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I believe the “ versions in general” are right in supposing “ointments or perfumes” are meant instead of flagons, because they are still considered to be most efficacious in removing the COMPLAINT. Thus, when the fever is most distressing, the sufferer is washed with rose water, rubbed with perfumed oils, and the dust of sandal wood. The margin has, instead of comfort, “ straw me with apples;" which probably means the citrons were to be put near to him, as it is believed they imbibe the heat, and consequently lessen the fever. It is also thought to be highly beneficial for the young sufferer to sleep on the tender leaves of the plaintain tree (banana), or the lotus flowers; and if, in addition, strings of pearls are tied to different parts of the body, there is reason to hope the patient will do well.
7. — “ I charge you
ye stir not up, nor awake
Here again the custom illustrates the passage; it would be considered barbarous in the extreme to awake a person out of his sleep. How often, in going to the house of a native, you are saluted with “Nittera-kulla-karār,” i.e. “He sleeps.” Ask them to arouse him : the reply is, “ Koodātha,” i. e. “I cannot.” Indeed, to request such a thing shows at once that you are a griffin.* Only think of that ignorant Englishman: he went to the house of our chief, and being told he was asleep, he said he must see him, and actually made such a noise as to awake him; and then laughed at what he had done.”
14.—“O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in
the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy
voice, and thy countenance is comely.” The Tamul translation has, instead of “countenance," “ form : ” “ Thy form is comely.” Dr. Boothroyd says
* The term applied to new comers.
“ stairs" is certainly improper; but may there not be here an allusion to the ancient custom of building towers in the East, for the purpose of accommodating doves? I have seen one which had stairs inside (probably to enable a person to ascend and watch for the approach of strangers); on the outside were numerous holes, in regular order, where the doves concealed themselves and brought up their young. It is common to call a female by the name of dove, but it refers more to secrecy than beauty. The mother of Rāmar said it was necessary for him to go to the desert, but she did not mention the reason to her husband; upon which he said, by way of persuading her to tell him, “ Oh! my dove, am I a stranger ?”
IV. 3. Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet.” Beautiful lips are in this country compared to coral. “ Ah ! my child, come hither with your coral lips.”
of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.” Hebrew, for fitly set, “sitting in fulness;" that is, “fitly placed
and set as a precious stone in the foil of a ring." “ See that youth, what a beautiful eye he has ! it is like a sapphire set in silver;" which means, the metal represents the white and the blue, the other part of the eye.
The their more sacred idols are made of precious stones.
" Washed with milk.” Though people thus wash themselves after a funeral, the custom is also spoken of by way of figure, as a matter of great joy. “Oh! yes, they are a happy pair; they wash themselves with milk.”
“ The joy is as great as being bathed in milk.” But some do thus actually wash their bodies three or four times a month, and the effect is said to be cooling and pleasing. I suppose, however, it arises as much from an idea of luxury, as any other cause. The residence of the god Vishnoo is said to be surrounded by a sea of milk, which may also be another reason to induce the devotee thus to bathe himself.
VI. 4. — “ Thou art beautiful, O, my love, as Tirzah.” This and the next chapters give an idea of what were the notions of beauty in the bride ; she was like the city of Tirzah belonging to the tribe of Ephraim. A handsome Hindoo female is compared to the sacred city of Seedambaram. The following, also, are signs of beauty in an Eastern woman: her skin is the colour of gold; her hands, nails, and soles of the feet are of a reddish hue; her legs must be free from hair, and her gait like the stately swan. Her feet are small, like the beautiful lotus ; her waist is slender as the lightning ; her arms are short, and her fingers resemble the five petals of the kantha flower; her breasts are like the young cocoa-nut, and her neck is as the trunk of the areca tree.
Her mouth is like the ambal flower, and her lips as coral; her teeth are like beautiful pearls ; her nose is high and lifted up, like that of the cameleon (when raised to snuff the wind); her eyes are like the sting of a wasp, and the karungu-vally flower; her brows are like the bow, and nicely separated; and her hair is as the black cloud.
VII. 9. — “ Causing the lips of those that are asleep to
When a person speaks in his sleep, he is believed to be under the influence of a spirit, and therefore recourse is had to charms, to remove its power. When a man speaks in a confused way, it is said, “ Listen to that fellow; he mumbles like one in his sleep.”
VIII. 6. “ Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a
seal upon thine arm.” When a husband is going to a distant country, the wife says to him, “ Ah! place me as a seal upon thy heart," i. e. let me be impressed on thy affections, as the seal leaves its impression upon
the “ Let not your arms embrace another ; let me only be sealed there :” “ for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave.”
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CHAP. I. verse 3.-" The ox knoweth his owner
Israel doth not know.” “ Ah! my children, my cows and my sheep know me well; but you cease to acknowledge me.”
66 Alas! alas ! my cattle know me better than my wife: I will go live with them, for their love is sincere to me. I will not remain any longer in such a family; henceforth the affectionate cattle shall be my companions, they shall be
18. — “ Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be
as white as snow; though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool.” (See on Ezek. xxiii. 14.) This, by many, is believed to refer to the strength of the colour and to the difficulty of discharging it: and though I do not presume to contradict that opinion, it may perhaps be suggested to have an additional meaning. Dr. Adam Clarke says, “ Some copies have wake-shanim, “like crimson garments.”
The iniquities of Israel had become very great. In the 10th verse, the rulers are addressed as if of Sodom and Gomorrah ; and in the 21st, it is said the faithful city had become a HARLOT. In the 29th, “ They shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen.” Is it not certain that these references to Sodom, to a harlot, and the gardens, allude to the wickedness, the idolatry, and the union which Israel had formed with the heathen? For what purposes were the gardens or groves used, of which the frequenters were to be ashamed ? No doubt, for the same as those in the East at the present day. The courtesans of the temples receive those in the groves, *ho are ashamed to go to their houses. Those wretched females are called Soli-killikal, i. e. parrots of the GROVE. “ That wicked youth is always gathering flowers in the grove." “ Thou hideous wretch! no one will marry thee; thou art not fit for the grove.” (See on chap. lxvi. 17.)
Scarlet, or crimson, was the favourite colour of the ancient heathen prostitutes. (Jer. iv. 30.) 66 And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with Crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee.” This is an exact description of the dress and other modes of allurement used by a female of the same character at this day. (Rev. xvii. 4.) “The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls; having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth.” In that most vivid description by Ezekiel (chap. xxii.) of the idolatries of Samaria and Jerusalem, they are represented as two HARLOTS, and there such disclosures are made as convey a most frightful picture of the depravity of the people. “She increased her whoredoms: for when she saw men pourtrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans pourtrayed with VERMILION.
Her paramours, also, were “exceeding in DYED attire upon their heads.”
The SACRED prostitutes of the temples always have their garments of scarlet, crimson, or vermilion. Parkhurst
says, 70w Sisir occurs not as a verb, and the IDEAL meaning is uncertain ; but as a noun, vermilion, a very beautiful red colour. So the Seventy, podtw. Pliny informs us that this, which the Greeks call widtov, was found in silver mines,
On the walls of the heathen temples, the most offensive figures are pourtrayed in the same way. In the vestibule of one I once entered, there were men and women pourtrayed in every possible position.