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LIPS AND Teeth. This all know is commonly the Case of good Wines. The only Ground on which the Verb 237 has the Sense of Speaking given to it is, that 127 signifies a Rumour.
V. 2. I would lead thee, and bring thee into my Mother's House, who would instruct me:
] , Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic Versions seem to have read (instead of the last Word, 7050) 750 goh 4789; for they all render - I would lead thee, and bring thee into my Mother's House, AND INTO THE CHAMBER OF HER WHO BORE ME.
V. 5. Who is this that cometh up from the Wilderness, leaning upon ber beloved ? ] This Interrogation, instead of being contained in a Parenthesis, ought to make a distinct Verse; as it is neither put in the Mouth of the Bridegroom, nor the Bride. The Speakers are probably the Virgins who attended upon this Occasion.
- I raised thee up under the Apple Tree: there thy Mother brought thee forth;
] groom having suggested to the Bride that he once awaked her from her Sleep under a Tree, seems to take Occasion to remind her, that under that very Tree her Mother had been seized with the Pangs of Childbirth : a Circumstance which cannot be introduced with Propriety but in such a Poem as a Pastoral. So Virgil, Ecl. VIII. v. 37.
Sepibus in nostris parvam te roscida mala
Dux ego vester eram) vidi cum Matre legentem &c.
Ut vidi, ut perii, ut me malus abftulit error! Which is an Imitation of Theocritus, Elara. B. 82.
Xως ιδον, ως εμανην, ως μοι αει θυμος ιαφθη
Martial also takes Notice of a similar Circumstance, Lib.VI. Epig. LXIV.
Dum prandia portat aranti, Hirsuta peperit rubicunda sub ilice conjux. V.6. which hath a most vebement Flame. :i7nanboy ] This Word is supposed to be compounded of the relative Particle w, an a Flame, and 7 God: but I think that inans is only the plural Termi
nation with the feminine Affix; and I would render it INFLAME HER.
V.9. If the be a Wall, we will build upon ber a Palace of Silver :
] I apprehend no more is meant, than simply to say, that, if the be fit to be married, we ought to seek out a suitable Husband for her,
UPON THE WHOLE, this Poem seems to be of a mixt Nature between the Dramatic and the Pastoral. The Unities of Time, Place, and Characters are not so strictly observed as in later Compositions of either Kind. There are Traces of seven different Days ; during which Interval the Marriage Festival lasted among the Jews : see Gen. XXIX. 27. Judg. XIV. 12. The Scene sometimes represents the Country, sometimes the City, &c. And Solomon appears at Times in his own real Character, presently after in that of a Shepherd, then reafsumes his own again. The Dramatis Persona, besides the Bridegroom and Bride, are the Watchmen, or such Persons as are occasionally met with on the Road, and a Chorus of Maidens, Attendants on the Bride. The Language is sometimes lofty and spirited; sometimes only suitable to Shepherds. Many of the Words, occurring in no other Place, cannot have their precise Senfe easily ascertained : neither can we always see the Justness of all the Comparisons; which probably proceeds from our Ignorance, not only of the Terms, but of the Manners, and other Circumstances.
This Poem is generally considered as an Epithalamium composed by Solomon on his Marriage with the Daughter of Pharaoh, the King of Egypt. And this appears to me to be the only Point of View in which it ought to be considered. In respect to the mystical Sense which it is supposed to contain, I must frankly acknowledge, that I cannot perceive the least Foundation for it. This Notion I suppose was originally derived from the Targum, and adopted soon after by some of the Fathers, who, with more Piety than judgment, thought that, as St. Paul compares the Union of Christ with his Church to a Marriage, this Poem ought also to be interpreted with reference to the same Subject. But how is it consistent with this Idea, that neither the Name of God, nor of Christ, ever occurs in it? that there is not one religious or moral Sentiment to be found ? that it is not once either quoted, or most distantly alluded to, in any Part of the Sacred Writings ? on which account perhaps it is not directed to be read in our Churches.
We find also, that those who attempt to trace the Allegory in every Part are foon loft in an inextricable Labyrinth.
But I seem already to hear it objected, that it is great Presumption to venture to dissent from an Opinion, which has been established for near twenty Centuries, and has been abetted by great, good, and learned Men during all that long Interval ; and that this novel Opinion may
tend to weaken the Foundation of the Church of Christ. To this I reply, that mere Length of Time is but a sandy Foundation for the Basis of Truth to rest upon'; that all it can in Reason pretend to is, to teach us Caution before we quit established Opinions : but surely it ought not to preclude us from making due Inquiries, and using our rational Powers; or, upon due Conviction of former Errors, from publicly detecting them. In regard to any fupposed Inconvenience accruing to the Christian Religion, I really see none. On the contrary, as it is so well established on the sure Word of Prophecy, which Thrones, Principalities, and Powers, cannot prevail against, it appears to me more for the Interest of that Religion to quit an untenable Post, than to expose it to the Assault of Enemies, who must inevitably soon become Masters of it.
AD VERTISEMEN T.
HE Author firft intended to have subjoined to the preceding
Sheets his Remarks on the Prophets : but, being indispensably obliged to be absent from the University for some Time, finds himself under a Necessity of postponing the Publication to another Opportunity.
E RR A T A. Pag. 8. L. 9. for roboxy read..boni. P. 113. laft Line, read elliptical. P. 116. L. 29. read rest. P. 138. L. 15. Dele, whereas it signifies nowhere, O most High. P. 226. L. 29. for Period, r. Comma.