The Lord rules me; I shall not want
Let's look at the first verse of the 23rd Psalm in two translations based on the Latin Vulgate.
- The Lord gouerneth me,
and no thing schal faile to me;
in the place of pasture there he hath set me.
He nurschide me on the watir of refreischyng; Wycliffe
The Lord ruleth me:
and I shall want nothing.
He hath set me in a place of pasture.
He hath brought me up, on the water of refreshment: Douay-Rheims
- 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.
However, one can see that Pagnini wrote in Latin "he shepherds me", although it was Luther who penned "der Herr is mein Hirte". He wrote the Latin for "I shall not want" instead of "nothing fails me". Pagnini broke "set" into two words providing the underlying Latin for "maketh me lie down." He also provided the Latin for "quiet waters" instead of "refreshing waters." Besides "the valley of the shadow of death" which I mentioned last time, there are several other places in the remainder of the psalm where his influence is clear.
Little in the 23rd Psalm of the King James is original, but the translators did pick out the most eloquent phrases of historic text and weave together the varied threads of previous translations, turning it into poetry, doing justice to the source text. The result is arguably the most famous piece of literature in the English language. To my ears, Pagnini deserves the main credit.
I should mention that I find Luther's version, although very different in many respects, and not demonstrating dependence on Pagnini, also very poetic. But some translations are not.
For those who are interested, this is Psalm 23 in Pagnini's Latin version. The KJ version is remarkably close to this from beginning to end. It is worth considering whether Pagnini was attempting to do in Latin what Buber and Rosenzweig did in German, and Fox and Alter in English.
- Dominus pascit me : non deficiam
In tuguriis germinis accubare facit me,
Ad aquas requietum deducit me.
Animam meam convertit,
ducit me per semitas justitiae propter nomen suum
Etiamsi ambulovero per vallem umbrae mortis
non timebo malum, quoniam tu mecum es :
virga tua, & baculus tuus ipsa consolantur me
Praeparas coram me mensam,
e regione hostium meorum
impinguasti in oleo caput meum,
calix meus exuberans
Veruntamen bonum & misericordia prosequentur me
omnibus diebus vitae meae,
& habitabo domo Domini in longtitudinem dierum.