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Edward Taylor: Prologe

Poems

Prologe

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.

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 shew Thy prosperties to shine most bright.
And then Thy works will shine as flowers on stems
Or as in jewelary shops do gems.

 

Title: this poem is the Prologue to Taylor¡¦s Preparatory Meditations before my Approach to the Lord¡¦s Supper
l. 1: crumb of dust; the poet¡¦s pejorative description of himself in his role as poet
l. 6: glore; Scottish form for ¡§glory¡¨
l. 16: Zion; hill where the temple of Jerusalem was built; the city of God on earth