Love

Love and the Maiden John Roddam Spencer Stanhope 1877
Love and the Maiden
John Roddam Spencer Stanhope 1877

She

 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
    for your love is more delightful than wine.
 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
    your name is like perfume poured out.
    No wonder the young women love you!
 Take me away with you—let us hurry!
    Let the king bring me into his chambers.

Friends

We rejoice and delight in you;
    we will praise your love more than wine.

She

How right they are to adore you!

 Dark am I, yet lovely,
    daughters of Jerusalem,
dark like the tents of Kedar,
    like the tent curtains of Solomon.
 Do not stare at me because I am dark,
    because I am darkened by the sun.
My mother’s sons were angry with me
    and made me take care of the vineyards;
    my own vineyard I had to neglect.
 Tell me, you whom I love,
    where you graze your flock
    and where you rest your sheep at midday.
Why should I be like a veiled woman
    beside the flocks of your friends?

Friends

 If you do not know, most beautiful of women,
    follow the tracks of the sheep
and graze your young goats
    by the tents of the shepherds.

He

 I liken you, my darling, to a mare
    among Pharaoh’s chariot horses.
 Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings,
    your neck with strings of jewels.
 We will make you earrings of gold,
    studded with silver.

She

 While the king was at his table,
    my perfume spread its fragrance.
 My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh
    resting between my breasts.
 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
    from the vineyards of En Gedi.

He

 How beautiful you are, my darling!
    Oh, how beautiful!
    Your eyes are doves.

She

 How handsome you are, my beloved!
    Oh, how charming!
    And our bed is verdant.

He

 The beams of our house are cedars;
    our rafters are firs.

She

 I am a rose of Sharon,
    a lily of the valleys.

He

Like a lily among thorns
    is my darling among the young women.

She

 Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest
    is my beloved among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
    and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
 Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
    and let his banner over me be love.
 Strengthen me with raisins,
    refresh me with apples,
    for I am faint with love.
 His left arm is under my head,
    and his right arm embraces me.
 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
    by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

 Listen! My beloved!
    Look! Here he comes,
leaping across the mountains,
    bounding over the hills.
 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
    Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
    peering through the lattice.
 My beloved spoke and said to me,
    “Arise, my darling,
    my beautiful one, come with me.
 See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.
 Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.
 The fig tree forms its early fruit;
    the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
    my beautiful one, come with me.”

He

 My dove in the clefts of the rock,
    in the hiding places on the mountainside,
show me your face,
    let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
    and your face is lovely.
 Catch for us the foxes,
    the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
    our vineyards that are in bloom.

She

 My beloved is mine and I am his;
    he browses among the lilies.
 Until the day breaks
    and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved,
    and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
    on the rugged hills.

 All night long on my bed
    I looked for the one my heart loves;
    I looked for him but did not find him.
 I will get up now and go about the city,
    through its streets and squares;
I will search for the one my heart loves.
    So I looked for him but did not find him.
 The watchmen found me
    as they made their rounds in the city.
    “Have you seen the one my heart loves?”
 Scarcely had I passed them
    when I found the one my heart loves.
I held him and would not let him go
    till I had brought him to my mother’s house,
    to the room of the one who conceived me.
 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
    by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

 Who is this coming up from the wilderness
    like a column of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh and incense
    made from all the spices of the merchant?
 Look! It is Solomon’s carriage,
    escorted by sixty warriors,
    the noblest of Israel,
 all of them wearing the sword,
    all experienced in battle,
each with his sword at his side,
    prepared for the terrors of the night.
 King Solomon made for himself the carriage;
    he made it of wood from Lebanon.
 Its posts he made of silver,
    its base of gold.
Its seat was upholstered with purple,
    its interior inlaid with love.
Daughters of Jerusalem, come out,
    and look, you daughters of Zion.
Look on King Solomon wearing a crown,
    the crown with which his mother crowned him
on the day of his wedding,
    the day his heart rejoiced.

Song of Songs 1-3

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5 thoughts on “Love

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