Biography Edward Taylor

Edward Taylor

photo of Edward Taylor
  • Time Period1642 - 1729
  • Place
  • CountryEngland

Poet Biography

Edward Taylor was born in Leicestershire, England in 1642. He originally worked as a school teacher, but later left England for the United States. He studied divinity at Harvard and then became a minister in Massachusetts.

Taylor, a New England Puritan, worked as a minister for sixty years. During that time wrote a great deal of poetry and has become known as one of the best writers of the Puritan times. His poetry has a pious quality and emphasis is given to self examination, particularly in an individual's relations to God. His works were not published until 1939 - over two years after his death. One collection was edited by Donald E. Stanford who commented:
"Taylor seems to have been endowed with most of those qualities usually connoted by the word puritan. He was learned, grave, severe, stubborn, and stiff-necked. He was very, very pious. But his piety was sincere. It was fed by a long continuous spiritual experience arising, so he felt, from a mystical communion with Christ. The reality and depth of this experience is amply witnessed by his poetry."

A custom of Taylor's was to write a poem (or 'Meditation') before each Lord's Supper. Important themes in his work included: his adoption of the Biblical David as his model for the poet; the concept of poetry as an act/offering of ritual praise; distinctions between the godly and ungodly; God's power as Creator; and God's voice as that which speaks truly and which man's voice merely echoes.

Taylor died in 1729.