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When they were but a few men in number;

Yea, very few, and sojourners in it;
And they went about from nation to nation,

From one kingdom to another people.
He suffered no man to do them wrong;

Yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;
Touch not mine anointed ones,

And do my prophets no harm.” It needs only a little practice for the ear to accommodate itself to this Parallelism as a basis of rhythm. And upon this basis we have a verse system showing all the range and niceties of effect which belong to English or Greek verse. In the full Modern Reader's Bible such intricacies are explained for those who are interested in questions of prosody. But for the ordinary reader no detailed explanation is necessary if, as in the present work, the verse is so printed as to bring out the rhythm to the eye.

It may assist if two further remarks on parallelism are added. (1) Distinguish Similar and Dissimilar parallelism. The first obtains where, in a given sequence, all lines are parallel with one another.

Yet he commanded the skies above,
And opened the doors of heaven;
And he rained down manna upon them to eat,
And gave them of the corn of heaven
Man did eat the bread of the mighty;

He sent them meat to the full. Dissimilar parallelism implies that particular lines adhere together with a bond that is closer than the bond which unites them all into a sequence.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;

Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life;

Of whom shall I be afraid? This passage is obviously a single sequence; and yet the third line is closely parallel with the first, the fourth with the second. The printing indicates such dissimilar parallelism, on the principle that Similar lines are similarly indented.

(2) The unit in such parallelism is either the single line or the couplet. But there is also another unit, unlike anything in modern verse. This is the 'strain': it consists of a couplet, either line of which may be strengthened by an additional line, but not both.

Strive thou, O LORD, with them that strive with me:
Fight thou against them that fight against me.
Take hold of shield and buckler and stand up for mine help:
Draw out also the spear and stop the way against them that pursue me:
Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

Let destruction come upon him at unawares;

And let his net that he hath hid catch himself;
Into that very destruction let him fall.

All three are 'strains': the first is a simple couplet; the second is a couplet with the first line strengthened; the third has the second line strengthened. It is very important for the appreciation of Biblical lyrics to accustom the mind to this idea of an elastic unit. When once this idea is grasped it becomes easy to . see, for example, that the two divisions of the psalm entitled the Drama of Night and Morning (page 318) are perfectly symmetrical, although one contains eight lines, the other nine: as printed it is obvious to the eye that each portion is made up of four strains.

2. Metrical and Rhetorical Figures The term 'Figures’ in poetry is apt to suggest technicalities. But the leading metrical and rhetorical figures in Biblical verse are closely connected with the interpretation of particular passages. The printing of these passages brings out the figure; but it is an assistance if the reader has in mind the chief figures he is likely to meet with.

In the Envelope Figure the opening lines are repeated at the close: what comes between is to be understood in the light of this opening and close. A clear example is the psalm, Man the Viceroy of God (page 286). More often we have a modified Envelope: the close is not a repetition of the opening, but modifies it, or continues its thought. Compare The Consecrated Life (page 322); or the Song of the Thunderstorm (page 285, and see note, page 495).

As in ordinary poetry, Refrains are found recurring in different parts of a poem. Compare God our Refuge and Strength (page 103), or Exiled from the House of God (page 313). For more elaborate refrains see note (page 497) on the Song of the Redeemed (page 294).

There are regularly Stanzas of parallel lines: triplet stanzas, page 297; quatrains (pages 279, 299); and others. In Biblical poetry we sometimes have Mixed Stanzas: two different stanzas in the same poem. Compare the great Ode on The World Within and The World Without (page 288): the note (page 496) shows how the shifting from the one stanza to the other reflects the thought

of the poem.

Instead of regular stanzas, some poems are in Strophes: this is simply the verse analogue for the Paragraph in prose, hence the strophes are of varying lengths. Examples: Prefatory Psalm (page 271); National Hymn of the Promised Land (page 53).

The antistrophic structure, so familiar to the reader of Greek poetry, is frequent in the lyrics of the Bible. The idea is of stanzas running in pairs, strophe and antistrophe; the antistrophe exactly balances its strophe, but the rhythm may change altogether between one pair and another. A clear example is the first of the psalms in David's Inauguration of Jerusalem (page 68): where the pairs of strophes run (in lines) 6,6; 3,3; 4,4. Such poems often have an Introduction, or Conclusion, or both, outside the antistrophic structure. Thus the Vision of Judgement (page 293) has an elaborate introduction, pictur

ing the advance of the God of Judgment; then in a strophe the address of God to the Saints, and in its antistrophe his address to the Sinners. The Two Paths (page 408) has a strophe, the path of the Righteous, antistrophe, the path of the Wicked; conclusion in which the two are blended in imagery of light and darkness. In the Royal Marriage Hymn (page 278), after a brief introduction, the strophe is devoted to the Bridegroom and the antistrophe to the Bride.

Especially characteristic of Biblical poetry is the Pendulum Figure, in which ,the thought sways alternately from one to the other of two topics, such as Judgment and Salvation. [As printed, the lines are alternately indented to the left or the right.) A fine example is the National Hymn of the Kingdom of Judah (page 96); see note (page 479) in which the transitions between the one and the other topic are fully described.

Introversion, as an effect associated with antistrophic structure, has been described in a note (page 502) on the Song of the Exodus. Other examples are Wisdom the Supreme Prize (page 407), and the Taunt of Fallen Babylon (pp. 151-2).

A figure strange to the modern reader is Interruption: where one type of structure is interrupted in the middle by another. A simple example is the Song of Trust (page 321; see note, page 500). In the psalm on The Declining Life and The Abiding Lord (pp. 316-7) the effect is obvious.

3. Direct Metaphor, especially in the Psalms A particular mode of conveying imagery comes to be of special importance in the poetry of the Psalms from its bearing upon questions of interpretation.

According to a well-known distinction, the Simile is a branch of imagery in which the comparison is indicated by a distinct particle (like, as, etc.) linking the image to the direct statement.

As the hart panteth after the water brooks,
So panteth my soul after thee, O God.

A Metaphor, on the contrary, has no such symbol of comparison, but the words conveying the image are interwoven into the framework of the direct sentence:

My hunted soul panteth after the water brooks of Zion.

The interweaving may be effected in a large variety of ways: and it is not difficult to see that some modifications of the expression may be such that the metaphorical element may have the appearance of direct speech. One modification of the image just cited might be

A hunted hart panteth after the water brooks of Zion:

but this is an ambiguous expression, which might be interpreted as a direct statement of fact, and not a metaphor. Such expressions I am here calling Direct Metaphors. There are several places in the Book of Psalms where the interpretation of a

whole poem, or section of a poem, seems to turn upon the question whether certain words are metaphor or direct speech. In Psalm viii, we find

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou established strength, etc. This has been read as a direct statement, and various attempts have been made, with little success, to explain the allusion. It is better to understand an image: Out of man, who is, as it were, no more than a babe and suckling in comparison with the world he is to govern, host thou established strength of rule, etc. The ordinary mistake has been caused by neglect of the structure of this psalm. The usual versions make the opening apostrophe consist of three lines:

O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is thy name in all the earth:

Who hast set thy glory upon the heavens. Accordingly, the commencement of the argument becomes the sentence, Out of the mouth of babes, etc., which naturally wears the air of a direct statement. But the envelope figure requires in the present case that only two lines constitute the opening (and closing) apostrophe (see pages 286, 287); and the opening of the argument now reads thus:

Who hast set thy glory upon the heavens,

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou established strength, etc. That the architect of the mighty heavens should have elected the mere babe, man, as his deputy over creation is the wonder, not only of the opening lines, but of the whole psalm, which takes a clear unity under the title, Man the Viceroy of God. Again, a critical sentence in the psalm on page 96 is the following:

The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows,
Turned back in the day of battle.

They kept not the covenant of God, etc. It has been customary to see in this an allusion to a specific historical incident, though no satisfactory incident of history has been adduced. Here, again, the whole can be read as a piece of imagery: Like warriors who, in armour and with weapons in hand, turn their backs in the midst of the battle, so the children of Ephraim were treacherous to the covenant of God. No particular incident is described, but the whole defection of northern Israel from the covenant is compared to soldiers deserting on the field of battle. And this makes a suitable startingpoint for the psalm, which is a national hymn of Judah, portraying alternately God's strength displayed over his people, and their frailty resisting his purposes, until a final outburst of divine power rejects northern Israel and proclaims the house of David as the chosen people. It may be added that a not dissimilar image (but this time in simile form) occurs in a later verse:

But turned back, and dealt treacherously like their fathers:
They were turned aside like a deceitful bow.

Another important case arises in the Psalm of God's House (page 331).

Yea, the sparrow hath found her an house,
And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,
Even thine altors, O LORD of hosts, my king and my God.

Read as direct statement, this has been understood by some commentators to refer the psalm to the period of the exile when the temple is in ruins, the haunt of birds; others see an indication that the poet must have been a dweller in the temple precincts, accustomed to watch the birds flitting round the sacred edifice. A better interpretation is surely found by understanding an image: Like the birds finding in spring their nesting places, so the sacred seasons of the pilgrimages bring me to the altars of God. Nothing else in the psalm suggests the period of the exile, the whole being filled with the idea of the pilgrimages to Jerusalem at the sacred feasts: the passage here discussed adds the exquisite image which compares the joyous approach of the sacred festivals with a stirring instinct of birds in the nesting season. The thought is very close to the opening of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales:

Whanne that A pril with his shoures sote
The drought of Marche hath perced to the role,
And bathed every veine in swiche licour,
Of wiche vertue engendred is the flour;
And smale foules maken melodie,
That slepen alle night with open eye,
So pricketh hem nature in hir corages;
Then longen folk to gon on pilgrimages.

A subtle and beautiful example of this effect is the regular use in Biblical poetry of the phrase in the morning: the underlying metaphor being that of night changing to day to express a sense of trouble and its passing away in deliverance. In its fullest expression the image may be seen in such passages as these:

Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Ai eventide behold terror, and before the morning they are not; this is the porlion of

them that spoil us.

The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning.

More indirectly, we have the same effect in the psalm on page 282.

O satisfy us in the morning with thy mercy;

That we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Taken with the context the thought is: Let the sinful past be a night of which the succeeding morning of mercy will brighten all our future.

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