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Best Famous Anne Bradstreet Poems

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Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

The Prologue

1

To sing of wars, of captains, and of kings,
Of cities founded, commonwealths begun,
For my mean pen, are too superior things,
And how they all, or each, their dates have run
Let poets, and historians set these forth,
My obscure verse shall not so dim their worth.
2 But when my wond'ring eyes, and envious heart, Great Bartas' sugared lines do but read o'er, Fool, I do grudge the Muses did not part 'Twixt him and me that overfluent store; A Bartas can do what a Bartas will, But simple I, according to my skill.
3 From schoolboy's tongue, no rhetoric we expect, Nor yet a sweet consort, from broken strings, Nor perfect beauty, where's a main defect; My foolish, broken, blemished Muse so sings; And this to mend, alas, no art is able, 'Cause nature made it so irreparable.
4 Nor can I, like that fluent sweet-tongued Greek Who lisped at first, speak afterwards more plain.
By art, he gladly found what he did seek, A full requital of his striving pain: Art can do much, but this maxim's most sure.
A weak or wounded brain admits no cure.
5 I am obnoxious to each carping tongue, Who says my hand a needle better fits; A poet's pen all scorn I should thus wrong; For such despite they cast on female wits: If what I do prove well, it won't advance, They'll say it's stolen, or else it was by chance.
6 But sure the antique Greeks were far more mild, Else of our sex, why feigned they those nine, And poesy made Calliope's own child? So 'mongst the rest they placed the arts divine: But this weak knot they will full soon untie, The Greeks did nought, but play the fool and lie.
7 Let Greeks be Greeks, and women what they are, Men have precedency, and still excel; It is but vain, unjustly to wage war; Men can do best, and women know it well; Preeminence in each and all is yours, Yet grant some small acknowledgement of ours.
8 And oh, ye high flown quills that soar the skies, And ever with your prey, still catch your praise, If e'er you deign these lowly lines your eyes, Give wholesome parsley wreath, I ask no bays: This mean and unrefinèd stuff of mine, Will make your glistering gold but more to shine.


Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

The Author to Her Book

Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, exposed to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th' press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small, My rambling brat (in print) should mother call, I cast thee by as one unfit for light, Thy visage was so irksome in my sight; Yet being mine own, at length affection would Thy blemishes amend, if so I could: I washed thy face, but more defects I saw, And rubbing off a spot still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet, Yet still thou run'st more hobbling than is meet; In better dress to trim thee was my mind, But nought save homespun cloth i' th' house I find.
In this array 'mongst vulgars may'st thou roam.
In critic's hands beware thou dost not come, And take thy way where yet thou art not known; If for thy father asked, say thou hadst none; And for thy mother, she alas is poor, Which caused her thus to send thee out of door.


Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

Another

 HERE a pretty baby lies 
Sung asleep with lullabies: 
Pray be silent and not stir 
Th' easy earth that covers her.


More great poems below...

Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

To my Dear and Loving Husband

 If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man, Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench, Nor ought but love from thee give recompetence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever That when we live no more, we may live ever.


Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

Upon Some Distemper of Body

 In anguish of my heart replete with woes, 
And wasting pains, which best my body knows, 
In tossing slumbers on my wakeful bed, 
Bedrenched with tears that flowed from mournful head, 
Till nature had exhausted all her store, 
Then eyes lay dry, disabled to weep more; 
And looking up unto his throne on high, 
Who sendeth help to those in misery; 
He chased away those clouds and let me see 
My anchor cast i' th' vale with safety.
He eased my soul of woe, my flesh of pain, and brought me to the shore from troubled main.


Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

To My Dear And Loving Husband

 If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man, Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench, Nor ought but love from thee give recompetence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever That when we live no more, we may live ever.


Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

By Night when Others Soundly Slept

 .
By night when others soundly slept And hath at once both ease and Rest, My waking eyes were open kept And so to lie I found it best.
.
I sought him whom my Soul did Love, With tears I sought him earnestly.
He bow'd his ear down from Above.
In vain I did not seek or cry.
.
My hungry Soul he fill'd with Good; He in his Bottle put my tears, My smarting wounds washt in his blood, And banisht thence my Doubts and fears.
.
What to my Saviour shall I give Who freely hath done this for me? I'll serve him here whilst I shall live And Loue him to Eternity


Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House

 In silent night when rest I took
For sorrow near I did not look
I waked was with thund'ring noise
And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice.
That fearful sound of "Fire!" and "Fire!" Let no man know is my desire.
I, starting up, the light did spy, And to my God my heart did cry To strengthen me in my distress And not to leave me succorless.
Then, coming out, beheld a space The flame consume my dwelling place.
And when I could no longer look, I blest His name that gave and took, That laid my goods now in the dust.
Yea, so it was, and so 'twas just.
It was His own, it was not mine, Far be it that I should repine; He might of all justly bereft But yet sufficient for us left.
When by the ruins oft I past My sorrowing eyes aside did cast, And here and there the places spy Where oft I sat and long did lie: Here stood that trunk, and there that chest, There lay that store I counted best.
My pleasant things in ashes lie, And them behold no more shall I.
Under thy roof no guest shall sit, Nor at thy table eat a bit.
No pleasant tale shall e'er be told, Nor things recounted done of old.
No candle e'er shall shine in thee, Nor bridegroom's voice e'er heard shall be.
In silence ever shall thou lie, Adieu, Adieu, all's vanity.
Then straight I 'gin my heart to chide, And did thy wealth on earth abide? Didst fix thy hope on mold'ring dust? The arm of flesh didst make thy trust? Raise up thy thoughts above the sky That dunghill mists away may fly.
Thou hast an house on high erect, Framed by that mighty Architect, With glory richly furnished, Stands permanent though this be fled.
It's purchased and paid for too By Him who hath enough to do.
A price so vast as is unknown Yet by His gift is made thine own; There's wealth enough, I need no more, Farewell, my pelf, farewell my store.
The world no longer let me love, My hope and treasure lies above.


Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

Prologue

 1 To sing of Wars, of Captains, and of Kings,
2 Of Cities founded, Common-wealths begun,
3 For my mean Pen are too superior things;
4 Or how they all, or each their dates have run,
5 Let Poets and Historians set these forth.
6 My obscure lines shall not so dim their worth.
7 But when my wond'ring eyes and envious heart 8 Great Bartas' sugar'd lines do but read o'er, 9 Fool, I do grudge the Muses did not part 10 'Twixt him and me that over-fluent store.
11 A Bartas can do what a Bartas will 12 But simple I according to my skill.
13 From School-boy's tongue no Rhet'ric we expect, 14 Nor yet a sweet Consort from broken strings, 15 Nor perfect beauty where's a main defect.
16 My foolish, broken, blemished Muse so sings, 17 And this to mend, alas, no Art is able, 18 'Cause Nature made it so irreparable.
19 Nor can I, like that fluent sweet-tongued Greek 20 Who lisp'd at first, in future times speak plain.
21 By Art he gladly found what he did seek, 22 A full requital of his striving pain.
23 Art can do much, but this maxim's most sure: 24 A weak or wounded brain admits no cure.
25 I am obnoxious to each carping tongue 26 Who says my hand a needle better fits.
27 A Poet's Pen all scorn I should thus wrong, 28 For such despite they cast on female wits.
29 If what I do prove well, it won't advance, 30 They'll say it's stol'n, or else it was by chance.
31 But sure the antique Greeks were far more mild, 32 Else of our Sex, why feigned they those nine 33 And poesy made Calliope's own child? 34 So 'mongst the rest they placed the Arts divine, 35 But this weak knot they will full soon untie.
36 The Greeks did nought but play the fools and lie.
37 Let Greeks be Greeks, and Women what they are.
38 Men have precedency and still excel; 39 It is but vain unjustly to wage war.
40 Men can do best, and Women know it well.
41 Preeminence in all and each is yours; 42 Yet grant some small acknowledgement of ours.
43 And oh ye high flown quills that soar the skies, 44 And ever with your prey still catch your praise, 45 If e'er you deign these lowly lines your eyes, 46 Give thyme or Parsley wreath, I ask no Bays.
47 This mean and unrefined ore of mine 48 Will make your glist'ring gold but more


Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

Verses upon the Burning of our House July 18th

 In silent night when rest I took,
For sorrow near I did not look,
I waken'd was with thund'ring noise
And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice.
That fearful sound of 'fire' and 'fire,' Let no man know is my Desire.
I starting up, the light did spy, And to my God my heart did cry To straighten me in my Distress And not to leave me succourless.
Then coming out, behold a space The flame consume my dwelling place.
And when I could no longer look, I blest his grace that gave and took, That laid my goods now in the dust.
Yea, so it was, and so 'twas just.
It was his own; it was not mine.
Far be it that I should repine, He might of all justly bereft But yet sufficient for us left.
When by the Ruins oft I past My sorrowing eyes aside did cast And here and there the places spy Where oft I sate and long did lie.
Here stood that Trunk, and there that chest, There lay that store I counted best, My pleasant things in ashes lie And them behold no more shall I.
Under the roof no guest shall sit, Nor at thy Table eat a bit.
No pleasant talk shall 'ere be told Nor things recounted done of old.
No Candle 'ere shall shine in Thee, Nor bridegroom's voice ere heard shall bee.
In silence ever shalt thou lie.
Adieu, Adieu, All's Vanity.
Then straight I 'gin my heart to chide: And did thy wealth on earth abide, Didst fix thy hope on mouldring dust, The arm of flesh didst make thy trust? Raise up thy thoughts above the sky That dunghill mists away may fly.
Thou hast a house on high erect Fram'd by that mighty Architect, With glory richly furnished Stands permanent, though this be fled.
It's purchased and paid for too By him who hath enough to do.
A price so vast as is unknown, Yet by his gift is made thine own.
There's wealth enough; I need no more.
Farewell, my pelf; farewell, my store.
The world no longer let me love; My hope and Treasure lies above.


Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

We May Live Together

 If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man, Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench, Nor ought but love from thee give recompetence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever That when we live no more, we may live ever.


Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

A Letter to Her Husband

 Absent upon Public Employment 

My head, my heart, mine eyes, my life, nay more,
My joy, my magazine, of earthly store,
If two be one, as surely thou and I,
How stayest thou there, whilst I at Ipswich lie?
So many steps, head from the heart to sever,
If but a neck, soon should we be together.
I, like the Earth this season, mourn in black, My Sun is gone so far in's zodiac, Whom whilst I 'joyed, nor storms, nor frost I felt, His warmth such fridged colds did cause to melt.
My chilled limbs now numbed lie forlorn; Return; return, sweet Sol, from Capricorn; In this dead time, alas, what can I more Than view those fruits which through thy heart I bore? Which sweet contentment yield me for a space, True living pictures of their father's face.
O strange effect! now thou art southward gone, I weary grow the tedious day so long; But when thou northward to me shalt return, I wish my Sun may never set, but burn Within the Cancer of my glowing breast, The welcome house of him my dearest guest.
Where ever, ever stay, and go not thence, Till nature's sad decree shall call thee hence; Flesh of thy flesh, bone of thy bone, I here, thou there, yet both but one.


Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

Here Follow Several Occasional Meditations

 By night when others soundly slept, 
And had at once both case and rest, 
My waking eyes were open kept 
And so to lie I found it best.
I sought Him whom my soul did love, With tears I sought Him earnestly; He bowed His ear down from above.
In vain I did not seek or cry.
My hungry soul He filled with good, He in His bottle put my tears, My smarting wounds washed in His blood, And banished thence my doubts and fears.
What to my Savior shall I give, Who freely hath done this for me? I'll serve Him here whilst I shall live And love Him to eternity.


Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

In Thankful Remembrance for My Dear Husbands Safe Arrival

 What shall I render to Thy name 
Or how Thy praises speak? 
My thanks how shall I testify? 
O Lord, Thou know'st I'm weak.
I owe so much, so little can Return unto Thy name, Confusion seizes on my soul, And I am filled with shame.
O Thou that hearest prayers, Lord, To Thee shall come all flesh Thou hast me heard and answered, My plaints have had access.
What did I ask for but Thou gav'st? What could I more desire? But thankfulness even all my days I humbly this require.
Thy mercies, Lord, have been so great In number numberless, Impossible for to recount Or any way express.
O help Thy saints that sought Thy face T' return unto Thee praise And walk before Thee as they ought, In strict and upright ways.


Written by Anne Bradstreet | |

Epitaphs

 Her Mother's Epitaph

Here lies
A worthy matron of unspotted life,
A loving mother and obedient wife,
A friendly neighbor, pitiful to poor,
Whom oft she fed, and clothed with her store;
To servants wisely aweful, but yet kind,
And as they did, so they reward did find:
A true instructor of her family,
The which she ordered with dexterity,
The public meetings ever did frequent,
And in her closest constant hours she spent;
Religious in all her words and ways,
Preparing still for death, till end of days:
Of all her children, children lived to see,
Then dying, left a blessed memory.
Her Father's Epitaph Within this tomb a patriot lies That was both pious, just and wise, To truth a shield, to right a wall, To sectaries a whip and maul, A magazine of history, A prizer of good company In manners pleasant and severe The good him loved, the bad did fear, And when his time with years was spent In some rejoiced, more did lament.
1653, age 77