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(I’m back from traveling:

Stanza 4

He broke her cramping talons, did unlute

The sealed grave and gloriously up rose

Ascendeth up to glory on this sute.

Prepare a place for thee where glory glows

Yea yea for thee, although thy grief out gush

At such black sin at which the sun may blush.


The primary musical feature of this stanza is the alliteration on the letter “g”. Grave, gloriously, glory, glory glows, grief, gush.

The accent on this stanza is regular, although the “gloriously” must be fully pronounced.

The argument of the stanza moves on from the escape from Debtor’s prison pictured at the end of the third stanza:

Who having in this prison paid the debt.

And took a ‘quittance, made Death’s Valet fret.

The escape from the grave, the “quittance” of stanza 3 is described in its effect:

He broke her cramping talons, did unlute

The sealed grave

The word “her” must refer to the grave.  The Latin word “tumba”, tomb, sepulcher, is feminine.  The tomb is pictured as a beast with talons holding it victims tight. The picture of a hawk holding the dead as prey makes the grave an active agent in the incarceration.

The Bible does reference the grave or death as an active agent in procuring the dead, although this personification is not frequent.

Psalm 89:48 (KJV)

48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.

Job 28:22 (KJV)

22 Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.

To “lute” a thing is to seal it. To unlute is to break apart, to unseal. Hence, he

                                    did unlute

The sealed grave

He unsealed the sealed grave.  The grave itself was sealed:

Matthew 27:62–66 (KJV)

62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. 65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. 66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

Taylor leaves out the 40 days of “many proofs” of his resurrection (Acts 1:3) and moves on to the Ascension:

                        and gloriously up rose

Ascendeth up to glory on this sute.

Acts 1:6–11 (KJV)

6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

“on this sute” must refer to Christ’s legal vindication, his “suit.”  The word “sute” can also refer to a collection of mallard ducks.

In this place, the Lord now “prepares a place”, an allusion to John 14:

1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

John 14:1–4 (KJV) Btw, “mansion” refers to a place to live, not a spectacular house. That meaning came later.

And now we turn to the paradox which runs through Taylor’s poetry, Lord gives glorious good mercies to those who are undeserving:

although thy grief out gush

At such black sin at which the sun may blush.

That “although” is the key to relationship which Taylor portrays between us and God. God is good and loving and mercy, while we are rebellious, unthankful, unworthy.

It is here that the repetition of the “g” supports the meaning of the passage. Until this point in the stanza, the “g” was associated with good: the vanquished “grave”, and glory: Grave, gloriously, glory, glory glows. But here, when we come to our participation, all we can add is gushing grief at our sin.