The Providence of Similitude in the
Song of Songs
The mind is a baby giant who, more provident in the cradle
than he knows, has hurled his paths in life all round ahead
of him like playthings given—data so-called. They are
vocabulary, grammar, prosody, and diary.
In this chapter and the next I discuss lyric speakers in love, the woman of the Song of Songs and the poetic amorist of Edmund Spenser's Amoretti—a sonnet sequence happily in debt to the biblical book, not least in its ambitious blazons, successors to the ancient Hebrew praise song. Each of the two speakers is possessed of a mind like the one Robert Frost describes as a baby giant, provident in the cradle and prodigal in the abundance of verbal resources hurled outward like playthings. 1. The prodigality of the Song's blazons—the scope of objects named in the similes, the catalogue form that implicitly threatens to overrun several kinds of decorum, the untrammeled commitment to representation, the boldness of erotic desire, the nakedness of exultation—these features of blazon which make them____________________