1 [Young Woman:] "I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley." [Young Man:]
2 "Yes, compared to other women, my beloved is like a lily among thorns." [Young Woman:]
3 "And compared to other youths, my lover is like the finest apple tree in the orchard. I am seated in his delightful shade, and his fruit is delicious to eat.
4 He brings me to the banquet hall, so everyone can see how much he loves me.
5 Oh, feed me with your love--your `raisins' and your `apples'--for I am utterly lovesick!
6 His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me.
7 "Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the swift gazelles and the deer of the wild, not to awaken love until the time is right.*1
8 "Ah, I hear him--my lover! Here he comes, leaping on the mountains and bounding over the hills.
9 My lover is like a swift gazelle or a young deer. Look, there he is behind the wall! Now he is looking in through the window, gazing into the room.
10 "My lover said to me, `Rise up, my beloved, my fair one, and come away.
11 For the winter is past, and the rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers are springing up, and the time of singing birds has come, even the cooing of turtledoves.
13 The fig trees are budding, and the grapevines are in blossom. How delicious they smell! Yes, spring is here! Arise, my beloved, my fair one, and come away.' " [Young Man:]
14 "My dove is hiding behind some rocks, behind an outcrop on the cliff. Let me see you; let me hear your voice. For your voice is pleasant, and you are lovely." [Young Women of Jerusalem:]
15 "Quick! Catch all the little foxes before they ruin the vineyard of your love, for the grapevines are all in blossom." [Young Woman:]
16 "My lover is mine, and I am his. He feeds among the lilies!
17 Before the dawn comes and the shadows flee away, come back to me, my love. Run like a gazelle or a young stag on the rugged mountains.*"2
Read Song of Solomon 3