“Huswifery” by Edward Taylor

 

Make me, O Lord, thy Spining Wheele compleate.
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 Varnisht 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.

(Edward Taylor, 1642-1729, was a New England Puritan pastor and poet.  He was the pastor and teacher at the Church in Westfield, Massachusetts and wrote poetry as part of his personal spiritual discipline, leaving instructions to his heirs that they were not for publication.  They were all but forgotten for two hundred years.  Thomas Johnson discovered a 400-page quarto of the poems in 1937 in the Yale Library, and published some of them in the New England Quarterly, which established Taylor as a singular American poet of his time.  This poem, “Huswifery,” is probably his best known.)

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