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Stanza Four

Glory lined out a paradise in power

Where e’ery seed a royal coach became                                            20

For Life to ride in, to each shining flower.

And made man’s flower with glory all o’re flame.

Hell’s ink-faced elf black venom spit upon

The same and killed it. So that life is gone. 

Summary: The original creation was a well of life: Life was in the seed and would produce into the flower. The glory of humanity was aflame. But this vibrant life was killed by an elf who spat venom into life and brought about death. “So that life is gone”

Notes

Elf: Since Tolkien (at least) elves and fairies are considered popularly to marvelous and good creatures. It was not so with Taylor. Such things would be thought dangerous or “mad”:

“If a man riding in an open country should afar off see men and women dancing together, and should not hear their music according to which they dance and tread out their measures, he would think them to be a company of fairies and madmen, appearing in such various motions and antic postures; but if he came nearer, and heard the musical notes, according to which they exactly dance, he would find that to be art which before he thought madness.”

Thomas Manton, The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, vol. 21 (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1874), 107. They were examples of deception and danger:

“The world, as they say of fairies, deprives of true children, and puts changelings in their room; deprives men of true substantial joy, and gives them shadows in the room; but godliness, on the contrary, deprives of painted poisons, and gives them wholesome and real pleasures.”

George Swinnock, The Works of George Swinnock, M.A., vol. 3 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1868), 185. But this does not mean that he would have believed such were real:

“Yet here I cannot but disallow the indoctrinating of children with superstitious notions, which nuzzle them up in vulgar errors that lead unto unbelief; the affrighting of them with silly tales of bugbears, stories of hobgoblins and fairies, &c., “profane and old wives’ fables,” not tending to godliness, (1 Tim. 1:4, 6; 4:7,) which occasion needless and groundless fears, that afterwards, when they should have more brains, are not easily corrected, or not without great difficulty.”

James Nichols, Puritan Sermons, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Richard Owen Roberts, Publishers, 1981), 331.

The elf is the Serpent of Genesis 3; that is, the Devil. By “spitting venom”, he tempted the couple to sin which brought about death.

Glory lined out a paradise

The Genesis account describes the earth in three categories. First, there was Eden, which was a place from whence water flowed out and in the Garden. Second, was the Garden where God placed Adam and Eve with instruction to keep this garden. Third, was the field, the world outside the Garden.  That “glory lined out” means that God laid out a garden (“paradise”). 

Seeds and flowerslight and life

Glory lined out a paradise in power

Where e’ery seed a royal coach became                                            20

For Life to ride in, to each shining flower.

And made man’s flower with glory all o’re flame.

In Genesis 1:11, a particular type of plant is note, “plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed.” In verse 29, God says, “Behold I have given you every plant yielding see that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” Seed is thus bound up with living. 

Taylor takes that emphasis in a slightly different direction, speaking of the flower which comes from the seed.

The picking of life riding through seed to flower (to seed) bearing along life like a coach is quite striking. 

The whole discussion of life is filled with light: First, it was “glory” which lines out the Garden. The flowers are “shining” and man’s flower has “glory all o’re flame”. This is a bright burning light of life. 

This combination of light and life comes from the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:1–5 (AV)

Prosody:

Glory lined out a paradise in power

Where e’ery seed a royal coach became                                            20

For Life to ride in, to each shining flower.

And made man’s flower with glory all o’re flame.

Hell’s ink-faced elf black venom spit upon

The same and killed it. So that life is gone. 

The two major sections of the stanza begin with an accented syllable: Glory in line 19 and Hell’s in line 23. 

Line 23 is difficult to scan because it seems that one could accent every syllable. Certainly, one could not read the line out-loud and read it quickly. 

The final line is such plan speech as to be striking in this poem. The final sentence has a remarkable finality. “So that life is gone.” It is not rhythmic, nor is there much music in it. Typically, such a line would be “bad” poetry, but here it works because of it appearing out of place. (We could say that this line sounds like a line of contemporary poetry in terms of rhythm, but of such Taylor could have no concept._

The repetition of “glory” creates a sort of inclusion: Glory lines out the garden and glory is flaming in the flower. The repetition of “fl” in flower, flower, and “flame” as well as the “L” of life and in “gLory” works well. L’s work well with “m” in “made man’s”