Dec 162012

Pro tip: this poem would come in handy if you were enamored of someone named Tamar. I’m not, so (as always) I’m not doing myself any favors, but Tamar fans too deserve their poetic opus.

Shlomo ibn Gabirol (1021? – 1058?)
Your Form Is Like a Stately Palm

Your form is like a stately palm1
  Your beauty’s like the sun
You seemed to me a righteous girl
  As just as Abigail
But when you slew me, then I found
  You cruel as Jezebel
You’re wholly splendor, lovely-faced
  I’ve grown sick for your love
So raise from out of Hell my soul
  And before you I won’t die.

שלמה אבן גבירול / سليمان ابن جبيرول
כתמר את בקומתך

כְּתָמָר אַתְּ בְּקוֹמָתֵךְ / וְכַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בְּיָפְיָתֵךְ
חֲשַׁבְתִּיךְ בַּעֲלַת צֶדֶק / אֲבִיגַיִל בְּצִדְקָתֵךְ
מְצָאתִיךְ כִּי הֲרַגְתִּנִי / כְאִיזֶבֶל בְּרִשְׁעָתֵךְ
כְּלִילַת הוֹד יְפַת מַרְאֶה / אֲנִי חֹלֶה בְּאַהְבָתֵךְ
וְהַעְלִי מִשְּׁאוֹל נַפְשִי / וְאַל אָמוּת לְעֻמָּתֵךְ.


Ke-tamár ‘at be-komatéikh / ve-kha-shémesh be-yofyatéikh
Ḥashavtíkh baʕalát tzédek / ‘avigayíl be-tzidkatéikh
Metzatíkh ki haragtíni / khe-‘izével be-rishʕatéikh
Kelilát hod yefát mar’éh / ‘ani ḥoléh be-ahevatéikh
Ve-haʕalí mish’ól nafshí / ve-‘al ‘amút leʕumatéikh.

  1. As I’ve pointed out what seems like several times now, this image is drawn from one of the male lover’s odes to the Shulamite in the Song of Songs. Yehuda ha-Levi uses it a lot. As does Moshe ibn Ezra. But I guess Shlomo was first. He was using Song of Songs quotations to mack before it was mainstream.

  One Response to “Shlomo ibn Gabirol, “Ke-Tamar ‘At be-Komateikh””

  1. Thanks for the hookup.

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