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The Whole Revised and Diligently Compared with
the Latin Vulgate by Bishop Richard Challoner
SOLOMON'S CANTICLE OF CANTICLES
This Book is called the Canticle of Canticles, that is to say, the most
excellent of all canticles: because it is full of high mysteries,
relating to the happy union of Christ and his spouse: which is here
begun by love; and is to be eternal in heaven. The spouse of Christ is
the church: more especially as to the happiest part of it, viz., perfect
souls, every one of which is his beloved, but, above all others, the
immaculate and ever blessed virgin mother.
Canticle of Canticles Chapter 1
The spouse aspires to an union with Christ, their mutual love for one
1:1. Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth: for thy breasts are
better than wine,
Let him kiss me... The church, the spouse of Christ, prays that he may
love and have peace with her, which the spouse prefers to every thing
delicious: and therefore expresses (ver. 2) that young maidens, that is
the souls of the faithful, have loved thee.
1:2. Smelling sweet of the best ointments. Thy name is as oil poured
out: therefore young maidens have loved thee.
1:3. Draw me: we will run after thee to the odour of thy ointments. The
king hath brought me into his storerooms: we will be glad and rejoice in
thee, remembering thy breasts more than wine: the rightous love thee.
Draw me... That is, with thy grace: otherwise I should not be able to
come to thee. This metaphor shews that we cannot of ourselves come to
Christ our Lord, unless he draws us by his grace, which is laid up in
his storerooms: that is, in the mysteries of Faith, which God in his
goodness and love for mankind hath revealed, first by his servant Moses
in the Old Law in figure only, and afterwards in reality by his only
begotten Son Jesus Christ.
1:4. I am black but beautiful, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents
of Cedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
I am black but beautiful... That is, the church of Christ founded in
humility appearing outwardly afflicted, and as it were black and
contemptible; but inwardly, that is, in its doctrine and morality, fair
1:5. Do not consider me that I am brown, because the sun hath altered my
colour: the sons of my mother have fought against me, they have made me
the keeper in the vineyards: my vineyard I have not kept.
1:6. Shew me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou
liest in the midday, lest I begin to wander after the flocks of thy
1:7. If thou know not thyself, O fairest among women, go forth, and
follow after the steps of the flocks, and feed thy kids beside the tents
of the shepherds.
If thou know not thyself, etc... Christ encourages his spouse to follow
and watch her flock: and though she know not entirely the power at hand
to assist her, he tells her, ver. 8, my company of horsemen, that is,
his angels, are always watching and protecting her. And in the following
verses he reminds her of the virtues and gifts with which he has endowed
1:8. To my company of horsemen, in Pharao's chariots, have I likened
thee, O my love.
1:9. Thy cheeks are beautiful as the turtledove's, thy neck as jewels.
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