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THE design of the following Translation of Isaiah is not only to give an exact and faithful representation of the words and of the sense of the Prophet, by adhering closely to the letter of the text, and treading as nearly as may be in his footsteps ; but, moreover, to imitate the air and manner of the author, to express the form and fashion of the composition, and to give the English reader some notion of the peculiar turn and cast of the original. The latter part of this design coincides perfectly well with the former: it is indeed impossible to give a just idea of the Prophet's manner of writing, otherwise than by a close literal version. And yet, though so many literal versions of this Prophet have been given, as well of old as in later times; a just representation of his manner, and of the form of his composition, has never been attempted, or even thought of, by any translator, in any language whether ancient or modern. Whatever of that kind has appeared in former translations, (and much indeed must appear in every literal translation,) has been rather the effect of chance than of design, of necessity than of study: for what room could there be for study or design in this case, or at least for success in it, when the translators themselves had but a very imperfect notion, an inadequate or even false idea, of the real character of the author as a writer ; of the general nature, and of the peculiar form of the composition ?
It has, I think, been universally understood, that the prophecies of Isaiah are written in prose. The style, the thoughts, the images, the expressions, have been allowed to be poetical, and that in the highest degree : but that they are written in verse, in measure, or rhythm, or whatever it is that distinguishes, as poetry, the composition of those books of the Old Testament which are allowed to be poetical, such as Job, the Psalms, and the proverbs, from the historical books, as mere prose ; this has never been supposed, at least has not been at any time the prevailing opinion. The opinions of the learned concerning Hebrew verse have been various ; their