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In the Scottish version this is transposed :
• The Lord's my Shepherd, I'll not want.
He makes me down to lie
The quiet waters by.' In the paraphrase of the Psalms by Tate and Brady, found at the end of the Book of Common Prayer, the same thought is rendered :
• The Lord my shepherd is,
I shall be well supplied ;
What can I want beside ?
Where heavenly pasture grows,
And full salvation flows.'
• The Lord my pasture shall prepare,
Where peaceful rivers, soft and slow,
· Amid the verdant landscape flow.' The collection of Hymns Ancient and Modern contains the following version :
• The King of love my shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
And He is mine for ever.
My ransomed soul He leadeth;
With food celestial feedeth.'
We have yet another form of these beautiful words in the Prayer-Book version of the Psalms, a somewhat older translation than that of the reign of James I. ; thus: The Lord is my shepherd : therefore can I lack nothing. He shall feed me in a green pasture: and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.'
The phrase, “therefore shall I lack nothing,' is older English than 'I shall not want, and the Old Testament translation, by the omission of the conjunction 'therefore,' has lost the idea of perfect trust and confidence, because God is the shepherd.
The Scottish metrical version, the first example in verse given above, is not a good paraphrase of the version of the Old Testament, since in most cases the same words are used, only transposed. The lines-
Since He is mine, and I am His,
What can I want beside?' form a good paraphrase of the Prayer-Book version—'The Lord is my shepherd : therefore can I lack nothing,' the full meaning being retained.
The hundredth psalm affords another excellent example of paraphrase. In the authorized version the first verses are as follows :—'Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness, and come before His presence with a song.'
In the Prayer-Book version of the Psalms the first sentence is paraphrased : Oh be joyful in the Lord.' In Tate and Brady the same thought is expressed:
• With one consent let all the earth
To God their cheerful voices raise ;
And sing before Him songs of praise.'
All people that on earth do dwell,
Come ye before Him and rejoice.'
‘Before Jehovah's awful throne,
Ye nations bow with sacred joy'is another mode of expression for the same ideas.
The first verse of John Gilpin would afford a specimen of a very different character. Thus
John Gilpin was a citizen
Of credit and renown;
Of famous London town.' In prose this may be expressed: John Gilpin was a well-known and respected trader of the great city of London. He was also a captain of the city volunteers.
In addition to the rule already stated, namely, to reproduce the meaning, the whole meaning, and nothing but the meaning of the passage to be paraphrased, the student must apply to his work the maxim of ordinary composition,-he must choose language befitting the subject. A paraphrase of a passage of Milton would require different language from that suitable for a paraphrase of John Gilpin.
Obscurities must be made plain by the use of the fewest possible words, these being carefully selected. To the maxim
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,' it would be well to add, 'Let your words be few and fitly chosen.'
In paraphrasing poetry into prose, much transposition is necessary, since the prose order of words is generally departed from in poetical compositions.
The paraphrase must be worked out idea by idea, and thought by thought, rather than word by word. The student must take a phrase or sentence, study its meaning, and having mastered that, must express it in his own words.
The practice of finding synonyms from the dictionary, and simply substituting them, ends in total destruction of the meaning, since very few words in the English language are exact synonyms, and even when they are so, they frequently have separate offices in the language. For example, the phrases 'belligerent parties'. and 'polemical parties’ both mean parties fighting against each other, belligerent being derived from the Latin and polemical from the Greek; but while the former is used to express actual warfare, the latter is reserved for paper war by means of newspapers, books, or pamphlets. It would have been utterly absurd to describe the parties in the late European war as the polemical parties, or Luther and the monks of his time as belligerents.
Essays or Themes are exercises in free composition, in which the student is required to express his ideas upon the subject given, and to prove the truth of his statements by argument or reasoning.
Essay-writing is useful as a means of training the reasoning powers. Its object is to secure orderly and logical habits of thought. Young students find this exercise difficult, because frequently the subject given is one regarding which they have had no experience, and upon which therefore they can have no ideas; this being the case, they cannot find words, for words are but the outcome of ideas. It would be as reasonable to expect to make a fire without fuel, or to describe a country not yet discovered, as to attempt to express nothing.
An essay should be made the subject of a conversational discussion between teacher and pupil, before it is required as a written exercise.
Essays are of two kinds: first, those upon actual subjects, as education, truth, commerce, the press, emigration ; secondly, those upon proverbs or maxims, which are commonly received as being the experience of men in general, and therefore tried truth, but which the writer is called upon to prove by argument. * Knowledge is power'-'First creep, then walk '-Spare the rod, spoil the child,' are examples of this kind of maxim.
The first step in essay-writing is to arrange a general outline under headings, as a sculptor rough-hews his statue, or a painter outlines his picture, before proceeding to details; this will lead to orderly arrangement of the ideas.
(1) The first heading would naturally be the definition of the subject.
A definition is a concise explanation. A knowledge of the sources of words, is an important help in defining, bringing out the inner meanings, and throwing light upon the past history of the term to be defined. For example, what depths of meaning are brought out by the word 'tribulation, when we find that it is derived from tribulum, the Roman thrashing instrument ! Tribulation, then, is seen to mean not merely sorrow or adversity, but the process of being separated from what is worthless, so that we may be good grain, fit for the heavenly garner.
The best method of giving a definition is to state first the general and then the particular nature of the thing to be defined. Thus, arithmetic is the science,-of numbers; a chimney is a shaft,—for carrying off smoke; education is the training and strengthening of all the good in mankind, with the object of producing the highest possible type of the race. Practice in definitions affords an amusing verbal exercise, the most common subjects (such as window, roof, bedstead, table) being chosen for the purpose.
(2) Following the definition should come the writer's opinion regarding the subject.
(3) Having once stated this, he is fairly launched on his work. He must have his reasons for coming to the judgment pronounced, and it is now his business to show these, in order to prove that his opinion is right.
To prove that a thing is good or bad, beneficial or mischievous, according to the statement made regarding it, we may first state our own experience, founded upon the evidence of our senses. Thus the statement that 'Education is essential to advancement,' we proye by what we have noticed in cases where it has been carefully carried on, and where it has been neglected ; but as the testimony of one is not sufficient to prove a statement, we bring forward the opinion held by people in general upon the point, so far as they agree with our own. The opinion of people in general may often be found expressed in some maxim or proverb. The opinion of any well-known writer may next be. quoted in support of the argument. Thus the statement laid down is confirmed by the experience of the writer, the world in general, and that of some distinct individual, whose testimony is worth having.
Supposing the subject to be a moral or intellectual quality, or a spiritual truth, the writer has to deal with the abstract, and he will best prove his arguments by means of comparison with the concrete. By means of what we know, we understand the unknown; by the concrete we prove the abstract. A judicious use of simile is one of the best methods of argument. Thus the truth of the saying, 'Anger is madness,' may be made clearer by the simile of a river no longer confined within its banks, but without restraint breaking away, and overwhelming the neighbouring districts. The influence of a good life may be compared to a gentle stream flowing through the plain, draining, fertilizing, and doing good during the whole of its course.