Prologue: 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.

Full Colophon Information


Lord, Can a Crumb of Earth 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 moysture doth guild ore5.
Eternal Glory with a glorious glore. 

If it its Pen had of an Angels Quill, 
And sharpened on a Precious Stone ground tite, 
And dipt in Liquid Gold, and mov’de by skill 
In Christall leaves should golden Letters write, 
It would but blot and blur: yea, jag and jar5.
Unless thou mak’st the Pen and Scrivener. 

I am this Crumb of Dust which is design’d 
To make my Pen unto thy Praise alone, 
And my dull Phancy I would gladly grinde 
Unto an edge on Zions Pretious Stone 
And Write in Liquid Gold upon thy Name5.
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,5.
They being Slips slipt from thy Crumb of Dust. 

Thy Crumb of Dust breaths 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 show Thy Properties to shine most bright 
And then thy Works will shine as flowers on Stems5.
Or as in Jewellary Shops, do jems. 

Full Colophon Information

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.