Elizabeth Singer Rowe

(1674-1737 / England)

A Paraphrase On The Canticles. Chapter V. - Poem by Elizabeth Singer Rowe

The Night her blackest Vestments had put on,
And all the fair remains of day were gone:
When my dear Lord, as he had oft before,
With Speed and Love approach'd the bolted Door:
Arise, my Love, he cries, and with a Voice,
Divinely charming, pleads his entrance thus;
My Spouse, my Sister, and my fairest Love,
(Believing, sure, that Dialect would move);
Arise, for loaden with the Midnight Dew,
Disorder'd, all my streaming Tresses flew:
I knew the Voice, the moving Eloquence;
But ah! deluded by my drowsie sence;
Careless, and Soft, upon a Mossy Bed,
I lean'd Supine, with Odorous Roses spread;
And long, with weak Excuses, did delay,
Amazing him at my unwonted stay.
Mov'd, with his Patience, my unrelenting Breast,
Forgetting now to say, I am Undrest.
Unto the Door, at length, I rusht, in spite
Of Darkness, and the Terrors of the Night;
With Rage, to break the guilty Bars I try'd,
Which Entrance to my Lord so long deny'd:
But found the dear resenting Charmer fled,
I curs'd my Sloth, and curs'd my conscious Bed.
Yet such a fragrant Sweetness fill'd the Air
From his dear Hands, I thought he had still been there.
I call'd aloud, still hoping he was near,
And louder still, but Ah! he wou'd not hear.
Then thro' the Streets, distracted with my Grief
I wildly roving, begg'd of all, relief.
At least I met th'ungentle Watch, and they
Deride my Tears, and force my Veil away.
Ye tender Virgins! you that know the pain
A Breast so soft as mine must needs sustain,
Robb'd of the once kind Partner of my Fires,
And still dear Object of my rackt desires;
I charge you, if you meet my absent Love,
With all the Rhetorick of our Sex, to move
His deafn'd Ears; and tell him, with a Sigh,
Deep as my Wounds, ah tell him how I dy.
--Perhaps that Tragick Word may force the dear
Relentless Author of my Grief to hear.

Daughters of Jerusalem.
What thy Beloved is, we first wou'd know,
Fairest of Women! thou dost charge us so.
What Charms unequal'd in him dost thou see,
Impatient Fair! to raise these Storms in thee?

Commencing all Perfection, he is such
Your most exalted Thoughts can hardly touch.
Unsully'd heaps of Snow are not so white,
He's Fairer than condensed Beams of Light.
His Rosy Cheeks of such a lucent Dy,
As Sol ne're gilded on the morning Sky.
His Head like polish'd Gold, his graceful Hair,
Dark as the Plumes that jetty Ravens wear.
His Eyes, the endless Magazines of Love,
How soft! how sweet! how powerfully they move!
He breathes more sweetness than the Infant Morn,
When Heavenly Dews the Flowry Plains Adorn,
The Fragrant Drops of Rich Arabian Gums
Burnt on the Altar, yield not such Perfumes.
His Hands, surpassing Lillies, grac'd with Gems,
Fit to Enrich Coelestial Diadems.
His Breast smooth Ivory, Enamel'd all
With Veins, which Saphirs 'twere unjust to call.
Divine his Steps, with his Majestick Air,
Not ev'n the Lofty Cedars can compare.
So sweet his Voice, the listning Angels throng
With silent Harps to th' Musick of his Tongue.
--He's altogether--Lovely, This is He,
Now Virgins! Pity, tho' you envy Me.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, October 14, 2010

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