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the limitations, and the failures of his earthly pilgrimage. This work, in our established version, is exceedingly obscure ; and, in the original, its style is harsh, diffuse, and vague. On no portion of his labors can Dr. Noyes have found more need of elaborate study, and keen, critical acumen, than here; and never before, as we believe, have the lucubrations of “ the Preacher” been clothed in intelligible English. But here we hardly meet with a sentence that does not interpret itself at the first glance ; and the translation is so free from ambiguity in the text, as to render three fourths of the few notes appended to it superfluous. There are one or two instances, indeed, in which we should have preferred a different rendering, and could quote high critical authority in our favor ; but in every such case, Dr. Noyes has fortified his ground by substantial reasons. We quote the closing chapter as a specimen of the style of the translation, and the more readily, because, with all its acknowledged pathos and beauty, some portions of it bear but a dim and doubtful significance in our common version.
“Remember, also, thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, of which thou shalt say, 'I have no pleasure in them’; before the sun, and the light, and the moon, and the stars become dark, and the clouds return after the rain ; at the time when the keepers of the house tremble, and the men of war bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows are darkened; when the doors are shut in the streets, because the sound of the grinding is low; when they rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music are brought low; when, also, they are afraid of that which is high, and terrors are in the way, and the almond is despised, and the locust is a burden, and the caper-berry fails; since man goes to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets; - before the silver cord be snapped, and the golden bowl be broken, or the bucket broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well, and the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit return to God who gave it.
“ Mere vanity, saith the Preacher, all is vanity!
“Moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge ; yea, he considered, and sought out, and set in order, many proverbs. The Preacher sought to find out acceptable words, and the correct writing of words of truth. The words of the wise are as goads, yea, as driven nails are the words of members of assemblies, given by one teacher. And, more
pp. 114, 115.
over, by these, my son, be warned! Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the flesh. Let us hear the end of the whole discourse! Fear God and keep his com: mandments ! For this is the duty of all men. For God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
The Canticles, Dr. Noyes, in common with many critics of every denomination, supposes to be a collection of amatory idyls, written, if not by Solomon, at least in his reign, or soon after it. His translation of them is full of life and beauty. Though he assigns to them no mystical sense and no religious purpose, yet those who would spiritualize them so as to represent the relations of Christ and the church ought to attach a peculiar value to his version ; for with them,
and perspicuous rendering is of course essential as a basis for their allegorical interpretations. But there is one consideration which perhaps renders these songs of still higher religious worth when we regard them as mere love-songs. We well know how much of manifest and glaring impurity there is in the amatory lyrics of ancient Greece and Rome. We have here, beyond a doubt, the favorite, so to speak, the classical, love-songs of the Hebrews; and we find them, though in one or two instances marked by a license of speech inconsistent with modern notions of propriety, yet, so free from every thing absolutely gross or necessarily indelicate, that they still retain a seldom challenged place between the same covers with the Psalms and the Gospels, and suggest on, ly associations of devoted piety and high religious fervor to many of the purest and best minds of the race. How shall we account for this contrast, except by supposing even the lighter literature of the Hebrews to have been held in check by that sound moral principle, and elevated religious sentiment, which could have flowed only from divine inspiration ?
We regard these works of Dr. Noyes, not only as worthy and useful in a religious point of view, but as among the ripest fruits of American scholarship, and the most valuable contributions to American literature. They have won for him the highest reputation, both at home and abroad, and have received the warmest praise from critics of various denominations. They must take their place on that brief list of sacred classics that will not need expurgation, till the language in which they are written grows obsolete.
ART. VIII. United States Exploring Expedition. 1. The Zoöphytes ; by James D. Dana, A. M., Geologist
of the Expedition. 1846. Large 4to. pp. 740. With
an Atlas of 61 plates in folio. 2. Ethnography and Philology; by HORATIO HALE,
A. M., Philologist of the Expedition. 1846. Large 4to. pp. 666.
We duly noticed the Narrative of our national Exploring Expedition, published by its indefatigable commander. Those interesting, though diffuse, volumes comprise a full account of the details and incidents of the voyage, and afford the reader a general idea of the work performed and the results attained. But the permanently valuable results of this great undertaking, by which its success is ultimately to be measured, are embodied in the scientific reports now in course of publication. Foremost in importance among these, doubtless, is the hydrographical portion, of which, however, it is not our purpose now to speak, except to say that the charts and surveys which have already appeared are pronounced by competent judges to be of unrivalled excellence, and to reflect the highest credit on the commander and his subordinate officers, who have so faithfully executed the arduous duties of this department.
Besides these charts, the only volumes yet published are the two the titles of which stand at the head of this article. These are the first fruits of the rich scientific harvest which our zealous savans have gathered. Before we open them, we are bound to call public attention to a serious error in respect to the mode, or rather the amount, of publication, which, unless corrected in season, must render them forbidden fruit to nearly all the scientific world. We know something of the interest with which the appearance of these volumes is awaited, not only by the comparatively few laborers who represent the rising science of our own land, but especially by their numerous European brethren. Let our readers imagine their surprise and our mortification, when they learn that the edition ordered by the “ collective wisdom of the nation," or the more concentrated intelligence of the library committee of Congress, which has charge of the subject, is restricted to one hundred copies! It would
be hard to contrive a more effectual plan for defeating the very object of publication. When it is considered, that much the larger part of this five score of copies will probably be absorbed in presents to foreign cabinets and to the State governments, it will be evident that few indeed are likely to be accessible to those who can really appreciate or profit by them. Such niggardly publication is only tantalizing the votaries of science. It is, moreover, particularly unjust to the authors of these works, who, after devoting four of the best years of their lives to severe labor, exposed to danger and every privation, and as many more, since their return, to the elaboration of their materials, confident that they have been able to make no meagre additions to the general stock of knowledge, and to lay a broad foundation for their own scientific fame,
— have surely a right to expect a fair hearing before the scientific world.
This infinitesimal edition can hardly have been ordered, one would think, on the score of economy. If so, the penny-wise system begins too late ; for all the principal expenditures have been lavishly made. We refer not so much to the Expedition itself, upon which hundreds of thousands have been cheerfully expended, nor to the preparation of the scientific reports, of the drawings, &c., upon which corps
of savans and artists have been so long engaged, as to the actual cost of publication, the whole expense of type-setting and engraving having been equally incurred for this small number of copies. The additional charges of an ample impression would be merely the trifling cost of paper and presswork, and, in some cases, of the coloring of plates. This beggarly plan, therefore, has not even the poor merit of parsimony. Under these circumstances, if not an oversight, it is sheer extravagance, — an epithet strictly applicable to this “ withholding more than is meet,' when it renders former liberality unavailing. We shall be among the last to find fault with these beautiful volumes, printed on fine paper, with the utmost luxury of type and amplitude of margin. Still, if it be a question between an edition of a hundred splendid but inaccessible copies, and an adequate one in a cheaper form, surely no reasonable person, not even Congress, “can long debate which of the two to choose.” But no change is necessary in this respect, except the ordering of an additional impression of three
hundred or five hundred copies, to be placed on sale, -- just as the charts of the Expedition are sold, — at a price which will barely reimburse the additional cost. We are confident that this number of copies, sufficient to give the work needful circulation, would be promptly bought, even in the present somewhat expensive dress.* Some such plan has, we believe, been recommended to the consideration of the library committee of Congress by the leading scientific societies of the country,
with what success we have not yet learned. We can only add our protest against the present ill-advised scheme, which is preposterous on the score of economy, since nothing whatever is saved by it, and which, if persevered in, will be truly disgraceful to the country.t
It has occurred to us, as we turned the leaves of these sumptuous volumes, - though we like not to entertain the thought, - that a pitiful pride may have had something to do in limiting the number of copies, so as designedly to give them the adventitious value of great rarity ; that the library committee may have wished to imitate the equivocal patronage to science of some sovereigns, such as an emperor of Austria in the last century, for instance, who caused the works of Jacquin to be published in magnificent style, but in a very small number of copies, chiefly for distribution as presents, and then destroyed the plates, that imperial gifts might not subsequently be cheapened.
“ These are imperial arts, and worthy kings," perhaps, in a former age, - though even royal patrons have now grown wiser ; but they are quite unworthy of republican imitation.
We would by no means recommend Congress to follow the " pound. foolish " system which the State of New York has acted on, in the publication of the results of her noble and thorough Geological Survey. After expending hundreds of thousands of dollars upon the publication alone of a very large edition, at an unreasonable cost, and wasting, it would seem, a considerable amount in high prices for quite inferior typography, engraving, binding, &c., the job is crowned by the indiscriminate distribution of these large and costly volumes, many of them filled with recondite science quite unintelligible to common persons, among the first applicants (citizens of the State) at the price of one dollar apiece! - a sum less than one fourth part of the cost of merely coloring the plates which several of these volumes each contain.
We learn that the printers have, in fact, at their own responsibility and risk, secured an impression of 150 copies of the two volumes already printed; but, besides the want of any guaranty for the continuance through the series of this unauthorized impression, it is evident that their