1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Psalm

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

PSALM (from the Gr. word ψάλλειν, to play the harp), the name used to designate the religious poems of the Hebrews, which are contained in the Psalter (see Psalms, Book of). Modern collections of religious poetry sometimes bear the title of Psalms and Hymns, but these are always more or less directly connected with the actual Psalms of David. Longfellow wrote “A Psalm of Life” (1839), which was an intimate confession of the religious aspirations of the author. The Psaumes of Clément Marot (1538) were curious adaptations of Hebrew ideas to French forms of the epigram and the madrigal. But it is doubtful whether the psalm, as distinguished from the Hebrew Psalter, can be said to have any independent existence. It is loosely used to describe any exalted strain of devotional melody. (See also Hymns.)