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patriotism was not confined to party. Who that has ever read it will ever forget “New England”? His numerous Odes on Independence ring with true tones; and we do not forget how often the struggles of Greece, of Italy, and of South America were re-lived in his lyric sympathy. He also had that breadth of vision which belongs to the statesman, and was thoroughly conversant with the history, basis, and spirit of our government. He once wrote many anonymous papers on national politics, remarkable for their acuteness and foresight, and it is not generally known that some of the wittiest thrusts at the shams of the day came from his pen. He was neither wit nor humorist, yet, when deeply moved, often let fly arrows which did not miss their mark; and we have seen poems of his, in which the very bedlam of wit seems let loose. An instance of this is the article which he wrote on “ Nosology versus Phrenology.” Its effect upon the sensitive feelings of Dr. Barber, a phrenologist then lecturing at New Haven, against whom it was written, was so great, that the Doctor himself avowed that he did not dare to repeat his lectures.
He had no small degree of intellectual pride; and confidently believed, that his poetry would one day receive the attention which it deserved. This he not only confessed to his most intimate friends, but frequently expressed in his works.
The whole tenor of “ The Mind” is that of reverence and earnest sympathy with lonely men of genius, especially at the close, where Dante assures him of poverty and future fame; and the same hopeful trust is repeated in “ The Dream of a Day." Nearly allied to his poetical gifts was his love of music, in which he was a proficient performer. In conversation, the fulness of his knowledge, his ready memory, and the ability to tell what others knew not, made his remarks of unusual value; but the talking was nearly all on his side. He would listen to no question, when once fairly under way; and if his friends wished to speak, they had to wait till he finished. In early youth, he talked but seldom, unless he met with those whom he knew would justly appreciate his thoughts; in later · years, as he had little consciousness of time, his talks were apt to be wearisome; and, if one asked him a question, he might get a treatise in reply. His conversation was rich in original
thought, and had a kind of inward logic. “If opinions opposite to his own were advanced, he would listen calmly to the arguments by which they were sustained, replying in a ready and ingenious manner, but maintaining his own opinions with great firmness." * In company with a few friends, — among whom we may mention Dr. North, Mr. Augur the sculptor, and Dr. Wm. Tully, — all recently deceased, and men of similar turn of mind with himself, — he often spent his evenings, or rather a great part of the night. Perhaps, about midnight, Percival would think of going home; and, their talk unfinished, Dr. North would accompany him. Still talking, Percival would then return with Dr. North, often repeating the walk several times; and at their sittings morning would not unfrequently break in upon them.
“In figure, Percival was somewhat tall, and thin almost to emaciation; his forehead was high, his nose prominent, his lips thin and mobile, his face oval, and his complexion pale, inclining to sallow. But his eye betokened, even to a casual observer, the presence of rare genius. It was flashing and deep-glowing, like the diamond. Its color was blue-grey, its vision far-searching, yet microscopically minute. Nothing seemed to escape his observation. It was the eye equally of the naturalist and the poet.” | “He commonly talked in a mild, unimpassioned undertone, but just above a whisper, letting his voice sink with rather a pleasing cadence at the completion of each sentence. Even when most animated, he used no gesture, except a movement of the first and second fingers of his right hand backward and forward across the palm of the left, meantime following their monotonous unrest with his eyes, and rarely meeting the gaze of his interlocutor."
He was a naturally religious man. He saw deeply into the nature of things, and had a kind of intuitive communion with spiritual truth. He found in the strictness and severity of religious thought, which characterized his time, little that was congenial to his indwelling spirit. A religion of fear seemed to him, in some measure, to belong to the Church; and, like so many other ingenuous minds, he made in youth an earnest effort to find out a system of worship superior to what he saw about him ; but he had no bitterness of spirit, no desire to uproot the faith of others, and rarely spoke to any one on
the subject. His “ Prometheus” has many revelations of his spiritual condition, when scepticism had strong hold of him ; but “ the defenders of the faith” saw only bugbears, when they attacked him so severely in the reviews. He never connected himself with any form of worship, and was but seldom seen at church. He has himself given his Credo : “ Philosophy, Religion, and Poetry sit enthroned as a spiritual trinity in the shrine of our highest nature. The perfect vision of all-embracing truth, the vital feeling of all-blessing good, and the living conception of all-gracing beauty, — they form, united, the Divinity of Pure Reason.” During his last days, those whom he met “ regarded him almost in the light of a sinless being”;* his mastery of himself was seldom lost ; but only in his poetry can we gain insight into that spiritual life which he never spoke of to his friends; for he has said, “ True poetry should be a holy thing, like true philosophy and true religion, — the product only of our highest intellectual and moral nature,” — and he wrote in this spirit. As he ripened in years, the scepticism of his youth changed to trust and hope, and the gentler feelings of his nature gushed out in full sympathy with children, social intercourse, and religious truth. One who was with him at the close of his life has told us: “I often heard him remark, that, if we did our duty faithfully here, we should receive the approbation of our Almighty Father.”
ART. VI. — THE BOOK OF JOB.
1. The Book of Job, a Translation of the Original Hebrew on the Basis
of the Common and Earlier English Versions in Parallel Columns with the Hebrew Text and the Common English Version. With Critical and Philological Notes. For the American Bible Union. By THOMAS J. Conant, D.D., Professor of Sacred Literature in Rochester Theological Seminary. New York: Ameri
can Bible Union, &c. 1856. 2. The Book of Job, a Translation from the Original Hebrew, &c., with
an Introduction and Explanatory Notes for the English Reader. For the American Bible Union. By Thomas J. CONANT, Professor, &c. New York: American Bible Union. 1857.
The American Bible Union is a society consisting chiefly of members of the Baptist denomination, and formed for the express object of revising the Common Version of the Bible. It appeared two or three years ago, from a statement of one of the Presidents of the association, that between one and two hundred thousand dollars had already been raised and expended in the promotion of the work. The only completed results of this marvellous expenditure of money are a revised translation of the Book of Job, and of one or two books of the New Testament. The revised translation of Job is in two forms; one accompanied with the Hebrew text and King James's Version in parallel columns, with notes philological, the other having only an Introduction and notes expository for the English reader. The translation itself is the same in both forms.
The translation of Job was intrusted by the Union to one having a very good knowledge of the Hebrew language. We are happy in this case not to be obliged to expose philological blunders, ignorance of the grammar and idioms of the original language, and evident indications of haste and carelessness. This is no “Yahveh Christ” affair. On the contrary, Dr. Conant, by his knowledge of the Hebrew and his study of all the recent German commentaries on the book, has produced a work which, in reference to its philology, must hold a respectable rank. To many passages, which are unintelligible or ob
scure in the Common Version, he has given a clear and satisfactory meaning, by substituting the true for the false rendering of the original. The philological notes give good evidence of his Hebrew scholarship.
Besides a thorough knowledge of the original, two other qualifications are wanted in an expositor and translator of the Scriptures. First, sagacity and judgment in the application of the principles of interpretation, and, secondly, taste and skill in representing the meaning in English. In respect to these qualifications we have not received so favorable an impression from the work, as in respect to the translator's knowledge of Hebrew words and idioms. At least our judgment is different from his, in regard to the meaning of a good many passages.
Our limits will not allow us to go into much discussion ; but in regard to ch. xix. 25, &c., we cannot help expressing our astonishment that, in view of all the expositions of the
passage by learned commentators for the last three hundred · years, Dr. Conant should (p. 39) regard it as Messianic,
His supposition, too, that the passage describes Job's 'confidence in a blessed immortality of the soul in its state of separation from the body, seems to us to contradict the descriptions of Sheol, or the state of the dead, which Job is represented as giving in other parts of the book, and to be inconsistent with the connection in verse 23, and with the whole plan, conduct, and dénouement of the poem. Dr. Conant says, “ The common interpretation is, confessedly, the natural import of the words.” This is a very loose critical remark, for two reasons. First, Dr. Conant himself does not adopt what he calls the “ common interpretation.” The “ common interpretation ” makes the passage refer to the resurrection of the body at the second coming of Christ, while Dr. Conant explains it of the immortality of the soul, separate from the body, - a very different thing. Secondly, the literal meaning of the words might appear the “natural import” to a reader of the nineteenth century, taking the words by themselves, and having no acquaintance with the opinions of the ancient Hebrews, while the hyperbolical meaning, which supposes it to represent Job, reduced by disease to a mere skele