The Torment of Separation
1 I have come into my garden, my sister, my [promised] bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my balsam and spice [from your sweet words I have gathered the richest perfumes and spices]. I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends [feast on, O revelers of the palace; you can never make my lover disloyal to me]! Drink, yes, drink abundantly of love, O precious one [for now I know you are mine, irrevocably mine! With his confident words still thrilling her heart, through the lattice she saw her shepherd turn away and disappear into the night].
2 I went to sleep, but my heart stayed awake. [I dreamed that I heard] the voice of my beloved as he knocked [at the door of my mother's cottage]. Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my spotless one [he said], for I am wet with the [heavy] night dew; my hair is covered with it. 3 [But weary from a day in the vineyards, I had already sought my rest] I had put off my garment -- " how could I [again] put it on? I had washed my feet -- "how could I [again] soil them? 4 My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my heart was moved for him. 5 I rose up to open for my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, and my fingers with liquid [sweet-scented] myrrh, [which he had left] upon the handles of the bolt. 6 I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and withdrawn himself, and was gone! My soul went forth [to him] when he spoke, but it failed me [and now he was gone]! I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. 7 The watchmen who go about the city found me. They struck me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took my veil and my mantle from me. 8 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him that I am sick from love [simply sick to be with him].
9 What is your beloved more than another beloved, O you fairest among women [taunted the ladies]? What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you should give us such a charge?
Admiration by the Bride
10 [She said] My beloved is fair and ruddy, the chief among ten thousand! 11 His head is [as precious as] the finest gold; his locks are curly and bushy and black as a raven. 12 His eyes are like doves beside the water brooks, bathed in milk and fitly set. 13 His cheeks are like a bed of spices or balsam, like banks of sweet herbs yielding fragrance. His lips are like bloodred anemones or lilies distilling liquid [sweet-scented] myrrh. 14 His hands are like rods of gold set with [nails of] beryl or topaz. His body is a figure of bright ivory overlaid with [veins of] sapphires. 15 His legs are like strong and steady pillars of marble set upon bases of fine gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, excellent, stately, and majestic as the cedars. 16 His voice and speech are exceedingly sweet; yes, he is altogether lovely [the whole of him delights and is precious]. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!