A Fig for Thee Oh! Death

Edward Taylor (c. 1685)


Thou King of Terrours with thy Gastly Eyes

With Butter teeth, bare bones Grim looks likewise.

And Grizzly Hide, and clawing Tallons, fell,

Opning to Sinners Vile, Trap Door of Hell,

That on in Sin impenitently trip

The Downfall art of the infernall Pit,

Thou struckst thy teeth deep in my Lord’s blest Side:

Who dasht it out, and all its venom ‘stroyde

That now thy Poundrill shall onely dash

My Flesh and bones to bits, and Cask shall clash.

Thou’rt not so frightfull now to me, thy knocks

Do crack my shell. Its Heavenly kernells box

Abides most safe. Thy blows do break its shell,

Thy Teeth its Nut. Cracks are that on it fell.

Thence out its kirnell fair and nut, by worms

Once Viciated out, new formd forth turns

And on the wings of some bright Angell flies

Out to bright glory of Gods blissfull joyes.

Hence thou to mee with all thy Gastly face

Art not so dreadfull unto mee through Grace.

I am resolvde to fight thee, and ne’er yield,

Blood up to th’Ears; and in the battle field

Chasing thee hence: But not for this my flesh,

My Body, my vile harlot, its thy Mess,

Labouring to drown me into Sin, disguise

By Eating and by drinking such evil! joyes

Though Grace preserv’d mee that I nere have

Surprised been nor tumbled in such grave.

Hence for my strumpet I’le ne’er draw my Sword

Nor thee restrain at all by Iron Curb

Nor for her safty will I ‘gainst thee strive

But let thy frozen gripes take her Captive

And her imprison in thy dungeon Cave

And grinde to powder in thy Mill the grave,

Which powder in thy Van thou’st safely keep

Till she hath slept out quite her fatall Sleep.

When the last Cock shall Crow the last day in

And the Arch Angells Trumpets sound shall ring

Then th’Eye Omniscient seek shall all there round

Each dust death’s mill had very finely ground,

Which in death’s smoky furnace well refinde

And Each to’ts fellow hath exactly joyn’t,

Is raised up anew and made all bright

And Christalized; all top full of delight.

And entertains its Soule again in bliss

And Holy Angells waiting all on this,

The Soule and Body now, as two true Lovers

Ery night how do they hug and kiss each other.

And going hand in hand thus through the skies

Up to Eternall glory glorious rise.

Is this the Worst thy terrours then canst, why

Then should this grimace at me terrify?

Why camst thou then so slowly? Mend thy pace.

Thy Slowness me detains from Christ’s bright face.

Although thy terrours rise to th’highst degree,

I still am where I was, a Fig for thee.