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‘I Am Brown’
A Young Bride’s Wedding Night Plea

From the ancient love Song of Solomon, from Spurell’s translation by Dr. Muffet.

Three parties sing in this processional song:

The Maidens

“You are deservedly adored.”

The Bride

“I am brown—”

The Maidens

“Rather lovely!”

The Bride

“Oh, disdain me not for being brown;

Because the sun has looked upon me.

My mother’s children disdained me;

They made me mistress of the fruit garden;

But my own garden I have not kept.

Tell me, my love, where do your flocks rest at noon?

Why should I be pale as the veiled in mourning,

Roaming among the flocks of your companions?”


“I have compared you to the Pharaoh’s chariot steed…”

Apparently the husband compared her favorably, for the song paeans sensuously on for pages.

The fact is, through a recent review of the over 200 pieces of period art depicting women of European, Middle Eastern, North African and Amerindian races, I have noted that women are consistently depicted as being lighter of skin then their men, unless he is a holy man or an enthroned king, avoiding the staining gaze of the sun from behind their tapestries walls. There is little doubt, based on explorer accounts and the accompanying and inspired illustrations, that Europeans of the Age of Discovery were noted for their pallid complexions due primarily to their habit of remaining heavily dressed year round and residing indoors as often as possible.

Word wide, the beauty standard for women, from antiquity through the 1800s, was one that valued lightness of skin, as evidence that the woman did not toil out of doors, that her father had been able to afford her shelter from lowly chores and that her hands would be smooth and her face free of wrinkles into her middle years.

Even among the Ugandan’s, their queens, lying in state within their large houses, fed, oiled, bathed and rolled over by their train of maidens, were notably lighter than the common women who worked under the sun.

So Her Master May Have Her Again

A History of Runaway White Slaves in Plantation America: Part Two

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