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Edinburgh : Printed by Thomas and Archibald Constable
LONDON ........ HAMILTON, ADAMS, AND CO. CAMBRIDGE ....... MACMILLAN AND BOWES. GLASGOW ....... JAMES MACLEHOSE AND SONS.
BOOK OF PSALMS
THE VERSION APPROVED BY
THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
MINISTER OF HUMBIE
EDINBURGH: DAVID DOUGLAS
This is a revised edition of the Authorised Scottish Version of the Hebrew Psalms. That version has been adopted not only because of its dear and venerable associations, but on the ground of its intrinsic value. Sir Walter Scott did it not more, but rather less, than justice when he declared that Rouse’s Version, “though homely, was plain, forcible, and intelligible, and very often possessed a rude sort of majesty which would be ill exchanged for mere elegance.” Dr. Cunningham, who admits and by no means extenuates its faults, pronounces a more emphatic judgment, which will be generally sustained, when he says that it is "so terse, so true to the original, and so natural, as to be upon the whole the best poetical translation of the Psalms of which the English literature can boast.” 1
But it has very grave and glaring defects. The finest parts of it are so fine that one wonders how other portions came to be so uncouth, and frequently so poor. An attempt is here made to remove from a noble version some of its greatest blemishes, without interfering with its majesty, or straining too much after
i Church History of Scotland, ii. 61, 429 (Second Edition).
mere elegance, and so to make it more worthy of its great original, and of its place in English literature.
More, however, is endeavoured in the present edition than the correction of uncouth rhymes and awkward syllabification. Our version reflects with singular fidelity and wonderfully little amplification or licence the sense of the Psalms as they stand in our English Bibles. But that beautiful version, it is now acknowledged, needs to be revised. It would be a mistake to issue a new edition of the metrical translation without going to the Hebrew, and availing ourselves for its interpretation of the fruitful labours of the great scholars of Germany. The translation has, accordingly, been carefully revised, and a few notes are appended, which may enable unlearned readers to understand what has been done in this way.