Anne Bradstreet, To My Dear and Loving Husband, A Discussion

"To My Dear and Loving Husband" was written by America's first female poet, the Puritan, Anne Bradstreet. In fact, Anne Bradstreet is one of only a handful of female American poets during the first 200 years of America's history. After Bradstreet, one can list only Phillis Wheatley, the 18th century black female poet, Emma Lazarus, the 19th century poet whose famous words appear on the Statue of Liberty, and the 19th century Emily Dickinson, America's most famous female poet.

"To My Dear and Loving Husband" has several standard poetic features. One is the two line rhyme scheme. Another is the anaphora, the repetition of a phrase, in the first three lines. And a third is the popular iambic pentameter.

Iambic pentameter is characterized by an unrhymed line with five feet or accents. Each foot contains an unaccented syllable and an accented syllable, as in "da Dah, da Dah, da Dah, da Dah, da Dah."

The subject of Anne Bradstreet's love poem is her professed love for her husband. She praises him and asks the heavens to reward him for his love. The poem is a touching display of love and affection and extraordinarily uncommon for the Puritan era of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in which Anne Bradstreet lived.

Puritan women were expected to be reserved, domestic, and subservient to their husbands. They were not expected or allowed to exhibit their wit, charm, intelligence, or passion. John Winthrop, the Massachusetts governor, once remarked that women who exercised wit or intelligence were apt to go insane.

Anne Bradstreet was born Anne Dudley in 1612 in England. She married Simon Bradstreet when she was 16 and they both sailed with her family to America in 1630. The difficult, cold voyage to America took 3 months to complete. John Winthrop was also a passenger on the trip. The voyage landed in Boston and the passengers joined the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The men in Anne Bradstreet's family were managers and politicians. Both her father and her husband became Massachusetts governors. Her husband, Simon, often traveled for weeks throughout the colony as its administrator.

Anne Bradstreet's poem, "To My Dear and Loving Husband," was a response to her husband's absence.

Very little is known about Anne Bradstreet's life in Massachusetts. There are not portraits of her and she does not even have a grave marker. She and her family moved several times, each time further away from Boston into the frontier. Anne and Simon had 8 children during a 10 year period, and all the children survived healthy and safe, a remarkable accomplishment considering the health and safety hazards of the period.

Anne Bradstreet was highly intelligent and largely self-educated. She took herself seriously as an intellectual and a poet, reading widely in history, science, art, and literature. However, as a good Puritan woman, Bradstreet did not make her accomplishments public.

Bradstreet wrote poetry for herself, family, and friends, never meaning to publish them. Consider that her friend, Anne Hutchinson was intellectual, educated and led women's prayer meetings where alternative religious beliefs were discussed. She was labeled a heretic and banished from the colony. Hutchinson eventually died in an Indian attack. Is it any wonder that Anne Bradstreet was hesitant to publish her poetry and call attention to herself?

Anne Bradstreet's early poems were secretly taken by her brother-in-law to England and published in a small volume when she was 38. The volume sold well in England, but the poems were not nearly as accomplished as her later works.

Bradstreet's later works were not published during her lifetime. Her poems about her love for her husband were private and personal, meant to be shared with her family and friends group only.

Though her health was frequently a concern, especially during childbirth, Anne Bradstreet lived until 60 years of age.

Enjoy "To My Dear and Loving Husband," a remarkable accomplishment.

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 recompence.
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.

*****************************

Garry Gamber is a public school teacher and entrepreneur. He writes articles about real estate, health and nutrition, and internet dating services. He is the owner of http://www.Anchorage-Homes.com and http://www.TheDatingAdvisor.com.

In The News:


Chalkbeat New York

Indy Pulse puts poetry, performance on stage
Chalkbeat New York
A few weeks later, she'd stand before a room full of poetry slam competitors, teachers, parents and a three-judge panel to perform “Ebola Poem,” her emotional answer to the way some of her classmates have joked about the disease and even used it as the ...


Toronto Star

Well-known poet banned from events in three cities over sexual harassment and ...
Toronto Star
Frankson is a poet and spoken-word artist working mainly in Toronto. He is a prominent figure in the local poetry community, appearing at and organizing regular slam poetry competitions. In 2007 he founded Cytopoetics, a business that provides ...

and more »

Older Oklahomans invited to share poetry
Norman Transcript
The 40th Annual Oklahoma Conference on Aging is accepting entries for the 2015 Senior Poetry Contest. The contest is a popular event held in conjunction with the conference, which is sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Aging ...

and more »

Final Poetry on the Loose features founder William Seaton
Times Herald-Record
When Seaton moved to Orange County, he had already been active in poetry and performance for decades, participating in what were called happenings at the University of Illinois in the 1960s, working with the Cloud House group doing street readings and ...


How Has the Social Role of Poetry Changed Since Shelley?
New York Times
Shelley once called poets the “unacknowledged legislators of the world.” This week, Adam Kirsch and Leslie Jamison discuss how the social role of poetry has changed since then. By Adam Kirsch. No one asked for Shelley's views on the Congress of Vienna, ...


Style.com

The Poetry of Ordinary Clothes: Tilda Swinton and Olivier Saillard Glorify ...
Style.com
In the show's final portion, Swinton left little mementos in each garment—a stalk of wheat; a leaf of tissue paper printed with poetry or proverbs (“It's bad luck to put on a coat starting with the left sleeve,” for example); or a Kleenex scented with ...


Def Poetry Slam brings out the urban poet in NYC students
Chinook Observer
By Lorenzo Campos / “They say you can run but you can't hide, / Even after all these years I'm still running, / Searching for the places I hid, / My soul, my heart and my inner kid. / My life is a story and I'm here to share with you a piece, / A ...


CARL LOVE: A seed of poetry grows
Press-Enterprise
It's a routine I do every year with the elementary school kids I teach: We write poetry. I also read a bunch to them, hoping to inspire some to pursue it beyond the pretty pictures many like to draw with the verses they create. Kendra Avants was in my ...


Telegraph.co.uk

Christmas Books 2014: best poetry to read
Telegraph.co.uk
Increasingly, poets are doing just that. At least, the most striking of recent collections are taking on the realities of conflict and division, and for a moment there seems to be less room for introspective or brooding poems. For example, “the world ...


BBC News

The performance poet who uses a ventilator as part of his act
BBC News
Performing poetry has its challenges, but more so if your breathing is controlled by a machine. Owen Lowery is 46 and lives in Lancashire. He has a ventilator which helps him to breathe. He began writing poems seven years ago on a university course and ...

and more »
Google News

Joined

JOINEDHeart beat of man pounding - yet unheard joined... Read More

House of the Goblin [Part Two of Three/with notes]

House of the Goblin [Part Two of Three]Here is where,... Read More

A Happiness Poem

If a happiness poem could bring forth a smile, Then... Read More

A Ship to Remember

Hammers. Timbers. Iron. Steel.They're laying down a mighty keel.As ant-like... Read More

Ode, to the Mighty Midget Omac [In English and Spanish]

Part One Midget HistoryI am thirty-six inches tall, that is... Read More

The Butcher of Lima and Footprints to Mantaro Valley (Two Poems)

Footprints to Mantaro Valley (Peru; in English and Spanish)In what... Read More

Two Poems on the Traditions of Peru [in English and Spanish]

Atahualpa's Game [Peruvian]Sometimes, it's not wise To share your wisdom... Read More

Article on Poetry and Two Poems

Writing Poetry for TomorrowWhat does a man need to be... Read More

The Man Who Could Not Say Sorry For His Sins

Sorry would be a start.Though you cant take back your... Read More

For My Mother

I cannot bear to think of when you will be... Read More

Whats A Prisoner to Do?

What's a prisoner to do when justice fails and... Read More

Two Poems: Boyhood, and Old Age [with a note on style]

BoyhoodOh me! Thy glorious days have flown! I mealy noticed,... Read More

Antidotes for an Alibi

Amy King's first full-length collection, Antidotes for an Alibi, insists... Read More

Three Poems and Paradise Lost [One for Hell, One for Heaven one for an Inca King]

The Torrents of HellHell's furnace- Likened to a chimney Vomits... Read More

Two Poems and a Short Story

1)dying in the bar [sluggishly]yet, I would crawl too upto... Read More

The Spirits de Copan

Part oneI see them in the skies I hear them... Read More

Ive Learned

You cannot make someone love you. All you can do... Read More

Way of Life: Rhymes of the Inca [four poems: see in Spanish and English NOW!]

Way of Life: Rhymes of the IncaPizarro (Spanish conquistador ((1525))The... Read More

Kafka Re-Trial

Kafka lands resurrected in Crewe deposited by a silvery alien... Read More

The Exit Poems [Iron and Fire & No Heroes]

The Exit Poems [And Socrates]Iron and FireIron can be... Read More

Poetry in Turbulence

To many non-specialists of literature, poetry is deeply unsatisfying. There... Read More

Write Your Way to Fame

Have you ever thought about how nice it would be... Read More

My hero, my best friend, my Grannio (a.k.a my Grandmother)

She raised me like I was her own daughter from... Read More

Learn About Love From Poet Rumi

In this modern age of technology, busy lifestyles, and obsession... Read More

Become A Poet In Ten Minutes

Have you ever sat there staring at the paper, ready... Read More