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and feeling conveyed. All expletives, all the common-place phrases of poetical art and the impertinence of paraphrase, must be rigidly excluded. The brevity and abruptness of the Hebrew cannot be transferred to a translation without producing harshness and obscurity; nor is it of consequence how many words are employed in rendering a phrase, provided that none appear to be superfluous in order to express the full idea with perspicuity and force. Every unnecessary word is an inelegance; and in metre, it is peculiarly difficult to avoid this fault, which is the more glaring and unpleasing, in proportion to the simplicity of the original composition. It is remarkable that Sandys, who often succeeds so well in giving the spirit of the Psalms, has wholly failed in the xxijd, which he has most miserably paraphrased. Some of his lines are almost travestie. We shall now select a psalm of a mixed character, in which the pathetic record of personal feeling and experience conveys a lesson of heavenly wisdom, and the didactic is combined with the highest strain of devotion. We shall first give the Psalm as rendered by the present Translators, and then subjoin a metrical version, in order to shew that it is not impossible to preserve equal simplicity and closeness under the embarrassments of rhyme. Whether the psalm gains any thing from its rhythmical dress, we leave our readers to determine according to their own taste and judgement.
• Psalm LXXIII.
• Doubtless, God is good unto Israel
Behold! these are wicked,
Hence, like a chain of gold, their pride they bear,
And, as I trust in Thee, of all Thy works to tell.
marked, is very different from that which has been aimed at in these metrical versions. The principles of translation which they have adopted, has led them scrupulously to retain all such Hebraisms as are either not liable in themselves to be understood, or have been rendered intelligible by familiar use. With regard to those principles, they have not fully explained their views.
Upon the laws of grammatical interpretation, they say, the Translators cannot now enlarge, without losing sight of their immediate object. Of the extreme importance of those laws, they are fully aware. In fact, at the commencement of their labours, they contemplated adding a regular series of philological notes. But this idea was afterwards abandoned ; and these notes will
, probably, form, at some future time, the substance of a separate publication.' p. vi.
We shall await that publication with considerable interest; and in the mean time, we have felt it right to abstain from minute philological criticism on these Translations, and to reserve our observations upon the system of translation to which they are conformed. The merit of the work must be judged of in relation to what its Authors have purposed. They have not aimed at producing an elegant, idiomatic version, or such as might compete with the Authorized Version in the collocation and modulation of its periods; but they have furnished the Biblical student with a translation valuable as being independent and original, fresh drawn from the Hebrew, the result of much assiduous study and extensive learning, and one which will, therefore, be of great use in illustrating the text, and, compared with other versions, in fixing its true import. It is by the multiplication of such contributions to Sacred Literature, and the humblest efforts of the kind are entitled to the thanks of the Christian world,—that we may hope at length to obtain a Public Version as unexceptionable in point of fidelity as in propriety of expression.
We must, however, contend that, whether in prose or in verse, an English translation of the Scriptures ought to be pure English; that nothing is gained by that sort of halftranslation, which, under the idea of literal fidelity, presents to us something which is neither English nor Hebrew,-renderings so uncouth, and phrases so remote from the conventional idiom, that a school-boy who should so translate Homer or Xenophon would be turned down in disgrace. It is very remarkable, how rarely learned critics have proved themselves competent translators. Profoundly versed in Greek, Hebrew, or Latin, they have seemed strangers to the art of English composition, and have discovered a singular awkwardness in conveying the results of their acutest philological investigations. Learning and judgement are the prime requisites in a Biblical critic; but to these, the translator must add eloquence and purity of taste, or he will fail to do justice to either his text or his readers. The beauty and sublimity of the sacred writings, the qualities which, apart from their inspiration, raise the compositions of Moses, of David, and of Isaiah, above all Roman and all Grecian fame, are, we need not be reminded, of inferior consideration, compared with the matter of Revelation, the awful burden of prophecy, and the saving knowledge which the word of life communicates. Still, they form a characteristic feature of the Book of God, and a portion of that internal evidence by which its Divine inspiration is attested; and this species of evidence, let it be remembered, becomes proportionably obscured and weakened by a mode of translation which sacrifices perspicuity to a spurious fidelity, and dignity of expression to philological precision. While, then, we would protest against placing Biblical criticism, on the one hand, under the ban of the Church, on the charge of neologistical tendencies, we must also raise our voice on behalf of the Hebrew Muse, the eldestborn of Poetry, the handmaid of Devotion, the sister of Prophecy, who appears to us to have suffered cruel injustice at the hands both of learned and of unlearned translators. We know, indeed, that to speak of the Psalms and other portions of the Hebrew Scriptures as poetry, will sound in the ears of some persons like the language of Neology: as if to exalt their merit as compositions, was to lower their inspiration. Pity that these watch-dogs of orthodoxy cannot distinguish a friend from a foe; but they must bark on. We shall close this article with one more specimen of the sacred poetry of the Hebrews'-no matter whence obtained-in which, we venture to hope that the sentiments and spirit of the original will be thought to have been preserved with as much fidelity as in the most literal prose version, or in the most diffuse and ornate paraphrase.
Psalms XLII, XLIII. As for the distant water pants the desert's fleet gazelle, So longs my heart for Thee, O God !within Thy courts to dwell. Like her I thirst, but thirst for thee, the source of life and joy. O when among Thy saints again shall praise my tongue employ? But here my tears have been my drink, my solace night and day, While, Where is now thy God? I hear the taunting heathen say. I think
upon the happy days, and mourn the Sabbaths fled,