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will stand like a tower when everything tion comes. Nothing we ever do is, in rocks around him, and when his softer strict scientific literalness, wiped out. Of fellow-mortals are winnowed like chaff in course, this has its good side as well as its the blast.
bad one. As we become
permanent The physiological study of mental con- drunkards by so many separate drinks, so ditions is thus the most powerful ally of
saints in the moral, and hortatory ethics. The hell to be endured authorities and experts in the practical hereafter, of which theology tells, is no
and scientific spheres, by so many separate worse than the hell we make for ourselves acts and hours of work. Let no youth in this world by habitually fashioning our have any anxiety about the upshot of his characters in the wrong way. Could the education, whatever the line of it may be. young but realize how soon they will be- If he keep faithfully busy each hour of come mere walking bundles of habits, they the working-day, he may safely leave the would give more heed to their conduct final result to itself. He can with perwhile in the plastic state. We are spin- fect certainty count on waking up some ning our own fates, good or evil, and fine morning, to find himself one of the to be undone. Every smallest
competent ones of his generation, in whatstroke of virtue or of vice leaves its ever pursuit he may have singled out. never so little scar. The drunken Rip Silently, between all the details of his Van Winkle, in Jefferson's play, excuses business, the power of judging in all that himself for every fresh dereliction by say- class of matter will have built itself up ing, "I won't count this time!” Well! within him as a possession that will never he may not count it, and a kind Heaven
pass away. Young people should know may not count it; but it is being counted this truth in advance. The ignorance of none the less.
Down among his nerve- it has probably engendered more discourcells and fibres the molecules are counting agement and faint-heartedness in youths it, registering and storing it up to be embarking on arduous careers than all used against him when the next tempta- other causes put together.
THE BIBLE IN ENGLISH LITERATURE
LAFCADIO HEARN (1850-1904) may well be called a cosmopolite. He was born on one of the Ionian Islands, of Greek and Irish parents. After varied experiences in the West Indies and the United States, he went to Japan, where, finding the Oriental ways peculiarly congenial to his temperament he married a Japanese woman and later became a citizen of that country. While Hearn wrote, for the most part, on Oriental subjects, his lectures on English literature, delivered in the Imperial University at Tokyo, form the most valuable part of his work. These lectures, among which is found "The Bible in English Literature,” were collected and published (1915) a decade after his death.
It is no exaggeration to say that the lish literature without some general English Bible is, next to Shakespeare, knowledge of the relation of the Bible to the greatest work in English litera- that literature would be to leave one's ture, and that it will have much more literary education very incomplete. It is influence than even Shakespeare upon the not necessary to consider the work from written and spoken language of the Eng- a religious point of view at all; indeed, to lish race. For this reason, to study Eng- so consider it would be rather a hindrance
to the understanding of its literary excel1 Interpretations of Literature by Lafcadio
lence. Some persons have ventured to Hearn, Vol. II., Chap 3. Published by Dodd, Mead and Company, Inc. Reprinted by per
say that it is only since Englishmen mission.
ceased to believe in the Bible that they
began to discover how beautiful it was. enthusiasm an enthusiasm which someThis is not altogether true; but it is times reaches to curious extremes. I partly true. For it is one thing to con- might mention, in example, the case of a sider every word of a book as the word rich man who recently visited Japan on of God or gods, and another thing to con- his way from India. He had in New sider it simply as the work of men like Zealand a valuable property; he was a ourselves. Naturally we should think it man of high culture, and of considerable our duty to suppose the work of a divine social influence. One day he happened being perfect in itself, and to imagine to read an English translation of the beauty and truth where neither really ex- "Bhagavad-Gita. Almost immediately ists. The wonder of the English Bible he resolved to devote the rest of his life can really be best appreciated by those to religious study in India, in a monaswho, knowing it to be the work of men tery among the mountains; and he gave much less educated and cultivated than up wealth, friends, society, everything the scholars of the nineteenth century, that western civilization could offer him, nevertheless perceive that those men were in order to seek truth in a strange counable to do in literature what no man of try. Certainly this is not the only our own day could possibly do.
instance of this kind; and while such Of course in considering the work of incidents can happen, we may feel sure the translators, we must remember the that the influence of religious literature magnificence of the original. I should is not likely to die for centuries to come. not like to say that the Bible is the great- But every great scripture, whether est of all religious books. From the mo- Hebrew, Indian, Persian, or Chinese, ral point of view it contains very much apart from its religious value will be that we can not to-day approve of; and found to have some and special what is good in it can be found in the beauty of its own; and in this respect the sacred books of other nations. Its ethics original Bible stands very high as a can not even claim to be absolutely orig- monument of sublime poetry and of artisinal. The ancient Egyptian scriptures tic prose. If it is not the greatest of contain beauties almost superior in moral religious books as a literary creation, it is exaltation to anything contained in the at all events one of the greatest; and the Old Testament; and the sacred books of proof is to be found in the inspiration other eastern nations, notably the sacred which millions and hundreds of millions, books of India,' surpass the Hebrew dead and living, have obtained from its scriptures in the highest qualities of utterances. The Semitic races have alimagination and of profound thought. It ways possessed in a very high degree the is only of late years that Europe, through genius of poetry, especially poetry in which the labor of Sanskrit and Pali scholars, imagination plays a great part; and the has become acquainted with the astonish- Bible is the monument of Semitic genius ing beauty of thought and feeling which in this regard. Something in the serious, Indian scholars enshrined in scriptures stern, and reverential spirit of the genius much more voluminous than the Hebrew referred to made a particular appeal to Bible; and it is not impossible that this western races having certain characterfar off literature will some day influence istics of the same kind. Themselves unEuropean thought quite as much as the cultivated in the time that the Bible was Jewish Bible. Everywhere to-day in first made known to them, they found in Europe and America the study of Buddh- it almost everything that they thought and ism and Sanskrit literature is being felt, expressed in a much better way than pursued not only with eagerness but with they could have expressed it. Accord
iThe Veda, a collection of more than 100 2A Sanskrit religious poem which forms an books which has been subdivided into 4 cycles episode of the Mahābhārata, the great epic of on the basis of their metrical composition. India.
ingly the northern races of Europe found a work of art, the longer, we may be sure, their inspiration in the Bible; and the en- was the time required to make it, and the thusiasm for it has not yet quite faded greater the number of different minds away.
which assisted in its development. But the value of the original, be it So with the English Bible. No one observed, did not make the value of the man could have made the translation of English Bible. Certainly it was an in- 1611. No one generation of men could spiring force; but it was nothing more. have done it. It was not the labor of a The English Bible is perhaps a much single century. It represented the work greater piece of fine literature, altogether of hundreds of translators working considered, than the Hebrew Bible. It through hundreds of years, each succeedwas so for a particular reason which it is ing generation improving a little upon very necessary for the student to under- the work of the previous generation, until stand. The English Bible is a product in the seventeenth century the best had of literary evolution.
been done of which the English brain and In studying English criticisms upon the English language was capable. In no different authors, I think that you must other way can the surprising beauties of have sometimes felt impatient with the style and expression be explained. No critics who told you, for example, that subsequent effort could improve the Bible Tennyson was partly inspired by Words- of King James. Every attempt made worth and partly by Keats and partly by since the seventeenth century has only reColeridge; and that Coleridge was partly sulted in spoiling and deforming the inspired by Blake and Blake by the Eliza- strength and the beauty of the authorized bethans, and so on. You may have been text. tempted to say, as I used very often my- Now you will understand why, from self to say, "What does it matter where the purely literary point of view, the the man got his ideas from? I care only English Bible is of the utmost importfor the beauty that is in his work, not for ance for study. Suppose we glance for a history of his literary education.” But a moment at the principal events in the to-day the value of the study of such re- history of this evolution. lations appears in quite a new light. The first translation of the Bible into a Evolutional philosophy, applied to the western tongue was that made by Jerome study of literature as to everything else, (commonly called Saint Jerome) in the has shown us conclusively that a man is fourth century; he translated directly not a god who can make something out from the Hebrew and other Arabic of nothing, and that every great work of languages into Latin, then the language genius must depend even less upon the of the Empire. This translation into man of genius himself than upon the Latin was called the Vulgate-from vullabors of those who lived before him.
gare, "to make generally known.” The Every great author must draw his Vulgate is still used in the Roman church. thoughts and his knowledge in part from The first English translations which have other great authors, and these again from been preserved to us were made from the previous authors, and so on back, till we Vulgate, not from the original tongues. come to that far time in which there was First of all, John Wycliffe's Bible may no written literature, but only verses be called the foundation of the sevenlearned by heart and memorized by all the teenth century Bible. Wycliffe's transpeople of some one tribe or place, and lation, in which he was helped by many' taught by them to their children and to others, was published between 1380 and their grandchildren. It is only in Greek 1388. So we may say that the foundamythology that the divinity of Wisdom tion of the English Bible dates from the leaps out of a god's head in full armor. fourteenth century, one thousand years In the world of reality the more beautiful after Jerome's Latin translation. But
Wycliffe's version, excellent as it was, book only as a literary English produccould not serve very long: the English tion. It was not made with the help of language was changing too quickly. Ac- original sources; its merits are simply cordingly, in the time of Henry VIII those of a melodious translation from the Tyndale and Coverdale, with many oth-Latin Vulgate. ers, made a new translation, this time not At last, in 1611, was made, under the from the Vulgate, but from the Greek auspices of King James, the famous King text of the great scholar Erasmus. This James version, and this is the great litwas the most important literary event of erary monument of the English language. the time, for "it colored the entire com- It was the work of many learned men; plexion of subsequent English prose"-to but the chief worker and supervisor was use the words of Professor Gosse. This the Bishop of Winchester, Lancelot Anmeans that all prose in English written drews, perhaps the most eloquent English since Henry VIII has been influenced, preacher that ever lived. He was directly or indirectly, by the prose of natural-born orator, with an exquisite ear Tyndale's Bible, which was completed for the cadences of language. To this about 1535.
Almost at the same time a natural faculty of the Bishop's can be atnumber of English divines, under the tributed much of the musical charm of the superintendence of Archbishop Cranmer, English in which the Bible was written. gave to the English language a literary Still, it must not be supposed that he himtreasure scarcely inferior to the Bible it- self did all the work, or even more than self, and containing wonderful transla- a small proportion of it. What he did tions from the Scripture—the “Book of was to tone it; he overlooked and corCommon Prayer." No English sur- rected all the text submitted to him, and passes the English of this book, still used suffered only the best forms to survive. by the church; and many translators have Yet what magnificent material he had to since found new inspiration from it. choose from! All the translations of the
A revision of this famous Bible was Bible that had been made before his time made in 1565, entitled "The Bishops' were carefully studied with a view to the Bible.” The cause of the revision was conservation of the best phrases, both for largely doctrinal, and we need not trou- sound and for form. We must consider ble ourselves about this translation fur- the result not merely as a study of literather than to remark that Protestantism ture in itself, but also as a study of elowas re-shaping the Scriptures to suit the quence; for every attention was given to new state religion. Perhaps this edition those effects to be expected from an oramay have had something to do with the torical recitation of the text in public. determination of the Roman Catholics to This marks the end of the literary evomake an English Bible of their own. The lution of the Bible. Everything that has Jesuits began the work in 1582 at since been done has only been in the diRheims, and by 1610 the Roman Catholic rection of retrogression, of injury to the version known as the Douay (or Douai) text. We have now a great many later version—because of its having been made versions, much more scholarly, so far as chiefly at the Catholic College of Douai correct scholarship is concerned, than the in France—was completed. This version King James version, but none having any has many merits; next to the wonderful claim to literary importance. UnfortunKing James version, it is certainly the ately, exact scholars are very seldom men most poetical; and it has the further ad- of literary ability; the two faculties are vantage of including a number of books rarely united. The Bible of 1870, known which Protestantism has thrown out of as the Oxford Bible, and now used in the the authorized version, but which have Anglican state-church, evoked a great probeen used in the Roman church since its test from the true men of letters, the foundation. But I am speaking of the poets and critics who had found their inspirations in the useful study of the old word "flashes" for "coals of fire"? All version. The new version was the work through the new version are things of this of fourteen years; it was made by the kind. For example, in the same Song of united labor of the greatest scholars in Songs there is a beautiful description of the English-speaking world; and it is far eyes, like “doves by the rivers of waters, the most exact translation that we have. washed with milk, and fitly set.” By Nevertheless the literary quality has been substituting "rivers" only for “rivers of injured to such an extent that no one will waters" the text may have gained in exever turn to the new revision for poetical actness, but it has lost immeasurably, both study. Even among the churches there in poetry and in sound. Far more poetiwas a decided condemnation of this schol- cal is the verse as given in the Douai verarly treatment of the old text; and many sion: "His eyes are
as doves upon of the churches refused to use the book. brooks of waters, which are washed with In this case conservatism is doing the lit-milk, and sit beside the beautiful erary world a service, keeping the old streams." King James version in circulation, and It may even be said without any ques insisting especially upon its use in Sunday tion that the mistakes of the old transschools.
lators were often much more beautiful We may now take a few examples of than the original. A splendid example is the differences between the revised ver- given in the verse of Job, chapter twentysion and the Bible of King James. Pro- six, verse thirteen: “By his spirit he fessor Saintsbury, in an essay upon Eng- hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath lish prose, published some years ago, said formed the crooked serpent.” By the that the most perfect piece of English crooked serpent was supposed to be signiprose in the language was that comprised fied the grand constellation called Draco, in the sixth and seventh verses of the or the Dragon. And the figure is subeighth chapter of the Song of Songs: lime. It is still more sublime in the
Douai translation. "His obstetric hand Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death;
hath brought forth the Winding Serjealousy is cruel as the grave; the coals pent.” This is certainly a grand imaginthereof are coals of fire, which hath a most ation—the hand of God, like the hand vehement Aame.
of a midwife, bringing forth a constellaMany waters can not quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give
tion out of the womb of the eternal night. all the substance of his house for love, it
But in the revised version, which is exwould utterly be condemned.
act, have only “His hand hath I should not like to say that the Pro- pierced the Swift Serpent!" All the fessor is certainly right in calling this the
poetry is dead. finest prose in the English language; but
There are two methods for the literary
study of any book-the first being the he is a very great critic, whose opinion must be respected and considered, and the
study of its thought and emotion; the passage is certainly very fine. But in the
second only that of its workmanship. A revised version, how tame the same text
student of literature should study some has become in the hands of the scholarly of the Bible from both points of view. translators!
In attempting the former method he will
do well to consider many works of critiThe flashes thereof are flashes of fire, a cism, but for the study of the text as litervery flame of the Lord.
ature, his duty is very plain the King Now as a description of jealousy, not James version is the only one that ought to speak of the literary execution at all, to form the basis of his study, though he which is the best? What, we may ask, should look at the Douai version occahas been gained by calling jealousy "a sionally. Also he should have a book of flame of the Lord” or by substituting the references, such as Cruden's Concordance,