Preface: God’s Determination

An Electronic Edition · Edward Taylor (1642-1729)

Original Source: The poetical works of Edward Taylor. Edited with an introduction and notes by Thomas H. Johnson. New York, Rockland editions, 1939.

Copyright 2003. This text is freely available provided the text is distributed with the header information provided.

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The Preface

Infinity, when all things it beheld 
In Nothing, and of Nothing all did build, 
Upon what Base was fixed the Lath wherein 
He turned this Globe, and riggalled it so trim? 
Who blew the Bellows of His Furnace Vast?5.
Or held the Mold wherein the world was Cast? 
Who laid its Corner Stone? Or whose Command? 
Where stand the Pillars upon which it stands? 
Who Laced and Filleted the earth so fine, 
With Rivers like green Ribbons Smaragdine?10.
Who made the Sea’s its Selvage, and its locks 
Like a Quilt Ball within a Silvery Box? 
Who Spread its Canopy? Or Curtains Spun? 
Who in this Bowling Alley bowled the Sun? 
Who made it always when it rises set15.
To go at once both down, and up to get? 
Who th’ Curtain rods made for this Tapestry? 
Who hung the twinkling Lanthorns in the Sky? 
Who? who did this? or who is He? Why, know 
It’s Only Might Almighty this did do.20.
His hand hath made this noble work which Stands 
His Glorious Handiwork not made by hands, 
Who spake all things from Nothing; and with ease 
Can speak all things to Nothing, if He please. 
Whose Little finger at His pleasure Can25.
Out mete ten thousand worlds with half a Span: 

Whose Might Almighty can by half a looks 
Root up the rocks and rock the hills by the’roots. 
Can take this mighty World up in His hand, 
And shake it like a Squitchen or a Wand. 
Whose single Frown will make the Heavens shake5.
Like an aspen leaf the Wind makes quake. 
Oh! what a might is this Whose single frown 
Doth shake the world as it would shake it down? 
Which All from Nothing get, from Nothing, All: 
Hath All on Nothing set, lets Nothing fall.10.
Gave All to Nothing Man indeed, whereby 
Through Nothing man all might HIm Glorify. 
In Nothing then embossed the brightest Gem 
More precious than all preciousness in them. 
But Nothing man did throw down all by Sin:15.
And darkened that lightsome Gem in him. 
That now his Brightest Diamond is grown 
Darker by far than any Coalpit Stone. 

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Genre: Poetry
Subjects: Puritans
Period: 1650-1700
Location: New England
Format: verse

This poem was completed ca. 1685but not published until 1939 in New York.

The text of the document was initially prepared from and proofed against The poetical works of Edward Taylor. Edited with an introduction and notes by Thomas H. Johnson (New York, Rockland editions, 1939). All preliminaries and notes have been omitted except those for which the author is responsible. All editorial notes have been omitted except those that indicate significant textual variations. Line and paragraph numbers contained in the source text have been retained. In cases where the source text displays no numbers, numbers are automatically generated. In the header, personal names have been regularized according to the Library of Congress authority files as "Last Name, First Name" for the REG attribute and "First Name Last Name" for the element value. Names have not been regularized in the body of the text.