Wednesday March 21st.
Mr. Boyd gave me Nonnus’s paraphrase of St John’s Gospel—lent it to me—yesterday; that I might hunt for hiatus[e]s for him. I was reading some of it today, which is the day of the general fast. Whenever he says exactly what is in Scripture, he does not say it as well as Scripture says it: and whenever he introduces more than is scriptural, he does it ill. Jesus wept is “done into” Jesus shed “unaccustomed tears from eyes unused to weep” ομμασιν ακλαυτοισιν αηθεα δακρυα λειβων. The whole of the passage, that exquisite narration, respecting the woman taken in adultery, is omitted.
I was quite exhausted with fasting today. My head was dizzy, & my limbs languid, & my mind incapable of applying itself to any subject. This was not I believe altogether as it shd. be. I wont fast again without being more sure of Scriptural premises than I can feel just now. At church.
1. The Times, 21 March 1832, carried a Form of Prayer “To be used in all Churches and Chapels … on Wednesday, the Twenty-first day of March, 1832, being the day appointed by Proclamation for a General Fast and Humiliation before Almighty God, … For obtaining pardon of our sins, and averting the heavy judgements which our manifold provocations have most justly deserved; and particularly for beseeching God to remove from us that grievous disease with which several places in this kingdom are at this time visited.”
2. Nonni Panopolitani Paraphrasis Evangelii S. Johannis, Cap. XI, 124. E.B.B. quoted Nonnus in the second part of her article, “Some Account of the Greek Christian Poets,” in The Athenæum, 5 March 1842, pp. 210–212: “The two well-known words, bearing on their brief vibration the whole passion of a world saved through pain from pain, are thus traduced.”