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SONG OF THE SOUL AND THE BRIDEGROOM

I

THE BRIDE

Where have You hidden Yourself,

And abandoned me in my groaning, O my Beloved?

You have fled like the hart,

Having wounded me.

I ran after You, crying; but You were gone.

II

O shepherds, you who go

Through the sheepcots up the hill,

If you shall see Him

Whom I love the most,

Tell Him I languish, suffer, and die.

III

In search of my Love

I will go over mountains and strands;

I will gather no flowers,

I will fear no wild beasts;

And pass by the mighty and the frontiers.

IV

O groves and thickets

Planted by the hand of the Beloved;

O verdant meads

Enameled with flowers,

Tell me, has He passed by you?

V

ANSWER OF THE CREATURES

A thousand graces diffusing

He passed through the groves in haste,

And merely regarding them

As He passed

Clothed them with His beauty.

VI

THE BRIDE

Oh! who can heal me?

Give me at once Yourself,

Send me no more

A messenger

Who cannot tell me what I wish.

VII

All they who serve are telling me

Of Your unnumbered graces;

And all wound me more and more,

And something leaves me dying,

I know not what, of which they are darkly speaking.

VIII

But how you persevere, O life,

Not living where you live;

The arrows bring death

Which you receive

From your conceptions of the Beloved.

IX

Why, after wounding

This heart, have You not healed it?

And why, after stealing it,

Have You thus abandoned it,

And not carried away the stolen prey?

X

Quench my troubles,

For no one else can soothe them;

And let my eyes behold You,

For You are their light,

And I will keep them for You alone.

XI

Reveal Your presence,

And let the vision and Your beauty kill me,

Behold the malady

Of love is incurable

Except in Your presence and before Your face.

XII

O crystal well!

Oh that on Your silvered surface

You would mirror forth at once

Those eyes desired

Which are outlined in my heart!

XIII

Turn them away, O my Beloved!

I am on the wing:

THE BRIDEGROOM

Return, My Dove!

The wounded hart

Looms on the hill

In the air of your flight and is refreshed.

XIV

My Beloved is the mountains,

The solitary wooded valleys,

The strange islands,

The roaring torrents,

The whisper of the amorous gales;

XV

The tranquil night

At the approaches of the dawn,

The silent music,

The murmuring solitude,

The supper which revives, and enkindles love.

XVI

Catch us the foxes,

For our vineyard has flourished;

While of roses

We make a nosegay,

And let no one appear on the hill.

XVII

O killing north wind, cease!

Come, south wind, that awakens love!

Blow through my garden,

And let its odors flow,

And the Beloved shall feed among the flowers.

XVIII

O nymphs of Judea!

While amid the flowers and the rose-trees

The amber sends forth its perfume,

Tarry in the suburbs,

And touch not our thresholds.

XIX

Hide yourself, O my Beloved!

Turn Your face to the mountains,

Do not speak,

But regard the companions

Of her who is traveling amidst strange islands.

XX

THE BRIDEGROOM

Light-winged birds,

Lions, fawns, bounding does,

Mountains, valleys, strands,

Waters, winds, heat,

And the terrors that keep watch by night;

XXI

By the soft lyres

And the siren strains, I adjure you,

Let your fury cease,

And touch not the wall,

That the bride may sleep in greater security.

XXII

The bride has entered

The pleasant and desirable garden,

And there reposes to her heart’s content;

Her neck reclining

On the sweet arms of the Beloved.

XXIII

Beneath the apple-tree

There were you betrothed;

There I gave you My hand,

And you were redeemed

Where your mother was corrupted.

XXIV

THE BRIDE

Our bed is of flowers

By dens of lions encompassed,

Hung with purple,

Made in peace,

And crowned with a thousand shields of gold.

XXV

In Your footsteps

The young ones run Your way;

At the touch of the fire

And by the spiced wine,

The divine balsam flows.

XXVI

In the inner cellar

Of my Beloved have I drunk; and when I went forth

Over all the plain

I knew nothing,

And lost the flock I followed before.

XXVII

There He gave me His breasts,

There He taught me the science full of sweetness.

And there I gave to Him

Myself without reserve;

There I promised to be His bride.

XXVIII

My soul is occupied,

And all my substance in His service;

Now I guard no flock,

Nor have I any other employment:

My sole occupation is love.

XXIX

If, then, on the common land

I am no longer seen or found,

You will say that I am lost;

That, being enamored,

I lost myself; and yet was found.

XXX

Of emeralds, and of flowers

In the early morning gathered,

We will make the garlands,

Flowering in Your love,

And bound together with one hair of my head.

XXXI

By that one hair

You have observed fluttering on my neck,

And on my neck regarded,

You were captivated;

And wounded by one of my eyes.

XXXII

When You regarded me,

Your eyes imprinted in me Your grace:

For this You loved me again,

And thereby my eyes merited

To adore what in You they saw

XXXIII

Despise me not,

For if I was swarthy once

You can regard me now;

Since You have regarded me,

Grace and beauty have You given me.

XXXIV

THE BRIDEGROOM

The little white dove

Has returned to the ark with the bough;

And now the turtle-dove

Its desired mate

On the green banks has found.

XXXV

In solitude she lived,

And in solitude built her nest;

And in solitude, alone

Has the Beloved guided her,

In solitude also wounded with love.

XXXVI

THE BRIDE

Let us rejoice, O my Beloved!

Let us go forth to see ourselves in Your beauty,

To the mountain and the hill,

Where the pure water flows:

Let us enter into the heart of the thicket.

XXXVII

We shall go at once

To the deep caverns of the rock

Which are all secret,

There we shall enter in

And taste of the new wine of the pomegranate.

XXXVIII

There you will show me

That which my soul desired;

And there You will give at once,

O You, my life!

That which You gave me the other day.

XXXIX

The breathing of the air,

The song of the sweet nightingale,

The grove and its beauty

In the serene night,

With the flame that consumes, and gives no pains.

XL

None saw it;

Neither did Aminadab appear

The siege was intermitted,

And the cavalry dismounted

At the sight of the waters.

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