B. Tate and Brady (TB) – the New Version

At the end of the seventeenth century, Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady produced the New Version. Tate was Poet Laureate. The style is more elegant, but less vigorous. It has to be said that it has less of the flavour of the original Hebrew. By the time metrical psalms died out of use in England in the mid C19, the New Version seems to have been the one in general use, but it took a long time, something like a hundred years, to gain widespread acceptance. For much of the eighteenth century, the Old Version seems to have been the usual, familiar, ‘what’s good enough for King David’s good enough for me’ version.

The New Version continued to be bound into prayer books well up until the middle of the C19.  I have a prayer book from as late as the 1840s with both versions bound into it.

Apart from While Shepherds Watched, which is the New Version paraphrase of part of St Luke, ‘Through all the changing scenes of life’ is part of NV Psalm 34 and ‘As pants the hart for cooling streams’ is part of NV Psalm 42. There are plenty of others whose eclipse one mourns. Particularly attractive are Psalm 139 in Long Metre and Psalm 148 in the metre customary for that psalm, both of which are in this collection.