1843 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. George Gregory

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) 2:252-54.



Dr. Gregory, of East Ham, in Essex, where he died in 1808, is chiefly known to theological readers, as the translator from Latin into English, of the learned work of Bishop Lowth — "Proelectiones Hebraicae." In this work occur various Psalms in Latin verse, by the Bishop. For these, Dr. Gregory has in several instances adopted such existing translations, as appeared in his judgment sufficiently to comport with the original: where this was not the case, he rendered the classical Version into English himself. In these specimens he is allowed to have combined with the skill of a respectable versifier, an accurate sense of the Hebrew original, as well as of the meaning of the author, whose sentiments he was more immediately concerned to translate. As few of the Psalms have been more admired for their poetical beauty, as well as for the blessed sentiment inculcated, than the 133rd, the following note by Dr. Gregory, on an opinion of Lowth's relative to the meaning of a material term in the original, will not be uninteresting: — "Notwithstanding our author's ingenious defence of his own interpretation of the last verse, I am well convinced that Buchanan's Version is right, and that the particle shorn in the last verse relates to the persons, and not to the place: indeed, not only a great part of the general utility, but even the beauty of this Ode is lost, by interpreting it otherwise. The following imitation of Buchanan I submit with all humility to the judgment of the reader. If the measure should seem, in the eyes of some, to bear too near a resemblance to that of their old acquaintance Sternhold, I have only to urge, that it simplicity seems to be more suitable to the subject, than that which Mr. Merrick has adopted."

PSALM CXXXIII.
Sweet is the love, that mutual glows
Within each other's breast;
And binds in gentlest bonds each heart,
All blessing, and all blest.

Sweet as the odorous balsam pour'd
On Aaron's sacred head,
Which o'er his beard and down his vest
A breathing fragrance shed.

Like morning's dews on Sion's mount,
That spread their silver rays;
And deck with gems the verdant pomp
Which Hermon's top displays.

To such, the Lord of life and love
His blessing shall extend:
On earth a life of joy and peace,
And life that ne'er shall end.