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greater freedom and adaptation. tunes adapted to them, was enough No religious poetry abides in the to preclude them from popular use. memory so much like the prose Another version that has been hightranslations of the Psalms, as por. ly extolled, was by Sir John Dentions of Milton and Thompson. ham,* better, known as the author Other forms of blank verse, whether of Cooper's Hill,' who died in in stanzas, like Collins's Ode to 1668; yet it is said to be now comEvening,' or in irregular para- paratively rare, and though. fitted to graphs of unequal lines and varied the tunes used in churches,' does measures, like Southey's Thalaba, not appear to have been used with would allow of fidelity to the in. them. If the single version given spired original along with appropri. in the notices before us, of the ate movements and musical caden. 145th Psalm, be a fair specimen of

Where rhyme is added to this the whole, we can hardly account for variety of measure in the same the fact that it has not been used to piece, there is an effect which all some extent in public worship, as remember to have felt in some of well as read and admired. Besides the greatest lyric compositions, par. the occasional introduction of unticularly Dryden's

Dryden's Alexander's suitable or inconvenient measures, Feast. The specimen given in the we are disposed to assign another Psalmists of Britain, from Josiah reason which may have hindered Conder's versions, was intended by the popular use of Denham's verthe author to carry out some such sion, and still more of Sandys's. idea, and is more than respectably To use a significant, though not acexecuted. Southey should have curate phrase, they are perhaps rendered Psalms 104-107 into un. * too poetical,' at least in many pas. rhymed odes, on the principles of sages, for the purposes of popular his preface to Thalaba ; or the He- devotion. No quality is more esbrew bards should have been thus sential, as we shall have occasion represented by their most rightful to observe again, in a good hymn, successor, Milton.

than simplicity of thought and The version by George Sandys, style. Whatever is fanciful, or or. the traveler, published in 1638, was nate, or gorgeous, is felt to be more not only adapted to singing, but ac- out of place here than in any other companied by new tunes for pri- poem. And this is even more true vale devotion. We have seen oth of versions of the Psalms than of er specimens more favorable than original hymns, because they claim that given by Mr. Holland. Some to represent the meaning of inspirof them are found in recent compi. ed authors. The point deserves lations for worship, though altered ; more attention than we have room for example, the 3d version of the to give it here. 92d Psalm in the Connecticut Col. With these versions we may class lection. Sandys's Psalms, as a whole, others which have appeared more have received high praise. They recently, having acknowledged are pronounced by Montgomery merit and quite readable, yet not incomparably the most poetical in adopted by congregations, so far as the English language,' and Conder seconds the opinion. Baxter warm.

*•I resign to Sir John Denham,' says ly admired his Paraphrases, espe- best poet, if he had given his genius but

Watts in his preface, the honor of the cially of Job, but regretted that he a just liberty ; yet his work will ever . had not turned the Psalms into shine brightest among those that have metre fitted to the usual tunes.' confined ihemselves to a mere transla

tion.' The fact that his measures

• But,' he adds, that close con

finement has often forbid the freedom and uncommon, though accompanied by glory of verse.'

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we know, in public worship. They 1829, has added several pieces to furnish materials, however, for ma- some of the collections now in use, ny popular compilations. The best and his name has been made familknown is Merrick's version, pub- iar to many readers in the Church lished in 1765, and recast,' as Mr. Psalmody, published in Boston, Holland tells us, by Tattersall, in which borrowed from it largely. It 1797, “for parochial use.' • He has many respectable stanzas, and brought to the task,' it is said, 'in is free from the prevailing faults of perhaps a greater degree than they similar works, yet without attaining had been combined in any previous great positive excellence. The versifier, the accomplishments of Spirit of the Psalms,' by H. F. the scholar, the poet and the Chris. Lyte, affords twelve of the versions tian.' Extracts from his work are adopted in the Connecticut collecto be found in many compilations, tion, and more of those in the and among the four taken from it Church Psalmody. The extracts in the Connecticut collection, the we have seen correspond to the title fourth version of the 39th Psalm is of the book, and are rather poems deservedly popular. In most of the founded on the Psalms, than verspecimens we have seen, there is sions. Some of them, however, are not however enough condensation spirited paraphrases or imitations, and vivacity to make the original and of more service in public wor. work a desirable substitute for oth- ship at this day than most of the ers of the kind. Among the Psalms literal versions. A pleasant speciin the Connecticut collection, fifteen men will be found in the two col. pieces are taken from the version lections just mentioned, on the 92d by William Goode. In the account Psalm, beginning 'Sweet is the before us, he is said to be the pre- work, O Lord.' With these works sent rector of St. Antholive's, the of Merrick, Goode, Wrangham and very first London church in which Lyte, we class that which we have psalm singing began in connection already referred to, by Mr. Burgess, , with the Protestant worship.' In as to its use in public worship. We looking over his two considerable are not aware that even Merrick's, volumes, we were struck with his though the oldest and best known of success in the things he chiefly these, has been adopted as a whole aimed at-in using plain language; in any congregation, nor will any of in closely following the original them have this kind of success, if Psalms, versifying every part of indeed their authors expected it. each, if we remember rightly ; yet We may claim for the American giving that evangelical or New Tes- version, that if occasionally less tament interpretation, which he had smooth or flowing, it is yet more observed gave so much value to strictly a version than either of the Watts's version ; and employing oc- others. Great care is used too in casionally metres, such as the tro. the structure of the verse, which is chaic 7s. which were not used by fully and accurately rhymed,-a Watts, yet are popular. His work point in which the English psalmis probably, in most respects, the ists have generally been deficient.* best of the kind that has appeared Besides lending some aid to devout for many years, and is much re. reading, these versions may be class. sorted to by compilers. Williamed together as having a value in Wrangham's* version, published in furnishing materials for many of the

books that are used, and others that * Many have confounded this author with Archdeacon Francis Wrangham. * The English compiler says of this Holland distinguishes them, and says the version, " There is not a bad or doubtful former died in 1832.

rhyme in the whole range of 276 pages.'

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will yet be used, by Christian assem. manent hold of the public mind, be-
blies. We have not seen Keble's long to the literature of English
version, but the specimen before us Psalms; but they make no part of
and the compiler's judgment lead the history of psalmody, if we use
us to think that notwithstanding the this word in its common reference
author's previous reputation, and to the matter of public worship.
though even here we find gleams of Of all the entire versions, about se-
his characteristic refinement, he has venty in number, described in the
added little or nothing to the stock work under review, it is surprising
of materials to which future compi- to see how few have been at any
lers will resort. Other new ver- time adopted, to any extent, among
sions will be made, but no one of all the congregations of every name,
them can become the exclusive lan- whose wants were to be supplied.
guage of a congregation in praising The history of seven Psalm-books,
God, as some of their predecessors or rather we might say of five, is
have been. Every new metrical the history of metrical psalmody,
Psalter thus honored, must avail in nearly all the churches that use
itself of the labors of many com- the English language, down to the
petitors in this department, and con- present day. Before briefly notic-
struct from the choicest fragments ing these versions, we will glance at
of translation, paraphrase and imi. certain earlier facts which have to
lation, to be found among them all, do with their introduction and char-
a diversified yet harmonious whole. acter.
• There are, it may be, so many

The Psalms have ever been a fakinds of voices in the world, and vorite part of the inspired writings none of them is without significa- for all devotional uses; but their distion;' and if wisely blended, they tinguishing use, from the time of may frame the happiest utterance of their original composition, has been the inspired sentiment of the Psalms. in the public or social worship of It would be well, therefore, for sa. God, as forms of praise adopted by cred poets who would enrich our his people, and sung with or with. metrical psalmody, to apply them out instrumental accompaniments. selves to portions of the Psalter, if Their Hebrew name signifies prais. only to detached fragments, rather es, and the Greek title in the Septhan to the whole book. Montgom. tuagint, from which our English ery, in his Songs of Zion,' has ver- word psalm is derived, signifies a sified only a few Psalms ; and these touch or twang of a string, and are not so much translations as par- hence music, as of a stringed instru. aphrases and imitations; but he has ment, and hence again in later usthus added more to the treasures of age, song, as accompanying the in. lyric devotion, obtained from the strument.* So the English word whole inspired book, than any other Psalter, applied to the book of Psalms, writer since the time of Dr. Watts. is made from a Greek word which We shall have occasion to speak of signifies a stringed instrument. The him more particularly in another book has been called the poetical place. The important aid he has anthology of the Hebrew nation,' given to the offices of public devo- being the work of several authors, tion, in attempting only a part, com. though bearing the name of the most pared with what has been done by distinguished, and of more than one many who have attempted the whole, age. The structure of the Psalms is an instructive example.

has been a subject of much investiThe numerous versions which gation and perplexity. Their pewith various degrees of merit have failed of any considerable or per

Robinson's Les.

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culiar feature which we call paral. Zacharias, and others, in extempo. lelism, is of comparatively modern raneous language, which yet was discovery. It is generally conceded naturally drawn in part from kinthat they are unrhymed, and without dred strains recalled from various any such exact metres as are found passages in the Old Testament, in classical poetry; yet that they Still the Psalms were the forms of had to Hebrew ears, a certain rhyth- public praise. Translated into varimical character, at least a slightly ous languages, they continued to be measured movement, which fitted such exclusively, so far as we know, them to be sung more easily than in all the Christian churches, till mere prose, and that they were sung prose-hymns or anthems composed in various methods adapted to their for the purpose began to be used structure, though not now very clear. also. Some of these, if not as old ly ascertained. Some of them were as is sometimes pretended, are yet probably used in the first temple, of very ancient date ; as for examand in the tabernacle before it. For ple the Te Deum, made familiar in centuries before the birth of our our language by the book of Com. Savior, they constituted, in the mon Prayer, under a title taken, as form preserved to us, the hymn- are the titles of the accompanying book of the church of God. In the Psalms, from the initial words of the Hebrew original, or in the Greek Latin version retained in the service translation, they were still without of the church of Rome.* •It has the form of our lyric compositions. been shown,' says Mr. Holland, We know of no other sacred odes that the precedent for metrical and used in the earliest Christian assem. even for rhymed hymns, existed in blies. Our Lord and his disciples the church before the time of Luare said to have sung a hymn, or to ther,' and he instances among hymns have hymned, after the last supper,* to the virgin the one so often quoted, when they probably used one or beginning, “Stabat mater,' &c. But more of the Psalms which the Jews these he allows to have been excepwere accustomed to use after the tions. " It is said that in Protestant passover. At midnight, in prison, countries the Romish church somePaul and Silas 'sang praises,' or times humors the people so far as hymned unto God.' In two places to allow of a metrical hymn, even in in Paul's epistles, we read of psalms, their own language, and even one and hymns, and spiritual songs ;'t from Dr. Watts,-a measure of neterms which can not be now accu- cessity rather than choice. But un. rately distinguished, except that the til the Reformation, with scarcely an first belonged to the inspired book exception, singing in the public ser. thus entitled, and the others may vice of that church, and for aught have been applied to passages reci. we know of the Greek and other ted from any sacred Scriptures, or oriental churches, was confined to to hymns that have not come down prose pieces, as well as to a lan. to us, if there were such, or to ex- guage which the people did not un. temporaneous expressions, which derstand. The Psalms retained the however could not be uttered at chief place. In the assemblies of once by several worshipers without the early Christians probably they confusion, like the jarring of tongues were often recited rather than sung. when every one had a psalm.' It When the voices of a congregation was no doubt common for individu. joined in singing prose Psalms, as als to praise God, as did Mary,

* For an ancient Latin and still older * Matt. 26: 30. Mark 14: 26.

Greek hymn, the reader is referred to + Eph. 5: 19. Col. 3: 16.

Coleman's Christ. Ant., pp. 225, 226.


they did in some places, or when vid's Psalms into French rhymes.'* two sets of voices sung alternately, These versions struck a fresh vein, or when one or more conducted the and became not only popular but exercise, with a chorus from the fashionable at the French whole, the music, rude as the art it court.* The poet anticipated for self then was, could only be of the them popularity, predicting their simplest sort, the plainest cantilla- common use in almost the same tion or mere musical utterance of terms in which an old Romish wri. the words. The style of chanting ter describes the use anciently made was modified at successive periods, of the Psalms in another language ; Ambrose introducing into the west- but he does not appear to have exern church in the latter part of the pected for them the place they affourth century, a more regular sys. ierwards obtained in public wor. tem, after the example of the east- ship. At first the Catholics themern, and Pope Gregory making other selves' are said to have adopted and more permanent changes near these sacred songs as serious balthe close of the seventh century, lads.' But the reformers on the conwith a view to greater simplicity.*

tinent found in them an opportunity New refinements in the science of too favorable to be neglected. They vocal and instrumental music, and desired to make the Psalms, as well especially of harmony, made this as other Scriptures, essentially popupart of worship in later times often lar, and hence to have them not only too artificial and difficult to be at. in a language which the people could tempted except by professional per- understand, but in a form in which formers. Still however in the or- they could be generally sung withdinary service of the church of out the aid of instruments or choirs. Rome, and in the cathedral service Tunes having been adapted to them, of the English church, the Psalms are Marot's Psalms were introduced by often chanted in a simple manner. Calvin into his congregation at Ge

The use in public worship of the neva, and presently established as Psalms, in a metrical form and in

a conspicuous and popular branch of the language of the people, is prop- the reformed worship. They were erly dated from the Reformation. popular too, as they have been since, Luther is shown to have contempla- on less sacred occasions, taking hold ted such a practice soon after he be- of the common mind with the comgan his career, and before requi. bined attractions of simple music and site compositions could be had. · But intelligible religious sentiment. Yet a popular French poet, Marot, taking they did not, as one might infer from a devout turn, at least as an author, Mr. Holland's account, entirely supand inclining also to Lutheranism, plant other forms of praise in all the 'about the year 1540, attempted with continental churches. Long since the assistance of his friend Theodore Beza, and by the encouragement of

* We quote from Holland, who

quotes the professor of Hebrew in the Uni. partly from Warton, and whose historical

introduction is of much interest. versity of Paris, a version of Da.

7“ With a characteristic liveliness of

fancy, by each of the royal family and the * What are called ihe Gregorian chants, principal nobility of the court, a Psalm were compiled parily from melodies that was chosen and fitted to the ballad tune were even then among the most ancient; which each liked best. Prince Henry and hence Lowell Mason somewhere sug- who delighted in hunting, was fond of gests that possibly some of those strains Like as the bart desireth the water inay have been súng by Paul and Silas in brooks,' which he constantly sung in go. their prison. The supposition is not in- ing out to the chace.” A lady“ between credible and certainly is pleasant. Mr. whom and himself there was an attachMason has drawn several of bis hymn. ment, look • From the depth of my heart, tunes from the chants referred to.

O Lord.'"-See Vol. I, p. 47.' VOL. IV.


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