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Best Famous Anne Bradstreet Poems

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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.


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.


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.


More great poems below...

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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


by Anne Bradstreet | |

Another

 Phoebus make haste, the day's too long, be gone, 
The silent night's the fittest time for moan; 
But stay this once, unto my suit give ear, 
And tell my griefs in either hemisphere.
(And if the whirling of thy wheels don't drown'd) The woeful accents of my doleful sound, If in thy swift carrier thou canst make stay, I crave this boon, this errand by the way, Commend me to the man more loved than life, Show him the sorrows of his widowed wife; My dumpish thoughts, my groans, my brakish tears My sobs, my longing hopes, my doubting fears, And if he love, how can he there abide? My interest's more than all the world beside.
He that can tell the stars or ocean sand, Or all the grass that in the meads do stand, The leaves in th' woods, the hail, or drops of rain, Or in a corn-field number every grain, Or every mote that in the sunshine hops, May count my sighs, and number all my drops.
Tell him the countless steps that thou dost trace, That once a day thy spouse thou may'st embrace; And when thou canst not treat by loving mouth, Thy rays afar salute her from the south.
But for one month I see no day (poor soul) Like those far situate under the pole, Which day by day long wait for thy arise, O how they joy when thou dost light the skies.
O Phoebus, hadst thou but thus long from thine Restrained the beams of thy beloved shine, At thy return, if so thou could'st or durst, Behold a Chaos blacker than the first.
Tell him here's worse than a confused matter, His little world's a fathom under water.
Nought but the fervor of his ardent beams Hath power to dry the torrent of these streams.
Tell him I would say more, but cannot well, Oppressed minds abruptest tales do tell.
Now post with double speed, mark what I say, By all our loves conjure him not to stay


by Anne Bradstreet | |

Another (II)

 As loving hind that (hartless) wants her deer, 
Scuds through the woods and fern with hark'ning ear, 
Perplext, in every bush and nook doth pry, 
Her dearest deer, might answer ear or eye; 
So doth my anxious soul, which now doth miss 
A dearer dear (far dearer heart) than this.
Still wait with doubts, and hopes, and failing eye, His voice to hear or person to descry.
Or as the pensive dove doth all alone (On withered bough) most uncouthly bemoan The absence of her love and loving mate, Whose loss hath made her so unfortunate, Ev'n thus do I, with many a deep sad groan, Bewail my turtle true, who now is gone, His presence and his safe return still woos, With thousand doleful sighs and mournful coos.
Or as the loving mullet, that true fish, Her fellow lost, nor joy nor life do wish, But launches on that shore, there for to die, Where she her captive husband doth espy.
Mine being gone, I lead a joyless life, I have a loving peer, yet seem no wife; But worst of all, to him can't steer my course, I here, he there, alas, both kept by force.
Return my dear, my joy, my only love, Unto thy hind, thy mullet, and thy dove, Who neither joys in pasture, house, nor streams, The substance gone, O me, these are but dreams.
Together at one tree, oh let us browse, And like two turtles roost within one house, And like the mullets in one river glide, Let's still remain but one, till death divide.
Thy loving love and dearest dear, At home, abroad, and everywhere


by Anne Bradstreet | |

Before the Birth of One of Her Children

 All things within this fading world hath end,
Adversity doth still our joys attend;
No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet,
But with death's parting blow are sure to meet.
The sentence past is most irrevocable, A common thing, yet oh, inevitable.
How soon, my Dear, death may my steps attend, How soon't may be thy lot to lose thy friend, We both are ignorant, yet love bids me These farewell lines to recommend to thee, That when the knot's untied that made us one, I may seem thine, who in effect am none.
And if I see not half my days that's due, What nature would, God grant to yours and you; The many faults that well you know I have Let be interred in my oblivious grave; If any worth or virtue were in me, Let that live freshly in thy memory And when thou feel'st no grief, as I no harmes, Yet love thy dead, who long lay in thine arms, And when thy loss shall be repaid with gains Look to my little babes, my dear remains.
And if thou love thyself, or loved'st me, These O protect from stepdame's injury.
And if chance to thine eyes shall bring this verse, With some sad sighs honor my absent hearse; And kiss this paper for thy dear love's sake, Who with salt tears this last farewell did take.


by Anne Bradstreet | |

Deliverance from a Fit of Fainting

 Worthy art Thou, O Lord, of praise, 
But ah! It's not in me.
My sinking heart I pray Thee raise So shall I give it Thee.
My life as spider's webb's cut off, Thus fainting have I said, And living man no more shall see But be in silence laid.
My feeble spirit Thou didst revive, My doubting Thou didst chide, And though as dead mad'st me alive, I here a while might 'bide.
Why should I live but to Thy praise? My life is hid with Thee.
O Lord, no longer be my days Than I may fruitful be.


by Anne Bradstreet | |

Deliverance from Another Sore Fit

 In my distress I sought the Lord 
When naught on earth could comfort give, 
And when my soul these things abhorred, 
Then, Lord, Thou said'st unto me, "Live.
" Thou knowest the sorrows that I felt; My plaints and groans were heard of Thee, And how in sweat I seemed to melt Thou help'st and Thou regardest me.
My wasted flesh Thou didst restore, My feeble loins didst gird with strength, Yea, when I was most low and poor, I said I shall praise Thee at length.
What shall I render to my God For all His bounty showed to me? Even for His mercies in His rod, Where pity most of all I see.
My heart I wholly give to Thee; O make it fruitful, faithful Lord.
My life shall dedicated be To praise in thought, in deed, in word.
Thou know'st no life I did require Longer than still Thy name to praise, Nor ought on earth worthy desire, In drawing out these wretched days.
Thy name and praise to celebrate, O Lord, for aye is my request.
O grant I do it in this state, And then with Thee, which is the best.


by Anne Bradstreet | |

In My Solitary Hours in My Dear Husband his Absence

 O Lord, Thou hear'st my daily moan 
And see'st my dropping tears.
My troubles all are Thee before, My longings and my fears.
Thou hitherto hast been my God; Thy help my soul hath found.
Though loss and sickness me assailed, Through Thee I've kept my ground.
And Thy abode Thou'st made with me; With Thee my soul can talk; In secret places Thee I find Where I do kneel or walk.
Though husband dear be from me gone, Whom I do love so well, I have a more beloved one Whose comforts far excel.
O stay my heart on Thee.
my God, Uphold my fainting soul.
And when I know not what to do, I'll on Thy mercies roll.
My weakness.
Thou dost know full well Of body and of mind; I in this world no comfort have, But what from Thee I find.
Though children Thou has given me, And friends I have also, Yet if I see Thee not through them They are no joy, but woe.
O shine upon me, blessed Lord, Ev'n for my Saviour's sake; In Thee alone is more than all, And there content I'll take.
O hear me, Lord, in this request As Thou before hast done, Bring back my husband, I beseech, As Thou didst once my son.
So shall I celebrate Thy praise Ev'n while my days shall last And talk to my beloved one Of all Thy goodness past.
So both of us Thy kindness, Lord, With praises shall recount And serve Thee better than before Whose blessings thus surmount.
But give me, Lord, a better heart, Then better shall I be, To pay the vows which I do owe Forever unto Thee.
Unless Thou help, what can I do But still my frailty show? If Thou assist me, Lord, I shall Return Thee what I owe.


by Anne Bradstreet | |

Meditations Divine and Moral

 A ship that bears much sail, and little ballast, is easily 
overset; and that man, whose head hath great abilities, and his 
heart little or no grace, is in danger of foundering.
The finest bread has the least bran; the purest honey, the least wax; and the sincerest Christian, the least self-love.
Sweet words are like honey; a little may refresh, but too much gluts the stomach.
Divers children have their different natures: some are like flesh which nothing but salt will keep from putrefaction; some again like tender fruits that are best preserved with sugar.
Those parents are wise that can fit their nurture according to their nature.
Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.
The reason why Christians are so loath to exchange this world for a better, is because they have more sense than faith: they see what they enjoy, they do but hope for that which is to come.
Dim eyes are the concomitants of old age; and short- sightedness, in those that are the eyes of a Republic, foretells a declining State.
Wickedness comes to its height by degrees.
He that dares say of a less sin, Is it not a little one? will erelong say of a greater, Tush, God regards it not.
Fire hath its force abated by water, not by wind; and anger must be allayed by cold words and not by blustering threats.
The gifts that God bestows on the sons of men, are not only abused, but most commonly employed for a clean contrary end than that which they were given for; as health, wealth, and honor, which might be so many steps to draw men to God in consideration of his bounty towards them, but have driven them the further from him, that they are ready to say, We are lords, we will come no more at thee.
If outward blessings be not as wings to help us mount upwards, they will certainly prove clogs and weights that will pull us lower downward.


by Anne Bradstreet | |

Of the Four Ages of Man

 Lo, now four other act upon the stage,
Childhood and Youth, the Many and Old age:
The first son unto phlegm, grandchild to water,
Unstable, supple, cold and moist's his nature
The second, frolic, claims his pedigree
From blood and air, for hot and moist is he.
The third of fire and choler is compos'd, Vindicative and quarrelsome dispos'd.
The last of earth and heavy melancholy, Solid, hating all lightness and all folly.
Childhood was cloth'd in white and green to show His spring was intermixed with some snow: Upon his head nature a garland set Of Primrose, Daisy and the Violet.
Such cold mean flowers the spring puts forth betime, Before the sun hath thoroughly heat the clime.
His hobby striding did not ride but run, And in his hand an hour-glass new begun, In danger every moment of a fall, And when 't is broke then ends his life and all: But if he hold till it have run its last, Then may he live out threescore years or past.
Next Youth came up in gorgeous attire (As that fond age doth most of all desire), His suit of crimson and his scarf of green, His pride in's countenance was quickly seen; Garland of roses, pinks and gillyflowers Seemed on's head to grow bedew'd with showers.
His face as fresh as is Aurora fair, When blushing she first 'gins to light the air.
No wooden horse, but one of mettle tried, He seems to fly or swim, and not to ride.
Then prancing on the stage, about he wheels, But as he went death waited at his heels, The next came up in a much graver sort, As one that cared for a good report, His sword by's side, and choler in his eyes, But neither us'd as yet, for he was wise; Of Autumn's fruits a basket on his arm, His golden god in's purse, which was his charm.
And last of all to act upon this stage Leaning upon his staff came up Old Age, Under his arm a sheaf of wheat he bore, An harvest of the best, what needs he more? In's other hand a glass ev'n almost run, Thus writ about: "This out, then am I done.
"


by Anne Bradstreet | |

To Her Father with Some Verses

 Most truly honoured, and as truly dear, 
If worth in me or ought I do appear, 
Who can of right better demand the same 
Than may your worthy self from whom it came? 
The principal might yield a greater sum, 
Yet handled ill, amounts but to this crumb; 
My stock's so small I know not how to pay, 
My bond remains in force unto this day; 
Yet for part payment take this simple mite, 
Where nothing's to be had, kings loose their right.
Such is my debt I may not say forgive, But as I can, I'll pay it while I live; Such is my bond, none can discharge but I, Yet paying is not paid until I die.


by Anne Bradstreet | |

Upon a Fit of Sickness

 Twice ten years old not fully told
since nature gave me breath,
My race is run, my thread spun,
lo, here is fatal death.
All men must die, and so must I; this cannot be revoked.
For Adam's sake this word God spake when he so high provoked.
Yet live I shall, this life's but small, in place of highest bliss, Where I shall have all I can crave, no life is like to this.
For what's this but care and strife since first we came from womb? Our strength doth waste, our time doth haste, and then we go to th' tomb.
O bubble blast, how long can'st last? that always art a breaking, No sooner blown, but dead and gone, ev'n as a word that's speaking.
O whilst I live this grace me give, I doing good may be, Then death's arrest I shall count best, because it's Thy decree; Bestow much cost there's nothing lost, to make salvation sure, O great's the gain, though got with pain, comes by profession pure.
The race is run, the field is won, the victory's mine I see; Forever known, thou envious foe, the foil belongs to thee.


by Anne Bradstreet | |

Upon My Dear and Loving Husband his Going into England Jan. 16

 O thou Most High who rulest all 
And hear'st the prayers of thine, 
O hearken, Lord, unto my suit 
And my petition sign.
Into Thy everlasting arms Of mercy I commend Thy servant, Lord.
Keep and preserve My husband, my dear friend.
At Thy command, O Lord, he went, Nor nought could keep him back.
Then let Thy promise joy his heart, O help and be not slack.
Uphold my heart in Thee, O God.
Thou art my strength and stay, Thou see'st how weak and frail I am, Hide not Thy face away.
I in obedience to Thy will Thou knowest did submit.
It was my duty so to do; O Lord, accept of it.
Unthankfulness for mercies past Impute Thou not to me.
O Lord, Thou know'st my weak desire Was to sing praise to Thee.
Lord, be Thou pilot to the ship And send them prosperous gales.
In storms and sickness, Lord, preserve.
Thy goodness never fails.
Unto Thy work he hath in hand Lord, grant Thou good success And favour in their eyes to whom He shall make his address.
Remember, Lord, Thy folk whom Thou To wilderness hast brought; Let not Thine own inheritance Be sold away for nought.
But tokens of Thy favour give, With joy send back my dear That I and all Thy servants may Rejoice with heavenly cheer.
Lord, let my eyes see once again Him whom Thou gavest me That we together may sing praise Forever unto Thee.
And the remainder of our days Shall consecrated be With an engaged heart to sing All praises unto Thee.