What therefore God hath joined together - Συνεζευξεν , yoked together, as oxen in the plough, where each must pull equally, in order to bring it on. Among the ancients, when persons were newly married, they put a yoke upon their necks, or chains upon their arms, to show that they were to be one, closely united, and pulling equally together in all the concerns of life. See Kypke in loco.
The finest allegorical representation of the marriage union I have met with, is that antique gem representing the marriage of Cupid and Psyche, in the collection of the duke of Marlborough: it may be seen also among Baron Stoch's gems, and casts or copies of it in various other collections.
Both are veiled, to show that modesty is an inseparable attendant on pure matrimonial connections. Hymen or Marriage goes before them with a lighted torch, leading them by a chain, of which each has a hold, to show that they are united together, and are bound to each other, and that they are led to this by the pure flame of love, which at the same instant both enlightens and warms them. This chain is not iron nor brass, (to intimate that the marriage union is a state of thraldom or slavery), but it is a chain of pearls, to show that the union is precious, beautiful, and delightful. They hold a dove, the emblem of conjugal fidelity, which they appear to embrace affectionately, to show that they are faithful to each other, not merely through duty, but by affection, and that this fidelity contributes to the happiness of their lives. A winged Cupid, or Love, is represented as having gone before them, preparing the nuptial feast; to intimate that active affections, warm and cordial love, are to be to them a continual source of comfort and enjoyment; and that this is the entertainment they are to meet with at every step of their affectionate lives. Another Cupid, or genius of love comes behind, and places on their heads a basket of ripe fruits; to intimate that a matrimonial union of this kind will generally be blessed with children, who shall be as pleasing to all their senses as ripe and delicious fruits to the smell and taste. The genius of love that follows them has his wings shrivelled up, or the feathers all curled, so as to render them utterly unfit for flight; to intimate that love is to abide with them, that there is to be no separation in affection, but that they are to continue to love one another with pure hearts fervently. Thus love begins and continues this sacred union; as to end, there can be none, for God hath yoked them together.
- Both are represented as winged, to show the alacrity with which the husband and wife should help, comfort and support each ether; preventing, as much as possible, the expressing of a wish or want on either side, by fulfilling it before it can be expressed.
A finer or more expressive set of emblems has never, I believe, been produced, even by modern refined taste and ingenuity. This group of emblematical figures is engraved upon an onyx by Tryphon, an ancient Grecian artist. A fine drawing was made of this by Cypriani, and was engraved both by Bartolozzi and Sherwin. See one of these plates in the second volume of Bryant's Analysis of Ancient Mythology, page 392.