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To your voices tune the lute;
Let such things as do not live,
Come, ye sons of human race,
From the earth's vast hollow womb
Music's deepest bass shall come.
Seas and floods, from shore to shore,
So shall He, from heaven's high tower,
There our voices we will rear,
And enforce the fiends that dwell
In the air, to sink to hell.
Then, O come, with sacred lays,
Let us sound th' Almighty's praise.
Ever since the psalms of George Sandys* were pronounced by Montgomery "incomparably the most poetical in the English language," they have received a large measure of attention. The eulogy is not extravagant, but many are rendered in metres altogether unadapted to congregational worship.
The first edition, a small folio, appeared in 1638. It was one of a few books with which Charles I. solaced his captivity in Carisbrook Castle.
Besides two psalms, properly so called, we give, on account of its fine elegiac strain, "David's Lament for Saul and Jonathan."
Who shall in Thy tent abide?
On Thy holy hill reside?
Tells the truth of his intent;
Slanders none with venom'd tongue;
Fosters not base infamies;
Nor to use his money lends.
Who by these directions guide
Their pure steps, shall never slide.
* Sandys has been already noticed, vol. i. p. 321; where, however, he is mentioned by mistake as Hooker's visitor at Drayton-Beauchamp, instead of his brother Edwin.
My God, thy servant hear;
Even Thou my suit hast sign'd;
To govern such as will
Thy holy law fulfil.
Whom Thou long life wilt give,
He ages shall outlive;
His throne shall stand before
Thy face for evermore.
Thy mercy, Lord, extend;
Him for Thy truth defend.
Then I in cheerful lays
My vows devoutly pay.
The Birge of King David for Saul and Jonathan.
Thy beauty, Israel, is fled,
Sunk to the dead.
How are the valiant fall'n! the slain
O let it not in Gath be known;
Lest that sad story should excite
Lest in the torrent of our woe,
Lest their triumphant daughters ring
You hills of Gilboa, never may
No morning dew nor fruitful showers
Saul and his arms there made a spoil,
The bow of noble Jonathan
Great battles won:
His arrows on the mighty fed
Saul never raised his arm in vain;
How lovely! O how pleasant! when
Whom love in life so strongly tied
Sad Israel's daughters, weep for Saul;
Who fed you with the earth's increase, And crown'd with peace,
With robes of Tyrian purple deck'd,
And gems, which sparkling light reflect.
How are thy worthies by the sword
O Jonathan, the better part
Of my torn heart !
The savage rocks have drunk thy blood,
Thy love was great; O never more
No woman, when most passionate,
How are the mighty fall'n in fight!
Francis Rouse* was a member of the long Parliament; and after the removal of John Hales, he became Provost of Eton. In 1641 he published a version of the Psalms, which was adopted by the Assembly of Divines, at Westminster, as the basis of a national psalmody. On the subject, Robert Baillie, one of the Scotch commissioners, thus writes:-" Ane old, most honest member of the House of Commons, Mr Rous, hes helped the old Psalter in most places faultie. His friends are verie pressing in the Assemblie that his book may be examined, and helped by the author in what places it shall be found meet, and then be commended to the Parliament, that they may injoin the publick use of it. One of their considerations is, the great private advantage that would thereby come to their friend. But manie do oppose the motion-the most because the work is not so well done as they think it might. . . . We, underhand, will mightilie oppose it; for the Psalter is a great part of our uniformitie, which we cannot let pass till our Church be well advysed with it."+ However, the matter passed so far, that in 1645 Mr Rouse's version, as revised by the Assembly, was printed by order of Parliament, and recommended to general acceptance. The Church of Scotland, nevertheless, retained the privileges of which Baillie was so * Born at Halton, Cornwall, 1579; died at Acton, Middlesex, Jan. 7, 1659.
Baillie's Letters and Journal, vol. ii., p. 120.