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It is easy to argue logically against the discrepancy of rhythm, and against many other things, which, nevertheless, we cannot do withont; but what is the practical result ? Does any person of common sense and judgment find his devotion destroyed, and his ear offended, by using Watts and Select Hymns, or the Connecticut, or Plymouth Collection, instead of the Church Psalmody? Or is the effect altogether the other way? The same discrepancy is experienced in reading almost any ten lines of good poetry; but does any one think matters would be improved by setting one of us men of prose to turn all the trochees into iambics? If any of our readers have ever lighted upon the famous Bentley's emendations of Milton, they may form some notion of what would be the result.

We may add, that as tunes of all sorts are now numerous, and many of them are by no means strictly or totally iambic, some tune can generally be found to suit any unusual peculiarity of rhythm in a hymn.

We subjoin some specimens of iambized lines, extracted from the Church Psalmody, which appears to be the chief source and repository of this kind of alterations. The original form of each line, (so far as known to us,) we give first in a parallel column:



Then did his grace appear divine.
The dealings of his hand
Are truth and mercy still,
With such as to his covenant stand,
And love to do his will.

And proved his saving grace divine.
The dealings of his power
Are truth and mercy still,
With such as keep his cov'nant sure,
And love to do his will.

The Lord proclaims his power aloud, The Lord proclaims his power aloud, Over the ocean and the land.

Through every ocean (!) every land ! While a bright evidence of grace While brightest evidence of grace Through his whole life appears and shines. Through all his life appears and shines. Lord, our iniquities prevail.

O Lord, our guilt and fears prevail. Seize the kind promise while it waits. Come seize the promise while it waits. Come the great day, the glorious hour. O haste the day, the glorious hour.

In Zion is his throne.

In Zion stands his throne !

And earth with her ten thousand tongues. And earth with all her thousand tongues!
Why should the wonders he hath wrought Let not the wonders he hath wrought
Be lost in silence, and forgot?

Be lost in silence, and forgot.
'Tis a broad land, of wealth unknown. 'Tis like a land, of wealth unknown.
And mountains tremble at his frown. While terrors wait his awful frown!
But the great work of saving love, But still the work of saving love,
Your highest praise exceeds!

Your highest praise exceeds!

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Sinners, whose love can ne'er forget. Ye Gentile sinners, ne'er forget!
O the rich depths of love divine ! How rich the depths of love divine !
O the sweet wonders of that cross. How great the wonders of that cross.
Till we are raised to sing thy name, Till we are raised to sing thy name,
At the great supper of the Lamb. And taste tho supper of the Lamb.
Favor astonishing-divine !

How great the favor ! how divine !
For the dear sake of Christ his Son. Through grace abounding in his Son!
And the whole race of Adam stand Let all the race of man confess
Guilty before the Lord.

Their guilt before the Lord !
Are but short favors borrowed now. Are only favors borrowed now.
Blest are the pure, whose hearts are clean Blest are the pure, whose hearts are clean,
From the defiling power of sin.

Who never tread the ways of sin !
Glory and joy are their reward. Eternal life is their reward.
Still we shrink back again to life. Still shrink we back again to life.

But as we have not undertaken to review the Church Psalmody, these instances out of hundreds must suffice. We shall not attempt to criticise them, and to show what every reader of taste must see for himself, what utter wreck is often made of poetical figures and images, how many pregnant and striking epithets and illustrations disappear in the remorseless crucible of such compilations; how, in one word, imagination is banished and poetry is turned to doggerel. Our object in this place is simply to expose the system, which has been dominant


among us for more than a quarter of a century, and to ask if there be not a more excellent way.

5. Of a kindred character are those verbal and literal alterations which are supposed to promote euphony in reading or singing. These are apt to prove failures, for the simple reason that the poet's ear is usually better than that of his critics, and the seeming improvement of sound is too often gained by a loss of poetic sense. Especially is this the case when the change is systematic, as in Worcester's Watts, where the variety essential to harmony is greatly marred by the singular fancy already referred to. Similar rules appear to have been laid down, though less strictly adhered to, in the Church Psalmody, and other collections. For instance, many alterations appear to have been made solely to prevent lines from commencing with the conjunction “and." This is donbtless for musical effect, in accordance with the axiom : “There should be a pause at the end of each line," as

Chosen of God, to sinners dear,
And saints adore the name.

Chosen of God, to sinners dear,
Let saints adore the name.

Be everlasting power confessed, Be everlasting power confessed,
And every tongue his glory sing. Let every tongue his glory sing.

Other changes have been made apparently to avoid an accumulation of consonants :

With ever fresh delight.

With ever new delight.

His ear attends the softest call.

His ear attends their humble call !

The words amid and among are also generally substituted for amidst and amongst, often, we think, with injurious effect, especially before vowels; for our rough, but energetic language, requires a larger proportion of consonants than the dialects of Southern Europe. With the same motive, plural nouns are frequently changed to singular, to the great detriment of the sense. For instance, in these lines of Watts,

“No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground," the image in the poet's mind is evidently that of multiplied sins and sorrows, like a crop of weeds and thorns overspreading the

earth-which is not only poetical, but strictly correct. The change to the singular

No more let sin and sorrow grow, overturns the whole figure, and transports us from the region of poetry into the barren field of abstractions.

Again, Dr. Doddridge has beautifully written :

“He comes, the prisoners to release,

In Satan's bondage held:
The gates of brass before him burst,

The iron fetters yield.”

Here is a magnificent description of a triumphant conqueror, appearing to " break the prison doors," and set free the numerous captives of his enemy. At his approach the gates fly open, the chains fall off, and an exulting multitude pours forth to meet him. But no! hissing sounds must be avoided, and only one solitary prisoner can be permitted to appear, lest euphony be violated ! A worthy object, truly, to be attained by such a sacrifice! It is in vain to argue that “the prisoner" is merely an abstraction to denote all prisoners. It is a question not of abstract statements, but of poetic imagery, which deals emphatically with the concrete. We add a few less striking instances :

“ High as the heavens (heaven) our voices raise,

Up to her courts with joys (joy) unknown".

“By wars (war) without and fears (fear) within."* Again, polysyllables are, no doubt, objectionable, and are rarely inserted in good hymns; but when inserted they are not always easily improved upon by critics, as the following examples may show: 0, all ye people, clap your hands, O, all ye people, clap your hands, And with triumphant voices sing: And shout with triumph while you sing No force the mighty power withstands Of Godwho all the earth commands, Of God, the universal king.

Of Godthe dreadful, mighty King ! How terrible his praise !

How fearful is his praise!

* “Without were fightings, within were fears."

The testimonies of thy grace
I set before mine eyes.

Thy precepts and thy heavenly grace
I set before mine eyes.

Here consecrated water flows,

Here living water freely flows, To quench my thirst of sin.

To cleanse me from my sin. And realms of infinite delight.

And realms of joy and pure delight! 6. A numerous class of alterations appear to relate to the sense, rather than the sound of hymns. The following would seem to have been suggested by doctrinal considerations : Till a wise care of piety

Till cleansed by grace we all may be Fit us to die and dwell with thee. Prepared to die and dwell with thee.

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At thy command, our dearest Lord, At thy command, O Lord our hope,
Here we attend thy dying feast; We come around thy table here;
Thy blood, like wine, adorns thy board, We break the bread, we bless the cup
And thine own flesh feeds every guest. Which show thy death till thou appear !

In this connection we cannot resist quoting from a wellknown hymn of Watts, retained in most collections,* one of its most lyrical and beautiful verses, which has been systematically omitted, for no apparent reason but its doctrine. We feel sure that the accomplished author of the “Theology of the Intellect and the Feelings” would gladly reinstate it :

I'm like a helpless captive, sold
Under the power of sin:
I cannot do the good I would,

Nor keep my conscience clean!
Other changes are made apparently for the sake of grammar

* “Lord, how secure my conscience was."

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