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and expository, and often throw a flood of light upon obscure passages in Holy Writ. Wither's rendering of the Canticles, Forbush's Ecclesiastes, and the rhythmical versions of Job, are notable examples. The Psalms are completely represented in verse, and there are not a few of superlatiye merit, especially the paraphrases. Among the authors will be found a King and Queen of England and a President of the United States. Here also is discovered our own rugged zealot Cotton Mather, yielding to a softer mood; and the hymnology of the Church is blended in the universal heart-cry of the "sweet singer of Israel”.
The discerning critic will doubtless contend that it is a mistake to have admitted poems of unequal literary value, and that the work of obscure writers should have been rigidly excluded.
While this is true enough from a strictly academic point of view-and the Editor is well aware that any first attempt to collate and present a theme of such importance exhibits serious flaws and imperfections-he can not concede that the most fastidious reader will discover more than an occasional poem which should not have found a place in this ANTHOLOGY.
The criterion of worth was not altogether literary excellence. In several instances, the motive of choice was the individual, extrinsic quality of the composition, making it an item of curiosity rather than a gem of literature. For example, Coleridge's skit, “Job's Luck”, is by no means a brilliant specimen of the poet's power, nor has it a merit other than that of homely homily, but it is properly classified with the rest of our material, even though it be a mere bon mot. And who would not miss George Borrow's exquisite rendering of the Hebrew liturgical classic, “Adon Olam”, which appears to have escaped the notice of all the translators of the Jewish prayer book.
This volume does not presume to exhaust the subject it essays to cover. An additional thousand pages would be required to adequately gauge the influence of Hebrew thought upon English poetry and drama. Selections from the works of several distinguished authors (e.g. Stephen Phillips' “Herod” and Henry Van Dyke's "House of Rimmon”, to quote only a few) have had to be omitted, because their publishers, for material reasons, would not sanction their use. The copyright law has put a curb on the Editor's ambition to reproduce many pieces in
their entirety which are here represented only in meagre part. It will thus be seen that even an approximately complete summary of the subject, comprehended by the title of this work, was rendered impossible by these limitations. It may safely be claimed, however, that this volume contains a greater mass and variety of material than any other printed collection, in English or in a foreign tongue. It must inevitably become an important and valuable reference book to scholar and layman, theologian and literateur.
The Editor ventures to hope that it will induce a more reverent and appreciative reading of the Hebrew Scriptures, and foster a broader sympathy and kinship with the people of Israel, whose treasured heirloom has become the Christian's well-spring of moral inspiration and the universally accepted standard of diction.
The selections are arranged chronologically, according to subject matter, and each single poem bears the author's signature. So far as available, the texts are based on editions recognized as authorized and definitive. Illustrative notes by the authors themselves, or by their subsequent editors, are, for obvious reasons, omitted, except where they are indispensable for the correct understanding of the writer's meaning.
It has not always been possible to fix the authorship of several pieces —the same poem being often attributed to various sources. A like difficulty, but of a more vexing nature, concerns the chronology of the poets. Here, too, the most reliable reference works have been consulted, though not without increasing the Editor's perplexity.
Those who would know what a problem the question of chronological integrity presents to the painstaking student, are invited to read the statements of Louis Heilprin-a noted specialist in encyclopedic studies--in the Preface to his excellent "Historical Reference Book'. In the case of living authors, to attempt to obtain anything like adequate data, is almost as unsatisfactory as to determine the authorship of several fugitive pieces, which are conveniently labelled "anony. mous”, or to fix with any degree of accuracy the period in which some of the "obscure" authors, represented in this collection, flourished.
These are a few of the things which handicap the labors of the anthologist. It is sincerely hoped that a frank expression of these
limitations will suffice to absolve him from blame and responsibility, at least so far as sins of omission are concerned.
The orthography of the original writers has been preserved, throughout. The two early Anglo-Saxon epics, relegated to the APPENDIX to Part One, are reprinted after the modernized versions of their learned editors. Similar modifications may be noted in the quotations from Milton, Wither, and others. These conform to standard editions, while in a few instances the archaic and cumbersome text of the early sixteenth century has been retained.
Exception might be taken to the fact that so much space has been devoted to a single author, but it should be borne in mind that this ANTHOLOGY designs not so much to give specimens from various writers, as to indicate the ramifications of a central theme. Indeed, several metrical versions of the Psalter could now be published, showing each Psalm rendered by a different hand. In the present collection, celebrated passages, like the twenty-third, the one hundred and thirty-seventh, and the one hundred and forty-eighth, are represented in a number of versions, for historic as well as sentimental reasons.
In a work of such scope and magnitude, typographical errors and other technical defects are inevitable. The reading of the proofs alone has proved a herculean task. Only those who have attempted a labor on such a scale can appreciate what an eye-strain and what a nerveracking process it is. The Editor has scanned every line himself, and has enjoyed the expert assistance of MRS. OCTAVE B. SCHMALL, without whose devoted and discriminating care the volume could not have been produced.
For facilitating ready reference, a four-fold INDEX (of Subjects, Authors, Translators and First Lines) has been added, which will prove invaluable to the student and to the general reader.
The INTRODUCTION, from the gifted pen of MR. HUDSON MAXIMalike distinguished in science, invention and letters-is of value and significance, inasmuch as he has demonstrated, in his “Science of Poetry”', the vigor and splendor of Biblical diction, and has vindicated for it, in language no less distinctive and eloquent, the highest rank in the world's inspired literature.
No mere formal acknowledgement can adequately record the Editor's gratitude to MR. SIMON BACHARACH, his Publisher, whose unfailing patience, enthusiasm, and constant personal supervision of every detail, have made this work possible. That an undertaking beset with so many external difficulties should have been carried successfully to completion, is in itself a tribute to his courage and a testimony to his character. If filial love had not prompted the compiler to inscribe this labor of a decade or more to the revered memory of his father, in commemoration of the anniversary of his seventieth birthday (April 22, 1912), that honor would assuredly have gone to MR. BACHARACH, to whom, in very truth, full credit for the HEBREW ANTHOLOGY, as a unique contribution to literature, should be accorded.
Ile who writes the songs of a nation also guides the pen that writes its laws.
Law has been aptly designated codified custom. Actually, law is an attempt to construct experience into prophecy.
Before writing existed, the laws, customs and experiences of a people were told and taught by its prophets. The prophet was a public announcer. He proclaimed present happenings, told the tribal story of the past,-its vicissitudes, wars and conquests; the exploits of its great heroes; and he drew lessons and pointed morals from present and past experiences, and essayed to forecast future events.
There was then no written, no printed page. There were only the pages of memory. It was necessary, therefore, that the language of the prophet should be well adapted to commitment to memory, and that there should be such associations between subject and wording that both wording and theme alike should be cherished and remembered as pure and unimpaired as possible in the process of being handed down from father to son,-from generation to generation.
Poetry was the happiest medium, for the beauty of its form, the power of its diction, the concrete vividness of its figure, served to express thought in the fewest words,—great thought in adequate words, and reverential thought in terms lavendered by time and holy usage.
Therefore, poetry served to give the hearer the amplest information in the most pleasing form, and in the form most easily remembered.
When that hair-snarled, ape-like thing, man's progenitor, looked down from his arboreal perch in the tropical jungle upon the life-anddeath grapple of a fighting world, the imperative necessity for communication of his exigent ideas to his fellows for comfort, co-operation and self-defense, impelled him to employ certain oral sounds as symbols of thought, and he retained in these sounds the old pre-human