Page images
PDF
EPUB

But my kindness from thee shall not be removed ;
And the covenant of my peace shall not be overthrown."

Isa. liv. 10. “ The bricks are fallen, but we will build with hewn stone ; The sycamores are cut down, but we will replace them with cedars.”

Isa. ix. 10. Here the lines themselves are synthetically parallel; and the opposition lies between the two members of each.

The third sort of parallels I call synthetic or constructive: where the parallelism consists only in the similar form of construction; in which word does not answer to word, and sentence to sentence, as equivalent or opposite; but there is a correspondence and equality between different propositions, in respect of the shape and turn of the whole sentence, and of the constructive parts; such as noun answering to noun, verb to verb, member to member, negative to negative, interrogative to interrogative. “ Praise ye Jebovah, ye of the eartb ;

Ye sea-monsters, and all deeps:
Fire and hail, snow and vapour;
Stormy wind, executing his command :
Mountains, and all hills;
Fruit-trees, and all cedars:
Wild beasts, and all cattle ;
Reptiles, and birds of wing ;
Kings of the earth, and all peoples;
Princes, and all judges of the earth:
Youths, and also virgins;
Old men, together witb the children:
Let them praise the name of Jehovah;
For his name alone is exalted;
His majesty, above earth and heaven." Psal. cxlviii. 7-13.
« With bim is wisdom and might;

To him belong counsel and understanding.
Lo! he pulleth down, and it shall not be built;
He encloseth a man, and he shall not be set loose.
Lo! he withholdeth the waters, and they are dried up;
And he sendeth them forth, and they overturn the eartb.
With him is strength, and perfect existence;

The deceived, and the deceiver, are his.” Job xij. 13—16. “ Is such then the fast wbicb I choose?

That a man should afflict his soul for a day?
Is it, that he should bow down bis head like a bulrush ;

And spread sackcloth and ashes for his couch?
Shall this be called a fast;
- And a day acceptable to Jehovah ?
Is not this the fast that I choose ?
To dissole the bands of wickedness;
To loosen the oppressive burdens;
To deliver those that are crushed by violence;
And that ye should break asunder every yoke?
Is it not to distribute thy bread to the hungry;
And to bring the wandering poor into thy house?
When thou seest the naked, that thou clothe bim;
And that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh ?
Then shall thy light break forth like the morning;
And thy wounds shall speedily be healed over:
And thy righteousness shall go before thee;
And the glory of Jehovah shall bring up thy rear.” Isa. Iviii. 5–8.

Of the constructive kind is most commonly the parallelism of stanzas of three lines; though they are sometimes synonymous throughout, and often have two lines synonymous; examples of both which are above given. The following are constructively parallel: “ Whatsoever Jehovah pleaseth,

That doeth he in the heavens, and in the earth ;
In the sea, and in all the deeps:
Causing the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth;
Making the lightnings with the rain;

Bringing forth the wind out of his treasures." Psal. cxxxv. 6, 7. “ The Lord Jehovah hath opened mine ear,

And I was not rebellious;
Neither did I withdraw myself backward,
I gave my back to the smiters,
And my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair;
My face I hid not from shame and spitting.”

Isa. I.5.6. " Thou shalt sow, but shalt not reap;

Thou shalt tread the olive, but shalt not anoint thee with oil;
And the grape, but shalt not drink wine.”

Micah vi. 15. Of the same sort of parallelism are those passages, frequent in the poetic books, where a definite number is twice put for an indefinite; this being followed by an enumeration of particulars, naturally throws the sentences into a parallelism, which cannot be of any other than the synthetic kind. This seems to have been a favourite ornament. There are many elegant examples of it in the

xxxth chapter of Proverbs, to which I refer the reader; and shall here give one or two from other places. “ These six things Jehovah bateth ;

And seven are the abomination of his soul. Lofty eyes, and a lying tongue; And bands shedding inñocent blood : A heart fabricating wicked thoughts ; Feet hastily running to mischief: A false witness breathing out lies; And the sower of strife between brethren." Prov. vi. 10--19. “ Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; For thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth."

Eccles. xi. 2. “ These two things have befallen thee ; who shall bemoan thee ? Desolation and destruction, the famine and the sword; who shah 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 Jesusalem :

Like the tents of Kedar; like tbe pavilions of Solomon.” Cant. j. 5. That is, black, as the tents of Kedar (made of darkcoloured goats' hair); beautiful, as the pavilions of Solomon. On her house-tops, and to her open streets, Every one bowleth, 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 babitude 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 subtle refinement; as it appears from that extremely 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 precisé 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

[ocr errors]

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 ber dwelling;* With him that hateth peace.”

Psal. cxx. 1. 6. “ I love Jehovah, for he hath beard ;*

The voice of my supplication.” “ I will walk, before Jehovah ; *

In the land of the living." " What shall I return unto Jehovah ;*

For all the benefits which he hath bestowed on me?' " My vows I will pay to Jehovah ;*

Now in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of Jehovah ;*
Is the death of his saints."

Psal. cxvi. 1. 9. 12. 14, 15. “ Yea the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof,t Shall not send forth their ligbt:

Isa. xiij. 10. “ In that day, shall his strongly fenced cities become, I

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 bath received at the hand of Jehovah, Double of the punishment of all her sins."

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 ele• Athnac. + Zakeph-katon.

I Rebiah. Athnac in the three metrical books, as the Jews account them, is but the third in order of power among the distinctive points : bat, 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 Athpac, have nearly the same distinctive power as Athnac has in the former. They will scarce be thought overrated at a

§ Zakeph-katon.

comma.

« PreviousContinue »