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The hair of the goats was soft, smooth, of a yellow cast, like that of the bride;* her beautiful tresses are compared with the numerous flocks of goats which covered this fourishing mountain from the top to the bottom.
“ Thy teeth are like the shorn flock +
Which have come up from the washing place,
And none among them is bereaved." The evenness, whiteness, and unbroken order of the teeth is admirably expressed. “Like the twice-dyed thread of crimson are thy lips,
And thy language is sweet.” That is, thin and ruby-coloured, such as add peculiar graces to the sweetness of the voice.
“ Like the slice of a pomegranate
Are thy cheeks amidst thy tresses."S ascend from Mount Gilead” appears an odd phrase. Possibly the passage ought to be construed, “ Thy locks are as a flock of goats ascending, which are seen from Mount Gilead.”-M.
Thy hair is like a herd of goats
down from Mount Gilead [in the morning to the watering): deriving wha from an Arabic word, which Schultens explains to go to be watered in the morning.
That browse, is a sense obtained from the Syriac and Chaldee. Those who render the word shine are indebted to a transposition of letters in abw, snow, for this signification.-S. H.
* See chap. vii. 5. and compare 1 Sam. xix. 13. 16. with xri, 12. Consult Bochart, Hieroz. part i. lib. ij. 51.
+ “ The verb Kattab means to cut off or cut down ; the interpretation, therefore, of the word ketzubot, shorn, which many have adopted, and which is confirmed by all the old translations, appears to me the most probable. From the same verb, I think, may be deduced the signification precisely equal, intimating that the sheep were all exactly shorn to one standard as it were. (See Bochart, Hieroz. part i. lib. ji. 45.) Will not this sense better suit the connexion? Is not the whiteness and purity of sheep (and so of teeth) expressed in these two lines, rather than their evenness, which seems to be included in those that follow?"-H.
# “ The Arabic verb onn denotes not only to bring forth twins, but also to have a companion : whence oxin, joined, or connected in a series; and 07'sin, says Golius, is a pearl, from the link or order of the pearls. Nothing can be more expressive than this image of the beautiful regularity and equality of the teeth.
The learned Michaelis prefers twins, referring perhaps to the counterpart in the next member.”-H.
$ Behind thy veil, says Michaelis, from the Arabic opy, to fasten together; and the well-known 7771238 0x75x, Giggeius, to have a stipated kead; placed within a small integument."--H.
Partly obscured, as it were, by her hair, and exhibiting a gentle blush of red from beneath the delicate shade, as the seeds of the pomegranate (the colour of which is white tinged with red) surrounded by the rind.
Thy neck is like the tower of David
All bucklers for the mighty." The neck is described as long, erect, slender, according to the nicest proportion; decorated with gold, gems, and large pearls. It is compared with some turret of the citadel of Sion, more lofty than the rest, remarkable for its elegance, and not less illustrious for its architecture than for the trophies with which it was adorned, being hung round with shields and other implements of war. “ Thy two breasts are like two young kids,
Twins of the gazal, that browse among the lilies.”+ Delicate and smooth, standing equally prominent from the ivory bosom. The animal with which they are compared is
“ As the opening blossom of the pomegranate are thy cheeks,
From within thy locks.” Simon accurately interprets ho by the bursting forth of a flower, and Guarini by balauslium, a word which Pliny will enable us to explain. He observes, that the embryo of the pomegranate, which has its origin in the flower, is called by the Greeks citynus; and adds, that the young blossom which breaks forth before the fruit becomes visible, is distinguished by the name balanslium. Dioscorides, however, has remarked, that balaustium is the blossom of the wild, and citynus of the cultivated pomegranate. (See Notes on Vathek, p. 309, &c.]-779, here translated locks in a figurative sense, is properly that radiated down which grows round the blossom of the pomegranate, and partially shades it, as the hair does the cheeks.-S. H.
• “ The word ni0n, which may be numbered among those that occur but once, certain critics, says R. L. B. Gershom, derive from thn, to sus
, , , ; 1000, suppose of swords: thus, in the following sentence, 950 72227 73 soby will afford an etymological explication of this word.”—H.
† “ Thy two paps are like two young kids,
Twins of the gazal,
That browse amongst the lilies." The points of similitude between the objects here compared, I apprehend to consist,
1. In the colour of these young animals, which in the original is called 7DY, while deepening into red, (from an Arabic word of this import), whence their name is derived.
2. In their relative height, as just rising above the growth of lilies: they being compared to paps that never gave suck,"
אלף and תלה of a sword ; others from חובות ,that is ,פיות pend
an animal of exquisite beauty, and from that circumstance it derives its name in the Hebrew. Nothing can, I think, be imagined more truly elegant and poetical than all these passages, nothing more apt or expressive than these compari
The discovery of these excellencies, however, only serves to increase our regret for the many beauties which we have lost, the perhaps superior graces, which extreme antiquity seems to have overcast with an impenetrable shade.
These circumstances are noticed to justify this translation; for the fawns of a roe, neither in colour nor height, at all correspond to the objects compared. S. H.
• It is much to be lamented, that no commentator has arisen sufficiently qualified to explain this beautiful poem. Those who have attempted it have been scholastic divines, rather indeed mystics, and have entirely overlooked the obvious and more elegant meaning. Indeed the task is by no means easy: besides a very accurate and idiomatical knowledge of the oriental languages, an intiinate acquaintance with the manners of antiquity, and no small informa. tion concerning natural history, will be requisite: to these must be added a good deal of reading in the Arabic poetry, particularly in their compositions of the amorous kind; and last of all, a true taste for poetry. Very few of these qualities have existed separately, and never all of them conjunctly in those who have undertaken to illustrate this poem.
In order to exemplify how much might be effected towards clearing up the obscurities of this most elegant composition, by a knowledge of natural history alone, I will endeavour to explain my opinion of some difficult passages, (chap. v. 11. 14. vii. 6. 14). In chap. v. ver. 6. 11. most people are ignorant, and at a loss to conjecture, what may be the meaning of oignon: the Seventy and the Vulgate render it shatus, elatas, or the downy substance in which the dates are involved: nor is this translation very different from the Arabic, which renders it the branch of the palm-tree from which the dates depend. But what relation can this bear to the human hair? I answer, the resemblance is obvious to any person who has seen the object of the comparison, or has remarked the plate of it annexed to the notes on Theophrastus's History of Plants by Jo. Budeus.—But how is Solomon consistent, in the same verse speaking of raven locks and a golden head ?
“ His head is of pure gold,
The locks of which resemble the branches of the palm-tree,
And black as the raven." To reconcile this difficulty, it is necessary to know, that although the orientals may possibly admire raven locks in their natural state, yet they are accustomed to dye thein with henna (so they call the oil of privet), in order to give them a yellow or golden cast: this is an ancient custom, though the existence of it among the Hebrews may be disputed; but probably for this same purpose they miglit make use of gold dust, as the Latins are known to have done.
With the same henna they stain the countenance, as well as the hands and arms, which first changes them to an azure blue, and they grow yellow by degrees; and this they esteem a great object of beauty, though it would be accounted deformity with us.—This observation will enable us to understand better some phrases in the 14th and 15th verses of the same chapter :
“ His hands are as gold rings
Inlaid with chrysolite :
His belly as plates of ivory
Upon a base of gold.” The fingers being stained with henna, appeared as if they had gold rings on, set with chrysolite; which gem was formerly of a yellow colour. I say formerly, because the same stone which we call the topaz was the ancient chrysolite. (See Hill's Hist. of Fossils.) But if by the word tarshish we understand the ancient hyacinth or amethyst, an azure colour will then be alluded to, which the same henna produces on the skin. The whiteness of the body, covered with a delicate purple vest, is finely compared to ivory overlaid with sapphire. Shesh is without doubt figured marble; to which the legs and thighs are compared, from the blue and serpentine veins which run along them, and which are more pellucid in proportion to the fineness of the skin. The bases are golden slippers.
The 5th verse of the viith chapter is among the most difficult. The head of the king's daughter is compared to the pyramidal top of Carmel, covered with thick trees; by which simile is, I apprehend, intimated the quantity and beauty of her hair. The word dallat also occurs for hair, in the explanation of which commentators have been greatly perplexed : some, led away by a whimsical etymology, have supposed it to mean thin hair, as if this could possibly be a subject of Aattery to a young lady. In my opinion, the word is derived from the Arabic as well as the Chaldaic word 2017, the fringe of a garment or tent, and means any thing pendant, or hanging loose. The hair is compared to purple, not however, I think, on account of the colour; for the henna, with which they stained their hair, makes it yellow, not purple: I suspect some allusion is rather intended to the animal which produces purple. That animal is of a pyramidal form, rising beautifully in a spiral cone, whence it is called aregman, from its likeness to the stone monuments. There follows D'07772 9108 7292, which, with some degree of hesitation, I venture to translate, “ as a king encircled with a diadem :" the Septuagint has it, “s πορφυρα βασιλεως, σιριδεμενη ειλημασι. The upright oriental tiara is alluded to, the mark of royalty, which is more noble the higher it is. Thus the verse may be explained, and it will then be found to present a just picture of the oriental head-dress :
“ Thine head resembles Carmel ;
And thine bair is raised like the shell of the purple,
Like a king encircled with diadems.” In the latter verses of the same chapter there is an elegant description of Spring; but what chiefly creates difficulty is the dudain, which are said 10 produce odours. The famous Celsius, in his Sacred Botany, seems to have been peculiarly unfortunate on this subject. The word is translated mandragoræ (or mandrake) on the most ancient authority ; but Celsius cannot allow this plant any place in a love-poem, because it has in reality a bad smell. The text explained from the Arabic is, “ The mandrakes produce a strong odour." We must remember, that it was the opinion of all the orientals that the mandrake was of especial efficacy in love-potions ; the truth of which opinion is of no concern to us, if we only allow it to have been the general opinion of the eastern nations. The text therefore implies, “ The mandrake will breathe its strong and somniferous odours, and provoke to love."-M.
OF THE POEM OF JOB.
In order to criticise the Book of Job with any degree of satis
faction to his auditors, the critic must explain his own sentiments concerning the work in general-- The Book of Job a singular composition, and has little or no connexion with the affairs of the Hebrews-- The seat of the history is Idumea ; and the characters are evidently Idumean of the family of Abraham— The author appears to be an Idumaan, who spoke the Hebrew as his vernacular tongue-Neither Elihu nor Moses, rather Job himself, or some contemporary - This appears
to be the oldest book extant : founded upon true history, and contains no allegory- Although extremely obscure, still the general subject and design are sufficiently evident— A short and general analysis of the whole work ; in which the obscurer passages are brought as little as possible in question— The deductions from this disquisition : 1. The subject of the controversy between Job and his friends : 2. The subject of the whole poem : 3. Its end or purpose-- All questions not necessarily appertaining to this point to be avoided.
Such a diversity of opinions has prevailed in the learned world concerning the nature and design of the Poem of Job, that the only point in which commentators seem to agree is the extreme obscurity of the subject. To engage, therefore, in an undertaking on which so much erudition has been expended, to tread the same paths which so many have already traversed in vain, may seem to require some apology for the temerity, not to say the presumption, of the attempt. Though I might allege, that the authority of the most learned men is lessened in some measure by the discordance of their opinions, and that therefore the failure of others is the more readily to be excused, I will, however, make use of no such defence, but will entrench myself rather in the necessity and in the nature of my present undertaking. I pretend not to any new discoveries; I presume not to determine the subtile controversies of the learned; I scarcely venture to indulge