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Short poem

Edward Taylor (ca. 1642-1729)

The Preface

              1   Infinity, when all things it beheld
              2In Nothing, and of Nothing all did build,
              3Upon what Base was fixt the Lath wherein
              4He turn’d this Globe, and riggalld it so trim?
              5Who blew the Bellows of His Furnace Vast?
              6Or held the Mould wherein the world was Cast?
              7Who laid its Corner Stone? Or whose Command?
              8Where stand the Pillars upon which it stands?
              9Who Lac’de and Fillitted the earth so fine,
            10With Rivers like green Ribbons Smaragdine?
            11Who made the Sea's its Selvedge, and it locks
            12Like a Quilt Ball within a Silver Box?
            13Who Spread its Canopy? Or Curtains Spun?
            14Who in this Bowling Alley bowld the Sun?
            15Who made it always when it rises set:
            16To go at once both down, and up to get?
            17Who th' Curtain rods made for this Tapistry?
            18Who hung the twinckling Lanthorns in the Sky?
            19Who? who did this? or who is he? Why, know
            20It's Onely Might Almighty this did doe.
            21His hand hath made this noble worke which Stands
            22His Glorious Handywork not made by hands.
            23Who spake all things from nothing; and with ease
            24Can speake all things to nothing, if he please.
            25Whose Little finger at his pleasure Can
            26Out mete ten thousand worlds with halfe a Span:
            27Whose Might Almighty can by half a looks
            28Root up the rocks and rock the hills by th' roots.
            29Can take this mighty World up in his hande,
            30And shake it like a Squitchen or a Wand.
            31Whose single Frown will make the Heavens shake
            32Like as an aspen leafe the Winde makes quake.
            33Oh! what a might is this Whose single frown
            34Doth shake the world as it would shake it down?
            35Which All from Nothing fet, from Nothing, All:
            36Hath All on Nothing set, lets Nothing fall.
            37Gave All to nothing Man indeed, whereby
            38Through nothing man all might him Glorify.
            39In Nothing then embosst the brightest Gem
            40More pretious than all pretiousness in them.
            41But Nothing man did throw down all by Sin:
            42And darkened that lightsom Gem in him.
            43   That now his Brightest Diamond is grown
            44   Darker by far than any Coalpit Stone.


4] riggalld: made ring-like.

10] Smaragdine: emerald green.

11] Selvedge: edge.

30] Squitchen: scutcheon, shield, badge.

35] fet: fetched.

Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text:
Publication date note: Text: The Poems of Edward Taylor, ed. Donald E. Stanford with a forward by Louis L. Martz (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1960): 387-88. First published: The poetical works of Edward Taylor, ed. Thomas Johnson (New York: Rockland editions, 1939): 31-32. [In “Gods Determinations touching his Elect: (“Poetical Works, Yale University Library MS).]
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition:
Recent editing: 1:2004/7/7

Other poems by Edward Taylor