A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. A garden enclosed - a spring shut up, a fountain sealed - Different expressions to point out the fidelity of the bride, or of the Jewish queen. See the outlines. She is unsullied, a chaste, pure virgin. None has ever entered into this garden; none has yet tasted of this spring; the seal of this fountain has never been broken. Among the Athenians, the interior part of the house, called the women's apartment, was not only locked but sealed; so Aristophan., Thesmoph. ver. 422: -
Ειτα δια τουτον ταις γυναικωνιτισιν
Σφραγιδας εμβαλλουσιν ηδη και μοχλους.
And on this account, to the women's apartment
They place seals as well as bolts.
And seal, as applicable to chaste conduct, is a phrase well known to the Greeks. Aeschylus, in the Agamemnon, praises a woman, σημαντη ριον ουδεν διαφψειρασαν, who had not violated her seal of conjugal faith. But Nonnus, lib. ii., uses the form of speech exactly as Solomon does with reference to a pure virgin; he says, Αψαυστον ἑης σφρηγιδα κορειης; "She had preserved the seal of her virginity untouched." All this is plain; but how many will make metaphors out of metaphors!