“Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it” (Song of Solomon 8:13)
CAT 58. Jacob van der Heyden. “Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it” (Song of Solomon 8:13) in Daniel Sudermann, Hohe geistreiche Lehren und Erklärungen: uber . . . desz Hohen Lieds Salomonis. Frankfurt: Eberhardt Kieser, 1622, p. 60. Melville Memorial Room, Berkshire Athenaeum.
In this image the crowned female figure with hair below her waist speaks to the five carefully depicted women—presumably the daughters of Jerusalem—with whom the crowned male figure was speaking in CAT 52. On the literal level, this social scene outside the wall of a city and before a welcoming habitation would seem to celebrate the marriage of the king and queen. Allegorically, it could suggest that the people of Israel have become God’s, or even that the Christian soul has become Christ’s. The fragment of commentary on the verso of this image does not include the line of scripture upon which it is based. It does include this line as part of section 9 of a much longer poem: “Deß Herzen Christi leiden schwer” (the heart of Christ suffers greatly).
This image first appeared on page 46 of Sudermann’s series, where it relates in an obvious way to his commentary based on the inscription from canticle 6, “Whither is they beloved gone, O thou fairest among women?” The fragmentary text on the back of Melville’s engraving matches that on page 60 of Sudermann’s series, where it illustrates the commentary based on the penultimate verse of the entire poem, “Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it” (8:13). This placement of the image calls attention to the suggestion of gardens behind the wall, and also to the nearby line declaring, “I am a wall, and my breasts like towers; then was I in his eyes as one who found favor” (8:10).