in some degree must be, it is John Denham, Rouse, and Dr Watts, the best and most exact we have to put in. Bishop Parker's is chiefly remarkable for its to the hands of the common people. The curiosity and great rarity; it was printed authors of this version considered the verse for private use, and is characterised by a de