Edward Taylor Poems

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Edward Taylor
Edward Taylor (c. 1642Ė1729) was a colonial American poet, physician, and pastor. Taylor was born in Sketchly, stershire, England, and emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in America in 1668. During his voyage to America, Taylor chronicled his Atlantic crossing from April 26, 1668, to July 5, 1671, in his now-published Diary. Upon graduating from Harvard, he became a physician and pastor in Westfield, Massachusetts. While Taylor was a prolific poet, his works remained virtualy forgotten until 1937, when Thomas Johnson discovered Taylor's manuscripts in the library of Yale University. The first sections of Preparatory Meditations (1682Ė1725) and God's Determinations touching his Elect (c. 1680) were published directly following their discovery; however, Taylor's complete poems were not published until 1960. Taylor is the only known American poet who wrote in the metaphysical style. His best-known work is the conceit titled "Huswifery," a direct comparison between weaving and God's salvation through divine grace. Taylor's importance as a theologian was in his role in the controversy concerning the question of who may partake of the Lordís Supper. The New England Congregationalist Puritans of the 1630ís and 1640ís developed a view of the Church that was distinct from even their Puritan friends across the Atlantic. The New England Puritans came to believe that a profession of faith, and living a scandal free life was not sufficient to be a communing member of the Puritan local assemblies. In order to qualify to become a communing member of their local assembly one must first be able to relate by testimony, a subjective experience sufficiently impressive enough to convince others in the body that you were indeed one of the very elect of God. The New England Puritans had effectively devised a test to make each Church a company of people, each of whom, in his own opinion, and in the opinion of the Church was destined for salvation. Affirming the truths of Christianity, and following Christ in your everyday life, would no longer be enough; every communing Christian became required to relate an experience akin to the Apostle Paulís Damascus road experience. Edward Taylor would not only adopt this new view, he ended up becoming one of its most vocal defenders.

the preface
Infinity, when all things it beheld
In Nothing, and of Nothing all did build,
Upon what Ba... [read poem]
song of the sewing-machine
I'm the Iron Needle-Woman!
Wrought of sterner stuff than clay;
And, unlike the drudges h... [read poem]
my mother's bible
This book is all that's left me now! --
Tears will unbidden start --
With faltering lip... [read poem]
the flag of our union
"A song for our banner?" -- The watchword recall
Which gave the Republic her station:
"... [read poem]
the poet's testament
I give back to the earth what the earth gave,
All to the furrow, none to the grave,
The ca... [read poem]
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