Need help trying to understand a poem written by edward taylor?

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Question by Sarah T: Need help trying to understand a poem written by edward taylor?
Huswifery

by Edward Taylor

Make me, O Lord, thy Spinning Wheele compleat;
Thy Holy Worde my Distaff make for mee.
Make mine Affections thy Swift Flyers neate,
And make my Soule thy holy Spoole to bee.
My Conversation make to be thy Reele,
And reele the yarn thereon spun of thy Wheele.

Make me thy Loome then, knit therein this Twine:
And make thy Holy Spirit, Lord, winde quills:
Then weave the Web thyselfe. The yarn is fine.
Thine Ordinances make my Fulling Mills.
Then dy the same in Heavenly Colours Choice,
All pinkt with Varnish’t Flowers of Paradise.

Then cloath therewith mine Understanding, Will,
Affections, Judgment, Conscience, Memory;
My Words and Actions, that their shine may fill
My wayes with glory and thee glorify.
Then mine apparell shall display before yee
That I am Cloathd in Holy robes for glory.

~Im trying to annotate it so if someone could help me with what each stanza generally means that would be great :)

Feel free to answer in the comment section below

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2 Responses to Need help trying to understand a poem written by edward taylor?

  1. The whole poem is an extended metaphor, using the spinning of thread and the weaving of the thread into cloth as a spiritual advancement, until, from the raw fibres the poet is “Cloatht in Holy robes for glory”

    Make me, O Lord, thy Spinning Wheele compleat;
    Thy Holy Worde my Distaff make for mee. <-distaff, used for keeping the threads seperate before they are spun Make mine Affections thy Swift Flyers neate, <-affections = feelings) And make my Soule thy holy Spoole to bee. <- Spool, the part of a spinning wheel onto which the spun thread is wound My Conversation make to be thy Reele, And reele the yarn thereon spun of thy Wheele. So, The Holy Word holds my raw (spiritual) material my feelings, soul, and conversations are made into the thread by God's actions Make me thy Loome then, knit therein this Twine: Loome = Loom for weavin cloth, Twinw = thread And make thy Holy Spirit, Lord, winde quills: Then weave the Web thyselfe. The yarn is fine. <- Web, a woven cloth consists of the Warp, and weft, CF Tennysons "Lady of Shalott" "She left the web, she left the loom, She made three paces through the room, She saw the water-lily bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume, She looked down to Camelot. Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror cracked from side to side; "The curse is come upon me," cried The Lady of Shalott." Thine Ordinances make my Fulling Mills. <-Fulling mills, Fulling is a process of turning woven cloth into felt by pounding it. Ordinances are laws or commandments Then dy the same in Heavenly Colours Choice, All pinkt with Varnish't Flowers of Paradise. Then cloath therewith mine Understanding, Will, Affections, Judgment, Conscience, Memory; My Words and Actions, that their shine may fill My wayes with glory and thee glorify. <- The poets feelings and actions are to be clothed with God's work, both to raise up the poet spiritually 'my wayes with glory' and to glorify God. Then mine apparell shall display before yee That I am Cloathd in Holy robes for glory.

    Nigel P
    February 17, 2014 at 8:11 pm
    Reply

  2. This is a fairly long winded and tiresomely extended metaphor of the religious type quite common in eighteenth and nineteenth century hymns. The author is basically asking his god to make him into a textile manufacturer (i.e. a spinning wheel, then a loom, then a dyeing shop, a finishing shop and so on) so that he can become a wonderful coat of many colours for the ‘glory of god’. He asks god to make him such that his very speech, thought, acts, judgement, conscience etc. are all reflections of the inferred beauty of god. ( The sad thing is he is asking god to do this for him rather than doing it himself which is another common thread in the older hymns. Can’t stand ’em myself.)

    It helps to have a few of the terms to hand;
    Distaff – the peg/pole or rod that held the raw wool for the spinning wheel
    Reele and spoole were the spools and bobbins that the finished thread would be held on.
    Flyer is the wooden shuttle that goes back and forth in the loom.
    Quill, another term for bobbin, this time used by the weaver as opposed to the spinner. there would be a multitude of quills hanging from the end of a loom.
    Fulling mill; where the cloth was cleaned and thickened(fulled) prior to being sent for sale.
    Pink’t; Also pinking – a decorative serrated cut edge or a perforated pattern, hence Pinking Shears in dressmaking.

    Once you understand the language the meaning becomes easy to decipher.

    Hope this helps.

    foggisan
    February 17, 2014 at 8:41 pm
    Reply

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