How do the Puritan and Metaphysical elements mingle in the poetry of Edward Taylor?

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The poems of Edward Taylor, a Massachusetts minister born in England, were published posthumously. His poetry is largely in the Metaphysical mode associated with John Donne, especially featuring complex syntax, use of conceits (extended metaphor ), and direct address, especially to God. Today he is most well known...

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The poems of Edward Taylor, a Massachusetts minister born in England, were published posthumously. His poetry is largely in the Metaphysical mode associated with John Donne, especially featuring complex syntax, use of conceits (extended metaphor), and direct address, especially to God. Today he is most well known for the Preparatory Meditations... (1682–1725) and Gods Determinations touching his Elect... (ca. 1682).

Even his early works from England show his pro-Protestant, anti-Anglican, and anti-Catholic convictions, such as one against Maypole dances. A later example is "The Lay-mans Lamentation," which lauds the dissenters. Gods Determinations... is concerned with Christian, particularly Congregational, faith as predetermined by God. Taking a polemic stance, Taylor explores the question of grace in the saved believer's soul. Even a sinner may not necessarily be damned or excluded from church community membership.

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The preconceived idea of Puritans as enemies of culture and art is at odds with the voluminous production of poetry in seventeenth-century New England. One of the most important poets of the period was Edward Taylor (1642?-1729), a pastor in the then remote Westfiel province in Massachusetts. As a Puritan, Taylor conceived poetry as aiming to personal moral uplift. To Puritans, poems had a didactic function and were mostly used to explain theological issues. Taylor's large production, which was not published in its complete form until the 1960s, is certainly concerned with theology. His Preparatory Meditations were written while preparing his weekly sermon. Yet, Taylor's poems also have elaborate syntactic structures, prolongued metaphors, puns and paradoxes that bring them close to the English Metaphysical poets. Like most of Metaphysical poetry, Taylor's poems are also directly addressed to an intimate listener, in this case God.

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