Anne Bradstreet is one of America’s finest poets. She was born in England in the early 1612 and moved to the Massachusetts Bay Colony with her father and husband in 1630. Although not formally educated in a school, she was taught at home by her father, a well-educated man. Life in the colonies was not comfortable but despite the lack of luxuries and hard living, Anne was able to find time to write poetry. Her first book of poems, The Tenth Muse, was published in London in 1650. A second edition of The Tenth Muse was published in Boston in 1678, after her death, and contained many new poems. These later poems were better crafted and revealed more of the poet than her previous poems.
From Anne’s poems we learn that she was much attached to her husband, Simon. He traveled extensively as a magistrate and he was missed by his wife. Here is one of my favorites:
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.