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Stanza 5

What wonder’s here? Big belli’d wonders in’t          25

Remain, though wrought for saints as white as milk.

But done for me whose blot’s as black as ink

A clew of wonders finer far than silk.

Thy hand alone that wound this clew I find

Can to display these wonders it unwind.                  30

Note

This stanza answers the question: What sort of wonder is here found:

What wonder’s here?

The image of the wonders being bursting full is quite striking:

Big belli’d wonders in’t

I don’t believe I could have described the wonder as “big bellied”.  The two B’s in this image are matched later by the B’s in “blot’s as black as ink”.

But this strange image is set up for a further description. The argument runs as follows: If this rescue had merely been for perfect people

saints as white as milk

It would have been a big bellied wonder. But this miracle extends further than perfect people, it extends to me:

But done for me whose blot’s as black as ink

I am as opposite of a perfect person as could be found.  They are “white as milk.” I’m as black as ink.  This contrast sets up a second description of the wonder:

A clew of wonders finer far than silk.

A clew (a ball) of wonders is a repetition of the first line of the poem, albeit with the additional description that it is “finer far than silk.” The use of “fine” here carries the connotation of something delicate and small, thin; rather than “fine” as in good quality like “fine art.”  This conclusion is based upon the next two lines:

Thy hand alone that wound this clew I find

Can to display these wonders it unwind.

Only the hand which wound the clew would be able to unwind the clew. The idea here is of fine silk thread.

It seems that Taylor had experience with silk. A silk plantation existed in South Carolina in 1689, Ben Marsh, “Silk Hopes in Colonial South Carolina”. The Journal of Southern History Vol. 78, No. 4 (NOVEMBER 2012), pp. 807-854.

Silk Hope Plantation

There is a description of the silk clothing worn in the colonies in 1669 in The Textile Industries of the United States Including Sketches and Notices of Cotton, Woolen, Silk, and Linen Manufacturers in the Colonial Period · Volume 1, By William R. Bagnall  (1893), p. 62.

Taylor pictures the wonder of his rescue as a bundle of wonders all tightly wound together, fine as silk thread, impossible to examine unless God himself unwinds the ball and displays each wonder at a time.

Theologically, this is a recognition that one cannot understand the grandeur and greatness of what has done unless God displays and explains that wonder.