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Edward Taylor

Ebb and Flow

When first Thou on me, Lord, wroughtest Thy sweet print,
My heart was made Thy tinder-box,
My 'ffections were Thy tinder in't,
Where fell Thy sparks by drops.
Those holy sparks of heavenly fire that came
Did ever catch and often out would flame.

But now my heart is made Thy censer trim,
Full of Thy golden altar's fire,
To offer up sweet incense in
Unto Thyself entire:
I find my tinder scarce Thy sparks can feel
That drop from out Thy holy flint and steel.

Hence doubts out bud for fear Thy fire in me
'S a mocking ignis fatuus,
Or lest Thine altar's fire out be,
It's hid in ashes thus.
Yet when the bellows of Thy spirit blow
Away mine ashes, then Thy fire doth glow.

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Preparatory Meditations - First Series: 6.

(Canticles 2:1. The Lily of the Valleys)

Am I Thy gold? Or purse, Lord, for Thy wealth;
Whether in mine or mint refined for Thee?
I'm counted so, but count me o'er Thyself,
Lest gold-washed face, and brass in heart I be.
I fear my touchstone touches when I try
Me, and my counted gold too overly.

Am I new-minted by Thy stamp indeed?
Mine eyes are dim; I cannot clearly see.
Be Thou my spectacles that I may read
Thine image do upon me stand,
I am a golden angel in Thy hand.

Lord, make my soul Thy plate: Thine image bright
Within the circle of the same enfoil.
And on its brims in golden letters write
Thy superscription in an holy style.
Then I shall be Thy money, Thou my hoard:

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Preparatory Meditations - First Series: 1

What love is this of Thine that cannot be
In Thine infinity, O Lord, confined,
Unless it in Thy very person see
Infinity and finity conjoined?
What hath Thy godhead, as not satisfied,
Married our manhood, making it its bride?

Oh matchless love! Filling heaven to the brim!
O'errunning it: all running o'er beside
This world! Nay, overflowing hell; wherein
For Thine elect there rose a mighty tide!
That there our veins might through Thy person bleed,
To quench those flames that else would on us feed.

Oh! that Thy love might overflow my heart!
To fire the same with love: for love I would.
But oh! my straitened breast! my lifeless spark!
My fireless flame! What chilly love, and cold?
In measure small! In manner chilly! See.
Lord, blow the coal: Thy love enflame in me.

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Huswifery

Make me, O Lord, Thy spinning-wheel complete.
Thy holy word my distaff make for me.
Make mine affections Thy swift flyers neat
And make my soul Thy holy spool to be.
My conversation make to be Thy reel
And reel thy yarn thereon spun of Thy wheel.

Make me Thy loom then, knit therein this twine:
And make Thy Holy Spirit, Lord, wind quills:
Then weave the web Thyself. Thy yarn is fine.
Thine ordinances make my fulling-mills.
Then dye the same in heavenly colors choice,
All pinked with varnished flowers of paradise.

Then clothe therewith mine understanding, will,
Affections, judgement, conscience, memory,
My words and actions, that their shine may fill
My ways with glory and Thee glorify.
Then mine apparel shall display before Ye
That I am clothed in holy robes for glory.

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Upon A Spider Catching A Fly

Thou sorrow, venom Elfe:
Is this thy play,
To spin a web out of thyselfe
To Catch a Fly?
For Why?

I saw a pettish wasp
Fall foule therein:
Whom yet thy Whorle pins did not clasp
Lest he should fling
His sting.

But as affraid, remote
Didst stand hereat,
And with thy little fingers stroke
And gently tap
His back.

Thus gently him didst treate
Lest he should pet,

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The Joy if Church Fellowship Rightly Attended

In heaven soaring up, I dropped an ear
On earth: and Oh, sweet melody:
And listening, found it was the saints who were
Encroached for Heaven that sang for joy.
For in Christ's coach they sweetly sing,
As they to glory ride therein.

Oh, joyous hearts! Enfired with holy flame!
Is speech thus tassled with praise?
Will not your inward fire of joy contain:
That it in open flames doth blaze?
For in Christ's coach saints sweetly sing,
As they to glory ride therein.

And if a string do slip by chance, they soon
Do screw it up again, whereby
They set it in a more melodious tune
And a diviner harmony.
For in Christ's coach they sweetly sing,
As they to glory ride therein.

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Preparatory Meditations - Second Series: 146

(Canticles 6:13. Return, oh Shulamite, Return, Return)

My dear, dear Lord, I know not what to say:
Speech is too coarse a web for me to clothe
My love to Thee in or it to array
Or make a mantle. Would'st Thou not such loathe?
Thy love to me's too great for me to shape
A vesture for the same at any rate.

When as Thy love doth touch my heart down-tossed
It tremblingly runs, seeking Thee its all,
And as a child when it his nurse hath lost
Runs seeking her, and after her doth call.
So when Thou hid'st from me, I seek and sigh.
Thou sayest, 'Return, return, Oh Shulamite.'

Rent out on use Thy love, Thy love I pray.
My love to Thee shall be Thy rent, and I
Thee use on use, int'rest on int'rest pay.
There's none extortion in such usury.

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Prologue from Preparatory Meditations Before My Approach to The Lord's Supper

Lord, can a crumb of dust the earth outweigh,
Outmatch all mountains, nay the crystal sky?
Imbosom in't designs that shall display
And trace into the boundless deity?
Yea, hand a pen whose moisture doth gild o'er
Eternal glory with a glorious glore.

If it is 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 scribener.

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 on Zion's precious stone;
And write in liquid gold upon Thy name
My letters till Thy glory forth doth flame.

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Meditation Sixty-Two

Second Series

Canticle 1: 12: While the king sitteth at his table,
my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.

Oh! thou, my Lord, thou king of Saints, here mak’st
A royall Banquet, thine to entertain
With rich and royall fare, Celestial Cates,
And sittest at the Table rich of fame.
Am I bid to this Feast? Sure Angells stare,
Such Rugged looks, and Ragged robes I ware.

I’le surely com; Lord, fit mee for this feast:
Purge me with Palma Christi from my sin.
With Plastrum Gratiae Dei, or at least
Unguent Apostolorum healing bring.
Give me thy Sage and Savory: me dub
With Golden Rod, and with Saint Johns Wort good.

Root up my Henbain, Fawnbain, Divells bit,

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Upon A Wasp Chilled With Cold

The bear that breathes the northern blast
Did numb, torpedo-like, a wasp
Whose stiffened limbs encramped, lay bathing
In Sol's warm breath and shine as saving,
Which with her hands she chafes and stands
Rubbing her legs, shanks, thighs, and hands.
Her pretty toes, and fingers' ends
Nipped with this breath, she out extends
Unto the sun, in great desire
To warm her digits at that fire.
Doth hold her temples in this state
Where pulse doth beat, and head doth ache.
Doth turn, and stretch her body small,
Doth comb her velvet capital.
As if her little brain pan were
A volume of choice precepts clear.
As if her satin jacket hot
Contained apothecary's shop
Of nature's receipts, that prevails
To remedy all her sad ails,

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