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David’s Blissful Harp: A Critical Edition of the Manuscript of Matthew Parker’s Metrical Psalms (1–80)

This ground-breaking critical edition of Parker’s manuscript of his metrical psalms 1-80 is here presented alongside the texts of those same psalms as they were eventually published by Parker in 1567/68. This enables the reader to study the genesis and development of an important translation during its long process of composition in which Parker repeatedly emended and revised his work. The edition includes a complete account of all his deletions, emendations, and textual variants. In addition, photographic images of all the surviving manuscript pages are supplied from the Inner Temple Library manuscript (Miscellaneous MS No. 36). There is also a thorough commentary on each psalm, a full glossary and several appendices that help to elucidate Parker’s poetic and exegetical practice. An informative introduction that places Parker’s unremitting efforts in their appropriate exegetical, literary, and cultural traditions offers the first extensive discussion of the aims and merits of this translation. Two of the psalm versions, which exist only in manuscript, are published here for the first time. The book will be of value to scholars with an interest in biblical translation, to students of sixteenth-century versification, to church musicians with an interest in the fruitful collaboration of Parker and Thomas Tallis, and to all readers more generally interested in sixteenth-century religion and literature. 

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Table of Contents





The Psalms as poetry

Psalm translation before Parker

The quest for Parker’s psalms

Contemporary evidence of Parker’s psalms

Parker’s “whole Psalter”

The published version of Parker’s psalms


Metrical variety

The manuscript

MS text (with the printed version)

Facsimile of Inner Temple Library, Miscellaneous MSS, No. 36



Appendix 1: The metre of Parker’s psalms

Appendix 2: Parker’s interpretation of the psalms in his Arguments

Appendix 3: Bibliographic description of 1567 version

Appendix 4: Thomas Tallis’s eight psalm tunes


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