Monday, April 14, 2008

The Hemans CXLVIII

This one is by Felicia Dorothea Hemans, née Browne;, (1793-1835) she was an acquaintance of Sir Walter Scott, and although it would seem she is largely forgotten today, she was quite popular in her own time, during which she was considered a major example of "female poetry", by which they meant poetry with a quiet tone, "touching" or charming rather than vehement or powerful, delicate and elegant rather than impassioned and exalted. But she really is a better poet than that makes her sound....

Paraphrase of Psalm CXLVIII

Praise ye the Lord! on every height
Songs to his glory raise!
Ye angel-hosts, ye stars of night,
Join in immortal praise!

O heaven of heavens! let praise far-swelling
From all thine orbs be sent!
Join in the strain, ye waters! dwelling
Above the firmament!

For His the word which gave you birth,
And majesty and might:
Praise to the Highest from the earth,
And let the deeps unite!

O fire and vapour, hail and snow!
Ye servants of His will;
O stormy winds! that only blow
His mandates to fulfil;

Mountains and rocks, to heaven that rise!
Fair cedars of the wood!
Creatures of life that wing the skies,
Or track the plains for food!

Judges of nations ! kings, whose hand
Waves the proud sceptre high!
O youths and virgins of the land !
O age and infancy!

Praise ye His name, to whom alone
All homage should be given;
Whose glory, from the eternal throne
Spreads wide o'er earth and heaven!

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