« AnteriorContinua »
publication, written in 1769, and printed at Edinburgh in 1775, entitled, “ The Song of So
lomon paraphrased, with an introduction, commentary, and notes. This work is dedicated to Bishop Lowth ; 'but. I have not been able to learn any thing of its author, who appears to have been a man of learning and judgment; and is peculiarly happy in his divisions of this poem, which appear to me preferable to those of Bossuet.
The next version (printed 1781) was the production of a lady, assisted by the late learned and ingenious Mr. Parkhurst, viz. “ A poetical
Translation of Solomon's Song, from the original • Hebrew, by Ann Francis,' accompanied with -notes, from Percy, Harmer, Parkhurst, &c. This being in rhyme, like that of Mr. Gifford (and some others, can be of little use to a literal - translator, and the division of it into acts and -scenes gives it too much the appearance of a modern drama. ,
In the same year the Rev. W. Green, M: A. Tector of Hardingham in Norfolk, published a new translation of the poetical parts of the Old Testament, and among the rest, of Solomon's -Song. The lines were measured and divided according to the hypothesis of Bishop Hare, and contained many passages as awkward and unpoetical as the following:
Ch. I. 5.
Ch. II. 7.
I am black as the tents I conjure you, O.ye daughters
My love until he please,
; There are some good lines, and some learned observations; but in point of arrangement and harmony of stile, the reader will see little assistance is to be derived from this writer. The introduction, commentary, and notes, are, by the author's acknowledgement, chiefly taken from those of Dr. Percy above referred to. 5. In 1785 was printed, at the Clarendon Press,
SOLOMON'S SONG, translated from the Hebrew, by Bernard Hodgson, - LL.D. Principal of ' Hertford college. This version is in measured lines, and might have saved me considerable trouble in that respect, had I seen it before mine was written. I have, however, availed myself of several of the author's criticisms, and in some places corrected my version by them: in others I have widely differed from him, and given my reasons. Dr. Hodgson does not meddle with the allegorical sense, but con-fines his attempt to an elegant and correct version.
The latest production I have seen on this subject is the following, “The Preacher and
• Song of Solomon, newly translated, with short - explanatory notes, by Dr. J. C. Döderlein.' This work was printed in Dutch, at Jena; but an English literal version is given of it in the appendix to the 15th vol. of the Critical Review, 1795.
The late excellent Mr. Romaine published a volume of practical discourses on some detached verses of this book, in which he endeavours to avoid the whimsical application of 'every minute part of the allegory, as practised by the old divines; and recommends a mode of exposition similar to that which I have adopted, and which it is time I should hasten to explain.
The reader is now in possession of my authorities, and the authors I have been able to .consult, among the great number which have written on this book. Should he enquire what method I have taken to profit by their labours, the following particulars will inform him:
: 1. Having attempted from the original'a translation as literal as I conceive our language will bear, I compared it, especially in the difficult passages, with all the others I could procure, not omitting the curious collection of versions in good Bishop Wilson's Bible, ? But as my object was, not to make a new version, but a just one, I have conformed it to our authotized version, wherever I could with propriety,
and consistent with an attempt to preserve the poetic form of the original. For I conceive that, when two words or phrases will equally agree with the sense of the author, our ear is prejudiced naturally in favour of that to which we have been accustomed : and moreover that
* As to the various readings of the Hebrew and early versions, I have noticed most of those which affect the sense, especially in obscure passages : though I cannot say that they remove many difficulties. But in this article I have to acknowledge peculiar obligations to a learned clergyman, who undertook the task of collecting them from the inassy volumes of Walion, Kennicott, and De Rossi,
there is a certain solemnity in the style of out translators that, in general, excellently comports with the character of an inspired work. This done, my translation was submitted to half a dozen, or more, literary friends, all of whom have more or less improved it by their corrections and remarks.
Having compared these, and corrected my translation, the next object was to subjoin a body of notes to justify its propriety; and in this, I have never affected to be original but when necessary; considering any authority superior to my own. In the few notes whichi' are original the reader will find the motives which have determined me.
My next and most arduous undertaking was to give a practical and evangelical exposition of the allegory; such as might interest the inost pious reader, without disgusting the most judicious, and without running into the excesses which I have censured in other writers.
The general hypothesis I have adopted is that of Bishop Lowth, Mr. Henley, Mr. Harmer, and other of the most judicious modern expositors on the allegorical plan: but, as in some particulars I have differed from each of them, I think it unfair to avail myself of their name and authority, without stating those differences.
Bishop Lowth observes, in a passage already cited, that the sacred writers consider JEHOVAH as the husband of the church, the church ai married to him, and matrimony as a sacred symbol of their covenant relation. This I con
ceive just and true; but I think farther, that in such passages regard is in general had personally to our Lord Jesus Christ; and that, on
; account of his assumption of humanity and near relation to us, it is more reverential, decent, and consistent, to refer such passages to him, as is done by the writers of the New Tes-, tament, and even by our Lord himself, who tells us plainly that he is the Bridegroom, and his church the Bride.
Nor is this inconsistent with the opinions of the antient Jews, who found their Messiah almost every where in the Scriptures, as well as Paul and other Christian writers. Indeed they always believed their economy to be peculiarly under the protection of Messiah, in some one or other of his characters, as the great Angel of the Covenant, the King of Israel, or the Son of God. In particular, they applied to him the 45th Psalm (which of all scripture most resembles the Song of Solomon) for the Chaldee paraphrase on the 2d verse says, “Thy fairness, O King Messiah ! exceed. eth the sons of men.'
In the same inanner they applied thc 72d, 110th, and various other psalnıs, as well as many passages of the prophets.
So far I believe his Lordship would not object, but in some of the following remarks we are not perfectly agreed. - Concerning the
explanation of this allegory, I will only add • that, in the first place we ought to be cautious
of carrying the figurative application too far, and of entering into a precise explication of