The first is called a wound. It is the mildest and heals the most quickly, as does a wound. This wound arises from the knowledge the soul receives from creatures, the lowest of God's works. The bride of the Song of Songs refers to this wound, which we also call sickness, saying: Adjuro vos, filiae Jerusalem, si inveneritis dilectum meum ut nuntietis ei quia amore langueo (I adjure you, daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my Beloved that you tell him I am sick with love) [Sg. 5:8]. By "the daughters of Jerusalem" she refers to creatures.
3. The second is called a sore wound and cuts more deeply into the soul than the simple wound. As a result it is longer-lasting because it is like a wound that has now become sore, from which she feels she is indeed sorely wounded by love. This sore wound is produced in the soul by knowledge of the Incarnation of the Word and the mysteries of faith. Since these are more remarkable works of God, embodying in themselves a greater love than that shown forth in creatures, they produce in the soul a more intense love. Thus, if the first is like a wound, this second is like a sore wound, which lasts longer. Speaking of this to the soul in the Song of Songs, the Bridegroom says: You have wounded my heart, my sister, with one of your eyes and with one hair of your neck [Sg. 4:9]. The "eye" refers to faith in the Incarnation of the Bridegroom, and the "hair" signifies love for this very Incarnation.
4. The third kind of suffering of love is like dying. It is equivalent to having a festered wound, since the soul is now like a wound wholly festered. She lives by dying until love, in killing her, makes her live the life of love, transforming her in love. This death of love is caused in the soul by means of a touch of supreme knowledge of the divinity, the "I-don't-know-what" that she says lies behind their stammering. This touch is not continual or prolonged, for if it were the soul would be loosed from the body. It passes quickly, and she is left dying of love. And she dies the more in realizing that she does not wholly die of love.
This love is called impatient love. Genesis points to it in telling that Rachel's longing to conceive was so intense that she pleaded with her spouse Jacob: Da mihi liberos, alioquin moriar (Give me children, otherwise I will die) [Gn. 30:1]. And the prophet Job exclaimed: Quis mihi det ut qui coepit, ipse me conterat (Who will grant that he who gave me a beginning might destroy me?) [Jb. 6:8-9].
5. The soul says in this stanza that these rational creatures cause two kinds of suffering of love in her, the sore wound and death; the sore wound because, as she asserts, they relate a thousand graces of the Beloved in their teaching about both the mysteries of faith and the wisdom of God; death, from what, as she says, lies "behind their stammering": the feeling and knowledge of the divinity sometimes unveiled in what she hears about God." St. John of the Cross "The Spiritual Canticle"