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3oo\{ of Canticles









Reprinted from The American Journal of Semitic Languages and
Literatures, Vol. XVIII, pp. 193-245 ; Vol. XIX, pp. 1-32


Printed at Tbo University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 111.




The Song of Songs."

1. Procession of the Bride.^

3, 6 Who is this, coming up^ from the meadows,* i

with pillars of smoke ^ (as her herald),^
(All) perfumed^ with myrrh^ and with incense/
with all powders^ (sold.) by the dealer ?'°

7 Behold, it is the King's ^ litter n

escorted by three score of heroes ;^^ ^

8 A simitar on thigh each (is bearing

to guard) against danger'^ at night-time/*

9 It was made for the King,* this conveyance," in

of Lebanon's wood"^ (is it fashioned);
10 ^Inlaid is its seaf with choice ebon,

and within^'' (all its linings are) purple.

1, 1 (o) which is by Solomon 1

8, 5 O) Who is this, coming up 3 from the meadows,* leaning on him whom she loves ? 6

3, 7 (7) Solomon's"

(5) from the heroes of Israel ;13

8 All of them carrying simitars, (all) being experts in warfare i*

9 (e) Solomon 11

10 (0 Its columns 19 are fashioned of silver, its couch is (constructed) of gold 20

6,12 (1)) I do not know. The desire of my heart is fulfilled,

on the noble clan's carriage it has placed me.*i

* Reprinted from The Ameeican Jouenal of Semitic Languages and Liteeatuees,
Vol. XVIII, pp. 193-245 ; Vol. XIX, pp. 1-32 (July and October, 1902).


ry/^ry A H^'O' >

4 Hebraica No. 2

IV 3,11 * Come forth -^ and gaze' on the King ^^^ there,

thus crowned ^^ as his mother has crowned him !
On the (festival) day of his wedding,

on the day when his heart was (right) joyful !

2. Charms of the Bride during her Sword-dance.'

I 6,10 Who is this, looking forth like the dawning,"
striking awe' like an army with banners,
Fair as the moon* (and as lovely),

bright as the sun^ (and as spotless) ?

II 7,1 Turn thee,*^ O Shulamite,' turn thee !

turn, turn ! that we may gaze on thee.
Gaze ye now (all) on the Shulamite

(dancing) the round of the warriors.^

ni 2 How gracefully now art thou stepping

in chopines,^ O nobleman's daughter I'"
The turns" of thy hips are'^ a necklace
wrought by the hand of a master,

rv 8 Thy stature is (tall) like a palm-tree,'^

thy breasts" like (its) clusters of fruitage,'''^
6 Thy head resembles Mount Carmel,^'

the locks of thy head are (dark) purple.^" '>'

V 5 Thy neck is the Tower of Ivory ;^*

thine eyes are the lakelets in Heshbon f^ *
Thy nose is like Lebanon's Tower"'

looking (far forth) to Damascus.

3,10 (9) maidens of Jerusalem 11 (t) maidens of Zion. 11 (<c) Solomon n

7, 4 (a) Like two (lovely) fawns is thy bosom,

(or) like a gazolle's (pretty) twiniings.'*

9 O) I think, I will climb up tliat i)alin-treo,i6

to grasp (with my han<l) its spadices.'^
May thy breasts be like clusters of fruitage i* of the viiie
and like apples" tliy broatli-" in its fragrance!

6 (v) a King captured by ringlets ! 23 5 (S) at the gate of Bath-rabbim 2«

No. 3 The Book of Canticles 5

7,10 Thy mouth ^^ is like wine that is goodly,' vi

moving the lips of the dreamers.^"
7 How beauteous art thou ! and lovely !

beloved one, O daughter of transport !

S^ A heap of wheat ^' is thy person, Vll

encompassed with (dark purple) lilies ;'*

3" Thy lap'* is a bowl that is covered,'^

wherein wine may ever be mingled/^

3. Brothers of the Bride.

6, 3 My dear one's am I, and he is mine, too ;* i

7,11 ^and (ah,) for my love is he longing.

2, 1 The meadow-saffron" of Sharon'

or the lily of the valleys am !.*'>'

1, 5 Swarthy' am I, but comely, ii

ye maidens (who live) in Jerusalem,*
(Dark) like the tent-roofs" of Kedar,^"

(but) like arras in Solomon's" (palace).'^

6 Heed not my swarthy complexion, iii

the sun it is that has burned me :
Wroth were the sons of my mother,''

of the vineyards they made me the keeper."*

8, 8 ''We have a (tiny) little sister, iv

and breasts, not as yet, has she ;
But what shall we do with our sister,

when the time draws near for her wooing ?"

7,10 (e) it goes down smoothly 29 to my deores<

6, 3 (o) who feeds on the (dark purple) lilies i 7,11 (/3) my dear one's am I

2, 2 (v) As the lily stands amid thistles,^ so amid maidens my darling.6

1, 6 (5) but I have not kept my own vineyard 15

2,15 Catch us the foxes, the little foxes,

Destroying vineyards, our vineyards in blossom !

6 Hebeaica No. 4

V 8, 9 If she be like a wall (barring lovers),

we will place on it copings of silver ;^* *
If a door (open wide to all lovers),

we will bar it with boards (made) of cedar.^*

VI 10 Albeit a wall am I, thus far,"^

my bosom is now (growing) like towers,^*
And to them I am (verily) seeming

ready to surrender (the fortress).^*



"Ah, would that thou wert my brother,^*"

nursed at the breast of my mother V
Then wheresoever I met thee i

I miofht kiss, and none would contemn me.


VIII 2 To my mother's house I would lead thee,^

''to the chamber of her who there bore me,*
And make thee drink wine that is spiced ^^

and the must of pomegranate^" fruitage. *■

■^ "^ ^p "^ T^ 'i^t T^c 7p tF Tr* v^c yf\ y^ t^

*^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ j^ **^-

4. One sole Love.

11 A vineyard'" there is at Baal-hammon,^ —
a vineyard entrusted to keepers ;*
Any man could have had for its fruitage
n tlionsand (shekels) of silver.''

1,11 (•) Strings of jfolrt (coins) will wo mako thee,'"
stmldnd with (tiny build of) silver. 20

8, 2 (i) I would brinj? thoe (t,) tliou wouldst toach me 2'* 7,13c {$) there will I give

thee my love

3 (t) His loft arm under my head,

and bis riffht arm clingiDg around mo.

4 O maidens of Jerxisnlem, lo, I besooch you
That yo stir not nor startle our loving,

before our fill we have drunken. 3i

8,11 (a) of Solomon was 2

No. 5 The Book of Canticles 7

8,12 In my sole charge^ is my vineyard,' ii

nought else on earth do I care for :^
(I will resign) to thee, Solomon, the thousand' —
but two hundred (fall) to the keepers!^"

6, 8 Solomon's" queens (numbered) sixty, m

his concubines eighty in number •/
9 But one is my dove,^^ (and one only,)
and one alone my perfection."

From her birth" she was pure (and was spotless,) i"^

unsullied'^ she was from an infant."
The maidens who see her admire her,'^

both queens and concubines praise her.

5. Protection from all Dangers.'

4, 8 From Lebanon with me thou mayst journey, i

from Lebanon with me, my bride,"
Descend from the height of Amana,'*

from the heights of Shenir* and Hermon,^

From the resting-places of lions,^ n

from mountains (haunted by) leopards.'



6. Beauty of the Lover.

5, 2 As I lay on my bed at night-time, i

I was longing for my own dear one :'
My heart^ was awake though I slumbered -r-
Hark, hark !^ my dear one is knocking !

*Make open (thy door) to me, sister,^ n

my darling, my dove,® my perfection ;'
My head with dew-drops is dripping,^

and my locks with the vapor of night-time."

6, 8 O) and (other) young women without number 1 1

8 Hebraica No. 6

III 5, 3 ''Of my tunic I now am divested/"

how again can I resume it ?
My feet I have (just now) been laving,
how again can I pollute them ?"

IV 4 His hand then my dear one inserted

where, in the door,'" was the (key-) hole /^
My heart leaped'* at his (impetuous) wooing,
all my being was stirred to its deepest


"V 5 When I arose to undo the fastening,"

(and clasped) the (strong) bar by the handles,"
My hands with myrrh (straightway) were dripping,'^
and my fingers with (odorous) stacte.'*

VI 6 But when I unbarred for my dear one,

my dear one was gone and had vanished.
I longed for him, but could not find him ;
I called, but he gave me no answer.^

VII 8 ''"(Ho!) maidens,^ (lo'-) I beseech you,

(perchance,) if you find my own dear one,
Will you not give him assurance

that with love (for him) I am pining ?

VIII 6. 1 ^'Whither is gone thine own dear one,

O fairest thou among women ?^*
(Say,) Whither is vanished thy dear one ?

(Oh, tell, ere) we help thee to seek him !

IX 5. 9 Wherein differs thy dear one from others,'"'

O fairest thou amonj? women ?^*
Wherein ditfers thy dear one from others'*
that tlius tliou dost fervently beg us ?


6, 5 (a) for my doar one

7 O) I met wntchmen, men who fared forth throuRh the city, Uiey hit me, wounded me, of

my mantlo (of «anze)M they deprived me, the watchers of the walla^^

8 (y) of Jonisalom

No. 6 The Book of Canticles 9

5,10 My dear one is white and is ruddy ,^' x

preeminent he, in ten thousand ;

11 Golden his head, yea, like fine gold,''*

*his hair is as black as a raven.

12 His eyes are (the color of) dovelets'""* xi

that sit by a pool that is brimming," ^^
And bathe in (the pool's) milky whiteness,^^

which is fringed with (dark purple) lilies.^^

13 His beard ^^ is a bed of spices,^* ^ii

where every sweet herb is growing ;''
His mustache ^*^ is like (dark purple) lilies,^
dropping with (odorous) stacte.'

14 His arms are poles that are golden,'*^ ^^^^

bedecked with rubies of Tarshish f^
His body is one piece of ivory '^

adorned with (azure blue) sapphires.


15 His legs are white marble columns

set up in pure golden sockets."
Like Lebanon is his appearance

and, like (its) cedars, ^majestic




16 (The speech of) his mouth *^ is (sheer) sweetness,

nought is he but charm (and attraction), —
This is my friend, my own dear one,"

O maidens (who live) in Jerusalem.*'

7. The Bride
to the Bridegroom on the Morrow after the Marriage.'

1,16 "Behold, thou art fair my own dearest,

aye, sweet ; ^our bed will be green.*

17 Of our home all the rafters are cedarn,

and (its walls are) all paneled with cypress.*

5,11 (S) his locks 12 (e) by brooks of water 16 (0 a youth"


1,15 (a) Fair indeed art thou my darling,

thou art fair, thine eyes are (the color of) dovelets.2

16 O) aye

10 Hebraica No. 7

II 2. 3 As the apple ^ amid trees of the forest,

so amid youths is my dearest.^
I delight to dwell under its shadow,

and sweet to my taste is its fruitage.

III 4 To the tavern where wine flows' he brought me,

'Love' was the sign hanging out there. ^
5 He refreshed me with cates made of raisins^

and with apples^ appeased all my cravings.'' '>'

IV 6 On his left arm my head was reclining,

while his right arm around me was clinging."
1,12 As long as the King'" stayed there feasting,"
my spikenard its scent was exhaling.'*

V 13 My sachet of myrrh''' was my dear one,'^

scenting my breasts with its perfume,''
14 My dearest is a cluster of henna '^

(blooming) in Engedi's gardens.'**

VI 2 With kisses of thy mouth do thou kiss me,

for thy love than wine is far sweeter.^"
3 *Thy name is thrice-clarified perfume;'""

all maidens therefore do love thee.'

VII 4r Take me with thee! (Oh, come,) let us hasten !

to thy chamber,' O King,'^ do thou lead me !
There let us rejoice and make merry,

and be drunken, not with wine, but with loving. ^'^ ^

vni 2.16 My dearest is mine, and his am I,

who feeds on the (dark purple) lilies"^
17 Till the breeze (of the morning)'* arises,
and away the shadows are fleeing.

2, •') (y) for with lovo (for liim) I am pining"'

I, 3 («) with rotcard to frnffranco thy perfumes are swoot 4 («) riglitly do they love thee

5, 1 (<) Eat and drink, friondst, and ho drunken with loving !22

No. 8 The Book of Canticles 11

2 (Do thou spring to the) feast,^' O my dearest, ix

like a buck of gazelles^® or a pricket,"' 'J
(To the feast) on the mountains of myrrh,^®

(to the feast) on the hillocks of incense !'^* ''

7 O maidens,' lo, I beseech you, x

by the gazelles ^^ and the hinds ^* of the meadows,^^
That ye stir not nor startle" our loving
before our fill we have drunken.*"

8. The Maiden's Beauty.'

4, 1 Fair, indeed, art thou, my darling,^ i

•* thine eyes are (the color of) dovelets.^^
Like a flock of (black) goats ^ are thy ringlets, —
(goats) bounding'* over Gilead's^ mountains.

2 To (ewes) thy teeth may be likened, n

newly shorn and fresh from the washing,^
(and those ewes bear,) all of them, twinlings,^
and none among them is barren.'"

3 Thy lips are like ribbons of crimson, ni

and thy mouth (between them) is beauteous ;
Like rifts" in pomegranates, thy temples,

(as they are disclosed) through thy veiling.

4 Thy neck is like the Tower of David,'" iv

constructed to ward off (besiegers),^'
Whereon are">' the thousand of targes,'*

all shields of the (most valiant) heroes.

1, 9 To the horses'^ in Pharaoh's chariots, v

my darling,"* (here) do I liken thee ;
10 Thy cheeks are embellished with trappings,*'

Thy neck with beads strung (in bandlets).**

2,17 (?)) on the cloven mountains -8 [spices!-"

8,14 (6) Bolt,30 O my dearest, like a buck of gazelles26 or a pricket27 on the mountains of
1, 7 (0 of Jerusalem 32
8, 5h (k) I wiU startlers thee under the apple, 3"

where thy mother conceived thee,^^ where she who bore thee conceived.39

4, 1 (a.) thou art fair (|3) through thy veiling * 4 (y) hung

12 Hebraica No. 8

VI 4, 5 Like two (lovely) fawns is thy bosom,

or like a gazelle's (pretty) twinlings.'®^
7 Fair art thou all over, my darling,

nor in thee is aught of a blemish.

VII 6. 4 Fair (indeed) art thou, my darling,**^

and, like Jerusalem, comely.^
5 Turn thou thine eyes away from me,

they are to me (truly) bewildering.''

viij 4, 9 *With one glance thou hast shattered my reason,^®

with (only) one (link) of thy necklace !
10 How fair is thy love, O my sister !'

thy love than wine is far sweeter !^^

IX 11 From thy lips* virgin honey is dropping,^'

* sweet milk is (stored) under thy tongue,^'
No spices can equal '^thy perfumes,^^

"thy garments yield Lebanon's fragrance. ^^

X 12 A garden ^^ hedged in is my sister,^

a spring" in a closely sealed fountain,
15 A well'' of (fresh) living'' waters

down from Mount Lebanon flowing.''*

4, 5 (i) foedinK on tho (dark purple) lilies

6 till tho broozo (of tlie morning) arises,
anil away the shadows are fleeing,
I will go to tho mountain of myrrh
and to the hillock of incense. 20

6, 4 (•) likeTirzah^i (^) striking awe like an army with banners 2»

') (ij) Like a flock of (black) goats ■'> are thy ringlets,—

(goats) bounding^ over Gilead'e ' mountains. 23

6 To ewes 2* thy teeth may be likened,

wliich have just come up from tho washing.s
And (those ewes bear,) all of them twinlings,'
and none among them is barren.'"

7 2.'i Like rifts in pomegranates, <i thy temples

(as they are disclosed) through thy veiling.

4, 9 (9) thou hast shattered my roason,2« O my sister, bridei''

10 (i) bride 27 11 («) brido27 (A) honey 3o and 10 (>t) the fragrance of

11 (i*) the fragrance of 12 (f) bride27 (0) hedged in 1.5 (n) a garden fountain 35

No. 9 The Book of Canticles 13

4,13 Thy supply ^^ is a grove of pomegranates*^ ' xi

(full) of the most luscious fruitage ;'' •

14 Of cimiamon/* sweetflag," and spikenard/'^
and every plant yielding incense/' '^

16 Awake, O northwind ! xii

come thou southwind !
Fan my garden,

exhale its spices ! ^°

9. The Bride's fair Garden.'
The Bride.

4,16'' May my dear one enter his garden^

and eat of its luscious fruitage !^

7,12 Oh come, let us forth,* my own dear one,"
for a night among flowers of henna !


13 Let us go to the vineyards^ at daybreak,^ ii

let us look if the grapevines are budding,
If the blossoms of the vines are opening,

and if the pomegranates^ are blooming.

14 The mandrakes''' are breathing their fragrance, in

at our door is most luscious fruitage,^
Now ripe or ripened aforetime,"

which I, for thee, dearest, have treasured.

The Bridegroom.

6,11 I went to the garden of nut-trees'^ ^

to look at the fruits of the valley,'^
To look if the grapevines were budding,^

and if the pomegranates were blooming.'*

4,13 (p) henna *i and spikenard *2
14 (<t) Myrrh,*6 and saffron,*" and aloes.-is and all the most precious spices.*'

7,12 (a) to the fields 5

14 Hebraica No. 10

Y 5, 1 I entered my sister's"'^ (fair) garden,'

I culled my myrrh and my spices,
I ate, with my honey, my honeycomb,

I quaffed off my wine and my milk."

The Bride.

VI 6, 2 My dear one came down to his garden,^

to beds of spices'' (most fragrant).
To feed'* in the (fairest of) gardens,'

picking the (dark purple) lilies.'*

10. Springtide of Love.'

2, 8 Hark ! dearest mine !

Behold, he is coming.
Over mountains leaping,""

over hillocks skipping ;"
9 Behold, he stands there
behind our wall.
From windows^" I*^" peer down,
through lattices peeping.^
10 Arise, my darling!

ah, come, my fair one!


u 11 For, look thou, past is the winter,

and rains '"^^ no longer are falling;

12 The ground is covered with flowers,

and birds fill the air with warbling f*
We hear the cooing of turtles,'^'^

to our home is come back the swallow.

13 The fruit on figtrees is ripening,*®

and fragrance exhales from the"*" grapevines."
Arise, my darling!

ah, come, my fair one!

6, 1 (fi) bride i«

2, 9 (o) my doarost is like a buck of i^azellos or like a pricketsi
10 ifi) my doarest began to speak and said to me (y) bloseomingS*

No. 11 The Book of Canticles 15

2,14 My dove^^ in the rock-cleft/^ m

in the cliff's recesses/^
Open, my sister,

come, my perfection ! ' ^_

Thy face show me,

thy voice grant me ! *
For sweet thy voice,

and fair thy face.
Arise, my darling!


11. Pasture thy Kids



1, 7 Oh, tell me thou, my beloved one,

"where at high noon wilt thou tarry ?

Why (dearest) astray should I wander*

amid the flocks of thy comrades ?

8 If, indeed, thou know not the pathway,^ ii

of the flocks, do thou follow the foot-prints.®
(There,) then, thy kids thou mayst pasture^
near to the tents of the shepherds !^

12. Omnia vincit Amor.

3, 1 As I lay on my bed at night-time, • i

for him whom I love was I longing : "
2 ^I will rise and fare forth through the city,

both through streets that are wide and are narrow.


3 I met men'*' who fared forth through the city: h

Have ye seen my beloved ? (I asked them) ;

4 But scarce had I gone a step further,

when before me, lo ! stood my loved one !

8,13 (5) O thou dwelling in the gardens, companions listening, thy voice grant me! 65

1, 7 (a) where wilt thou pasture ? 2 8 (|3) O thou fairest among women!5

3, 1 (a) I longed for him but could not find him •

2 O) I long for him whom I love, I longed for him but could not find him 3

3 (>) the watchmen*

16 Hebraica No. 12

III 3 I clasped him and would not release him,*

and then, lo, I said to my loved one : ^
8, 6 Hang me close to thy heart like a signet,^*

on thy hand, like a ring,'* (do thou wear me !)^^

IV For Love as Death is strong,''

and Passion as Sheol unyielding."
Its flames are*' flames of fire,

its flashes are*'^ flashes of lightning.**

V 7 Nothing* is able to quench it,^

neither can any streams drown it.
If one'' should resign for it* all his possessions,
could any man therefore contemn him ?


3, 4 (5) Till I had brought him to the house of my mother,
to the chamber of her that there bore me,5

.5 O maidens of Jertisalem,^ lo, I beseech you,

by the gazelles and the hinds of the meadows,
That ye stir not nor startle our loving,
before our fill we hare drunken !

8, 7 («) much water (i) Love (i) a man [0) for Love

The Book of Canticles 17

Notes on Canticles.*

Renan says that Canticles, commonly known as the Song of Solomon,
and Ecclesiastes are a few profane pages which, by some curious acci-
dent, have found their way into 'that strange and admirable volume
termed the Bible ;' they are just like a love-ditty and a little essay of
Voltaire which have gone astray among the folios of a theological library. f
Ecclesiastes is the latest book of OT ; it was written about the time of
our Savior, not by a theologian but by a man of the world, probably a
physician. J Nor can Cant, be ascribed to Solomon. Solomon in Cant,
(c/. n. 11 on No. 3) is merely the impersonation of glory and splendor,
and the passages in which Solomon refers to the bridegroom seem to
be subsequent insertions (c/. n. 11 on No. 1). Cant, is not the work of
one poet but a late post-Exilic collection of popular nuptial songs and
love-ditties which may all have been sung at weddings, although they
were not originally composed for this purpose. || They were probably
compiled in the neighborhood of Damascus § after the beginning of the
Seleucidan era, 312 b. c.

Gratz advanced the theory (1871) that Cant, was influenced by the
idyls of Theocritus, who flourished about 270 b. c, under Ptolemy II.
Philadelphus. There are some striking parallels between certain lines
of the Greek bucolic poet and some passages in Cant.,** and it must be
admitted that Cant, may have been compiled after the time of Theoc-
ritus ; but there is no evidence to justify the conclusion that Cant,
was influenced by the idyls of Theocritus. All the points of contact

* Note the following abbreviations : — AoF = Hugo Winckler, Altorientalische Forschun-
gen (Leipzig, 1893 S.) ; — AV = Authorized Version ; — AVM = Authorized Version, margin ; —
AW = Friedrich Delitzsch, Assyrisches WGrterbuch, parts I-III (Leipzig, 1886-1890) ;— BA =
Delitzsch and Haupt, Seifrage zur Assyriolog ie (Leipzig, 1889 ff.) ; — Cant.= Canticles ; — D =
Dsilnxan, Paldstmischei- Diiuan (Leipzig, 1901); — E = East; — EB = Cheyne-Black, Encyclo-
paedia Biblica (New York, 1899 ff.); — ff. = and following; — ® = Septuagint ; — <gA = Codea;
Alexandrinus ; —(&P = Codex Ephroemi Syri rescriptus Parisiensis (C) ; — <&^= Codex Sinaiti-
cus (5{) ; — (&'^=Codex Vaticanus (B) ; — H = Haupt, Difficult Passages in the Song of Songs
in Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 21, pp. 51-73; — HW = Friedrich Delitzsch, Assyri-
sches HandioOrterbuch (Leipzig, 1896); — ^= Vulgate (.Jerome); — JSUC = Joh7is HopM7is

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Online LibraryPaul HauptThe book of Canticles; a new rhythmical translation → online text (page 1 of 8)