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clauses answering to one another in this way, three words being given to each :
Do-good | in - Thy - good - pleasure to - Zion :
Build - Thou | the - walls - of | Jerusalem. We trust that sufficient has now been said to show that there is absolutely no reason for rejecting the traditional view that David is the author of the whole of Ps. li. Our readers must choose, between the various explanations of the prayer, 'build Thou the walls;' but to us it seems that the figurative meaning is by far the most probable;' and we cannot conclude without a protest against the extreme literalism that is so marked a feature in our modern Commentaries. Words are taken au pied de la lettre, and statistical exactness is demanded in poetry that comes to us from a nation whose very prose might almost be said to consist of metaphor and hyperbole. In no other case is a poet supposed to weigh his words with the exactness of a logician or mathematician; and yet this is what men look for from the Psalmist. Only think what havoc this kind of criticism would make if applied to one of our modern Hymn-books! We should then have the critic of the future gravely asserting that the ‘Rock of Ages' was composed by Toplady, in a state of nudity, or that the hymn beginning,
Soldiers of Christ arise, And put your armour on,' was not the work of Charles Wesley, to whom it has been attributed, because in his day, the troops of his Majesty's Army had ceased to wear armour !
Admirable as are the notes on the Psalter in the Speaker's Commentary, they are, it seems to us, often disfigured by this tendency to over-literalism. For example, in the note on Ps. lxix. ver. 1-2 : ‘Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing : I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me,' we read that the Psalm ‘is supposed by some to refer to Jeremiah's being let down into a pit or cistern, but we are expressly told that there was no water in that.' And, what if the pit was dry? Yet there is surely an illusion to this incident in Jeremiah's life in Lam. iii. 53-4: 'They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me. Waters went over my head; then I said, I am cut off. In
? It is perhaps accidental, but it is worth noticing that the word for walls' in the Psalm is in the plural (nipin), whereas in Nehemiah the singular occurs thirty times, while the plural is only found twice in the whole book, viz. ii, 13 (where the LXX. and Vulgate have the sing.) and iv. i. (A. V. iv. 7).
both passages, the expressions are figurative, and the fact that the cistern was one in which there was no water proves nothing either way concerning the authorship of Ps. lxix. There is more point in the remark made curiously enough in the first half of the very same note already quoted : *This expression appears to be metaphorical, it occurs in other Psalms, especially in those attributed by all critics to David.'
To take another instance. Everybody knows the sort of language used by David in the Penitential Psalms, language which taken in the letter implies that he was suffering from a severe illness, e.g.:
'Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am weak: 0 LORD, heal me, for my bones are vexed.' Ps. vi. 2.
My strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. xxxi. 10.
* There is no soundness in my flesh because of Thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.
My wounds stink and are corrupt, because of my foolishness.
My loins are filled with a loathsome disease; and there is no soundness in my flesh.' xxxviii. 3-5-7. Now, all these passages are taken by Canon Cook and his colleagues, as if David was describing his symptoms to a medical man. We are told that these Psalms were composed ‘in a season of extreme depression, probably when the Psalmist was dangerously sick,' (p. 182), and we are referred to a note on Job xxx. 17, which tells us that leprosy eats away the flesh and nerves, and then corrodes the bones, so that the limbs fall off piecemeal.' But it has always seemed to us that the true key to the language of David quoted above is given by Ps. li. ver. 7, 'Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Was not the leprosy from which David was suffering a moral one, and a moral one only?' and is there not sound sense as well as humour in the remark of Bishop Lowth :
"Some who were but little acquainted with the genius of the Hebrew poetry, have pretended to inquire into the nature of the disease with which the poet was affected; not less absurdly, in my opinion, than if they had perplexed themselves to discover in what river he was plunged when he complains that the deep waters had gone over his soul.'2
1 The language of the Prophets is instructive, as they often describe their sufferings and the calamities of the nation under the same figure of a sore disease, e.g. Isa. i. 5, 6; Jer. xv. 18; xxx. 12-17; and for the mention of the bones, see Lam. i. 13; iii. 4; and notice the absence of all allusion to the symptoms of the actual disease in Hezekiah's hymn, Isa. xxxviii. 10–20. 2 Lectures on Hebrew Poetry, p. 84.
Little more remains to be said. We have endeavoured to show (1) that there is strong historical evidence in favour of the titles of the Psalms, and no counter historical evidence to be brought against them; and (2) that the arguments from internal evidence that have led the majority of modern critics to discard them are wholly insufficient to bear the weight that has been laid upon them. If we have succeeded in making good these assertions, we may claim that the Titles have a right to be regarded as an integral portion of the text of the Old Testament; but we would point out that there is still room for different interpretations of them. The question is still an open one whether the lamed auctoris in every case denotes the actual composer of the Psalm, and whether Asaph invariably means the great Precentor of that name in David's reign ; and it is yet a fair subject for discussion whether the fact that a Psalm is assigned to such and such an event necessarily implies that it was composed at that particular time any more than the lines on 'The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk' imply the presence of William Cowper on a desert island, or compel us to identify him with the man into whose mouth the verses are put.
We conclude by reminding our readers of the words of *the Eagle of Meaux,' himself no mean critic of the Holy Scriptures :-'Qui titulos non uno modo intelligant, video esse quam plurimos: qui de titulorum auctoritate dubitarit, ex antiquis omnino neminem.'!
Art. V.--HOMER ILLUSTRATED BY RECENT
DISCOVERY. 1. Troy and its Remains. By Dr. H. SCHLIEMANN. (London,
1875.) 2. Mycenæ. By Dr. H. SCHLIEMANN. (London, 1877.)
SCHOLARSHIP latter has shot hameless ones whes of Egypt,
SCHOLARSHIP and its cognate culture have struck so deep a root that this latter has shot down to the kingdom of night and broken the rest of the nameless ones who lived before Agamemnon. Like the earlier examples of Egypt, Rhodes, Caria, and Assyria, a list of sites too long to enu
1 Bossuet, Dissert. § 28, quoted in Dict. of the Bible, vol. ii. p. 954.
merate, including Ephesus, Hissarlik, Cyprus, Mycenæ, and Olympia, are now giving in their tale ; and the cry is still, they come. We purpose regarding some few of these, and especially that of Mycenæ, not archæologically, with the view of fixing their date and value in the history of human progress, but illustratively as regards ancient literature.
The moment that any such discovery as those to which we have referred takes place, the eyes of all who are capable of the effort are instantly turned chiefly on two records : the Homeric Poems and the periegetic memoranda of Pausanias. The former are the first-ripened harvest of secular humanity ; the latter are the records of the last gleaner in the same early field. We propose at present chiefly to deal with the first, referring incidentally to the latter as occasion may require.
The artistic feature that floats on the surface of Homeric poetry is its similes, among which the most lively and typical are those which deal with animal life. But not in simile alone is Homer's poetical energy in favour of animals expressed. The immortal or heaven-given coursers of more than one hero, their tears and human sympathies, their power, in one instance, of speech and prophecy ;3 the favourite dogs of Patroclus4 slaughtered on his pyre, as if to attend his shade; the similar pair which form the sole retinue of Telemachus on a state occasion ;5 the hounds that detect the goddess's presence, invisible to their master ;6 the dogs and mules that are the first victims of a pestilence aimed by an avenging deity at man ;' the touching episode of the noble hound Argus,s who alone penetrates the disguise of magic transformation which baffled every huinan eye, and whose sagacity is fatal to himself; the beautiful freshness of the hunting scene,9 in which the young Odysseus received the scar that marked him for life—all these show the same poetic factor which is powerful in simile raised to a higher power by incident. Above all, the introduction among the groups on the shield of Achilles of two purely animal pieces, 10 or in which the human element is a pure accessory to the animal, and the exquisite balance between slaughter and security, energy and repose, which the pair exhibit, show us how deeply the poet was enamoured of the theme he handles here. As he divides his human compartments between the works of peace and war, so he preserves the like contrast in his studies from
1 Il. xvi. 150, 867; v. 265 fol. ; xx. 220-9.
7 Il. i. 50. 8 Od, xvii. 3OO foll.
10 II. xviii. 573 foll.
9 xix. 429 foll.
4 xxiii. 174.
the pasture and the fold. Yet, with exquisite truth of feeling, in the human subjects peace predominates; in the animal pieces the more sustained note is one of strife and blood. His two lions here, like those at the famous gate of Mycenæ, are evidently 'masters of the situation ;' the men set on the hounds, who bay at a safe distance. Then comes, in three lines, the companion picture of folded flocks, with sheep-cote, shed, and pen appurtenant.
Again, we have the belt (Texáuwv) of Herakles, a marvel of its kind, inwrought with wondrous forms (O&o kela špya), which are found to be, first a list of wild and fierce animals—bear, and boar, and lion—then a series of combats, massacres, and homicides. Here it is remarkable that the beasts seem to lead (Od. xi. 610-2). Thus in simile, in incident, and in art, we find the same note struck again and again. If animals could turn critics, the Iliad would be their favourite poem. No poet has ever shown such a hearty love of man's mute comrades, or so deeply interwoven that love with the master-passions of strife, sorrow, and devoted affection. It is as though the degraded sympathies which led the Egyptian to enshrine the repulsive forms of crocodile and monkey, blossomed, in the clearer atmosphere of the Greek mind, into a delighted appreciation of animal nobleness. But, unless we are greatly mistaken, this love of animal life and movement is not a pure individuality of the poet's; it marks the period at which and the conditions under which he composed. While he triumphs in word-pictures drawn from it, his human images have often the scantiest pictorial embellishment, and what embellishment they have falls constantly into the fixed forms of "epic common-place. More conspicuously is this to be seen in the absence of emotional play of feature and of variety of mien in his personages. On great occasions he seems indeed to rise into a higher sphere of feature-study; and the malignant passion of Agamemnon, the abject terror of Dolôn, the 'grim-visaged smile' of Ajax,the 'tearful laughter' and agonised consternation of Andromache,4 show us that the feature-record of the more masterful emotions had not escaped him. But we may look a long way in either poem through a wide extent of exciting scenes and animated dialogue without anything more than the constant recurrence of the stern look, the seizure of pale fear, the silently shaken head with mind
1 Il. i. 104-5.
2 x. 374-6.