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From Carfax come !
Or all and some. -
Or such a spirit lend me,
The entire version of the psalter was at length published by John Day, in 1562, attached for the first time to the common prayer, and entitled, “ The whole Booke of Psalmes colle&ted “ into English metre by T. Sternhold, J. Hopkins, and others, “ conferred with the Ebrue, with apt Notes to fing them withall.”
Calvin's music was intended to correspond with the general par
1577. They are believed to contain some of the original melodies, composed by French and German musicians. Many of them, particularly the celebrated one of the hundredth psalm, are the tunes of Goudimel and Le Jeune, who are among the first composers of Marot's French psalms". Not a few were probably imported by the protestant manufacturers of cloth, of Flanders, and the Low Countries, who fled into England from the persecution of the Duke de Alva, and settled in those counties where their art now chiefly flourishes. It is not however unlikely, that some of our own musicians, who lived about the year 1562, and who could always tune their harps to the religion of the times, such as Marbeck, Tallis, Tye, Parsons, and Munday, were employed on this occasion; yet under the restriction of conforming to the jejune and unadorned movements of the foreign composers. I presume much of the primitive harmony of all these antient tunes is now lost, by additions, variations, and transpositions. This version is said to be conferred with the Ebrue. But I am inclined to think, that the translation was altogether made from the vulgate text, either in Latin or English. It is evident that the prose psalms of our liturgy were chiefly consulted and copied, by the perpetual assumption of their words and combinations : many of the stanzas are literally nothing more than the prose-verses put into rhyme. As thus,
* PoEMs, Lond. 1647. duod, p. 49. and accuracy by Hawkins, Hist. Mus.
* See this matter traced with great skill iii. 518. imported.
Thus were they stained with the workes
And with their owne inventions did
Whyttingham however, who had travelled to acquire the literature then taught in the foreign universities, and who joined in the translation of Coverdale's Bible, was undoubtedly a scholar, and an adept in the Hebrew language.
It is certain that every attempt to clothe the sacred Scripture in verse, will have the effect of misrepresenting and debasing the dignity of the original. But this general inconvenience, arifing from the nature of things, was not the only difficulty which our versifiers of the psalter had to encounter, in common with all other writers employed in a fimilar task. Allowing for the state of our language in the middle of the fixteenth century, they appear to have been but little qualified either by genius or accomplishments for poetical composition. It is for this reason that they have produced a translation entirely destitute of elegance, spirit, and propriety. The truth is, that they undertook this work, not so much from an ambition of literary fame, or a consciousness of abilities, as from motives of piety, and in compliance with the cast of the times. I presume I am communicating no very new criticism when I observe, that in every part of this translation we are disgusted with a languor of versification, and a want of common prosody. The most exalted effusions of thanksgiving, and the most sublime imageries of the divine majesty, are lowered by a coldness of conception, weakened by frigid interpolations, and disfigured by a poverty of phraseology. Thomas Hopkins expostulates with the deity in these ludicrous, at least trivial, expressions.
'PsALM cwi, 38.
Why doost withdrawe thy hand aback,
O plucke it out, and be not slack -
* Ps. lxxiv. 12. Perhaps this verse is not much improved in the translation of king James the first, who seems to have rested entirely on the image of why withdraweft thou not thine hand, which he has expressed in Hopkins's manner.
Why dost thou thus withdraw thy hand,
Out of thy bosom, for our good,
In another stanza he has preserved Hop-
fible, lowered his language and cadences.
Oh why, our God, for evermore
Here he has chiefly displayed the smoking
ture, could have done it more skilfully, than to making David call upon God, not to consume his enemies by an irresistible blow, but to give them a rap * Although some shadow of an apology may be suggested for the word rap, that it had not then acquired its present burlesque acceptation, or the idea of a petty stroke, the vulgarity of the following phrase, in which the pračtice or profession of religion, or more particularly God's covenant with the Jews, is degraded to a trade, cannot easily be vindicated on any consideration of the fluctuating sense of words,
For why, their hearts were nothing bent
Nor is there greater delicacy or consistency in the following stanza.
The translator had better have spared his epithet to the bride