Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings
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Our Insufficiency to Praise God Suitably, for His Mercy

By Edward Taylor

Should all the World so wide to atoms fall
     Should th'Aire be shred to motes, should we
     Se all the Earth hackt here so small
          That none Could smaller bee?
Should Heaven, and Earth be Atomizd, we guess
The Number of these Motes were numberless.

But should we then a World each Atom deem,
     Where dwell as many pious men
     As all these Motes the world Could teem
          Were it shred into them?.
Each Atom would the World surmount wee guess
Whose men in number would be numberless.

But had each pious man, as many Tongues
     At singing all together then
     The Praise that to the Lord belongs
          As all these Atoms men?
Each man would sing a World of Praise, we guess,
Whose Tongues in number would be numberless.

And had each Tongue, as many Songs of Praise
     To sing to the Almighty ALL
     As all these men have Tongues to raise
          To him their Holy Call?
Each Tongue would tune a World of Praise, we guess
Whose songs in number would be numberless.

Nay, had each song as many Tunes most sweet
     Or one intwisting in't as many,
     As all these Tongues have songs most meet
          Unparallelld by any?
Each song a world of Musick makes we guess
Whose Tunes in number would be numberless.

Now should all these Conspire in us that we
     Could breath such Praise to thee, Most High?
     Should we thy Sounding Organs be
          To ring such Melody?
Our Musick would the World of Worlds out ring
Yet be unfit within thine Eares to ting.

Thou didst us mould, and us new mould when wee
     Were worse than mould we tread upon.
     Nay Nettles made by Sin wee bee.
          Yet hadst Compassion.
Thou hast pluckt out our Stings; and by degrees
Hast of us, lately Wasps, made Lady-Bees.

Though e're our Tongues thy Praises due can fan
     A Weevle with the World may fly,
     Yea fly away: and with a span
          We may out mete the Sky.
Though what we can is but a Lisp, We pray
Accept thereof. We have no better pay.

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