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PREFACE.

IT

was the original intention of the Compiler of this little volume, to have given a complete metrical translation of the Book of Psalıns, selected from all the different Versions which he could meet with : from this task, however, after bestowing some time and pains in the pursuit, he desisted ; convinced, that a very large proportion of the Psalms have never yet had justice done to the beauties of their poetry, by any of their numerous translators.

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He has therefore only selected such as he thought most worthy of the public eye ; many

of them indeed are well known, and justly admired; some he has taken from our older poets, and a few from Manuscripts in the British Museum.

For extracting from Bishop Lowth's * Lectures on Sacred Poetry such passages, as apply exclusively to the Psalms, no apology can be necessary; where-ever a Psalm is given, the observations of this excellent Critic will form a most desirable preface, and even in the absence of the particular Psalm itself in this collection,

* “ These prelections (says an elegant Critic) abounding in remarks entirely new, delivered in the purest and most expressive language, have been received and read with almost universal approbation, both at home and abroad, as being the richest augmentation literature has in our times received, and as tending to illustrate and recommend the Holy Scriptures in an uncommon degree. -Dr. Warton, Note on Pope's Messiah.

the reader may turn to the common prose translation in bis Prayer-Book, to see those beauties, which this learned prelate will teach him justly to appreciate.

The notes of Dr. Geddes are taken from his new translation of the Psalms, which, it is to be regretted, he did not live to finish ; the work breaks off at the 109th Psalm.

The earliest English metrical translation the Editor has met with, is a beautiful *MS. on vellum, in the British Museum, which once belonged to the Monastery of Kirkham,

Mr. Warton quotes from an English version of St. Jerom's French Psalter, in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and which he refers to the reign of Henry II. or Richard I; and an

* Psalterium triplicatum Lat. Gal. Ang. liber Monasterii de Kirkham. Harl. MSS. 1770.

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otlier in the Bodleian,""* which, says the historian of English Poetry,

« much resembles in style and measure this just mentioned,” and he adds, “if not the same, it is of equal antiquity.”

Among the Cotton MSS. is tanother copy of this translation.

In the same repository is a beautiful vellum * MS. containing the seven penitential Psalms, from which the 51st hath been selected for the following work.

The next MS Psalm in point of date, that has fallen in the way of the Editor, is the 142d by the learned Sir Thomas Smith, Secretary to Edward VI. and Queen Elizabeth ; but though curious as the production of so eminent a scholar and siatesman, it is not sufficiently correct for publication..

* History of English Poetry, vol. i. p. 23.
+ Vespasian. D. vii.

MS. 1953. 4. D. Psalmi Thomæ Brampton, 1414.

Another MS. of the seyen penitential Psalms occurs also in the British Museum,

Robert Smyth, one of the many sufferers in the reign of Queen Mary, bas rendered the first part of the 119th Psalm, but not with sufficient merit to entitle it at this day to be brought to light.

The same library likewise contains a MS translation of fifty Psalms by Sir William Forest, with a poetical preface, and a dedication to the Protector Somerset.

Another MS. † preserved there, contains about forty Psalms, many of which are extremely well done, by Francis and Christopher Davison, Joseph Bryan, and Richard Gipps. Francis Davison is well known to all lovers of early English Poetry, as editor of a valuable collection, called the “ Poetical Rhapsodie.” From this MS. the Editor hath selected four

+ Harl. MSS. 6930.

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