Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Poetry - 3

The third poem is instantly recognizable.  It's Psalm 23, the King James version. 

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me in all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. 
When reading and studying, I greatly prefer using a more modern translation but man, that poetry is something very beautiful.  The Elizabethan poets were simply wonderful.  I think that the 'valley of the shadow of death' is probably the most famous but my favorite bit is the green pastures. 
I read a theory recently that the decline of the King James version of the Bible was having a cascade effect on appreciation of Shakespeare.  The idea was that people used to have more exposure to that style of language and modernized versions put the Bard on an island by himself.  I don't have any idea if that's true or not.  I do wonder if modern translations reduce the awe of religion.  I wonder if the the Bible loses out by not having something of a special (though decipherable) language. 


  1. I have a bit of an uneasy alliance between modern translations (mainly the NLT) and the good old KJV or NKJV. On one hand newer translations are nice because they're easier to understand (who knew the word "knew" had so many meanings!), but the KJV has so much power that's lost in modern translations.

    1. I think you're exactly right about the power. A big of grandeur helps religion. And I don't think there is anything wrong with reminding worshipers that there is an ancient connection to their beliefs.