In 1640, The Bay Psalm Book was the first book to be printed "in British North America," according to Wikipedia. In 2013, a copy of it sold at auction for $14 million. But I'm pretty sure its value to the original users was beyond money. These people understood sickness and death and uncertainty. They also understood that rhyme and meter help to fix ideas in human brains.
Here's Psalm 23 in the Bay Psalm Book version:
The Lord to me a shepherd is,
want therefore shall not I:
He in the folds of tender grass,
doth cause me down to lie:
To waters calm me gently leads
restore my soul doth he:
He doth in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake lead me.
Yeah, though in valley of death's shade
I walk, none ill I'll fear:
Because thou art with me, thy rod,
and staff my comfort are.
For me a table thou hast spread,
in presence of my foes:
Thou dost anoint my head with oil;
my cup it overflows.
Goodness and mercy surely shall
all my days follow me:
And in the Lord's house I shall dwell
so long as days shall be.
Here you can read the text of other Psalms from the Bay Psalm Book, and listen to tunes as well.
Do you notice how in these times, people are sharing art and music and poetry online? And turning to books on their own shelves? Here's a post I wrote yesterday about what I've been reading. What are you reading or listening to that's helping you "fear none ill?" Share in the comments.
The terrific Tabatha has the roundup today.
3 hours ago