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[Jan. A New Translation of the Book of Psalms, noť uninstructive, but foreign to our from the original Hebrew, with explana- present purpose, to trace the origin tory Notes, by William French, D. D.
and progress of sacred commentation Master of Jesus College, and Geo. Skinner,
as it respects the Old Testament, M. A. Fellow and Tutor of Jesus College,
from the times of the early Jewish Cambr. 1830; printed by J. Smith,
expounders, and that of the ChrisPrinter to the University. 8vo. pp. 253.
tian fathers. Suffice it to say, that the THE Book of Psalms has, in every rapid progress which has been made age, deservedly engaged the peculiar in oriental literature from the time of attention of the cultivators of sacred Schultens to the present day, though literature; since, from the very na it has enlarged our sphere of know: ture of its contents in general, it is cal ledge, and furnished us with much vaculated to be, in a greater degree than luable annotation, has perhaps scarcely any other portion of the Old Testa, given us one work which can be rement, interesting alike to the learned
ferred to, as supplying, in a moderate and the unlearned reader. Surely that compass, whatever is really essential book which is more than any other towards the interpretation of the book prophetical of our Redeemer—that to
of Psalms. That of Rosenmüller is which His references were more fre (at least in its first edition) upon quently made than to any other, and the whole a failure. And what is with a sentiment from which He yield true of learned commentaries will likeed up his spirit, claims a proportiona- wise apply to these vernacular transbly greater share of the investigation lations, whether with or without notes, of the learned, and the devout study which must be, more or less, founded of all faithful Christians. Nor, indeed, on the erudite researches before adhas the case been otherwise ; for on verted to. With these alone we are at no portion of the Old Testament has present concerned. Our two authorised so much attention been bestowed as versions of the Psalms have, on many on this divine book. Not to advert to
accounts, a claim to high respect and the merits, little known and less ap- veneration ; and, considering the impreciated, of the early Jewish para- perfect state of oriental literature at phrasts and commentators, it has been the time when the first at least of translated into the language of almost them was formed, they may justly be every Christian civilized people. Since pronounced one of the most wonderful the glorious æra of the revival of let
works of a wonderful age. Yet it was ters, and that of the Reformation, it long ago felt, that something more has been annotated on by some of the might and ought to be done, as to acmost consummate Hebraists and emi- curately representing the sense; and the nentcommentators; of whose recondite deep study, which for nearly a century labours another and scarcely less use has been devoted to oriental literature, ful class of scholars have amply availed together with the progressively inthemselves, in order to establish the creasing attention paid to Biblical Critrue sense, and illustrate the real ticism, has called forth, and justified force of these sacred oracles, for the various attempts, more or less sucthe use of Christians at large, and cessful, which have, from time to time, the instruction of general readers. been made towards a correct transla. Should this seem to show that no tion of the Book of Psalms. Among great advantage can be expected to these the principal are the following: accrue from any further endeavours to -Mudge's Translation, 1744, 8vo.; interpret these Divine compositions, it Edwards's, 1755, 8vo.; Fenwick's, must at the same time be considered, 1759, 8vo.; Green's, 1762, 8vo. ; that the existence of such a vast body Merrick's, 1768, 4tó.; Street's, 1790, of annotatory matter as that to be 2 vols. 8vo.; Wake's, 1793, 2 vols. found on the Psalms (very far exceed 8vo.; Geddes', 1807, 8vo.; Goode's, ing in bulk that on any other book 1811, 2 vols. 8vo; Bishop Horsley's, of the Old Testament) must not only 1815, 2 vols. 8vo.; and lastly, Mr. attest the high importance of the Fry's, 1819, 8vo.; all, we believe, book, but imply its difficulties'; which more or less noticed in our pages. indeed are such, that even after the Each of these contributed a no inlearned labours of many generations considerable accession, especially those of interpreters, they yet remain, in a of Mudge, Street, Geddes, and Horsley. far greater degree than might be ex Yet Street, though ingenious, is some. pected, unvanquished. It would be what shallow, and too fond of novelty
1831.) Translation of the Psalms, by French and Skinner. and hypothesis; Geddes was a professed should hope to supply what might very innovator, whose judgment and tact well be termed one of the greatest desi. were far inferior to his learning; though derata in vernacular sacred literature. that scarcely rose above mediocrity. Great, accordingly, is our satisfacAs for Horsley, he was too dogmati- tion, that not one but two such should cal, and too apt to be carried away by have been found; in whom all those a system, which, though well founded, great endowments, natural and acwas pushed too far ; not to say that quired, are eminently centered ; and he was by no means a profound He- what is more, in an University which braist, and that his work was left a has ever stood (absit invidia verbo) foreposthumous one, and in a state far most in the dissemination of religious less perfect than it would have been, light, as well as classical and scientific had it received the last corrections and knowledge, and whose “ Hinc Lux et the dettepai opórtides of his mighty Pocula Sacra” is not an empty boast; mind. Besides, the work, like most in a College, too, which has, in proof the above, was intended, not so portion to its size, contributed at least much for vernacular readers, as for scho- its full quota to that illustrious band, lars and Hebraists. At all events, there of which all faithful Cantabs are justly was room for a work which, in a mo- proud. And when we consider that derate compass, should impart to the work in question has been a SymEnglish readers the results, as far bola Sacra from the Master and Senior as regards the Psalms, of that im- Tutor of a College, it presents an exprovement in the knowledge of ori- ample worthy of imitation, and may ental literature and biblical criti. well suggest the use which ought more cism which distinguishes the present frequently to be made of academical age, by presenting our countrymen
“ otium cum dignitate.” with a Manual of the Book of Psalms, We are thus, in fact, reminded of the which should contain as accurate a method pursued by the learned Benerepresentation of the original as could dictines,
in giving those admirable edi. be attained by the use of the valuable tions of the ecclesiastical writers which helps and advantages enjoyed in the will immortalize their fraternity. The present day, accompanied, too, with work now before us, however, presents notes, suited alike to unlearned readers, only the first part of the plan aboveand to those who are enabled to exer mentioned; being a new Manual cise their judgment on the sense of the Translation of the Psalms, accompaoriginal. Now such a work could not nied with short notes, presenting imhave been successfully accomplished by portant various versions, more literal a mere painstaking plodder, who, with and idiomatic expressions than those but a scanty knowledge of the original, adopted in the translation, and explashould seek, by a sort of eclectic labour, nations and illustrations of passages to make out the sense, and illustrate it of greater than ordinary difficulty or by the aid of the commentators. It doubt. The aim of the translators has required a consummate Hebraist-one been to present a faithful rather than able to discern the sense, where it had a highly-coloured representation of been missed by all the interpreters, the original, and such as should be and to decide, as one having autho- always agreeable to those sound prinrity,” in those numerous cases where ciples of grammatical interpretation our present translations so marvellously with whose laws they are intimately differ from each other, and where it conversant, and of the high importance often happens that one only can be of which they are fully aware. The right. It was requisite, too, that the latter part of the above plan is intendwork should be performed by one inti- ed to be shortly accomplished in a vomately conversant in Classical as well lume of philological annotations. as Oriental Literature, by a familia The text from which the translators rity with the best writers, especially have formed the present version, is that poets, of the antients-one in whom of Van der Hooght, the most correct profound learning and a thorough of all the impressions of the textus knowledge of verbal criticism should receptus, having never indulged in conbe controuled by a sound judgment, jectural emendations, nor adopted unand guided by a natural sagacity, and warrantable alterations. They have no a correct taste.
where departed from the above text In fact, capabilities for much greater without sufficient authority from MSS., things were requisite in one who ancient versions, and other testimonies.
[Jan. The translation is judiciously distri “1. The Heavens declare the glory of buted into lines corresponding to the God,- And the expanse displayeth the work verses of the original. Few of our read- of His hauds. ers can need to be told that the original
“ 2. Day after day it poureth forth iois in poetry, though it may often be dif-struction, –And night after night it pointeth ficult to ascertain the kind of metre, and
“ 3. They have neither speech por lanthe laws by which it is regulated. In
guage, -They have not an audible voice; proving, however, the point, as to the «4. Yet their lesson goeth forth throughmetrical form of the original, there out the earth,--Andtheir eloquence unto the has, we believe, been little adduced extremities of the world !-In them He hath except from modern writers. The tes- placed a pavilion for the sun, timony, therefore, of an ancient, and “5. And he is like a bridegroom issuing one of all others best qualified to de- from his vuptial chamber,-Like a strong cide on the question, may be very ac
man who delighteth to run his course. ceptable; and we give it in the words “ 6. His going forth is from one end of of the Father of ecclesiastical history. end of them;--So that there is nothing hid
the heavens,—And his circuit unto the other Ο Δαυΐδης ωδάς εις τον θεών και
den from his heat. ύμνους συνέταξε, μέτρου ποικίλου
667. The law of Jehovah is perfect, rerojs uèv yàp Tpijét pous, tous dè viving the spirits ; — The revealed will of Jeπενταμέτρους εποίησε. Joseph. p. hovah is sure, making wise the simple. 319, 38, Ed. Hudson.
“8. The statutes of Jehovah are right, But to proceed to particulars. In the rejoicing the heart ;-The precepts of Jeho7th Psalm, ver. 14, Dr. F. and Mr. S.
vah are clean, giving light unto the eyes. well render—“ Behold he conceiveth during for ever; – The judgments of Jehovah
“9. The religion of Jehovah is pure, eniniquity,—And travaileth with mis
are true, all of them are righteous; chief,-And bringeth forth delusion."
“ 10. They are more to be desired than On which they remark that “here gold, even much fine gold ;–And sweeter is described the progress of the wick than honey, even the droppings of the boedness of the wicked man, and in ney-combs. metaphors similar to those employed “11. By them, moreover, is Thy servant in other parts of Scripture.” And they enlightened ;-In keeping them there is great aptly cite Job, xv. 35, and James, i.
reward. 15. We would add, that this passage
"12. Oh that I might discern mine erof the Psalms, and that of Job, seem
rors !-Cleanse Thou me froin those which
are hidden from me. to have been in the mind of Philo Jud. 7, in a beautiful passage (p. 147, E.)
“13. From wilful transgressions also re
strain Thy servant,-Let them not have do. cited by Pott on the place of James.
minion over me ;-—Then shall I be upright, The finest passages, however, in which
And cleansed from much sin. this figure predominates, are three ad
“ 14. Let the words of my mouth be acduced by Dr. Bloomfield in his Recen
ceptable,—And the breathiugs of my heart sio Synoptica in loco; namely, Plato
present unto Thee,–0 Jehovah, my Rock Epist. 3, Leonidas ap. Brunck, Anal. and my Redeemer." 2, 190, and instar omnium) Æschyl.
On the 10th verse, which is very Pers. 826 :-"YBpus yàp éżavdovoa happily rendered “More to be desired εκάρπωσε στάχυν "Ατης, όθεν πάγ
are they,” &c., it may be observed κλαυτον εξαμα θέρος.
that by the “they” are meant all the On Thucyd. 111., 45, Dr. Bloomfield above particulars, the law, the testiadds another illustration of the passage mony, &c. And we would compare a of James, observing that “hence may noble passage of Plato, Leg. v. p. 205, be found the true key to the under Πάς ο τ'επί γης και υπό γης χρυσός standing of a most sublime but ob- αρετής ουκ αντάξιος. Also Eschyl. scure passage of Æschyl. Agam. 772-9, Choeph. 369 : Taūra — speiocova where Κότος, θράσος, and"Ατα are personited as sons of "Ύβρις, and χρυσού μεγάλης δε τυχής και υπερ
Bopéov. where, for Kórov, Dr. Bloomfield con
We wish we could find room for jectures Kópov. We would add Diog. the translation of that difficult Psalm, Laert. (of Epicurus) Kodívwv TV the 22d, which (as the Translators reαπό του στόματος Καύχησιν τών mark) is sublimely prophetic of the OOPLOTIKõv. See also Zonaræ Hist. sufferings and subsequent exaltation T. 111. 21, 745 (of Julian).
of the Messiah, the allusions to whom We will now proceed to lay before are traced with piety, enlightened by our readers an entire Psalm, and it learning and judgment. The words will be that noble one the 19th : "May your hearts live for ever," are
31 most ingeniously, and, we think, justly, tion. The doctrine of a resurrection, as colsaid to be a friendly salutation ad. lected from this and other passages of the dressed to those who came to partake earlier Jewish scriptures, appears to be, of the sacrificial feast.
that the just and upright, the true worOur narrow limits permit us not to lay be taken to Him, and thus triumph over the
shippers of Jehovah, should, after death, the 40th Psalm (so strikingly prophetic wicked, who would for ever continue to dwell of the Messiah) before our readers.
in the grave, and would not again ‘see the Though we in general approve of the light. This resurrection is poetically decustom of the present translators in scribed in Ps. xvii. 15, as an awaking from changing harsh Hebraisms into more sleep; and, here, as a morniug succeeding intelligible correspondent idioms of to the night of death." our own language, yet there are a few
The last verse of this Psalm is obcases in which, by the rules which they have themselves so judiciously version of the present translators is as
scure, and variously rendered. The laid down in their preface, no change follows: “Man in honour, but withneed have been made. Of course this
out understanding, May be compared applies in a still stronger degree where the Hebraism contains any emphasis. have sometimes thought it might be
unto the beasts which perish.” We On one or other of these grounds the
rendered, “A man in honour, and change ventured on at Ps. xlii. 2, "I who shall not understand [true wisam athirst for God," instead of “ soul is athirst for God,” is ill judged. the beasts are they cut off [and come
dom] has been [thus] compared. Like There is surely an intensity of sense
to an end].” expressed by this use of whi, which And here we must, for the prewas felt and beautifully expressed by sent, close our remarks on the imCowper in his Task, where, describing portant work before us ; but we shall the sailor returning from long travers- feel it our duty to resume them on ing the ocean, and approaching land, the earliest opportunity at greater he represents, “his very soul athirst for
length. nature in her green array.” So in a no
(To be continued.) ble passage of Æschines Socrat. Axi. och. 5-η ψυχή τον ουρανόν ποθεί, και ξύμφυλον αιθέρα και (even)
Jan. 4. διψα, της εκείσε διαίτης και χορείας the masterly judgment pronounced by
I WAS very much delighted with οριγνωμένη. On Ps. xliii. 7, there is the following duction to the Study of the Greek
Mr. H. N. Coleridge, in his “ Introinteresting remark.
" The deeps on either side of him are described
as agi- style and dialect of the Sapphic Odes,
Classic Poets,” (p. 7, note,) on the tated by torrents of water descending which have been so long elaborated into them in the form of water-spouts, for Sir William Browne's prize at and the roarings of these last are pof Cambridge ; and I cannot but hope etically represented as the voices of that the appeal to the Greek Professor the angry seas calling upon each other and to the Vice Chancellor in the last to join in overwhelming him.'
Gent. Mag. p. 513, may be attended The version in ver. 1, of the 45th
even yet with some practical good efPsalm, “My heart is overflowing with
fect. a goodly theme,” is greatly preferable
well be forgiven for taking a to that of our two authorized transla
more than common interest in the tions, the framers of which, as well as the antient interpreters, mistake the subject, when reference is made to
my own labours on this curious and ratio metaphoræ. The literal sense is “ boiling up with,” which is illus- somewhat difficult question. In the
“ Classical Journal, » Nos. ix. and trated by Herodo. vii. 46 — veórns xiii. (1812 and 1813,) there was inεπέδεσε, ώστε απορρίψαι έπεα ες
serted a regular Essay of mine on the &c. So in a passage cited by Matthiæ, Composition of the Greek Sapphic Ode, Gr. Gr. § 425-ée civ tivi, to be under the five following heads. warm upon any subject.
1. The scansion of the Sapphic verse, On Ps. xlix. 14, “The upright shall as to the feet composing it. have dominion over them in the morn
2. The structure of it, in the aring,” we have the following instructive rangement and division of words. note :
3. The prosody, to determine the “ In the morning : i. e. of the resurrce long and short of single syllables.
(Jan. 4. The style, and sort of words, of “2. If a distinct and complete mowhich the language should consist. del then be required, on which a Greek
5. The dialect, or forms, flexions, ode in the Æolic dialect may be at&c. in the words admitted. Again, tempted with any chance of success; at a later period, in Nos. xxiii. and the only Æolian poet yet extant prexxxvi. (1815 and 1818), my attention sents his lyric treasures, in sufficient was drawn by particular circumstances abundance and variety for the purpose. to the Prosody of Greek verse as con “PINDAR, in the most brilliant age nected with dialect, &c. : and in the of Greece, enjoyed unexampled celelatter of the two articles alluded to brity; marked indeed with a dialectic (pp. 375, 6,) I ventured to propose a character of his own, yet not provingeneral law for the composition of cial and rude, but elegant at once and that ode, arising out of a criticism on popular—from Thebes to Athens, and Mr. Hall's prize Poem ; which may from Syracuse to Cyrene. now, perhaps, Mr. Urban, be sub "3. But why should not a third mitted to your academical readers sect arise, discarding the study of with better chance of successful at. Pindar as arduous or unnecessary, tention.
and the model of Sappho as quite im
practicable? A general pattern might “In settling the dialect, or forms easily be found in the collective manand flexions of Greek words, which ner and matter of the Choral odes of the modern Sapphic ode may most the three Greek Tragedians. Nothing properly exhibit, we have to encoun of the kind perhaps has yet been atter much diversity of practice, and tempted or avowed: though in the find very little to guide us in any simplicity of its style and dialect principles hitherto laid down. Mr. (from the slight use of a few Doric Hall, like most of his predecessors, forms which the Tragics allow) such oscillates betwixt the Æolic of Sappho a composition could hardly fail of and the late Doric of Theocritus,-a succeeding. At any rate, that plan strange mixture of ages as can well would effectually banish the chaos of be imagined.
dialect and style, which now so dis“Wherever some determinate rule agreeably prevails. All would then is wanting, inconsistency and discord be of a piece; and we should not be must naturally follow. And it is not offended by Pindar conflicting with therefore at present imputed as any Theocritus, or by Sappho jostling with fault to Mr. H. that in the course of Menander, in the very same verse. twenty-six stanzas many points of etymology and accent occur, which “Here, it may be said, are two cannot be reduced to any one system, rules proposed, clear enough, each of and which can just as little be recon- them, and consistent, to be sure ; but ciled to each other.
much too strict and narrow for the “Let us once more attempt to de- young scholar to observe, who in cide this question in a practical way,
school or in college is called upon to and to lay down a clear and consis- write the Greek Sapphic stanza. tent line for the guidance of young
“Some indulgence may seem fairly scholars in writing the Greek Sapphic due to so candid a plea : and he who stanza.
makes the plea honestly, will not be “1. Grant that the text of Sappho's condemned, if in any exercise where few reliques has received from the cri- the muse of Pindar predominates, he tical acumen and depth of Mr. Blom- harmoniously introduce the diction of field its most elaborate and perhaps the Tragic ode, or with the matter final castigation. Yet surely, even and manner of the Tragic ode consisnow, no modest man would under- tently unite the style and the dialect take, for the labour of a life-time, to of Pindar. write on a new subject, six and twenty “Only, at all events, in this adstanzas, exactly and purely after the vanced and advancing period of Greek manner of Sappho! One might defy literature, let the Prolusiones Acadeany man living to do it, and to de micæ have a steady bearing to some monstrate it rightly done. The thing age, to some character, to some plan. is impossible: and it palpably is so, The great, the only rational object, from the want of materials for imita- proposed in these prizes of our Unition in the archetype.
versity, is to encourage the cultiva