Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hair-do (and don't), The Canticle 2, Song of Songs

Translation for me is more a matter of combing hair than studying history.  I am unavoidably caught by historical criticism, and all sorts of scholarship. I am absolutely dependent on modern technology for my information. Perhaps now, if it all failed, there is enough of a bootstrap in me and sufficient of slow-moving books, that I would remember enough, but I think it impossible that without the comb of my electronic concordance and the mirror of my automated music and the bias of my semi-automated semantic field clippers that I could approach this project at all.

When all is said and done, I have only my own tongue.

The Song chapter 2, I had played with before - but how it shocks me to make it conform to my rules. And what are these unique parts of the ancient house? Here's a few verses - not at my favorite yet. (Song 2:15)

אֲנִי֙ חֲבַצֶּ֣לֶת הַשָּׁר֔וֹן שֽׁוֹשַׁנַּ֖ת הָעֲמָקִֽים1I am the crocus of the plain, the lily of the valley.16
כְּשֽׁוֹשַׁנָּה֙ בֵּ֣ין הַחוֹחִ֔ים כֵּ֥ן רַעְיָתִ֖י בֵּ֥ין הַבָּנֽוֹת2As a lily among thorns, so is my friend among the daughters.16
כְּתַפּ֙וּחַ֙ בַּעֲצֵ֣י הַיַּ֔עַר כֵּ֥ן דּוֹדִ֖י בֵּ֣ין הַבָּנִ֑ים
בְּצִלּוֹ֙ חִמַּ֣דְתִּי וְיָשַׁ֔בְתִּי וּפִרְי֖וֹ מָת֥וֹק לְחִכִּֽי
3As an apricot tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons;
in his shadow I was attracted and I sat, but his fruit was sweeter to my palate.
הֱבִיאַ֙נִי֙ אֶל־בֵּ֣ית הַיָּ֔יִן וְדִגְל֥וֹ עָלַ֖י אַהֲבָֽה4He brought me to the wine house, and his banner over me was love.17
סַמְּכ֙וּנִי֙ בָּֽאֲשִׁישׁ֔וֹת רַפְּד֖וּנִי בַּתַּפּוּחִ֑ים
כִּי־חוֹלַ֥ת אַהֲבָ֖ה אָֽנִי
5Support me with raisins, outspread me with apricots,
for ah, I, I am writhing with love.
שְׂמֹאלוֹ֙ תַּ֣חַת לְרֹאשִׁ֔י וִימִינ֖וֹ תְּחַבְּקֵֽנִי6His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me.15
הִשְׁבַּ֨עְתִּי אֶתְכֶ֜ם בְּנ֤וֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַ֙ם֙ בִּצְבָא֔וֹת א֖וֹ בְּאַיְל֣וֹת הַשָּׂדֶ֑ה
אִם־תָּעִ֧ירוּ ׀ וְֽאִם־תְּעֽוֹרְר֛וּ אֶת־הָאַהֲבָ֖ה עַ֥ד שֶׁתֶּחְפָּֽץ2
7I have adjured You, daughters of Jerusalem, by the hosts of gazelle or by the hearted dear hart of the field,
if you arouse or if you disturb this my love till it delight.
ק֣וֹל דּוֹדִ֔י הִנֵּה־זֶ֖ה בָּ֑א
מְדַלֵּג֙ עַל־הֶ֣הָרִ֔ים מְקַפֵּ֖ץ עַל־הַגְּבָעֽוֹת
8The voice of my beloved, behold, this one, coming,
leaping over the hills, springing over the hillocks.
דּוֹמֶ֤ה דוֹדִי֙ לִצְבִ֔י א֖וֹ לְעֹ֣פֶר הָֽאַיָּלִ֑ים
הִנֵּה־זֶ֤ה עוֹמֵד֙ אַחַ֣ר כָּתְלֵ֔נוּ מַשְׁגִּ֙יחַ֙ מִן־הַֽחֲלֹּנ֔וֹת מֵצִ֖יץ מִן־הַֽחֲרַכִּֽים
9My beloved is like the hosts of gazelle, or the faun of the hart;
behold, this one, standing behind our embankment, peering through the perforations, blossoming through the grate.
עָנָ֥ה דוֹדִ֖י וְאָ֣מַר לִ֑י
ק֥וּמִי לָ֛ךְ רַעְיָתִ֥י יָפָתִ֖י וּלְכִי־לָֽךְ
10My beloved answered and said to me:
arise, you, my friend, my fair one, and you, come away.
כִּֽי־הִנֵּ֥ה הסתו הַסְּתָ֖יו עָבָ֑ר
הַגֶּ֕שֶׁם חָלַ֖ף הָלַ֥ךְ לֽוֹ
11For behold, winter is passed,
the heavy rain is abolished. It has walked offstage.

God is hidden in the animals of the Song. I am sure you knew this. Hence the wording of verse 7 - בִּצְבָא֔וֹת א֖וֹ בְּאַיְל֣וֹת הַשָּׂדֶ֑ה - tsava'ot, roe or gazelle, sounds like hosts as in Lord of Hosts, ayyilot hasadeh sounds like El Shaddai- a name for God. I was going to vary roe and gazelle unnecessarily - but it always causes trouble eventually. No hair-do needs an accidental curl.