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Sixth & Seventh Stanzas

How spiritual? Holy shall I shine when I

Thy Crown of Righteousness wear on my head?

How glorious when does thou dost me glorify

To wear thy Crown of Glory polished?

How shall I when thy Crown of Life I wear                           35

In lively colors flowerish, fresh, and fair.

When thou shalt crown me with these crowns, I’ll bend

My shallow crown to crown with songs thy name.

Angels shall set the tune; I’ll it attend:

Thy glory’st be the burden of the same.                                            40

Till then I cannot sing, my tongue is tied.

Accept this lisp till I am glorified.

Notes

The poem ends with meditation and expectation as to coming to glory:

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Romans 8:28–30 (ESV)

The Crowns are emblems of the various graces of heaven: life, glory, righteousness. The previous stanza ends with the prayer that he may receive the crown of life, that it eternal life, and in so receiving it, sin will.  As an aside, it is interesting that fear of sin is linked to the slavery to sin; and so also the hope of life is linked to the cessation of sin:

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

Hebrews 2:14–15 (ESV)

Notice also that holiness is linked to radiance, or being glory:

                                    Holy shall I shine when I

Thy Crown of Righteousness wear on my head?

How glorious when does thou dost me glorify

In contemporary idiom, holiness is linked with a narrowness, an aversion to life and happiness, the stringent “church lady” of the skit. But Taylor conceptualizes holiness as a fundamentally different thing: It is not narrow and cold, but “glorious” to be righteous.

But notice that this state of being “spiritual” is not senseless. He describes this with physical terms of a Spring:

How shall I when thy Crown of Life I wear                           35

In lively colors flowerish, fresh, and fair.

This last line has a fine alliteration on “f”.

The reference to “flowerish” may be an allusion to 1 Peter 1:4, quoted above. The word for “unfading” ἀμάραντος (amarantos) means a never-fading flower:

ἀμάραντος [α^μα^]ον, (μαραίνω

A.unfading, “λειμών”  Luc.Dom.9: metaph., “σοφία”  LXX Wi.6.12; “κληρονομία”  1 Ep.Pet.1.4, cf. CIG2942c(Tralles); πνεῦμα prob. in IPE2.286 (Panticapaeum): neut. pl. as Adv., Philostr.Im.1.9

II. Subst. ἀμάραντοντό (but in Lat. amarantus), never-fading flower, IG14.607e (Carales), Poll.1.229; = ἑλίχρυσονDsc.4.57; = κενταύρειον μικρόν, Ps.-Dsc.3.7; = χρυσοκόμηId.4.55.

LSJ.

(Amaranthus, courtesy of Candiru)

More on line 35:

How shall I when thy Crown of Life I wear

There is an ellipsis of “shine” taken from line 31, “Holy shall I shine”.  In line 25 the main verb is missing form “How shall I ____” Thus, “how shall I shine.” The ellipsis is necessary to limit the line to 10 syllables.

Lines 37-38 have a clever bit of punning on “crown”

When thou shalt crown me with these crowns, I’ll bend

My shallow crown to crown with songs thy name.

When you place [crow] upon my head these “crowns”, I’ll bend my head [crown] in a bow to you, and I will praise [crown] your name with song.  

This worship of song will include the angels:

Angels shall set the tune; I’ll it attend:

Thy glory’st be the burden of the same

The burden here cannot be mean a negative weight. Therefore, he must mean the word in a neutral sense, “a great weight”. There is a pun in that: the Hebrew word for “glory” means at base “heavy”, and thus reputation and wealth:

  A. non-theological.

  —1. heaviness, burden Is 22:24 Nah 2:10 (? anticipatory לִכְדוּ לָכֶם, alt. cj. כְּבֵדִים).

  —2. a) riches Gn 31:1 (עשׂה to gain) Is 10:3 61:6 66:12; b) reputation, importance Gn 45:13 Qoh 10:1 (Herzberg 183; alt. honour)

Koehler, Ludwig, et al. The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, Electronic ed., E.J. Brill, 1994–2000, p. 457. And so “glory” is a burden because it is weighty (“gravitas” is an analogical usage)

As is common throughout these poems, the poem ends with a self-reference. Here, Taylor says his poem is not enough to be a “song”: he is unable to sign. He refers to his poem as a “lisp”, which would be the way a child speaks.  His “tongue is tied”:

Till then I cannot sing, my tongue is tied.

Accept this lisp till I am glorified.

There is possibly an allusion here to Calvin’s reference that God must lisp to us, speak to us like children, because we cannot understand better:

For who even of slight intelligence does not understand that, as nurses commonly do with infants, God is wont in a measure to “lisp” in speaking to us? Thus such forms of speaking do not so much express clearly what God is like as accommodate the knowledge of him to our slight capacity. To do this he must descend far beneath his loftiness. Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion & 2. Edited by John T. McNeill, Translated by Ford Lewis Battles, vol. 1, Westminster John Knox