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printed, though but very partially circulated, in 1567.

There are, undoubtedly, several passages of great beauty and sublimity in these previous translations, but, as a whole, they must be ranked, in vigour, dignity, and poetic spirit, as greatly inferior to the version of the Sidneys. I know not, indeed, that any subsequent entire metrical translation of the Psalms, from that of the royal James, in 1631, to the labours of bishop Mant, in 1824-not even that of Merrick-can be put in competition with the version of which I am about to offer a few specimens.

In making these extracts, however, I shall confine myself to that portion of the volume which has been attributed to the countess of Pembroke, as I cannot but think that she has, on this occasion, struck the lyre with a fuller and deeper inspiration than her brother.

From the forty-fourth psalm, the first she attempted in continuation of sir Philip's labours, a few stanzas will immediately place before us the extraordinary facility, harmony, and beauty of her versification; whilst a reference to the Bible translation, in general a faithful copy of the Hebrew

text, will sufficiently show, to readers of every description, how strictly she has adhered to the literal sense of the original.

Lorde, our fathers' true relation,

Often made, hath made us knowe
How thy power, on each occasion,
Thou of old for them did showe.
How thy hand the pagan foe
Rooting hence, thy folke implanting,
Leavelesse made that braunch to growe,

This to spring, noe verdure wanting.

Never could their sword procure them
Conquest of the promis'd land:

Never could their force assure them
When they did in danger stand.
Noe, it was thy arme, thy hand;
Noe, it was thy favour's treasure
Spent upon thy loved band:
Loved, why? for thy wise pleasure.—

Right as sheepe to be devowred,

Helplesse heere we lie alone:

Scattringlie by thee outpowred,

Slaves to dwell with lords unknown.

By them all that dwell about us
Tost we flie as balls of scorne,

All our neighbours laugh and flout us,
Men by thee in shame forlorne.
Proverb-like our name is worn,

Oh, how fast in foraine places!

What head-shakings are forborne !
Wordlesse taunts and dumbe disgraces.

Soe rebuke before me goeth,

As my self doe daily goe:
Soe confusion on me groweth,
That my face I blush to show.
By reviling slaundring foe
Inly wounded thus I languish :

Wrathful spight with out ward blow
Anguish adds to inward anguish.

All, this all on us hath lighted,
Yet to thee our love doth last :
As we were, we are delighted
Still to hold thy cov'nant fast.
Unto none our hartes have past;
Unto none our feet have slidden,
Though us downe to dragons cast
Thou in deadly shade hast hidden *.

Were it not that the ancient mode of orthography had been adhered to, the above stanzas might, as to their metrical formation, be taken for modern productions, so correct and flowing is their structure, and so musical their cadence. There may be found, indeed, in this version almost every species of metre of which the language is susceptible; and as a

* Sidney Psalms, pp. 77, 78, 79.

striking contrast to the rapid movement of the passages just given, I shall quote the opening of the immediately succeeding psalm, the forty-fifth, which is rendered into lines of ten syllables in alternate rhyme.

My harte endites an argument of worth,

The praise of him that doth the scepter swaye:
My tongue the pen to paynt his praises forth,
Shall write as swift, as swiftest writer may.
Then to the king these are the wordes I say:
Fairer art thou than sonnes of mortall race,

Because high God hath blessed thee for ay,
Thie lips, as springs, doe flowe with speaking grace.

Thie honor's sword gird to thy mightie side,

O thou that dost all things in might excell!
With glory prosper, on with triumph ride,

Since justice, truth, and meekness with thee dwell.
Soe that right hande of thine shall teaching tell
Such things to thee, as well may terror bring,

And terror, such as never erst befell

To mortall mindes at sight of mortall king*.

Of this translation, the second stanza cannot fail to be admired, as well for the force, and weight, and dignity of its language, as for the vigour of its versification. They are such, indeed, as may be

* Sidney Psalms, p. 80.

said to have done justice to the splendid and powerful imagery of the original.

In the same, or a somewhat similarly constituted stanza of eight lines, has the countess clothed several of her psalms; and not unfrequently has she exhibited in these pentameters some of the very cadences and constructions which we so much admire in the lines of Dryden and of Pope. As instances of this anticipation, I shall bring forward two passages from the opening of the seventy-eighth psalm, where the inspired bard commences an historical retrospect of the Almighty's dealings with his people in the land of Egypt, distinguishing the lines on which I would fix attention by Italics.

A grave discourse to utter I entend;

The age of tyme I purpose to renew.
You, O my charge, to what I teach attend;
Heare what I speake, and what you heare ensue.
The thinges our fathers did to us commend,
The same are they I recommend to you :

That while the yong shall over-live the old,
And of their brood some yet shall be unborn;
These memories, in memory enrold,

By fretting time may never thence be worn,

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