February 20th, 1860
The excitement of the brain of which I complained seems to have yielded to the counter-excitement of the Psalms. There is a young lady here, a real Hebrew scholar, who reads them for me, and is a judge of their accuracy.
Hebrew and poetry were two of FR's passions. They came together as she spent many hours translating the poetical passages of the Bible into poetic meter. This letter was written in her 80th year, and she was finding the work on the Psalms reviving to her. Her plan was to begin with Lamech's poem in Genesis and go right through to the Gospels to include the song of Mary and the prophecy of Zacharias.
My object is to keep as close as possible to our admirable E.V., only making it verse, not prose, and generally finding an obscurity in each Psalm, that I alter. I also wish to preserve Hebraisms as often as I can . . . Mine are not paraphrases, but the very closest translation I can give.
FR admired Milton and believed that he thought and wrote Hebraically, and that the meter he used was right for her work.
I find the eleven syllabled line, so often used by Milton in "Samson," is the natural tendency of all long Hebrew lines: ten seldom will hold them, twelve should only end a verse or subject.
FR's Metrical Versions of Early Hebrew Poetry was finally published three years after her death.