The Song of Solomon aka The Song of Songs
The Song of Solomon, also known as The Song of Songs and
The Canticle of Canticles, is one of the earth's oldest love songs, and it
remains one of the best, even in translation. The poem is unique in the Hebrew
Bible for its celebration of sexual love. While the poem has been credited to
the Bible's famous King Solomon, the wisest of all men, there is no proof that
he composed it. The poem's language, Aramaic, has been dated to no earlier the
sixth century BCE, which would be several centuries after Solomon's lifetime.
However, the Aramaic poem could have been based on an older poem in another
language. Estimates of the poem's antiquity range from the tenth to the second
century BCE. At one time it was believed that The Song of Solomon was
the earth's oldest love poem, but ancient Sumerian poems such as
The Love Song for Shu-Sin
appear to be much older. The excerpt
below is from the King James Bible. Many Christians interpret the poem as an
allegory of Christ's love for the Church.
Excerpt from "The Song of Solomon"
attributed to King Solomon
English translation from the King James Bible
I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons.
I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.
His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.
I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes,
and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor wake my love, till he please.
The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall,
he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.
My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance,
let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.
Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved,
and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.