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Shall rise upon the gloom,
Cupid, the divine!
Let our spirits be
And win the immortal goal.
Enter HIEROPHAnt and SOCRATES.
HIEROPHANT. Into the third and last initiation Thy venturous footstep passes. It begins In shadows, like the rest. But light will dawn Upon its darkness, and thou shalt behold The mystery of Olympian love, which binds All living beings to the Deity. That golden chain which sparkled in the dreams Of Homer shalt thou see. I will unbind The black symbolic bandage from thy eyes. (While he withdraws the bandage, a splendid light is dif
fused over the cavern-Cupid and Psyche are beheld in a flowery garden.)
To the initiates,
Their story from themselves.
Weep not, my Psyche;
(She shrieks and falls.) CUPID.
Ah, my spouse, -
I feel it as thy own it comes from thee
(A golden chariot descends, into which they enter.)
'Tis well :
COGITATIONS OF A CONTEMPLATIST.
" When they present no other treasure,
Shall I admire them for their measure?"-ANON. People have now a somewhat different idea of poetry from what they had erewhile. The reign of the word-weigher and adjuster of cadences is at an end. More essential excellencies are recognized and required; and vigour of sense is considered of greater consequence than smoothness of sound. Hence I may perhaps 'venture, without incurring the imputation of ill-taste or paradoxical affectation, to recommend the merits of two old poets, who, although once esteemed, have lately, by the vagaries of fashion, been doomed to oblivion. However much the superficial may be pleased with the elegant feebleness and polished inanity of Brady and Tate, I dare to affirm that, in all which constitutes true poetry, their “New Version of the Psalms sinks into utter insignificance when compared with the ruder one of their predecessors.
How Kirke White could have pronounced Brady and Tate's version entitled to “ an indubitable right to pre-eminence," I am at a loss to discover. The tricks and glittering ornaments of modern poetical diction are substituted by them for the unadorned grandeur of the original; while their attempts at the sublime sometimes degenerate into the absurdest fustian: No one can deny that their language possesses a certain gracefulness; but it is a gracefulness wbich smacks more of a London Poetaster than of Holy Writ. They continually sacrifice energy, to make room for a paltry antithesis or pretty expression, and admit interpolations which, from their total dissimilarity to anything in the inspired writers, are alike offensive to piety and good taste.
Sternhold and Hopkins' version, although written in an obsolete style, is full of the true spirit of poetry, and frequently emulates the simple majesty of David. If we are to condemn these writers for the occasional uncouthness of their metre, which one of our elder poets is to escape the same censure? The sublimity which Sternhold and Hopkins have in the following verses attained is universally allowed :
“ The Lord descended from above,
And bowed the Heavens high,
The darkness of the sky.
Full royally he rode,
Came flying all abroad.” This passage, Kirke White adduces as “ a brilliant, yet probably accidental exception to the general character of the work;” but had he carefully compared the psalm in which it occurs, he would have
paused before he pronounced its excellence to be the effect of chance. Take the lines by which it is immediately preceded :-
“ The earth shook and trembled; the foundations of the earth moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. There went a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured : coals were kindled by it."- Psalm xvii. 7, 8.
STERNHOLD AND HOPKINS.
He made the earth to quake,
Of Basan for to shake;
When kindled was his ire ;
BRADY AND Tate.
The conscious earth was struck with fear ;
That coals were kindled at the flame." With all their antique phraseology, the verses of Sternhold and Hopkins are vigorous; but who can endure the tinselled impotence of Brady and Tate's attempt? The expression “ my part to take" is insufferably mean; and the idea of the “conscious" earth being " struck with fear" is certainly no improvement of the originai. Thick clouds of smoke dispersing abroad and becoming ensigns of wrath, attended by a devouring fire that glowed around, form but a poor equivalent for the majestic imagery of the Psalmist: “There went a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured.” I have little doubt that the reader will concur with me in condemning Brady and Tate, even if he does not approve Sternhold and Hopkins.
In the nineteenth Psalm, the sun is thus likened to a bridegroom and a warrior : “In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it; and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof."-v. 4, 5, 6.
STERNHOLD AND HOPKINS.
A place of great renown;
Comes from his chamber down;
Who would to honour rise,
His noble enterprize;