The lover’s gaze of appreciation and his verbal rendering of what that gaze sees offer to the beloved his appreciation of her and, in making that offering, give to her a state of being she would not have given herself. That is the condition of being a beloved. … when you are given the gift of being delighted in, you are made new by it, transfigured in its light.
This is Paul J. Griffiths again, commenting on Song of Songs 4:1-7. I love the way he describes the transfigurative effect that love has upon the beloved.
Some further thoughts on beauty, this time in connection with intimacy. Paul J. Griffiths, in his commentary on the Song of Songs, notes that
it is rare for us to be dazzled by beauty … without seeking some kind of intimacy with it. [However,] appreciation of beauty can be heightened by certainty that there will be no physical intimacy with it; [and yet,] appreciation for and delight in beauty may not survive physical intimacy with it, and will certainly be altered thereby.
Griffiths’ commentary is a stimulating read, even if it is not one I would recommend to those seeking to acquaint themselves with the Song of Songs. Why? Because Griffiths comments on the Latin text of the Vulgate rather than the Hebrew original, and he focuses quite strongly on figurative readings of the Song.