The Queen of Sheba

by Hadewijch

English version by Mother Columba Hart
Original Language Dutch

The Queen of Sheba
Came to Solomon;
     That was in order to gain wisdom.
When she had found him, indeed,
His wonders streamed upon her so suddenly
     That she melted in contemplation.
          She gave him all,
          And the gift robbed her
     Of everything she had within --
          In both heart and mind,
          Nothing remained:
     Everything was engulfed in love.

-- from Hadewijch: The Complete Works (Classics of Western Spirituality) , by Mother Columba Hart

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Building on the Biblical Song of Songs, this sacred (yet undeniably erotic) poem uses the figures of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon to represent the classic spiritual lover and Beloved. The journeying Queen of Sheba coming to King Solomon is the searching soul approaching God the Beloved.

Keeping this in mind, reread this poem again. Hadewijch is saying that in yielding to God the soul becomes nothing, yet is overwhelmed with love and wonders. This is the great spiritual formula: loss of self/ego leads to the Divine Self; death leads to new Life.

Recommended Books: Hadewijch

Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women The Shambhala Anthology of Women's Spiritual Poetry Hadewijch: The Complete Works (Classics of Western Spirituality) Christian Mystics: Their Lives and Legacies throughout the Ages Meister Eckhart and the Beguine Mystics: Hadewijch of Brabant, Mechthild of Magdeburg, and Marguerite Porete
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The Queen of Sheba