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that time, and so far as we know to congregations, and especially the the present day, prose hymns or older part of them, are in fact ex. 'canticles,' made up chiefly or en- cluded. tirely of portions of the Scriptures, The first English metrical version have been recited or chanted in the of the Psalms that was used gener. services of the French Protestant ally in public worship, has had a church.

reputation or notoriety which dis. The example having been set on arms further criticism; the old verthe continent, this infectious frenzy sion, as it is called, of Sternhold of sacred song,' says Warton, 'soon and Hopkins, being still proverbially reached England at the very critical cited for clumsy measure and unpoint of time, when it had just em- couth rhymes, and their names as a braced the Reformation.' The Eng. synonym for bad poets. Thomas lish church had secured an English Sternhold, like the French poet liturgy under Edward VI, and now Marot, was connected with the court, the most thoroughly reformed party having the favor of Henry VIII, and in that church, for the same reason esteemed in his day for ingenuity that governed Protestants abroad, and piety. The thirty seven verwere favorable to the new mode of sions from his hand were first pubsinging. As soon as metrical ver- lished and dedicated to Edward VI, sions of the Psalms could be had, in 1549, about which time he is supthey came rapidly into use in parish posed to have died. John Hopkins, churches, as a part of the public a clergyman, was a still larger conworship, not supplanting the prose tributor, and rather more in esteem, forms hitherto sung, but supplying having versified fifty eight of the additional forms. It does not appear Psalms.* Though these two writers that the Puritans at that period at- have received the honor and the con. tempted to abolish entirely the chant- tempt bestowed on the collection that ing of the Psalms in prose, nor would bears their names, more than a third the papal or half reformed party of the work was made up by several have allowed such an innovation. other contributors. Some of the On the other hand the latter party versions—that of the 119th Psalm is could not withstand, however they one-bear the initials of William might have disliked it, the introduc- Whittingham,t who was well known tion of metrical singing. There was among the Puritan divines of that a growing jealousy among Protes- day; and Thomas Norton, of some tants generally against choral per- note as a dramatist, added twenty formances in the worship of God, as seven or twenty eight versions. The usurping the part of the people them. whole work was first printed at the selves; and metrical singing was end of the Prayer-book in 1562. adopted the more readily, because Hopkins is understood to have rethe mass of a congregation could vised and improved Sternhold's verbear a part in the plain and familiar tunes first employed. Among their

* Holland says the edition of 1551 condescendants, however, in many pla

tained seven of Hopkins's versions added

to Sternhold's and Whittingham's edition, ces, frequent and hasty innovations

at Geneva in 1556, seve more by himself, have made metrical singing itself a - these fourteen making the fifty one merely choral exercise, from which which have all 'by mistake sometimes

been attributed to Sternhold.' Vol. 1, p.

110. * The book before us says however, that + One of the translators of the Geneva as early as the beginning of the 13th cen- Bible, and afterwards Dean of Durham. tury, metrical legends and paraphrases He is said to have paraphrased the comfrom the Scriptures, in French verse, be- mandinents as still added to the Psalms in came somewhat common in England.'— some editions, and also the song of Simeon Vol. 1, p. 44.

and the Lord's prayer.

sions, and his own and those of his the whole work which could satisfy coadjutors have undergone similar an intelligent and unprejudiced conchanges from other hands. The gregation in our times; yet having writers could hardly have expected been the language of Christian defor their work the extensive and long votion in so many sanctuaries nearcontinued approbation which it has ly three centuries—longer than our in fact received. The critics who received version of the Bible has disparage it most—and such persons been used—it has now a singular generally have paid the least atten- claim at least to our interest and tion to the whole subject-can not veneration. question its popularity, which they The New England version, 10 must account for as they are able. which we have before referred as The question has been warmly moot- published at Cambridge in 1640, ed whether it was ever introduced probably took the place of every into the English established church, other in the infant American coloby lawful authority,' or really, as nies, and was adopted also to some the title-page affirms, allowed to extent in England. Baxter speaks of be sung in all churches;' but if it it as used among others by the non

never received any royal approba. conformists, and Prince says he tion, or parliamentary sanction, found it was by some eminent con. there is no doubt of the fact that it gregations preferred to all others, was allowed, since it was used in in their public worship, even down the parish churches every where to 1717, when he last left that without being in fact forbidden or part of the British kingdom.' In iis discountenanced, and this was all original form, or as revised by the allowance necessary. Its popu. Prince, we suppose it to have been larity provoked imitation and com- used generally in New England, petition,* but it held its place with though not entirely excluding the out a rival for nearly a century; old version, till Dr. Watts •

possess. prevailed in the church of England ed the land.' fifty years longer; and is even to Next

Rouse's version. this day used in several English con- The Westminster Assembly of die gregations, and vindicated by some vines, having amended and appro. writers as preferable to every other ved the Psalms as published by version for the purposes of pub- Francis Rouse, which ihe House of lic worship.

With the exception Commons had recommended to their of the two stanzas on the 9th and consideration, that version was print10th verses of the 18th Psalm, be. ed in 1645 (about four years after ginning, “The Lord descended from its first publication) by authority of above,' which are now in most both Houses of Parliament, and recompilations, and will never be sur. commended to general acceptance.' passed,† there is perhaps nothing in The author was a man of some

note in his day, a member of Par**Dr. Christopher Tye, organist to liament, and afterwards of CromKing Edward VI,' says Holland. . executed' and published in 1553, “ The Actes

well's council.* It did not supplant of the Apostles, translated into English metre-wyth notes to eche chapter, to * Holland has an amusing note of him. synge, and also to play upon ibe lute, « The Rev. Jobn Ward, of Stratford on very necessary for studenies after their Avon, who died about 1680, records in studve to fyle their wyttes," &c.'

one of his Common Place Books, lately 1 One of the lines has often been print published, the following anecdote of ed thus,— On cherubim and seraphim,' Rouse :- Mr. Dodd told me this storie ; --a change which, as Dr, Allen observes the business of lithes in the Protector's in the preface to his collection, is not time, being once hotly agitated in the warranted by any thing that we read of Council, Mr. Rouse stood upp, and beseraphs in the Bible.

spoke them thus : “Gentlemen," says



the old version of Sternhold and William Barton published in Hopkins in England, but was gen. 1644 a version which also had the erally adopted in Scotland. In the favor of Parliament and of many of latter couniry, so far as we can the Puritans. For a time it had learn, the old version had been used popularity enough to be in competifrom the time of its publication, and tion with the one we have just nopartial metrical versions were in use ticed, and we refer to it here be. even before that time. The kirk cause it must have had a place at has always been cautious and con- first in the worship of several conservative, even to excess, on this gregations. We learn from Mr. subject, and would not yield at all, Holland's account, that Philip Henas we have noticed, to King James's ry greatly admired and generally interference in behalf of his own used it,' considering it the last and book. Rouse's version, however, best translation of the singing was part of a Calvinistic and Presby. Psalms.' terian movement, and having been The new version as it is called, or formally adopted, has continued in that of Tate and Brady, was first pubuse not only in the establishment, lished complete, and with the royal but in various dissenting churches of authority,' in 1698. Nahum Tate Scotland to this day. As altered afterwards poet laureate 10 from Rouse's original publication, it Queen Aone, though, like his predis better known as the Scotch ver- ecessor in that office, Shadwell, bet. sion, and is generally supposed to ter known to us as among the vichave the merit of scrupulous fidelity tims of such satirists as Dryden and to the original beyond any other. Pope, than as being of their brothThe Scotch churches in this coun- erhood. Nicholas Brady, like his try once clung to it, and we suppose coadjutor, of Irish birth, was reckmost of them do now, as tenaciously oned a poet too, as well as a docas the auld kirk,' scarcely consent. tor in divinity. Their respective ing to sing anything but what they shares in the work are not now dis. called David's Psalms.*

tinguishable. The version

came into extensive and permanent hee, “I'll tell you a storie ; being travel

use in the English parish churches, ling in Germany, my boot in a place being torn, I staid to have it mended, and

where it continues to be printed there came to me a very ingenious man along with the Prayer-book, as it is and mended itt ; I staying the Lord's day also in the Episcopal churches of in that place, saw one who came upp to

this country.*

We are not aware preach, who was very like the man ihat mended my boot; I enquired and found

how far Sternhold and Hopkins still hee. Itt grieved mee much. keep their ground in the English They told me they had tithes formerly ; establishment. As might have been was fain to take any employment

on bien expected, the new version was not to get a living." I heard the storie, turn

introduced without dissent and oped the Protector, and he presently cried position from the more prejudiced out,“ well, they shall never mend shoes adherents of the old. And it is while I live."

The late Dr. Mason admired the amusing now to see what objections Scotch version above all other Psalms or such men as Bishop Beveridge felt Hymns. He is said to have refused on on the score of what they would some occasion to preach in another have called their taste, when they church besides his own unless they would sing from it. We hare heard ihat he * In American Prayer-books, portions even pronounced it not only the best were subsequently omitted, which made translation but adınirable poetry-yet the enumeration of the pieces different this is scarcely credible. Sir Walter from that of the original Psalms; and of Scott's commendations may be accounted late “the constituted authority' has more for partly by his antiquarianism and na- judiciously numbered the pieces retained tionality.

as ó selections.'


it was

complained of new phrases' and Psalms, published in 1719, intro* romantic expressions in Tate and duced changes and are leading to Brady, who repel modern readers still other changes that need a more rather by the baldness of their particular consideration. It is evident style. The same versifiers have that the successful versions we have been handled severely enough too, noticed, have often suffered unjustly but for very different qualities, by from inconsiderate and superficial later critics, among whom is Mont. criticism. Besides making allowgomery,* who admits however that ance for the antique or obsolete aptheir version of the 139th Psalm is pearance, which the lapse of time admirable. On that Psalm, as our must give them in our eyes, and the readers may see, Dr. Watts borrow- severe test to which continual and ed from them some of the finest indiscriminate popular use has exposlines in his version, acknowledging ed them, we must bear in mind the indebtedness in his note. Their their original design and the conversions of the 100th Psalm, begin. straint under which they were writing. With one consent,' &c. and of ten. Had they been put forth as the 34th, ' Through all the changing sacred poems merely, or as original scenes,' &c. are generally admired hymns, we might have tried them and sung, and most of the late com- by a different standard; we should pilations include other selections have said, they must be good Eng. from their versions. If they make lish poetry, in manner as well as no figure among British poets, yet in matter, or they are nothing. the place

they still maintain in But they were framed to meet a 80 many Christian congregations, different demand—a want which claims for them considerable poeti- ballads, sonnets, and essays, and cal merit, and an honorable name. even the choicest English lyrics,

Dr. John Patrick, a brother of the could not have supplied. We have bishop and commentator of that observed the use of the Psalms in name, published a version of the prose in public worship before the Psalms, part in 1679 and the whole Reformation-how far they engrossin 1715, which deserve to be named ed the office of Christian praise. here as at that time not only in good No uninspired compositions would esteem, but adopted by some of the have been received or tolerated in churches. Baxter is quoted as say

their stead. The Protestants were ing of him, in contrast with his not less intent than the Romanists, Episcopal brother, that he hath on retaining the same divine odes with pious skill and seriousness which the church had used from the turned into a new metre many of beginning, and were even jealous of David's Psalms, and the advantage the prose hymns used with them in for holy affections and harmony the Romish ritual and in the English hath so far reconciled the non. liturgy. They only desired to have conformists, that diverse of them the same material in a metrical form, use his Psalms in their congrega

as well as in their vernacular tongue, tions.' His version is interesting

for the more general use and great. 100 from the fact that Dr. Watts, in er convenience of worshiping as. the notes appended to passages in semblies. Hence the first thing his Psalms, acknowledges his own they required in a version, was that indebtedness to Dr. Patrick.

it should be a translation of the We are now brought in this cur- inspired original, of the strictest sory review of metrical psalmody, sort, yet in metres capable of being to the time of Dr. Watts, whose sung by the people. If it could

only be sung, the various points of * Preface to his Christian Psalmist. lyric excellence and adaptation were esteemed secondary consider and recurring with singular power ations, which ought not to interfere in seasons of sorrow, or peril, or at all with the most literal fidelity of deepened religious experience. in the interpretation. Such an un- And among persons of musical dertaking was more laborious and sensibility as well as devout habits, not less servile, than turning an they had the peculiar advantage of existing translation

into metre. furnishing sacred themes for favor. The meaning of a Psalm being first ile melodies, such as Old Hundred ascertained, it was to be expressed and Dundee, which are still in all in the plainest English words, in the churches. There have always stanzas half-rhymed at least, and been those who felt like Baxter the lines of a given number of sylla- attractions of divine song, if they bles, with or without regularity of did not with his enthusiasm attempt accent, and with such inversions a version of all the Psalms,* and and elisions as might be necessary could not recur to an incident so in order to convey neither more affecting as he relates. For myself,' nor less than the inspired meaning he says, 'I confess that har. in this form. When the versifier's

When the versifier's mony and melody are the pleasure work was done, it came into the and elevation of my soul. I have hands of scholastic divines, to whom made a Psalm of praise in the holy other poetry was a strange art, for assembly the chief delightful exer. revision and emendation. Thus cise of my religion and of my life, Psalms were required to be “drawn and have helped to bear down all into English metre.” Now if any the objections which I have heard man thinks it possible to produce against church music, and against harmonious or even tolerable poet- the 149th and 150th Psalms. It was ry by this process, let him try it; not the least comfort that I had in and the experiment made on a sin. the converse of my late dear wife, gle Psalm, of the toil without the that our first in the morning, and freedom of ordinary translation, last in bed at night, was a Psalm of will enable him to judge more fairly praise, till the hearing of others inof the results in other cases where terrupted it. the whole book has been thus ' at. The introduction of Dr. Watts's tempted.' Yet along with the at- Paraphrase or Imitation of the traction even of most imperfect Psalms, must be reckoned a new rhythm and partial rhymes, the con- era in the history of this subject. fidence felt in the older versions as To him, no doubt, the church of David's Psalms, and not any mere- God is more indebted than to any or ly human compositions, gave them all other uninspired poets; and to the a strong and lasting hold of devout end of time, whereever the English minds. They were understood and language shall be spoken, his sacred sung in the great congregation,' by songs will have a chief place in the 'both young men and maidens, old worship of Christian assemblies. men, and children.' They were The change which he proposed, and the language of praise in the do- to a great extent effected, in the use mestic worship of many a house- of the Psalms and the discussion to hold, as in the Cotter's Saturday which it gave rise, will be consider. Night,' where the Scotch Psalms ed more fully than our present limits were opened with the big ha' Bi- allow, in another number of this ble,' and sung in the sweetest far journal. of Scotia's holy lays. Once lodg. ed in the memory, they were held

* A selection, somewhat altered from

Baxter's versions, is in the new Connecfast as a form of sound words,'

ticut Collection, 148tb Psalm, 7th version. entering into devout meditations, 1 Psalm of Br., II, 95.

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