The Church or faithfull soule speaketh to Christ.
O That thou wouldest kisse me with the kisses of thy mouth [euen with thy peace which passeth all vnderstanding:] for thy loue [O Christ] is bet∣ter and more pleasant [vnto me] than wine: and that bicause of the good and pleasant sauour of thy Page 9 most pretious balmes or ointments, [euen of thy great benefits, which I taste and féele from thée.]
Thy name [O Christ] is as a sweet smelling ointment when it is powred out and shed foorth: [thy mercie is set foorth and published by preaching thy Gospell,] therefore the Uirgins [euen they that are pure in hart and conuersation] doo loue thee.
Drawe thou me [O swéete Christ] vnto thee, and wee will run after thee: [for otherwise I confesse we can not come to thée, except we be drawne of thée.] The King hath brought me into his priuie chambers: [and reuealed vnto me the se∣cret ioies not knowne to the world,] we will [therefore] be glad and reioice in thee, [yea] wee thinke more of thy loue, than of wine. [For] they that be righteous loue thee [aboue all things.]
I am blacke [I confesse through the spots of sinne, persecuti∣on, and troubles] O ye daughters of Ierusalem: but yet comelie, faire, and welfauoured [through faith in the blood of Christ, in whose fauour I haue confidence and trust,] as the fruites or tents of the Kedarens or Arabians: and as the hangings or curtens of Salomon [which within were all set with pretious stones and iewels.]
Maruell not therfore at me, bicause I am so blacke, [nor regard or consider me by the outward apperance,] for why? the sunne [euen the corruption of nature through sinne and af∣fliction] hath looked and shined vpon me. Yea and my mo∣thers children [euen mine owne brethren which should haue most fauoured me] were angrie against me, and hauing euill will at mee, they made me the keeper of the vine∣yards: but mine owne vineyard haue I not kept, [such alas hath béene mine owne negligence.]
[Therefore féeling my faults and imperfections, I flie now vnto thée, O Christ, my spirituall husband onlie for succour, besée∣ching thée and saieng,] Tell me, O thou whom my soule lo∣ueth, where thou feedest the sheepe, [O shew me, I saie,] where thou liest, and makest them rest at the noon day: Page 10 for why should I be like hir that turneth aside, or go∣eth wrong about the flocks of thy companions [whome thou hast called to the dignitie of pastors in thy Church: and yet they like apostataes not onelie set foorth their owne false dreames and traditions in stéed of thy true doctrine: but also are become the domesticall enimies that persecute the Church.]