In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Although usually considered a static genre, the emblem book on occasion achieves form and structure that provide analogies with plays created for the theater. Perhaps the most impressive and coherent dramatic element in emblem literature is that derived from a devotional tradition based on the. biblical Song of Songs, or Canticles. A part of exegetical and homiletic literature since the third century, this interpretation of the text, which Origen called a "drama,"1 views the Song as an account of the love between Christ and the human soul. It is a romance; and because the Divine Spouse frequently is not present, it is the Parable of the Absent Lover.2