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6. Seu vincta saxis saxa revellere,
Notisque montes sedibus erutos
Vexat juventæ læta protervitas
Partus acerbi; robora concidunt.
“From a dark and show'ring cloud,
On the floods that roar aloud,
TATE AND BRADY.
“'Tis he that with amazing noise
The wat'ry clouds in sunder breaks ; The ocean trembles at his voice,
When he from heaven in thunder speaks. How full of power his voice appears !
With what majestic terror crown'd! Which from the roots tall cedars tears,
And strews their scatter'd branches round.”
“Give to the Lord, ye sons of fame,
Give to the Lord, renown and pow'r;
And his eternal might adore.
And lightnings blaze at his command.
Lay the wide forest bare around;
“To Lebanon he turns his voice,
And lo, the stately cedars break;
“The voice of the Lord the darkness dirides,
And deals forth his fire in arrowy flakes:
“The voice of the Lord speeds the hind to her throes;
The voice of the Lord smites the oak to the grouod;
“Jehovah is set o'er the water-flood high,
Jehovah is King till existence shall cease;
“The voice of Jehovah the tall cedar breaks;
At the voice of Jehovah all Lebanon shakes;
It is impossible to do justice to this psalm in a rhythmical version; it will no more endure such fetters than Samson the withes of the Philistines; but perhaps of all the metres selected, Watts's long measure is best adapted to its majestic character. The Sidney version is very pleasing; Buchanan is cold and classic; Sandys is manly and spirited; Tate as usual diffuse and affected; Watts sinks below his general standard, but is respectable; the Bishop and Mr. Marsh have completely failed, and assuredly in bad taste have “Sternhold himself out-Sternhold-ed."
The 17th psalm is extremly well done by Watts; though a free imitation, he realises and embodies the feelings, purpose, and hopes of David better than any of his rivals; and, in comparison with his spirited production, the versions especially of Tate and Mant are execrable ditties. The eighth psalm, evidently written by the royal poet when gazing upon the brilliant sky, the moon and the stars of an eastern heaven, he has versified in three different measures, and in each instance successfully, with the exception of a few lines, keeping in mind the erangelical application the psalm has received in the New Testament. The Sidney version, of which an extract is annexed, with all its quaintness, displays considerable energy; Bishop Mant's is also one of his best.
“DOMINE DOMINUS NOSTER.
“When I upon the heav’os do look,
Which all from thee their essence took;
Then thinck 1: Ah, what is this may,
“Thou under his dominion plac't
Both sheep and oxen wholly hast:
The bird, free-burgesse of the aire,
The fish, of sea the native heire;
O Lord, thou ruls't our mortal lyne,
The 19th psalm has been often attempted, notwithstanding “the stone of stumbling" which occurs in the seventh, eighth, and ninth verses, the terror of all versifiers. Watts interprets the psalm prophetically, and his paraphrase furnishes a beautiful hymn, and a most instructive exposition. In the pastoral poem, “the Lord is my Shepherd,” he has been equally happy in each of his three versions, though perhaps his common measure is the closest to the text, and the general farourite. This psalm seems to present little difficulty to the metrical translator, its imagery is rural, its style simple and unaffected; and yet the compass of our devotional poetry, excepting Watts and Addison, presents but few instances of eren tolerable success. The 92nd psalm, the production of an anonymous author, was the sabbath-day song of the Jewish church: the commencement of Watts's paraphrase is very beautiful, “Sweet is the work, my God, my King;” but Sandys, in this instance, bears away the palm.
“When the morning paints the skies,
When the sparkling stars arise,
The attempt to make the Psalms Christian in tenor and spirit, which was Watts's grand aim, may be regarded as entirely new. Luke Milbourne, Darby, and Patrick, do indeed, depart occasionally from the literal sense ; but the breaking forth of evangelical light is rare," like angels' visits, few and far between.” Admirably has he succeeded in his task as a whole, though many instances of failure might easily be pointed out. His psalms form a useful commentary. He takes us from the temple upon the “ holy mountain,” to the church built upon the “foundation of apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus being himself the chief corner-stone;" and shows to the thoughtful mind how the “latter house" exceeds the “ former” in glory. The fugitive, penitent and helpless, is taught to flee not to the “horns of the altar," but to the “ throne of grace," and to take refuge not in the blood of bulls or goats, but in that “new and living way” which has been opened by the incarnate Saviour. He has erred, indeed, in versifying the psalter indiscriminately, and attempting to adapt the whole, with few exceptions, for congregational use. The didactic poems are not appropriate for praise; the elegiac
* The 104th psalm has been explained by the editor of Marvell's Works, Captain Edward Thompson, as the production of the honest and upright patriot; the editor likewise claims for Marvell, Addison's hymns in the Spectator, and the elegiac ballet of William and Margaret, by Mallet. Nichols calls this charge of plagiarism a ridiculous one. The fact seems to be, that the person into whose hands Marvell's MS. poems came copied into the volume various prodactions of other authors as they appeared. This volume came into the Captain's possession, who had not sagacity enough to perceive the circumstance. Dove's Life of Marvell, Gent. Mag. vols. xlvi. xlvii.