1843 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Richard Daniel

John Holland, in Psalmists of Britain. Records of upwards of One Hundred and Fifty Authors, who have rendered the Whole or Parts of The Book of Psalms, into English Verse (1843) 2:169-72.



In the Bodleian, British Museum, and Lambeth Libraries, are copies of "A Paraphrase On some Select Psalms, By the Reverend Mr. Richard Daniel, Dean of Armagh, the Chaplain to his Grace the Lord Lieutenant. London, Printed for Bernard Lintot, between the Temple Gates, in Fleet Street, 1722." 8vo. pp. 112. He published likewise a Version of the Seven Penitential Psalms, in metre under the title of "The Royal Penitent," in 1727, of which volume I possess a copy. He thus describes the bearing of each Paraphrase: Psalm 6 — The Penitent Pardoned. — Psalm 32 — The Instructor.Psalm 38 — The Distress. — Psalm 51 — Uriah. — Psalm 102 — The Captive. — Psalm 113 — The Supplication. — Psalm 142 — The Persecution.

PSALM XXIX.
Arise, O Israel, know the Lord,
With flow'ry Garlands strew the way;
A thousand Victims, white and pure,
Upon the smoaking Altars lay,
Profusely lavish all your store,
Confess the Godhead, and adore;
With Songs of Praise, your great Deliv'rer meet,
Unbounded as his Love, and as his Mercy sweet.

When Winds and Waves in conflict join,
And long the watry War sustain,
'Tis he, who, cloath'd with dreadful pow'r,
Asserts the empire of the Main,
Whilst o'er the Billows' back he strides,
Or in the furious Eddy rides;
Old Ocean at his Voice begins to roar,
Rolls his insulting Waves, and proudly braves the Shore.

'Tis he the fatal Shaft prepares,
Which does a guilty Age controul;
His burst of Thunder shakes the Earth,
His subtle Lightnings melt the Soul;
The savage kind hear and obey,
And savage Man, more fierce than they;
Whilst his red arm prepares the Bolt to throw,
Flies from his Wrath divine, and dreads th' impending Blow.

His Anger gives to Winds their wings,
Which with their breath the Forest rend;
Tall Cedars split beneath the blast,
Or like the humble Oziers bend:
In vain the Herds to covert fly,
In vain they shun his piercing Eye;
Ev'n Libanus and Sirion, whilst they hear,
Start at his awful Voice, and wonder why they fear.

Happy Israel, chosen Tribes,
With softer Notes your hours beguile,
Tune ev'ry Lyre to sing his Praise,
Who makes the peaceful Olive smile;
The happy Fruit securely taste,
Of glorious Toils, and Dangers past.
His Word shall cause destructive Rage to cease,
And bind the jarring World in everlasting Peace.

Contemporaneously with the above-mentioned paraphrase, was published "The Devout Soul: or, an Entertainment for a Penitent, consisting of Meditations, Poems, Hymns, and Prayers, upon Guilt and Repentance; the Follies and Vanities of the World; and the Sufferings and Afflictions of Human Life: also upon the love of God; the dignity of Human Nature; the benefits of Christianity; and the happiness of a future state. To which are prefixed Essays on Devotional Books and Divine Poetry. By Thomas Coney, D.D., Prebendary of Wells, and Rector of Chedzoy, Somersetshire, 1722." This work, which shews the author to have been a learned as well as a pious man, contains Versions more or less perfect of eighteen Psalms. As they are almost all plainly, rendered in ten-syllable couplets, and are at the same time duplicates of numbers appropriated to names of greater interest in these pages, I have not thought it necessary to give a specimen.

The amiable Dr. Doddridge, whose name is identical with all that is exemplary in the Christian character, left prepared for the press a collection of very sweet Hymns, which were published soon after the author's death in 1751. This work comprises upwards of forty compositions, based upon passages from the Books of Psalms: but not one of them so complete as to be called a Version.