Page images
PDF
EPUB

VERSE 7.

[ocr errors]

approbation, for which we return our thanks, while we but in that of governess over animals ; you, in your indulge our best wishes for its continuance.

humility, may assume a station which we think too

low, and to which we shall not degrade that person CHAPTER I. VERSES 5, 6,

whom we esteem as the fairest among women. This

humiliation in one party, and cheering in the other, is I am BLACK. Kedar does not signify the deep perfectly agreeable to other passages of this poem, as blackness of the negro, but that kind of brownness in this chapter, verses 1,5; chap. ii. 1. which is the effect of being tanned by the sun. Job says, chap. xxx. 28. “I went black, but not by the

VERSE 12. beams of the sun.” Stephens the geographer says, While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard " The Kedarites are a nation of Arabia Felix.” Suidas sendeth forth the smell thereof. For SPIKENARD, vide places them near Babylon, but the Arabian authors do

on chap. iv. plate. not determine the place of their residence.

VERSE 13. Tell me, 0 thou, whom my soul loceth, where thou . bag, or purse; for such is the usage of the East, and

My beloved is a bundle of myrrh; rather a small feedest ? &c. There seems to be something so highly figurative 35.“ as they emptied their corn sacks, they found the

such is the import of the word elsewhere, as Gen. xlii. in the exclamation of the bride, in these verses, that purses which contained their money:" Prov. vii. 20. it has never occurred to critics that the speaker, « he hath taken a purse of money with him.” The assuming the metaphorical character of a gazelle, or

ladies of the East carry such a small bag in their antelope, inquires for the resting place of the flock, bosoms night and day, says Sonini. Vide FRAGMENT, wherein she also might rest. They have usually sup- No. 445. posed, that she makes this inquiry in the character of a shepherdess, meaning to accompany her shepherd,

VERSE 14. and to associate with him at the noon time of day, when he would be reposing; but, we have extracted

A cluster of camphire, al-HENNA. Vide on Solofrom sir William Jones's translation of an Arabian poet,

mon's Song, as above referred to, where a plate is a passage which not merely compares his mistress to given of this plant. a gazelle, or fawn, but says, she strays from her prop

VERSE 17. er place; and this certainly is the meaning of the bride,“ why should I be as one that turneth aside ; a The beams of our house are of cedar, our rafters straying, roving, animal; one of thy flock, yet wander are of fir. ing by, rather among, the flocks of thy companions.?" 1st, Cedar, the regular word for this tree.

“ In that tribe was a lovely antelope, with black 2dly, Fir. Vide on 1 Kings, xix. 4. eyes, dark ruddy lips, and a beautiful neck, raised to crop the fresh berries of erac, a neck adorned with

CHAPTER II. VERSES 1, 2. two strings of pearls and topazes : SHE STRAYS FROM HER Young, and feeds with the herds of roes in the I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the val. tangled thicket, where she brow zes the hedges of the lies. wild fruit, and covers herself with a mantle of leaves; As the lily among thorns, 80 is my love among she smiles and displays her bright teeth, rising from the daughters. their dark coloured basis, like a privet plant in full Ist, Rose. The Lxx, and Jerom, instead of rose, bloom, which pierces a bank of pure sand, moistened render “the flower of the fields,” but the Chaldee with dew. To her teeth the sun has imparted his calls this flower jardah, rose, and is followed by most brilliant lustre, but not to the part where they grow, western interpreters ; circumstances seem to deterwhich is sprinkled with lead ore, while the ivory re mine this to be the wild rose, the uncultivated flower, mains unspotted. Her face appears to be wrapped which thereby corresponds to the lily in the next in a veil of sunbeams; unblemished is her complex verse. But besides this rose, Scheuzer refers to Hilion, and her skin is without a wrinkle. Her name was lerus, Hierophyt. p. ii. who rather seeks this flower Khaula," the tender fawn."

among the bulbous rooted plants; saying, that the The answer of the ladies, also, assumes another and Hebrew word rendered rose, chabaljeleth, may be more complimentary appearance. “If thou knowest derived from chabab, he has loved, and batjel, a bulb, not, O fairest among women, go thy way forth, rather or onion, bulbous root of any flower: and he declares pursue thy way, in the tracts of the flock, and feed for the asphodel, whose flowers resemble those of the thy kids beside the shepherds' tents;" i.e.“ We can- lily. They are very fragrant. Homer and Hesiod not answer you in the character of a wandering animal, praise it. Hesiod says it grows commonly in woods: 1

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1

51

and Homer, Odyss, I. xxiv. calls the Elysian Fields, 2dly, Opher healilim; this opher occurs only in " meads filled with asphodel;" words which agree Canticles, and is taken for a name whereby the early with the sentiment of the Hebrew here, if we take age of a stag is expressed. Huntsmen have names sharon, as seems perfectly proper, for the common for the stag as he increases in age, from his birth till fields. “I am the asphodel of the meadows, or his full maturity, a fawn, a calf, a pricket, a stag, woods; the lily of the vallies,” or places not culti &c. and this seems to have been customary in most vated as a garden is. I prefer, however, the deriva- countries, where the chase of that animal was praction from chabah, to hide, and tjel, to shade, which tised. Bochart derives this word opher, from the would denote a rose not yet blown, but overshadowed Arabic word pharon, which signifies down; because, by its caly.r; if to this we add the idea of a wild rose, usually, the horns of the young stags are covered by we approach, I presume, to the strength of the term; a velvet like kind of down, which is extremely tender: “I am a wild rose flower, not fully blown; but en the idea is perfectly correspondent with the scope of closed as yet,” partly alluding to her enclosing veil. the passage, and with the compliment intended by

The rose in the East is extremely fragrant: it is the speaker; but see this down better placed, i.e. on indeed the sovereign of the garden; and Hafiz, the the cheek, by an Arabian poet, on the following verses. Persian poet, says, “when the rose coines into the garden, the violet prostrates itself before it, with its

VERSES 11, 12, 13. face to the ground.” To what degree roses were es The winter is past, the rain is over and gone; teemned among the Greeks, may be seen in Anacreon. 1, The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the But these, no doubt, refer to garden roses, not to the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the, 2. turtle wild flower, which is that of our text. Vide on verses is heard in our land. 3. The fig-tree putteth forth her 11, 12, 13. ad fin.

green figs; and the, 4. vine with the tender grape 2dly, Lily. This is the constant rendering of the giveth a good smell. word shushanith, or susanah ; and needs no enlarge There is nothing very difficult in this passage; it ment, as the flower is well known among us.

is a very poetical and beautiful description of the 3dly, Thorns, coachim. For coach, vide 2 Kings, progress of spring. Many particulars of it have been xiv, 9.

well illustrated by Mr. Harmer. VERSE 3.

1st, Flowers, buds, shoots, &c. in general, what

ever bursts into life, and adorns that ground whereon As the APPLE-TREE among the trees: the citron

it vegetates. tree, without doubt: which grows to the size of a

2dly, TURTLE: this bird is in some sense, or somemoderate timber-tree; and affords a refreshing shade

times, if not always, a bird of passage; as appears in bot countries.

from Jer. viji. 7. where it is said to “know its time." VERSE 7.

Aristotle says the same, lib. viii. cap. 3. so does I charge you by the roes, and by the hinds of the Varro, lib. iii. cap. 5. and Cicero, de Fin. lib. ii. The

bird is well known among us. field.

3dly, F1G-TREE. Vide on Psalm cv. 27. 1st, The roes. Tjebauth, rather the gaselle, or antelope, of which there are several kinds : some are

4thly, Vines, gephenim. This is sometimes calldomesticated, in Upper Egypt, at least, probably plant is too well known to need enlargement.

ed the wine vine, as Numb. vi. 4; Judg. xii, 14. The elsewhere; and if some of their breeds were so an

We shall add a passage from an Arabian poet, ciently, perhaps it may account for the close resem. blance in flavour, &c. of the kids dressed by Rebek

translated by Mr. Richardson, Arab, Gram. p. 94. ah, to the wild venison procured by Esau, Gen. by way of shewing what are the principal flowers of

spring in the East; and of affording a mean of comxxvii. 9.

The tzebi is mentioned in Scripture as extremely paring the descriptive particulars selected by these swift, 2 Sam. ii. 18. as being good food, 1 Kings, iv. poets of the same climate, when alluding to the same

season of the year. 23. which see. It is here called tsebauth, says Mr. Parkhurst, from its going in troops. They are very “Yes, by the resplendent spring, and his blooming flowers ; common, and very numerous in the southeastern The narcissus, and the anthemis, like eyes and teeth ; countries.

And the jasmine, like the colour of a rejected lover; 2dly, The hinds. Vide on Naphtali, Gen. xlix.

And the anemone, like a beautiful virgin advancing in a silken robe ;

And the sweet odour-diffusing rain-besprinkled violet ; plate, et al.

And the myrtle, like the down on the cheek of the fruitful furun ; VERSE 9.

And the rose approaching with his army, of thorns, whose beauty

is all conquering.” My beloved is like a roe, or a young hart.

1st, Roe, tsebi; masculine here, though feminine N.B. This last verse shews the esteem in which the in verse 7. and the same is, young hart.

rose is held in this country. Vide on chap. ii. 1.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

VERSE 14.

on them, but a composition of divers ornaments, and

of divers colours, aiming at producing, on the whole, My dove in the clefts of the rocks.

a lively, or splendid effect. This I think illustrates Pigeons are so abundant in the East, that they are

the import of the Hebrew word aregaman. We shall by no means confined to dove cotes, or houses appointed for them ; but, as Virgil describes them, they give it this import.

examine a few passages wherein it may be useful to dwell in the clefts of the rocks :

Numb. iv. 13. “And they, the Levites, shall take columba

away the ashes from the altar, and shall spread a Cui domus, et dulces latebroso in pumice nidi.

PURPLE cloth thereon."

The altar being a heavy

utensil, and often soiled by the fat, &c. of sacrifices, Homer describes doves flying from the hawk, and &c. offered on it, shall be wrapped in a strong, solid taking refuge in rocks, II. 495. and Od. lib. xii.

covering, a Turkey carpet, or variegated envelope ;

i.e. an external surtout. This seems by no means an VERSE 15.

unnatural, or improper covering to such a bulky subTake us the foxes ; rather jackalls : for which see on

ject. Psalm Ixiii. plate, and FRAGMENT, No. 209, where

Judg. viii. 26.“ Golden earrings, ornaments, coltheir species are distinguished.

lars, and variegated raiment," raiment of variegated

colours composed into a pattern, worn by the kings of CHAPTER III. VERSE 10.

Midian.” This is precisely according to the taste

of personal decoration in the East; and might almost King Solomon made himself a chariot .... the be rendered “brocaded vestments," in modern lancovering of it PURPLE, the midst thereof being paved guage. with love for the daughters of Jerusalem.

2 Chron. ii. 7. “ Send me now a man cunning to It diay be seen, that formerly the editor of Cal work, in VARIEGATED colours, and in crimson and MET confessed, he did not know in what sense, always, blue." This can hardly mean purple here; since to take the word aregaman, which is usually render- purple is a mixture of crimson and blue: but varieed purple ; and this rendering is given to it without gations of colours suits the passage completely. hesitation, or suspicion that it could bear any other. Esth. i. 6. “ Railed divisions,” in the court of the All dictionaries and lexicons agree in it: neverthe- palace“ hung with linen, and VARIEGATED patterns," less, that on this subject hesitation might not have i.e. CARPETS "upon railings of silver pillars, and been misplaced, may appear after considering a few columns of white marble."

Vide on this passage, hints by way of inquiry.

with the plate. Could any thing be more proper, or 1st, The Arabic word archam or arecham, which more magnificent, or more customary than this use of is evidently allied to the Hebrew aregam,“ signifies carpets, to hang upon the divisions made by the variegated, or of different colours :' “ variegated, cross rails which accompanied these pillars and color of more colours than two or three blended togeth umns ?

This is the usual interpretation of the word Prov. xxxi. 22. “ She maketh herself coverings of among the Arabs; as we learn from Bruce, Travels, tupestry:her clothing is silk and brocade; i.e. varivol. v. p. 163. though Bruce himself says, it includes egated with sundry colours. also, the combination of two colours, as black and [By the by, as tapestry, according to our applicawhite." This, I apprehend, leads us to the precise tion of the word, is rather heavy clothing for a warm meaning of the Hebrew word. 1st, A combination country, I would wish to read more literally; of two colours, in any pattern whatever; even to the “Woven works, marbudim, she makes to herself nature of damask linen, of which one figure, square,

of cambric, linen ; [i.e. figured.] &c. shews dark, while the other shews light; say And variegated, brocade, is her loner garment, black and white: otherwise two colours united into

petticoat." one pigment; i.e. purple ; which results from the But I think this may be rendered still more corunion of blue and red, in commixion; for such is the rectly, if we advert for the sense of these marbudim, combination of purple.

to chap. vi. 16.“I have decked my bed with coverings 2dly, Threads of two colours, worked mutually of marbudim, tapestry;" which appears to be used into one pattern, whether stripes or crossings, wheth on the upper part of the bed. This, I say, gives this er black and white, or red and blue, &c. so that the passage a more correct parallelism. effect of the whole appears superficially varied.

Her UPPER GARMENTS, gown, robe, she makes of 3dly, Variegation of several colours united into a fine cambric, &c. wrought in a pattern : pattern; which we illustrate by those of Turkey car And of BROCADE her lower garment, petticoat : pets in general. These carpets have no animals of which is much as we have seen British ladies; nor is any kind, nor flowers, nor any living thing portrayed this their only resemblance to this excellent portrait

er.

[ocr errors]

of Solomon; clothe themselves in muslin, or cambric tissu, to weave; and hence tisserand, for a weaver, robes, sprigged, &c. by their own hands, worn over &c. which is perfectly analogous to the derivation of silk or satin petticoats. The taste and elegance of the Hebrew, or rather Chaldee word; and we find by which combination seems to have captivated the these remarks, our former opinion confirmed, that the Hebrew Solomon formerly, as much as it has lately city Arech, of Babylonia, was that famous city which delighted British beholders. For the robe, vest, and contended with Athens in the art of weaving; and from drawers of Eastern female dress, vide on Isai. iii. 18. Arech was metamorphosed, à la Grec, into arachne, plates.

the spider, as Ovid relates in his Metamorphosewn. It should seem too as if this brocade was rather The same train of reasoning applies to the tresses restricted to the inner, or lower garment: for so we of the bride, chap. vii. 5. find, Dan. v. 7. the king promises whoever explained the writing shall be clothed in scarlet ;areguna,

Thine bead dress upon thee is like Carmel, the same word as elsewhere is rendered purple, “his

And the tresses of thine hair are plaited like well woven, well figur

ed tissue, aregaman. lower garment shall be of variegated” pattern; i.e. brocade. Vide ante, the dress worn by the kings of i.e. They are extremely numerous; some ladies Midian. This is nearly the dress worn by Mordecai, have an hundred and ten tresses, says lady Monas prime minister, or grand vizier, Esth. viii

. 15."and tague ; they are of great length, reaching low down Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in the back ; they are braided, and implicated in the royal apparel, of blue and white; rather, in royal most becoming manner, and to the happiest effect : lower garments, or lower garments of royal blue and “the king is inextricably entangled in these intricawhite, and a great crown of gold, and a vest of fine cies,” which are wrought one into another with the cotton, with a variegated," border, perhaps, whether most attractive skill. of flowers, or of any other pattern embroidered on it. The reader will observe the distinctions marked by

CHAPTER IV. VERSE 11. the differences between these dresses of office : the master of the magi was not the grand vizier, he was

Thy lips, drop the honeycomb. Vide on Prov. only the third ruler in the kingdom.

VERSES 13, 14. These passages are sufficient to shew that the sense of purple is not always implied in the Hebrew word 1st, A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse ; aregaman ; but a mixture, or combination of colours, 2d, a spring shut up; 3d, a fountain sealed. Thý of which purple is only one distinction.

plants are an orchard of, 4th, pomegranates, with If the word aregaman means a weaving of many pleasant fruits; 5th, camphire ; with, 6th, spikenard; different colours, or even of two colours only, then 7th, spikenard : and 8th, saffron ; 9th, calamus; and we were not very far from the mark, when we proposed 10th, cinnamon; with all trees of, 11th, frankincense ; the sense of a carpet, for the aregaman which cov

12th, myrrh ; and, 13th, aloes, with all the chief ered the floor of the nuptial palanquin of Solomon spices. in this passage: which, as it was a love gift from

1st, Garden. A hint on the character of gardens the daughters of Jerusalem, we shall compare to

in the East may be agreeable on this passage. The those ornamental hearth rugs, worked in patterns, comparison of a lady to a garden, is not only a frewith crewels, with which our young ladies have lately quent, but an elegant compliment in the East. amused themselves, and adorned the hearths of their

Gardens in the East, are little other than verdant drawing rooms; these have the solidity, the beauty, forests. Our English plantations are nature reguthe durability, and the ornamental effect of the most lated and assisted by art; but those of Asia are more costly carpets; such have been worked too for the shady, more covert, than our own, by reason of the purposes of coach carpets, by the noblest ladies of great heats of the country. So de la Motraye deEngland; such might be presented to king Solomon scribes the grand seignior's garden at Constantinohimself! there is but one objection; they are too ple, as "a heap of groves, and a forest of cypresses, handsome to be trod on; however, Solomon in his and other great trees, which are always green,” vol. palanquin did not stand, but sit on them; and if the i. p. 178. Not only do the windows, &c. of palaces Forks of the ladies of England are not too valuable open into their gardens, for the sake of beholding for their coaches, no good reason, I am sure, can be their verdure ; but in these gardens they often dine : given why those of the daughters of Jerusalem should so says Busbequius, Trav. p. 79. “Haly Basha, be ill applied in decorating and completing the equi- deputy to the grand vizier, treated the Persians with page of Solomon.

a sumptuous dinner, which he made in his garThough I have used the word brocade to convey

den.” And correspondent to this enjoyment should the idea of variegation by colours into a pattern, yet, seem to have been the banquet house, kiosk, or pathe word tissue may more accurately suit the descrip: vilion of Esther, chap. vii. 1. for we read, that “thy iion of this aregaman; for, as areg is from regem, king arising in his wrath from the banquet of wine in aregem, to weave, so is tissue from the French tisser, the palace garden ;” the word went is added by

translators. But if this kiosk stood in the garden, terrestrial Paradise; he took possession of it, En. he was no sooner out of one, than he was in the other. COMPASSED with high walls, and planted with the “ The gardens,” says lady Montague, Letter xxxii. most beautiful trees, that bloomed with flowers and are enclosed with very high walls. There are none fruit; he has broken down the walls, plucked the of our parterres in them, but they are planted with tender flowers, devoured the finest fruit, and would high trees, which give an agreeable shade. In the now restore us this garden, robbed of every thing midst of the garden is a chiosk, i.e. a large room, com that contributed to render it delicious when we gave monly beautified with a fine fountain in the middle of him admission into it,” Miscel. of Eastern Learning, it. It is raised nine or ten steps, and enclosed with vol. i.

vol. i. p. 12. gilded lattices, round which, vines, jasmines, and 4thly, Pomegranates. Of this tree I shall exhoneysuckles, make a sort of green wall. Large trees tract the description from Dr. Woodville's Medical are planted round this place, which is the scene of Botany, vol. i. p. 158. their greatest pleasures, and where the ladies spend “Punica granatum, pomegranate-tree. most of their hours, employed by their music or em 6. Class iconsandria, Ord. monogynia. Lin. Gen. broidery.” This extract may almost stand as a com

Plant. 613. ment on the

passage before us ; only we must add to “Ess. Gen. Ch. Cal. 5-fidus, superus. Petala the idea of a garden, that of a fountain in such a gar 5. Pomum multiloculare polyspermum. den; and around that fountain, the jasmines and " This small tree rises several feet in height: it is honeysuckles of lady Montague, or the orchard of covered with a brownish bark, and divided into many fragrant plants of Soloinon. To shew the value of small branches, which are armed with spines ; the shady and great trees in the East, we add an extract leaves are oblong, or lance-shaped, pointed, veinfrom baron Du Tott, vol. i. p. 63.

ed, of a deep green colour, and placed upon short “ Above all, they admire the shade of great trees, foot stalks; the flowers are large, of a rich scarlet and will, to preserve them, even disregard the con colour, and stand at the end of the young branches ; venience of their houses. I have seen a fine old elm,

I have seen a fine old elm, the corolla is composed of five large roundish slenmore ancient than the proprietor, preserved by the der petals, with narrow claws, by which they are inarchitect in the midst of a gallery which it crossed serted into the calyx ; the calyx is large, thick, fleshy, to spread its shade over the roof. All the trees of tubular, of a brownish red colour, and divided at the an estate are left in the same order they are found : extremity into five pointed segments; the filaments and the plan of any building is commonly regulated are numerous, short, bent inward, furnished with by them, be they placed how they will; and this, yellow antheræ, and attached to the calyx; the gerno doubt, because in so warm a climate the shade of men is roundish, and supports a simple style, of the great trees is necessary.”

length of the filaments, and terminated by a globular Several passages in Scripture coincide with this stigma ; the fruit is about the size of an orange, and value of shade.

crowned with the five teeth of the calyx: the rind is 2dly, A SPRING shut up. After what the reader thick and tough, externally reddish, internally yelhas seen on the nature of gardens, and what has been lowish, filled with a red succulent pulp, (this is gratenoticed by him on various occasions, respecting the fully acid, somewhat like that of oranges, contained importance of water in the East, to the purposes of in transparent cellular membranes, and included in vegetation, and to the sustenance indeed of plants, nine cells, within which, numerous oblong angular whether useful or ornamental, nothing need be added seeds are also lodged. This shrubby tree is a naon the subject of this spring, or on the following word, tive of Spain, Italy, Barbary, &c. and flowers from 3dly, fountain. That springs and fountains were June till September. shut up, appears from the history of Jacob, when en “The cultivation of this tree in England is first to tering Padan Aram, and that they were personal be dated from the time of Gerard, in 1596 ; and though property, appears from the struggles occasioned in its fruit seldom arrives to a state of perfection in the days of Abraham, and Isaac, and Moses. A this country, yet the large and beautiful scarlet flowspring, and a fountain, in a royal garden, which gar ers which it produces, still render it a desirable ob den was itself enclosed, might be expected to main- ject of ornamental gardening;" (the double flowered tain its privacy; and this is allegorically converted sort more especially, makes a very beautiful appearinto a compliment on the modesty, the chastity, and ance.] the virgin reserve of the bride, as in the following Some of these rise to 18, or 20 feet. apologue :

5thly, Camphire, al-HENNA. Vide as before re“Feirouz, a vizier, having divorced his wife on ferred to. suspicion of infidelity, her brothers applied for re 6thly, 7thly, Spikenard. Vide the plate. dress in the following figurative terms, "My lord, we 8thly, Saffron is the kiln-dried stigmata of the uve rented to Feirouz a most delightful garden, a crocus : a flower well known in our gardens.

The

« PreviousContinue »