'the highest matter in the noblest form'
John Donne's description of the Psalms celebrates not only the perfection of the biblical psalms but their translation into poetic form by the Sidneys, who turned them into some of the most accomplished lyric poems of the English Renaissance. Although it was not printed until the nineteenth century, the Sidney Psalter was widely read in manuscript and influenced poets from Donne and Herbert to Milton and beyond. It turned these well-known and well-loved Psalms into sophisticated verse,
selecting or inventing a different stanza form for each one. This variety of forms matches the appeal of their content: there are Psalms of praise and blame, Psalms of cursing and lamentation, Psalms of joy and exaltation, Psalms that recount history, and Psalms that describe Creation or divine law.
This is the first complete edition of the Psalter for over forty years. The Psalms are provided in an authoritative modernized text, with helpful glosses and notes illuminating points of interpretation, and an introduction setting the Psalms in their literary and cultural contexts.
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