Today a Puritan Poem of rare loveliness. Edward Taylor has nearly completely vanished from the poetry scene in any course you might take. One leaps from Anne Bradstreet, or more likely Phillis Wheatley to Freneau and William Cullens Bryan without so much as a toe dipped into the richness of the Puritan poetic tradition, and it is a shame for such lovely lyrics to be lost because we're afraid of a bit of that "old-time religion." So without further ado:
"Prologue" from Preparatory Meditations
Lord, Can a Crumb of Dust the Earth outweigh,
Outmatch all mountains, nay, the Crystal sky?
Embosom in't designs that shall Display
And trace into the Boundless Deity?
Yea, hand a Pen whose moisture doth guide o'er
Eternal Glory with a glorious glore.
If it its Pen had of an Angel's Quill,
And sharpened on a Precious Stone ground tight,
And dipped in liquid Gold, and moved by Skill
In Crystal leaves should golden Letters write,
It would but blot and blur, yea, jag, and jar
Unless Thou mak'st the Pen, and Scrivener.
I am this Crumb of Dust which is designed
To make my Pen unto Thy Praise alone,
And my dull Fancy I would gladly grind
Unto an Edge of Zion's Precious Stone.
And Write in Liquid Gold upon Thy Name
My Letters till Thy glory forth doth flame.
Let not th' attempts break down my Dust, I pray,
Nor laugh Thou them to scorn but pardon give.
Inspire this crumb of Dust till it display
Thy Glory through't: and then Thy dust shall live.
Its failings then Thou'lt overlook, I trust,
They being Slips slipped from Thy Crumb of Dust.
Thy Crumb of Dust breathes two words from its breast,
That Thou wilt guide its pen to write aright
To Prove Thou art, and that Thou art the best
And show Thy Properties to shine most bright.
And then Thy Works will shine as flowers on Stems
Or as in Jewelry Shops, do gems.