“How fair you are!
How pleasant you are!
O loved one!
You are stately as a palm tree.
Your breasts are like its clusters.
I will climb the palm tree.
I will lay hold of its branches.
O may your breasts be
Like clusters of the vine!
The scent of your breath is like apples.
Your kisses are
Like the best wine
That goes down smoothly.
They glide over my lips and teeth.”
What has been the effect of this female lover on the male lover? We find that he saw her as fair, pleasant, and delectable. She appeared stately as a palm tree. Then he went into an elaborate description of her breasts that were like clusters of a palm tree, not like gazelles or fawns. He wanted to climb this palm tree and grab hold of its branches, her breasts. He wanted her breasts to be like clusters in a vineyard. Then he went on to talk about her apple scented breath. He proclaimed that her kisses were sweeter than wine. They were in fact the best wine that went done smoothly over his lips and teeth. Certainly this was a vivid graphic description of how he perceived his lover.
“Who has woe?
Who has sorrow?
Who has strife?
Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
The answer is
Those who linger late over wine,
Those who keep trying mixed wine.
Do not look at wine when it is red.
Do not look at it when it sparkles in the cup.
Do not look at it when it goes down smoothly.
At the last it bites like a serpent.
It stings like an adder.
Your eyes will see strange things.
Your mind will utter perverse things.
You will be like
One who lies down in the midst of the sea.
You will be like
One who lies on the top of a mast.
You will say.
‘They struck me.
But I was not hurt.
They beat me.
But I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
I will seek another drink.’”
This is a stinging rebuke against drunkenness. What are some of the characteristics of a drunkard or an alcoholic? They are full of woe and sorrow. They are always in arguments complaining. They have wounds on their body that they do not know where they came from. Of course, they have redness in their eyes. There is a lure to excessive wine drinking. They stay up late drinking and talking. This red wine sparkles in the cup and goes down so smoothly. However, this wine has a bite like a snake or viper adder. That is when you hallucinate. You see strange things and image even stranger things. You think that you are in the middle of the sea or at the top of a ship’s mast. You complain that you got hit, but it didn’t hurt. People beat you, but you do not feel it. All you think about when you wake up is when I will get my next drink. These are the true symptoms of an alcoholic. You need to get help.