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Edward Taylor Edward Taylor was in short the quintessential Puritan writer Born in England during the Puritan domination he spent much of his childhood in a strict religious style and among the intellectual teachings of metaphysicals such as Donnes and Quarles He began writing as a form of worship after he moved to America as a young adult Taylors themes of self-examination and unworthiness and strict calculated style echoed the feelings and attitudes of first- and second-generation Puritans Taylors birth took place about 1642 near Coventry England In 1668 he ventured to New England to live with the Puritan settlers He immediately entered Harvard University and graduated three years later in 1671 He was asked to minister to the frontier town of Westfield Massachusetts Although he arrived in the winter of 1671 and served continuously from the time of his arrival he was not ordained until eight years later due to the King Phillips War Taylor accumulated manuscripts of his poetry but left specific instructions in his will that none of it ever be published His grandson Ezra Stiles eventually donated the four-hundred pages to the Yale College Library where Thomas Johnson discovered it in the late 1930s and realized its full potential Taylors poetry was extremely personal never meant to go beyond the eyes of God and his own Reading his poetry seems almost like eavesdropping as he never intended for any of it to reach the public eye but his work is invaluable as he presents a perfect example of the cliche pilgrim in his journey to heaven Taylor shows us that even the strictest Puritan can use poetry to paint a picture For him writing was purely worship of the Lord He held the sacrament universal as a focal point for almost all of his work Taylor wrote several verse elegies for colonial public figures to show him as a true master at his art These works displayed many feelings popular to
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