Huswifery

Huswifery

by Edward Taylor

Make me, O Lord, thy Spining Wheele compleate.
Thy Holy Worde my Distaff make for mee.
Make mine Affections thy Swift Flyers neate
And make my Soule thy holy Spoole to bee.
My conversation make to be thy Reele
And reele the yarn thereon spun of thy Wheele.

Make me thy Loome then, knit therein this Twine:
And make thy Holy Spirit, Lord, winde quills:
Then weave the Web thyselfe. The yarn is fine.
Thine Ordinances make my Fulling Mills.
Then dy the same in Heavenly Colours Choice,
All pinkt with Varnisht Flowers of Paradise.

Then cloath therewith mine Understanding, Will,
Affections, Judgment, Conscience, Memory
My Words, and Actions, that their shine may fill
My wayes with glory and thee glorify.
Then mine apparell shall display before yee
That I am Cloathd in Holy robes for glory.

Summary of Huswifery

  • Popularity of “Huswifery”: This poem was written by Edward Taylor, a great American poet. Huswifery is a thought-provoking poem famous about spirituality. The poem speaks about the speaker’s longing to be closer to his creator (God). It also presents a stark comparison between the speaker and the spinning wheel. The poem explores the relationship between the speaker’s desire and God’s love.
  • “Houswifery” As a Representative of Desire: The poem presents the speaker’s utmost desire to become more intimate with God. He urges God to transform him into a spinning wheel. Also, he makes his emotions the part of that spinning wheel that twists the fiber to make the yarn strong. The poet wants Him to turn his conversation and soul into a reel that wraps the yarn around. Then, he wants God to wind the yarn using His Holy Spirit so that there would be no sign of sin.
    The poet confesses that as a human, he is not perfect. Therefore, he calls upon God to make his soul beautiful, using heavenly flowers and paint it with colors that excite Him. To make himself worthy of heaven, he asks God to cover his sins with His glory and recreate him according to His will.
  • Major Themes in “Huswifery”: God’s grace and spirituality are the major themes of this poem. Throughout the poem, the speaker compares himself with a spinning wheel and seeks God’s grace. He wants to spend his life according to God’s will. He even wants his emotions to help him achieve his goal, not a hindrance in his way. He knows the weaknesses and drawbacks of human nature. Therefore, he asks God to cover the imperfections of his soul with His grace. Using the spinning wheel as an extended metaphor, the speaker shows how God can take each part of our life and can transform it according to His desire. It also symbolizes the complete change from selfishness to servanthood.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “Huswifery”

Literary devices are crucial elements of any literary text. Their use brings richness to the text and makes the reader understand the hidden meaning of the text. Edward Taylor has also made this poem superb by using figurative language. Here is the analysis of some literary devices used in this poem.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /i/ in “All pinkt with Varnisht Flowers of Paradise” and the sound of /o/ in “I am Cloathd in Holy robes for glory.”
  2. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick succession. For example, the sound of /m/ in “Make mine Affections thy Swift Flyers neate” or the sound of /th/ in “My Words, and Actions, that their shine may fill”.
  3. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /l/ in “Then mine apparell shall display before yee.”
  4. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break; instead, it rolls over to the next line. For example,

My Words, and Actions, that their shine may fill
My wayes with glory and thee glorify.
Then mine apparell shall display before yee
That I am Cloathd in Holy robes for glory.”

  1. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “Make me, O Lord, thy Spining Wheele compleate”, “That I am Cloathd in Holy robes for glory” and “Make me thy Loome then, knit therein this Twine.”
  2. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between person and objects with something else. There is an extended metaphor of Spinning Wheel is used in this poem as the writer compares humans to a spinning wheel. For example, “Make me, O Lord, thy Spining Wheele complete” and “And reele the yarn thereon spun of thy Wheele.”
  3. Symbolism: Symbolism is a use of symbols to signify ideas and qualities by giving them symbolic meanings different from their literal meanings. Here, “reel” symbolizes his conversation, “filling mills” are ordinances, and “Quills” symbolizes the Holy Spirits.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “Huswifery”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. End Rhyme: End Rhyme is used to make the stanza melodious. For example, “me/bee”, “reel/wheele” and “will/fill.”
  2. Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows the ABAB rhyme scheme.
  3. Sestet: A sestet is a six-lined stanza. Here, each stanza is a sestet.
  4. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some line. There are three stanzas in this poem, with each having equal number of verses in it.

Quotes to be Used

The lines stated below are useful when talking about the bliss of heaven.

“Then dy the same in Heavenly Colours Choice,
All pinkt with Varnisht Flowers of Paradise.”