1843 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Christopher Pitt

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) 2:182-83.



We have a few Psalms by the elegant translator of "Vida" and "Virgil," who died in 1748. They are not only faithfully rendered, but exhibit that harmonious combination of numbers, which characterises some of the most successful passages of Pitt in other of his poetical undertakings. The following Version of a sublime Psalm, upon which several versifiers have put forth their best strength, is a favourable specimen of the author's skill:—

PSALM XXIV.
Far as the world can stretch its bounds,
The Lord is King of all;
His wondrous power extends around
The circuit of the ball.

For he within the gloomy deeps
Its dark foundations cast,
And rear'd the pillars of the earth
Amid the wat'ry waste.

Who shall ascend to Sion's hill,
And see Jehovah there?
Who from his sacred shrine shall breathe
The sacrifice of prayer?

He only, whose unsullied soul
Fair Virtue's paths has trod—
Who, with clean hands and heart, regards
His neighbour and his God.

On him shall his indulgent Lord
Diffusive bounties shed;
From God his Saviour shall descend
All blessings on his head.

Of those who seek his righteous ways,
Is this the chosen race;
Who bask in all his beauteous smiles,
And flourish in his grace.

Lift up your stately heads, ye doors,
With hasty reverence rise—
Ye everlasting doors, who guard
The passes of the skies!

Swift from your golden hinges leap,
Your barriers roll away,
Now throw your blazing portals wide
And burst the gates of day.

For see! the King of glory comes
Along th' ethereal road,
The cherubs through your folds shall bear
The triumphs of their God.

Who is the great and glorious King?
Oh! 'tis the Lord, whose might
Decides the conquest, and suspends
The balance of the fight.

Lift up your stately heads, ye doors,
With hasty reverence rise—
Ye everlasting doors, who guard
The passes of the skies!

Swift from your golden hinges leap,
Your barriers roll away;
Now throw your blazing portals wide,
And burst the gates of day.

For see! the King of glory comes
Along th' ethereal road,
The cherubs through your folds shall bear
The triumphs of their God.

Who is this great and glorious King?
Oh! 'tis the God, whose care
Leads on his Israel to the field,
Whose power controls the war.