It is my Custom, when I read your Papers, to read over the Quotations in the Authors from whence you take them: As you mentiond a Passage lately out of the second Chapter of Solomon's Song, it occasion'd my looking into it; and upon reading it I thought the Ideas so exquisitely soft and tender, that I could not help making this Paraphrase of it; which, now it is done, I can as little forbear sending to you. Some Marks of your Approbation, which I have already receiv'd, have given me so sensible a Taste of them, that I cannot forbear endeavouring after them as often as I can with any Appearance of Success. I am, SIR, Your most [obedient ] humble Servant.
The Second Chapter of Solomon's Song.
I. As when in Sharon's Field the blushing Rose Does its chaste Bosom to the Morn disclose, Whilst all around the Zephyrs bear The fragrant Odours thro' the Air: Or as the Lilly in the shady Vale, Does o'er each Flower with beauteous Pride prevail, And stands with Dews and kindest Sun-shine blest, In fair Pre-eminence, superior to the rest: So if my Love, with happy Influence, shed His Eyes bright Sun-shine on his Lover's Head, Then shall the Rose of Sharon's Field, And whitest Lillies to my Beauties yield. Then fairest Flowers with studious Art combine, The Roses with the Lillies join, And their united [Charms are ] less than mine.
II. As much as fairest Lillies can surpass A Thorn in Beauty, or in Height the Grass; So does my Love among the Virgins shine, Adorn'd with Graces more than half Divine; Or as a Tree, that, glorious to behold, Is hung with Apples all of ruddy Gold, Hesperian Fruit! and beautifully high, Extends its Branches to the Sky; So does my Love the Virgin's Eyes invite: 'Tis he alone can fix their wand'ring Sight, [Among ] ten thousand eminently bright.
III. Beneath this pleasing Shade My weaned Limbs at Ease I laid, And on his fragrant Boughs reclined my Head. I pull'd the Golden Fruit with eager haste; Sweet was the Fruit, and pleasing to the Taste: With sparkling Wine he crown'd the Bowl, With gentle Ecstacies he fill'd my Soul; Joyous we sate beneath the shady Grove, And o'er my Head he hung the Banners of his Love.
IV. I faint; I die! my labouring Breast Is with the mighty Weight of Love opprest: I feel the Fire possess my Heart, And pain conveyed to every Part. Thro' all my Veins the Passion flies, My feeble Soul forsakes its Place, A trembling Faintness seals my Eyes, And Paleness dwells upon my Face; Oh! let my Love with pow'rful Odours stay My fainting lovesick Soul that dies away; One Hand beneath me let him place, With t'other press me in a chaste Embrace.
V. I charge you, Nymphs of Sion, as you go Arm'd with the sounding Quiver and the Bow, Whilst thro' the lonesome Woods you rove, You ne'er disturb my sleeping Love, Be only gentle Zephyrs there, With downy Wings to fan the Air; Let sacred Silence dwell around, To keep off each intruding Sound: And when the balmy Slumber leaves his Eyes, May he to Joys, unknown till then, arise.
VI. But see! he comes! with what majestick Gate He onward bears his lovely State! Now thro' the Lattice he appears, With softest Words dispels my Fears, Arise, my Fair-One, and receive All the Pleasures Love can give. For now the sullen Winters past, No more we fear the Northern Blast: No Storms nor threatning Clouds appear, No falling Rains deform the Year. My Love admits of no delay, Arise, my Fair, and come away.
VII. Already, see! the teeming Earth Brings forth the Flow'rs, her beauteous Birth. The Dews, and soft-descending Showers, Nurse the new-born tender Flow'rs. Hark! the Birds melodious sing, And sweetly usher in the Spring. Close by his Fellow sits the Dove, And billing whispers her his Love. The spreading Vines with Blossoms swell, Diffusing round a grateful Smell, Arise, my Fair-One, and receive All the Blessings Love can give: For Love admits of no delay, Arise, my Fair, and come away.
VIII. As to its Mate the constant Dove Flies thro' the Covert of the spicy Grove, So let us hasten to some lonely Shade, There let me safe in thy lov'd Arms be laid, Where no intruding hateful Noise Shall damp the Sound of thy melodious Voice; Where I may gaze, and mark each beauteous Grace; For sweet thy Voice, and lovely is thy Face.
IX. As all of me, my Love, is thine, Let all of thee be ever mine. Among the Lillies we will play, Fairer, my Love, thou art than they, Till the purple Morn arise, And balmy Sleep forsake thine Eyes; Till the gladsome Beams of Day Remove the Shades of Night away; Then when soft Sleep shall from thy Eyes depart, Rise like the bounding Roe, or lusty Hart, Glad to behold the Light again From Bether's Mountains darting o'er the Plain.
[Footnote 1: Percy had heard that a poetical translation of a chapter in the Proverbs, and another poetical translation from the Old Testament, were by Mr. Barr, a dissenting minister at Morton Hampstead in Devonshire.]
[Footnote 2: obliged]
[Footnote 3: [Beauties shall be]]
[Footnote 4: [And stands among]]Translation of motto: