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:


Helen poet, 94, has new edition of poetry collection printed
Centre Daily Times
HELEN, Ga. — It was Mildred White's first trip to the principal's office. Mrs. McDonald had called the fourth-grader's mother to tell her that Mildred had turned in a poetry assignment that she simply could not have written. The poem about tulips, her ...

and more »

Traverse City Record Eagle

On Poetry: Poetry according to poet laureate
Traverse City Record Eagle
Juan Felipe Herrera is our new U.S. Poet Laureate. The son of migrant farm workers, he was educated at UCLA and Stanford University, and he earned his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. He likes to perform his poems on ...
Daniel Day-Lewis named president of poetry charityWRTV Indianapolis

all 4 news articles »

WXYZ

Two EMU students perform powerful "Lost Voices" poetry slam; Video goes viral
WXYZ
(WXYZ) - Two Eastern Michigan University students took third place in the National Slam Poetry Competition after a performance that has over two million views on YouTube. Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley performed lost voices at the event, and now ...


Telegraph.co.uk

Newly-elected professor of poetry at Oxford to use rap to explore definiton of ...
Telegraph.co.uk
He said: “Throughout my life as a poet from the beginning, generally I like to think about expanding our definition of what poetry is and challenging some ideas of ownership. Who makes these categories? Who decides what works and what doesn't work as ...


Philippine Star

Pole dancing, poetry in Art 2 Art
Philippine Star
On July 12, poet Mesander “Ayer” Arguelles discusses the process behind writing poems where, in his own experience, he can spend weeks deciding whether to use a comma or a semi-colon, let alone the words. The Palanca Award-winner and teacher ...


Boing Boing

The poetry in game-making
Boing Boing
If code is poetry, then gaming is a poetry contest—which was in itself a game, in medieval Japan. Imagine yourself in a noble court, having to show off your skill with language, puns and coded messages, where all your turns of phrase, all your ...


Poetry collection follows Lewis and Clark
Great Falls Tribune
John Burgess was introduced to Lewis and Clark in 1978 while on a survey crew in the Gallatin Valley. From there, he has explored major sites on the trail of the Corps of Discovery and compiled some of those experiences into a collection of poems ...


The Sunshine Coast Daily

Poets look to embed 'poetry trail' in Coast's landscape
The Sunshine Coast Daily
THE beauty of nature has become the ultimate muse for a Sunshine Coast poetry group that hopes to embed a "poetry trail" into the Coast's landscapes. The Pente Poets, a group of six Sunshine Coast residents with a shared passion for poetry, have ...


Review: 'Multitudinous Heart,' Newly Translated Poetry by Carlos Drummond de ...
New York Times
The indelible poet Elizabeth Bishop was among Mr. Drummond's first English translators. This was good fortune. Her translations, as well as those of Mark Strand and others, appeared in a slim and elegant volume titled “Travelling in the Family ...


The Guardian

Lawrence Ferlinghetti: 'Most of the poets were on something, but somebody had ...
The Guardian
I'm here to talk to him about a confluence of significant events: the 60th anniversary of the company he founded, City Lights, publishers of a celebrated poetry list that includes Allen Ginsberg's “Howl” and an extensive range of titles in radical ...

Google News

Three Poems [Lima; Judges and Evils Creation]

1.Evil's CreationThou knowith evil clings To tender peace-; Nor does... Read More

Whats A Prisoner to Do?

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

Rules for Writing Poetry

You've been writing poetry since that first assignment in your... Read More

Caught in the Arms of ED

YOU MIGHT THINK I AM STRONGI THINK YOU GOT IT... Read More

Contract of Death [Now: in SPANISH and English]

Contract of DeathI heard today, the preacher say: "Daniel has... Read More

Biography of Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte (1816 ?1855) Novelist and Poet.Charlotte was the daughter... Read More

Barriers

There are many times I set up barriers and walls,... Read More

I Saw the Universe

I can see the cerulean blue of the skiesOr the... Read More

Africa - Wheres The Profit?

A poetic comment that just welled up inside my head... Read More

Passion and Poetry, and Life

Ironically, the passion that can neutralize the repulsion for difficulties... Read More

The Art of Receiving Poetic Critique

You can show your poem to your mom, your spouse,... Read More

Why I enjoy Writing?

During interviews and general conversations with the public,one of the... Read More

Death & the Supernatural: Poetry/Five Poems

Supernatural PoetryHere are five poems,-what I call-death and supernatural poems.... Read More

Give Me a Lily Pad & The Continuum [two Poems]

What can I do to keep this world in its... Read More

Two Poems and an Analysis [?Witness,? & ?An Old Love?]

Two Poems and an Analysis ['Witness,' & 'An Old Love']WitnessMy... Read More

The Valley Of Pain

We were exiled from the Garden of Eden. Its... Read More

Shadows of the Andes; Ollantayambo; and Cesar Vallejo [Poems in English and Spanish]

1) Shadows of the Andes [or: Song to the Andes]I... Read More

Five Mixed Poems, with Notes [now is Spanish and English]

1.Night in Jamaica [Peruvianism: 1810]It was a rainy night... Read More

Burning Autumn Leaves [a poem in Spanish and English]

Burning Autumn Leaves [1950s in St. Paul, Minnesota]My long steel... 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

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: A Discussion of How Do I Love Thee?

"How Do I Love Thee?" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning was... Read More

Daybreak at Pikes Creek [a Poem]

Daybreak at Pikes Creek [Summer of 2005]Daybreak by Lake Superior... Read More

Expressing an Emotion - The Art of Writing Poetry

Writing poetry is an art, a way of expression, finding... Read More

Exalted Poetry; Two poem [and commentary]

Bells for Belphegor!...Where immortal veils never meet Belphegor, Arch devil... Read More

In the Mountans of Haiti [A Poem: in English and Spanish]

In the Mountains of Haiti(In the City)-July is a hot... Read More