wordsout by Godfrey Rust collection  Poems I'd like to have written    home


Meditation 1
by Edward Taylor

What Love is this of yours, that cannot be
     in your infinity, O Lord, confined
unless it in your very person see
     infinity and finity conjoined?
     What has your Godhead, as not satisfied
     married our manhood, making it its bride?

O matchless Love, filling heaven to the brim,
     o’er-running it; all running o’er beside
this world – nay, overflowing hell, wherein
     for your elect there rose a mighty tide,
     that there our veins might through your person bleed
     to quench those flames that else would on us feed!

Oh, that your Love might overflow my heart,
     to fire the same with love, for love I would;
but oh! My straitened breast – my lifeless spark – 
     my fireless flame! What, chilly love, and cold?
     In measure small, in manner chilly! See

     Lord, blow the coal: your Love enflame in me!


Edward Taylor was an American Puritan poet and minister of the Congregational church at Westfield, Massachusetts for over fifty years. Considered one of the more significant poets to appear in America in the 17th and 18th centuries, but with the exceptions of two stanzas of his verse, his works were unpublished in his lifetime (see here for more information). Taylor was a preacher and wrote "meditations" in this poetic form used above as part of his sermon most weeks from 1682-1725. I have modernized the spelling, capitalization and punctuation and replaced "thee/thy/thine" with "you/your/yours". This poem was introduced to me by my son Joel after he had been commissioned to set it to music in 2014.

The last stanza is echoed recently in the chorus of Graham Kendrick's song "Beauty for brokenness".