Song of Solomon,
From the Original Hebrew;
Historical, Critical, and Explanatory.
Printed For J. Dodsley, in Pall-Mall. 1781M,DCC,LXXXI.
To the Reverend and Learned John Parkhurst, M. A. of Epsom, Surrey,
The following translation is most respectfully inscribed, as a small testimony to his merit, and a monument of his friendship for the author; who, actuated by the principles of esteem and gratitude, takes this public opportunity of acknowledging her great and repeated obligations to him: and wishes to present the following sheets to the public under his patronage.
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A Preliminary Discourse.
The following Paraphrase of the Song of Solomon, which I now offer to the public, may perhaps be thought an improper undertaking for a woman: The learned may imagine it a subject above the reach of my abilities; while the unlearned may incline to deem it a theme unfit for the exercise of a female pen.
If the former, after having read and maturely considered the performance, should then accuse me of ignorance, or temerity, I hope they will be pleased to do me justice in one particular, at least, by admitting that I have taken some pains to elucidate my subject, and to place in one clear point of view a poem ancient and intricate: a poem relished by few, understood by very few; but which, with concern I say it, has been ridiculed by many. How oft has the cheek of ignorance flushed with a fancied ii a(1)v ii fancied importance, when the sacred pages have met the illjudging eye? How oft the tongue of half-bred wit grown voluble, when the loves of Solomon and his fair Egyptian spouse have occasionally been the subject?
To my less learned objectors I shall beg leave to say, that if they imagine they discover any thing impure, or indelicate, in the following pages, they must force on the divine performance a meaning foreign from the sacred author’s intention, and distant—very distant from his translator’s heart ——
Who’d feed no vice, no luscious tale unfold,
In polish’d metre elegantly told;
Who yet essays, with daring genius fir’d,
To chant those strains that Judah’s God inspir’d,
To sing that holy flame, that raptur’d love,
Which mortals fancy, but which angels prove.
How beams instruction from each hallow’d line!
How soars the thought from sensual to divine!
Still as we read, the heav’n-taught muse inspires,
And all the kindling soul with sacred transport fires.
To those who would be eloquent on a subject they little comprehend, I take leave to address a few lines more; I would, if possible, check their half-formed sneer, and stop them from offending. Let them consider, that the Song of Songs is no human compostition, but the work of an inspired penman; and that the same God who turned to melody the tongue of the Jewish bard, would likewise charm to reverence the Christian reader’s heart, would he but yield up that heart to him, attend the strain, and mark the sacred import. Why not attempttempt iii a(2)r iii tempt to draw aside the mystic veil, and in the earthly view the heavenly Solomon? Be it likewise remembered, Introduction to A New Translation of the Song of Solomon. that this poem celebrates no loose amours, but that holy wedded love, which allowably glows in the chastest bosoms. Reflect we also, that the whole has a higher and more noble application; and that this elegant description of conjugal love, is only a veil to shadow that divine and tender regard, which subsists between the Redeemer and the souls of men.
Although, in the following Paraphrase, I have confined myself to the literal sense of this ancient Song, the giving of which, says a learned author , Author of the New Translation is the first duty of an expositor; yet am I very far from agreeing with the learned Michaelis (a Professor in his Majesty’s University of Gottingen) who seems to controvert the received opinion of this poem’s being a sacred allegory, and is inclined to look no farther than the literal meaning. No; I would have my readers still keep in mind it’s divine import: Let them cherish the idea, it will enhance their pleasure, and insure their profit.
My present purpose, however, is to place it’s literal sense in a clear and perspicuous point of view; to distinguish, with all possible accuracy, the Dramatis Personae of this sacred poem; to make proper divisions; and to transfuse some of the spirit and energy of Oriental poetry into English metre.
Perhaps it may be said, that after two learned and ingenious men, namely, the anonymous writer of The New Translationa2 lation iv a(2)v iv lation of the Song of Solomon, and Mr. Harmer, author of the Outlines of a new Commentary on this Divine Poem, have undertaken, the one to translate, and the other explain it, it is needless for a woman to step forth, and expatiate on a subject, which has already been so satisfactorily treated by them; since no new lights can be expected, or hoped for, from the feeble efforts of a female muse. To the works of the able writers just mentioned, I own myself much indebted; from them I have received many striking lights, which have helped to guide me through the intricate labyrinth, enabling me to pursue, methodically, I trust, the various changes of this ancient Hebrew Song.
The plan of my Paraphrase is chiefly founded on what Mr. Harmer has advanced; his Commentary may be called the basis of it. In some few points, I take leave to dissent from his opinion; but, when he perceives the motive, and hearkens to the reasons I produce, if he then incline not to my hypothesis, he will at least pardon, and not accuse me of singularity for the sake of being singular.
In regard to the speakers in this Song, the author of the New Translation agrees with Origen, that they are, 1. Solomon; 2. his Spouse; 3. the Virgins her Companions; and (he thinks) 4. the Friends of the Bridegroom. Mr. Harmer acquiesces in the above, but delievers it as his opinion, that a fifth speaker should be added, namely, the Jewish Queen, a former, and (before this marriage) the principal wife of Solomon. To these I have ventured to add, the Virgins of Egypt, and those of Zion, agreeably to a hint thrown out by Mr. Harmer, and in conformity with my own judgement. The Virgins of Zion are mentioned, ch. iii. II, as distinct from those of Jerusalemruſalem v a(3)r v rusalem, ch i. 2, 5. There appear also to be two bands, or companies, of the Daughters of Jerusalem; for those who go forth, ch. i. to meet the bride and bridegroom, cannot be the same that appear, ch. ii. as attendants on the Jewish Queen, and which are to be considered as her maids of honour.
It is surprizing, says Mr. Harmer (in a letter to me) that preceding writers should not have remarked, that the sacred poem of Solomon introduces two different ladies, as the principal personages to whom it refers, along with the royal bridegroom. I doubt not (continues he) but that you have given this observation it’s due energy. It is of the greatest consequence, if we would give a just view of this venerable song.—Certainly it is. And is it not astonishing, that a circumstance of such consequence should have escaped all former expositors? By this important discovery (the honour of which rests solely with Mr. Harmer) the literal sense of the poem becomes clear and striking, is laid open to every eye, and directed to every unprejudiced heart. That being ascertained, the allegorical sense succeeds of course: Solomon takes a Gentile spouse, his former Jewish wife flies off in displeasure: Christ calls in the Gentile world, the Jews in consequence thereof fly from the Messiah, and still remain distinct, distant, irreconcileable.
After having perused with attention Mr. Harmer’s excellent work, I read, with the assistance of a learned friend, the book of Canticles in the original language, deliberately and critically; comparing, as I proceeded, Mr. Harmer’s commentary with the Hebrew text: and by these means I was enabled, with tolerable precision, to ascertain who were the speakers, and which of the two ladies vi a(3)v vi ladies, introduced in the drama, was the speaker at such or such a time. For though (as Mr. Harmer observes) there are here no separate names, or the initial letters of the names, by which the speakers may be known, yet we may generally collect the knowledge we want to obtain on this point, from other considerations. This, in some cases, is not difficult. A king is spoken of in this piece of poetry; where a verb then is in the singular number, and masculine in it’s termination (for the Hebrew verbs are known, by all acquainted with that language, to have terminations, in most cases, that distinguish a male from a female) we readily suppose that king is the speaker: where they are plural, and of a feminine termination, we suppose the words belong to a company of virgins: when feminine, but singular, we suppose it is the Spouse that speaks: but if there be two different ladies that speak singly, at different times, the termination of the Hebrew verb, &c; cannot determine whether it be the Spouse, or a former wife of Solomon, that speaks; it may as well be the last as the first; and it is the sense alone of what is then spoken, that can enable us to affix those parts of the Song to the right person; and as these parts may be sometimes obscure, and at others too short to be very determinate, the settling of all the parts of this poem with exactness, must be extremely difficult. See Outlines, p. 25 and 26. Difficult Mr. Harmer asserts it to be, but he does not say it is impossible. Led on by a gleam of hope, animated and encouraged by the wishes and aiding vii a(4)r vii aiding hand of my judicious friend, I proceeded to examine, with the strictest scrutiny, this Song of Songs. I mused upon the whole—brought all it’s parts before me—marked down each speaker—reflected on the matter spoken—observed the rising passions—and traced the cadence of desponding love. The result was—All is consistent, beautifully descriptive, movingly pathetic, or simply and necessarily narrative. There are certain passages so exceedingly poetical, that they must strike every reader of tolerable taste; and others unembellished with the graces of diction: this latter circumstance I look on as an excellence in the poem—rather than as a defect (humanly speaking) in the author. A writer of taste and judgement knows where to give a loose to the exuberance of fancy, and where to curb the vivacity of imagination. Little, it may be said, was here left to fancy—little to the fallies of human imagination. How much, or how little, I pretend not to determine; thus far I grant, the matter was from God, in this, as in the other sacred books; but how far the manner of delivering it was dependant on the ability of the person commanded to promulge the holy precepts, I think the manifest and striking difference which appears, particularly in the poetical parts of the Old Testament, amply evinces.
But to return—When the royal poet treats of love, can any thing be more full, more soft, more exquisitely expressive? When he draws a comparison, how just, how strong, how bold! too bold, it may be, for the refined ear of some gentle European; but not too bold for the glowing pen of an Asiatic bard. Solomon is not singular in this; the prophets of the 9 Old viii a(4)v viii Old Testament delight in, and abound with, similies as bold, metaphors as strong, and allusions as sensual. It is a just observation of Monsieur Boileau, that we are never to judge of the elevation of an expression in an ancient author, by the sound it carries with us; since it might be extremely fine with them, though rough, low, and uncouth to us.
In ch. ii. of this Song, the sacred penman gives such proofs of his poetic powers, as must always be admired, but never can be equalled: there the pathetic, the descriptive, unites with the ardent pleadings of impassioned love. All of beauty—all of harmony is there! Would we complain—Solomon, in ver. I, instructs us how to pour forth the dubious feelings of an anxious heart; would we paint nature clad in the young graces of laughing spring—turn we to ver. 11, 12, 13; and would we sue with all the complicated eloquence of love—learn we, from ver. 14, how to express ourselves. Ch. iii. to the end of ver. 4, I term narrative; at ver. 6, the poet rises, assumes a loftier strain—then glows his imagination, and on the numbers flow, with grace, with energy, with harmony divine!
The language of the royal bridegroom is ardent—eloquent: that of the Jewish Queen, plaintive—inquisitive—arguing distrust—now expressive of resentment—then relenting, and melting into love—then again declarative of violent anger and chagrin: while that of the Spouse is tender; but it is a tenderness mixed with delicacy, and some reserve. Influenced by that modesty and diffidence becoming her new station, and almost inseparable from it, she speaks but little; just enough to convince her royal partner of the preference her heart gives him; 3 excepting ix b(1)r ix excepting once, towards the conclusion of ch. viii. when, irritated, it should seem, by a keen reproach from the mouth of her envious rival, the woman is awakened, and the reserve of the bride, for a short period, forgotten.
It is evident, that to one female speaker is assigned a large portion of this divine song. Brides, even in our own country, are seldom talkative; polite and prudent brides, never so. Those of the Asiatics are extremely reserved: they are bathed, perfumed, dressed, celebrated in songs; but history says not, that they ever join in those songs, or that they even mix in public conversation, on these solemnities. Modest reserve is the characteristic of a bride; and our sacred bard, who adheres invariably to nature, describes persons and things, customs and manners, such as they were in his time, and such as they, pretty nearly, appear to be at present among the Orientals; whose usages vary not, as our’s do; but who, tenacious of old customs, keep closely to them.
The lady, then, who pathetically complains, ch. ii. and who likewise has so considerable a portion assigned her, through the course of the drama, cannot, conformably to our plan of expounding this poem, be the Bride, but must be the Jewish Queen. For (says Mr. Harmer) it is plain, that two principal wives of Solomon, the one just married, and another, whose jealousy was greatly awakened by the event, are referred to in this Song, and introduced as speakers. Whatever is spoken ch. ii. is spoken in the absence of Solomon; to the end of ver. 6, the acute feelings of an afflicted soul are poured forth, not the warm effusions of a heart dilated with joy, and glowing with the gratefulb ful x b(1)v x ful sensations of successful love. Mr. Harmer has treated this point in an able manner, and I think has proved incontrovertibly, that, as there are two wives of Solomon introduced in this poem, so—that at the beginning of ch. ii. the Jewish, or former principal wife, makes her first appearance.
I have minutely examined what Mr. Harmer has advanced on this subject, and have compared it with the divine original, appealing, as I proceeded, not only to my understanding, but to my heart; for while we are human, the passions and affections will bear some sway; and so long as they are subservient to religion and reason, it is not improper that they should. Were they not implanted in our nature for wise and noble purposes? And since it has pleased our great Creator to reveal to us spiritual things by sensible images, either reflected from the world around us, or derived from the intimate sensations of our own hearts, should we not, if we would fully comprehend the force and meaning of a divine composition, appeal to our hearts, and consult their feelings? They will (prejudice aside) determine pretty justly in these matters, and inform us whether the subject in question be the expressions of tender sorrow, or the effusions of successful love.
My first attempt on this divine composition, was a prose translation, which I carefully and studiously made from the Hebrew text, some time before The New Translation of Solomon’s Song came to my hand. Then I began my Paraphrase, endeavouring to soften, with the flow of numbers, the rugged, inharmonious style of literal translation: adopting Bishop Patrick’s opinion, that the latter part of ver. 14. ch. 5. should be understoodſtood xi b(2)r xi stood as descriptive of the bridegroom’s dress: and likewise ch. vii. ver. 2 of some ornaments, and parts of the dress of the Jewish queen. Saint John in the Apocalypse, ch. xix. ver. 16. represents the Lord Jesus as having on his vesture, and on his thigh (that part of the vesture that laid over his thigh) a name written; which plainly shews that it was not unusual to call certain parts of the vesture by the names of those parts of the body which they covered. See Outl. p. 177.
My prose translation was a literal one; but as a poetical paraphrast, I have allowed myself greater freedom; and though I have preserved the strict sense of the Hebrew text (as far as my knowledge of the sacred language extends) yet have I frequently enlarged thereon, endeavouring to elucidate some parts, and to make others bend a little to the mind of an European reader: for, considering the distance of time since this inspired poet wrote, the difference between the ancient, yea modern, usages of the east, and those that obtain in our western regions, all possible light should be thrown on a transaction so remote, on a subject so obscure.
The method recommended by Mr. Harmer, and pursued by him in his excellent piece, entitled, Outlines of a New Commentary, &c; to illustrate this Song, is, the comparing of it with other oriental compositions, ancient and modern, such as the Arabian Nights Entertainments; the Song of the Bassa Ibrahim, which bears a striking resemblance to this divine poem, in the style, the images, and the peculiar turn of thought; b2 a tranſ- xii b(2)v xii a translation of which is given in the justly-celebrated Letters of the late Lady M.W. Montague. Ps. xlv. he likewise mentions as a fine piece of oriental poesy; which is generally allowed to be an epithalamium, composed on the marriage of Solomon with the Egyptian princess, and is therefore most aptly chosen by that judicious writer on this occasion, and compared with the Song of Solomon. The last he produces is a famous Greek poem of great antiquity; it is the epithalamium of Theocritus, on the nuptials of Menelaus with Helen. For further illustration I beg leave to refer the reader to his work. See Outlines, p. 104, &c; &c;
As to the nature of this poem, the learned have disagreed; some calling it a simple pastoral, others a sublime allegory, others an epithalamium. As to the subject of it, there seems no room for doubt, it appearing evidently to have been written on occasion of Solomon’s nuptials with the daughter of Pharoah. This great and important event was to be celebrated in a manner never to be forgotten: it was therefore recorded by an inspired writer, and registered in the Holy Bible, at the command, doubtless, of God himself. How far every individual among us, who are of the Christian communion, may be interested herein, it behoves us seriously to consider. For did Solomon, at that time a devout and zealous Jew, venture of his own accord to act contrary to the spirit and intent of God’s law?—I say to the spirit and intent of it; for hough the strict letter of the law, which forbad making marriages with the heathen, Deut. vii. 1-4. related only to the seven cursed nations of Canaan; yet the reason of it, ver. 4. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they xiii b(3)r xiii they may serve other gods, &c. entended to other idolatrous nations, as well as to the Canaanites, as was afterwards sdly expe— rienced by Solomon himself. See 1 Kings xi. 1-9. And accordingly, in Ezra’s reformation, we find at ch. ix. 1. the Ammonites, Moabites, and the Egyptians particularly, mentioned among those nations from whom the Jews ought not to have taken wives; and that Ezra solemnly obliged them to put away such strange women, and the children they had by them. See Ezra, ch. ix. x. throughout, and comp. Neh. xiii. 23, &c; Would the devout Solomon then have thus violated the law of God, by taking a Gentile—an Egyptian princess, unless he had been particularly directed so to do? No, certainly. But herein he is to be considered as a lively and striking type of Christ. He was allowed to take, and conscious of the divine grant did take, a Gentile princess, and admit her a partner in his royal love, with his former Jewish queen. Had the Almighty disapproved the act, would he (presently afterwards) have appeared to the king at Gibeon, in a dream by night, (see 1 Kings iii. 5-14.) and bidden him ask a blessing, and applauded him for requesting an understanding heart, instead of the vain objects of human desire? But supposing this poem to have been written on the nuptials of Solomon with the Egyptian princess, yet it cannot be an epithalamium, it being of too considerable a length for a poem of that kind, and also abounding with too great a variety of incident. Neither is it a pastoral, the style being, in many parts, too lofty for compositions of that nature. But, that a sublime allegory is couched beneath this description of conjugal love, there cannot (I think) with a Christian, remain a doubt.Epithalamiums xiv b(3)v xiv
Epithalamiums were, generally, sung in the chamber, an near the bed of the new-married pair; they could not then be of any considerable length; now this poem includes the space of seven days, according to the received opinion, and as we shall hereafter set forth, when speaking of the Time; and that is one, among many reasons, why I believe it is not an epithalamium: for all the compositions of that sort, which remain to us from antiquity, are concise, differing in other respects also from this before us. Lady M.W. Montague speaks of a modern one, which her ladyship heard sung at a bagnio in Constantinople, when a beautiful young Turkish bride was introduced there. She does not indeed say how long they were in the procession, but it must have been short, as her continuance at the bagnio was but a few hours.
The matter of an epithalamium seems briefly this—the praises of the bride and bridegroom (see Ps. xlv. which is a perfect model of this kind of Asiatic composition) a promise, an injunction. The Song of Solomon, indeed, abounds with the first—but, where is the promise? where the injunction?
To this day the Arab brides are celebrated in songs, in which their beauty, their virtues, their good qualities, are extolled; even if nature, with hand illiberal, has sparingly dealt out the scanty portion. Such songs as these (which were, and still are, extemporaneous) may be found in ch. i. of the Canticles, to the end of ver. 14; they are resumed at ch. iv. ver. 1, and continued to the conclusion of ver. 7, when the Spouse being arrived at the Holy City, they cease; and no further traces of them are to be met with during the remained of the poem. Theſe xv b(4)r xv These extemporaneous songs, ch. i. by the daughters of Jerusalem, and ch. iv. by the daughters of Zion, must (if any part of this divine poem be thus intended) be the epithalamium; but such they do not appear to me: however, I leave my readers to determine for themselves, humbly offering it as my opinion, after many learned expositors, Thus, for instance, the eminently learned Gregory Nazianzen (cited by Bishop Patrick in Pref.) calls it του νυμφι κου Δραματος τε και Ασματος the bridal Drama and Song! I hope, therefore, my application of the terms drama, dramatic, and dramatis personae, will give no offence to my less learned readers. ancient and modern, that the form of this sacred poem is dramatic, and, in conformity to that opinion, I have proceeded in my paraphrase.
But though it be dramatic, it may want, and the critics say it does want, dramatic unity. According to our present notions, perhaps it may. I pretend not to determine here, acknowledging this to be a subject which I am by no means versed in, having never made it my study. However, as the form appeared to me dramatic, agreeably to that notion, and unbiassed by the laws or strict rules of severe Aristotelian criticism, I have endeavoured to throw my work into that form, as far as the nature of this ancient poem would admit, and my own confined knowledge of the drama extends.
The time included in this Song is, accoring to the opinion of Bossuet, the learned Dr. Lowth, now Lord Bishop of London, and others, seven days. It is well known (says the author of the New Translation) that among the Hebrews, from the earliest times, the nuptial feast continued seven days. This appears from the words of Laban to Jacob, when he had obtruded Leah upon him instead of Rachel: Fulfil her week (i.e. complete2 plete xvi b(4)v xvi plete the seven days of the nuptial solemnity with Leah) and then we will give thee, &c; Gen. xxix. 27. It is likewise manifest from Judg. xiv. 12, 15, 17, that the same number of days was set apart for feasting at the marriage of Sampson. This rule is, to this day, strictly observed among the Jews. During these seven days of feasting (continues the same writer) the bridegroom was attended by a select number of companions, who passed the whole time with him, and are styled in the New Testament, the friends of the bridegroom, John iii. 29. and the children of the bride-chamber, Matt. ix. 15. On the other hand, a select number of virgins accompanited the bride; these are called, in the book of Psalms, the virgins, her companions. Ps. xlv. 14. In the company of these the week of marriage was spent. See Introduction to the New Translation, p. 15, 16.
In respect to the divisions of the poem, I have not followed any preceding writer; but hope my method will appear clear and probable.
I have adopted the ingenious conjecture of Mr. Harmer, in supposing that the habitation of Chimham might be the place where Solomon met the daughter of Pharaoh. The distance to which Solomon went, we may believe, was not great—no greater than might be very well travelled over between the decline of the day and midnight, notwithstanding the slowness in marching which the nuptial pomp required. Nuptial processions were wont to be in the night. So our Lord represents the cry—The bridegroom cometh, as made at midnight. Matt. xxv. 6. The entrance of Solomon, with his bride, into Jerusalemſalem xvii c(1)r xvii salem, we may suppose, was in the night: Every man hath his sword upon his thigh, because of fear in the night. Cant. iii. 8.
The habitation of Chimham (says Mr. Harmer) answers all this, being near Bethlehem, which is known to be only six miles from Jerusalem; lies in the road to Gaza, and that road is called the desert or wilderness. Outl. p. 231.
It was there that Johanan and his troops stopt, and it appears to have beenthe last place in the road that way to Egypt, fit for the accomodation of a large body of people. There Johanan stopt, finally to determine whether they should go into Egypt or not. See Jer. xli. 17. and ch. xlii.
The method I have chosen of varying the subsequent scenes of the drama, I hope will not be displeasing to my readers. Fancy, I acknowledge, may sometimes have taken the lead in this arrangement; but I trust the judicious will not accuse me of resigning the reins, where judgement and sound reason should, or could have dictated. A proper distinction will, I doubt not, be made by the reader: The sacred text remains inviolate, the scenery and decorations only are to be looked on as the effort of human judgement or imagination.
When I consider the importance of this divine Song—the greatness of the subject—the sublimity of the language—the peculiar mode of expression, I am fearful that, notwithstanding all my care—my study—my attention, I have been able to soar no higher than an humble imitation, and have failed in my endeavoursc vours xviii c(1)v xviii vours of transfusing the spirit and energy of Asiatic poetry into English metre. Would that my poetic powers were more equal to the task—equal to my desire of doing greater justice to a poem so beautiful—so sublime—so important!
The eastern languages are all (I am informed) full, energetic, comprehensive. The Hebrew (which is the origin of all others) retains, though partially understood, a grandeur, a sublimity, a mode of expression commanding admiration, but almost damping the distant hope of successful imitation. No other language has powers to emulate the force, the nobleness of this: and why? The Hebrew came immediately from God himself; all other languages are but human corruptions, more or less distant from the divine original. To reduce then the Hebrew poetry to English verse, is nearly as difficult as to render pliant like the slender osier, the solid branches of the sturdy oak.
How oft, intimidated by the arduous task, have I laid down the faltering pen, shrunk from the subject, and mused in silent dismay, till heavenly hope revived my drooping mind, and, reassured, I smote the accordant strings, thus (ardent) invocating the celestial muse: O! for an angel’s voice, an angel’s fire,To wake to raptur’d sounds the hallow’d lyre;To sing as suits the majesty of song,In numbers lofty, and in diction strong,In strains adapted to the great design,The subject Solomon, the theme divine!
Whether the translation now offered to the public (to speak in 10 terms xix c(2)r xix terms somewhat similar to those of Mr. Scott, in his Preface to Paraphraſe of Job, p. 7-8. an ingenious writer) be executed with tolerable success, and reflects the sense of a remote and difficult author, together with some faint sketch of the beauties of a great and inspired poet, is submitted to those whose learning and taste render them competent judges of both.
Song of Songs,
Nobles of Zion, attendant on the King. Ch. vi. 13.
Nobles of Zion. Ch. iii. 11.
The Egyptian Spouſe. Ch. i. 16.
Choral Virgins of Egypt. Ch. i. 5.
Choral Virgins of Jeruſalem. Ch. i. 2.
Virgins of Jeruſalem, attendant on the Jewiſh Queen. Ch. iii. 7.
Choral Virgns of Zion. Ch. iv. I.
Chap. I V. 1. Chap. I. The firſt verſe of this chapter needs no comment, it being a title only of the ſucceeding Poem. The The traces of an alternate ſinging are to be diſcerned in this chapter, from ver. 2 to ver. 15.—Different ſingers are ſupposed to attend the bride, in her being brought to the camp of Solomon, and in her journey from thence to Jeruſalem, and to ſing different parts. Outlines p. 96. Lady M.W. Montague’s Letters ſhew that alternate ſinging is now uſed among the Turks. Exod. ch. xv. proves it’s uſe was far more ancient among the Jews, than the time of Solomon. And if uſed in other ſolemn ſongs of triumph among them, why not at their nuptials? as it certainly is among the Turks now. Outl. p. 98.
The Song of Songs, Which is Solomon’s
Day the First.Scene—A Plain near the Habitation of Chimham, diſtant from Jeruſalem about ſix Miles, ſituate on the Confines of Judea, bordering on the Wilderneſs. The Camp of Solomon in View. Proceſſional Songs by the Virgins of Jeruſalem, advancing to meet the Bride. Time, Evening.
Canto the First.
First Virginſings (perſonating the Bride.)
V.2. Ver. 2. A virgin of Jeruſalem ſings, perſonating the bride: for is it imaginable, ſays Mr. Harmer, that an eaſtern princeſs, brought up in all the delicacy and reſerve of thoſe countries, ſhould expreſs herſelf before marriage in this manner? It is totally inadmiſſible, and conſequently could never be ſo expreſt by a poet who followed nature: but if it be conſidered as the repreſentation of a ſong ſung before her, it becomes quite a different thing. See Outl. p. 88. P. Houbigant was of opinion, that the words let him kiſs me with the kiſſes of his mouth, are a direct addreſs to the bridegroom: but a little attention will convince us, ſays the author of the New Tranſlation of this Song, that the bridegroom does not make his appearance till ver. 9, (in my opinion not till ver. 15;) for, continues he, let us conſider what a figure the bridegroom makes, upon the ſuppoſition that he is preſent at the lady’s addreſs; ſhe overflows with love and tenderneſs, but receives not one kind word in reply. With the kiſſes of his mouth.—The Hebrew idiom abounds with ſuch redundancies.— For thy love is better than wine.—This bold apoſtrophe has been compared to the following in Virgil—O formoſe puer, nimium ne crede colori.—Note on New Translation, p. 50.
Let him on me the balmy kiſs beſtow,
With ruby mouth, whence honey’d accents flow:
For ah! thoſe lips are fragrant as the roſe,
When on its head the purple orient glows.
Second Virginſtill personating the Bride.
To ſhare the favour of thy love be mine;
Thy love, more precious than the choiceſt wine.
Chorus of Virginsſinging the praiſes of the Bridegroom.
3. Ver. 3. The eaſtern nations, and indeed the ancients in general, dealt much in unguents; hence the odour of ſweet ointments became a common metaphor to expreſs the extenſive acceptableneſs of a good name. Eccleſ. vii. I. Note on New Tranſlation, p. 51—It was cuſtomary, on ſome occaſions, to pour liquid odours on the head—at the anointing of kings, &c; Chriſt ſaith to Simon, the Phariſee, Luke vii. 46. Mine head with oil thou didſt not anoint, but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Alſo Pſ. xxiii. 5. Thou haſt anointed my head with oil, and my cup ſhall be full.
Sweet is the ſcent of perfumes rare,
Exhaling on the ambient air;
Sweeter thy name—a perfume ſpread,
Unrivall’d, o’er the royal head:
Therefore the virgins love thy name,
And join to celebrate thy fame.
Second Virginof the Bridegroom.
4. Ver. 4. We will run to the fragrance of thy perfumes. Theſe latter words are ſupplied from the Septuagint and Vulgate verſions, and are countenanced by the Chaldee paraphraſe. Note on the New Translation, p. 52. The king is bringing me into his הדרים. Theſe are the inner apartments appropriated propitiated propriated to the Women. And as Solomon undoubtedly received the princeſs of Egypt in an encampment, this term muſt here be underſtood to mean thoſe tents of pavilions which were erected for her accommodation, and for that of her female attendants. So—Iſaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent, and ſhe became his wife. Gen. xxiv. 67. The ſpouse was not, at this time, brought into the royal tent, but on the road, proceeding to meet the bridegroom: Should not the verb הביאני then be rendered is bringing me, rather than in the preter— tenſe, hath brought?
O draw me with thy pow’rful ſweets,
Chorus of Virgins.
And after thee we’ll fly:
Our ſenſe thy fragrant odour greets,
As gentle breezes waft it thro’ the ſky.
First Virginperſonating the Bride.
The King conducts me to the nuptial bower,
O! deck the path where love delights to ſtray,
Throw all around each fair delicious flower,
That opes its radiant beauties to the day.
Chorus of Virginsof the Bridegroom.
In thee w’ll be glad and rejoice,
Extolling thy love more than wine;
The upright shall raise the loud voice
To swell the full chorus divine.
First Virgin of Egyptſings (perſonating the Bride.)
5. Ver. 5. I am brown as the tents of Kedar, but comely as the curtains of Solomon mon.” mon.—The tents of Kedar, or of the wild Arabs, are covered with coarſe haircloth, which is woven by their women, who conduct the threads with their fingers, having no looms; this cloth is black, and uſually of goat’s hair. Dr. Shaw tells us, that they are called, among the Bedoween Arabs, dow-warah, or doo-warah: theſe Bedoweens generally pitch their tents in the open fields, in a circular figure. An encampment of this gloomy hue could afford no pleaſing prospect to the eye, and the ideas it gives riſe to, ſerve as a contraſt to thoſe beautiful images that flow in upon the mind, when it turns itſelf to the contemplation of the grandeur and magnificence of a royal pavilion, decorated with the niceſt art, and fitted out at a great expence. Modern tents, among the Turks, are exceedingly magnificent; we are told of one that coſt 25,000 piaſtres; it was made in Perſia, and was three or four years in completing. There was nothing remarkable in the outſide, but it was lined with one ſingle piece of camel’s hair, and elegantly decorated with feſtoons, and ſentences in the Turkiſh language. That the Jews were (long before the time of Solomon) ſkilled in works of this nature, we may learn from the deſcription given us of that glorious tent erected in the wilderneſs in the days of Moſes. Solomon’s tent, on this occaſion, was, doubtleſs, extremely rich and ornamented, agreeably to the taſte andability of a young and wealthy monarch—a monarch who made ſilver in Jeruſalem as ſtones, and who ſurpaſſed all the kings of the earth in riches. 2 Chron. ix. 27. This tent was prepared too for the reception of a bride ſuperiour to Solomon in birth, deſcended from a monarch (at that time) great and powerful, reigning over the proudeſt people on earth.
I’m brown as Kedar’s tents, O virgin train!
Which riſe in one bold circle o’er the plain:
But ſtill my form’s replete with native grace,
And charms majeſtic dignify my face:
Comely am I, as yon pavilion rare,
Whoſe broider’d curtains wanton in the air;
Whoſe ſplendid foldings mock the gloom of night,
Tipt with gay beams of artificial light.
6. Ver. 6. This brownneſs, or ſwarthineſs, here complained of, muſt be conſidered as adventitious: for D’Arvieux obſerves of the Arabs of the Holy Land, that, though the ordinary women are extremely tawny, yet that their princeſſes are of a very clear complexion, being always kept from the ſun. Outl. p. 188. And Dr. Shaw ſays, the greateſt part of the Mooriſh women would be reckoned beauties even in Great Britain; the boys being much expoſed to the ſun, quickly attain the swarthiness of the Arab, but the girls, keeping more at home, preſerve their beauty till they are thirty. Shaw’s Travels, p.4 to. p. 241. The ſame, therefore, we may believe, ſays Mr. Harmer, of the women of Egypt, and conſequently of this princeſs, as to her natural complexion. Maillet himſelf allows it, when he ſays, the women of Egypt are pretty fair. Outl. p. 189.—The ſun (ſays ſhe) hath looked upon me. His too fervid rays had injured her complexion, and tarniſhed the native luſtre of her charms. And no wonder, when we conſider the long journey ſhe had undertaken at that ſultry ſeaſon of the year, in April as it ſhould ſeem, which month, in Egypt, the Holy Land, &c; is extremely hot. This journey was undertaken at the earneſt requeſt of בני אמי—rendered her mother’s children, but are ſuppoſed to mean her countrymen, the people of Egypt; who, deſirous of making an alliance with Solomon, appear to have inſiſted, with some degree of warmth, on the immediate departure of the Princeſs, contrary, it might be, to her own inclinations at that time, when travelling muſt of neceſſity be irkſome, through heat, and the numerous inſects, &c; which infeſt those deſerts through which ſhe was to paſs, in the ſummer months. And this ſeems to be the anger alluded to in the text; theywere diſpleaſed with her, for appearing to prefer her own eaſe to their intereſt: and the event proves, that ſhe did nobly advance their intereſt, at the riſk of her own ſafety, eaſe, and beauty: thus keeping their vineyard, but neglecting her own. There There is something ſo very ſtriking in the following deſcription of the celebrated Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, (as given us by Mr. Wood, in his account of the Ruins of that place) that I am inclined to inſert it here, being of opinion (with Mr. Harmer) that, it very well agrees with that in the Canticles of the royal ſpouſe; proving, paſt diſpute, that it is poſſible for a woman to be brown, and yet enchantingly beautiful: Zenobia’s complexion was a dark brown; her eyes black and ſparkling, and of an uncommon fire; her countenance divinely ſprightly; her perſon graceful and genteel beyond imagination; her teeth white as pearl; and her voice clear and ſtrong. See Harmer’s Obſ. on divers Paſſ. of Scrip. vol. i. p. 140.—Eyes ſparkling, and of uncommon fire, ſeem not well to agree with ſuch as were thoſe of the Spouſe, which are termed dove’s eyes; but this young and ſprightly Egyptian might have (and probably had) naturally eyes full of fire, expreſſive of a lofty mind, conſidering her high deſcent and princely education: yet thoſe eyes might, at that time, be ſoftened by the different emotions of the heart, where love and fear bore alternate ſway.
O then, behold me with a partial eye!
Nor, nicely curious, caſual faults deſcry:
What nature gave—the bluſh of op’ning day,
Is fled, is tarniſh’d by the noontide ray:
Egypt’s ſtern ſons requir’d my utmoſt ſpeed,
And me the keeper of their charge decreed;
Their int’reſt dearer than my own I prize—
And haſte o’er deſert plains, ’neath ſummer’s fervid ſkies.
Second Virgin of Egyptinquiring for the Bridegroom.
7. Ver. 7. Makeſt to reſt at noon.—In the hot countries, the ſhepherds and their flocks are always forced to retire to ſhelter during the burning heats of noon; this is beautifully expreſſed in a fine paſſage of Virgil’s Culex. Note on the New Tranſlation, p. 116. See likewiſe Virg. Georg. iiiv I. 331, &c; and Dr. Dr. Martyn’s note there; who obſerves, that Virgil’s precept of ſhading the ſheep at noon is taken from Varro; adding, we find an alluſion to this cuſtom in the Canticles: Tell me, &c;
Tell me, darling of my ſoul,
(Thou who can’ſt ev’ry wiſh control)
Tell me where thou feed’ſt?—and where
Repoſe at noon thy princely care?For C 10 C(1)v 10
For why ſhould I ſtill darkling rove,
E’en by the tents of thoſe I love?
First Virgin of Jerusalemin reply.
8.If thou know not, peerleſs maid,
Where thy royal ſhepherd’s laid,
Mark the footſteps of this flock—
And winding gently ’neath the rock,
Feed thy fair kids theſe ſhepherds tents beſide;
On the green margin of the mazy tide.
Second Virgin of Jerusalemperſonating the Bridegroom, on the nearer approach of the Spouſe and her attendants.
9. Ver. 9. To the horſes in the chariots of Pharaoh.—Dr. Shaw obſerves, that the horſe, formerly the glory of Numidia, is now degenerated; but that the Tingitanians and Egyptians have juſtly the reputation of preſerving the beſt breed. The Egyptian horſes have deſervedly the preference of all others for ſize and beauty; the ſmalleſt of which are ſixteen hands high, and all of them ſhaped, according to their phraſe, like the antilope. Travels, p. 165, 166. The Egyptians were so fond of their horſes, and ſo tenacious of them, that, before the the days of Solomon, they permitted none to go out of the kingdom; but through the intereſt of that prince, the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of Syria, were ſupplied with theſe valuable beaſts. 1 Kings x. 29. We are firſt to conſiſider the beauty—the ſtatelineſs—of this animal; ſecondly, the high eſtimation it is held in by the orientals; then we ſhall be enabled to diſcover the force, the propriety of the compliment, where an Oriental, on ſeeing the young princeſs advancing (with her fair and numerous train of virgins, tall, graceful, aptly choſen, and only inferiour to herſelf in charms—in dignity—in the ſplendour of their apparel)—exclaims—I have compared thee, O my love (permit me to add, with this thy bright retínue) to the horses in the chariots of Pharaoh. It is worthy observation, that Theocritus compares the Grecian Helen to a Theſſalian animal of this kind. See note on New Tranſlation, p. 56. And it may not be amiſs to add, that I heard a perſon (a ſhort time paſt) declare, that a certain tall, graceful, and beautiful woman of his acquaintance, always put him in mind of a fine horſe.
Pleas’d, I compare thee, O my royal love!
(Attended by thy gay reſplendent train)
To ſtately courſers, which triumphant move
O’er the ſmooth ſurface of th’ Egyptian plain:
Which, taught by ſkilful hands to wield the car,
Advance, with plaudits, through th’admiring throng,
When Pharaoh quits the fervid ſcene of war,
And pours with regal majeſty along.
First Virgin of Jerusalemof the Bride.
10. Ver. 10.The firſt part of this verſe alludes to the coiffure of pearls worn by the eaſtern ladies, which, beginning at the forehead, deſcends down the cheeks, and faſtens under the chin. So Olearius informs us, that all the head-dreſs of the the Perſian ladies are two or three rows of pearls, which go round the head, beginning on the forehead, and deſcending down the cheeks, and under the chin; ſo that their faces ſeem to be ſet in pearls. This coiffure of pearls (ſays he) is very ancient among the eaſtern people, ſince mention is made of it in the Song of Songs, ch. i. 10. Outl. p. 205. When the Khalife Al-Mamon went to receive Touran-Dokht, his intended bride, that prince found her ſeated on a throne, her head loaded with a thouſand pearls, every one of them as big as a pigeon’s egg. Outl. p. 205. The ſecond part of the verſe alludes to thoſe chains of gold which were, and ſtill are, worn by the women (of ſome nations) around the neck. D’Arvieux deſcribes the Arab women as having gold chains about their necks, which hang down to their breaſts. Outl. p. 206. Dr. Shaw ſays, that the ladies of Algiers wear chains of gold. Sandys informs us, that the Egyptian Moors, those of the better ſort, wear plates of gold, I ſuppoſe, hung about their necks. See Trav. lib. ii. p. 85.
Thy comely cheeks, adorn’d with rows
Of orient pearls, I view,
And charm’d behold the chain that flows
O’er breast of snowy hue!
Chorus of Virginsof the Bride.
11. Ver. 11. See ch. iv. 3.—We will make thee ſtuds of gold תורי—is rendered rows in the verſe preceding, and certainly ſhould have been thus rendered here) with ſtuds or ſpots of ſilver. The Turkiſh ladies wear, in ſummer, ſays Lady M.W. Montague, vol. ii. p. 31, of her Letters, a talpock of light ſhining ſilver ſtuff, bound on with a circle of diamonds. The Jewiſh ladies might wear a cap like this deſcribed above, and thoſe rows of gold, if they were cut through with a graving tool, would then appear as if they were actually ſtudded with ſilver. Mr. Sandys, ſpeaking of the Jewiſh ladies, tells us, they wear high caps of plate; ſome are made of beaten gold, gold. Lib. iii. p. 116.—The ſame author ſays of the Turkish ladieſ, that they wear on the top of their heads a cap, not unlike a ſugar-loaf, yet a little flat, made of paſte-board, and covered with cloth of ſilver tiſſue. Lib. i. p. 54.—Dr. Shaw informs us, that the Mooriſh ladies faſhion wear on their heads a ſarmah; this conſtitutes the uppermoſt part of the head-dreſs, and is made of thin flexible plates of gold or ſilver, variouſly cut through, and engraven, in imitation of lace. See Shaw’s Trav. p. 229.—To decorate this young and beautiful princeſs, on an occaſion ſo great and important, we may believe no expenſe was ſpared. The Egyptian ladies, ſays Maillet, dreſs magnificently, in a manner much more rich and ſplendid than any thing of that kind among us. Their dreſs conſiſts of a quantity of pearls, precious ſtones, coſtly furs, and other things of value. Their ſhifts alone come to ſix or seven piſtoles. In a word, three young ladies of France might be handſomely dreſſed for the ſame ſum that a common habit comes to in Egypt. Lett. ii. p. 112. See Harmer’s Obſ. vol. ii. p. 380.
Thy roſeate temples we’ll enfold
In triple rows of verdant gold,
With ſtuds of radiant ſilver dight,
Diſpenſing beams of varied light.
First Virgin of Jerusalemperſonating the Bride.
12. Ver. 12. Until the king receive me במסבו—in circuitu ſuo, i. e. in his circular encampment, &c; Now, if we conſider that the preſent Arab princes always receive their brides in an encampment formed for that purpose, and that an Arabian encampment is always circular; and further, that thoſe of the Iſraelites were alſo of that figure (as appears from 1 Sam. xvii. 20. xxvi. 5,7.—מעגלה—a noun fem. ſignifying a round camp or encampment), it will throw great light on this text, and, I hope, make the tranſlation I propoſe clear and intelligible. My ſpikenard, &c; evidently alludes to the cuſtom of perfuming their brides. The virgins choſen for Ahaſuerus were purified ſix months with oil of myrrh, and ſix months with ſweet odours, &c; Eſth. ii. 12. What time was taken up in preparing the brides, in the days of Solomon, we cannot aſcertain: I ſhould imagine the ceremony (in the preſent caſe) was quickly performed, as the circumstance cumſtance cumstance is not dwelt on, by the royal poet. Spikenard, we find, was uſed together (we may ſuppoſe) with other ſweet odours, and the ſpouſe is repreſented as deſiring they may be perpetually applied—till the king ſhould require her preſence that ſhe may be preſented to him with the accuſtomed fragrancy of a royal eaſtern bride. The Egyptian ladies of theſe times, ſays Maillet, are very curious in waſhing and perfuming themſelves: We may believe then (adds Mr. Harmer) that the ancient princeſſes of that country were not leſs careful of their perſons, than were the Perſians in the days of Eſther. See Outl. p. 210.— Lady M.W. Montague, in her deſcription of the reception of a Turkiſh bride at a bagnio, among other ceremonies, obſerves, that two virgins filled ſilver gilt pots with perfumes, and began the proceſſion, ſinging before the bride.
Until the king receive me, ſhed
Unceaſing odours on my head;
Lo! wrapt in majeſty profound,
He waits, in yon capacious round,
Where circling tents ſuperbly riſe,
Aſpiring boldly to the ſkies:
My ſpikenard now its ſweets exhales,
Diffuſing fragrance through the vales.
Second Virgin of Jerusalemof the Bridegroom.
13. Ver. 13. A bundle of myrrh.—This ſeems to be, ſays Mr. Parkhurſt, what Dioſcorides, lib. i. cap. Lcxxiv. calls Στακτη, Stacte, and which he informs us makes a perfume itself; it is very fragrant and dear, and is ſaid to be at preſent unkown. The Orientals were wont to place this precious perfume in a caſket of gold, covered with jewels; this caſket was faſtened to the chain or necklace that ſurrounded the neck, and hung בין שדי—betwixt the breaſts. בתי הנפש—are mentioned among the ornaments of the women. Iſa. iii. 20. The words, according according to Mr. Parkhurſt (ſee his Heb. and Eng. Lex. in נפש ſignifying perfume-boxes, veſſels or boxes to ſniff or ſmell at; ſo the Vulg. rightly, olfactoriola ſmelling-boxes. They are ſtill in uſe among Perſian women; and I was lately informed, by an ingenious friend, that ſhe was ſhewn one of theſe perfumeboxes, by a gentleman who brought ſeveral of them from the Eaſt Indies; that it was made of ivory curiouſly wrought, and exactly reſembling a small tower. Of this veſſel of perfume it is ſaid, that it, not he, ſhall remain between my breaſts: mere continuance being the meaning of the Hebrew verb ילין, which has here, I believe, no reference to the night.
Precious as ſtacte is my love to me,
Which flows ſpontaeous from the parent tree;In 15 C(4)r 15
In a gold caſket artfully compreſt,
The choice perfume ſhall dwell upon my breaſt.
First Virgin of Jerusalemof the Bridegroom.
14. Ver. 14. A cluſter of כפר—Our tranſlators have rendered it camphire and (in Marg.) cypreſs: but, according to the opinion of the virtuoſi, it means the al-hennah of the Eaſt. Rauwolff, who travelled in thoſe countries in the days of Queen Elizabeth, gives the following account of this plant: We find there (ſays he) a tree not unlike our privet, by the Arabians called al-canna, or henne, &c; which they have from Egypt, where (but above all in Cairo) they grow in abundance: the Turks and Moors nurſe theſe up with great care and diligence, becauſe of their ſweet-ſmelling flowers, and put them into earthen pots or boxes, to keep them in the winter in vaults, from the froſt, which they cannot endure: and becauſe they hardly begin to ſprout before Auguſt, they water them with ſoapſuds, or place lime about the root, to make them put forth the earlier, that they may flower the ſooner. The ſmell of theſe flowers reſembles muſk; they are of a pale yellow colour, and ſtand in spikes of the length of a ſpan, but not very cloſe, ſo that the leaves appear between them. P. 53, 54. See Outl. p. 218. Rauwolf Rauwolff alſo obſerves, that this ſhrub is mentioned in the firſt chapter of Solomon’s Song. Dr. Shaw ſays, that at Gabs, in the kingdom of Tunis, they have several plantations of palm-trees, but that their chief trade conſiſts in the great number of al-hennah plants. Travels, p. 113. Here it is worthy obſervation, that he found the palm and al-hennah thriving on the ſame ſpot. The כפר of this Song grew in the vineyards of En-gedi: En-gedi was famous for palms too, and therefore is called in ſcripture הצצון תמר, the palm-tree plat. Gen. xiv. 7. 2 Chron. xx. 2. En-gedi (ſays Mr. Maundrell) was ſituate about three miles eaſt of Bethlehem. p. 86. Its vineyards were famous for aromatic ſhrubs; for though they were called כרמים, I do not find they produced vines: but that term ſeems applicable to other plantations, and is thus frequently to be underſtood in this divine Song. The palm and al-hennah require a moiſt ſituation and warm air; Engedi was famous for both, and therefore proper for ſuch choice and valuable productions. The leaves of the al-hennah were uſed for ſtaining the hair and nails of a red colour. Dr. Shaw ſays, it is of a tawny ſaffron colour. Haffelquiſt aſſures us, that he ſaw the nails of ſome mummies tinged with it. Outl. p. 220. Mr. Sandys ſays, about nine in the forenoon we pitched by Catara: hereabout, but nearer the Nile, there is a certain tree, called alchan by the Arabs: the leaves thereof being dried, and reduced into powder, dye a reddiſh yellow. There is yearly ſpent of this, through the Turkiſh empire, to the value of fourſcore thouſand ſultanies. The women dye with it their hair and nails, ſome of them their hands and feet, and not a few their whole bodies. Lib. ii. p. 107.
A fragrant cluſter is my royal love,
Cull’d from En-gedi’s palm-encirlced grove;A fragrant 16 C(4)v 16
A fragrant cluster of al-hennah pale,
Whoſe high effluvia ſcent the ſportive gale.
Scene the Second.—The Tent of Solomon.
Solomon,meeting the Spouse, as they are conducting her into the royal Pavilion.
15. Ver. 15. Thou haſt dove’s eyes, i.e. eyes full of love, benignity, and gentleneſs; rendered more ſoft, more amiably engaging, by ſome degree of doubt and youthful diffidence. They, ſays the author of the New Tranſlation, who have ſeen that fine bird, the eaſtern carrier-pigeon, will need no comment on this place. Note, p. 57. Mr. Harmer obſerves, That it is uſual for our weſtern lovers to compare the eyes of their miſtreſſes to ſloes and diamonds; but that a lover of the eaſt talks of the eyes of the antelope, when he would pay his miſtreſs a refined compliment. The eyes of this creature are extremely fine and beautiful, but in that native lovelineſs is expreſſed a kind of fear, mixed with innocence. Solomon, however, does not compare the eyes of his ladies to thoſe of the antelope; his ſpouſe he compliments with having dove’s eyes, while thoſe of his Jewiſh queen are likened to the pools of Heſhbon. See Outl. p. 155-6.
Behold, thou’rt wond’rous fair! my love,
Behold, thou’rt wond’rous fair!
Thine eyes, than thoſe of yonder dove
More mild, more tender are.
The Spouseto Solomon.
16. Ver. 16. ערשנו—as it ſtands in our tranſlation, is our bed; but, as Mr. Harmer mer mer juſtly obſerves, it ſeems to mean what was ſpread on the floor of their duans, and conſequently is here equivalent to a carpet: which the eaſtern people ſpread anciently (as they do now) on ſuch places. See Obſ. on divers Paſſ. of Scrip. vol. ii. p. 65, &c;—alſo Outl. p. 227.
Behold, my best-belov’d is fair!
Yea, pleaſant to the ſight!
Our carpet’s green, by nature’s care
With flowrets gay bedight.
Solomonto the Spouse.
17. Ver. 17. The beams of our houſe are cedar, our cielings of fir. ברותים—is the original word for fir, and they are probably the ſame ſort of trees as Pliny Nat. Hiſt. lib. xii. c. 17. calls Bruta, which he ſays reſemble a ſpreading cypreſs in form, and the cedar in ſmell. The roof of an eaſtern houſe is lofty, flat at the top, and thoſe of the great men are made of cedar. This palace of Solomon, we may obſerve, was roofed with two different kinds of wood, both very precious; and, I suppose, according to the oriental taſte, richly ornamented with gilding and painting, in the Moſaic ſtyle. Mr. Maundrell, ſpeaking of the houſes of Damaſcus, ſays, the cielings and traves are, after the Turkiſh manner, richly painted and guilded. p. 123.
Our beams are cedar, and our cielings riſe
(Of cypreſs form’d) magnificently high!
Where ſkilful artiſts taught the vivid dyes
With changeful hues t’attract the gazers eye;
There choſen ſentences effulgent glow,
Pouring inſtruction on the crowds below:
Theſe ſhall my fair one view, and raptur’d own
That art, for once, has nature’s ſelf outdone.
End of Canto theFirst.
Day the Second.Scene—A Garden belonging to the Palace of the Jewish Queen, in the Country. Jewish Queen and her Attendant Virgins, the Daughters of Jerusalem.
Canto the Second.
V. 1.I’M now no more than Sharon’s common roſe,
That blooms neglected on the humble thorn,
Where many a flower with equal luſtre glows,
With equal fragrance ſcents the breezy morn.
I’m now the lily of the loneſome vale,
Whoſe maiden beauties die away unſeen;
Whoſe ſweets are waſted on th’ inconſcious gale
That ſweeps the boſom of the deſert green.
2. Chap. II. Ver. 2. The lilies of the valley, in this Song, do not mean thoſe little fragrant flowers whcih we find in woods, and which are known among us by that name; but the large white lilies which flouriſh in the vales and low lands in Paleſtine, where there is plenty of water, and which in that warm climate grow to a vast size.
As ſhines, ſaid he, the lily ’mong the thorns,
And with it’s luſtre the gay ſcene adorns;
So ſhines my love the faireſt maids among,
Bright and conſpicuous o’er the virgin throng.
3. Ver. 3. תפוחis in the Chaldee paraphraſe rendered citron-tree. Even in our weſtern regions theſle trees are eminently beautiful; what then muſt they be in a clime ſo warm as that of Judea? What a fine compariſon! what a delicate compliment to the king! l. 3.—I have ſat beneath its ſhade, &c;—the ſhade of the citron-tree, which muſt, indeed, have been delightful, ſpreading its fragrant branches over her head. Shade, according to Mr. Wood, is an eſſential article of oriental luxury, the greateſt people ſeeking its refreſhments as well as the meaner. Outl. p. 35—Any ſhade muſt, in ſo hot a country, afford great delight; but the ſhade of the citron-tree muſt have yielded double pleaſure, on account of its fragrant ſcent and ample foliage. Egmont and Heyman were entertained with coffee, in a garden at mount Sinai, under the ſhade of ſome fine orange- orange-trees. See Pococke’s Obſerv. in Outl. p. 248,9.—And it’s fruit was ſweet to my taſte.—This may refer (ſays Mr. Harmer) to the eaſtern cuſtom of ſhaking down the fruit on the heads of thoſe who ſit under the tree. So Dr. Pococke tells us, when he was at Sidon, he was entertained in a garden, in the ſhade of ſome apricot trees, and the fruit of them was ſhaken down upon him. Vol. ii. p. 85. See Outl. p. 248.
As shines the citron ’mong th’ ignoble trees,
Where, tinged with light, they greet the morning breeze;
So ſhines my Solomon the youths among,
Beams through the crowd, and gilds th’ encircling throng.
I’ve ſat beneath it’s ſhadow with delight,
It’s ample foliage waving o’er my head;
How ſweet the fruit! how grateful to the ſight
The new-fall’n bloſſoms o’er my carpet ſpread!
4. Ver. 4. He brought me to the houſe of wine, and his lamp over me was love.— To be conducted to the houſe of wine was an honourable diſtinction, a mark of royal favour: Haman was called by Queen Eſther to her banquet of wine. See Eſther v. 4. vii. 8.—And his lamp over me was love. דגל ſignifies a lamp, or light. The time of travelling in the Eaſt is generally in the night: they have have lights to direct their march, which are carried on the tops of high poles; they are ſomewhat like iron ſtoves, within which they put dry wood, which being frequently ſupplied, keeps a conſtant light. Every cottor (company) has one of theſe poles belonging to it, ſome of which have ten, others twelve of theſe lights, on their tops, of different figures, one oval-ways, another triangular, or like an N or M, &c; ſo that every one knows by them his reſpective cottor. See Harmer’s Obſerv. vol. i. p. 472. Might not a lamp be, on ſome certain occaſions, diſtinguiſhed by the word love? and might not ſuch a lamp be uſed as the flambeau to conduct the choſen fair one to the houſe of feſtivity? and might not the placing it over her head be a token of the monarch’s favour? The Aſiatics delight in mottoes, in figures, &c; Amid their choiceſt paintings are inſerted ſentences, expreſſive of love, of joy, or &c; The midſt of Solomon’s chariot was paved with love, ch. iii. 10; and ſtrange as this (at firſt hearing) may ſound to an European, yet it is a term as full of force, ſurely, as that ſuch a Lady’s cloak or gown is trimmed with love. The latter we underſtand, becauſe it is a mode of expreſſion uſual among us; but were it to be told in Aſia, that my Lady S—’s cloak was trimmed with love, what would they think? Why, that her ladyſhip had adopted the faſhion of a certain great lady of the Eaſt—a wife of the Califf Haroun Alraſchid, who, we are told, had her veil embroidered with gold letters along the edge, which made up words that ſignified her ſtrict and inviolable attachment to her huſband. See Outl. p. 278.—This veil was indeed trimmed with love, and of the better ſort. An old-faſhioned veil—a little out of date in our age of politeneſs.
He brought me to the houſe of wine,
And bade the liquid rubies flow;
Bade melting harmony divine
Aſſuage my mind depreſs’d with woe;
To wake my ſoul to ecſtaſy they ſtrove,
While o’er my head he plac’d the radiant lamp of love.
5. Ver. 5. Comfort me with citrons. The citron is extremely reviving to fainting perſons. See Obſ. on Divers. Paſſ. of Script. vol. i. p. 398.
Support me, daughters of the warbling ſtring;
Your rich ſpic’d wine and chearing citrons bring;
I’m sick of love!—mine eye abhors the day;
Support me, maids, my fleeting ſpirits ſtay.
6. Ver. 6. In the original (ſays Mr. Harmer) the laſt clauſe is literally—his right hand ſhall embrace me: and as the firſt is expreſt in a ſhort manner—his left hand under my head, and neither is, nor shall be, in the original, it muſt be ſupplied from the latter clauſe, and made in the ſame tenſe with that, his left hand ſhall be under my head, and his right hand ſhall embrace me. This, adds he, would be the ſtrict tranſlation; but as the grammarians affirm that the Hebrew future tenſe is ſometimes to be understood optatively, and as it is ſo underſtood, ſometimes, by our tranſlators, and that in this very Song, ch. i. 2. this verſe, if rendered with the true ſpirit, I preſume ſhould be—O that his left hand were under my head, and that his right hand did ſuſtain me! which perfectly agrees with the notion of the king’s being abſent, being an affectionate complaint of his ſo ſoon leaving her. See Outl. p. 246-7.
O! that his left hand now were laid
Under my ſad deſponding head!
And that his right hand did ſuſtain
Me, ſinking ’neath my love-ſick pain!
7. Ver. 7. The Arabian Night’s Entertainments repreſent the Mohammedan califfs as wont to be ſurrounded by young and handſome ladies in a morning, with all ſorts of inſtruments of muſic in their hands, ſtanding wth great modeſty and reſpect; who, on the califf’s ſitting up in the bed, in order to riſe, proſtrate themſelves, and begin a concert of ſoft flutes, &c; In the halls in which they ate and drank, bands of muſicians attended in like manner. To this cuſtomary early muſic, I preſume, ſays Mr. Harmer, the queen refers. It is certain it could not refer refer to any part of the marriage ceremonial, ſince this paſſage viſibly relates to Solomon’s cohabitation with one who had been for ſome time his wife; the charge expreſſing rather her affection, and the joy ſhe had in his preſence, than intended to inſinuate that they were in common wont to awake the king out of ſleep; the reverence and awe with which oriental majeſty is treated hardly allowing ſuch a ſupposition. Something of this ſort was practiſed in the court of David, as appears from the ſpeech of Barzillai to that king, when he invited him to Jeruſalem, and propoſed to have him at his table, Can thy ſervant taſte what I eat, or what I drink? Can I hear any more the voice of ſinging men and ſinging women? 2 Sam. xix. 35; and we may be ſatisfied it was uſed in that of Solomon, who excelled his predeceſſors in magnificence. See Outl. p. 181, 182.— I conjure you, ſays the queen to her virgins, by the roes and by the hinds of the field, &c; By the roe is here meant the gazell or antelope, Heb.צבי, which is a native of the ſouth-eaſtern countries, whereas the roe does not appear to be known there.
I’ve charg’d you oft, O virgin throng!
By the nimbly bounding roes,
By the hinds that browze along
Where the warbling current flows,
To drop the cadence of your ſong,
Nor e’en your ſofteſt airs prolong,
But with cautious ſteps to move,
And not diſturb my ſleeping love.
Jewish Queento her Attendants.
8.The voice of love then ſtruck my ear!
(The accents flow’d diſtinct and clear)I look’d— 25 E(1)r 25
I look’d—when on the mountain’s brow,
9. Ver. 9 My beloved reſembled a roe.—Swiftneſs of foot and agility of body were admired accompliſhments among the ancient Hebrews. Note on New Tranſlation, p. 61.—He maketh my feet like hind’s feet. Pſ. xviii. 33.— Aſahel was as light of foot as a wild roe. 2 Sam. ii. 18.—Behold he ſtood behind our verdant wall, flouriſhing through the lattice.—This wall, we may conclude, was that which form’d the chioſk or arbour; a deſcription of ſuch a delightful receſs I take leave to inſert, from the Letters of the late Lady M.W. Montague, vol. ii. p. 74. In the midſt of the gardens in Turkey is the chioſk, that is, a large room, beautified with a fine fountain in the midſt of it. It is raiſed nine or ten ſteps, and encloſed with gilded lattices, round which vines, jeſſamines, and honey-ſuckles, form a ſort of green wall. A beautiful youthful countenance appearing through the lattice, is here aptly compared to a fine flower, which burſting from its pod diſplays its full radiance to the golden ſun-beams—bluſhing in the bright diverſities of day. .Leaping like a wanton roe
Or youthful hart—behold my love!
Skipping o’er the cliffs above:
Now with agile feet he flew,
Mocking oft the transient view:
Then lo! he stood behind our verdant wall,
Oft times attentive to the fountain’s fall;
Next from the windows view’d the garden’s bloom,
Or through the lattice-work inhal’d perfume:
When through the foliage beam’d his roſeate face,
Like ſome fair flower, he caught my raviſh’d eye,—
A flower expanding with unrivall’d grace,
And it’s rich beauties opening to the sky.
Lo! he ſpake—the voice of love
Warbled thro’ the liſt’ning grove!
Riſe up, my love, without delay,
Ariſe, my fair one, come away.
11. Ver. 11 The rain is over and gone. This ſays Mr. Harmer is not to be underſtood as ſignifying that all the ſhowers of the ſpring were paſt, but only that it had juſt ceaſed raining; after which, according to Ruſſell, ſeveral days of fair weather are wont to ſucceed. It is to ſuch a pleaſant interval theſe words refer: had the drought of ſummer been begun, the country would have loſt its delightful appearance. See Outl. p. 151. The time of Solomon’s marriage with the daughter of Pharaoh was the latter end of April: and we find from Dr. Ruſſell’s account of the weather at Aleppo in Syria (and it is ſuppoſed that it is pretty much the ſame in ſome parts of Paleſtine) that from the end of May, if not ſooner, not one refreſhing ſhower falls, and ſcarce a friendly cloud appears to ſhelter from the exceſſive heat of the ſun, till the middle of September; that the verdure of the ſpring fades before the middle of May, and before the end of that month the whole country puts on ſo parched and barren an aſpect, that one would ſcarce think it capable of producing any thing, there being but a few plants which have vigour enough to reſiſt the extreme heat. See Obs. on divers Paſſages of Scrip. vol. i. p. 18. No ſooner do thoſe genial ſhowers ceaſe, but all verdure, all pleaſantneſs, withdraws at once. Dr. Shaw informs us, that in Syria and Phœnice the firſt rains fall about the beginning of November, the latter rains ſometimes in the middle, ſometimes towards the end of April. During the ſummer ſeaſon theſe countries are rarely refreſhed with rain, but enjoy almoſt uninterrupted ſerenity of air. Trav. p. 335. Sandys ſpeaks of heavy rains incommoding them in their paſſage between Rama Rama and Jeruſalem, on the Wedneſday I think, before Maunday Thurſday, 1673ann. Dom. 1673, lib. iii. p. 120. Again, p. 158—being at the eaſt end of mount Carmel, the clouds (ſays he) fell down in ſtreams, and the pitchy night had bereft us of the conduct of our eyes, had not the lighting afforded a terrible light.
Behold the rigid winter’s o’er,
The brumal rains deſcend no more.
Now all around the teeming earth
Pours forth her fair luxuriant birth,
And laughing ſpring, with genial ſhowers,
Awakes to life the bluſhing flowers:
Hark! how the feather’d choriſts ſing,
And, conſcious, plume the trembling wing:
The nightingale, the thorns among,
Sweetly warbling, trills her ſong:
And now the turtle tells his tale,
Soft cooing in the humid vale:
Through every glade, through every grove,
He pours the dulcet voice of love.
13. Ver. 13The fig-tree, &c;—חנט ſignifies to embalm, impregnate a dead body with aromatics, that it may reſiſt putrefaction. Parkhurſt’s Heb. and Eng. Lex. in חנט, p. 186.— See The fig-tree is ſaid to be embalming her פגי, or early figs, that is, filling them with that clammy delicious juice, which is ſo well known, and is particularly noticed in ſcripture, Judg. ix. 11. Lex. Lex. p. 187.—פגי—The firſt young figs, which ſhoot fo Cant. ii. 13, which eaſily fall off by the wind (comp. Iſa xxxiv. r. Rev. vi. 13.) and Trav. p. 144, ſays that , the kermouſe, or latter figs in general, continue a long time upon the tree before they fall off: whereas the boccôres, or early figs, in the eaſtern countries, drop as ſoon as they are ripe. Their Hebrew name פגי, therefore, ſeems to be taken from this circumſtance: as it ſignifies to fail, to periſh. See Heb. and Eng. Lex. in פג, p. 519.. As the ſame Hebrew word is uſed for embalming a dead body, and for the fig-tree’s embalming her firſt young figs, ſo it is proper to remark here, that we are informed by ,that the ſame time is taken up in making the fig palatable and ſpicy, as that employed by the Egyptians in embalming a dead body; i.e. about ſeventy days. See Outl. p. 153. Dr. Shaw ſays, that the boccôres, or firſtripe figs, were hard, and no bigger than our common plumbs, in the Holy Land, in the beginning of April. Trav. p. 335. The bloſſoming vines are alſo ſaid to yield their ſcent, but this, ſays Mr. Parkhurſt, they probably do in Judea about two months ſooner than with us; that is, towards the end of April, or beginning of May.” The beauty of the vine is greatly admired by the preſent inhabitants of the eaſt, as appears by that line of the ſong of ,I went down to admire the beauty of the vines. The ſeaſon of the year in which they are ſo delighted with it, iſ—when the nightingales fill the gardens, and roſes are in bloſſom—The nightingale now wanders in the vines,Her paſſion is to ſeek roſes. The fable of the amours of the nightingales with the roſes is as well known in Turkey as any ſtory in Ovid among us. Lady M.W. Montague. Roſe-trees and vines ſays Mr. Harmer bloſſom nearly at the ſame time; roſes appear ſooner by a few days, but continue till vines are in bloſſom. This ſong joins the time of the ſinging of birds (of nightingales it without doubt means) and the voice of the turtle together; and Lady M.W. Montague gue, gue, in a letter dated 1717-04-01April Iſt, O.S. ſpeaks of turtles as cooing on the cypreſſ-trees of her garden, from morning till night, vol. ii. p. 52. At Aleppo, about the middle of 1717-04April, O.S. the country is ſaid to be in full bloom: and as the productions of the country about Aleppo and Judea are nearly in the ſame degree of forwardneſs, it is no wonder that the Jewiſh poet repreſents the time of the bloſſoming of the vines, of the ſinging of the nightingale, and of the cooing of the turtle, as the time of flowers too: it is the time when they are in the greateſt abundance. See Outl. p. 149. It is alſo obſerved by Mr. Harmer, that the trees and plants about Aleppo are forwarder than ours, about two months. It is certain that the vine is very fragrant, even in our cold climate, (although Sir Thomas Brown ſeemed to queſtion it) for an ingenious gentleman told me laſt ſummer, that he took peculiar pleaſure in walking, or ſitting, near the vine-branches, when the flowrets were expanded, for that they afforded a rich ſcent like mignonette. If at the north-eaſt extremity of Norfolk, a few vines yield ſo delicious a perfume, what muſt be the odours exhaling from full vineyards in the warm region of Paleſtine? Comp. Outl. p. 138, 9.
Behold the early figs appear,
With virid ſurface bright the clear;“ The E2 28 E(2)v 28
The parent tree rich juice ſupplies,
And ſwells the round to ampler ſize:E2r “ The 29 E(3)r 29
The vines, beſprent with argent dew,
Preſent their tender grapes to view,
With op’ning flowrets freſh and fair,
Breathing fragrance through the air.
Riſe up, my love, without delay,
Ariſe, my fair one, come away.
14. Ver. 14 O my dove in the clefts of the rock, &c; Solomon, in the ſoft language of affection, calls her his dove: and nothing ſays Mr. Harmer can be more natural to an oriental imagination, than the immediate comparing the then reſidence reſidence of the Jewiſh queen to the rocky cliffs in which their doves were wont to build. Palaces, among the Jews, were built of ſtone, Amos. v. 11. Iſa. ix. 1O. and magnificence was then ſuppoſed, as well as now, to require loftineſs in their ſtructures: it is no wonder then that her apartments, in a lofty palace of ſtone, were compared to the holes in a rocky cliff, in which the pigeons are wont to build. See Outl. p. 255.—Steps are cut likewiſe in ſome of the eaſtern rocks, to facilitate the climbing up to their tops, in thoſe of Mount Sinai in particular. See Outl. p. 254. This then may be conſidered as a deſcription of the palace of the Jewiſh queen at Jeruſalem: when Solomon, impatient to draw her from the city, paints the gay charms of all-enlivening ſpring, with the florid pencil of an Aſiatic—the flowers appear—the birds ſing— the voice of the turtle is heard—the fig-tree putteth forth—the bloſſoming vines give a ſmell!—Dr. Shaw tells uſ—that a city of Tunis was named, from a number of wild pigeons that are bred in the cliffs of adjacent mountains, Hamam et: Hamam being the name for a wild pigeon Trav. p. 90, 1. The method of building, ſays the ſame author, both in Barbary and the Levant, ſeems to have continued the ſame from the earlieſt ages, without alteration or improvement; large doors, ſpacious chambers, marble pavements, cloyſtered courts, with fountains playing in the midſt, are certainly convenient, and well adapted to the circumſtances of theſe hotter climates. Trav. p. 207. For ſweet thy voice. The Hebrew word ערב is, by Montanus and others, others, rendered dulcis, ſweet. It is ſays Mr. Parkhurſta beautifully deſcriptive word, expreſſing how agreeable converſation mixes with the ſoul, warms and enlarges the heart, &c; In my tranſlation of this verſe I have endeavoured to give the full force and energy of the word, purſuing the idea, with the hope of tranſfuſing the ſpirit of the original into the mind of the judicious Engliſh reader.
From yonder rocky clefts above,
Look down on me, my turtle-dove;“ Awaken’d 30 E(3)v 30
Awaken’d by th’ impaſſion’d ſtrain,
Hear now thy tender mate complain;
And deign, the ſecret ſtairs between,
To let thy countenance be ſeen.
Be mine thy dulcet voice to hear,
Soft breathing on my liſt’ning ear;
For ſweet thy voice, when love inſpires
Thy ſoul with all its wonted fires;
Then fall thy words with eaſy art,
And melting mingle with the heart:
Superior charms thy comely face adorn,
Bright as the luſtre of the riſing morn!
15. Ver. 15 Take us the foxes, the littlefoxes, &c; It is a diſpute among the learned, whether the canis vulpes, our common fox, or the jackall, canis or vulpes aureus, the little eaſtern fox as Haſſelquiſt calls him, Travels, p. 119 be meant by this term. See Hebrew and Engliſh Lexicon under שעל p. 702, 3.— שעל occurs not as a verb, ſays Mr. Parkhurſt, but the idea appears to be hollow, concave, or the like. As a noun שועל, plural שועלים, and שעלים, the name of an animal, probably ſo called from his burrowing or making holes in the earth to hide himſelf, or dwell in. The שעלים,—שעלים קטנים, here mentioned by Solomon, ſhould ſeem to mean the jackall, canis or vulpes aureus; as the epithet קטנים, or little,appears inapplicable to the canis vulpes or larger fox. Olearius informs us, that theſe creatures, the jackalls, are gregarious; that in Perſia they roam the villages in troops, making a continual noiſe, like the cries of a man in diſtreſs. If Olearius ſays Mr. Harmer found himſelf ſo much diſturbed by theſe creatures, what muſt a princeſs be, be, who was uſed to the muſic of Solomon’s court? Outlines, p. 259. Haſſelquiſt likewiſe obſerves, Travels, p. 277 that in Paleſtine he ſaw many of the jackalls’ caves and holes,in the hedges round the gardens. The Hebrew name שועל therefore may ſuit the jackall as well as the fox. And Dr. Shaw Travels, p. 175 remarks, that the jackalls are creatures by far the moſt common and familiar, as well as the moſt numerous, of thoſe countries, ſeveral of them feeding often together; whereas the fox, properly ſo called, is rarely met with, neither is it gregarious. Heb. and Eng. Lex. ut ſup. The jackalls being gregarious, and roaming about the villages, vineyards, and gardens, yelping continually through the night, muſt be ſuppoſed greatly to interrupt the peace and comfort of rural retirement: the king therefore orders his attendants to take them, that they may not diſturb the reſt of the queen, nor ſpoil thoſe vineyards in which ſhe delighted.
Take us, my friends, the little foxes take,
That ſeize and trample on the fruitful vines;
In wanton ſport they ev’ry tendril break,
That round the kindly-foſt’ring elm intwines:5 “ For 32 E(4)v 32
For now, behold, the tender grapes are ſeen
In fragrant cluſters peeping through the green.
My beſt-belov’d is truly mine,
And I am his!—O why incline
His roving ſteps, when ev’ning dews prevail,
To feed among the lilies of the vale?
17. Ver. 17. עד שיפוח חיום—Mr. Parkhurſt ſays עד ſhould here be rendered before, not until, as in our tranſlation; and the ſenſe of the verſe ſeems to require that it ſhould be thus rendered. Before the day breathes, turn my beloved, &c; The breathing of the day is no local beauty, as the author of the New New Tranſlation ſuppoſes; it is indeed a beauty; for Solomon, who was a philoſopher as well as a poet, knew how to expreſs himſelf agreeably to the eſtabliſhed laws and mechaniſm of nature; and where nature is the guide, beauty and truth are the uſual concomitants. There is not a doubt, I think, of the meaning of the divine poet here; it was the morning breeze he deſcribed. That a certain briſk eaſterly gale does blow at the time of the ſun’s appraoch to the horizon, and a little after he is riſen, is obvious to common obſervation in almoſt every country, in ſettled weather; and this, no doubt, is the breathing of the day here mentioned. See Lex. under נפח. Solomon, who had ſo frequently experienced the comfortable refreſhment of theſe breezes, and who underſtood ſo well from what cauſes they originated, knew how to expreſs himſelf with propriety on the ſubject. That the eaſterly gale blows briſk at the riſing of the ſun, I myſelf have often experienced,when climbing the lofty ſummit of the Suſſex downs. With us, indeed, theſe breathings of the day are leſs attended to than thoſe hot countries, where the refreſhing gale adds new vigour to the frame, braces and renovates the man oppreſſed with heat, and panting through the ſultry ſummer’s night, and where the inhabitants in general riſe much earlier than with us. Joſephus makes the ſatiſfaction of cooling breezes a repreſentation of the bleſſedneſs of good men after death. That the meaning of this expreſſion might not be miſtaken, the royal poet addſ—And the ſhadows flee away—what ſhould drive the ſhadows, thoſe nocturnal glooms, from the face of our hemiſphere, but that great and powerful miniſter of God, in this ſyſtem, the Solar Light?
Before the incenſe-breathing dawn
Shall chaſe the nightly ſhades away,
And all impurpled glows the lawn,
Emblazon’d by the orb of day—
Turn, my belov’d;—and be thou like
The youthful hart or roe,
Which boudning up the path oblique,
Leaves duſky vales below:
Which leaps exulting on the topmoſt height
Of Bether’s mountains, ting’d with orient light.
End of Canto the Second.
Day the Third.
Scene—The Palace of the Jewiſh Queen. Jewiſh Queen and Attendants.
Canto the Third.
Jewish Queento her Attendants, relating an incident that had happened (perhaps on the Night preceding that on which Solomon ſet out from Zion, to meet the Bride.)
V. 1.On my lone bed, one murky night,
I anxious ſought my ſoul’s delight;
Perplex’d with dire foreboding thought,
I ſought him—but in vain I ſought!
2.I ſaid, Behold, I’ll inſtant riſe,
Ere ſleep invade my tear-ſwoln eyes;
About the city will I rove;
Perchance, I there ſhall find my love:
I roſe, perplex’d with anxious thought,
And ſought him—but in vain I ſought.
3.The watchmen round the city rov’d,
To whom—Saw ye my beſt-belov’d?
4.Scarce had i paſs’d the nightly band,
When lo my love!—his glowing hand
I raptur’d ſeiz’d; we mov’d along,
Unheeded by the jovial throng.
My mother’s houſe appear’d in ſight,
Conſpicuous through the ſhades of night;
While lamps, from cypreſſ-trees, around
Shed vivid luſtres on the ground:
A ſecret chamber there he choſe,
And pleas’d, ſunk down to calm repoſe;
Careful I watch’d him, as he ſlumb’ring lay,
Nor bade ſoft flutes announce returning day:
5.But charg’d you, O ye vigin throng,
By the nimbly-bounding roes,
By the hinds that browze along
Where the warbling current flows,
To drop the cadence of your ſong,
Nor e’en your ſofteſt airs prolong;F2 But 36 F(2)v 36
But with cautious ſteps to move,
And not diſturb my ſleeping love.
Jewish Queenin ſurprize on ſeeing the bridal proceſſion advancing to the city.
6. Chap. III. Ver. 6. Who is this that cometh up from the wilderneſs, like pillars of ſmoke? In the hot countries it is uſual, as has been before obſerved on ch. ii. 4, to travel in the night, by the light of lamps; which may in part account from the expreſſion—like pillars of ſmoke.But beſides this, a large quantity of choice perfumes, of myrrh, frankincenſe, and all powders of the merchant, we find were burned before the royal pair: theſe (as is now the uſage in the eaſt) being ſprinkled, or placed, on heated cenſers, ſent up a mighty ſmoke, and diffuſed around powerful and moſt delicious odours. Powerful thoſe odours muſt have been, that the Jewiſh queen could diſtinguiſh the prevailing ſweets, myrrh and frankincenſe, at a diſtance. Her country reſidence, to which ſhe had withdrawn at at the earneſt ſolicitations of the king comp. ch. ii. 10, 13 might be within view of the road from the wilderneſs; and from ſome eminence in her garden, perhaps, ſhe beheld the proceſſion advancing to the city, and enquired of her virgins who or what it was. Not only the burning of perfumes rendered the proceſſion viſible, but, much more, thoſe numerous lamps, which were wont to be lighted up on theſe occaſions. See Matt. xxv. 1. Ten virgins took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.Be ſtill, my ſoul!—who’s this aſcends
From where the wilderneſs extends?
Lo! from gold cenſers fuming aloes riſe,
In ſmoking columns, mingling with the ſkies!
Pure myrrh and frankincenſe their ſweets exhale,
And foreign perfumes float along the vale.
Virgins of Jerusalem,in reply (deſcribing the carriage of Solomon.)
7. Ver. 7. מטתו—According to Montanus, ipſius lectus; but Mr. Harmer conjectures, that it ſignifies a litter, or palanquin, which was uſed in this proceſſio for the conveyance of the bride, and was ſomething ſo magnificent and unuſual, as to be thought worthy of being celebrated in this Song. This מטה could certainly be no common bed, couch, or ſopha; what other then could it be, than that which, after it has been ſo pompouſly introduced, is, for another reaſon, called אפריון? And it ſeems an eminent characteriſtic of Hebrew poetry, to mention the ſame things by different names. See ſome remarkable inſtances, Job xxxix. 5, 6. The Hebrew word is by the LXX rendered φορειον, and by the Vulgate ferculum, i.e. a carriage, a vehicle; very different words from thoſe uſed by theſe tranſlators for a chariot. A Turkiſh coach, according to Lady M.W. Montague, is made of wooden lattices, painted and gilded; Solomon’s carriage, of the wood of Lebanon, its pillars of ſilver. The inſide of the Turkiſh coach was painted with baſkets of flowers and noſegays, intermixed with little mottoes, according to the fancy of the the artiſt; the midſt of Solomon’s was paved with love by the ſkilful daughters of Jeruſalem; i.e. with a rich, beautiful ſort of tapeſtry, curiouſly wrought with the needle, where flowers of different kinds and various colours mixed with, and ſurrounded, ſhort ſentences, expreſſing the power of love, and the warmth and animation of that paſſion, which a young bridegroom entertains for a fair, beautiful, and virtuous bride. Here was an ample field for the daughters of Jeruſalem to diſplay their genius, and their ſkill in needle-work. See Judg. v. 30. Prov. xxxi. 22, 24. The covering of this vehicle was of purple; that of the Turkiſh coach, of ſcarlet cloth, lined with ſilk, richly embroidered and fringed.Behold, King Solomon’s approaching car
Irradiates through the thickeſt glooms of night!
About it ſtand the valiant men of war,
Each in his rich effulgent armour dight;Threeſcore 38 F(3)v 38
Threeſcore of Iſrael’s diſtinguiſh’d band,
The brave protectors of this ſacred land.
8.They all hold ſwords; erected high,
Lo! how they flame and glitter to the ſky!
Anon, dependent from the baldrick, throw
Quick-trembling flaſhes on the ſands below:
Each, in dread war expert, contemns the fight,
And braves the horrors of terrific night.
9.King Solomon a ſplendid carriage made
Of cedar-wood, with curious art inlaid;
There ſilver pillars, beauteous to behold,
Spring from a baſis all of burniſh’d gold;
It’s canopy with royal purple glows,
And the rich curtain kindles as it flows;
In full feſtoons it meets the dazzled ſight,
Or floats redundant on the brow of night.
The midſt thereof, with glowing love inwrought,
Gives to the eye the animated thought;
There gilded characters in mottoes riſe,
From the gay ground of variegated dyes;
Still as they ſwell the flow’r-wrought ground above,
They ſhine, expreſſing the fair artiſt’s love:
Salem’s bright daughters plann’d the great deſign,
And wrought in colours and in traits divine.
Nobles of Zion,to the Choral Virgins, ordering them to go forth to meet the Bridegroom, now drawing near the Holy City.
11. Ver. 11. Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, &c; comp. Matt. xxv. 6. At midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Ver. 7. Then the virgins aroſe, &c; With With the crown wherewith his mother crowned him, in the day of his eſpouſals, &c; comp. ch. v. 11. We have no deſcription of the Jewiſh crown royal remaining to us from antiquity; but Joſephus has left us an account of that worn by the high prieſt. It was a circular ornament of gold; in the fore part was a plate, on which the name of God was inſcribed: the other part of the circle, conſiſting of three rows of gold,was adorned on the top with an ornament, ſhaped like the calyx of the flower of henbane. Something of this kind, we may ſuppoſe, was worn by the Jewiſh kings. It appears then, that this crown was of gold, not of flowers. Among the inhabitants of Zacinthus, who are in general Greeks, it is a cuſtom for the prieſt to place garlands of flowers on the heads of the bride and bridegroom. See Travels, lib. i. p. 6. And, ſays the author of the New Tranſlation, in a note on p. 17, The Miſnah informs us, that the cuſtom of placing garlands, or crowns, on the heads of new-married perſons, prevailed among the Jews; and it ſhould ſeem, from the paſſage before us, that the ceremony of putting it on was performed by one of the parents: Among the Greeks (adds he) the bride was crowned by her mother, as is inferred from the inſtance of Iphigenia, in Euripides. The nuptial crowns uſed among the Greeks and Romans, were only chaplets of leaves or flowers. Among the Hebrews, they were not only of theſe, but alſo occaſionally of richer materials, as gold, ſilver, &c; according to the rank or wealth of the parties.Go forth, go forth, O virgin throng!
From Zion’s ſacred hill,
The timbrels take, and aid the ſong
With your harmonious ſkill.
Go forth, your youthful King behold;
His blooming temples, crown’d
With triple rows of radiant gold,
Caſt mild effulgence round;
Crown’d by his ſkilful mother’s art,
On this his ſpouſal day,
When beaming gladneſs through his heart
Spreads it’s all-chearing ray.
First Virginperſonating the Bridegroom.
V.1. Chap. IV. Ver. 1. בעד occurs not as a verb in Hebrew; but in Syriac and Arabic it ſignifies to remove, be diſtant, and as a particle, in the latter language, behind. Lex. p. 59.Mr. Michaelis renders מבעד—poſt, behind (thy veil.) The eaſtern ladies never appear without a veil, unleſs before their domeſtics. Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and ſaw Iſaac;— then ſhe took a veil, and covered herſelf. Gen. xxiv. 64, 65. It is the cuſtom, ſays Mr. Harmer (from ) in all the Mohammedan countries, for women to cover themſelves with a veil, which conceals all their dreſs, ſometimes even their very ſhoes. Manuſcript See Additions to Outl. note 6. Some of theſe veils are of pure ſilk, others brocaded with gold; the head-piece of ſome are ſhaped like a coronet, or &c; The Egyptian Mooriſh women cover their faces with black cyprus beſpotted with red; when abroad, they wrap themſelves in ample robes of linen, which reach from the crown of the head to the foot, ſpreading their arms underneath, to appear more corpulent.For they think it a ſpecial excellency to be fat, and moſt of them are ſo. lib. ii. p. 85.“ ’italic(Thy) Thy hair is like a flock of goats, that appear from Mount Gilead.——Bochart refers the compariſon to the hair of the eaſtern goats, which is of the moſt delicate ſilky ſoftneſs, and is expreſſly obſerved, by an ancient naturaliſt, to bear a great reſemblance to the fine curls of a woman’s hair. Le Clerc obſerves further, that the hair of the goats of Paleſtine is generally of a black colour, or of a very dark brown, ſuch as that of a lovely brunette may be ſuppoſed to be. See note on New Tranſlation, p. 70. comp. ch. i. 5. Mr. Michaelis thinks the interpretation of this difficult place may be, thy hair is like a flock of aſcending goats, which is ſeen from Mount Gilead; ſuppoſing the point of compariſon chiefly to turn on the head’s being covered with fine flowing locks, as Mount Gilead was with the ſhaggy herd, reaching in an extended line from it’s foot to it’s ſummit. See Subſequent Remarks to New Tranſlation, p. 96.
Behold, thou’rt wondrous fair! my love,
Behold thou’rt wondrous fair!
Thine eyes, as of the tender dove,
Behind thy veil appear.
Thine auburn hair in graceful treſſes flows,
Shading thy cheeks, more vermeil than the roſe.
Such gloſſy locks Mount Gilead’s goats adorn,
As ſleek aſcending at the break of day,
Refreſh’d, they catch the balmy breeze of morn,
And up the pointed rocks with added vigour ſtray.
2. Ver. 2. Like a flock of ſheep. Theſe images are intended to denote, that the bride’s teeth were—even—white—exactly paired or matched, and the whole ſet entire and unbroken. See note on New Tranſlation, p. 71.Thy pearly teeth are like a new-ſhorn flock
Of ſheep, aſcending from the argent tide,
(Where, from the baſis of the craggy rock,
The rapid ſtreams in briſk meandrings glide)
Which all are twins, none mourns its fellow loſt,
Or drooping on the plain, or on the white wave toſt.
3. Ver. 3. A thread of ſcarlet. Lips are with us compared to rubies, roſes, &c; &c; but this compariſon of the royal poet conveys not only an idea of the colour, but likewiſe of the form of the mouth he celebrates; lips reſembling a thread of ſcarlet muſt be thin as well as red: a beauty (I ſuppoſe) in the days of Solomon. Thy temples are like a ſection of the pomegranate.— רקת, according to Mr. Parkhurſt, cannot ſignify cheeks, and the expreſſion ſeems particularly to allude to the redneſs of her temples, contracted by the heat of her journey, comp. ch. i. 5,6. which circumſtance is here turned into a compliment: Did not our temples glow In the ſame ſcorching winds and ſultry heats? Though the rind of the pomegranate be yellow (much reſembling our orangegourd) yet the inſide is of a bright purpliſh red, very like that hue which the ſcorching ſun gives to a complexion naturally fair.Thy lips are like a ſcarlet thread,
Thy speech enchanting flows!
Behind thy veil, what vivid red
On each ſoft temple glows!
So glows the gay pomegranate’s purple hue,
When the bright ſections open to the view.
4. Ver. 4. Like the tower of David.—מגדל—a tower or turret growing wider from the top to the bottom. See Lex. in גדל. To ſuch a tower the ſpouſe’s neck is here compared, and that of David being eminently beautiful, and of admirable proportion was choſen to illuſtrate it’s fine form and due ſymmetry. Sandys, ſpeaking of Mount Zion, ſays, Aloft on whoſe uttermoſt angle ſtood the tower of David, whoſe ruins are yet extant, of a wonderful ſtrength, and admirable beauty, adorned with ſhields, and the arms of the mighty. See Trav. lib. iii.p. 137. It was uſual, in time of peace, to hang their arms on the walls and towers round about. The ſame author informs us, that The proud palace of the tyrant (ſpeaking of the Grand Signior’s ſeraglio at Conſtantinople) doth open to the ſouth, having a lofty gate-houſe (without lights on the outſide, and engraven with Arabic characters, ſet forth with gold and azure) all of white marble. This leadeth into a ſpacious court, three hundred yards long, and above half as wide. On the left ſide ſtands the round of an ancient chapel, containing the arms that were taken from the Grecians, in the ſubverſion of this city; and at the farther end of the court a ſecond gate, hung with ſhields and cymeters, doth lead into another, full of tall cypreſſ-trees. Lib. i. p. 25. The inner walls of the gates of Tyre were ornamented after the ſame manner. We were before informed, ch. i. 10, that the ſpouſe’s neck was adorned with chains; to theſe chains were faſtened various kinds of ornaments, as plates of gold (Sandys), perfume-boxes Complete Syſt. of Geogr. vol. ii. p. 175, tablets, &c; Theſe trinkets are, not inelegantly, compared to the arms hung about a ſtately tower; nor is it againſt the laws of poetry to ſuppoſe they might attract the lover’s eye, and find a paſſage to his heart; or rather, ther, ther, that they might be employed, by the captivating fair one, as her artillery in the buſineſs of ſubduing hearts. It muſt be a very peculiar heart (ſays a certain author) that is affected by a diamond necklace. See note on New Tranſlation, p. 74.—A very peculiar heart indeed!—if that diamond necklace were faſtened to the neck of an inanimate ſtatue: but, ſparkling from that of a beautiful woman, I am inclined to think it ſometimes enhances the value of the wearer, and darts a few of it’s reſplendent beams into the regions of the beholder’s heart.Thy neck’s like royal David’s tow’r,
For ſplendid arms deſign’d:
Like that it ſhews thy ſov’reign pow’r,
Thy empire o’er mankind:
From thence are radiant ſhields diſplay’d,
And bucklers rich with gold:
Round thy white neck, O princely maid!
The wond’ring crowds behold
Arms more deſtructive; aim’d with ſurer art,
They catch the eye, and penetrate the heart.
5. Ver. 5 Like two young roes.—Mr. Jones takes this animal to be the gazel of the Arabians. It is, he informs us, a kind of antelope, exquiſitely beautiful, with eyes uncommonly black and large. This is the ſort of roe to which Solomon here alludes in this delicate ſimile. See Eſſay on the poetry of the eaſtern nations, p. 187.Thy two fair breaſts like two young roes appear,
The tender daughters of the vernal year,
Which ’mong the fragrant lilies love to ſtray,
As pure, as ſoft, as exquiſite as they!
Second Virginperſonating the Bridegroom.
6. Ver. 6 To the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincenſe. Myrrh and frankincenſe were among the moſt valued perfumes of the Eaſt, and the compliment is concluded by comparing the ſpouſe to an entire heap of thoſe ſpices. New Tranſlation, note 72. Farrakh was the name of a perſon who was looked upon in Perſia as a compleat model of juſtice and greatneſs of Soul, as was alſo Feridoun. Upon which occaſion one of their poets, ſays,Farrakh and Feridoun were not angels; their bodies were made neither of amber nor muſk; it was their juſtice and liberality that made them celebrated. From Outl. p. 290. , p. 337. See As eaſtern (as well as weſtern) poets frequently ſtyle the ladies they celebrate angels (ſee Ibrahim’s verſes, in Lett.) we may believe from theſe words of Aſſadi, that they have been wont alſo to repreſent them as having bodies of amber and muſk. Ibid. And it is pretty clear, I think, that a compliment of this kind was intended by the ſacred poet in this verſe.Before the incenſe-breathing dawn
Shall chaſe the nightly ſhades away,
And all empurpled glows the lawn,
Emblazon’d by the orb of day;
I’ll get me to this mountain, where
Pure myrrh embalms the ambient air,
And on the hill with joy repoſe,
Where frankincenſe ſpontaneous grows.
7.How fair art thou, how lovely is thy mien!
In all thy form no envious ſpot is ſeen.
End of the Processional Songs.
Solomonto the Spouſe.
8. Ver. 8 We cannot, ſays Mr. Harmer, underſtand Lebanon, Amana, Shenir, and Hermon, literally: a princeſs of Egypt would hardly have been brought to Solomon that way; the diſtance alſo was too great for the daughters of Jeruſalem to go to, in order to return ſinging in proceſſion from thence to the city. Thoſe places were very different from each other, and ſhe could have only ſtopped at one of them, when this proceſſion met her; from whence ſhe is invited to proceed forward: for, if they were all parts of one and the ſame range of mountains, yet they were different parts, and perhaps conſiderably diſtant from each other. The ſame ingenious gentleman informs us, that proceſſions of virgins were not wont to go out to the diſtance of ſeveral days journey, to meet even a royal pair: but that Lebanon, it is certain, was ſeveral days journey from Jeruſalem, and in the extremity of Solomon’s kingdom. He then proceeds to conſider it, in a figurative ſenſe, as expreſſive of the dangers to which they are expoſed who dwell in idolatrous countries. Agreeably to this, it ſeems other places, conſidered in contradiſtinction from Mount Zion, the ſeat of the moſt ſolemn worſhip of the true God, are called mountains of prey by the Pſalmiſt, Ps. lxxvi. 4. The interpretation he propoſes is Come with me from Lebanon, turn away thine eyes from Amana, &c; and look me with tenderneſs. La Roque tells us Voy. de Syrie. &c; p. 70. in his deſcription of Lebanon, that there are many tigers and bears in that mountain, but he makes no mention of lions. Ruſſell informs us, that it is on the Euphrates, betwixt Bagdat and Buſſorah, that the lion is found, in low grounds near water. See Outl. p. 130, 1, 2, 3.O come with me, from Lebanon away,
My ſpouſe—from Lebanon’s exalted height
Thine eyes avert, nor Amana ſurvey,
Nor Shenir’s head, when deck’d with golden light,
Nor Hermon’s lofty brow, with gliſt’ring dews bedight.
O look on me with tenderneſs and love!
Shun, ſhun thoſe heights where bears and tigers rove,
Thoſe humid dens, and deep ſequeſter’d cells,
Where the fierce lioneſs ſecurely dwells,
Thoſe mountains dire where ſpotted leopards ſtray,
Darting ferocious on their trembling prey.
9. Ver. 9 Thou haſt raviſhed my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.—One dart from your eyes (ſays Ibrahim) has pierced through my heart. See Lady M.W.M.’s Lett.— AndisAnd is it not natural and graceful (ſays Mr. Harmer) to mention the ornament of one ſide of the neck, to mark out a gentle turning of her head in part to him, expreſſive of affection mingled with great modeſty? Outl. p. 292.From one bright eye a piercing dart
Elanc’d, has vanquiſh’d all my heart;
O how it ſtruggles to be free!
But ſtill entangled with that chain,
(Which idly from it’s fellows ſtraying,
Now o’er thy ſnowy boſom’s playing)
In vain it ſighs for liberty,
For freedom ſtill it pants in vain.
10.My ſpouſe, how beauteous is thy love,
How excellent to me!
The ruddy wines, that ſparkling move,
Leſs grateful are than thee:
Far more delicious is thy love than wine,
When the briſk liqours o’er the goblets ſhine:
More ſweet the ſcent thy precious perfumes yield,
Than all the ſpices of En-gedi’s field.
11. Ver. 11 Thy lips drop the honey-comb —expreſſing her ſweet and melting converſation. Pleaſant words are an honey-comb, ſweet to the ſoul. xxi. 24.——Like the ſmell of Lebanon. Lebanon abounds with various odoriferous trees, from which the fineſt gums are extracted, particularly frankincenſe, from whence ſome derive the name of Lebanon; לבונה, frankincenſe. Note on New Tranſlation, p. 75. Mr. Harmer thinks the expreſſion may allude to thoſe cheſts of cedar in which the garments of the rich and great were, and commonly are depoſited, and which, we know, will ſtrongly perfume ſuch garments. Outl. p. 293. As brides were perfumed in an extraordinary manner, I imagine the words are deſigned as a compliment, intimating that the care ſhe had taken to render her perſon agreeable on this occaſion, was not unnoticed by him to whom ſhe ſought to recommend herſelf. Perfumes are uſed in the moſt laviſh manner in the Eaſt, the heat of the climate making them neceſſary; All thy garments ſmell of myrrh, and aloes, and caſſia, ſays the holy Pſalmiſt, Ps. xlv. 8. (ſpeaking of a royal bride). The ſmell of thy garments is like the ſmell of Lebanon, ſays my author. And Iſaac ſaid, The ſmell of my ſon is as the ſmell of a field which the Lord hath bleſſed. Gen. xxvii. 27. On common viſits to the great, in Turkey, fair ſlaves are introduced with ſilver cenſers in their hands, who perfume the air with amber, aloeſ-wood, &c; as ; who alſo ſayſ— informs us, Lett. p. 91that her hair, clothes, and handkerchief, were (on another viſit) cenſed by two kneeling ſlaves.Thy roſy lips, O gentle ſpouſe, diſpenſe,
In copious ſtrains, enchanting eloquence!
Whene’er thou ſpeak’ſt, the honey’d accents all
Awake the mind to rapture as they fall!
Honey and milk thy tuneful tongue imparts
In melting language to our yielding hearts.
Thy garments, ſweet as Lebanon, exhale
Their pow’rful odours on the buoyant gale.
End of Canto the Third.
Day the Fourth.
Scene—A Royal Pavilion in the Palace Garden. Solomon and the Spouse.
Canto the Fourth.
Solomonto the Spouse.
V. 12. Ver. 12 A garden encloſed—a ſpring ſhut up—a fountain ſealed.Mr. Maundrell informs us, that they went, 1696-04-01April 1, 1696, to viſit ſome places in the neighbourhood of Bethlehem. The firſt place that we directed our courſe to (ſays he) was thoſe famous fountains, pools, and gardens, which were the contrivance and delight of King Solomon, alluded to Eccles. ii. 5,6. About the diſtance of an hundred and forty paces from theſe pools, is the fountain from from which they principally derive their waters. This (the friars told us) was the ſealed fountain, to which the holy ſpouſe is compared, Cant. iv. 12; and they pretend a tradition, that King Solomon ſhut up theſe ſprings, and kept the door of them ſealed with his ſignet, to preſerve the waters from his own drinking, in their natural freſhneſs and purity. Nor was it difficult thus to ſecure them, they riſing under ground, and having no avenue to them but a little hole, like the mouth of a narrow well. Theſe waters wind along through two rooms, cut out of the ſolid rock, which are arched over with ſtone arches, very ancient; perhaps the work of Solomon himſelf. Below the pools runs a narrow rocky valley, encloſed on both ſides with high mountains: this, they told us, was the encloſed garden alluded to in the ſame Song. See Maundrell’s Travels, p. 87. likewiſe Heb. Lex. under גן 11. p. 94.My ſiſter-ſpouſe is like a garden fair,
Enclos’d, by nature’s ſkill, with wondrous care;
Which on each ſide the ſhelt’ring mountains riſe,
(Shooting in rocky columns to the ſkies)Deep H2 52 H(2)v 52
Deep in the length’ning vale ſecurely grows,
Untouch’d by vulgar hand, the maiden roſe.
All pure art thou, as ſprings that glide unſeen
’Neath vaulted rocks, that bound the neighb’ring green;
Which, ſafely ſeal’d, no foul pollution know,
But riſe tranſlucid, and tranſlucid flow:
Chaſte as the draught the ſecret fountain yields,
When fervid ſummer blaſts the ſick’ning fields.
13. Ver. 13. The bridegroom having, in the preceding verſe, called the bride an encloſed encloſed garden, here carries on the allegory, and compares her virtues and accompliſhments to all the choiceſt productions of an eaſtern paradiſe. Note on New Tranſlation, p. 57.Thy virtues, royal fair one! riſe
Like ſome ſweet paradiſe, whoſe bloom,
Expanding ’neath congenial ſkies,
Breathes on the gale it’s choice perfume;Within 53 H(3)r 53
Within whoſe verdant borders we behold
Pomegranates, ting’d with vegetable gold:
Delicious fruits of varied hues,
Beſprent with artificial dews,
When the dedal fountain pours
Limpid drops, in trickling ſhow’rs,
Lighting on the Hennah pale,
And ſpikenard trembling with the gale.
14.Scented canes and ſaffron grow
Where the gurgling ſtreamlets flow;
Spikenard and cinnamon we find,
With other precious ſpices join’d;
And, far remov’d from purly rill,
Tall frankincenſe aſcends the hill;
The hill rich myrrh and aloes love, Ver. 14, Line 7. ’Tis not the plant, but wood of aloes, which is here meant; this, when dried, is of a very fragrant ſmell. Note on new Tranſlation, p. 75. And ſee Heb. Lexicon, under אהל. III.
And mingling, graceful, form a grove;
The grove, relax’d by ſouthern breeze,
Sheds ſweets from aromatic trees.
15. Ver. 15. A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and ſtreams from Lebanon. The bridegroom here compares the bride to fountains and ſtreams; for what is ſo enchanting to an Aſiatic, as ſhady gardens, fragrant plants, bubbling fountains, and cooling ſtreams? To all theſe, in the 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th verſes, is the ſpouſe compared. Almoſt all their notions of felicity are taken from freſhneſs and verdure: A green meadow, and clear rivulet, afford pleaſures to an Oriental, that we (in our cold climate) do not, cannot taſte, in ſo exquiſite a degree, even when in the full fruition of thoſe things. Mr. Maundrell informs us, that near Damaſcus, he ſaw a very beautiful bagnio, and not far from it, a coffee-houſe, which had two quarters for the reception of gueſts: That deſigned for ſummer, was a ſmall iſland, waſhed all round with a large ſwift ſtream, and ſhaded over-head with trees. We found here (continues he) a multitude of Turks, regaling themſelves in this enchanting place; there being nothing in which they ſo much delight, as greens and water. Trav. p. 122 Of the ſtreams from Lebanon, Mr. Maundrell ſpeaks thus: There is a very deep rupture in the ſide of Libanus, running, at leaſt, ſeven hours travel directly up into the mountain. It is on both ſides exceedingly ſteep, and high, clothed with fragrant greens from top to bottom, and every where refreſhed with with fountains falling down from the rocks in pleaſant caſcades, the ingenious work of nature. The ſtreams all uniting at the bottom, make a full and rapid torrent, whoſe agreeable murmuring is heard all over the place, and adds no ſmall pleaſure to it. Trav.Sunday1696-05-09May 9, p. 118. Theſe waters ſeem to be referred to, Cant. iv. 15. Sacred Geography, vol. ii. p. 266.O ſpouſe! delicious to thy lover’s ſight
As bubbling fountains ting’d with noon-tide light,
Whoſe living waters down the channels ſtray,
Shining reflective in the ſolar ray;
Whoſe waves derive from Lebanon their ſource,
Winding through flow’ry vales their mazy courſe:
Firſt from the chaſm in his awful ſide,
The rude caſcades in broken murmurs flow;
Till all uniting in one ample tide,
With melting warblings glides the ſtream below.
16. Ver. 16. Awake, O north wind, and come, thou ſouth, blow upon my garden, that the ſpices thereof may flow out. We are not to ſuppoſe that theſe two contrary winds were invoked to blow together, or in immediate ſucceſſion to one another. Come, thou cool north wind, blow upon my garden; refreſh and reanimate it’s drooping productions: And come, thou ſouth wind, in due and proper ſeaſon; when the ſwelling bark of the aromatic trees requires thy emollient breath—then come thou, and cauſe the rich ſpices to flow out in copious effluvia.Awake, O north! and come, thou ſouthern gale!
(Breathing propitous through the flow’ry vale)
Bid trees, exuding, precious ſpices ſhed
On vernal carpets, ’neath their umbrage ſpread;
Call all the odours of my garden forth,
Soft ſouthern breezes, cool refreſhing north.
Then come, my love; the genial breezes blow,
The bark diſtends, the aromatics flow;
Delicious fruits thy princely hand invite,
And flowers, expanding, court thy curious ſight.
Solomonto the Spouse.
V. 1. Chap. V. Ver. 1. In the firſt part of this verſe, Solomon addreſſes himſelf to the bride; at the words, I have eaten my honey-comb, &c; he ſpeaks to his friends, ſuppoſed poſed poſed to be partaking of the nuptial banquet. Milk and honey (ſays Dr. Shaw) always make part of the entertainment among the Turks and Moors. Trav. p. 297. I have drunk my wine with my milk. This alludes to the eaſtern cuſtom of acidulating the milk with ſome kind of tart wine; perhaps with that made of the juice of the pomegranate, which is in high eſtimation in the hot countries, and ſo making a kind of ſillabub. Yea, drink abundantly.— שכר ſignifies to ſatiſfy, ſatiate, to ſatiſfy thirſt, or the deſire of drinking (as שבע, of eating) to drink heartily, or freely, to be cheared with drink. See Lex. in שכר, p. 683. Of our loves, ſays the New Tranſlation. I hope I may be pardoned for ſaying to our loves. Draught may be imagined, at firſt view, not to rhyme with thought; but I beg leave to obſeve, that in many counties it is pronounced drawt, not draft. That draught, the act of drinking, is derived from draw, ſee Dictionary; and in the remarks of the Critical Reviewers on Engliſh Dictionary (Review for 1780-05May 1780) may be found ſeveral authorities from our Engliſh poets for making theſe two words rhyme together.I’ve view’d my garden’s varied bloom,
And pleas’d inhal’d it’s rich perfume;
I’ve cropt my myrrh with ſpices rare;
The honey on my palate glows;
I’ve drunk my wine, in vaſes fair,
With milk commix’d with niceſt care,
Till o’er the brim briſk curdling maſſes roſe.
Solomonto his Friends, aſſembled at the Banquet. Time, Evening.
Eat, O my friends! and drink with me,
Quaff deep th’ inſpiring draught;
Till, loſt in mirth and rapt’rous glee,
Confuſion mingle with the riſing thought:Mark 57 I(1)r 57
Mark well the gen’rous wine—aright it moves;
Drink deep, my friends; drink to our plighted loves.
End of Canto the Fourth.
Day the Fifth.
Scene—The Palace of the Jewiſh Queen, in the Country.
Jewish Queen and Attendants.
Canto the Fifth.
Jewish Queenrecounting to the Daughters of Jeruſalem an Adventure that had happened on the preceding Night.
V. 2. Ver. 2.Solomon muſt have gone (as Mr. Harmer obſerves)ſome diſtance from his own palace, in queſt of his Jewiſh queen; to her country retirement, no doubt, whither ſhe had withdrawn (as before obſerved) at the king’s requeſt, ch. ii. 10; and from whence (it ſhould ſeem) ſhe would not be prevailed on to come come forth, in order to pay the proper compliment to the bride, which her new dignity required, and as common good-breeding might have induced this haughy queen to have done, and as it appears the other queens, concubines, and virgins had done, on her arrival at Jeruſalem, mentioned ch. vi. 8; and this I take to have been the cauſe of Solomon’s viſit at this time: For though, from the tenour of the poem, it appears he was tender of her peace, and ſought by every gentle mean to win her to an acquieſcence, yet her wilfully abſenting herſelf from his court, when the time of complimenting the new queen was arrived, and perſiſting in the reſolution of keeping her diſtance, touched the monarch, and induced him to ſeek a perſonal converſation, hoping thereby to make a mutual agreement between the parties. Solomon might, for ſome private reaſons, wiſh the abſence of his Jewiſh queen, when he was conducting the bride into the royal city; but that over, it was reaſonable to expect her ſubmiſſive acquieſcence in the meaſure, and her conſequent good behaviour. To the ear of a weſtern wife, I grant, the doctrine ſounds harſh; but in thoſe countries where polygamy is allowed, a lady is not ſuppoſed to regard theſe matters; nor was there occaſion to be over-nice here, as it appears the young king had already (excluſive of the two ladies in queſtion) no leſs than threeſcore wives of the firſt order, and fourſcore wives of an inferior ſort, whom the Tranſlation ſtyles concubines, ch. vi. 8; but who are not to be looked on as women of that denomination among us. Buſbequius tells us, that the difference between a wife of the moſt dignified kind, and a concubine, is thiſ—the wife has a dowry appointed her—the concubine has none.—See Outl. p. 19.I slept—but O! my anxious mind,
To peaceful ſlumber diſinclin’d,
Still brooded o’er it’s mighty woes,
And in my dream the ſhad’wy train aroſe;
When lo! a voice the mighty gloom pervades!
(’Twas love’s known voice that murmur’d thro’ the ſhades.)
He knock’d—attent I caught the welcome ſound,
And heard from vaulted domes thick-anſw’ring ſtrokes rebound.
Quick ope to me, my gentle love,
My undefil’d, my turtle-dove;
For ah! my head is fill’d with dew,
My locks with drops of gliſt’ning hue.
3. Ver. 3. I have put off my coat—I have waſhed my feet, how ſhall I defile them? The eaſtern ladies ſleep generally in their drawers, and at leaſt one or two waiſtcoats, and in winter in their furs: The houſes likewiſe of the great ladies, in thoſe countries, are kept ſo extremely neat, that had ſhe riſen at the king’s requeſt, ſhe would have been in no danger of taking cold, or of ſoiling her new-waſhen feet; beſides ſurrounded by her attendants (as Princeſſes in the Eaſt conſtantly are) ſhe need not have ariſen herſelf at all; for at her command they would certainly have admitted the king; and I conclude, had not they been forbidden by the queen, they would of courſe have opened to their royal maſter. The whole of her reply was declarative of anger and reſentment; and the excuſes of angry people are often frivolous, and little conſiſtent with truth.My veſt (ſaid I) is laid aſide,
And ev’ry ornament of pride;
My feet are waſh’d: How can I riſe,
When midnight ſlumbers hover o’er my eyes?
4. Ver. 4. My beloved put in his hand through the opening of the door, (not in at the caſement, as good Biſhop Patrick ſuppoſed, with deſign to pull her out of bed.) The curious have remarked (ſays Mr. Harmer) that if their gates are ſometimes of iron and braſs, their locks and keys are often of wood; and that not only of their houſes, but of their cities too. Thevenot, ſpeaking of Grand Cairo, ſays, All their locks and keys are of wood; the keys are bits of timber, with little pieces of wire, that lift up other pieces of wire that are in the lock, and and enter into certain little holes, out of which the ends of the wire that are in the key having thruſt them, the gate is opened: But without the key, a little ſoft paſte, upon the end of the finger, will open the lock. What is here obſerved, may ſerve to illuſtrate this verſe. Solomon attempted to open the door, by putting in his fingers at the key-hole (according to ſome ſuch method as deſcribed above) but it did not open. The handles of the lock are, Mr. Harmer ſuppoſes, theſe wires; the word ſometimes ſignifying branches, which theſe wires reſemble. See Obſervations on divers Paſs. of Script. vol. i. p. 208. My hands dropped myrrh. It is to be ſuppoſed, that the queen had been copiouſly anointed, as well as waſhed ver. 3—in expectation, perhaps, of the king’s arrival; and the abundance in which the eaſtern ladies uſed perfumed unguents conſidered ſee Eſth. ii.12 may account for this paſſage, My hands dropped myrrh. There is a thought very ſimilar, in Mr. Jones’s allegory of the Seven Fountains: She turns the key; her cheeks like roſes bloom,And on the lock her fingers drop perfume. See Poems, p. 45.I ſpake; when lo! the hand of love
Retouch’d the ſounding door;
Then all the tender paſſions ſtrove
With force unfelt before!
5.In haſte I roſe t’admit my royal gueſt,
While fluſh’d with hope my cheeks like roſes bloom’d;
With unct’ous hand the yielding lock I preſs’d,
And pow’rful ſweets the midnight air perfum’d;
Pure liquid myrrh my fragrant fingers ſhed,
And o’er the handles of the bolt it ſpread.
6.I open’d to my royal love,
But he was far away;
My ſoul with ſad emotions ſtrove,
And fail’d with dire diſmay!His 62 I(3)v 62
His parting words, engraven on my mind,
Sunk deep, and left a laſting ſting behind.
Long while, oppreſs’d with anxious thought,
I ſought him—but in vain I ſought!
I call’d him—but no kind reply
Return’d he to my plaintive cry.
7. Ver. 7. They ſmote me, they wounded me. They hurt me, or made me ſorely ſmart. פצע does not always ſignify a ghaſtly wound, but ſometimes ſuch ſharp cuts or ſtripes as are inflicted by wholeſome diſcipline. See note on New Tranſlation, p. 78.—The accounts of ſome travellers, concerning the treatment the wives of the great men ſometimes meet with in the Eaſt, is really aſtoniſhing. Theſe שמרים, or keepers, not only talk to them in rough language, and hunt them from place to place, but make no ſcruple of puniſhing them corporally too. If this be the ſtate of the eaſtern ladies, the complaint of this princeſs will not appear ſo unnatural as we may have been ready to imagine. See Out. p. 316, to which I beg leave to refer the curious reader.—Plucked my veil off me. This paſſage is not to be underſtood as by the generality of commentators, in the ſenſe of taking her veil away from her, but only taking it off to know or to expoſe her. Note on New Tranſlation, p. 78.—And he may be neceſſary to obſerve, that the queen met with a treatment from theſe watchmen or keepers very different from that which ſhe received from them in her nocturnal ramblings, ch. iii. 3. To account for which, different reaſons have been aſſigned, but the true one, perhaps, lies yet concealed; which appears pears pears to have been ſimply this, ch. iii. 3. ſhe met the watchmen, and immediately interrogated them, ſaying, Saw ye him whom my ſoul loveth? Before they could reply (for we read of no anſwer to this queſtion) ſhe found him whom her ſoul loved. Firſt, the very queſtion argued her quality, as no ordinary woman, rambling about at midnight, would have dared to enquire for the king in terms like thoſe; oriental majeſty being treated with the profoundeſt reſpect. Secondly, the immediate appearance of the king ſilenced all impertinencies on the part of the keepers, had they been diſpoſed to talk to her roughly, or to inflict blows. In the verſe before us the circumſtannces differ, though that difference has not been duly attended to by preceding commentators. The queen met the watchmen, as before, but ſhe ſpake not to them (probably her recent ill treatment of her royal partner, ſee ver. 3, might make her fearful of repeating the enquiry.) her ſtrict ſilence, and apparent dread of being known, which appears from her receiving even blows without complaint, and wrapping herſelf cloſely up in her veil, raiſed ſuſpicions to her diſadvantage; which induced them (at length) to take off, or lift up the veil, in order to ſee who this obſtinately ſilent woman was. But, no ſooner did they diſcover that it was the queen, but their blows and impertinencies ceaſed at once, and ſhe was diſmiſſed in conſequence of that diſcovery.The watchmen found me; with relentleſs blowſ
They ſmote me, mocking at my ſilent woes:
Down from the tow’ring walls the keepers flew,
And the cloſe veil from off my temples drew:No 63 I(4)r 63
No more conceal’d I mock’d their prying ſight,
But ſtood confeſt, ’mid gleams of borrow’d light;
For ſplendid lamps their trembling rays diſplay’d,
With varying luſtres, through the midnight ſhade.
8.I charge you, O ye virgin throng!
If my belov’d ſhou’d paſs along,
While you around the city rove,
O tell him I am ſick of love!
Virgins of Jerusalemto the Queen.
9.What is thy beloved? ſay,
Thou faireſt of the fair!
What ſov’reign charms does he diſplay,
That claim ſuch earneſt care?
What is thy beloved, ſay,
More than another’s love?
Superiour darts his potent ray
Salem’s bright ſons above?
Stands he diſtinguiſh’d noble youths among,
When fair perfection gilds the blooming throng?
Jewish Queen,in reply (deſcribing the charms of her royal lover.)
10. Ver. 10. The chiefeſt (ſays our tranſlation) among ten thouſand; but Mr. Parkhurſt renders the words דגול מרבבה lighted with ten thouſand lamps, or dazzling (as a gaudy bridegroom) ſurrounded with ten thouſand lamps. See Heb. Lex. in דגל II. p.108.My love is white, and ruddy as the morn,
Radiant as thoſe whom bridal veſts adorn,
When ſilver lamps pour round their fulgid rays,
And tiſſued robes reflect the dazzling blaze.
11. Ver. 11. As the moſt fine gold—alluding to the crown royal, which was of gold. Comp. ch. iii. II. His locks buſhy and black as the raven.Black hair, Sir John Chardin obſerves, in a note on ch.v. II. is reckoned moſt beautiful, and is moſt eſteemed in the eaſt. And thoſe whoſe hair is of ſome other colour dye it black. See Additions to Outlines, p. 3.As gold reſplendent ſhines his royal head,
His raven locks o’er his fair ſhoulders ſpread,
The floating ringlets wanton in the wind,
Salute his cheek, or, graceful, fall behind.
12. Ver. 12. As the eyes of doves—ſparkling, and yet mild, as thoſe of milkwhite doves, when they are delighted as they ſit by the water-ſide. See note on New Tranſlation, p. 79. ;His eyes are as the eys of milk-white doves,
Which woo, by ſwelling ſtreams, their plumy loves;
Peaceful they ſit the ample floods beſide,
And cooing ſip the waters as they glide.
13. Ver. 13. His cheeks (or rather his beard, which covered his youthful cheeks) like מגדלות מרקחים towers of perfumes: vaſes for preſerving perfumes, in uſe among the Hebrews. See Lex. in הכל IV. p. 128. The general and conſtant conſtant uſe of perfumes had been often mentioned in theſe notes, as there are continual alluſions to that cuſtom in this Song, as well as in other oriental compoſitions. The beard, among the Jews, &c; was ſuffered to grow to the length nature deſigned; and when it had once imbibed the rich odours, muſt be ſuppoſed long to have retained them. Mr. Maundrell informs us, that at the concluſion of a viſit which he paid to the baſſa of Tripoli, his beard was perfumed in the following manner: Then comes the finiſhing part of the entertainment, which is perfuming the beards of the company: they have for this purpoſe a ſmall ſilver chafing-diſh covered with a lid full of holes, and fixed upon a handſome plate. In this they put ſome freſh coals, and upon them a piece of lignum aloes, and then ſhutting it up, the ſmoke immediately aſcends with a grateful odour, through the holes of the cover. This ſmoke is held under every one’s chin, and offered (as it were) a ſacrifice to the beard. See Travels, p. 30. His lips lilies—compared to lilies, either on account of their ſoftneſs, or (as Biſhop Patrick ſuppoſes) of their red colour, reſembling the rubens lilium, which he tells us is very highly eſteemed in Syria. Dropping ſweet-ſmelling myrrh, notes the ſweetneſs of his converſation, and is ſuppoſed by Sir Thomas Brown to refer to the roſcid and honey drops obſervable in the flowers of martagon, and inverted-flowered lilies, and is probably the ſtanding ſweet-dew on the white eyes of the crown-imperial, now common among us. Note on New Tranſlation, p. 79.His downy cheeks are like a ſpicy bed,
Whence choiceſt aromatics riſe,
Which, ſweetly budding forth, unceaſing ſpread
Their rich effluvia through the ſkies.His K 66 K(2)v 66
His lips are lilies dropping honey-dew,
Ting’d with the ruby’s animated hue.
14. Ver. 14. As gold rings ſet with the beryl.Mr. Sandys informs us, that, among the Egyptian Moors, thoſe of the better ſort wear hoops of gold and ſilver about their arms. Trav. p. 85. lib. ii. Something of this ſort was worn by Solomon,—a kind of gold bracelet. Judah left his bracelet in pledge, Gen.xxxviii. xxxviii. 18. Bright ivory overlaid with ſapphires. This refers to the tunic, or cloſe under-coat, which appears to have been made of white, edged with blue, beſprinkled with gold ſpangles,—the colour of ſapphires comp. vii. 2. white and blue were royal colours. See Eſt. viii. 15. Parkhurſt. Dr. Shaw, ſpeaking of the dreſs of the Arab men, ſays, ſome wear, underneath their hyke, a cloſe-bodied frock, or tunic, called a jillebba, with or without ſleeves, not unlike the Roman tunica. Trav. p. 226. Sandys tells us, that the Turks wear an half-ſleeved coat girt unto them with a towel. Lib. i. p. 50. The Egyptians, ſays the ſame author, wear ſide-coats of linen girt to their waiſts. Lib. ii. p. 85.His hands are rings of gold, where dazzling glowſ
The yellow chryſolite in ſparkling rows.Like 67 K(2)r 67
Like pureſt iv’ry, delicately white!
Appears his waiſt, with ſnowy tunick dight;
The ſnowy tunick, edg’d with gold and blue,
Like radiant ſapphires glitters to the view.
15. Ver. 15. As pillars of marble, ſet upon ſockets of fine gold. Doubtleſs (ſays Mr. Harmer) his legs being like pillars of marble, refers to the breeches [or drawerſ] of fine linen he wore; ſuch garments being ordered to be worn by the prieſts of God, whoſe veſtments were appointed for glory and beauty. Exod. xxxiii. 2, 42. See Outl. p. 117.Sandys ſays of the Turks, that they wear next the ſkin a ſmock of calico with ample ſleeves, under this a pair of calſouns (or drawers) of the ſame, which reach to their ankles; the reſt naked, and going in yellow or red ſlip-ſhoes, picked at the toe, &c; Lib. i. p. 49. Solomon’s ſlippers or ſandals appear to have been yellow, as his feet are compared to ſockets of gold. The modern Turks, even to the Grand Signior, are extremely fond of yellow ſlippers, and they will not permit either Jews or Chriſtians to wear them of that colour. Complete Syſt. of Geogr. vol. ii. p. 20. col. 2. The The Aſiatics were always famous for beautiful ſhoes, which fit as exactly to the foot as a neat kid glove to the hand. So Homer, And ties to his feet gay ſhoes. Like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. Does not this clauſe intend a ſweetly venerable majeſtic calmneſs? Outl. 319.His comely legs, like marble pillars ſhine,
Round which, with art, the linen draw’rs entwine;Below K2 68 K(2)v 68
Below the draw’rs rich ſandals we behold,
Like finiſh’d pedeſtals of burniſh’d gold.
Majeſtic as thoſe cedars that ariſe
From Lebanon’s exalted height,
Puſhing their verdant branches to the ſkies,
With native excellence bedight,
Beams his fair countenance, with grace replete,
Awfully mild, majeſtically ſweet!
16.His mouth is fragrance, ſuch as flows,
When morning breathes, from dewy roſe;
Yea, he is lovely as the dawning day!
Such is my royal friend, ye tuneful throng,
Such is my beſt-belov’d! O virgins, ſay,
Mark’d ye ſuch charms Salem’s bright ſons among?
Virgins of Jerusalem.
V. 1.O where is thy beloved ſtray’d?
Thou faireſt of the fair!
Say, ſhall we ſeek him down the glade,
And tell thy tender care?
O whither is he turn’d aſide?
Perchance to hear the warbling ſtreamlets glide;
Say, ſhall we ſeek him with thee there,
When dews deſcending cool the ſultry air?
Jewish Queento her Attendants.
2.My love is, doubtleſs, in his garden ſtraying,
Or ’neath thick trees, on beds of ſpices playing;
Full oft ’tis his, when ev’ning ſhades prevail,
To gather lilies in yon humid vale.
3.I am my love’s, and he is mine!
Why does he from truth’s path decline?
And roving ſeek, when ev’ning ſhades prevail,
To feed among the lilies of the vale.
End of Canto the Fifth.
Day the Sixth.
Scene—A Garden belonging to the royal Palace of Solomon
Solomon and the Spouse (with their Attendants).
Canto the Sixth.
Solomonto the Spouse.
4. Chap. VI. Ver. 4. Beautiful as Tirzah.Tirzah was the royal city of the kings of Iſrael, after the revolt from Rehoboam, till the reign of Omri, who built Samaria maria; maria; ſee 1 Kings xiv. 17. xvi. 6, 8, 9, 15, 23, 24. and from this paſſage of Canticles it was remarkable for it’s pleaſant ſituation, which ſeems implied in it’s Hebrew name תדצה, from רצה. See Heb. Lex. in רצה, p. 649. Graceful as Jeruſalem. Jeruſalem was eſteemed the moſt charming place in Paleſtine, and is called by Jeremiah the perfection of beauty. Lam. ii. 15. Note on New Tranſlation, p. 80. Comp. Ps. xlviii. 2.—Beautiful for ſituation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion. Sandys, ſpeaking of Paleſtine, ſays, a land flowing with milk and honey: in the midſt, as it were, of the habitable world, and under a temperate clime, adorned with beautiful mountains and luxuriant vallies; the rocks producing excellent waters, and no part empty of delight or profit. Jeruſalem (continues he) once ſacred and glorious, elected by God for his ſeat, and ſeated in the midſt of nations, is like a diadem crowning the head of the mountains. Lib. iii. p. 110, 120. אימה Dazzlingכנדגלות women ſhone upon by nuptial lamps, the ſplendour of which would no doubt be ſtrongly reflected by their rich attire and jewels worn on the occaſion. See Lex. in דגל, p. 108.O! Thou art beautiful, my love,
As Tirzah, tow’ring o’er the grove
New gilt with morning light;
On her gay tow’rs the purple radiance plays,
And kindling domes reflect the fulgent rays:
Tirzah, the ſcene of pleaſure and delight!
Graceful art thou as Salem to mine eye,
(Salem, the ſeat of regal majeſty)
Whoſe fair perfection future bards ſhall ſing,
When all-inſpir’d, they ſweep the ſilver ſtring.
Dazzling, in theſe thy bridal veſts array’d,
Thou beam’ſt as lamps, reſplendent through the ſhade.
5.Avert thine eyes!—a fatal dart
Has found, and vanquiſh’d all my heart!
Ah! quick the tender paſſions riſe!
I die!—avert thoſe piercing eyes.
Thine auburn hair in graceful treſſes flows,
Shading thy cheeks, more vermeil than the roſe;
Such gloſſy locks Mount Gilead’s goats adorn,
As ſleek, aſcending at the break of day,
Refreſh’d, they catch the balmy breeze of morn,
And up the pointed rocks with added vigour ſtray.
6.Thy pearly teeth are like a ſnowy flock
Of ſheep, aſcending from the argent tide,
(Where, from the basis of the craggy rock,
The rapid ſtreams in briſk meandrings glide)
Which all are twins, none mourns it’s fellow loſt,
Or drooping on the plain, or on the white wave toſt.
7.Behind thy veil, what vivid red
Is o’er each radiant temple ſpread!
So glows the gay pomegranate’s purple hue,
When the bright ſections open to the view.
8.I’ve threeſcore queens, of beauty bright,
And fourſcore concubines, as fair,
With tuneful virgins clad in ſhining white,
Who ſweep the warbling ſtrings, and trill the dulcet air.
9. Ver. 9. My dove, my undefiled, is one—i.e. ſtands alone in my affections: ſhe is dear to me as an only child to her mother: as her darling to her that bare her. See New Tranſlation, p. 31.—Can a woman forget her ſucking child. Iſa. xlix. 15.But ſhe, my dove, my undefil’d,
Admits no proud compeer;
Dear to my ſoul as is an only child
To her fond parent dear:
Alone ſhe reigns within this ardent breaſt,
A conſtant, pleaſing, unremitted gueſt.
The virgin-daughters ſaw my love,
And bleſt her in their ſong;
The queens, amaz’d, beheld her move
With majeſty along,
And join’d the concubines! One gen’ral voice
Then roſe to ſwell her praiſe, and celebrate my choice.
Solomonin ſurprize, on ſeeing his Jewish Queen approaching.
10. Ver. 10. As the morning.Theocritus, ſpeaking of the Grecian Helen, Idyll. xviii. ſays, As riſing morn diſplays her lovely face,So ſhone the golden Helen forth. Note on New Tranſlation, p. 81. A lady, in the Arabian tales, is called day-light. Thoſe who are remarkable for their beauty are ſtill compared, by oriental writers, to the ſun and moon: therefore, fair as the moon, bright as the ſun, is truly in the oriental taſte. יפה is fair with regard to the complexion: ſee 1 Sam. xvii. 42. ברה—is properly clear, unſullied, of unobſcured ſplendour, and therefore is well applied to the glowing ſurface of the great orb of day. Note on New Tranſlation, p. 81. We are informed, by D’Herbelot, that the late writers of thoſe countries have given the patriarch Joſeph the title of the moon of Canaan, that is, the moſt perfect beauty that ever appeared above the horizon of Judea. Haſſelquiſt informs us, that it is likewiſe applied to female beauty by the Arabians, who are wont to compare a lady’s face to the moon. Outl. p. 329. The works of the Perſians, ſays Mons. de Voltaire, are like the titles of their kings, in which the ſun and moon are often introduced: but he does not reflect, that every nation has a ſet of images and expreſſions peculiar to itſelf, which ariſe from the difference of it’s climate, manners, and hiſtory. See Poems, Eſſay i. p. 178.But who is ſhe that moves with princely gait,
And onward comes in this majeſtic ſtate?L Clear 74 L(1)v 74
Clear as the morn, bedeckt with orient light,
She ſhines confeſt, and radiates on the ſight!
Fair as the moon, in argent ſplendours dreſt,
Bright as the ſun, inrob’d in golden veſt!
Dazzling as brides, in nuptial pomp array’d,
Beaming effulgent through the midnight ſhade!
When flaming lamps with vivid luſtres blaze,
And tiſſued robes reflect the vary’d rays;7 When 75 L(2)r 75
When gold and gems, inkindling to the ſight,
With brilliant ſparkles chear the brow of night.
Solomonto his Jewish Queen.
11. Ver. 11. To the garden of nuts—Rather, to the garden kept in order by cutting, or pruning, hortos putatos; ſo the words גנת אגוז ſeem rather to mean. See Lex. in גז, which word ſignifies to take off, or away ſo to prune, cut away.—There are none of our parterres, according to Lady M.W. Montague, in the gardens of Turkey; but they are all planted with high trees, which afford an agreeable ſhade, and to my fancy (ſays ſhe) a pleaſing view. Lett. vol. ii. 74. Captain Norden ſpeaks of vine-arbours, as common in the Egyptian gardens; and the Praeneſtine pavement, in Dr. Shaw, gives us the figure of an ancient one. Outl. p. 141.Hither I come, the garden’s bloom to view;
Deſcending ſlowly through the length’ning vale,
I mark it’s fruits, enrich’d with morning dew,
While the light foliage trembles with the gale:
If the flow’ring vine appear,
Peeping foſt’rign boughs between,
Raptur’d, oft I find it here,
Scenting all the neighb’ring ſcene;
Here the pomegranates feel the genial ray,
And ſwell the bud, expanding to the day.
Jewish Queen,in reply (preparing to quit the Garden.)
12. Ver. 12. The chariots of Ammi-nadib.Ammi-nadib was a furious driver of his age; as Jehu in ſucceeding times, ſee 2 Kings ix. 20. To place one on the chariots of Ammi-nadib, ſeems to be equivalent to—You have made me reſolve on inſtant flight. Nothing is more common in Homer, than celebrating particular heroes for their ſkill in breaking and driving horſes in chariots, though this does not appear in Mr. Pope’s tranſlation, who frequently neglects to give the force of the epithet Ἱπποδαμος, literally horſe-breaker, meaning for chariots; for no other horſe-ſoldiers are mentioned in Homer. The people of Theſſaly, who ſeem to be the firſt Grecians that rode on horſeback, were in the Trojan times looked upon by the reſt as monſters, and called Centaurs. .I knew it not! my weak unſtable mind,
In queſt of peace, to ſolitude inclin’d;L2 But 76 L(2)v 76
But now, convinced, my ſoul prepares for flight;
Adieu! behold me haſt’ning from thy ſight,
Quick as the chariot thunders o’er the plain,
When Ammi-nadib holds the glowing rein.
Nobles of Zionto the Queen retiring.
13. Ver. 13. It certainly was not uſual, among the Hebrews, to call women after the name of their huſbands, as the ingenious author of the New Tranſlation ſuppoſes. See his note, p. 85. השולמית therefore does not denote the wife of Solomon, but if ſpelled without the ו (as in ſeveral Hebrew MSS.) is plainly the woman of Salem; (juſt as המואבית is the woman of Moab, the Moabiteſs, Ruth Ruth i. 22; השונמית the woman of Shunam, 1 Kings i. 3. &c; &c;) and it appears as if the nobles, by calling the Jewiſh queen by that name, meant to give an oblique hint at the meanneſs of her birth, compared with that of the Egyptian princeſs; and ſo to intimate an argument for her ſubmiſſion and reconciliation. Comp. ch. vii. I, בת נדיב—i.e. nobleman’s daughter, not of royal deſcent. .Return! return! O Shulamite, return!
Let not our hearts with expectation burn;
Return! return! that we may look on thee—
Virgins of Jerusalemto the Nobles.
What wiſh ye in the Shulamite to ſee?
Nobles of Zion.
We wiſh to ſee two friendly troops unite,
That each glad heart, replete with gay delight,
May it’s ſenſations chearfully impart,
And ſend them, glowing, to it’s fellow heart.
V. 1. Chap. VII. Ver. 1. How beautiful are thy feet with ſhoes, or ſandals! Hence we learn, that theſe were anciently an eminent part of female eaſtern finery. So Homer, in in the brief deſcription he gives us of Juno’s dreſs, when ſhe intended to captivate Jupiter, does not however omit her ſandals. II. xiv. line 186. Ποσσι δ’ὑπαι λιπαροισιν εδησατο καλα πεδιλα Laſt her fair feet celeſtial ſandals grace. Pope. Lady M.W. Montague likewiſe informs us, that the ſlippers of the beautiful Fatima ſee Letter xxxiii. vol. ii. p. 71 were white ſattin, finely embroidered. Heb. and Eng. Lex. under נעל. The Hebrew women were remarkably nice in adorning their ſandals, and in having them fit the foot neatly, ſo as to diſplay it’s fine ſhape. Vide Clerici Comment. Judith’s ſandals are mentioned, among her other ornaments of jewels, her bracelets, &c; with which ſhe ſet off her beauty, when ſhe firſt went to captivate the heart of Holofernes, ch. x. 4; and it is expreſſly ſaid that her ſandals raviſhed his eyes, ch. xvi. 9. Note on New Tranſlation, p. 86. Lady M.W. Montague tells us, that her ſhoes were of white kid leather, embroidered with gold. Sandys mentions the ſilken buſkins of a Turkiſh bride. Lib. i. p. 53. נדיב agrees better with our Engliſh word nobleman, than with that of prince: and the applying of it here to the Jewiſh queen, points out the proper diſtinciton which was to be obſerved between the two ladies, the one the daughter of a powerful monarch, the other deſcended only from ſome Jewiſh nobleman. The חמוקי here mentioned, appear to be drawers, which cover or conceal the thighs, being derived from the verb חמק, which undoubtedly ſignifies withdrawing, or concealment. Comp. ch. v. 6, in Heb. See Lex. in המק, p. 182. All the eaſtern ladies wear drawers; the firſt part of my Turkiſh dreſs, ſays Lady M.W. Montague, is a pair of drawers, very full, full, that reach down to my ſhoes, and conceal the legs more modeſtly than your petticoats: they are of a thin roſe-coloured damaſk, brocaded with ſilver flowers. See Lett. vol. ii. p. 28. The citizens of both ſexes (ſays Dr. Shaw, ſpeaking of the Turks and Moors) wear drawers; thoſe of the virgins are made of needle-work, ſtriped ſilk, or linen, juſt as Tamar’s garment is deſcribed, 2 Sam. xiii. 18. Trav. p. 228. The Jewiſh women (ſays Sandys) wear long quilted waiſtcoats, with breeches underneath, in winter of cloth, in ſummer of linen. They are generally fat, good work-women, and can do any thing for profit, that is to be done by the art of woman, conſiſtent with the faſhion of theſe countries. Trav. lib. iii. p. 116. Of what materials the drawers of this Jewiſh princeſs were made, we cannot determine; certainly not of ſilk (ſilk being unknown in Judea in the days of Solomon.) We are told, that even in the time of emperor Aurelian, who lived one thouſand three hundred years later than Solomon, ſilk was ſo ſcarce, that it ſold for it’s weight in gold; for which reaſon the emperor refuſed his empreſs a garment of it, though ſhe very importunately deſired one. See Obſervationson divers Paſſages of Scripture, vol. ii. p. 354. Silk-worms in our days abound in the Holy Land, but they were introduced long ſince the reign of Solomon. Like jewels. Whatever theſe ornaments might be, which decorated the drawers of the queen, they probably reſembled ſuch as were faſhioned by the graving tool; they were like הלאים. The verb חלא, ſignifies to wear away; from thence, as a noun maſculine plural, חלאים, ornaments which are made by the workman’s continually wearing away with his graver the parts of the matter to be wrought. It means (I ſuppoſe, ſays Mr. Parkhurſt) thin flexible plates of gold or ſilver, artfully cut through and engraven, in imitation of lace. (See Dr. Shaw’s deſcription of the Sarmah, worn by the Mooriſh ladies, in Notes on ch. i. II. vii. 5.) And ſo the Jewiſh queen’s drawers ſeem, like Lady M.W. Montague’s, to have been of a kind of brocade, that is, of a ſtuff of gold, ſilver, or, &c; raiſed and enriched with flowers, foliages, and other ornaments, according according to the fancy of the merchants or manufacturers. See New and Complete Dictionary of Arts in brocade. Comp. Ps. xlv. 13, 14. ידי אמן, hands of ſteadineſs, conſtant, perſervering hands;ſuch ſurely are the hands of the ſkilful graver. See Lex. in אמן, p. 21.
How beautiful thy feet, O noble fair!
Adorn’d with ſandals, wrought with niceſt care,
Where gold, and threads of variegated hues,
Thy captiv’d lover all-inraptur’d views;
Thy ſtately legs the curious draw’rs infold,
Deckt as with graven ornaments of gold,Where 79 L(4)r 79
Where by the toilſome artiſt’s ſteady hand
The mimic buds, and leaves and flow’rs expand.
2. Ver. 2. A round goblet, which wanteth not liqour.Biſhop Patrick thinks this, and the following paſſage, deſcriptive of the figures wrought on the queen’s garments. Mr. Harmer, and others, are of opinion, that it alludes to the claſp of her girdle; and it appears to me moſt probable that it ſhould, as it is called, after the eaſtern mode (See Preliminary Diſcourſe) by the name of that part of the body which is covered by the claſp. See a Turkiſh lady in her proper dreſs, Trav. p. 53, lib. i. In Voyage de l’ Arabie, tom. i. p. 135, is a print of a Grecian lady, of , Alexandria, in Egypt, the claſp of whoſe girdle reſembles two little oval ſhields; and in Nat. Hiſt. of Aleppo, p. 101, we have a Turkiſh lady repreſented, with a claſp of three artificial flowers, of precious ſtones I ſuppoſe. .Lady M.W. Montague informs us, that a certain great Turkiſh lady had her ſhift faſtened at the bottom with a large diamond, ſhaped like a lozenge; her girdle as broad as the broadeſt Engliſh ribbon, entirely covered with diamonds. Lett. vol. ii. p. 151. The claſp of this queen’s girdle was circular, and enloſed a beautiful variety of precious ſtones, whoſe changeful hues are elegantly compared to the bubbles aſcending to the top of a goblet, or cup, filled with fermenting liquors. A heap of wheat, ſet about with lilies, or bounded with lilies. Such heaps of wheat, as well as lilies, were objects ſo very familiar to the Jews, that we we may well ſuppoſe them to be mentioned together in a compariſon, without alluding to any actual cuſtom of conjoining them. The protuberant ſhape of the queen, covered with a golden damaſk or tiſſue waiſtcoat, above and below which the white ſmock appeared (as being both much longer, and conſiderably higher) might be aptly compared to a heap of golden grain, bounded on the extremities with lilies. .It may be neceſſary to obſerve here, that in the eaſt, they do not ſtack up their corn in the ſtraw, as we do, but threſh it out in the field, and then lay it up in conſiderably large heaps. See Nat. Hiſt. of Aleppo, p. 182. Lady M.W. Montague’s account of her Turkiſh dreſs, will ſerve to elucidate this difficult paſſage. The antery (ſays ſhe) is a waiſtcoat made cloſe to the ſhape, of white and gold damaſk, with very long ſleeves, falling back, and fringed with deep gold fringe, with diamond or pearl buttons: The ſmock is of fine white ſilk gauze, edged with embroidery; this ſmock has wide ſleeve, hanging half way down the arm, and is cloſed at the neck with a diamond button; but the ſhape and colour of the boſom is very well to be diſtinguiſhed through it. Lett. vol. ii. p. 28, 31. Nothing (ſays Mr. Harmer) is more common, than to expreſs an exquiſite white by that of the lily; and to uſe the epithet of golden, when poetry ſpeaks of grain. Outl. p. 3. Corpulency is reckoned a great beauty in the eaſt, which induces the women of thoſe countries to uſe frequently the warm bath, and certain kinds of food, which help to enlarge their bulk. The Turkiſh ladies, according to Mr. Sandys, are elegantly beautiful, for the moſt part ruddy, clear and ſmooth as poliſhed ivory, being never ruffled by the weather, and daily frequenting the bagnios. Lib. i. p. 53. And Lady M.W. Montague ſays, that every kind of beauty is more common there than with us.Thy claſp is like a goblet round,
Where mingled liquors play,
When wines, with mantling rubies crown’d,
Reflect the changeful ray:
Thy waiſt is like an heap of golden grain,
With lilies bounded, riſing from the plain.
3.Thy two fair breaſts like two young roes appear,
The tender daughters of the vernal year.
4. Ver. 4. Like the pools of Heſhbon.Solomon compares the eyes of his Jewiſh queen to the pools of Heſhbon, perhaps on account of their beautifully oblong form, their largeneſs, and ſhining humidity. So Sandys tells us, that large eyes the Turks have in principal repute (affected alſo by the Grecians) as it ſhould ſeem from the beginning, ſince Mahomet doth promiſe ſuch (nay as big as eggs) in his imaginary paradiſe: and this Homer attributes, as an eſpecial excellency, as Juno: ———to whom repliesJuno, with the cow’s fair eyes. And again— The great-eyed Juno ſmil’d. Iliad i. See Trav. lib. i. p. 53. Lady M.W. Montague, ſpeaking of the lovely Fatima, ſayſ—that ſur— prizing harmony of featureſ—that charming reſult of the whole—that exact proportion of body—that lovely bloom of complexion—the unutterable en— chantment of her ſmile!—but her eyes!—large and black—with all the ſoft languiſhment of the blue! See Lett. vol. ii. p. 85. Large eyes were therefore (and ſtill are) accounted beautiful in the Eaſt; and to make them appear larger, and and more conſpicuous than nature in common deſigned them, they uſe a certain black powder, which is very artfully conveyed between the eye-lids, as deſcribed by Dr. Shaw, &c; &c; פוך is mentioned, 2 Kings ix. 30. Jer. iv. 30, as what the women tinged their eyes with; and it appears from the teſtimony of Dr. Shaw and Dr. Ruſſell, (ſee Trav. p. 229. Nat. Hiſt of Aleppo, p. 102.) that what the women about Aleppo now uſe for this purpoſe, and alſo the Mooriſh women in Barbary, is the powder of lead ore. (Comp. Lex. in כחל.) The laſt-mentioned author has given ſo clear an account of their manner of uſing it, that the reader cannot be diſpleaſed with ſeeing it in this place: They take a cylindrical piece of ſilver, ſteel, or ivory, about two inches long, ſmooth, and of the ſize of a common probe. This they wet with water, in order that the powder may ſtick to it, and applying the middle part horizontally to the eye, they ſhut the eyelids upon it, and ſo drawing it through between them, it blacks the inſide, leaving a narrow black rim round the edge. This practice was in uſe too among the Jews; ſee The conformity of cuſtoms between the Eaſt Indians and Jews, Art. xv. Trav. vol. i. p. 272.—See Lex. in פך. Mr. Sandys informs us, that the Turkiſh ladies put between the eye-lids and the eye, a certain black powder, with a fine long bodkin or pencil; this powder is made of a mineral brought from the kingdom of Fez, and called alcohole, which, by the not diſgraceful ſtaining the lids, ſets off the whiteneſs of the eye. They dye alſo their eye-brows, making them half circular, and to meet. Lib. i. p. 35. Like the tower of Lebanon—alluding to the ſymmetry and juſt proportion of her noſe.Thy taper neck, inimitably fair!
Nature has form’d with more than uſual care;
From thy fine ſhoulders we behold it riſe
Like ſome white tow’r, aſcending from the ground,
Whoſe lofty ſummit ſhoots into the ſkies,
Still leſs’ning to the view it’s ſpiring round.
Thy large full eyes with humid luſtre ſhine,
Like Heſhbon’s ample pools, unſtain’d and clear,
Serenely mild, and amiably benign,
The faithful tokens of a heart ſincere.
Thy noſe ariſes with reſiſtleſs grace,
Diffuſing majeſty o’er all thy face;
Such grace adorns fam’d Lebanon’s high tow’r,
Whoſe juſt proportion charms the judging view,
Which ſtands a monument of regal pow’r,
Rais’d with nice art, commenſurate and true.
5. Ver. 5. Like Carmel. The roſes of Sharon—the verdure of Carmel—the vines of En-Gaddi—and the dews of Hermon, are ſources of many pleaſing metaphors and compariſons in ſacred poetry. Eſſay i. p. 165. Mount Carmel, according to Sandys, ſtretcheth from eaſt to weſt, and hath it’s uttermoſt basis waſhed with the ſea; ſteepeſt toward the north, and of an indifferent altitude, rich in vines and olives, when huſbanded, and abounding with ſeveral ſorts of fruits and herbs, both medicinal and fragrant: though now much overgrown with woods and ſhrubs of ſweet ſavour. Once celebrated for the habitation of Elias. Trav. lib. iii. p. 158. The mountains in the Holy Land are covered with fragrant ſhrubs and plants, as thyme, roſemy, ſage, &c; Mount Carmel, in particular, is remarkable for the richneſs of it’s ſoil, and the nobleneſs of it’s vegetable productions. See Outl. p. 112. , vol. ii. p. II, 13. Dr. Ruſſell tells us, that the women of Aleppo are very fond of flowers, and decorate their head-dreſs with them. Outl. p. 112. The comparing of the queen’s head (ornamented, we may ſuppoſe, with a variety of flowers) to Carmel (celebrated for it’s vegetable productions) is ſtriking, and very poetical. Thine hair is like royal purple (or the purple of a king) bound up in the canals or troughs.So the Vulgate rightly refers אסור to the purple, not to the king. This royal purple the dyers dipt in the canals, after having tied it in ſmall bundles ’italic(dles.) dles. Suppoſe we then, they began by dying the wool in ſkeins, and afterwards made it into ſtuffs; and this may ſerve to illuſtrate the compariſon of a lady’s hair to royal purple, bound up in the canals or troughs: If we ſuppoſe, what is highly probable, namely, that the eaſtern ladies anciently braided their hair in numerous treſſes, in a manner ſomewhat ſimilar to that deſcribed by Lady M.W. Montague. See Lex. in רהט, p. 623. Probably alſo the queen’s hair might be braided with purple ribbons, purple being a royal colour. My head-dreſs (ſays Lady M.W. Montague) is compoſed of a cap, called talpock; which is in winter of fine velvet embroidered with pearls or diamonds, and in ſummer of a light ſhining ſilver ſtuff. This is fixed on one ſide of the head, hanging a little way down, with a gold taſſel, and bound on with a circle of diamonds, or a rich embroidered handkerchief. On the other ſide of the head the hair is laid flat; here they place (as fancy directs) plumes of heron’s feathers, or &c; but the moſt general faſhion is a large bouquet of jewels, made like natural flowers, the buds of pearls, the roſes of different-coloured rubies, the jeſſamines of diamonds, the jonquils of topazes, &c; ſo well ſet and enamelled, it is hard to imagine any thing of that kind ſo beautiful. The hair hangs at it’s full length behind (divided into treſſes braided with pearl or ribbon) which is always in great quantity: I never ſaw (continues ſhe) ſo many fine heads of hair; I counted a hundred and ten treſſes deſcending from one lady’s head, all natural. See Lett. vol. ii. p. 28-31. Dr. Shaw informs us, that the Mooriſh women affect to have their hair hang down to the ground, which they collect into one lock, upon the hinder part of the head, binding and plaiting it afterwards about with ribbons. After their hair is plaited, they proceed to dreſs their heads, tying cloſe together, above the lock deſcribed, the ſeveral corners of a triangular piece of linen, wrought into a variety of figures with the needle. Perſons of faſhion wear above this a ſarmah, which differeth not much in ſhape from the former: former head-dreſs, but is made of thin flexible plates of gold or ſilver, variouſly cut through and engraven in imitation of lace. A handkerchief of crape, gauze, or painted linen, bound cloſe about the ſarmah, and falling negligently upon the lock, completes the head-dreſs of a Mooriſh lady. See Trav. p. 293.Thy ſtately head, majeſtically high!
With various flowrets elegantly grac’d,
Of ev’ry ſhade, and ev’ry vivid dye,
With wondrous ſkill and lively fancy plac’d,
Appears like Carmel’s top, with verdure crown’d,
Where flow’rs, and plants, and od’rous ſhrubs abound.
Thy plaited hair in gaudy treſſes flows,
As in the cryſtal wave the royal purple glows.
6.How beautiful art thou, my love!
How charming to the ſight!
More fragrant than the ſpicy grove,
And form’d for ſoft delight.
7. Ver. 7. This thy ſtature is like a palm-tree.תמר a palm-tree, from it’s ſtraight upright growth—Alſo the name of ſeveral women, in alluſion to the ſtraightneſs, height, and beauty of the palm-tree. So Theocritus compares Helen to a cypreſſ-tree in a garden, Idyll. xviii. l. 30. but Ulyſſes, in Homer’s Odyſs. vi. l. 162-3, makes almoſt the very ſame compariſon as the ſacred poet in this verſe, by likening the princeſs Nauſicaa to a young palm-tree growing by Apollo’s temple at Delos. See Heb. and Engl. Lex. in תמר, p. 736-8. The palm-tree, we are told, riſes ſometimes to the height of more than an hundred feet: I was exalted as a cypreſſ-tree upon the mountains of Hermon, ſays the ſon of Sirach; I was exalted like a palm-tree in Engaddi. Eccles. xxiv. 13, 14; and of Simon the high-prieſt, the ſon of Onias, he ſays, he was as a cypreſſ-tree, which groweth up to the clouds —as a young cedar in Libanus; and as palm-trees they (the inferior prieſts) compaſſed him round about. ch. l. 10, 12. See Outl. p. 180.Pleas’d, I behold thy graceful ſtature riſe,
As ſome ſtraight palm-tree, of majeſtic ſize:
8. Ver. 8. I will take hold of the boughs thereof, ſays our tranſlation; but it is obſerved, that the palm-tree has no boughs, and that though סנסן occur not as a verb, yet as a noun maſc. plur. in reg. סנסני ſignifies the cluſters of fruit in the female palm or date- tree. See Lex. in סן page 443.I ſaid, with ardent love poſſeſt,
Up to this ſtately palm I’ll go,
And claſp her cluſters to my breaſt,
Her cluſters rich, where dates luxuriant grow:Like 87 M(4)r 87
Like cluſters of the vine thy breaſts appear
Through the light gauze, too exquiſitely clear! Ver. 8 line 6. Through the light gauze—I am here aware of an obſervation of the critic; gauze, cries he, is made of ſilk, and ſilk, this lady tells us, was not known in Judea in the days of Solomon. But gauze is likewiſe made of thread; the Scotch gauze has no ſilk in it, yet is equally tranſparent. The Lacedemonian maidens wore gauze-like veſtments: we read alſo of tranſparent veſts, and glaſſy veſtments; and the Greeks and Romans had ſuch tranſparent ſtuffs long before ſilk was commonly uſed among them. It is not to be ſuppoſed that this queen’s neck was quite concealed; but more natural and conſiſtent with the preſent mode of the Aſiatics, to conclude that, the ſhape and colour of the boſom appeared advantageouſly through the light tranſparent covering, as Lady M.W. Montague informs us her’s did, through her ſhift of gauze, which was faſtened under her chin with a diamond button.
More ſweet the breath thy fragrant noſe exhales,
Than citron-groves, refreſh’d by morning gales.
9. Ver. 9. line 7, 8. Draught—thought. See Note on ch. v. I, towards the end.Thy ſpeech is like the choiceſt wine,
That moves itſelf aright,
When royal favourites incline
To revel through the night;
Full oft, when morning’s ruddy beams ariſe,
And pond’rous ſleep weighs down their glowing eyes,
The ſlumb’rers, warm with the inſpiring draught,
Pour forth, in mutt’ring ſounds, the half-form’d thought.
The Jewish Queen toSolomonexpreſſing great joy at the appearance of his returning love.
10.Yes, my beloved, I am thine,
He feels th’ accuſtom’d fire!
His eyes with mild forgiveneſs ſhine,
Commixt with ſoft deſire.
11.Come then, my love, let’s ſeek the field,
Where op’ning flow’rs their odours yield;
Let us in ſome lone village reſt,
With peace, and joy, and rapture bleſt.
12.Then we’ll riſe at early dawn, (Lightly tripping o’er the lawn)
Marking oft the vineyard’s bloom,
Breathing freſh it’s rich perfume;
If the flow’rets on the vine,
Tipt with recent dew-drops ſhine;
If the tender grapes are ſeen,
Peeping through the foliage green;
If the pomegranates feel the genial ray,
And ſwell the bud, expanding to the day.
There, ’mid the umbrage of incircling groves,
I mean to bleſs thee with my tend’reſt loves.
13. Ver. 13. The mandrakes give a ſmell.“Haſſelquiſt, ſpeaking of Nazareth in Galilee, ſayſ—what I found moſt remarkable at this village, was the great number of mandrakes, which grew in a vale below it. The fruit now (1751-05-05May 5th) hung ripe on the ſtem, which lay withered on the ground. Voyages, p. 160. Brookes obſerves, that the fruit has a ſtrong nauſeous ſmell, though he ſays nothing about the ſcent of the flower. The Samaritan chief-prieſt told Mr. Maundrell Travels, p. 61 that The mandrakes were plants of a large leaf, bearing a certain ſort of fruit, growing ripe in harveſt, i.e. in May, O. S. but of an ill favour, and not wholeſome. From Cant. vii. 13. it appears, (ſays Mr. Parkhurſt) that they yielded a remarkable ſmell at the time when vines and pomegranates flowered, which, in Judea, is about the end of April, or the beginning of May (ſee Outlines, p. 147); therefore this ſmell ſeems rather to have ariſen from the fruit than the flower. See more in Heb. and Eng. Lexicon under דדא. II. p. 108, 9. Near our gates all מגדים—rendered by Montanus, delicata; our tranſlators have added fruits: now it does not appear from the text, that fruits were ripe in Judea at this time; vines and pomegranates were bloſſoming, and the firſt figs no bigger than a common plumb: delicious fruits are mentioned, ch. iv. 16; but that is to be underſtood figuratively: citrons are called for, xi. 5; but they muſt be citrons of the former year, the citron being a durable fruit. Mr. Harmer is of opinion, that curious plants are here meant, in the knowledge of which the Jews excelled in the time of Solomon, that prince himſelf being extremely fond of every thing rare or uſeful in the vegetable world, and underſtanding trees and plants, from the cedar-tree that is in Lebanon, even unto the hyſſop that ſpringeth out of (up by) the wall. 1 Kings iv. 33. We are told of a curious balſam-tree that long flouriſhed in Judea, an object of great attention to Solomon; Solomon; which was afterwards tranſlated to Matarea in Egypt, where it continued till about two hundred years ago. Lett. iii. p. 111, 112. See , Outl. p. 296. New and old. By new were perhaps meant exotics newly introduced into Judea; by old, thoſe plants which were natives of that country.The ripen’d mandrakes ſcent the air,
And near our gates are ſeen,
All precious plants, and flow’rets rare,
That bluſh along the green:For N 90 N(1)v 90
For thee, my love, theſe plants were taught to riſe,
Theſe flow’rs to bloom in variegated dyes.
End of Canto the Sixth.
Day the Seventh.
Scene—A Garden belonging to the Royal Palace.
Jewish Queen and Attendants.
Canto the Seventh.
Jewish Queenſpeaking of Solomon.
V. 1. Chap. VIII. Ver. 1, 2. Jewiſh Queen complains, that had Solomon beeun a brother, inſtead of an huſband, her kiſſes would have occaſioned no invidious reflexions, ſince ſince a brother would, without reluctance, have converſed freely, inſtructing her fully in this matter (relative, we may ſuppoſe, to the recent marriage with the Egyptian princeſs) though the huſband was ſo reſerved and ſilent on the ſubject; for it is obſerved by Mr. Harmer, that the word in the third clauſe of this ſecond verſe, may be as well underſtood to mean the ſecond perſon maſc. as the third perſon fem. See Outl. p. 347. Spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.The ſpiced wine, and the juice, or new wine, of my pomegranates (עסיס רמני) are (I apprehend) different things; for what can be more different than aromatics from acids? Hebrew and Engliſh Lex. in רקח, II. and רמה, VII. It is cuſtomary in . See Turkey, and in other hot countries, to acidulate their liquors with the juice of the pomegrantate; and where wine is not forbidden (as it is in all the Mohammedan countries) it is often made entirely of that juice.O That thou wert as my fond brother near!
Whoſe kindred ſoul with mutual ardour glows,
Whoſe gliſt’ning eye pours forth the pitying tear,
Awake, and preſent to a ſiſter’s woes:
Then ſhould I find thee in the public ſtreet,
O! I would kiſs thee with a ſiſter’s kiſs;
For ſiſters thus their darling brothers greet,
Nor crouds, reproachful, judge the deed amiſs.
2.Yea, I wou’d lead thee to my mother’s gate,
Void of pale jealouſy and anxious fear;
There wou’dſt thou freely all thy thoughts relate,
Pouring inſtruction through my liſt’ning ear;
While, grateful, I wou’d high-ſpic’d wine produce,
Refreſhing cordial to the weary ſoul;
Or, if thy thirſt require the acid juice,
Pomegranates tart ſhould crown the mantling bowl.
3.O that his left hand now were laid
Under my ſad deſponding head;
And that his right hand did ſuſtain
Me, ſinking ’neath my love-ſick pain!
The Queenaddreſſing herſelf to the Daughters of JeruSalem.
4.I’ve charg’d you oft, O virgin throng!
To drop the cadence of your ſong,
And ſtill with cautious ſteps to move,
Leſt ye ſhou’d wake my ſleeping love.
5. Ver. 5. Who is this that cometh up from the wilderneſs? &c; muſt here be underſtood as a repetition of a thing paſtſee ch. iii. 6 leaning (says our tranſlation) on her beloved? The ſtrict reſerve of eaſtern princeſſes, allows of no ſuch freedom before marriage. The Hebrew word, here tranſlated leaning, is is מתרפקת. Montanus renders it by adjungens ſeſe, joining herſelf. The verb in Arabic (ſays Mr. Parkhurſt) ſignifies to lean, as upon the elbow, a pillow, or bolſter, &c;..—alſo, to join another as a companion on a journey: we may therefore interpret the Hebrew word advancing towards, in order to join company; which was the very caſe of the Egyptian bride, and the circumſtance that had alarmed her rival. I raiſed thee up (or I excited thee to love) under the citron-tree. Here Solomon reminds the Jewiſh Queen of the encouragements he had given her, which had raiſed up her confidence in, and fixed her affections on, him: and the words ſeem to intimate, that he gave pledge to her mother for her, that he would do nothing that ſhould juſtly occaſion anxiety or diſtreſs; the Hebrew words ſignifying the mother’s receiving a pledge, not her giving one. The intervention of the mother, is not at all abhorrent from the oriental uſages. Alnaſchar, in an Arabian tale, ſuppoſes, that the mother of his princeſs would interpoſe, on his behaving roughly to her, and endeavour to conciliate matters between them. See Outl. p. 351-3.Be ſtill, my ſoul!—lo! ſhe aſcendſ
From where the wilderneſs extends!
Again ſhe comes! Behold the ſplendid train,
With added pomp and dignity elate,
Advancing ſlowly o’er the neighb’ring plain,
Lo! I beheld her join her royal mate!
Solomonto the Jewish Queen.
Peace, gentle fair one! in yon citron-grove,
Did I not thee excite to mutual love?
’Twas there, one morn, beneath our fav’rite tree,
Thy prudent mother took a pledge for thee;
’Twas there the darling boon ſhe did impart,
And bound thee, bluſhing, to my panting heart.
6. Ver. 6. Set me as a ſeal upon thine heart, &c;—Alluding to a very ancient cuſtom of ſealing with a ſeal, or ſignet; ſee Gen. xli. 42; Eſth. iii. 10, 12; viii. 2, 8, 10; likewiſe Iſa. xlix. 16, Jer. xxii. 24; and it is ſaid, Prov. vi. 12 Bind them upon thine heart, tie them about thy neck; again, ch. vii. 3, Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. This cuſtom of ſealing with a ſeal, or ſignet, is ſtill retained in the Eaſt. Dr. Pococke ſays, they make the impreſſion of their name with their ſeal, generally rally rally of cornelian, which they wear on their finger, and which is blacked when they have occaſion to ſeal with it. Mr. Hanway obſerves, that the Perſian ink ſerves, not only for writing, but for ſubſcribing with their ſeal. Many of the Perſians, in high offices, could not write. See Append. to Heb. and Engliſh Lex. in טבע, p. 754-5. Then follows a florid deſcription of love and jealouſy, breathed forth from the glowing breaſt of the impaſſioned Queen, abounding with metaphors ſtrong and forcible; and here the numbers riſe, and ſwell, and kindle as they flow! Love—ſtrong as death!Jealouſy—cruel as the grave!The coals (rather darts) thereof, coals of fire—a moſt vehement flame! Implying, that love ſhoots into the heart, wounds it, and burns there, inflaming it vehemently, by the wounds it gives. The metaphor is taken from an arrow ſhot out of a bow, which, by the ſwiftneſs of it’s motion, takes fire. Note on New Tranſlation, p. 93. Or rather, ſince the fact laſt mentioned ſeems fictitious, from the fire-bearing arrows, Βελη πεπυρωμενα, which were certainly uſed in after-times, both by the Greeks and Romans. See Lex. in רשף, IV.O! ſet me as a ſignet on that breaſt,
And bid my name, in laſting lines impreſt
On ſome bright ſeal, in glowing traces riſe,
Beam from thine arm, and catch thy roving eyes:
For mighty love is ſtrong as death,
If jealouſy, with fervid breath,
Impel the riſing fire:
Fell jealouſy is cruel as the grave,
None from it’s fangs the tortur’d heart can ſave,
Impreſt with doubt, led on by ſoft deſire:
The darts thereof are fiery darts,
Quick they aſſail unguarded hearts,
And burn with veh’mence there:
So, quick the miſſive arrow flies,
Impulſive, through the yielding ſkies,
And with it’s rapid motion kindles in the air.
7.When potent love aſſails the human breaſt,
In vain for peace we ſeek, in vain for reſt;
Not mighty waters can it’s pow’r control,
Nor floods impetuous mitigate it’s force;
But, unaſſuag’d, it vanquiſhes the ſoul,
And, unimpair’d, maintains it’s furious courſe:
Wou’d the rich man his ample wealth impart,
To bind in golden chains the free-born heart,
Still unavailing wou’d his treaſures prove;
For love—love only—is the price of love.
The Jewish Queenſpeaking of the Spouse.
8. Ver. 8 A little ſiſter, &c; This appears to have been ſpoken by the Jewiſh queen ſlightingly, as treating the ſpouſe like a child.We have (you know) a little ſiſter fair,
Whoſe infant worth demands our tender care;
Though yet unform’d, no dawning beauties glow,
On ſwelling hills of animated ſnow:
What ſhall we for this little ſiſter do,
When royal lovers come (at length) to woo?
Solomonto the Jewish Queen.
9. Ver. 9. If ſhe be a wall—Is ſhe not a wall? interrogatively; which is only a ſtrong way of aſſerting that ſhe is ſo. See Outl. p. 358. We will build upon her a palace (towers) of ſilver—we will encloſe her with boards (a porch) of cedar; i.e. we will have her treated in the moſt dignifying manner.—The comparing of this princeſs to a wall, and a door, is perfectly comformable to the eaſtern manner of ſpeaking. Solomon’s marrying her, was to be conſidered as giving a new ſecurity to Judea, by making affinity with a very powerful prince, and alſo adding to the territories of his own kingdom. See 1 Kings ix. 16. So the ſervants of Nabal told their miſtreſs that David’s people had been a wall to them in the wilderneſs, i.e. a guard and defenſe, 1 Sam.xxv. xxv. 16. And as by means of the Egyptian princeſs there was a free communication between Egypt and Judea (more than was allowed by the Egyptians to other countries, ſince the Syrian and Hittite kings were forced to make uſe of the aſſiſtance of Solomon’s ſubjects to procure ſome commodities, which are with great difficulty exported at this day) ſhe might, with great propriety, be called a door. So we find, in the 10th of St. John, our Lord is called a door. See Outl. p. 359.To us ſhe is a guardian wall—
A bulwark to this realm of mine;
We’ll build on her the turrets tall,
With burniſht ſilver taught to ſhine:
A door to us this ſiſter’s found,
Encloſe her then with cedar round:Through O 98 98 O(1)v
Through her, rich commerce opes her hand,
And deals out plently through the land.
The Spouseto the Jewish Queen.
10. Ver. 10 Like towers, &c; This expreſſion is ſtrong, even for the mouth of an Aſiatic: but as the heat of reſentment might naturally heighten her expreſſions, ſo her being immediately before compared to a wall, ſtrongly led to this image. Outl. p. 360.I am indeed a guardian wall,
Adorn’d with turrets fair and tall;
For here, behold, twin beauties glow,
On hills of animated ſnow;
Therefore he markt me with the eye of love,
And rais’d my head the envying crowds above.
11. Ver. 11. Solomon hath a vineyard in Baal-hamon.Bocat, the name of the valley in which Balbec ſtands, might, by a little care, be made one of the ’italic(richeſt) richeſt and moſt beautiful ſpots in Syria; for it is more fertile than the celebrated vale of Damaſcus, and better watered than the rich plains of Eſdraelon and Rama. See Balbec, p. 5. This place, according to the Account of the ruins of firm opinion of the people of the Eaſt, was one of the ſeats of the pleaſures of Solomon, and might (very poſſibly) be the place called here Baalhamon. See Outl. p. 35, 36. A vineyard does not (as before obſerved) in the language of ſcripture, always imply a place of grapes, but includes gardens, orchards, plantations of trees, ſhrubs, and aromatic plants.Solomon has a vineyard rare,
In rich Baal-hamon’s plain;To 3 99 O(2)r 99
To keepers he aſſigns the care,
Who bring th’ appointed gain:
Each, for the fruit thereof, to Salem’s king,
Muſt year by year a thouſand ſhekels bring.
12. Ver. 12. My vineyard, &c; Here the Spouſe ſpeaks of the poſſeſſions ſhe brought Solomon, which poſſeſſions ſhe calls her vineyard. The ſacred hiſtorian tells us, that Pharaoh, king of Egypt, having gone up and taken Gezer, he burnt it with fire, having ſlain the Canaanites that dwelt there, and gave it for a preſent unto his daughter, Solomon’s wife; and Solomon built Gezer, 1 Kings ix. 16, 17. The daughter of Pharaoh therefore had poſſeſſions, which, in conſequence of her marriage, were annexed to the kingdom of Iſrael. Now Gezer is ſuppoſed to be the ſame with Gadara, or Gazara, in the neighbourhood bourhood bourhood of Joppa and Jamnia; which Gazara is repreſented by Joſephus as a place abounding with ſprings of water. Now ſuch a place muſt have been extremely proper for delightful plantations of all ſorts of trees and flowers, and might very naturally be ſet in contraſt with Baal-hamon; and the noble gardens of the one, againſt thoſe of the other. For further illuſtration, I beg leave to refer the curious reader to Outl. p. 32—37.My vineyard, which ere-while was mine,
And blooms in yonder vale,
(But now, O Solomon! is thine)
A thouſand brings, by tale;
Two hundred ſhekels more, to thoſe whoſe eyes
Watch the choice products as they annual riſe.
Solomonto the Jewish Queen, demanding her final anſwer reſpecting her future conduct towards him.
13. Ver. 13.Solomon demands the final anſwer of his Jewiſh queen, in regard to the reſolution ſhe had formed, with reſpect to her future conduct towards him.O thou! that in the gardens ſeek’ſt to dwell,
Haunting the grot, and ſolitary cell;
Speak now, the dictates of thy mind declare;
The friendly company, prepar’d to hear,
In ſilence wrapt, await thy final voice;
Cauſe me to hear it; bid my ſoul rejoice.
Jewish Queento Solomon, ſignifying her firm reſolution of keeping her diſtance.
14. Ver. 14. Flee (Eng. Marg:flee away) my (once) beloved!—is the reply of the angry Shulamite. ברח ſignifies to flee, flee away; ſo the Seventy render it it here by φυγε, and the Vulg. and Montanus by fuge. You ſeem (ſays ſhe) determined to take the Egyptian princeſs in marriage;flee then, my oncebeloved huſband, flee ſwiftly from your ſlighted wife, to enjoy the charms of your new love. Thus one great cauſe why the Jewiſh church and people perſevered, and ſtill perſervere in rejecting Jeſus Chriſt, was, and is, that the Gentiles were received to ſpiritual bleſſings and privileges, equally with themſelves. See Luke xv. 28; Acts xiii. 44—50; xviii. 4,6; xxii. 21—23; and Eph. chap. ii. I think (continues my learned friend, Mr. Parkhurſt) that the concluſion of the Song of Solomon greatly reſembles that of the parable of the prodigal ſon, in Luke xv; for after the younger ſon is received into his father’s favour, we are informed that the elder ſon was angry, and would not go in; and that his father came out, and intreated him. But though we find the father perſiſted in his reſolution of affectionate reconciliation with the returning prodigal, we are not told whether the elder brother accepted his father’s earneſt invitation to the feaſt. So at the end of this divine Song, we ſee the Gentile princeſs actually united to Solomon, we behold the Jewiſh queen’s reſentment on that account, and we hear Solomon kindly requeſting the queen’s final anſwer relative to her future behaviour; to which ſhe replies in terms expreſſive of diſtance and chagrin, on account of Solomon’s connexion with his Gentile ſpouſe. And be thou like a roe, or a young hart.Haſſelquiſt tells us, he had an opportunity of ſeeing the capra cervicapra, or rock-goat, hunted near Nazareth in Galilee; which was done by a falcon, which kept diſtreſſing the creature till the huntſmen came up, and cut it’s throat, the falcon drinking it’s blood, as a reward reward for his labour. P. 190. It ſhould ſeem, ſays Mr. Harmer, that by this term Haſſelquiſt meant the antelope. Outl. Note, p. 285. But however this be, Trav. p. 347—8, gives a ſimilar account of their method of hunting antelopes, in thoſe countries, with hawks. , Ought not this circumſtance to be attended to in illuſtrating this Song? This way of uſing hawks for the ſtopping of creatures, otherwiſe too ſwift for their dogs, gives a much more lively idea of the ſpeed of theſe wild animals on the mountains of Bether, &c; than, perhaps, we ſhould otherwiſe have had. Outl. p.285. Comp. ch. ii. 17. Upon the mountains of ſpices, literally denoting ſuch places as are frequented by the animals mentioned; but figuratively alluding to the envied charms of the Egyptian bride. Comp. ch. iv. 13, 14.Flee, once-belov’d! quick haſten from my ſight,
New charms attract thee, and new joys invite:For 101 O(3)r 101
For me, alas! for me what now remains?
To roam neglected on far diſtant plains!
Flee, once-belov’d! quick haſten from my ſight,
Like a young hart, or like a bounding roe,
Which climbs with agile feet the airy height
Where od’rous plants in rich profuſion grow;Where 7 102 O(3)v 102
Where aromatic ſhrubs luxuriant bloom,
And trees balſamic ſhed their choice perfume.