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The Americans must legislate as they please; but we have no doubt that the abolition of slavery in the British Islands would make even the Carolinians begin to look about them. In the mean time, we cordially wish success to the Colony of Liberia, and to all plans of non-compulsive colonization, that may at once benefit Africa, and relieve the United States of their black paupers.
We had intended to advert to the other publications mentioned at the head of this article; but our limits forbid. Mr. Jeremie's * Four Essays ' ought long ago to have been brought under the notice of our readers ; but we hope that most of our friends have already made themselves acquainted with their contents. If not, we earnestly recommend to their attention his full-length portrait of Colonial Slavery: it is from the life. No wonder that the people of the Mauritius were unwilling to receive Mr. Jeremie as their Attorney-General. The Anti-Slavery Record will be found an interesting summary of the latest intelligence relating to the Colonies; and we hope that it will not be overlooked among the crowd of penny periodicals. From Jamaica papers received to the 1st of August, it appears that the persecution against the Missionaries, instead of abating, becomes every day more general and outrageous. It remains with the first Reformed Parliament to decide, whether Jamaica is henceforth to be governed by the Colonial Union as an independent State, or to be treated as a colony in insurrection against the British Government, which it sets at defiance. If, remarks Mr. Jeremie, the British
Sovereignty is to be any thing more than a name, has it not a right to protect its own subjects from oppression, not only in its • colonies, but throughout the known world ;-by force of arms ' from equal to equal; by legislation where its authority is para
mount? The colonies have their charters; but what is there in • their charters to prevent Parliament from explaining its own
meaning; what, to sever the tie between sovereign and subject; • what, to prevent the Legislature's pronouncing that, wherever
waves the British flag, man shall not murder his fellow ?' What to prevent its declaring every subject of the British sceptre henceforth a freeman under the equal protection of the laws, and abolishing slavery for ever?
Art. III. 1. The Book of Psalms, translated into English Verse, and
illustrated with Practical and Explanatory Notes. By Edward
Garrard Marsh, M.A. 8vo. pp. 510. Price 12s. London, 1832. 2. A Rhyme Version of the “ Liturgy” Psalms. By Henry Ga
hagan, Esq., M.A. Christ Church, Oxon; Barrister at Law.
12mo. pp. 226. Price 7s. London, 1832. W E wish that we could compliment Mr. Marsh upon having
produced a better metrical translation of the Psalms, than Bishop Mant, whose volume was noticed in our former Series; * but this work must, we imagine, be regarded as affording another instance of an author's mistaking the pleasures of composition for success. We can easily conceive that Mr. Marsh has found much pleasure and profit in studying the sacred compositions upon which he has exerted his ingenuity; and he may have so keenly felt the poetic beauty of the originals, as to fancy he had succeeded in transferring it to his own numbers. But we must candidly assure him that he is not a poet; and that whatever merit his Translation may have in other respects, it is sadly deficient in all those felicities of expression and melodious collocations which are usually considered as distinguishing prose from verse. The first requisite in a poetical translator is, a thorough mastery of the art of language, a taste capable of discriminating the shades and colours of words, with an ear that resents a discord. We know not why it should be imagined that the Book of Psalms demands, or deserves, less of poetic taste and genius to be employed upon the translation, than the Odes of Pindar or of Horace; but so it is, the Versifiers of the Psalms have frequently been persons not even aspiring to the character of poets, or, if poets, they have not treated the Psalms as poetry. Our metrical translators of these sublime compositions may be distinguished under four classes : 1. Those who have simply endeavoured to turn the Psalms into metre, for the purposes of Psalmody, adhering as closely as possible to the literal rendering of the Psalter ; such as the venerable Thomas Sternhold, John Hopkins, John Milton, and others. 2. Those who have sought to adapt the Psalms of David to Christian worship by free imitations,--as Watts and Montgomery. 3. Those who have paraphrased the Psalms with the intention of illustrating their poetic beauty, but sacrificing to this object the fidelity of translation, and often the true character of the original : Buchanan and Johnston, in their Latin versions, Sandys, Merrick, and other English' paraphrasts fall under this class. 4. Those who have aspired to give the Psalms a metrical form, with as much fidelity to the spirit and expressions of the sacred originals as is practicable. Of the very few who come under this last class, small has been the success. Tate and Brady seem to have aimed at this ; Sandys is occasionally very close ; Montgomery, whenever he chooses, and his purpose allows of it, felicitously so; but Bishop Mant and the present Translator are the only individuals, within our recollection, who have boldly undertaken to render the whole of the one hundred and fifty Psalms into verse, not for psalmody, nor with the freedom of paraphrase, but according to the laws of poetic translation. We should be very sorry that their want of
success should be taken to prove any thing more than the difficulty of the task, and the necessity of combining with the spirit of devotion a highly cultivated taste, and some measure of poetic genius, in order to do justice to these inspired compositions.
No one, indeed, who brought to it the high qualifications requisite for success, would sit down doggedly to the task of versifying the whole Book of Psalms in their present order, without reference to the internal evidence of their different date, purpose, and authorship. No one who felt their poetic beauties, would think of versifying indiscriminately, and in the same style, the prophetic psalms, the didactic or sententious, the choral and interlocutory, the liturgical, and those of a votive and (if we may so speak) biographical character. Metre is not a thing so arbitrary and inexpressive as those persons are apt to imagine, who regard it as merely a mode of suiting words to different tunes, long measure, common measure, and so forth. Nor is the propriety very obvious, of making the same form of stanza serve for a hallelujah, an elegiac complaint, an ode of triumph, and an acrostic of proverbial axioms. We cannot conceive that Spenser's Faery Queen would have lost none of its effect by being written in Hudibrastic couplets, or that Gray's Odes would retain their spirit and elegance in the form of heroic verse. If the cxixth Psalm must be versified as one connected poem, which it is not, the common metre of Chevy Chase may be as suitable as any other; e. g.
· Yearly and daily thee I praise,
And seek to know thy laws.
For I prefer thy cause.' We do not, however, perceive what is gained by the laborious ingenuity with which Mr. Marsh has contrived to make four verses successively begin their first and third line with A, then with B, &c., going regularly through the English alphabet, but to the unfair exclusion of Q, X, and Z. The alphabetic or acrostic poems of the Hebrews appear to have been intended to assist the memory, or, perhaps, to prevent any sentence from being lost through the carelessness of a scribe; thus serving, like the string upon which pearls are hung, to supply artificially the want of connexion between the detached sentences of which such poems always consist. The acrostic is a sort of inverted rhyme, for which it is the substitute; but it neither suits the English language, nor can answer any purpose, when rhyme is used, except that of displaying the unprofitable ingenuity of the writer. "Its effect is positively unpleasing to the English ear; and it must class, therefore, with the winged, heart-shaped, and pyramidical stanzas of Herbert and Quarles, among mere typographical devices. With regard to the common metre' above referred to, we are far from
var imody it from el hambyo hich
denying that it is susceptible of great sweetness and pathos, and it is peculiarly adapted for music; but, in didactic poetry, it is apt to drag heavily,—to degenerate into a monotonous, soporific sing-song; and in narrative, it is execrable. On the other hand, our narrative metre, the only one in which it is possible to tell a story with good effect, the eight-foot Iambic couplet of Gay and Scott, is, from its rapid flow, deficient in dignity, and not easily raised to the higher cast of composition. It is still less adapted for didactic poetry, unless relieved by alternate rhyme, or by the pause of the stanza, and sustained by great terseness and force of expression. It then may be rendered both majestic and melodious, of which some of Dr. Watts's long measure hymns afford happy specimens. For the purpose of music, as well as for devotional expression, our Trochaic couplet is one of the most beautiful of all our lyric measures ; and it is susceptible of wonderful variety of effect. Yet it has, till of late, been very little used in psalmody; and we are indebted chiefly to Mr. Montgomery for rescuing it from the disgrace of being fit only for Anacreontic subjects, or the namby-pamby of city pastorals. Even the Monkish Latin hymns, which imitate this measure, might have suggested its appropriateness for sacred lyrical poetry. Mr. Marsh has made no use of it; Bishop Mant, only a very indifferent use. Sandys has frequently employed it, sometimes with very happy and melodious effect; as in his xciid Psalm, beginning :
• Thou, who art enthroned above,
Thou, by whom we live and move,
All thy thoughts are fathomless.'
- You who dwell above the skies,
Waters hanging in the air ;
His, who made you by his word.' Versification like this, from a Poet of the seventeenth century, is undeserving of the neglect which Sandys has met with. Mr. Montgomery, in his “ Christian Poet”, has done him justice. · His Psalms', it is remarked, are incomparably the most poet'ical in the English language ; and yet, they are scarcely known.' They are poetical, too, generally in proportion to the closeness of the version, as is usually the case ; for paraphrase is but lazy translation or meretricious ornament.
But we must proceed to give a few specimens of the Translation in our hands. The following is elegant and close without being servile.
Jehovah, hear my voice! Incline thine ear
Be not, Jehovah, to our faults severe !
But thou art gracious. Therefore will I fear.
Thy name, Jehovah, to my soul is dear.
() Israel, in Jehovah trust alone!
For Mercy is the partner of his throne.
And he for Israel's trespass will atone.' The cxxiid Psalm has often been happily imitated, but the true spirit of the original has not, we think, been more correctly and faithfully illustrated, than in the Author's Translation and Notes. We shall prefix the latter as a suitable introduction.
PSALM CXXII. The glory of ancient Jerusalem is commended by the Psalmist, as uniting on various solemn occasions the scattered bands of Israel. This must have been peculiarly felt by David, when he returned to it after his flight from Absalom, and beheld his offending subjects reunited under his sceptre. Accordingly, the unity of civil government is here commemorated in the eighth line, and the unity of religious worship in the sixth and seventh. These were natural sentiments (lines 9-14) of affection, animated by devotional gratitude, on the sight of that capital from which its king had been banished. But the climax of the Psalmist's delight rests on the house of Jehovah.' p. 481.