Posted by: W. E. Poplaski | November 9, 2008

POEM OF THE DAY: Ebb and Flow

by Edward Taylor (1642 – 1729).


Ebb and Flow


When first Thou on me, Lord, wroughtest Thy sweet print,

My heart was made Thy tinder-box,

My ‘ffections were Thy tinder in’t,

Where fell Thy sparks by drops.

Those holy sparks of heavenly fire that came                                           5

Did ever catch and often out would flame.


But now my heart is made Thy censer trim,

Full of Thy golden altar’s fire,

To offer up sweet incense in

Unto Thyself entire:                                                                                         10

I find my tinder scarce Thy sparks can feel

That drop from out Thy holy flint and steel.


Hence doubts out bud for fear Thy fire in me

‘S a mocking ignis fatuus,

Or lest Thine altar’s fire out be,                                                                    15

It’s hid in ashes thus.

Yet when the bellows of Thy spirit blow

Away mine ashes, then Thy fire doth glow. 



ignis fatuus:  an illusion; a phosphorescent light sometimes seen over swampy ground caused by the combustion of swamp gases, also known as will-o’-the –wisp, and jack-o’-latern.

censers are vessels made for burning incense.

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