What is the meaning of "Huswifery" by Edward Taylor?


Quick Answer

In "Huswifery," Edward Taylor compares the Christian faith to a spinning wheel. This poem was written in the late 17th century and is one of his best-known works.

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Full Answer

Edward Taylor was an American Puritan minister as well as a poet. He wrote two major works during his life, "Preparatory Meditations" and "God's Determination Touching his Elect." However, he also penned numerous pieces of poetry, with "Huswifery" being one of his most famous.

"Huswifery" was written to place the author, and reader, in the correct spiritual frame of mind for communion and communication with Christ. This poem compares one's spiritual life with the components of a spinning wheel as is evidenced by the first line "Make me, O Lord, Thy spinning wheel complete." He then proceeds, throughout the poem, to break down the parts of the wheel for comparison.

In the first stanza,Taylor compares God's holy word to the wheel's distaff, which was used to hold the wool for spinning. The soul is compared to the spool and the conversation between him and God to the reel.

The other two stanzas of the poem contain numerous comparisons as well. Some examples are dying the fabric with heavenly colors and comparing his transformation to that of a holy garment.

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