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0, cauld and bare will his bed be,
QUEEN ELIZABETH.1 1533—1603.
The pretensions of Queen Elizabeth to poetic genius are about aa valid as her pretensions to beauty; yet she loved to be flattered for both, as much as for her classical attainments, which she really possessed. The desire of shining ts a poetess was one of her weaknesses; and her vanity, no doubt, made her regard as tributes justly paid, the extravagant praises which the courtiers and writers of her age lavished on her royal ditties.
We have but very little of her poetry: the best piece, perhaps, is ono which shows that, notwithstanding her maidenly stateliness and prudery, she was not altogether a stranger to the tender passion.
VERSES ON HER OWN FEELINGS.9
I Grieve, and dare not show my discontent,
1 It would of course be Impossible here to give a nacre outline or Elizabeth's life, to full of Important event*. Any good history of England may bo read for the requisite Information. Of the smaller histories, KetghUey's la the best. Bead, also, a well-written life In Mr*. Strickland'! Uvea of the Queens of England.** In Dr. Drake's "Shakspcare and his Times," will be found some interesting particulars of her attainments, domestic habits, love of dress, vanity, Jealousy, and her fondness for the drama and the brutal show of bear-baiting, &c Sc.
* These verses first appeared In print In "Hcadley's Anc. Eng. Poet." They were transcribed from a manuscript In the Ashmolcan Museum. Unfortunately, the most Important word Is bah* obliterated—" upon Moon—s departure ;'* but the following account from the old chronicler Stow show* pretty conclusively that It refers to the Duke of Alencon. "These Lords (the Ambassadors from France,) after divers secret conferences amongst themselves, and return of sundry letters Into Trance, signifying the queen's declination from marriage, and the people's unwillingness to match that way, held It most convenient that the duke should come in proper person, whose presence they thought In such affairs might prevail more than all their oratory: and, thereupon, the flrst of November, the said prince came over in person, very princely accompanied and attended, though not ta sueh glorious manner as were the above-named commissioners, whose entertainment, in all respects, was equivalent unto his estate and dignity. By this time his picture, state, and titles ~vere advanced In every stationer's shop, and many other public places, by the name of /Vnncs of r«n», Dks» i/Aboutm* heir apparent of France, and brother to the French king: but he was better known by the name of Mtmnmr, unto all sorts of people, than by all his other titles. During his abode in England, be used all princely means to prefer his suit, and in bis carriage demeaned himself like a true born prince, and the heir of France: and when be had well observed the queen's full determination to continue a single life, be padded himself, admiring her rare virtues and high perfections. The queen In all respects showed as great kindness unto the duke and all his retinue, at their departure, as at any time before, and for period of her princely favors, in that behalf, she, with great •tale, accompanied the duke in person to Canterbury; where she feasted him and all his train very royally, and then returned. The next day, being the sixth of February, the duke, with his French lordc and others, embarked at Sandwich."
"As dead queens rank but with meaner mortals, we may assert, without much fear of contradiction, that little else can now be gratified by the perusal of Elizabeth's poetry than mere curiosity."— I Ho, yet dare not say I ever meant,
I seem stark mute, but inwardly do prate:
I am, and not, I freeze, and yet am burn'd.
Since from myself my other self I turn'd.
My care is like my shadow in the sun,
No means I find to rid liim from my breast,
Till by the end of things it be suppress'd.
Some gentler passions slide into my mind,
Or let me live with some more sweet content,
Signed, "Finis, Eliza. Iitgina, upon
TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE.'
No literary undertaking in any age of English Literature has proved to be as important in its results, as the Translation of the Bible under the direction of King James I. Of the labors of Wiclif in translating the Bible from the Latin Vulgate, and of the successful exertions of Tyndale, in face of every danger and even of death, in giving to his countrymen a version of the New Testament in their vernacular tongue, short accounts are given under the lives of those scholars, together with specimens of their respective translations. Subsequently, very many versions appeared, of which the following are the most important:—
1. Covkrpalp.'s Bible. This was printed in Zurich, in 1535, because the translator, Miles Coverdalc, a native of Yorkshire, was obliged to fly from his native land. To him, therefore, must be awarded the honor of being the first to give the whole Bible in English, translated out of the original tongues. It was primed in double columns, folio.
2. Matthewf. » Bible. This appeared in 1537. But the name, Thomas Matthewe, which appeared in the title-page, and from which it has received its name, was undoubtedly fictitious, and the real editor was John Rogers, who was burned at the stake in the reign of Mary.
1 In mentioning the several causes that made the age of Elizabeth Bo distinguished for Its great names In literature, Hazlltt, In his "Literature of the Age of Elizabeth," thus writes:—"The translation of the Bible was the chief engine in the great work. It threw open, by a secret spring, the rich treasures of religion and morality which had been there locked up as In a shrine. It revealed the visions of the prophets, and convoyed the lessons of Inspired teachers to the meanest of the people. It gave them a common Interest In a common cause. Their hearts burnt within them as :hcy read. It gave a mind to the people, by giving them common subjects of thought and feeling. It cemented their union of character and sentiment; It created endless diversity and collision of opinion. They found objects to employ their faculties, and a motive in the magnitude of the consequences attached to them, to exert the utmost eagerness in the pursuit of truth, and the most daring Intrepidity in maintaining It."
1G03-1625.] TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE.
3. Chanmeits, or Tnz Great Bible, in large folio. This appeared in 1539. The preface was written by Cranmer, then archbishop of Canterbury, but the translation or revision was by many hands, the chief of whom was Coverdale.
4. Tatebjceb's Bible. This appeared in 1539, edited by Richard Taverner, the text being formed on Matthewe's Bible.
In May, 1541, Henry VIIL issued a decree that the great volume of the Bible should be set up in every parish church in England, and all curates, not already furnished, were commanded to procure Bibles, and place them conveniently in their respective churches, and all the bishops were required to take especial care to see the said command put in force. "It was wonderful," says the old historian John Strype, "to see with what joy this book of God was received, not only among the learneder sort, but generally all England over, among all the people; and with what greediness God's word was read, and what resort to places where the reading of it was."
During the reign of Edward VI. (1547—1553) eleven impressions of the English Bible were published, but they were merely reprints of one or other of the editions mentioned above.
5. Tbe Gr.w.YA Bible. This was translated, with notes, by Miles Coverdale and others, who during the reign of Mary fled to Geneva. On tho accession of Elizabeth, 1558, some returned, and others remained to finish the work, which appeared in 1560. This long continued to be the favorite Bible of the English Puritans and of the Scotch Presbyterians. Fifty impressions of it, at least, are known.
6. Tax Bishop's Bible, which appeared in 15C8, so called from Matthew Parker, archbishop of Canterbury, who employed others to prepare it.
7. The Douat Bible, of which the New Testament was printed at Rheims1 in 1582, and the Old at Douay4 in 1009—10.
8. Kino James s Bible. We are now brought to our own translation. At the accession of James L, 1603, many complaints were made of the discrepancies then existing among the several versions of the Bible. At the great conference held in 1604, at Hampton Court, between the Established and Puritan clergy, all parties agreeing in their disapprobation of the version of the Scriptures then most generally used, the king commissioned fifty-four men, the most learned in the universities and other places, to commence a new translation. At the same time he required the bishops to inform themeelves of all the learned men within their several dioceses, who had acquired especial skill in the Greek and Hebrew languages, and who had taken great pains in their private studies to investigate obscure passages and to correct mistakes in former English translations, and to charge them to communicate their observations to the persons thus employed to translate the wholo Scriptures.
Before the work was begun, seven of the persons nominated for it were either dead or declined to engage in the task; the remaining forty-seven were classed under six divisions, a certain portion of Scripture being assigned to each. They proceeded to their task at Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster, each individual translating the portion assigned to his division, and when all in any one division had finished, they met together, compared their several translations, and decided all differences, and settled upon wliat they
deemed the best translation. When the several divisions had finished, they all met together, and one and another by turns read the new version, while all the rest held in their hands either copies of the original or some valuable version. If any one objected to the translation of any passage, the reader stopped to allow time for discussion, comparison, and linal decision.
The labor appears to have commenced in the spring of 1004, and the result was published in 1011, under the following title, " The Holy Bible, contcyning tlte Old Testament and the New, newly translated out of the Originoll Tongues, and with the former Translations diligently compared and revised by his Majesties speciaU Commandement." As a translation, this is generally most faithful, and an excellent specimen of the language of the time. Dr. Adam Clarke remarks, "The translators have seized the very spirit and soul of the original, and expressed this, almost everywhere, with pathos and energy: lliey have not only made a standard translation, hut have made this translation the standard of our language." This is eminently true, for in all human probability this translation will never be changed.
Still, strict truth and justice require us to say that there are some defects and errors, in our present version, which a more advanced state of biblical science enables us to detect The translators had not access to the various sources of biblical criticism and elucidation which we enjoy at the present day; such as the collation of ancient manuscripts and versions; the multiplication of grammars and lexicons; the enlarged comparison of kindred dialects; nnd the researches of travellers into the geography, manners, customs, and natural history of the East1 But after all, instead of dwelling upon errors and discrepancies, which are really unimportant, we must ever wonder that there are so few, and admire the fidelity, the learning, and the wisdom of the great and good men that executed the work.2
I have felt it a duty, in entering upon the reign of James I., when the present version of our Bible was made, to give this short historical view of the sacred volume, because, to say nothing of its divine origin, nothing of its inspired contents, nothing of its being the foundation of all morality, the groundwork of our religion, and our unerring rule of faith and practice, it has done so much for English mind, English literature, and English character. To say nothing of its heavenly influences, wherever faithfully and honestly followed, in elevating and blessing man, and in removing every wicked practice
1 For pome very able remarks on our present version, see Professor Bush's Introduction to his "Notes on Genesis."
1 One of the greatest defects In our translaUon Is a want of anf/bnauy in rendering, both in regard to single words and to phrases. To give a few Instances of what I mean. The Greek adverb ivSr-s (tsMiu), which means "directly," "immediately," is translated in Matt. Hi. 16, by "straightway;" sill. 20, by "anon;" xlli. 21, by "by and by;" Mark 1. 12, by "immediately;" John xlx. 3«, by "forthwith." In all these places, "Immediately" would have better expressed the original: "by nnd by Is peculiarly Infelicitous. So the verb pipipvari (sw ri:nn*tt) in Matt.vL 2s, is rendered "take no tho-^ht;" In Phil. Iv. 6, "be careful." The latter comes nearer the true meaning, which Is, "be not distracted about," "be not over anxious about." In Justice, however, to the translators, I auould say that In King James's day, the phrase "take no thought" had a much stronger meaning than It now has, being nearly equivalent to "let not your thoughts be unduly exercised." In many other cases also, the present translation falls to express the sense, owing to changes which our language has undergone. One more Instance will suffice. David says, (Psalm exjx. H7,) "I prevented the dawlm.g or the morning," where "prevent" is used In its original Latin sense of "going before," "anUcipatlng," nnd In King James's day It was so understood. Now, we know, It Is used In the sense of to "hinder." This, though a moat interesting subject of inquiry, cannot appropriately be pursued any furthor here.
■nd institution that tend to crush, debase, and brutalize him, it has done more to refine the taste, to kindle the imagination, to enlarge the understanding, to give strength to the reasoning powers, and to supply the mind with images of beauty, tenderness, and sublimity, than all other books which have been borne down to us on the stream of time: while our present permanent version has secured for our language what Tithonus begged of Aurora— immortality; and secured, besides, what he forgot to ask—perpetual youth But above all and beyond all this, it is The Great Lever For Elevatiits
rilE MORAL WORLD.1
THOMAS SACKVILLE. 153G—1608.
Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, and ultimately Earl of Dorset and lord high treasurer of England, deserves consideration, if for no other reason, as the author of the first regular English tragedy, entitled "Ferrex and Porrex." It is also called « The Tragedie of Gorboduc," and was acted before Queen Elizabeth in 1561. The story is this. Gorboduc, an ancient king oi Britain, divided, in his lifetime, his kingdom between his sons Ferrex and Porrex. They quarrel for sovereignty, and Porrex kills his brother. Their mother Viden, who loved Ferrex best, revenged his death by entering Porrex's chamber in the night and murdering him in his sleep. The people, exasperated at this, rose in rebellion, and killed both Yiden and Gorboduc. The nobility then assembled, collected an army, and destroyed the insurgents.
Every act of this play is closed by something like the chorus of the Greek tragedy, namely, an ode in long-lined stanzas, drawing back the attention of the audience to the substance of what has just passed, and illustrating it by moral reflections. The following ode closes the third act, the moral beauties as well as the spirit of which must strike every reader. Sir Philip Sidney, in his "Defence of Poesy," says that this whole tragedy is "full of notable morality.'*
1 I cannot bat give room to the following Jtut And beautiful remarks of Mrs. Ellis, In ber work enOtled the -Poetry of Lift-;"
- With our established Ideas of beauty, grace, pathos, and sublimity, either concentrated In the minutest point, or extended to the widest range, we can derive from the Scriptures a fund of gratification not to be found in any other memorial of the past or present time. From the worm that grovels In the dost beneath our feet, to the track of the leviathan in the foaming deep—from the moth that corrupts the secret treasure, to the eagle that soars above his cycle In the clouds—from the wild Am in the desert, to the iamb within the shepherd's fold—from the consuming locust, to the cattle on a thousand hills—from tbe rose of Sharon, to the cedar of Lebanon—from the clear crystal stream, gushing forth out of the flinty rock, to the wide waters of the deluge—from the barren waste, to the fruofal vineyard, and the land flowing with milk and honey—from the lonely path of tbe wanderer, to the gatherer of a mighty multitude— from the tear that falls in secret, to tbe din of baule and the shout of a triumphant host—from the solitary In the wilderness, to the satrap on the throne—from the mourner dad in his sackcloth, to the prince in purple robes—from the gnawlngs of tbe worm that dieth not, to tbe seraphic vision or the blessed—from the still small voice, to the thunders of Omnipotence—from tbe depths of helL to the regions of eternal glory, there is no degree of beauty or deformity, no tendency to good or evil, no sliadc of darkness or gleam of light, which does not come within the cognizance of the Holy Scriptures; and, therefore, there is no expression or coneepOoe of the mind that may not here find a corresponding picture; no thirst for excellence that here may not meet with its full supply; and no condition of humanity excluded from the unlimited •oops or adaptation and sympathy comprehended **> *he language and spirit of the Bui'.e"