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mists and mountains, his grey dogs and feeble sons of the wind, ftrung in couplets ! ]—But besides this want of conformity and alimilation between language and sentiment, there are, we apprehend, other reasons, why the versification of the sacred writings should not be attended with success; reasons which were obvious enough to Shaftesbury, when he observed that no poem founded upon them would prosper.
With respect to the Book of Psalms in particular, various attempts have been made to versify it in our own language ; but they have been unsuccessful from the first to the last. It has not, indeed, been attempted by men of diftinguished genius; yet some, whose poetical abilities were not altogether contemptible, have applied themselves to the talk. Sandys tells us, that finding the little advantage he made of his other poems, he had refumed his old scheme of translating the Psalms.-Were Sandys now living, we presume it would be the last scheme he would think of with any view to advantage. His translation, or rather paraphrase, we have never looked into. It was, however, published; and it has sunk into oblivion, with many others, on the merits of which we do not think it worth our while to enter ; satisfied of the truth of what we have already observed, that the songs of Sion will no more bend to the genius of a strange language, than their fingers would of old to the commands of their conquerors, when called upon to sing them in a strange land,
With regard to the merit of the translation before us, the Reader must form his judgment from the following specimens :
Plalm cxxxvii. is one of the most beautiful elegiac poems in all , antiquity. The subject is the happiest that could be suggested.
The captivity of Sion was a proper object for the mournful harmony of her own songs. The scene upon the Euphrates; the harps suspended on the willows; the pathos and patriotic affection described in it are truly beautiful; but we have nothing to say in favour of the barbarous conclusion, which, in our opia nion, the Translator would have done better to have softened,
How shall we yield to the demand?
And dash thine infants on the stone. - This is, in general, the measure in which the Psalms are here translated ; and we are sorry that either this, or some ftronger ftanza than that of the old translations was not used in Pfalm cvii. which contains such a beautiful, natural and moral description of the immediate agency of Providence, and is one of the finest compositions in the whole book. Next in merit to - this is Psalm civ. which we shall felect as a farther specimen.
PSA L M CIV.
Dehold, aloft, the King of Kings,
And Flames, attentive to fulfill
The deep its watry mantle spread :
Array'd, the rock dark cavern s hide.
Her way by Him prescrib'd, the Moon Our seasons marks, and knows her own; And taught by Him the Orb of day Slopes in the West his parting ray. Now Night from Ocean's bed ascends, And o'er the earth her wings extends ; While favour'd' by the friendly gloom The sylvan race licentious roam : The Lions chief with hideous roar From God their needful food implore, And eager for the wonted prey Along the echoing Desert tray ; Till now, as Morn approaches nigh, Back to their cavern'd haunts they fly, W'here, saria!e with the bloody fealt, The lordly favage finks to reft., His care suficient to the day, Man to his labour takes his way, His task at earliest dawo begun, And ended with the setting fun. Eternal Ruler of the Skies, How various are thy Works, how wise! Nor Earth alone beholds her shores Inrich'd from thy exhaustless stores; Alike, throughout their liquid reign, Th’extended Seas thy gifts contain: Beneath, unnumber'd reptiles swarm, Of diff'rent size, of diff'rent form; Above, the ships enormous glide, Incumbent on the burthen'd tide ; And oft, the rolling waves between, The huge Leviathan is seen, There privileg'd by Thee to stray, And wanton o'er the watry way. Thy care, great God, sustains them all; As, urg'd by hunger's furious call, Expectant of the known supply, , . To Thee they lift the asking eye, :. And reap from thy extended hand Whate'er their various wants demand. If Thou thy face but turn away, Their troubled looks their grief betray; If Thou the vital air deny, Behold them ficken, faint, and die; Dutt to its kindred dult returns, And Earth her ruin'd offspring mourns : But loon thy breath her loís fupplies; Slir fees a 12 -born race arile, And, eitt her regions scatter'd wide, The lines of the band divide. Thy!!07, tearicts of decline, Teglary, Lord, al ever this,
Thy Works in changeless order lie,
To bless with Me the Name divine. To whatever poctical reputation Mr. Merrick may be erltitled by this translation, his whole claim to merit does not reft upon that. His translation, or rather paraphrase; has frequently elucidated the text. Passages that were dark and difficult he has sendered easy and obvious, and where, in our common translation, there appeared inconsistencies and a waht of connections he has reconciled the former, and regulated the latter:
From PSALM IV.
The Vintage and the harvests rise. How much clearer and more natural is this interpretation, than “ Thou hast put gladness in my heart, fince * the time that their corn and wine and oil increased !” * Mr. Merrick acknowledges hiš obligations to the learned Dr. Lowth for several interpretations and obfervations, through this work; and gives us reason to hope that the world will be favoured with them in fome future publication.
* Thus it stands in the Common-prayer-book version; but in the Pible-translation we read, “ Thou hast put gladness in my heart, mure Ihan in the time ibai their corn and their wine increased.”