Edward Taylor Education Private Life Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2811 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

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[. . .] Although Taylor's use of imagery is sometimes difficult to understand, the artistry with which he spins his words beacons the reader to try and understand his meanings. (188).

The methodology of Taylor's poems follow the same line mankind must follow in order to obtain God's grace and forgiveness. For instance, many of his poems begin by describing man's original sins leading to the fallen state of mankind, and then his own specific sins. After this introduction, Taylor then describes the redemptive power of Christ, and then makes a plea to Christ that reflects his own hope and desire to live eternity with Christ in heaven. After this plea, Taylor goes on to compose vs. that praise God. His belief in God was not just a part of his psychological makeup; it was the very core of Taylor. Everything that Taylor did, from preaching and taking care of the sick within his community, to being a husband and father, to his own personal habits Taylor displayed his hope for an eternal life. In fact, one of the chief reasons Taylor's work has such a profound impact upon those who read it is because his words do more than merely stir one's imagination; they move the reader beyond the words on the page and into the very soul of the man who penned them (Rowe). (196).

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Taylor uses many biblical themes in his work as well. For instance, he uses David as his model for a poet. Throughout his work comparisons are drawn between the godly and the ungodly, and Christ is always depicted as the Creator, the Lawgiver, the Rock, and the Redeemer. Taylor's works seem to center around Christ's nature and life as well as the nature of mankind. The underlying theme in all of Taylor's writings is that of his yearning to be closer to God, and the necessity of poetic praise. This longing is vividly apparent in his poem The Joy of Church Fellowship Rightly Attended with the words:

In Heaven soaring up, I dropt an Eare

Oh Earth: and oh! Sweet Melody!

And listening, found it was the Saints who were

Encoacht for Heaven that sang for joy.

For in Christs Coach they sweetly sing,

As they to Glory ride therein (Rowe). (150)

Term Paper on Edward Taylor Education Private Life Assignment

Included in the major works of Taylor include his Meditations, Sermons, and his poems in Gods Determinations. In his Preparatory Meditations, the unchanging six-line, iambic pentameter, ababcc stanza reigns. Taylor wrote these meditations as self-examinations that clearly illustrate the Puritan requirement to prepare one's heart and soul before entering the church or administering the Lord's Supper. It is therefore believed that Taylor wrote his meditations not for public viewing, but as a spiritual medium for purging his soul before carrying out his ministry duties as seen by his use of the word "I" throughout these writings. Although these mediations are believed to have been written in direct correspondence to the sermon he preached on the same day, critics have pointed out that in many cases the poems seem unrelated to the scriptures he used in his sermon. For example, while Meditation 6, First Series, uses the text from Canticles, 2:1: "I am the lily of the valleys," the central image of the poem written centers around the minting of a gold coin. Since only a few of Taylor's sermons survived the years, one can only assume that the lack of corresponding ties lies not in Taylor's work, but in the lack of evidence present (Grabo 86). (204)

In Gods Determinations Taylor uses twelve metrical forms to get his point across. God's Determinations depict the dilemmas Taylor faced and how he struggled to uphold the standards he believed necessary for admission into heaven. The unworthiness of man is often stressed, as is the great debate between things of the earth and the splendor of God. In these writings, Satan is often depicted as a mongrel, and his deceit is highlighted. Within these poems, Taylor uses six speaking characters: Mercy, Justice, Christ, Satan, the Soul, and a Saint. Taylor uses vivid imagery to separate the lowly Satan from Christ, for instance, while he carries his savior "wagon-loads" of love, Satan is depicted with "googling eyes" with which he entices sinners as "Jayle Birds" to ride "pick-pack" (Taylor 20). Throughout Gods Determinations Taylor sings his praises to God. (158)

Along with the Mediations and Determinations Taylor's other works include the "Christographia," a collection of his sacrament day sermons; the Occasional Poems, which include eight numbered poems; and the Psalm Paraphrases. The sermons found within the Christographia provide us with his most basic statement concerning Christology, and they are also the ones most closely related to his verse. It is believed that Taylor wrote these sermons at six-week intervals, and then after completing each one, wrote the poetic meditation that went along with it. While the sermons were usually dry in tone, the accompanying poems told of Taylor's love for Christ and contained his own private response to what he found within the scriptures. Except for Gods Determinations and the Sacramental Meditations, all of Taylor's verses are bound in the four-hundred page manuscript entitled "Poetical Works." Yet regardless of the work written, the major theme of one's journey to heaven remains consistent (Taylor 15-16). (152)

When reading the works of Taylor, one can immediately see many similarities. For instance, in all he speaks of his deep seeded belief in God and the promise of God for all eternity.

Yet there are many differences in his works as well. For one, in the Psalm Paraphrases Taylor uses common meter, while in God's Determinations and the Occasional Poems he uses varied stanza and metrical forms (Rowe). The Occasional Poems also take on more of a "lyrical" quality, and therefore, may provide easier reading than some of his other works. Along with the above, another change can be seen in his work as he neared the end of his life. In "A Valediction to all the World preparatory for Death" and "The Heath Anthology" Taylor can be seen readying himself for life in heaven as he sheds all worldly things, especially those appealing to the senses and sensualities of the flesh. In his poem "A Fig for thee Oh! Death" Taylor reaffirms his anticipation of a reunion of his body and soul in heaven and of his longing for the eternal life promised by God (Rowe) (189)

The works of Edward Taylor not only provide us with a glimpse into Puritan life in the 1600's, they also give us a direct insight into the very heart and soul of the man who penned them. His works relate the Puritan emphasis on one's own spiritual examination of the soul, and well as the high moral standards the Puritans lived by. Although his style varies somewhat in his major works, his unbending love of God remains constant. His imagery not only allows the reader to view his words through a Puritan's eyes, but to also get a feel for what it meant to devote one's self totally to God. Although Taylor did not write for publication, his love of poetry as an art form is evident in his use, invention, and spin on words as well as in the major themes he uses to make his point. Among other Puritan writers he stands out as the best not necessarily because of what he wrote, but because he makes the reader so aware of the feelings coursing through him as he put pen to paper. (185)

Works Cited

Doepke, Dale. "Suggestion for Reading Edward Taylor's "The Preface." Early American Literature V.3 (1970): 80-82.

Grabo, Norman S. Edward Taylor. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1962.

Schuldiner, Michael. "Edward Taylor's "Problematic" Imagery." Early American Literature 13.1 (1978): 92-101.

Rowe,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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