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Night Visiting Song of Songs

TheSnail 05 Oct 10 - 12:41 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Oct 10 - 04:32 PM
Valmai Goodyear 06 Oct 10 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,leeneia 07 Oct 10 - 09:44 AM
Marje 07 Oct 10 - 12:25 PM
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Subject: Night Visiting Song of Songs
From: TheSnail
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 12:41 PM

In another thread, attention was drawn to Solomons Song of Songs, in particular Chapter 5

Is this the original night visiting song? It even contains the metaphor of opening the door and letting him in and opening...well...herself and letting him in.

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Subject: RE: Night Visiting Song of Songs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:32 PM

I must be going no longer staying,
The murky swamp I have to brave
I must be guided with ne'er a stumble
Until I reach my true-love's cave.


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Subject: RE: Night Visiting Song of Songs
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 10:33 AM

Spot on, Bryan. This is fascinating.

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Subject: RE: Night Visiting Song of Songs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 09:44 AM

If we're going to discuss it, let's hear the whole story:

<< Song of Solomon 5 >>
New American Standard Bible   

1"I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
         I have gathered my myrrh along with my balsam.
         I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
         I have drunk my wine and my milk.
         Eat, friends;
         Drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers."
2"I was asleep but my heart was awake.
         A voice! My beloved was knocking:
         'Open to me, my sister, my darling,
         My dove, my perfect one!
         For my head is drenched with dew,
         My locks with the damp of the night.'

3"I have taken off my dress,
         How can I put it on again?
         I have washed my feet,
         How can I dirty them again?

4"My beloved extended his hand through the opening,
         And my feelings were aroused for him.

5"I arose to open to my beloved;
         And my hands dripped with myrrh,
         And my fingers with liquid myrrh,
         On the handles of the bolt.

6"I opened to my beloved,
         But my beloved had turned away and had gone!
         My heart went out to him as he spoke.
         I searched for him but I did not find him;
         I called him but he did not answer me.

7"The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me,
         They struck me and wounded me;
         The guardsmen of the walls took away my shawl from me.

8"I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
         If you find my beloved,
         As to what you will tell him:
         For I am lovesick."

9"What kind of beloved is your beloved,
         O most beautiful among women?
         What kind of beloved is your beloved,
         That thus you adjure us?"

Admiration by the Bride

10"My beloved is dazzling and ruddy,
         Outstanding among ten thousand.

11"His head is like gold, pure gold;
         His locks are like clusters of dates
         And black as a raven.

12"His eyes are like doves
         Beside streams of water,
         Bathed in milk,
         And reposed in their setting.

13"His cheeks are like a bed of balsam,
         Banks of sweet-scented herbs;
         His lips are lilies
         Dripping with liquid myrrh.

14"His hands are rods of gold
         Set with beryl;
         His abdomen is carved ivory
         Inlaid with sapphires.

15"His legs are pillars of alabaster
         Set on pedestals of pure gold;
         His appearance is like Lebanon
         Choice as the cedars.

16"His mouth is full of sweetness.
         And he is wholly desirable.
         This is my beloved and this is my friend,
         O daughters of Jerusalem."

I agree that it could be the earliest night-visiting song, but why does he disappear just when she's about to open the door?

I think the lover was a dream or was a ghost. That's why she searches the streets and cannot find him.

The guards beating her for being out of the house - a bitter insight into the attitudes toward women at the time.

It is interesting to see what things are similar to what we would write today (the lovers, the door, the visit) and what things differ (such as saying that "His legs are pillars of alabaster set on pedestals of pure gold.")

I just had a thought. Do you suppose those references to gold, ivory, beryl and alabaster mean that the man is merely an idol? He comes in a dream (fantasy) but disappears when you really want him?

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Subject: RE: Night Visiting Song of Songs
From: Marje
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 12:25 PM

This is fascinating. There are British versions of a night-visiting song in which the same thing happens -
"Then slowly, slowy rose she up
And slowly slowly pulled she on
But when she had the door unlocked
She found he had both been and gone"

And this version goes on to warn that she's well out of it, as "true love is timid, so be not bold" - he's already away flirting with other girls. Alternatively, it could be seen as a warning not to dither but to take your chance while you have it ...

If its origins are so early, you'd expect other traditions to have evolved their own versions of a night-visiting song. Do similar songs exist in other cultures/languages, does anyone know?


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