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The Song of Songs: Shir Hashirim
Series No.: 047
ISBN: 1-931243-05-0, Pages: 69
Israeli Literature, Poetry
An apple tree among young men.
I delight in his shadow
and lie before him.
and his fruit is sweet to my tongue.
One of the great series of poems of all centuries,
The Song of Songs, as the translator writes in his Introduction, has continued to be recognized as the most profound and beautiful book of love poems in the world, "despite centuries of intentional miscopying and alterations."
It is unique within the Bible: it shows no interest in Law or Covenant or the God of Israel, nor does it teach or explore wisdom like Proverbs or Ecclesiastes; instead, it celebrates sexual love, giving the voices of two lovers, praising each other, yearning for each other, proffering invitations to enjoy.
In this translation, the noted Classical and Biblical scholar and translator Willis Barnstone purposely remained close to the original and austere in tone. "I have resisted the trap of improving upon The Song of Songs," writes Barnstone,
seeking instead to mirror the original and meaning of the great Hebrew poem, which, "with no need of ornamentation, through time's rags and tattered texts, sings itself, its love, passion, and beauty."
Willis Barnstone is also the translator of Poems by Sappho.