The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 4


G Ah, you are beautiful, my beloved,
ah, you are beautiful!
Your eyes are doves
behind your veil.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
streaming down the mountains of Gilead.


1 Your teeth are like a flock of ewes to be shorn,
which come up from the washing,
All of them big with twins,
none of them thin and barren.


2 Your lips are like a scarlet strand;
your mouth is lovely.
Your cheek is like a half-pomegranate
behind your veil.


3 Your neck is like David's tower
girt with battlements;
A thousand bucklers hang upon it,
all the shields of valiant men.


Your breasts are like twin fawns,
the young of a gazelle
that browse among the lilies.


4 Until the day breathes cool and the shadows lengthen,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh,
to the hill of incense.


5 You are all-beautiful, my beloved,
and there is no blemish in you.


6 Come from Lebanon, my bride,
come from Lebanon, come!
Descend from the top of Amana,
from the top of Senir and Hermon,
From the haunts of lions,
from the leopards' mountains.


7 You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have ravished my heart with one glance of your eyes,
with one bead of your necklace.


How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride,
how much more delightful is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your ointments than all spices!


8 Your lips drip honey, my bride,
sweetmeats and milk are under your tongue;
And the fragrance of your garments
is the fragrance of Lebanon.


G 9 You are an enclosed garden, my sister, my bride,
an enclosed garden, a fountain sealed.


You are a park that puts forth pomegranates,
with all choice fruits;


10 Nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon,
with all kinds of incense;
Myrrh and aloes,
with all the finest spices.


You are a garden fountain, a well of water
flowing fresh from Lebanon.


11 Arise, north wind! Come, south wind!
blow upon my garden
that its perfumes may spread abroad.
B Let my lover come to his garden
and eat its choice fruits.



1 [2] Teeth: praised for whiteness and regularity.

2 [3] Pomegranate: a fruit somewhat like an orange, with a firm skin and deep red color. The girl's cheek is compared, in roundness and tint, to a half-pomegranate.

3 [4] The ornaments about her neck are compared to the trophies on the city walls. Cf 1 Kings 10:10; 14:26-28; Ezekiel 27:10.

4 [6] Mountain of myrrh. . . hill of incense: spoken figuratively of the bride; cf Song 8:14.

5 [7] Cf St. Paul's description of the Church in Eph 5:27. This verse is also applied to Our Lady, especially in the Liturgy of the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

6 [8] Amana . . . Senir and Hermon: these rugged heights symbolize obstacles that would separate the lovers; cf Song 2:14.

7 [9] Sister: a term of endearment; it forms part of the conventional language of love used in this canticle.

8 [11] Honey: sweet words. Cf Proverb 5:3.

9 [12] Enclosed garden . . . fountain sealed: reserved for the bridegroom alone. The bride's fidelity is implied. Cf Proverb 5:15-19.

10 [14] These plants are all known for their sweet scent.

11 [16] The last two lines of the verse are spoken by the girl, inviting her lover to herself, the garden.

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