Canticle of Canticles 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.