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Stanza Two

But plunged I am, my mind is puzzled

When I would spin my fancy thus unspun

In finest twine of praise I’m muzzled

My tazzled thoughts twirled into snick-snarls run. (10)

Thy grace my lord is such a glorious things

It doth confound me when I would it sing. 

Summary: The quatrain speaks directly of his inability to form adequate thoughts of the subject matter. He then turns to God confesses, that the glorious nature of grace overwhelms his capacity to speak on the subject. 


The quatrain which lays out his frustration demonstrates in itself the difficulty he is having. Imagine one who says that he is quite frightened and is perfectly composed: the proposition and the person would not match. Here, the proposition and the presentation do match.

The concept is relatively simple: The image is of one spinning yarn from wool. The act of bringing his imaginative powers – his “fancy” – into an orderly and fit presentation of verse is like wool being spun into yarn. And yet, rather than an orderly creation of yarn, his yarn has “unspun.” His fancy has not resulted in an orderly poem, but his imagination has “unspun.”

In finest twine of praise I’m muzzled

My tazzled thoughts twirled into snick-snarls run.

Drawing together his image of spinning yarn with the work of creating a poem is a “twine of praise.” But here, rather than the production of praise, there is nothing, “I’m muzzled.” Which is ironic, because this muzzled poem is speaking. 

The ninth line is wonderful. There is a spinning of thoughts, but they, they are twirled, but they are also “tazzled.” 

Tazzle is an uncommon word. A glossary of the dialect of the hundred of Lonsdale. Together with an essay on some leading characteristics spoken in the six northern counties of England. Ed. by J. C. Atkinson, defines “tazzle” as a wicked, drunken person. That definition does not help much but, The The English Dialect Dictionary, Being the Complete Vocabulary of All Dialect Words Still in Use, Or Known to Have Been in Use During the Last Two Hundred Years: T-Z. Supplement. Bibliography. Grammar, published in 1905, and edited by Joseph Wright

has “tazzle” a dialect formation of “teazle” to entangle. Thus, “tangled, fuzzy, twisted, knotted; a tangle, a state of disorder, esp. used of hair.” Which meets the case: this thoughts are tangled up. 

They are not merely tazzled, they are twirled and finally in a snick-snarl, which is exactly as it sounds. 

The poem which runs through my mind as a comparative exercise is Shakespeare’s sonnet 23 with the lines

Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,

Whose strength’s abundance weakens his own heart

The very desire and necessity of the poem makes the poem impossible to construct. The glorious grace of God is such that what poem could address such glory?

The couple makes an interesting move. He has been describing his jumbled thoughts, apparently to a reader. But at the couplet he turns from the human audience and directly addresses God:

Thy grace my lord is such a glorious things

It doth confound me when I would it sing. 

Here we come to a confession: At this point is matches most closely with the tone of sonnet 23. It is the very desire to speak which has tied my tongue.


As a final point, to describe the effects of sound and sense would be take away from their effect. Rather than comprehended this particular stanza must merely spoken and experienced.  Although not the sing-song chant of Dr. Seuss, I delight in sounds and sense is evident. Another possible comparison would be some poetry of Lewis Carol, like Jabberwocky.