« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
That walketh in darkness, and hath no light?
Let him trust in the name of Jehovah,
And rest himself upon the support of his God.”
Frequently there is a parallelism in each several proposition and member: “Reproach hath broken my heart; and I have been made sad: And I looked for some to lament; but there was none:
And for comforters; but I found them not.”
II. The second kind of parallels is the antithetic, when two lines relate or correspond to each other by an opposition or contrast of the sentiment, or of the terms, or of both. The degrees of antithesis are various. Sometimes the words or ideas are placed in exact contraposition throughout the whole sentence; at other times, only a general disparity or contrariety is observable in the two propositions. It should be premised, however, that this form of parallelism is peculiarly adapted to adages, aphorisms, and detached sentences, and is mostly found in the book of Proverbs. The antithetic parts of the verse set off the sentiment in more prominent and bold outlines, like the lights and shadows of a picture, and secure their greatest effect in brief, abrupt, pertinent sentences. We are not, therefore, to expect the frequent occurrence of this form in the more connected and elevated poems of the Hebrews, but principally in their didactic and sententious writings. The following are some specimens:
“A wise son rejoiceth his father;
But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.”
Here the terms and sentiments are made exactly to contrast. The wise son is opposed to the foolish son, rejoicing to grief, the father to the mother.
“The memory of the just is a blessing;
Proverbs x, vii. There is no one rule for the interpretation of the Proverbs of Solomon of more universal importance than the law of parallelism; and, in numerous instances, this particular law of antithetic parallelism is the chief and indeed the only reliance of the expositor. The Psalms also contain many specimens of this peculiar form: “Some in chariots and some in horses [do trust;] But we make mention of the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought down and fallen;
Psalm xx, 7, 8. In the members of the first verse (that is, the first two lines)
just quoted, the ground of confidence of the wicked and the pious is contrasted; in the last verse, the consequences, or final results of their confidence, are placed the one over against the other. Again:
“For his wrath is but for a moment;
His favour for life:
Sorrow may lodge for the evening;
But in the morning, gladness.”
“For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be; Yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be found: But the meek shall inherit the land; And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Psalm xxxvii, 10, 11. In the last example, the parallel lies between the first two and the last two lines, making a stanza of four lines.
III. The third species of parallels is called by Bishop Lowth, “Parallels 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, either as equivalent or as opposite; but there is a correspondence and equality between different propositions, in respect to 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. The degrees of the correspondence of the lines of this sort of parallels must, from the nature of it, be various. Sometimes the parallelism is more, sometimes less exact; sometimes hardly apparent.” The following are examples of this form:
* Prelim. Dissert. to Isaiah.
“Praise ye Jehovah, ye of the earth;
The book of Job consists chiefly of the form of constructive parallelisms. The following is a specimen:
“With him is wisdom and might;
The following are beautiful specimens of what Bishop Lowth calls the longer kind of constructive parallelism:
“The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul;
“O! how great is thy goodness, which thou hast treasured up for
IV. Besides the kinds of parallelism already mentioned, there has been reckoned another, which is called rhythmical. “We should entertain too narrow a view of the parallelism of members,” says De Wette,” “if we supposed it to consist excluBively in the proportion of the thoughts; for how could we dispose of the numerous passages where this is entirely wanting—where the thoughts are found to correspond to each other, neither by their resemblance, nor by antithesis, nor by synthesis? The parallelism of members assumed, further, a simply eaternal rhythmical form, such as rhyme is. Originally, and according to rule, the parallelism was expressed in the matter [of the verse; but next, it left its impression as a distinct form, even where the matter did not correspond to it. The proportion [between the principal members of the verse] grew habitual, and hence greater freedom and licence in the thoughts was sometimes tolerated; besides, the constant recurrence of resemblance and antithesis would have been tedious, both to poet and hearer. This species of parallelism we call the whythmical, because it consists simply in the form of the period. Examples of it occur in all the kinds: “First, with the number of the words nearly equal:
“Moreover, by them is thy servant warned;
“Secondly, with striking inequality in the number of the words:
“O that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!
“It is deserving of remark how the rhythmical parallelism makes good its place where three parallel thoughts occur, and there is no internal ground for dividing them into exactly two members:
* Introduction to the Psalms.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly;
“Fourthly, rhythmical parallelism occurs with two double
“When the members of this rhythmical parallelism are more than double, which is sometimes the case, it approaches very near to prose; it is too loose a form to retain an exuberant matter without passing over into the prosaic style. The simply rhythmical parallelism holds the most prominent place in the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Here parallelism of thought is to be reckoned almost among the exceptions; the rhythm alone predominates, and that, too, with a regularity which is rare among Hebrew poets, producing here a suitable effect, namely, monotony of complaint.”
W. Another peculiarity of the Hebrew poetry, which it may be advantagous to the reader to notice, consists in a repetition of certain words by which the sense of a preceding line is brought forward and presented anew, with a view to give increased emphasis to the thought. This rising or advance in the sentiment is a simple invention of the rhythmical art of the Hebrews, and is characteristic of a considerable part of the poetry of the Old Testament. Gesenius supposes that this is the meaning of the title of the fifteen Psalms called “songs of degrees,” or songs of ascent, because the sense, as it were, ascends by degrees or steps, the first or last words of a preceding clause being often repeated at the beginning of a succeeding one. De Wette calls this kind of poetry the rhythm of gradation. (See songs of degrees under the section on titles and inscriptions of Psalms.) Besides the specimen of this kind of poetry given in the section just referred to, the following may assist the reader still further to comprehend its nature and force: