THou art beautifull, O my loue, as is the place, or strong and faire citie Tirzah: thou art comlie and faire as Ierusalem: fearfull and terrible as an armie of men with their banners.
Turne awaie thine eies from mee, for they haue set me on fire, and ouercome mee: [so excéeding is my loue to∣wards thée my Church, yea I must néeds praise thy spirituall and comlie beautie also in all thy members. For] thy hearie locks are like a flocke of goats, which go downe to be shorne vpon the mountaine of Gilead.
Thy teeth are like a flocke of shorne sheepe, which go vp from the washing place, where euerie one beareth twins, & not one is barren, or vnfruitfull among them.
Thy cheekes, or temples, are like a peece of pomgra∣nate, within thy locks of heare.
There are threescore Queenes, and fourescore con∣cubines, Page 20 or wiues, and of the damsels without num∣ber. [For the faithfull are manie in number, and diuers orders and degrées of men there are therein: or the gifts and graces which I doo giue vnto my Church, are infinit.]
But my dooue is one alone, and mine vndefiled dear∣ling, she is the onlie beloued daughter of hir mother, and deere vnto hir that bare hir. [For diuers particular Churches dispersed, make but one catholike Church.] When the daughters sawe hir, they said she was blessed: ye a euen the Queenes and concubins, or wiues praised hir.
What, or who is she that looketh foorth as the mor∣ning, faire as the moone, pure as the sunne, terrible and fearfull as an armie of men with their banners? [Though the beginning of my Church was but small, yet hath it growne vp to a great multitude.]
I went downe vnto the nut garden, [and looked vpon my Church, subiect to affliction, what fruit it bringeth,] and to see what grew by the brooks in the vallie, if the vine bud∣ded, and if the vineyard & pomgranats flourished: [I went downe, I saie, into the Synagogue, to sée what fruits came of the lawe and the Prophets, but] I knew nothing, [nor found any thing but rebellion therin.] My soule set me as the cha∣riots of my noble people that be vnder tribute: [and I ran as swift as the nobles of my people in their chariots, to call them to repentance, saieng:]
Come againe, turne againe, O Shulamite, thou perfect one: turne againe, O my people of Ierusalem, turne againe, and we will looke vpon thee. What shall ye see in the Shulamite, [that is, Ierusalem, the which was Shalem, that signifieth peace,] but like men of war singing in a companie?
O how pleasant and beautifull are thy goings with shooes, thou princes daughter! The ioints of thy thighs are like a faire iewell, which is wrought by the hand of a cunning workemaister?
Thy nauell is like a round goblet or cup, which is Page 21 neuer without drinke, or wanteth liquor, [but is euer re∣plenished with the rich knowledge of Gods word, and heauenlie desires.]
Thy bellie or wombe is as an heape of wheate that is set about with lillies: [euen full of spirituall treasures.]
Thy two breasts [of the old testament and the new, which came from God,] are like two twins of yoong Roes, [and are of equall authoritie in the Church.]
Thy necke [or preachers,] is like the tower of Iuorie, [and ought to be pure and godlie.] Thine eies also are like the water pooles that are in Nesbon, by the gates of Bath-Rabbin, [euen thy magistrates must be well instructed in Gods word.] Thy nose [or Iudges of good & euill,] is like the tower of Lebanon, which looketh toward Damascus.
Thine head that standeth vpon thee is like Carmel, or skarlet, & the heare of thine head like purple. The king is tied in the gallerie or rafters, or dwelleth a∣mong manie water conduits, [and delighteth to come néere thée, and to be in thy companie.]
O how faire and louelie art thou my loue! How pleasant art thou O my dearling in pleasures!
This thy stature is like a palme tree, [which the more it is pressed & persecuted, the more it groweth and increaseth,] and thy breasts are like the clusters of grapes.
I said, I will climbe vp into the palme tree, and take hold of hir high boughes. Thy breasts also shall now be like the clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy no∣strils like as the sauour of apples.
And the roofe of thy mouth like the best wine, which is meet for my best bloud, and causeth the lips of the ancient to speake.