Abstract: This article examines the political implications of early modern English verse dealing with the Hebrew king David and of English translations of the Psalms. The article first considers John Milton’s minimization of David in Paradise Lost , before turning to 1) a survey of how and why David was praised or blamed by various poets, and 2) a case study of translations of the penitential Psalm 6 by Thomas Wyatt, Philip Sidney, King James VI/I, and Milton. The article concludes by returning to Milton and argues that insofar as the Stuarts and their supporters associated themselves with the poetry, penance, and royal power of David, Milton views them as retrograde to the progress of human and sacred history, and thus attempts to consign David’s royal example to oblivion. Therefore, a significant but understudied amount of English verse, dealing with David and his sin, is shown to be an early modern mode of poetical and political analysis.
Studies in Philology – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jul 3, 2014