Article Index

Song of Songs: Poems 5 - 8

5

Beloved

I sleep, but my heart is awake: it is the voice of my beloved that knocks, saying, ‘Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is wet with dew, and my hair with the drops of night. I have taken off my coat; shall I put it on again? I have washed my feet; shall I dirty them again?’ 1 - 3

My love thrust his hand through the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved in anticipation. 4

I rose to open to my beloved; and my hands smelled of myrrh, and my fingers dripped of sweet smelling myrrh which was upon the handles of the lock. 5

I opened to my love; but he had withdrawn himself, and was gone. My soul failed when he spoke: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. 6

The watchmen5 that went about the city found me, they beat me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my cloak from me. 7

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him, that I am sick with love. 8

Observer

What is your lover more than another lover, O you fairest among women? what is your lover more than another lover, that you so charge us? 9

Beloved

My love is white6 and lusty, the best among ten thousand. 10

His head is as the most fine gold, his hair is bushy, and black as a raven. 11

His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the water courses, bathed in milk, perching awake. 12

His beard is as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh. 13

His hands are golden, smooth, and set with jewels.

His stomach is a block of ivory covered with sapphires. 14

His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.

His speech is most sweet: yes, he is altogether lovely.
This is my lover and my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. 15

Observer

Where has your lover gone, O you fairest among women? Where has your lover turned aside? that we may seek him with you.

 

My love went down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to pasture his flock in the gardens, and to gather lilies.

I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine: he pastures his flock among the lilies. 16

 

6

Beloved

You are as beautiful as Tirzah, O my love, as beautiful as Jerusalem, as a formidable army with banners. 1

Turn away your gaze from me, for it has overcome me: your hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead. 2

Your teeth are as a flock of sheep which come up from the washing, each one has its twin, and there is not one unpaired. 3

As a pomegranate half are your cheeks under your veil. 4

There are sixty queens, and eighty concubines, and virgins without number by your side. 5

Lover

My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yes, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. 6

Who is she that looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and formidably beautiful as an army with banners? 7

 

Beloved

I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished and the pomegranates budded. 8

Of suddenly I was aware, my desire enraptured me like the chariots of Amminadib!7 9

7

8Lover

Return, return, O Shulammite; return, return, that we may look upon you. This is what you will see in the Shulammite, dancing between two lines of company: 1

How beautiful are your feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter! the joints of your thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of an expert craftsman. 2

Your navel is like a round goblet, which wants not liquor: your belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies. 3

Your two breasts are like twin young hares. 4

Your neck is as a tower of ivory; your eyes like the fish-pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: your nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looks toward Damascus. 5

 

Your head is held high like Carmel, and its hair as dark as purple; the King is held in the galleries. 6

How beautiful and how pleasant are you, O lover of enraptures! 7

Your posture is like a palm tree, and your breasts like clusters of grapes. 8

I have said before, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the branches thereof: now also your breasts shall be as clusters of vine, and the smell of your breath scented like apples; and your palate like the best wine. 9

I am flowing down the throat of my beloved, sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak. 10

Beloved

I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me. 11

Come, my love, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. 12

Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves. 13

The mandrakes9 put forth their scent, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for you, O my beloved. 14

 

O even as you are my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find you in public, I would kiss you; yes, and I shall not be despised. 15 (8:1) 10

I would lead you, and bring you into my mother’s house, who would instruct me: I would give thee to drink of spiced wine and of the juice of my pomegranate. 16 (8:2)

His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me. 17 (8:3)

Lover

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you neither stir up, nor awake my love, until she pleases. 18 (8:4)

Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?11 19 (8:5)

I raised you up under the apple tree: there where your mother gave birth to you: there where she conceived you.12 20 (8:6)

Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm: for love is strong as death; passion is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame.13 21(8:7)

 

Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for this love, contempt is all he can buy.14 22 (8:8)

 

8

Six unrelated verses

We have a little sister, and she has no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for? If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar. 1 (8:9)

I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour. 2 (8:10)

Solomon had a vineyard at Baalhamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver. 3 (8:11)

My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: you, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred. 3 (8:12)

You that dwell in the gardens, the companions listen to your voice: cause me to hear it. 4 (8:13)

 

Make haste, my beloved, and be like a young hare upon the mountains of spices. 5 (8:14)

END