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A New Translation of the Book of Psalms, from the original Hebrew, with explanatory Notes, by William French, D. D. Master of Jesus College, and Geo. Skinner, M. A. Fellow and Tutor of Jesus College, Cambr. 1830; printed by J. Smith, Printer to the University. 8vo. pp. 253.



not uninstructive, but foreign to our present purpose, to trace the origin and progress of sacred commentation as it respects the Old Testament, from the times of the early Jewish expounders, and that of the Christian fathers. Suffice it to say, that the rapid progress which has been made in oriental literature from the time of Schultens to the present day, though it has enlarged our sphere of knowledge, and furnished us with much valuable annotation, has perhaps scarcely given us one work which can be referred to, as supplying, in a moderate compass, whatever is really essential towards the interpretation of the book of Psalms. That of Rosenmüller is (at least in its first edition) upon the whole a failure. And what is true of learned commentaries will likewise apply to these vernacular translations, whether with or without notes, which must be, more or less, founded on the erudite researches before adverted to. With these alone we are at present concerned. Our two authorised versions of the Psalms have, on many accounts, a claim to high respect and veneration; and, considering the imperfect state of oriental literature at the time when the first at least of them was formed, they may justly be pronounced one of the most wonderful works of a wonderful age. Yet it was long ago felt, that something more might and ought to be done, as to accurately representing the sense; and the deep study, which for nearly a century has been devoted to oriental literature, together with the progressively increasing attention paid to Biblical Criticism, has called forth, and justified the various attempts, more or less successful, which have, from time to time, been made towards a correct translation of the Book of Psalms. Among these the principal are the following: -Mudge's Translation, 1744, 8vo. ; Edwards's, 1755, 8vo.; Fenwick's, 1759, 8vo.; Green's, 1762, 8vo.; Merrick's, 1768, 4to.; Street's, 1790, 2 vols. 8vo.; Wake's, 1793, 2 vols. 8vo.; Geddes', 1807, 8vo.; Goode's, 1811, 2 vols. 8vo; Bishop Horsley's, 1815, 2 vols. 8vo.; and lastly, Mr. Fry's, 1819, 8vo.; all, we believe, more or less noticed in our pages. Each of these contributed a no inconsiderable accession, especially those of Mudge, Street, Geddes, and Horsley. Yet Street, though ingenious, is somewhat shallow, and too fond of novelty

THE Book of Psalms has, in every age, deservedly engaged the peculiar attention of the cultivators of sacred literature; since, from the very nature of its contents in general, it is calculated to be, in a greater degree than any other portion of the Old Testament, interesting alike to the learned and the unlearned reader. Surely that book which is more than any other prophetical of our Redeemer-that to which His references were more frequently made than to any other, and with a sentiment from which He yielded up his spirit, claims a proportionably greater share of the investigation of the learned, and the devout study of all faithful Christians. Nor, indeed, has the case been otherwise; for on no portion of the Old Testament has so much attention been bestowed as on this divine book. Not to advert to the merits, little known and less appreciated, of the early Jewish paraphrasts and commentators, it has been translated into the language of almost every Christian civilized people. Since the glorious æra of the revival of letters, and that of the Reformation, it has been annotated on by some of the most consummate Hebraists and eminent commentators; of whose recondite labours another and scarcely less useful class of scholars have amply availed themselves, in order to establish the true sense, and illustrate the real force of these sacred oracles, for the use of Christians at large, and the instruction of general readers. Should this seem to show that no great advantage can be expected to accrue from any further endeavours to interpret these Divine compositions, it must at the same time be considered, that the existence of such a vast body of annotatory matter as that to be found on the Psalms (very far exceeding in bulk that on any other book of the Old Testament) must not only attest the high importance of the book, but imply its difficulties; which indeed are such, that even after the learned labours of many generations of interpreters, they yet remain, in a far greater degree than might be expected, unvanquished. It would be




Translation of the Psalms, by French and Skinner.

and hypothesis; Geddes was a professed
innovator, whose judgment and tact
were far inferior to his learning; though
that scarcely rose above mediocrity.
As for Horsley, he was too dogmati-
cal, and too apt to be carried away by
a system, which, though well founded,
was pushed too far; not to say that
he was by no means a profound He-
braist, and that his work was left a
posthumous one, and in a state far
less perfect than it would have been,
had it received the last corrections and
the devrepaι opóvτides of his mighty
mind. Besides, the work, like most
of the above, was intended, not so
much for vernacular readers, as for scho-
lars and Hebraists. At all events, there
was room for a work which, in a mo-
derate compass, should impart to
English readers the results, as far
as regards the Psalms, of that im-
provement in the knowledge of ori-
ental literature and biblical criti-
cism which distinguishes the present
age, by presenting our countrymen
with a Manual of the Book of Psalms,
which should contain as accurate a
representation of the original as could
be attained by the use of the valuable
helps and advantages enjoyed in the
present day, accompanied, too, with
notes, suited alike to unlearned readers,
and to those who are enabled to exer-
cise their judgment on the sense of the
original. Now such a work could not
have been successfully accomplished by
a mere painstaking plodder, who, with
but a scanty knowledge of the original,
should seek, by a sort of eclectic labour,
to make out the sense, and illustrate it
by the aid of the commentators. It
required a consummate Hebraist-one
able to discern the sense, where it had
been missed by all the interpreters,
and to decide, as one having autho-
rity," in those numerous cases where
our present translations so marvellously
differ from each other, and where it
often happens that one only can be
right. It was requisite, too, that the
work should be performed by one inti-
mately conversant in Classical as well
as Oriental Literature, by a familia-
rity with the best writers, especially
poets, of the antients-one in whom
profound learning and a thorough
knowledge of verbal criticism should
be controuled by a sound judgment,
and guided by a natural sagacity, and
a correct taste.

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In fact, capabilities for much greater things were requisite in one who


should hope to supply what might very well be termed one of the greatest desiderata in vernacular sacred literature.

Great, accordingly, is our satisfaction, that not one but two such should have been found; in whom all those great endowments, natural and acquired, are eminently centered; and what is more, in an University which has ever stood (absit invidia verbo) foremost in the dissemination of religious light, as well as classical and scientific knowledge, and whose "Hinc Lux et Pocula Sacra" is not an empty boast; in a College, too, which has, in proportion to its size, contributed at least its full quota to that illustrious band, of which all faithful Cantabs are justly proud. And when we consider that the work in question has been a Symbola Sacra from the Master and Senior Tutor of a College, it presents an example worthy of imitation, and may well suggest the use which ought more frequently to be made of academical "otium cum dignitate."

We are thus, in fact, reminded of the method pursued by the learned Benedictines, in giving those admirable editions of the ecclesiastical writers which will immortalize their fraternity. The work now before us, however, presents only the first part of the plan abovementioned; being a new Manual Translation of the Psalms, accompanied with short notes, presenting important various versions, more literal and idiomatic expressions than those adopted in the translation, and explanations and illustrations of passages of greater than ordinary difficulty or doubt. The aim of the translators has been to present a faithful rather than a highly-coloured representation of the original, and such as should be always agreeable to those sound principles of grammatical interpretation with whose laws they are intimately conversant, and of the high importance of which they are fully aware. latter part of the above plan is intended to be shortly accomplished in a volume of philological annotations.


The text from which the translators

have formed the present version, is that of Van der Hooght, the most correct of all the impressions of the textus receptus, having never indulged in conjectural emendations, nor adopted unwarrantable alterations. They have no where departed from the above text without sufficient authority from MSS., ancient versions, and other testimonies.



The translation is judiciously distributed into lines corresponding to the verses of the original. Few of our readers can need to be told that the original is in poetry, though it may often be difficult to ascertain the kind of metre, and the laws by which it is regulated. In proving, however, the point, as to the metrical form of the original, there has, we believe, been little adduced except from modern writers. The testimony, therefore, of an ancient, and one of all others best qualified to decide on the question, may be very acceptable; and we give it in the words of the Father of ecclesiastical history. Ο Δαυΐδης ὡδὰς εἰς τὸν Θεὸν και ὕμνους συνέταξε, μέτρου ποικίλου τοὺς μὲν γὰρ τριμέτρους, τοὺς δὲ πενταμέτρους ἐποίησε. Joseph. p. 319, 38, Ed. Hudson.

But to proceed to particulars. In the 7th Psalm, ver. 14, Dr. F. and Mr. S. well render-" Behold he conceiveth iniquity,-And travaileth with mischief,-And bringeth forth delusion.' On which they remark that "here is described the progress of the wickedness of the wicked man, and in metaphors similar to those employed in other parts of Scripture." And they aptly cite Job, xv. 35, and James, i. 15. We would add, that this passage of the Psalms, and that of Job, seem to have been in the mind of Philo Jud. 7, in a beautiful passage (p. 147, E.) cited by Pott on the place of James. The finest passages, however, in which this figure predominates, are three adduced by Dr. Bloomfield in his Recensio Synoptica in loco; namely, Plato Epist. 3, Leonidas ap. Brunck, Anal. 2, 190, and (instar omnium) Eschyl. Pers. 826 :-Ύβρις γὰρ ἐξανθοῦσα ἐκάρπωσε στάχυν "Ατης, ὅθεν πάγκλαυτον ἐξαμᾷ Θέρος.

On Thucyd. III., 45, Dr. Bloomfield adds another illustration of the passage of James, observing that "hence may be found the true key to the understanding of a most sublime but obscure passage of Eschyl. Agam. 772-9, where Κότος, Θράσος, and "Ara are personifed as sons of Ύβρις, and

where, for Kórov, Dr. Bloomfield conjectures Kópov. We would add Diog. Laert. (of Epicurus) Kodivwv TÙY ἀπὸ τοῦ στόματος Καύχησιν τῶν GODIOTIK@V. See also Zonara Hist. T. III. 21, 745 (of Julian).

We will now proceed to lay before our readers an entire Psalm, and it will be that noble one the 19th :


"1. The Heavens declare the glory of God, And the expanse displayeth the work of His hands.

struction, And night after night it pointeth "2. Day after day it poureth forth inout knowledge.

"3. They have neither speech nor language,-They have not an audible voice;

4. Yet their lesson goeth forth throughout the earth,-And their eloquence unto the extremities of the world!-In them He hath placed a pavilion for the sun,

"5. And he is like a bridegroom issuing from his nuptial chamber,-Like a strong man who delighteth to run his course.

"6. His going forth is from one end of the heavens,-And his circuit unto the other end of them;-So that there is nothing hidden from his heat.

"7. The law of Jehovah is perfect, reviving the spirits ; -The revealed will of Jehovah is sure, making wise the simple.

"s. The statutes of Jehovah are right, rejoicing the heart ;-The precepts of Jehovah are clean, giving light unto the eyes.

"9. The religion of Jehovah is pure, enduring for ever;-The judgments of Jehovah are true, all of them are righteous;

10. They are more to be desired than gold, even much fine gold;-And sweeter than honey, even the droppings of the honey-combs.

11. By them, moreover, is Thy servant enlightened ;-In keeping them there is great


"12. Oh that I might discern mine errors!-Cleanse Thou me from those which are hidden from me.

"13. From wilful transgressions also restrain Thy servant,-Let them not have dominion over me;-Then shall I be upright, And cleansed from much sin.

"14. Let the words of my mouth be acceptable,-And the breathings of my heart present unto Thee,-O Jehovah, my Rock and my Redeemer."

On the 10th verse, which is very happily rendered "More to be desired are they,” &c., it may be observed that by the "they" are meant all the above particulars, the law, the testimony, &c. And we would compare a noble passage of Plato, Leg. v. p. 205, Πᾶς ὁ τ ̓ ἐπὶ γῆς καὶ ὑπὸ γῆς χρυσὸς ἀρετῆς οὐκ ἀντάξιος. Also Æschyl. Choeph. 369: Taura - κρείσσονα dè χρυσοῦ μεγάλης δὲ τυχῆς καὶ ὑπερβορέου.

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We wish we could find room for the translation of that difficult Psalm, the 22d, which (as the Translators remark) is sublimely prophetic of the sufferings and subsequent exaltation of the Messiah, the allusions to whom are traced with piety, enlightened by learning and judgment. The words "May your hearts live for ever," are




The Greek Sapphic Ode.

most ingeniously, and, we think, justly, said to be a friendly salutation addressed to those who came to partake of the sacrificial feast.

Our narrow limits permit us not to lay the 40th Psalm (so strikingly prophetic of the Messiah) before our readers. Though we in general approve of the custom of the present translators in changing harsh Hebraisms into more intelligible correspondent idioms of our own language, yet there are a few cases in which, by the rules which they have themselves so judiciously laid down in their preface, no change need have been made. Of course this applies in a still stronger degree where the Hebraism contains any emphasis. On one or other of these grounds the change ventured on at Ps. xlii. 2, "I am athirst for God," instead of "My soul is athirst for God," is ill judged. There is surely an intensity of sense expressed by this use of WD, which was felt and beautifully expressed by Cowper in his Task, where, describing the sailor returning from long traversing the ocean, and approaching land, he represents, "his very soul athirst for nature in her green array." So in a noble passage of Eschines Socrat. Axioch. 5—ἡ ψυχὴ τὸν οὐρανὸν ποθεῖ, καὶ ξύμφυλον αιθέρα καὶ (even) διψα, τῆς ἐκεῖσε διαίτης καὶ χορείας ὀριγνωμένη.

On Ps. xliii. 7, there is the following interesting remark. "The deeps on either side of him are described as agitated by torrents of water descending into them in the form of water-spouts, and the roarings of these last are poetically represented as the voices of the angry seas calling upon each other to join in overwhelming him."

The version in ver. 1, of the 45th Psalm, "My heart is overflowing with a goodly theme," is greatly preferable to that of our two authorized translations, the framers of which, as well as the antient interpreters, mistake the ratio metaphora. The literal sense is" boiling up with," which is illustrated by Herodo. vii. 46- veórns ἐπέθεσε, ὥστε ἀποῤῥίψαι ἕπεα es &c. So in a passage cited by Matthiæ, Gr. Gr. § 425-éπeceiv rɩvi, to be warm upon any subject.

On Ps. xlix. 14, "The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning," we have the following instructive

note :

"In the morning: i. e. of the resurrec


tion. The doctrine of a resurrection, as collected from this and other passages of the earlier Jewish scriptures, appears to be, that the just and upright, the true worbe taken to Him, and thus triumph over the shippers of Jehovah, should, after death, wicked, who would for ever continue to dwell light. This resurrection is poetically dein the grave, and would not again see the scribed in Ps. xvii. 15, as an awaking from sleep; and, here, as a morning succeeding to the night of death."

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Jan. 4.

the masterly judgment pronounced by I WAS very much delighted with duction to the Study of the Greek Mr. H. N. Coleridge, in his "Introstyle and dialect of the Sapphic Odes, Classic Poets," (p. 7, note,) on the which have been so long elaborated for Sir William Browne's prize at Cambridge; and I cannot but hope that the appeal to the Greek Professor

and to the Vice Chancellor in the last Gent. Mag. p. 513, may be attended even yet with some practical good effect.

I may well be forgiven for taking a more than common interest in the subject, when reference is made to my own labours on this curious and somewhat difficult question. In the "Classical Journal,' Nos. ix. and

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xiii. (1812 and 1813,) there was inserted a regular Essay of mine on the Composition of the Greek Sapphic Ode, under the five following heads.

1. The scansion of the Sapphic verse, as to the feet composing it.

2. The structure of it, in the arrangement and division of words.

3. The prosody, to determine the long and short of single syllables.



4. The style, and sort of words, of which the language should consist.

5. The dialect, or forms, flexions, &c. in the words admitted. Again, at a later period, in Nos. xxiii. and xxxvi. (1815 and 1818), my attention was drawn by particular circumstances to the Prosody of Greek verse as connected with dialect, &c. and in the latter of the two articles alluded to (pp. 375, 6,) I ventured to propose a general law for the composition of that ode, arising out of a criticism on Mr. Hall's prize Poem; which may now, perhaps, Mr. Urban, be submitted to your academical readers with better chance of successful attention.

"In settling the dialect, or forms and flexions of Greek words, which the modern Sapphic ode may most properly exhibit, we have to encounter much diversity of practice, and find very little to guide us in any principles hitherto laid down. Mr. Hall, like most of his predecessors, oscillates betwixt the Eolic of Sappho and the late Doric of Theocritus,- -a strange mixture of ages as can well be imagined.

"Wherever some determinate rule is wanting, inconsistency and discord must naturally follow. And it is not therefore at present imputed as any fault to Mr. H. that in the course of twenty-six stanzas many points of etymology and accent occur, which cannot be reduced to any one system, and which can just as little be reconciled to each other.

Let us once more attempt to decide this question in a practical way, and to lay down a clear and consistent line for the guidance of young scholars in writing the Greek Sapphic


"1. Grant that the text of SAPPHO's few reliques has received from the critical acumen and depth of Mr. Blomfield its most elaborate and perhaps final castigation. Yet surely, even now, no modest man would undertake, for the labour of a life-time, to write on a new subject, six and twenty stanzas, exactly and purely after the manner of Sappho! One might defy any man living to do it, and to demonstrate it rightly done. The thing is impossible and it palpably is so, from the want of materials for imitation in the archetype.


"2. If a distinct and complete model then be required, on which a Greek ode in the Eolic dialect may be attempted with any chance of success; the only Æolian poet yet extant presents his lyric treasures, in sufficient abundance and variety for the purpose.

'PINDAR, in the most brilliant age of Greece, enjoyed unexampled celebrity; marked indeed with a dialectic character of his own, yet not provincial and rude, but elegant at once and popular-from Thebes to Athens, and from Syracuse to Cyrene.

"3. But why should not a third sect arise, discarding the study of Pindar as arduous or unnecessary, and the model of Sappho as quite impracticable? A general pattern might easily be found in the collective manner and matter of the Choral odes of the three Greek Tragedians. Nothing of the kind perhaps has yet been attempted or avowed: though in the simplicity of its style and dialect (from the slight use of a few Doric forms which the Tragics allow) such a composition could hardly fail of succeeding. At any rate, that plan would effectually banish the chaos of dialect and style, which now so disagreeably prevails. All would then be of a piece; and we should not be offended by Pindar conflicting with .Theocritus, or by Sappho jostling with Menander, in the very same verse.

"Here, it may be said, are two rules proposed, clear enough, each of them, and consistent, to be sure; but much too strict and narrow for the young scholar to observe, who in school or in college is called upon to write the Greek Sapphic stanza.

"Some indulgence may seem fairly due to so candid a plea: and he who makes the plea honestly, will not be condemned, if in any exercise where the muse of Pindar predominates, he harmoniously introduce the diction of the Tragic ode, or with the matter and manner of the Tragic ode consistently unite the style and the dialect of Pindar.

"Only, at all events, in this advanced and advancing period of Greek literature, let the Prolusiones Academica have a steady bearing to some age, to some character, to some plan. The great, the only rational object, proposed in these prizes of our University, is to encourage the cultiva

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