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American Poetry of
the Seventeenth Century as a Reflection of Puritan’s Character:

Pavel Pushkov

Professor Fanning

English 71

14 February 2006

An Analysis of “Upon Wedlock, and
the Death of Children” by Edward Taylor and “Upon the Burning of Our House” by
Anne Bradstreet   

How much do we know about the first
settlers? We know that they started to arrive in New England in the
first part of the seventeenth century. We also know that many of them were
Puritans. From high school history textbooks we know that Puritans were a very
religious group that managed to overcome the dangers of a strange land. But who
really were those people? How
did they live? What did they think and dream about? What were the most
important things in their lives? I think that works of seventeenth century
Puritans’ authors will help us to answer these questions. Let us take some
poems of Ann Bradstreet and Edward Taylor as examples.  

Edward Taylor, who for many years
was a priest in a small frontier town, left behind many writings. I think that
the poem Upon Wedlock and Death of Children shows the poet’s character the
best. The poem devoted to two the most important things in Taylor’s life: his
family and religion.  

From the first lines of the poem we
can see a deep love of the author for his wife. He compares their marriage to a
“True- Love Knot, more sweet than spice, and set with all the flowers of
Grace’s dress” (356). The use of the phrase “more sweet than spice” is very
touching, in my opinion, because it shows the Taylors as a normal, loving
couple that time after time had some “spicy” moments in their live (356).
Nevertheless, they love each other and the poet describes their marriage as a
“Wedden’s knot, that ne’re can be untied: no Alexander’s Sword can it divide
(356).” Comparing the marriage with a “Gordian Knot,” Taylor shows the strength
of the union between his wife and himself (356).  




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