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            SOLOMON'S CANTICLE OF CANTICLES

also called Song of Solomon


Chapter 1



The spouse aspires to an union with Christ, their mutual love for one

another.


1:1. Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth: for thy breasts are

better than wine,


Let him kiss me. . .The church, the spouse of Christ, prays that he may

love and have peace with her, which the spouse prefers to every thing

delicious: and therefore expresses (ver. 2) that young maidens, that is

the souls of the faithful, have loved thee.


1:2. Smelling sweet of the best ointments. Thy name is as oil poured

out: therefore young maidens have loved thee.


1:3. Draw me: we will run after thee to the odour of thy ointments. The

king hath brought me into his storerooms: we will be glad and rejoice

in thee, remembering thy breasts more than wine: the rightous love

thee.


Draw me. . .That is, with thy grace: otherwise I should not be able to

come to thee. This metaphor shews that we cannot of ourselves come to

Christ our Lord, unless he draws us by his grace, which is laid up in

his storerooms: that is, in the mysteries of Faith, which God in his

goodness and love for mankind hath revealed, first by his servant Moses

in the Old Law in figure only, and afterwards in reality by his only

begotten Son Jesus Christ.


1:4. I am black but beautiful, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the

tents of Cedar, as the curtains of Solomon.


I am black but beautiful. . .That is, the church of Christ founded in

humility appearing outwardly afflicted, and as it were black and

contemptible; but inwardly, that is, in its doctrine and morality, fair

and beautiful.


1:5. Do not consider me that I am brown, because the sun hath altered

my colour: the sons of my mother have fought against me, they have made

me the keeper in the vineyards: my vineyard I have not kept.


1:6. Shew me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where

thou liest in the midday, lest I begin to wander after the flocks of

thy companions.


1:7. If thou know not thyself, O fairest among women, go forth, and

follow after the steps of the flocks, and feed thy kids beside the

tents of the shepherds.


If thou know not thyself, etc. . .Christ encourages his spouse to follow

and watch her flock: and though she know not entirely the power at hand

to assist her, he tells her, ver. 8, my company of horsemen, that is,

his angels, are always watching and protecting her. And in the

following verses he reminds her of the virtues and gifts with which he

has endowed her.


1:8. To my company of horsemen, in Pharao's chariots, have I likened

thee, O my love.


1:9. Thy cheeks are beautiful as the turtledove's, thy neck as jewels.


1:10. We will make thee chains of gold, inlaid with silver.


1:11. While the king was at his repose, my spikenard sent forth the

odour thereof.


1:12. A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me, he shall abide between my

breasts.


1:13. A cluster of cypress my love is to me, in the vineyards of

Engaddi.


1:14. Behold thou are fair, O my love, behold thou are fair, thy eyes

are as those of doves.


1:15. Behold thou art fair, my beloved, and comely. Our bed is

flourishing.


1:16. The beams of our houses are of cedar, our rafters of cypress

trees.




Chapter 2



Christ caresses his spouse: he invites her to him.


2:1. I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valleys.


I am the flower of the field. . .Christ professes himself the flower of

mankind, yea, the Lord of all creatures: and, ver. 2, declares the

excellence of his spouse, the true church above all other societies,

which are to be considered as thorns.


2:2. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.


2:3. As the apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved

among the sons. I sat down under his shadow, whom I desired: and his

fruit was sweet to my palate.


2:4. He brought me into the cellar of wine, he set in order charity in

me.


2:5. Stay me up with flowers, compass me about with apples: because I

languish with love.


2:6. His left hand is under my head, and his right hand shall embrace

me.


2:7. I adjure you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and the

harts of the field, that you stir not up, nor make the beloved to

awake, till she please.


2:8. The voice of my beloved, behold he cometh leaping upon the

mountains, skipping over the hills.


The voice of my beloved: that is, the preaching of the gospel

surmounting difficulties figuratively here expressed by mountains and

little hills.


2:9. My beloved is like a roe, or a young hart. Behold he standeth

behind our wall, looking through the windows, looking through the

lattices.


2:10. Behold my beloved speaketh to me: Arise, make haste, my love, my

dove, my beautiful one, and come.


2:11. For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone.


2:12. The flowers have appeared in our land, the time of pruning is

come: the voice of the turtle is heard in our land:


2:13. The fig tree hath put forth her green figs: the vines in flower

yield their sweet smell. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come:


2:14. My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hollow places of the

wall, shew me thy face, let thy voice sound in my ears: for thy voice

is sweet, and thy face comely.


2:15. Catch us the little foxes that destroy the vines: for our

vineyard hath flourished.


Catch us the little foxes. . .Christ commands his pastors to catch false

teachers, by holding forth their fallacy and erroneous doctrine, which

like foxes would bite and destroy the vines.


2:16. My beloved to me, and I to him who feedeth among the lilies,


2:17. Till the day break, and the shadows retire. Return: be like, my

beloved, to a roe, or to a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.




Chapter 3



The spouse seeks Christ. The glory of his humanity.


3:1. In my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him,

and found him not.


In my bed by night, etc. . .The Gentiles as in the dark, and seeking in

heathen delusion what they could not find, the true God, until Christ

revealed his doctrine to them by his watchmen, (ver. 3,) that is, by

the apostles, and teachers by whom they were converted to the true

faith; and holding that faith firmly, the spouse (the Catholic Church)

declares, ver. 4, That she will not let him go, till she bring him into

her mother's house, etc., that is, till at last, the Jews also shall

find him.


3:2. I will rise, and will go about the city: in the streets and the

broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and I

found him not.


3:3. The watchmen who keep the city, found me: Have you seen him, whom

my soul loveth?


3:4. When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul

loveth: I held him: and I will not let him go, till I bring him into my

mother's house, and into the chamber of her that bore me.


3:5. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes and the harts

of the fields, that you stir not up, nor awake my beloved, till she

please.


3:6. Who is she that goeth up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of

aromatical spices, of myrrh, and frankincense, and of all the powders

of the perfumer?


3:7. Behold threescore valiant ones of the most valiant of Israel,

surrounded the bed of Solomon?


3:8. All holding swords, and most expert in war: every man's sword upon

his thigh, because of fears in the night.


3:9. King Solomon hath made him a litter of the wood of Libanus:


3:10. The pillars thereof he made of silver, the seat of gold, the

going up of purple: the midst he covered with charity for the daughters

of Jerusalem.


3:11. Go forth, ye daughters of Sion, and see king Solomon in the

diadem, wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of the joy of his

heart.




Chapter 4



Christ sets forth the graces of his spouse: and declares his love for

her.


4:1. How beautiful art thou, my love, how beautiful art thou! thy eyes

are doves' eyes, besides what is hid within. Thy hair is as flocks of

goats, which come up from mount Galaad.


How beautiful art thou. . .Christ again praises the beauties of his

church, which through the whole of this chapter are exemplified by a

variety of metaphors, setting forth her purity, her simplicity, and her

stability.


4:2. Thy teeth as flocks of sheep, that are shorn, which come up from

the washing, all with twins, and there is none barren among them.


4:3. Thy lips are as a scarlet lace: and thy speech sweet. Thy cheeks

are as a piece of a pomegranate, besides that which lieth hid within.


4:4. Thy neck, is as the tower of David, which is built with bulwarks:

a thousand bucklers hang upon it, all the armour of valiant men.


4:5. Thy two breasts like two young roes that are twins, which feed

among the lilies.


Thy two breasts, etc. . .Mystically to be understood: the love of God

and the love of our neighbour, which are so united as twins which feed

among the lilies: that is, the love of God and our neighbour, feeds on

the divine mysteries and the holy sacraments, left by Christ to his

spouse to feed and nourish her children.


4:6. Till the day break, and the shadows retire, I will go to the

mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.


4:7. Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee.


4:8. Come from Libanus, my spouse, come from Libanus, come: thou shalt

be crowned from the top of Amana, from the top of Sanir and Hermon,

from the dens of the lions, from the mountains of the leopards.


4:9. Thou hast wounded my heart, my sister, my spouse, thou hast

wounded my heart with one of thy eyes, and with one hair of thy neck.


4:10. How beautiful are thy breasts, my sister, my spouse! thy breasts

are more beautiful than wine, and the sweet smell of thy ointments

above all aromatical spices.


4:11. Thy lips, my spouse, are as a dropping honeycomb, honey and milk

are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments, as the smell of

frankincense.


4:12. My sister, my spouse, is a garden enclosed, a garden enclosed, a

fountain sealed up.


My sister, etc., a garden enclosed. . .Figuratively the church is

enclosed, containing only the faithful. A fountain sealed up. . .That

none can drink of its waters, that is, the graces and spiritual

benefits of the holy sacraments, but those who are within its walls.


4:13. Thy plants are a paradise of pomegranates with the fruits of the

orchard. Cypress with spikenard.


4:14. Spikenard and saffron, sweet cane and cinnamon, with all the

trees of Libanus, myrrh and aloes with all the chief perfumes.


4:15. The fountain of gardens: the well of living waters, which run

with a strong stream from Libanus.


4:16. Arise, O north wind, and come, O south wind, blow through my

garden, and let the aromatical spices thereof flow.




Chapter 5



Christ calls his spouse: she languishes with love: and describes him by

his graces.


5:1. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat the fruit of his

apple trees. I am come into my garden, O my sister, my spouse, I have

gathered my myrrh, with my aromatical spices: I have eaten the

honeycomb with my honey, I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O

friends, and drink, and be inebriated, my dearly beloved.


Let my beloved come into his garden, etc. . .Garden, mystically the

church of Christ, abounding with fruit, that is, the good works of the

elect.


5:2. I sleep, and my heart watcheth: the voice of my beloved knocking:

Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is

full of dew, and my locks of the drops of the nights.


5:3. I have put off my garment, how shall I put it on? I have washed my

feet, how shall I defile them?


5:4. My beloved put his hand through the key hole, and my bowels were

moved at his touch.


My beloved put his hand through the key hole, etc. . .The spouse of

Christ, his church, at times as it were penned up by its persecutors,

and in fears, expecting the divine assistance, here signified by his

hand: and ver. 6, but he had turned aside and was gone, that is, Christ

permitting a further trial of suffering: and again, ver. 7, the

keepers, etc., signifying the violent and cruel persecutors of the

church taking her veil, despoiling the church of its places of worship

and ornaments for the divine service.


5:5. I arose up to open to my beloved: my hands dropped with myrrh, and

my fingers were full of the choicest myrrh.


5:6. I opened the bolt of my door to my beloved: but he had turned

aside, and was gone. My soul melted when he spoke: I sought him, and

found him not: I called, and he did not answer me.


5:7. The keepers that go about the city found me: they struck me: and

wounded me: the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.


5:8. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved,

that you tell him that I languish with love.


5:9. What manner of one is thy beloved of the beloved, O thou most

beautiful among women? what manner of one is thy beloved of the

beloved, that thou hast so adjured us?


5:10. My beloved is white and ruddy, chosen out of thousands.


My beloved, etc. . .In this and the following verses, the church

mystically describes Christ to those who know him not, that is, to

infidels in order to convert them to the true faith.


5:11. His head is as the finest gold: his locks as branches of palm

trees, black as a raven.


5:12. His eyes as doves upon brooks of waters, which are washed with

milk, and sit beside the plentiful streams.


5:13. His cheeks are as beds of aromatical spices set by the perfumers.

His lips are as lilies dropping choice myrrh.


5:14. His hands are turned and as of gold, full of hyacinths. His belly

as of ivory, set with sapphires.


5:15. His legs as pillars of marble, that are set upon bases of gold.

His form as of Libanus, excellent as the cedars.


5:16. His throat most sweet, and he is all lovely: such is my beloved,

and he is my friend, O ye daughters of Jerusalem.


5:17. Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou most beautiful among women?

whither is thy beloved turned aside, and we will seek him with thee?




Chapter 6



The spouse of Christ is but one: she is fair and terrible.


6:1. My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the bed of aromatical

spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.


My beloved is gone down into his garden. . .Christ, pleased with the

good works of his holy and devout servants labouring in his garden, is

always present with them: but the words is gone down, are to be

understood, that after trying his Church by permitting persecution, he

comes to her assistance and she rejoices at his coming.


6:2. I to my beloved, and my beloved to me, who feedeth among the

lilies.


6:3. Thou art beautiful, O my love, sweet and comely as Jerusalem

terrible as an army set in array.


6:4. Turn away thy eyes from me, for they have made me flee away. Thy

hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from Galaad.


6:5. Thy teeth as a flock of sheep, which come up from the washing, all

with twins, and there is none barren among them.


6:6. Thy cheeks are as the bark of a pomegranate, beside what is hidden

within thee.


6:7. There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and young

maidens without number.


6:8. One is my dove, my perfect one is but one, she is the only one of

her mother, the chosen of her that bore her. The daughters saw her, and

declared her most blessed: the queens and concubines, and they praised

her.


One is my dove, etc. . .That is, my church is one, and she only is

perfect and blessed.


6:9. Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the

moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?


Who is she, etc. . .Here is a beautiful metaphor describing the church

from the beginning. As, the morning rising, signifying the church

before the written law; fair as the moon, shewing her under the light

of the gospel: and terrible as an army, the power of Christ's church

against its enemies.


6:10. I went down into the garden of nuts, to see the fruits of the

valleys, and to look if the vineyard had flourished, and the

pomegranates budded.


6:11. I knew not: my soul troubled me for the chariots of Aminadab.


6:12. Return, return, O Sulamitess: return, return that we may behold

thee.




Chapter 7



A further description of the graces of the church the spouse of Christ.


7:1. What shalt thou see in the Sulamitess but the companies of camps?

How beautiful are thy steps in shoes, O prince's daughter! The joints

of thy thighs are like jewels, that are made by the hand of a skilful

workman.


How beautiful are thy steps, etc. . .By these metaphors are signified

the power and mission of the church in propagating the true faith.


7:2. Thy navel is like a round bowl never wanting cups. Thy belly is

like a heap of wheat, set about with lilies.


7:3. Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.


7:4. Thy neck as a tower of ivory. Thy eyes like the fishpools in

Hesebon, which are in the gate of the daughter of the multitude. Thy

nose is as the tower of Libanus, that looketh toward Damascus.


7:5. Thy head is like Carmel: and the hairs of thy head as the purple

of the king bound in the channels.


Thy head is like Carmel. . .Christ, the invisible head of his church, is

here signified.


7:6. How beautiful art thou, and how comely, my dearest, in delights!


7:7. Thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of

grapes.


7:8. I said: I will go up into the palm tree, and will take hold of the

fruit thereof: and thy breasts shall be as the clusters of the vine:

and the odour of thy mouth like apples.


7:9. Thy throat like the best wine, worthy for my beloved to drink, and

for his lips and his teeth to ruminate.


7:10. I to my beloved, and his turning is towards me.


7:11. Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field, let us abide in

the villages.


7:12. Let us get up early to the vineyards, let us see if the vineyard

flourish, if the flowers be ready to bring forth fruits, if the

pomegranates flourish: there will I give thee my breasts.


7:13. The mandrakes give a smell. In our gates are all fruits: the new

and the old, my beloved, I have kept for thee.




Chapter 8



The love of the church to Christ: his love to her.


8:1. Who shall give thee to me for my brother, sucking the breasts of

my mother, that I may find thee without, and kiss thee, and now no man

may despise me?


8:2. I will take hold of thee, and bring thee into my mother's house:

there thou shalt teach me, and I will give thee a cup of spiced wine

and new wine of my pomegranates.


8:3. His left hand under my head, and his right hand shall embrace me.


His left hand, etc. . .Words of the church to Christ. His left hand,

signifying the Old Testament, and his right hand, the New.


8:4. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you stir not up, nor

awake my love till she please.


8:5. Who is this that cometh up from the desert, flowing with delights,

leaning upon her beloved? Under the apple tree I raised thee up: there

thy mother was corrupted, there she was defloured that bore thee.


Who is this, etc. . .The angels with admiration behold the Gentiles

converted to the faith: coming up from the desert, that is, coming from

heathenism and false worship: flowing with delights, that is, abounding

with good works which are pleasing to God: leaning on her beloved, on

the promise of Christ to his Church, that the gates of hell should not

prevail against it; and supported by his grace conferred by the

sacraments. Under the apple tree I raised thee up; that is, that Christ

redeemed the Gentiles at the foot of the cross, where the synagogue of

the Jews (the mother church) was corrupted by their denying him, and

crucifying him.


8:6. Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love

is strong as death, jealousy as hard as hell, the lamps thereof are

fire and flames.


8:7. Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown

it: if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he

shall despise it as nothing.


8:8. Our sister is little, and hath no breasts. What shall we do to our

sister in the day when she is to be spoken to?


Our sister is little, etc. . .Mystically signifies the Jews, who are to

be spoken to: that is, converted towards the end of the world: and then

shall become a wall, that is, a part of the building, the church of

Christ.


8:9. If she be a wall: let us build upon it bulwarks of silver: if she

be a door, let us join it together with boards of cedar.


8:10. I am a wall: and my breasts are as a tower since I am become in

his presence as one finding peace.


8:11. The peaceable had a vineyard, in that which hath people: he let

out the same to keepers, every man bringeth for the fruit thereof a

thousand pieces of silver.


8:12. My vineyard is before me. A thousand are for thee, the peaceable,

and two hundred for them that keep the fruit thereof.


8:13. Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the friends hearken: make me

hear thy voice.


8:14. Flee away, O my beloved, and be like to the roe, and to the young

hart upon the mountains of aromatical spices.