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(reminder: all quotes here are fiddled, probably.)

Alter's Psalms


Robert Alter's translations of the Psalms, rendering the powerfully compact rhythms and the physical concreteness of the Hebrew poetry.

* * *

Psalm 63, as I have rendered it, begins: "God, my God, for You I search./ My throat thirsts for You./ My flesh yearns for You/ in a land waste and parched, with no water."

Psalm 69 begins, as I have translated it: "Rescue me, God,/ for the waters have come up to my neck." This vivid image of drowning, amplified in the next few lines of the poem.

Psalm 44:26 reads: "For our neck is bowed down to the dust,/ our belly clings to the ground." The image is of a person lying flat on his belly with an enemy stomping on him.

* * *

Pslam 19

1. To the lead player. A David psalm.
2.   The heavens tell God's glory,
      and His handiwork sky declares.
3.   Day to day breathes utterance
      and night to night pronounces knowledge.
4.   There is no utterance and there are no words,
      their voice is never heard.
5.   Through all the earth their voice goes out,
      to the world's edge, their words.
   For the sun He set up a tent in them—
6.      and he like a groom from his canopy comes,
         exults like a warrior running his course.
7.   From the ends of the heavens his going out
      and his circuit to their ends,
         and nothing can hide from his heat.
8.   The LORD's teaching is perfect,
      restoring to life.
   The LORD's pact is steadfast,
      it makes the fool wise.
9.   The LORD's precepts are upright,
      delighting the heart.
   The LORD's command unblemished,
      giving light to the eyes.
10.   The LORD's fear is pure,
      outlasting all time.
   The LORD's judgments are truth,
      all of them just.
11.   More desired than gold,
      than abundant fine gold,
   and sweeter than honey,
      quintessence of bees.
12.   Your servant, too, takes care with them.
      In keeping them—great reward.
13.   Unwitting sins who can grasp?
      Of unknown actions clear me.
14.   From willful men preserve Your servant,
      let them not rule over me.
   Then shall I be blameless
      and clear of great crime.
15.   Let my mouth's utterances be pleasing
      and my heart's stirring before You,
         LORD, my rock and redeemer.


* * *

"He mounted a cherub and flew, / He soared on the wings of the wind. ... I pursued my foes and destroyed them. ... I cut them down, smashed them, they did not rise." (Psalm 18)

"It is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing." (Psalm 90)

"How long, O LORD, will you forget me always? / How long hide your face from me? / How long shall I cast about for counsel, sorrow in my heart all day? How long will my enemy loom over me? ... Regard, answer me, LORD, my God. / Light up my eyes, lest I sleep death. ... But I in Your kindness do trust. ... Let me sing to the LORD, / for He requited me." (Psalm 13)

* * *

Psalm 23

Though I walk in the vale of
    death’s shadow,
    I fear no harm,
    For You are with me.
Your rod and Your staff—
    it is they that console me.
You set out a table before me
    in the face of my foes.
You moisten my head with oil,
    my cup overflows.
Let but goodness and kindness pursue me
    all the days of my life.
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
    for many long days.


* * *

Psalm 55

My heart quails within me
    and death-terrors fall upon me,
  fear and trembling enter me,
    and horror envelops me.
And I say, 'Would I had wings like a dove,
  I would fly off and find rest.
Look, I would wander far away,
    and lodge in the wilderness,
  would make haste to a refuge for me
    from the streaming wind and the storm.
O Master, confound, split their tongue,
  for I have seen outrage and strife in the town.



** 尾三行:
到底是 FROM the streaming wind and the storm, 是 IN the streaming wind and the storm, 還是如NJB: "a refuge from the storm of abuse, from the destructive tempest, Lord, from the flood of their tongues"?

1 Comments:

:: Blogger Yun (15.12.07, 06:41   ) sagt...

Wah. Blogger made some changes and screwed up your "recent comments!" You should use a new one lah...

:P



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