[TO THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR. "] SIR, —I fancy the
editor of Macmillan's Magazine will hardly accept your interpretation of Sacrum Septenarium in the above hymn. These words are generally understood by Catholics to refer to the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, mentioned by Isaiah,. chapter xi., 2 and 3.
There is a tradition, I do not say that it is very general, that the beautiful translation of this beautiful hymn is by Alexander- Pope ; and I venture to think that intrinsic evidence in this case. tends rather to confirm than to discountenance the tradition. I also venture to think that Pope's version, in point of flow, fervour, and freedom, is immeasurably superior to that of Dean Stanley ; nor do I see that it is inferior to his in expressing the spirituality, which the latter professes more fully to develop. On the con- trary, the effect of his straining after a more literal version is to render the translation cold, stiff, and hard. I suppose the reading of languidum instead of frigidum, whereby the rhyme is lost, and. which I have never met with in any other copy of the hymn, must be a mistake.—I am, Sir, &c., [We are quite content to suppose we were in the wrong, as we- seem to be declared by the suffrages of a great many people who. probably know more of the matter than we do.—En. Spectator.]