Edward Taylor

(1642 - 29 June 1729 / Sketchley / Leicestershire / England)

Preparatory Meditations - Second Series: 146 - Poem by Edward Taylor

(Canticles 6:13. Return, oh Shulamite, Return, Return)

My dear, dear Lord, I know not what to say:
Speech is too coarse a web for me to clothe
My love to Thee in or it to array
Or make a mantle. Would'st Thou not such loathe?
Thy love to me's too great for me to shape
A vesture for the same at any rate.

When as Thy love doth touch my heart down-tossed
It tremblingly runs, seeking Thee its all,
And as a child when it his nurse hath lost
Runs seeking her, and after her doth call.
So when Thou hid'st from me, I seek and sigh.
Thou sayest, 'Return, return, Oh Shulamite.'

Rent out on use Thy love, Thy love I pray.
My love to Thee shall be Thy rent, and I
Thee use on use, int'rest on int'rest pay.
There's none extortion in such usury.

I'll pay Thee use on for 't and therefore
Thou shalt become the greatest usurer.
But yet the principal I'll ne'er restore.
The same is Thine and mine. We shall not jar.
And so this blessed usury shall be
Most profitable both to Thee and me.

And shouldst Thou hide Thy shining face most fair
Away from me. And in a sinking wise
My trembling beating heart brought nigh t' despair
Should cry to Thee and in a trembling guise,
Lord, quicken it. Drop in its ears delight,
Saying, 'Return, return, my Shulamite.'


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 2, 2010



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