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The Shulamite And The Shepherd

(Ghosts?    No one can tell who they are.
They sing separately. They appear on the hills,
in the woods, in the city. They never meet.)

In the presence of the king the Shulammite
dreams of the shepherd:
‘I long for his love.    Each night I search
the streets for him.    I have never found him.
When I find him I shall hold him fast...'

The shepherd calls to her:
‘Lo, the winter is past, the rain
is over & gone. Flowers appear
on the earth & the birds are singing...'

The Shulammite whispers:
‘The beams of our house shall be cedar
with fir for the rafters. He shall lie all night
like a bundle of myrrh on my breasts…'

The shepherd remembers:
‘Her twin breasts are two young roes
feeding among lilies. Her lips are scarlet threads.
How fair she is! Her eyes have ravished my heart...'

The Shulammite sings:
‘I am the rose of Sharon & lily of the valley.
My beloved is mine: he shall lie with the lilies
till the day breaks & the shadows flee...’

The shepherd begs her to come to him:
‘Come to me here in Lebanon!
Let us look from the tops of Amana, Shenir & Hermon,
over the dens of lions & leopards...'

Deeply disturbed, lying by Solomon,    the Shulammite dreams:
‘I sleep but a voice wakens my heart .
I rise to open the door to him. My beloved has gone !
I call to him: he gives me no answer. I shall never find him! …’

The shepherd fears they will never meet. He says:
‘Set me as a seal upon your heart!
Many waters cannot quench our love, neither can the floods
drown it. Let us search the house! Let us give all we
possess for it…’

Solomon remembers an urgent message from Hiram.
He, rises from his bed & dictates an immediate answer
He has forgotten the woman.

Note

The Shulammite is said to have been an innocent from the country ‘thrust into the king’s harem’. Continually dreaming of her shepherd lover she imagines she will find him & bring him home.

(Solomon for the moment remembers the quiet loveliness of the concubine.)

The shepherd in Lebanon longs for the girl, declaring that their love can never be vanquished. She too - certain that not even death can separate them –begs him to come quickly.