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“ These six things Jehovah hateth;
And seven are the abomination of his soul:-
Prov, vi. 16-19. “Give a portion to seven, and also to eight;
For thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.” Eccl. xi. 2. " These two things have befallen thee; who shall bemoan thee? Desolation and destruction, the famine and the sword; who shall comfort thee?"
Isa. li. 19. that is, taken alternately, desolation by famine, and destruction by the sword. Of which alternate construction I shall add a remarkable example or two, where the parallelism arises from the alternation of the members of the sentences:-"I am black, but yet beautiful, o daughters of Jerusalem;
Like the tents of Kedar; like the pavilions of Solomon.” Cant. i. 5. that is, black as the tents of Kedar, (made of dark-coloured goats' hair); beautiful as the pavilions of Solomon. “On her house-tops, and to her open streets, Every one howleth, descendeth with weeping."
· Isa. xv. 3. that is, every one howleth on her house-tops, and descendeth with weeping to her open streets.
The reader will observe in the foregoing examples, that though there are perhaps no two lines corresponding one with another as equivalent or opposite in terms; yet there is a parallelism equally apparent, and almost as striking, which arises from the similar form and equality of the lines, from the correspondence of the members and the construction; the consequence of which is a harmony and rhythm little inferior in effect to that of the two kinds preceding.
The degrees of the correspondence of the lines in this last sort of parallels must, from the nature of it, be various. Sometimes the parallelism is more, sometimes less exact ; sometimes hardly at all apparent. It requires indeed particular attention, much study of the genius of the language, much habitude in the analysis of the construction, to be able in all cases to see and to distinguish the nice rests and pauses which ought to be made. in order to give the period or the sentence its intended turn and cadence, and to each part its due time and proportion. The Jewish critics, called the Masoretes, were exceedingly attentive to their language in this part, even to a scrupulous exactness and subtile refinement; as it appears from that ex
tremely complicated system of grammatical punctuation, more embarrassing than useful, which they have invented. It is therefore not improbable, that they might have had some insight into this matter; and, in distinguishing the parts of the sentence by accents, might have had regard to the harmony of the period and the proportion of the members, as well as to the strict grammatical disposition of the constructive parts. Of this, I think, I perceive evident tokens; for they sometimes seem to have more regard in distributing the sentence to the poetical or rhetorical harmony of the period, and the proportion of the members, than to the grammatical construction. To explain what I mean, I shall here give some examples, in which the Masoretes, in distinguishing the sentence into its parts, have given marks of pauses perfectly agreeable to the poetical rhythm, but such as the grammatical construction does not require, and scarcely admits. Though it is a difficult matter to know the precise quantity of time which they allot to every distinctive point; for it depends on the relation and proportion which it bears to the whole arrangement of points throughout the sentence; and though it is impossible to express the great variety of them by our scanty system of punctuation_yet I shall endeavour to mark them out to the English reader, in a rude manner, so as to give him some notion of what I imagine it to have been their design to express. Thus then they distinguish the following sentences :" And they that recompense evil for good ;* Are mine adversaries, because I follow what is good.”
Psal. xxxviii. 20. "Upon Jehovah, in my distress ;*
I called, and he heard me." “ Long hath my soul had her dwelling;* With him that hateth peace.” .
Psal. cxx. 1. 6. " I love Jehovah, for he hath heard ;*
The voice of my supplication,
For all the benefits which he hath bestowed on me?
Psal. cxvi. 1, 9. 12. 14, 15. * Athanc in the three metrical books, as the Jews account them, is but the third in order of power among the distinctive points; but, however, always takes place when the period is of two members only; in all the other books he is second: in the latter, therefore, Rebiah and Zakeph-katon, which come next to Athnac, have nearly the same distinctive power as Athnac has in the former. They will scarce be thought over-rated at a comma.
« Yea the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof, * .
Shall not send forth their light."
Isa. xiii. 10.
“ In that day, shall his strongly fenced cities become, t
Like the desertion of the Hivites and the Amorites.”
Isa. xvii. 9.
“For the glorious name of Jehovah shall be unto us,*
A place of confluent streams, of broad rivers."
Isa. xxxiii. 21. .
That she hath received at the hand of Jehovah, *
Isa. xl. 2.
Of the three different sorts of parallels, as above explained, every one hath its peculiar character and proper effect; and therefore they are differently employed on different occasions ; and that sort of parallelism is chiefly made use of which is best adapted to the nature of the subject and of the poem. Synonymous parallels have the appearance of art and concinnity, and a studied elegance: they prevail chiefly in shorter poems; in many of the Psalms; in Balaam's prophecies ; frequently in those of Isaiah, which are most of them distinct poems of no great length. The antithetic parallelism gives an acuteness and force to adages and moral sentences; and therefore, as I observed before, abounds in Solomon's Proverbs, and elsewhere is not often to be met with. The poem of Job being on a large plan, and in a high tragic style, though very exact in the division of the lines, and in the parallelism, and affording many fine examples of the synonymous kind, yet consists chiefly of the constructive. A happy mixture of the several sorts gives an agreeable variety ; and they serve mutually to recommend and set off one another.
I mentioned above, that there appeared to be two sorts of Hebrew verses, differing from one another in regard to their length; the examples hitherto given are all, except one, of the shorter kind of verse. The longer, though they admit of every sort of parallelism, yet belonging for the most part to the last class, that of constructive parallels, I shall treat of them in this place, and endeavour to explain the nature, and to point out the marks of them, as fully and exactly as I can.
This distinction of Hebrew verses into longer and shorter, is founded on the authority of the alphabetical poems ; one-third of the whole number of which are manifestly of the longer sort of verse, the rest of the shorter. I do not presume exactly to define by the number of syllables, supposing we could with some probability determine it, the limit that separates one sort of verse from the other, so that every verse exceeding or falling
short of that number should be always accounted a long or a short verse; all that I affirm is this,—that one of the three poems perfectly alphabetical, and therefore infallibly divided into its verses; and three of the nine other alphabetical poems, divided into their verses, after the manner of the perfectly alphabetical, with the greatest degree of probability ; that these four poems, being the four first Lamentations of Jeremiah, fall into verses about one-third longer, taking them one with another, than those of the other eight alphabetical poems. I shall first give an example of these long verses from a poem perfectly alphabetical, in which therefore the limits of the verses are unerringly defined :
“I am the man that hath seen affiction, by the rod of his anger:
He hath led me, and made me walk, in darkness, not in light:
Lam. iii. 1–6.
The following is from the first Lamentation, in which the stanzas are defined by initial letters, and are, like the former, of three lines:
“ How doth the city solitary sit, she that was full of people!
How is she become a widow, that was great among the nations!
Lam. i. 1, 2.
I shall now give examples of the same sort of verse, where the limits of the verses are to be collected only from the poetical construction of the sentences : and first from the books acknowledged on all hands to be poetical; and of these we must have recourse to the Psalms only, for I believe there is not a single instance of this sort of verse to be found in the poem of Job, and scarce any in the Proverbs of Solomon.
“ The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of Jehovah is sure, making wise the simple:
Psal. xix. 7-10.
- That our sons may be like plants, growing up in their youth;
Our daughters like the corner-pillars, carved for the structure of a palace;
Psal. cxliv. 12–14.
“Oh! how great is thy goodness which thou hast treasured up, for them that
fear thee; Which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee, before the sons of men! Thou wilt hide them in the secret place of thy presence, from the vexations
Psal. xxxi. 19, 20.
" A sound of a multitude in the mountains, as of many people;
A sound of the tumult of kingdoms, of nations gathered together:
Isa. xiji. 4, 5.
“ They are turned backward, they are utterly confounded, who trust in the
Isa. xlii. 17.
“They are ashamed, they are even confounded, his adversaries, * all of
them; Together they retire in confusion, the fabricators of images; But Israel shall be saved in Jehovah, with eternal salvation; Ye shall not be ashamed, neither shall ye be confounded, to the ages of eternity.”
Isa. xlv. 16, 17.
These examples, all except the two first, are of long verses thrown in irregularly, but with design, between verses of another sort; among which they stand out, as it were, somewhat distinguished in regard to their matter as well as their form.
I think I perceive some peculiarities in the cast and structure of these verses, which mark them, and distinguish them from those of the other sort. The closing pause of each line is generally very full and strong; and in each line commonly, towards the end, at least beyond the middle of it, there is a small rest or interval, depending on the sense and grammatical construction, which I would call a half-pause.
The conjunction ,, the common particle of connexion, which abounds in the Hebrew language, and is very often used without any necessity at all, seems to be frequently and studiously omitted at the half-pause ; the remaining clause being added,
* See the note on the place.