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and feeling, he attempted a version of the Psalms into French rhyme, aided by Theodore Beza, and encouraged by the Professor of Hebrew in the University of Paris. This translation, not aiming at any innovation in the public worship, received the sanction of the Sorbonne, as containing nothing contrary to sound doctrine. Solicitous to justify this new application of his poetical powers, Marot expatiates in his dedication on the superior claims of sacred poetry, and observes" that the golden age would now be restored, when we should see the peasant at his plough, the carman in the streets, and the mechanic in his shop, solacing their toils with psalms and canticles; and the shepherd and shepherdess, reposing in the shade, and teaching the rocks to echo the name of the Creator." *
This version soon eclipsed the brilliancy of his madrigals and sonnets. In the festive and splendid court of Francis I. of a sudden nothing was heard but the psalms of Clement Marot. By each of the royal family and the principal nobility of the court,
Le Laboureur a sa charruë,
Du sainct nom de Createur.-CLEMENT MAROT.
a psalm was chosen, and adapted to a popular ballad tune.
Calvin soon discovered what a powerful auxiliary psalm-singing might prove to the reformed religion, and immediately introduced Marot's version into his congregation at Geneva. They were adapted to plain and easy melodies by Guillaume de Franc, and became a characteristic badge of the newly established worship. Germany next caught the sacred ardour, and the choral mode of service yielded to the attractive and popular character of a devotional melody, in which all might join, without distinction of rank or character. Psalm-singing being thus associated with the Reformed religion, became interdicted to the Catholics under the most severe penalties.
This predilection for sacred song soon reached England. Previously however to this event, Sir Thomas Wyatt and the celebrated Lord Surrey had translated portions of the Psalms into metre. We subjoin a brief specimen from each of these writers, as illustrating the style and poetical pretensions of that early period of English literature.
PSALM XXXII.-Beati quorum, &c.
Oh! happy are they that have forgiveness got
* This mode of adaptation may be seen in the" Godly and Spiritual Songs," &c. printed at Edinburgh in 1597, and reprinted there in 1801,-Park.
As by merit, which recompenseth not;
PSALM Viii. LORD, WHAT IS MAN?
But yet among all these I ask, "What thing is man?"
Or what is Adam's son that bears his father's mark?
For whose delight and comfort eke Thou hast wrought all this work.
I see thou mind'st him much, that dost reward him so :
Earl of Surrey.
Sir Thomas Wyatt versified the seven Penitential Psalms, and died in 1542. The Earl of Surrey honoured his memory and virtues by three sonnets. Five years afterwards this distinguished and highly
gifted nobleman fell a victim to the tyranny of Henry VIII. and was beheaded, in the year 1547 He has left a version of the eighth, fifty-fifth, seventy-third, and eighty-eighth Psalms.*
The versification of Sternhold and Hopkins, the first that was ever used in the Church of England, next demands our attention. Sternhold was groom of the robes to Henry VIII. It is singular that both in France and England we are indebted to laymen and court poets for the introduction of what subsequently became so characteristic a feature in the reformed worship. Sternhold composed fifty-one Psalms, and dedicated his version to King Edward VI. His coadjutor in this undertaking was John Hopkins, a clergyman and school-master, in Suffolk. His poetry is rather of a higher order than that of Sternhold. He translated fifty-eight Psalms. To the above may be added the names of William Whyttingham, Dean of Durham, who added sixteen Psalms. The hundredth and hundred and nineteenth Psalms were included in this number. The rest were contributed by Robert Wisdome, Archdeacon of Ely; by William Hethe, a Scotch divine; John Pullain, and Thomas Churchyard, one of the pages of the Earl of Surrey. The entire version of the Psalter was at length published by John Day, in 1562, attached
* There is also a fragment of a comment on the Seven Penitential Psalms, in English verse, attributed to Dr. Alcock, Bishop of Ely, the founder of Jesus College, Cambridge.
for the first time to the Common Prayer, and entitled, "The whole Booke of Psalmes, collected into English metre, by J. Sternhold, J. Hopkins, and others, conferred with the Ebrue, with apt Notes to sing them withall."
They are believed to contain some of the original melodies composed by French and German musi cians. Many of them are the tunes of Gondinel and Le Jeune, who are among the first composers of Marot's French psalms. Not a few were probably imported by the Protestant refugees from Flanders, who fled into England from the persecution of the Duke of Alva. Some of our own musicians, such as Marbeck, Tallis, Tye, Parsons, and Munday, are supposed to have contributed their talents towards this undertaking.
We insert a few extracts from the original version, which in this refined age will appear rather ludicrous, and unsuited to the dignity of sacred poetry.
PSALM 1xxxiv. 12.
Why doost withdrawe thy hand aback,
O plucke it out, and be not slack
To give thy foes a rappe!
PSALM lxviii. 37.
For why? their hearts were nothing bent,
The miraculous march of Jehovah before the