Read e-book online American puritan elegy PDF

By Jeffrey A. Hammond

Jeffrey Hammond's examine of the funeral elegies of early New England reassesses a physique of poems whose significance of their personal time has been obscured through nearly overall overlook in ours. Hammond reconstructs the ancient, theological and cultural contexts of those poems to illustrate how they answered to Puritan perspectives on a particular means of mourning. The elegies emerge, he argues, as performative scripts that consoled readers via shaping their event. They shed new mild at the emotional measurement of Puritanism and the real position of formality in Puritan tradition.

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After a few moments of silence he nodded to Thomas Noble, Westfield’s surviving deacon, who removed a piece of paper that had been pinned to the coffin and handed it to the minister. Taylor hunched over slightly and began to read from the sheet in a trembling voice as he squinted against the fading glare of the winter sky. David by Name, David by Nature, shew Thou art Belov’d (if that thy Name say True) By God and Christ, who in thee gave a Place Unto his Image brightly laid in Grace . . (“Edward Taylor’s Elegy” ) The elegy, soon published along with Dewey’s writings in a commemorative pamphlet, would be Taylor’s only complete poem to appear  The American Puritan elegy in print during his lifetime.

It is, she proclaims, “Kitelic Poetry” (, ). ” So great a poet could never receive a worthy embalming from another: Dr. Herrick should at the very least “Write your own Elegy against you’re Dead” (). Franklin’s joke was based, of course, on his reader’s recognition that “Kitelic” poems were hardly new. 3 The passing of a devout soul virtually demanded a poem, a verbal marker of the deceased’s victory and an encapsulation of the Puritan view not just of leaving this world but of living in it.

By reporting Dewey’s deathbed wish to “be with Christ to Morrow” as well as his prophetic remark on the winds that blew as he lay dying: “The Wind is high. ” Taylor also manages, as Franklin would soon recommend, to “procure a Scrap of Latin” to “garnish” his poem: his “Sic flevit mastus amicus, E. ” Although Taylor was no longer a “young Harvard,” he certainly remained an old one. If the aging minister ever chanced upon a copy of issue Number  of the New-England Courant, Franklin’s parody made no impact on how he applied his poetic gifts to the occasion of death.

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