A Psalm from an Elizabethan Poet

Around the same time that Protestant scholars were refining and revising the translation that would eventually become the King James Bible, a young diplomat and poet named Philip Sidney (1554–1586) set to work producing a verse version of the book of Psalms, conforming to his own ideas about meter and prosody. Jospeh Bottum provides some background:

[Sidney’s] sonnet cycle Astrophel and Stella, with its experimental riffs on Petrarch’s rhyme scheme, helped to establish the sonnet in English as a flexible, innovative form.  He wrote a romance, Arcadia, and a Defence of Poetry. Yet it was left to his friend, biographer, and fellow poet, Fulke Greville (1554–1628), to instigate the posthumous publication of these works.

The versifying of the psalms has a long history in English verse, particularly in the making of metrical versions that could be sung by Protestant congregations. . . . In Sidney’s case, by the time of his death (from injuries in the battle of Zutphen), the 16th-century poet had completed only 43 verse psalms. His sister, Mary Sidney, finished the project and, in 1599, presented a copy to the queen.

Sidney’s “Psalm XIII,” which, according to Botttom, “reflects the experimental energy Sidney brought to the making of verse,” begins thus:

How long, O Lord, shall I forgotten be?
What, ever?
How long wilt Thou Thy hidden face from me

How long shall I consult with careful sprite
In anguish?
How long shall I with foes’ triumphant might
Thus languish?

Read more at New York Sun

More about: English literature, Poetry, Psalms


Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security