My Tidings of Love, Poured Out with My Tears
My tidings of love, poured out with my tears,
Pray, bear you, O hills! And cry out, O mountains —
Towards those eyes that are painted with my eyes’ longing glances,1
Towards those fingers that are dyed with the blood of my heart.
And if you should fail to rouse her ardor for me,
May you rouse her compassion for my tears.
שלומותי מכוסים בדמעות
שְׁלוֹמוֹתַי מְסוּכִים בַּדְּמָעוֹת
שְׂאוּ הָרִים וְקִרְאוּ הַגְּבָעוֹת
לְעֵינַיִם בְּבַת עֵינִי קְרֻעוֹת
וְאֶצְבָּעוֹת בְּדַם לִבִּי צְבֻעוֹת
וְאִם לֹא אַהֲבָתָהּ לִי תְעִירוּן
תְּעִירוּן רַחֲמֶיהָ לַדְּמָעוֹת.
Shelomotái mesukhím ba-demaʕót
Se’ú harím ve-kir’ú ha-gevaʕót
Le-ʕeináyim be-vát ʕeiní keruʕót
Ve-‘etzbaʕót be-dám libí tzevuʕót
Ve-‘ím lo ‘ahavatáh li teʕirún
Teʕirún raḥaméha la-demaʕót.
- While the word karuaʕ generally means “torn,” it is used once in the Bible for putting on eyeshadow: “Why shade (“tikreʕi”) your eyes with paint?” (Jeremiah 4:30). See also 2 Kings 9:30, where Jezebel puts eyeshadow (the same word as in Jeremiah, pukh) under her eyes. I think ha-Levi is using karuaʕ in this sense. The line in Hebrew literally reads “to the eyes that are painted/torn by/in my bat ʕayin.” Bat ʕayin is a poetic term for a pupil, and used metaphorically in the same way “the apple of my eye” is in English – the syntax in Hebrew allows for reading both “the eyes that are painted in my pupil” or “the eyes that are painted by my pupil.” I tend towards the latter reading because, when read in conjunction with the following line, it builds the image that the object of the poet’s affections is using the “cosmetics” of his longing (his eyes, his blood) to beautify herself. “Those eyes that are painted with my eyes’ longing glances” is a loose translation, but I think it captures the spirit. ↩