Frequently the Puritan poet appears to be following another threefold pattern—despair as he contemplates the sins of mankind and his own personal sin, joy when he thinks of Christ’s promise of redemption to the elect, and hope and resolution when he considers the possibility that he too may be one of the elect. From this garden sprang four flowers, two of which grew to maturity, two of which died: “But oh! ", When a first selection of his work was published, he was called simply “A Puritan sacred poet”. ), English anthropologist regarded as the founder of cultural anthropology. The poem to Willoughby is an acrostic, and the verses to Chauncy are an elaborate double acrostic. Do strike and stob me in the very heart. Taylor was ill and enfeebled in the final years of his life, but he persisted in writing poems until almost the end. Early in the 18th century (the exact date has never been determined) Taylor began a long poem that eventually ran to well over 20,000 lines. The authoritative biography of Taylor is Norman S. Grabo, Edward Taylor (1962). Taylor’s life at Harvard for the next three years was busy and rigorous with recitations, disputations, and lectures carried on in Latin; with studies in Greek, Hebrew, logic, metaphysics, rhetoric, and astronomy; and with daily morning and evening prayers. Edward Taylor was an American Puritan poet and minister of the Congregational church at Westfield, Massachusetts for over 50 years. The poem is somewhat polemical in tone, suggesting that Taylor may have intended to publish it and distribute it to the citizens of Westfield for the purpose of convincing some of the more recalcitrant members of the community to accept saving grace and to enter into full communion with the church. The myth had wide circulation from medieval times through the 17th century. Taylor also employed, sometimes to excess, the various rhetorical devices of the 16th- and 17th-century handbooks such as irony, synecdoche, metonymy. At about the same time he was writing Gods Determinations touching his Elect ..., Taylor was also composing a series of occasional poems. He refused to sign the Act of Uniformity of 1662 and was therefore prevented from teaching school and from worshiping in peace. On July 5, 1668, Taylor disembarked at Boston, and, after a visit with Charles Chauncy, president of Harvard College, he entered Harvard on July 23 as an upperclassman. Edward Taylor was an American Puritan poet and minister of the Congregational church at Westfield, Massachusetts for over 50 years. His childhood was spent on the family farm where he enjoyed the stability of a middle-class upbringing. During these troubled times Taylor apparently composed little or no verse. From Edward Taylor 's poem "Upon a Spider Catching a Fly." The hardships of Taylor’s crossing of the Atlantic during the 70 days in which his ship was slowed by calms and buffeted by contrary winds are described in his diary, which also includes perceptive observations of natural phenomena, and of birds and fish, anticipating the imagery of his later poetry.  In his work appear such typically Baroque elements as acrostic verse, word play and use of conceits, as well as spoken meditations reminiscent of George Herbert. The first part of the poem presents the sufferings and persecutions of the Christians from the beginning until the 12th century, and, after a lacuna in the manuscript, there is an account of the martyrdoms of Queen Mary’s reign in England. A custom of Taylor's was to write a poem (or 'Meditation') before each Lord's Supper. The poem is untitled. Late in 1697 Taylor engaged in controversy with Benjamin Ruggles, pastor of the church at Suffield in the Bay Colony, who began to express what Taylor considered to be dangerous Presbyterian views, dangerous not for doctrinal reasons—for the doctrines of the two churches were almost identical—but because Presbyterianism would deprive the independent Congregational minister of power over his church and place it in the hands of a church synod. I will not trust unto this Might of mine:
They are an interesting historical addition to the corpus of 17th-century funeral verse but are of little literary value. With the exception of two stanzas of verse, his works were unpublished in his lifetime. His Harvard classmate Samuel Sewall wrote in his Letter-Book, “I have heard him preach a sermon at the Old South upon short warning which as the phrase in England is, might have been preached at Paul’s Cross,” Sewall, who lived in Boston, had access to the best preaching of the day. Twixt Swift wing’d Time and Fixt Eternity
Taylor's Atlantic crossing and subsequent years (from April 26, 1668, to July 5, 1671) are chronicled in his now-published Diary. World to Fall. Gods Determinations touching his Elect ..., unlike Milton’s Paradise Lost, is a “dated” poem, quite obviously of its period. Taylor’s meditations are an important part of a long tradition of meditation writing in verse and prose, beginning, as far as verse is concerned, with Robert Southwell and continuing through John Donne, George Herbert, Richard Crashaw, Henry Vaughan, Andrew Marvell, Thomas Traherne, and, finally, Taylor. Taylor’s poetry was almost completely unknown in his lifetime, but now that almost all of Taylor’s extant poetry and prose have been published, it seems unlikely that his reputation as a preacher will ever equal his reputation as a poet. Brief Lecture Notes on Edward Taylor (c. 1642-1729).  It was later set for A cappella chorus by Gordon Binkerd in 1970. Taylor died in Westfield on June 29, 1729.. Combining this evidence with the report that a 17-foot-long thigh bone had also been discovered and that the ground was discolored for 70 feet, Taylor constructed in his imagination a marvelous giant 70-foot-tall and described him in a remarkable poem of 190 verses, entitled “The Description of the great Bones dug up at Claverack ...” Taylor, like his contemporaries Increase and Cotton Mather, had a fondness for prodigies and remarkable providences. The long title begins “Increase Mather,” Mather is praised as a champion of Congregational orthodoxy, and his opponents, especially the Roman Catholics who made Mather “their Maypole Music,” are denounced at some length. One of his most insidious arguments is that, if a person has any doubts at all about the possibilities of his spiritual regeneration, then he is not one of the elect because God is supposed to give the elect assurance of saving faith. His poetry is replete with imagery drawn from the farm and from the countryside of both Old and New England. His work remained unpublished for some 200 years but since then has established him as one of the foremost writers of his time. During these troubled times Taylor apparently composed little or no verse. Taylor's poems were an expression of his deeply held religious views, acquired during a strict upbringing and shaped in adulthood by New England Congregationalist Puritans, who during the 1630s and 1640s developed rules far more demanding than those of their co-religionists in England. It does not have the universal and permanent appeal of Milton’s epic, nor can Taylor at any time equal the skill of Milton’s blank verse. He remained in Westfield for the rest of his life, with only occasional visits to Boston and other New England towns. After graduating with his class from Harvard College in 1671, Taylor was faced with the necessity of choosing a vocation. His occasional employment of the ornate style is derived from the King James version of the Bible, and especially from the Song of Solomon, which Taylor loved and which had a pervasive influence on his last meditations.