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Stanza Four:

But that is not the worst: there’s worse than this.

My taste is lost; no bite tastes sweet to me

But what is dipped all over in this dish.

Of rank rank poison: this my sauce must be.

Hell heaven, heaven hell, yea bitter sweet:

Poison’s my food: food poison in’t doth keep.

Summary: I have come to love the Devil’s sauce sin that I cannot enjoy anything without this poison. I love the poison. I am so upside down that I must have sin mixed in with everything I do.

Notes:

This gets at something which was very important in much Puritans were quite interested, the way in which sin both twisted the human being and at the same time created the desire for sin itself:

“The example in Romans 7:8 of Paul, who by his own account, was one of the most morally degenerate men who ever lived (Phil. 3:6; 1 Tim. 1:13, 15), provides a gateway for Goodwin to understand how no man or woman in a carnal state is free from inclination to all sin. The struggling man in Romans 7 was viewed by the Puritans as a Christian,32 but verse 8 has reference to Paul in his unconverted state. The sin in Paul in this verse is original sin, and original sin produced in him “all manner of concupiscence,” that is, all kinds of covetous lust or desire for things forbidden.33 As Edward Reynolds put it, “It is as natural to the heart to lust, as it is to the eye to see.”34 Self-love, instead of love to God, results from original sin.” Beeke, Joel R.; Jones, Mark. A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life (pp. 279-280). Reformation Heritage Books. Kindle Edition.

Jonathan Edwards notes that even though there is such variety in the circumstances among human beings, there is one thing which invariably shows up, sin: 

THE proposition laid down being proved, the consequence of it remains to be made out, viz. that the mind of man has a natural tendency or propensity to that event, which has been shewn universally and infallibly to take place (if this ben’t sufficiently evident of itself, without proof), and that this is a corrupt or depraved propensity.

Jonathan Edwards, Original Sin, ed. John E. Smith and Clyde A. Holbrook, Corrected Edition., vol. 3, The Works of Jonathan Edwards (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1997), 120. And:

The general continued wickedness of mankind, against such means and motives, proves each of these things, viz. that the cause is fixed, and that the fixed cause is internal, in man’s nature, and also that it is very powerful. It proves the first, namely, that the cause is fixed, because the effect is so abiding, through so many changes. It proves the second, that is, that the fixed cause is internal, because the circumstances are so various: the variety of means and motives is one thing that is to be referred to the head of variety of circumstances: and they are that kind of circumstances, which above all others proves this; for they are such circumstances as can’t possibly cause the effect, being most opposite to the effect in their tendency.

193. As Edwards’ explains in his Treatise Freedom of the Will, it is desire that binds the will. And thus this universal tendency to sin is the result of a universal desire. 

What Taylor does so well in this stanza is to couple desire and poison into a single movement: We desire our destruction.  There is an image from Jeremiah which helps here:

Jeremiah 2:23–25 (AV) 

23 How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways; 24 A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her. 25 Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go. 

Taylor does not copy the image, but he does rely upon the concept.

Thomas Brooks provides a closer parallel:

Sin is from the greatest deceiver, it is a child of his own begetting, it is the ground of all the deceit in the world, and it is in its own nature exceeding deceitful. Heb. 3:13, ‘But exhort one another daily, while it is called To-day, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.’ It will kiss the soul, and pretend fair to the soul, and yet betray the soul for ever. It will with Delilah smile upon us, that it may betray us into the hands of the devil, as she did Samson into the hands of the Philistines. Sin gives Satan a power over us, and an advantage to accuse us and to lay claim to us, as those that wear his badge; it is of a very bewitching nature, it bewitches the soul, where it is upon the throne, that the soul cannot leave it, though it perish eternally by it.4 Sin so bewitches the soul, that it makes the soul call evil good, and good evil; bitter sweet and sweet bitter, light darkness and darkness light; and a soul thus bewitched with sin will stand it out to the death, at the sword’s point with God; let God strike and wound, and cut to the very bone, yet the bewitched soul cares not, fears no but will still hold on in a course of wickedness, as you may see in Pharaoh, Balaam, and Judas. Tell the bewitched soul that sin is a viper that will certainly kill when it is not killed, that sin often kills secretly, insensibly, eternally, yet the bewitched soul cannot, nor will not, cease from sin.

When the physicians told Theotimus that except he did abstain from drunkenness and uncleanness, &c., he would lose his eyes, his heart was so bewitched to his sins, that he answers, ‘Then farewell sweet light;’1 he had rather lose his eyes than leave his sin. So a man bewitched with sin had rather lose God, Christ, heaven, and his own soul than part with his sin. Oh, therefore, for ever take heed of playing or nibbling at Satan’s golden baits

Thomas Brooks, The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 1 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 15–16.

And this:

Many long to be meddling with the murdering morsels of sin, which nourish not, but rent and consume the belly, the soul, that receives them. Many eat that on earth that they digest in hell. Sin’s murdering morsels will deceive those that devour them. Adam’s apple was a bitter sweet; Esau’s mess was a bitter sweet; the Israelites’ quails a bitter sweet; Jonathan’s honey a bitter sweet; and Adonijah’s dainties a bitter sweet. After the meal is ended, then comes the reckoning. Men must not think to dance and dine with the devil, and then to sup with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; to feed upon the poison of asps, and yet that the viper’s tongue should not slay them

Thomas Brooks, The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 1 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 14.

Musical

But that is not the worst: there’s worse than this.

My taste is lost; no bite tastes sweet to me (20)

But what is dipped all over in this dish.

Of rank rank poison: this my sauce must be.

Hell heaven, heaven hell, yea bitter sweet:

Poison’s my food: food poison in’t doth keep.

The r’s and s’s work well together especially in the first line. 
“Worse than this” by itself is not a very promising “poetic” line. But the repetition of “worst/worse” “the worst there’s worse” also works. The next line picks up on these sound but now we the repetition of taste/tastes, and the sounds of “tastes sweet”, where the s’s and t’s: t-s-t-s-t. Line 21 again works on a alliteration: dipped-dish. 

This alliteration within the individual line gives a feel of Anglo-Saxon poetry where alliteration is a primary means to hold a line together

Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum, 

monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah, 

(Beowulf)

He uses the very same technique in the remainder of the stanza, but in the last two lines he uses the alliteration to underscore the reversals:

Of rank rank poison: this my sauce must be.

Hell heaven, heaven hell, yea bitter sweet:

Poison’s my food: food poison in’t doth keep.

Hl – hn / hn – hl

P-f/f-p

The word “poison” ties these lines together. 

He marks the transition into this section by means of the repetition of “rank-rank” which slows the movement of the stanza. It is then offset by a colon and the sad, “This my sauce must be.” Note again the m-s/m-s repetition. 

The line, “This my sauce must be” is a rather sad resignation. It reminds me of the tone of Hosea, “Ephraim is joined to idols;/Leave him alone.”

Final note: What is most devasting about the poet’s situation is that there is no rescue from this place. Even though he is destroying himself, he wants to be here. It is like finding someone in a prison and they refuse to leave.