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Apples of gold in silver pictures shrined

Enchant the appetite, make mouths to water.

And loveliness in lumps tunn’d and enshrined

In jasper cask, when tapped, doth briskly vaper:

Brings forth a birth of keys to unlock Love’s Chest,              5

That Love, like birds, may fly to’t from its nest.

(World’s largest wine tun)

Such is my Lord, and more. But what strange thing

Am I become? Sin rusts my lock all o’re.

Though he thousand keys all on a string

Takes out, scarce one, is found, unlocks the door.                 10

Which ope, my love crincht in a corner lies

Like some shrunk crickling and scare can rise.

Notes

To “tun” to store in a tun, a cask.

Vaper: turn to vapor? (There is a contemporary definition of the word meaning one who “vapes.)

Crinch: An obsolete dialect form of “cringe”. The idea being to grind or to be a small ground down bit. Here the meaning is to be folded or cramped into a corner.

Crickling: something small, shrunken

The Motto as printed mistakenly reads Revelation 3:22, but quotes from

Revelation 3:21 (KJV)

21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

This comes at the end of the seven “letters” which Jesus sends to seven churches. In addition to various warnings and commendations, Jesus makes promises to the church. This is the final promise to the churches. To sit on the throne with does not mean two people physically sitting in the same chair but rather sharing in one’s inheritance and power. To this extent the promise echoes:

Romans 8:14–17 (KJV)

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Apples of gold this line is an allusion to Proverbs 25:11 “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

Here “shrined” must mean placed.

Enchant the appetite, make mouths to water. The sight of something delicious stimulates the appetite. A side note: I just finished teaching the chapter on motivation for introductory psychology. The textbook reports the finding that sensory exposure to food can stimulate the appetite. Apparently Taylor happened upon this scientific discovery some years earlier.

And loveliness in lumps tunn’d and enshrined

In jasper cask, when tapped, doth briskly vaper.

These lines function as a repetition of the concept from the first two lines: When exposed to something beautiful or desirable, the effect to create positive response. I must admit that the use of the word “lump” with a positive connotation is difficult for modern ears but the sound of the line is excellent.  There the repetition of “l” loveliness/lumps. The repeated “u” “lumps tunn’d”. The repetition of the “t” and “d” tunn’d/tapped creates a near rhyme.  The “enshrined” parallels the “shrined” of the first line.

The last word “vaper” must then parallel the conceit of a positive response (mouths to water = vaper), but I am not quite certain of Taylor’s meaning.

Perhaps it means to turn to vapor which then leads to the next image:

                                    doth briskly vaper:

Brings forth a birth of keys

Here the subjective effect of the sight moves from taste/appetite, to vapor, to mental state which is akin to keys which open a chest. The move between psychological states and concrete images is something.

One could either find the shift between mental states and physical objects too remote and dissonant to be effective. But as I work with this idea, I like the movement here. I come to a sight. The sight strikes and creates a strong desire. That desire is a key which will open a chest.

In that manner I find the movement of images effective: Desire certainly can be a power which opens “Love’s Chest.” In fact, it is hard to conceive of love without desire for the beloved:

Brings forth a birth of keys to unlock Love’s Chest,              5

That Love, like birds, may fly to’t from its nest.

The sight of this chest creates strong desire in me, which opens this chest. This chest, “love’s chest” welcomes love to enter, like a bird it will there.

The difficulty of Taylor’s images can either be taken as a needlessly difficult puzzle, or as a faithful representation of manner in which ideas move from one-association to another.  The poem is not impenetrable. Rather the difficulty can lie in the difficulty of tracing another human being’s thought.

What is interesting, is that we do not know yet what Taylor has seen. The references to the apples of gold or loveliness in lumps are stand-ins for what he has actually come to see. But that is not revealed until the first line of the second stanza:

Such is my Lord, and more.

We can now fill-in the movement of thought. The sight of my Lord creates such desire, that it opens a chest for love to enter and remain. The Second Meditation refers to a soul as a cabinet wherein the Lord could be present as something of inestimable value.

This then leads to an overarching theme of Taylor’s poetry: the beauty/holiness/wonder of the Lord when brought into contrast with the unworthiness of the poet. There is an absurd difference between the greatness of God and the sinfulness of the man.

                                    But what strange thing

Am I become? Sin rusts my lock all o’re

Here we have language which echoes Mediation 36, But am I thine? Oh! What strange thing’s in me?  https://memoirandremains.com/tag/meditation-36/

The next movement of the story should “obviously” be he will open his life to this beauty. But instead, sin has intervened. The key of desire cannot open the chest for love, because Sin rusts my lock all o’re

Here his imagery becomes a bit confused but still consistent in its emphasis:

Though he thousand keys all on a string

Takes out, scarce one, is found, unlocks the door.                 10

Which ope, my love crincht in a corner lies

Like some shrunk crickling and scare can rise.

If one opens “Love’s Chest”, love will be found inside, but it is shrunken and whithered in a corner. The just of the obsolete dialect “crincht” and “crickling” sounds wonderful to me. They are words that sound like what they mean. https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/456303/word-that-sounds-like-its-meaning-not-onomatopoeia-ex-twinkle