Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet was the first published American woman writer.
Found 27 thoughts of Anne Bradstreet

There is no object that we see; no action that we do; no good that we enjoy; no evil that we feel, or fear, but we may make some spiritual advantage of all: and he that makes such improvement is wise, as well as pious.

Anne Bradstreet

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

Anne Bradstreet

Youth is the time of getting, middle age of improving, and old age of spending.

Anne Bradstreet

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.

Anne Bradstreet

If what I do prove well, it won't advance. They'll say it's stolen, or else it was by chance.

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.

Anne Bradstreet

The Flesh and the Spirit

In secret place where once I stood
Close by the Banks of Lacrim flood,
I heard two sisters reason on
Things that are past and things to come.
One Flesh was call'd, who had her eye
On worldly wealth and vanity;
The other Spirit, who did rear
Her thoughts unto a higher sphere.
"Sister," quoth Flesh, "what liv'st thou on
Nothing but Meditation?
Doth Contemplation feed thee so
Regardlessly to let earth go?
Can Speculation satisfy
Notion without Reality?
Dost dream of things beyond the Moon
And dost thou hope to dwell there soon?
Hast treasures there laid up in store
That all in th' world thou count'st but poor?
Art fancy-sick or turn'd a Sot
To catch at shadows which are not?
Come, come. I'll show unto thy sense,
Industry hath its recompence.
What canst desire, but thou maist see
True substance in variety?
Dost honour like? Acquire the same,
As some to their immortal fame;
And trophies to thy name erect
Which wearing time shall ne'er deject.
For riches dost thou long full sore?
Behold enough of precious store.
Earth hath more silver, pearls, and gold
Than eyes can see or hands can hold.
Affects thou pleasure? Take thy fill.
Earth hath enough of what you will.
Then let not go what thou maist find
For things unknown only in mind."

Spirit

"Be still, thou unregenerate part,
Disturb no more my settled heart,
For I have vow'd (and so will do)
Thee as a foe still to pursue,
And combat with thee will and must
Until I see thee laid in th' dust.
Sister we are, yea twins we be,
Yet deadly feud 'twixt thee and me,
For from one father are we not.
Thou by old Adam wast begot,
But my arise is from above,
Whence my dear father I do love.
Thou speak'st me fair but hat'st me sore.
Thy flatt'ring shews I'll trust no more.
How oft thy slave hast thou me made
When I believ'd what thou hast said
And never had more cause of woe
Than when I did what thou bad'st do.
I'll stop mine ears at these thy charms
And count them for my deadly harms.
Thy sinful pleasures I do hate,
Thy riches are to me no bait.
Thine honours do, nor will I love,
For my ambition lies above.
My greatest honour it shall be
When I am victor over thee,
And Triumph shall, with laurel head,
When thou my Captive shalt be led.
How I do live, thou need'st not scoff,
For I have meat thou know'st not of.
The hidden Manna I do eat;
The word of life, it is my meat.
My thoughts do yield me more content
Than can thy hours in pleasure spent.
Nor are they shadows which I catch,
Nor fancies vain at which I snatch
But reach at things that are so high,
Beyond thy dull Capacity.
Eternal substance I do see
With which inriched I would be.
Mine eye doth pierce the heav'ns and see
What is Invisible to thee.
My garments are not silk nor gold,
Nor such like trash which Earth doth hold,
But Royal Robes I shall have on,
More glorious than the glist'ring Sun.
But such as Angels' heads infold.
The City where I hope to dwell,
There's none on Earth can parallel.
The stately Walls both high and trong
Are made of precious Jasper stone,
The Gates of Pearl, both rich and clear,
And Angels are for Porters there.
The Streets thereof transparent gold
Such as no Eye did e're behold.
A Crystal River there doth run
Which doth proceed from the Lamb's Throne.
Of Life, there are the waters sure
Which shall remain forever pure.
Nor Sun nor Moon they have no need
For glory doth from God proceed.
No Candle there, nor yet Torch light,
For there shall be no darksome night.
From sickness and infirmity
Forevermore they shall be free.
Nor withering age shall e're come there,
But beauty shall be bright and clear.
This City pure is not for thee,
For things unclean there shall not be.
If I of Heav'n may have my fill,
Take thou the world, and all that will."

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.

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

Anne Bradstreet

In Reference to Her Children

I had eight birds hatched in one nest,
Four cocks there were, and hens the rest.
I nursed them up with pain and care,
Nor cost, nor labour did I spare,
Till at the last they felt their wing,
Mounted the trees, and learned to sing;
Chief of the brood then took his flight
To regions far and left me quite.
My mournful chirps I after send,
Till he return, or I do end:
Leave not thy nest, thy dam and sire,
Fly back and sing amidst this choir.
My second bird did take her flight,
And with her mate flew out of sight;
Southward they both their course did bend,
And seasons twain they there did spend,
Till after blown by southern gales,
They norward steered with filled sails.
A prettier bird was no where seen,
Along the beach among the treen.
I have a third of colour white,
On whom I placed no small delight;
Coupled with mate loving and true,
Hath also bid her dam adieu;
And where Aurora first appears,
She now hath perched to spend her years.
One to the academy flew
To chat among that learned crew;
Ambition moves still in his breast
That he might chant above the rest
Striving for more than to do well,
That nightingales he might excel.
My fifth, whose down is yet scarce gone,
Is 'mongst the shrubs and bushes flown,
And as his wings increase in strength,
On higher boughs he'll perch at length.
My other three still with me nest,
Until they're grown, then as the rest,
Or here or there they'll take their flight,
As is ordained, so shall they light.
If birds could weep, then would my tears
Let others know what are my fears
Lest this my brood some harm should catch,
And be surprised for want of watch,
Whilst pecking corn and void of care,
They fall un'wares in fowler's snare,
Or whilst on trees they sit and sing,
Some untoward boy at them do fling,
Or whilst allured with bell and glass,
The net be spread, and caught, alas.
Or lest by lime-twigs they be foiled,
Or by some greedy hawks be spoiled.
O would my young, ye saw my breast,
And knew what thoughts there sadly rest,
Great was my pain when I you fed,
Long did I keep you soft and warm,
And with my wings kept off all harm,
My cares are more and fears than ever,
My throbs such now as 'fore were never.
Alas, my birds, you wisdom want,
Of perils you are ignorant;
Oft times in grass, on trees, in flight,
Sore accidents on you may light.
O to your safety have an eye,
So happy may you live and die.
Meanwhile my days in tunes I'll spend,
Till my weak lays with me shall end.
In shady woods I'll sit and sing,
And things that past to mind I'll bring.
Once young and pleasant, as are you,
But former toys (no joys) adieu.
My age I will not once lament,
But sing, my time so near is spent.
And from the top bough take my flight
Into a country beyond sight,
Where old ones instantly grow young,
And there with seraphims set song;
No seasons cold, nor storms they see;
But spring lasts to eternity.
When each of you shall in your nest
Among your young ones take your rest,
In chirping language, oft them tell,
You had a dam that loved you well,
That did what could be done for young,
And nursed you up till you were strong,
And 'fore she once would let you fly,
She showed you joy and misery;
Taught what was good, and what was ill,
What would save life, and what would kill.
Thus gone, amongst you I may live,
And dead, yet speak, and counsel give:
Farewell, my birds, farewell adieu,
I happy am, if well with you.

Anne Bradstreet

The Author to her Book

Thou ill-form'd offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth did'st by my side remain,
Till snatcht from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad expos'd 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 wash'd thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretcht 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 home-spun Cloth, i' th' house I find.
In this array, 'mongst Vulgars mayst thou roam.
In Critics' hands, beware thou dost not come,
And take thy way where yet thou art not known.
If for thy Father askt, say, thou hadst none;
And for thy Mother, she alas is poor,
Which caus'd her thus to send thee out of door.

Anne Bradstreet

In Honour of that High and Mighty Princess, Queen ELIZABETH

Proem.

1.1 Although great Queen, thou now in silence lie,
1.2 Yet thy loud Herald Fame, doth to the sky
1.3 Thy wondrous worth proclaim, in every clime,
1.4 And so has vow'd, whilst there is world or time.
1.5 So great's thy glory, and thine excellence,
1.6 The sound thereof raps every human sense
1.7 That men account it no impiety
1.8 To say thou wert a fleshly Deity.
1.9 Thousands bring off'rings (though out of date)
1.10 Thy world of honours to accumulate.
1.11 'Mongst hundred Hecatombs of roaring Verse,
1.12 'Mine bleating stands before thy royal Hearse.
1.13 Thou never didst, nor canst thou now disdain,
1.14 T' accept the tribute of a loyal Brain.
1.15 Thy clemency did yerst esteem as much
1.16 The acclamations of the poor, as rich,
1.17 Which makes me deem, my rudeness is no wrong,
1.18 Though I resound thy greatness 'mongst the throng.

The Poem.

2.1 No Ph{oe}nix Pen, nor Spenser's Poetry,
2.2 No Speed's, nor Camden's learned History;
2.3 Eliza's works, wars, praise, can e're compact,
2.4 The World's the Theater where she did act.
2.5 No memories, nor volumes can contain,
2.6 The nine Olymp'ades of her happy reign,
2.7 Who was so good, so just, so learn'd, so wise,
2.8 From all the Kings on earth she won the prize.
2.9 Nor say I more than truly is her due.
2.10 Millions will testify that this is true.
2.11 She hath wip'd off th' aspersion of her Sex,
2.12 That women wisdom lack to play the Rex.
2.13 Spain's Monarch sa's not so, not yet his Host:
2.14 She taught them better manners to their cost.
2.15 The Salic Law had not in force now been,
2.16 If France had ever hop'd for such a Queen.
2.17 But can you Doctors now this point dispute,
2.18 She's argument enough to make you mute,
2.19 Since first the Sun did run, his ne'er runn'd race,
2.20 And earth had twice a year, a new old face;
2.21 Since time was time, and man unmanly man,
2.22 Come shew me such a Ph{oe}nix if you can.
2.23 Was ever people better rul'd than hers?
2.24 Was ever Land more happy, freed from stirs?
2.25 Did ever wealth in England so abound?
2.26 Her Victories in foreign Coasts resound?
2.27 Ships more invincible than Spain's, her foe
2.28 She rack't, she sack'd, she sunk his Armadoe.
2.29 Her stately Troops advanc'd to Lisbon's wall,
2.30 Don Anthony in's right for to install.
2.31 She frankly help'd Franks' (brave) distressed King,
2.32 The States united now her fame do sing.
2.33 She their Protectrix was, they well do know,
2.34 Unto our dread Virago, what they owe.
2.35 Her Nobles sacrific'd their noble blood,
2.36 Nor men, nor coin she shap'd, to do them good.
2.37 The rude untamed Irish she did quell,
2.38 And Tiron bound, before her picture fell.
2.39 Had ever Prince such Counsellors as she?
2.40 Her self Minerva caus'd them so to be.
2.41 Such Soldiers, and such Captains never seen,
2.42 As were the subjects of our (Pallas) Queen:
2.43 Her Sea-men through all straits the world did round,
2.44 Terra incognitæ might know her sound.
2.45 Her Drake came laded home with Spanish gold,
2.46 Her Essex took Cadiz, their Herculean hold.
2.47 But time would fail me, so my wit would too,
2.48 To tell of half she did, or she could do.
2.49 Semiramis to her is but obscure;
2.50 More infamy than fame she did procure.
2.51 She plac'd her glory but on Babel's walls,
2.52 World's wonder for a time, but yet it falls.
2.53 Fierce Tomris (Cirus' Heads-man, Sythians' Queen)
2.54 Had put her Harness off, had she but seen
2.55 Our Amazon i' th' Camp at Tilbury,
2.56 (Judging all valour, and all Majesty)
2.57 Within that Princess to have residence,
2.58 And prostrate yielded to her Excellence.
2.59 Dido first Foundress of proud Carthage walls
2.60 (Who living consummates her Funerals),
2.61 A great Eliza, but compar'd with ours,
2.62 How vanisheth her glory, wealth, and powers.
2.63 Proud profuse Cleopatra, whose wrong name,
2.64 Instead of glory, prov'd her Country's shame:
2.65 Of her what worth in Story's to be seen,
2.66 But that she was a rich Ægyptian Queen.
2.67 Zenobia, potent Empress of the East,
2.68 And of all these without compare the best
2.69 (Whom none but great Aurelius could quell)
2.70 Yet for our Queen is no fit parallel:
2.71 She was a Ph{oe}nix Queen, so shall she be,
2.72 Her ashes not reviv'd more Ph{oe}nix she.
2.73 Her personal perfections, who would tell,
2.74 Must dip his Pen i' th' Heliconian Well,
2.75 Which I may not, my pride doth but aspire
2.76 To read what others write and then admire.
2.77 Now say, have women worth, or have they none?
2.78 Or had they some, but with our Queen is't gone?
2.79 Nay Masculines, you have thus tax'd us long,
2.80 But she, though dead, will vindicate our wrong.
2.81 Let such as say our sex is void of reason
2.82 Know 'tis a slander now, but once was treason.
2.83 But happy England, which had such a Queen,
2.84 O happy, happy, had those days still been,
2.85 But happiness lies in a higher sphere.
2.86 Then wonder not, Eliza moves not here.
2.87 Full fraught with honour, riches, and with days,
2.88 She set, she set, like Titan in his rays.
2.89 No more shall rise or set such glorious Sun,
2.90 Until the heaven's great revolution:
2.91 If then new things, their old form must retain,
2.92 Eliza shall rule Albian once again.

Her Epitaph.

3.1 Here sleeps T H E Queen, this is the royal bed
3.2 O' th' Damask Rose, sprung from the white and red,
3.3 Whose sweet perfume fills the all-filling air,
3.4 This Rose is withered, once so lovely fair:
3.5 On neither tree did grow such Rose before,
3.6 The greater was our gain, our loss the more.

Another.

4.1 Here lies the pride of Queens, pattern of Kings:
4.2 So blaze it fame, here's feathers for thy wings.
4.3 Here lies the envy'd, yet unparallel'd Prince,
4.4 Whose living virtues speak (though dead long since).
4.5 If many worlds, as that fantastic framed,
4.6 In every one, be her great glory famed

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.

Anne Bradstreet

A Dialogue between Old England and New

New England.

1 Alas, dear Mother, fairest Queen and best,
2 With honour, wealth, and peace happy and blest,
3 What ails thee hang thy head, and cross thine arms,
4 And sit i' the dust to sigh these sad alarms?
5 What deluge of new woes thus over-whelm
6 The glories of thy ever famous Realm?
7 What means this wailing tone, this mournful guise?
8 Ah, tell thy Daughter; she may sympathize.

Old England.

9 Art ignorant indeed of these my woes,
10 Or must my forced tongue these griefs disclose,
11 And must my self dissect my tatter'd state,
12 Which Amazed Christendom stands wondering at?
13 And thou a child, a Limb, and dost not feel
14 My weak'ned fainting body now to reel?
15 This physic-purging-potion I have taken
16 Will bring Consumption or an Ague quaking,
17 Unless some Cordial thou fetch from high,
18 Which present help may ease my malady.
19 If I decease, dost think thou shalt survive?
20 Or by my wasting state dost think to thrive?
21 Then weigh our case, if 't be not justly sad.
22 Let me lament alone, while thou art glad.

New England.

23 And thus, alas, your state you much deplore
24 In general terms, but will not say wherefore.
25 What Medicine shall I seek to cure this woe,
26 If th' wound's so dangerous, I may not know?
27 But you, perhaps, would have me guess it out.
28 What, hath some Hengist like that Saxon stout
29 By fraud and force usurp'd thy flow'ring crown,
30 Or by tempestuous Wars thy fields trod down?
31 Or hath Canutus, that brave valiant Dane,
32 The regal peaceful Sceptre from thee ta'en?
33 Or is 't a Norman whose victorious hand
34 With English blood bedews thy conquered Land?
35 Or is 't intestine Wars that thus offend?
36 Do Maud and Stephen for the Crown contend?
37 Do Barons rise and side against their King,
38 And call in Foreign aid to help the thing?
39 Must Edward be depos'd? Or is 't the hour
40 That second Richard must be clapp'd i' th' Tower?
41 Or is it the fatal jar, again begun,
42 That from the red, white pricking Roses sprung?
43 Must Richmond's aid the Nobles now implore
44 To come and break the tushes of the Boar?
45 If none of these, dear Mother, what's your woe?
46 Pray, do not fear Spain's bragging Armado.
47 Doth your Ally, fair France, conspire your wrack,
48 Or doth the Scots play false behind your back?
49 Doth Holland quit you ill for all your love?
50 Whence is this storm, from Earth or Heaven above?
51 Is 't drought, is 't Famine, or is 't Pestilence?
52 Dost feel the smart, or fear the consequence?
53 Your humble Child entreats you shew your grief.
54 Though Arms nor Purse she hath for your relief--
55 Such is her poverty,--yet shall be found
56 A suppliant for your help, as she is bound.

Old England.

57 I must confess some of those Sores you name
58 My beauteous Body at this present maim,
59 But foreign Foe nor feigned friend I fear,
60 For they have work enough, thou knowest, elsewhere.
61 Nor is it Alcie's son and Henry's Daughter
62 Whose proud contention cause this slaughter;
63 Nor Nobles siding to make John no King,
64 French Louis unjustly to the Crown to bring;
65 No Edward, Richard, to lose rule and life,
66 Nor no Lancastrians to renew old strife;
67 No Crook-backt Tyrant now usurps the Seat, 68 Whose tearing tusks did wound, and kill, and threat. 69 No Duke of
York nor Earl of March to soil
70 Their hands in Kindred's blood whom they did foil;
71 No need of Tudor Roses to unite:
72 None knows which is the Red or which the White.
73 Spain's braving Fleet a second time is sunk.
74 France knows how of my fury she hath drunk
75 By Edward third and Henry fifth of fame;
76 Her Lilies in my Arms avouch the same.
77 My Sister Scotland hurts me now no more,
78 Though she hath been injurious heretofore.
79 What Holland is, I am in some suspense,
80 But trust not much unto his Excellence.
81 For wants, sure some I feel, but more I fear;
82 And for the Pestilence, who knows how near?
83 Famine and Plague, two sisters of the Sword,
84 Destruction to a Land doth soon afford.
85 They're for my punishments ordain'd on high,
86 Unless thy tears prevent it speedily.
87 But yet I answer not what you demand
88 To shew the grievance of my troubled Land.
89 Before I tell the effect I'll shew the cause,
90 Which are my sins--the breach of sacred Laws:
91 Idolatry, supplanter of a N ation,
92 With foolish superstitious adoration,
93 Are lik'd and countenanc'd by men of might,
94 The Gospel is trod down and hath no right.
95 Church Offices are sold and bought for gain
96 That Pope had hope to find Rome here again.
97 For Oaths and Blasphemies did ever ear
98 From Beelzebub himself such language hear?
99 What scorning of the Saints of the most high!
100 What injuries did daily on them lie!
101 What false reports, what nick-names did they take,
102 Not for their own, but for their Master's sake!
103 And thou, poor soul, wast jeer'd among the rest;
104 Thy flying for the Truth I made a jest.
105 For Sabbath-breaking and for Drunkenness
106 Did ever Land profaneness more express?
107 From crying bloods yet cleansed am not I,
108 Martyrs and others dying causelessly.
109 How many Princely heads on blocks laid down
110 For nought but title to a fading Crown!
111 'Mongst all the cruelties which I have done,
112 Oh, Edward's Babes, and Clarence's hapless Son,
113 O Jane, why didst thou die in flow'ring prime?--
114 Because of Royal Stem, that was thy crime.
115 For Bribery, Adultery, for Thefts, and Lies
116 Where is the Nation I can't paralyze?
117 With Usury, Extortion, and Oppression,
118 These be the Hydras of my stout transgression;
119 These be the bitter fountains, heads, and roots
120 Whence flow'd the source, the sprigs, the boughs, and fruits.
121 Of more than thou canst hear or I relate,
122 That with high hand I still did perpetrate,
123 For these were threat'ned the woeful day
124 I mocked the Preachers, put it fair away.
125 The Sermons yet upon record do stand
126 That cried destruction to my wicked Land.
127 These Prophets' mouths (all the while) was stopt,
128 Unworthily, some backs whipt, and ears crept;
129 Their reverent cheeks bear the glorious marks
130 Of stinking, stigmatizing Romish Clerks;
131 Some lost their livings, some in prison pent,
132 Some grossly fined, from friends to exile went:
133 Their silent tongues to heaven did vengeance cry,
134 Who heard their cause, and wrongs judg'd righteously,
135 And will repay it sevenfold in my lap.
136 This is fore-runner of my after-clap.
137 Nor took I warning by my neighbors' falls.
138 I saw sad Germany's dismantled walls,
139 I saw her people famish'd, Nobles slain,
140 Her fruitful land a barren heath remain.
141 I saw (unmov'd) her Armies foil'd and fled,
142 Wives forc'd, babes toss'd, her houses calcined.
143 I saw strong Rochelle yield'd to her foe,
144 Thousands of starved Christians there also.
145 I saw poor Ireland bleeding out her last,
146 Such cruelty as all reports have past.
147 Mine heart obdurate stood not yet aghast.
148 Now sip I of that cup, and just 't may be
149 The bottom dregs reserved are for me.

New England.

150 To all you've said, sad mother, I assent.
151 Your fearful sins great cause there 's to lament.
152 My guilty hands (in part) hold up with you,
153 A sharer in your punishment's my due.
154 But all you say amounts to this effect,
155 Not what you feel, but what you do expect.
156 Pray, in plain terms, what is your present grief?
157 Then let's join heads and hands for your relief.

Old England.

158 Well, to the matter, then. There's grown of late
159 'Twixt King and Peers a question of state:
160 Which is the chief, the law, or else the King?
161 One saith, it's he; the other, no such thing.
162 My better part in Court of Parliament
163 To ease my groaning land shew their intent
164 To crush the proud, and right to each man deal,
165 To help the Church, and stay the Common-Weal.
166 So many obstacles comes in their way
167 As puts me to a stand what I should say.
168 Old customs, new Prerogatives stood on.
169 Had they not held law fast, all had been gone,
170 Which by their prudence stood them in such stead
171 They took high Strafford lower by the head,
172 And to their Laud be 't spoke they held 'n th' Tower
173 All England's metropolitan that hour.
174 This done, an Act they would have passed fain
175 No prelate should his Bishopric retain.
176 Here tugg'd they hard indeed, for all men saw
177 This must be done by Gospel, not by law.
178 Next the Militia they urged sore.
179 This was denied, I need not say wherefore.
180 The King, displeased, at York himself absents.
181 They humbly beg return, shew their intents.
182 The writing, printing, posting to and fro,
183 Shews all was done; I'll therefore let it go.
184 But now I come to speak of my disaster.
185 Contention's grown 'twixt Subjects and their Master,
186 They worded it so long they fell to blows,
187 That thousands lay on heaps. Here bleeds my woes.
188 I that no wars so many years have known
189 Am now destroy'd and slaughter'd by mine own.
190 But could the field alone this strife decide,
191 One battle, two, or three I might abide,
192 But these may be beginnings of more woe--
193 Who knows, the worst, the best may overthrow!
194 Religion, Gospel, here lies at the stake,
195 Pray now, dear child, for sacred Zion's sake,
196 Oh, pity me in this sad perturbation,
197 My plundered Towns, my houses' devastation,
198 My ravisht virgins, and my young men slain,
199 My wealthy trading fallen, my dearth of grain.
200 The seedtime's come, but Ploughman hath no hope
201 Because he knows not who shall inn his crop.
202 The poor they want their pay, their children bread,
203 Their woful mothers' tears unpitied.
204 If any pity in thy heart remain,
205 Or any child-like love thou dost retain,
206 For my relief now use thy utmost skill,
207 And recompense me good for all my ill.

New England.

208 Dear mother, cease complaints, and wipe your eyes,
209 Shake off your dust, cheer up, and now arise.
210 You are my mother, nurse, I once your flesh,
211 Your sunken bowels gladly would refresh.
212 Your griefs I pity much but should do wrong,
213 To weep for that we both have pray'd for long,
214 To see these latter days of hop'd-for good,
215 That Right may have its right, though 't be with blood.
216 After dark Popery the day did clear;
217 But now the Sun in's brightness shall appear.
218 Blest be the Nobles of thy Noble Land
219 With (ventur'd lives) for truth's defence that stand.
220 Blest be thy Commons, who for Common good
221 And thy infringed Laws have boldly stood.
222 Blest be thy Counties, who do aid thee still
223 With hearts and states to testify their will.
224 Blest be thy Preachers, who do cheer thee on.
225 Oh, cry: the sword of God and Gideon!
226 And shall I not on them wish Mero's curse
227 That help thee not with prayers, arms, and purse?
228 And for my self, let miseries abound
229 If mindless of thy state I e'er be found.
230 These are the days the Church's foes to crush,
231 To root out Prelates, head, tail, branch, and rush.
232 Let's bring Baal's vestments out, to make a fire,
233 Their Mitres, Surplices, and all their tire,
234 Copes, Rochets, Croziers, and such trash,
235 And let their names consume, but let the flash
236 Light Christendom, and all the world to see
237 We hate Rome's Whore, with all her trumpery.
238 Go on, brave Essex, shew whose son thou art,
239 Not false to King, nor Country in thy heart,
240 But those that hurt his people and his Crown,
241 By force expel, destroy, and tread them down.
242 Let Gaols be fill'd with th' remnant of that pack,
243 And sturdy Tyburn loaded till it crack.
244 And ye brave Nobles, chase away all fear,
245 And to this blessed Cause closely adhere.
246 O mother, can you weep and have such Peers?
247 When they are gone, then drown your self in tears,
248 If now you weep so much, that then no more
249 The briny Ocean will o'erflow your shore.
250 These, these are they (I trust) with Charles our king,
251 Out of all mists such glorious days will bring
252 That dazzled eyes, beholding, much shall wonder
253 At that thy settled Peace, thy wealth, and splendour,
254 Thy Church and Weal establish'd in such manner
255 That all shall joy that thou display'dst thy banner,
256 And discipline erected so, I trust,
257 That nursing Kings shall come and lick thy dust.
258 Then Justice shall in all thy Courts take place
259 Without respect of persons or of case.
260 Then bribes shall cease, and suits shall not stick long,
261 Patience and purse of Clients for to wrong.
262 Then High Commissions shall fall to decay,
263 And Pursuivants and Catchpoles want their pay.
264 So shall thy happy Nation ever flourish,
265 When truth and righteousness they thus shall nourish.
266 When thus in Peace, thine Armies brave send out
267 To sack proud Rome, and all her vassals rout.
268 There let thy name, thy fame, and valour shine,
269 As did thine Ancestors' in Palestine,
270 And let her spoils full pay with int'rest be
271 Of what unjustly once she poll'd from thee.
272 Of all the woes thou canst let her be sped,
273 Execute to th' full the vengeance threatened.
274 Bring forth the beast that rul'd the world with's beck,
275 And tear his flesh, and set your feet on's neck,
276 And make his filthy den so desolate
277 To th' 'stonishment of all that knew his state.
278 This done, with brandish'd swords to Turkey go,--
279 (For then what is it but English blades dare do?)
280 And lay her waste, for so's the sacred doom,
281 And do to Gog as thou hast done to Rome.
282 Oh Abraham's seed, lift up your heads on high,
283 For sure the day of your redemption's nigh.
284 The scales shall fall from your long blinded eyes,
285 And him you shall adore who now despise.
286 Then fullness of the Nations in shall flow,
287 And Jew and Gentile to one worship go.
288 Then follows days of happiness and rest.
289 Whose lot doth fall to live therein is blest.
290 No Canaanite shall then be found 'n th' land,
291 And holiness on horses' bells shall stand.
292 If this make way thereto, then sigh no more,
293 But if at all thou didst not see 't before.
294 Farewell, dear mother; Parliament, prevail,
295 And in a while you'll tell another tale.

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.

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

Anne Bradstreet

The Four Ages of Man

1.1 Lo now! four other acts upon the stage,
1.2 Childhood, and Youth, the Manly, and Old-age.
1.3 The first: son unto Phlegm, grand-child to water,
1.4 Unstable, supple, moist, and cold's his Nature.
1.5 The second: frolic claims his pedigree;
1.6 From blood and air, for hot and moist is he.
1.7 The third of fire and choler is compos'd,
1.8 Vindicative, and quarrelsome dispos'd.
1.9 The last, of earth and heavy melancholy,
1.10 Solid, hating all lightness, and all folly.
1.11 Childhood was cloth'd in white, and given to show,
1.12 His spring was intermixed with some snow.
1.13 Upon his head a Garland Nature set:
1.14 Of Daisy, Primrose, and the Violet.
1.15 Such cold mean flowers (as these) blossom betime,
1.16 Before the Sun hath throughly warm'd the clime.
1.17 His hobby striding, did not ride, but run,
1.18 And in his hand an hour-glass new begun,
1.19 In dangers every moment of a fall,
1.20 And when 'tis broke, then ends his life and all.
1.21 But if he held till it have run its last,
1.22 Then may he live till threescore years or past.
1.23 Next, youth came up in gorgeous attire
1.24 (As that fond age, doth most of all desire),
1.25 His Suit of Crimson, and his Scarf of Green.
1.26 In's countenance, his pride quickly was seen.
1.27 Garland of Roses, Pinks, and Gillyflowers
1.28 Seemed to grow on's head (bedew'd with showers).
1.29 His face as fresh, as is Aurora fair,
1.30 When blushing first, she 'gins to red the Air.
1.31 No wooden horse, but one of metal try'd:
1.32 He seems to fly, or swim, and not to ride.
1.33 Then prancing on the Stage, about he wheels;
1.34 But as he went, death waited at his heels.
1.35 The next came up, in a more graver sort,
1.36 As one that cared for a good report.
1.37 His Sword by's side, and choler in his eyes,
1.38 But neither us'd (as yet) for he was wise,
1.39 Of Autumn fruits a basket on his arm,
1.40 His golden rod in's purse, which was his charm.
1.41 And last of all, to act upon this Stage,
1.42 Leaning upon his staff, comes up old age.
1.43 Under his arm a Sheaf of wheat he bore,
1.44 A Harvest of the best: what needs he more?
1.45 In's other hand a glass, ev'n almost run,
1.46 This writ about: This out, then I am done.
1.47 His hoary hairs and grave aspect made way,
1.48 And all gave ear to what he had to say.
1.49 These being met, each in his equipage
1.50 Intend to speak, according to their age,
1.51 But wise Old-age did with all gravity
1.52 To childish childhood give precedency,
1.53 And to the rest, his reason mildly told:
1.54 That he was young, before he grew so old.
1.55 To do as he, the rest full soon assents,
1.56 Their method was that of the Elements,
1.57 That each should tell what of himself he knew,
1.58 Both good and bad, but yet no more then's true.
1.59 With heed now stood, three ages of frail man,
1.60 To hear the child, who crying, thus began.

Childhood.

2.1 Ah me! conceiv'd in sin, and born in sorrow,
2.2 A nothing, here to day, but gone to morrow,
2.3 Whose mean beginning, blushing can't reveal,
2.4 But night and darkness must with shame conceal.
2.5 My mother's breeding sickness, I will spare,
2.6 Her nine months' weary burden not declare.
2.7 To shew her bearing pangs, I should do wrong,
2.8 To tell that pain, which can't be told by tongue.
2.9 With tears into this world I did arrive;
2.10 My mother still did waste, as I did thrive,
2.11 Who yet with love and all alacity,
2.12 Spending was willing to be spent for me.
2.13 With wayward cries, I did disturb her rest,
2.14 Who sought still to appease me with her breast;
2.15 With weary arms, she danc'd, and By, By, sung,
2.16 When wretched I (ungrate) had done the wrong.
2.17 When Infancy was past, my Childishness
2.18 Did act all folly that it could express.
2.19 My silliness did only take delight,
2.20 In that which riper age did scorn and slight,
2.21 In Rattles, Bables, and such toyish stuff.
2.22 My then ambitious thoughts were low enough.
2.23 My high-born soul so straitly was confin'd
2.24 That its own worth it did not know nor mind.
2.25 This little house of flesh did spacious count,
2.26 Through ignorance, all troubles did surmount,
2.27 Yet this advantage had mine ignorance,
2.28 Freedom from Envy and from Arrogance.
2.29 How to be rich, or great, I did not cark,
2.30 A Baron or a Duke ne'r made my mark,
2.31 Nor studious was, Kings favours how to buy,
2.32 With costly presents, or base flattery;
2.33 No office coveted, wherein I might
2.34 Make strong my self and turn aside weak right.
2.35 No malice bare to this or that great Peer,
2.36 Nor unto buzzing whisperers gave ear.
2.37 I gave no hand, nor vote, for death, of life.
2.38 I'd nought to do, 'twixt Prince, and peoples' strife.
2.39 No Statist I: nor Marti'list i' th' field.
2.40 Where e're I went, mine innocence was shield.
2.41 My quarrels, not for Diadems, did rise,
2.42 But for an Apple, Plumb, or some such prize.
2.43 My strokes did cause no death, nor wounds, nor scars.
2.44 My little wrath did cease soon as my wars.
2.45 My duel was no challenge, nor did seek.
2.46 My foe should weltering, with his bowels reek.
2.47 I had no Suits at law, neighbours to vex,
2.48 Nor evidence for land did me perplex.
2.49 I fear'd no storms, nor all the winds that blows.
2.50 I had no ships at Sea, no fraughts to loose.
2.51 I fear'd no drought, nor wet; I had no crop,
2.52 Nor yet on future things did place my hope.
2.53 This was mine innocence, but oh the seeds
2.54 Lay raked up of all the cursed weeds,
2.55 Which sprouted forth in my insuing age,
2.56 As he can tell, that next comes on the stage.
2.57 But yet me let me relate, before I go,
2.58 The sins and dangers I am subject to:
2.59 From birth stained, with Adam's sinful fact,
2.60 From thence I 'gan to sin, as soon as act;
2.61 A perverse will, a love to what's forbid;
2.62 A serpent's sting in pleasing face lay hid;
2.63 A lying tongue as soon as it could speak
2.64 And fifth Commandment do daily break;
2.65 Oft stubborn, peevish, sullen, pout, and cry;
2.66 Then nought can please, and yet I know not why.
2.67 As many was my sins, so dangers too,
2.68 For sin brings sorrow, sickness, death, and woe,
2.69 And though I miss the tossings of the mind,
2.70 Yet griefs in my frail flesh I still do find.
2.71 What gripes of wind, mine infancy did pain?
2.72 What tortures I, in breeding teeth sustain?
2.73 What crudities my cold stomach hath bred?
2.74 Whence vomits, worms, and flux have issued?
2.75 What breaches, knocks, and falls I daily have?
2.76 And some perhaps, I carry to my grave.
2.77 Sometimes in fire, sometimes in water fall:
2.78 Strangely preserv'd, yet mind it not at all.
2.79 At home, abroad, my danger's manifold
2.80 That wonder 'tis, my glass till now doth hold.
2.81 I've done: unto my elders I give way,
2.82 For 'tis but little that a child can say.

Youth.


3.1 My goodly clothing and beauteous skin
3.2 Declare some greater riches are within,
3.3 But what is best I'll first present to view,
3.4 And then the worst, in a more ugly hue,
3.5 For thus to do we on this Stage assemble,
3.6 Then let not him, which hath most craft dissemble.
3.7 Mine education, and my learning's such,
3.8 As might my self, and others, profit much:
3.9 With nurture trained up in virtue's Schools;
3.10 Of Science, Arts, and Tongues, I know the rules;
3.11 The manners of the Court, I likewise know,
3.12 Nor ignorant what they in Country do.
3.13 The brave attempts of valiant Knights I prize
3.14 That dare climb Battlements, rear'd to the skies.
3.15 The snorting Horse, the Trumpet, Drum I like,
3.16 The glist'ring Sword, and well advanced Pike.
3.17 I cannot lie in trench before a Town,
3.18 Nor wait til good advice our hopes do crown.
3.19 I scorn the heavy Corslet, Musket-proof;
3.20 I fly to catch the Bullet that's aloof.
3.21 Though thus in field, at home, to all most kind,
3.22 So affable that I do suit each mind,
3.23 I can insinuate into the breast
3.24 And by my mirth can raise the heart deprest.
3.25 Sweet Music rapteth my harmonious Soul,
3.26 And elevates my thoughts above the Pole.
3.27 My wit, my bounty, and my courtesy
3.28 Makes all to place their future hopes on me.
3.29 This is my best, but youth (is known) alas,
3.30 To be as wild as is the snuffing Ass,
3.31 As vain as froth, as vanity can be,
3.32 That who would see vain man may look on me:
3.33 My gifts abus'd, my education lost,
3.34 My woful Parents' longing hopes all crost;
3.35 My wit evaporates in merriment;
3.36 My valour in some beastly quarrel's spent;
3.37 Martial deeds I love not, 'cause they're virtuous,
3.38 But doing so, might seem magnanimous.
3.39 My Lust doth hurry me to all that's ill,
3.40 I know no Law, nor reason, but my will;
3.41 Sometimes lay wait to take a wealthy purse
3.42 Or stab the man in's own defence, that's worse.
3.43 Sometimes I cheat (unkind) a female Heir
3.44 Of all at once, who not so wise, as fair,
3.45 Trusteth my loving looks and glozing tongue
3.46 Until her friends, treasure, and honour's gone.
3.47 Sometimes I sit carousing others' health
3.48 Until mine own be gone, my wit, and wealth.
3.49 From pipe to pot, from pot to words and blows,
3.50 For he that loveth Wine wanteth no woes.
3.51 Days, nights, with Ruffins, Roarers, Fiddlers spend,
3.52 To all obscenity my ears I bend,
3.53 All counsel hate which tends to make me wise,
3.54 And dearest friends count for mine enemies.
3.55 If any care I take, 'tis to be fine,
3.56 For sure my suit more than my virtues shine.
3.57 If any time from company I spare,
3.58 'Tis spent in curling, frisling up my hair,
3.59 Some young Adonais I do strive to be.
3.60 Sardana Pallas now survives in me.
3.61 Cards, Dice, and Oaths, concomitant, I love;
3.62 To Masques, to Plays, to Taverns still I move;
3.63 And in a word, if what I am you'd hear,
3.64 Seek out a British, bruitish Cavalier.
3.65 Such wretch, such monster am I; but yet more
3.66 I want a heart all this for to deplore.
3.67 Thus, thus alas! I have mispent my time,
3.68 My youth, my best, my strength, my bud, and prime,
3.69 Remembring not the dreadful day of Doom,
3.70 Nor yet the heavy reckoning for to come,
3.71 Though dangers do attend me every hour
3.72 And ghastly death oft threats me with her power:
3.73 Sometimes by wounds in idle combats taken,
3.74 Sometimes by Agues all my body shaken;
3.75 Sometimes by Fevers, all my moisture drinking,
3.76 My heart lies frying, and my eyes are sinking.
3.77 Sometimes the Cough, Stitch, painful Pleurisy,
3.78 With sad affrights of death, do menace me.
3.79 Sometimes the loathsome Pox my face be-mars
3.80 With ugly marks of his eternal scars.
3.81 Sometimes the Frenzy strangely mads my Brain
3.82 That oft for it in Bedlam I remain.
3.83 Too many's my Diseases to recite,
3.84 That wonder 'tis I yet behold the light,
3.85 That yet my bed in darkness is not made,
3.86 And I in black oblivion's den long laid.
3.87 Of Marrow full my bones, of Milk my breasts,
3.88 Ceas'd by the gripes of Serjeant Death's Arrests:
3.89 Thus I have said, and what I've said you see,
3.90 Childhood and youth is vain, yea vanity.

Middle Age.


4.1 Childhood and youth forgot, sometimes I've seen,
4.2 And now am grown more staid that have been green,
4.3 What they have done, the same was done by me:
4.4 As was their praise, or shame, so mine must be.
4.5 Now age is more, more good ye do expect;
4.6 But more my age, the more is my defect.
4.7 But what's of worth, your eyes shall first behold,
4.8 And then a world of dross among my gold.
4.9 When my Wild Oats were sown, and ripe, and mown,
4.10 I then receiv'd a harvest of mine own.
4.11 My reason, then bad judge, how little hope
4.12 Such empty seed should yield a better crop.
4.13 I then with both hands graspt the world together,
4.14 Thus out of one extreme into another,
4.15 But yet laid hold on virtue seemingly:
4.16 Who climbs without hold, climbs dangerously.
4.17 Be my condition mean, I then take pains
4.18 My family to keep, but not for gains.
4.19 If rich, I'm urged then to gather more
4.20 To bear me out i' th' world and feed the poor;
4.21 If a father, then for children must provide,
4.22 But if none, then for kindred near ally'd;
4.23 If Noble, then mine honour to maintain;
4.24 If not, yet wealth, Nobility can gain.
4.25 For time, for place, likewise for each relation,
4.26 I wanted not my ready allegation.
4.27 Yet all my powers for self-ends are not spent,
4.28 For hundreds bless me for my bounty sent,
4.29 Whose loins I've cloth'd, and bellies I have fed,
4.30 With mine own fleece, and with my household bread.
4.31 Yea, justice I have done, was I in place,
4.32 To cheer the good and wicked to deface.
4.33 The proud I crush'd, th'oppressed I set free,
4.34 The liars curb'd but nourisht verity.
4.35 Was I a pastor, I my flock did feed
4.36 And gently lead the lambs, as they had need.
4.37 A Captain I, with skill I train'd my band
4.38 And shew'd them how in face of foes to stand.
4.39 If a Soldier, with speed I did obey
4.40 As readily as could my Leader say.
4.41 Was I a laborer, I wrought all day
4.42 As cheerfully as ere I took my pay.
4.43 Thus hath mine age (in all) sometimes done well;
4.44 Sometimes mine age (in all) been worse than hell.
4.45 In meanness, greatness, riches, poverty
4.46 Did toil, did broil; oppress'd, did steal and lie.
4.47 Was I as poor as poverty could be,
4.48 Then baseness was companion unto me.
4.49 Such scum as Hedges and High-ways do yield,
4.50 As neither sow, nor reap, nor plant, nor build.
4.51 If to Agriculture I was ordain'd,
4.52 Great labours, sorrows, crosses I sustain'd.
4.53 The early Cock did summon, but in vain,
4.54 My wakeful thoughts up to my painful gain.
4.55 For restless day and night, I'm robb'd of sleep
4.56 By cankered care, who sentinel doth keep.
4.57 My weary breast rest from his toil can find,
4.58 But if I rest, the more distrest my mind.
4.59 If happiness my sordidness hath found,
4.60 'Twas in the crop of my manured ground:
4.61 My fatted Ox, and my exuberous Cow,
4.62 My fleeced Ewe, and ever farrowing Sow.
4.63 To greater things I never did aspire,
4.64 My dunghill thoughts or hopes could reach no higher.
4.65 If to be rich, or great, it was my fate.
4.66 How was I broil'd with envy, and with hate?
4.67 Greater than was the great'st was my desire,
4.68 And greater still, did set my heart on fire.
4.69 If honour was the point to which I steer'd,
4.70 To run my hull upon disgrace I fear'd,
4.71 But by ambitious sails I was so carried
4.72 That over flats, and sands, and rocks I hurried,
4.73 Opprest, and sunk, and sack'd, all in my way
4.74 That did oppose me to my longed bay.
4.75 My thirst was higher than Nobility
4.76 And oft long'd sore to taste on Royalty,
4.77 Whence poison, Pistols, and dread instruments
4.78 Have been curst furtherers of mine intents.
4.79 Nor Brothers, Nephews, Sons, nor Sires I've spar'd.
4.80 When to a Monarchy my way they barr'd,
4.81 There set, I rid my self straight out of hand
4.82 Of such as might my son, or his withstand,
4.83 Then heapt up gold and riches as the clay,
4.84 Which others scatter like the dew in May.
4.85 Sometimes vain-glory is the only bait
4.86 Whereby my empty school is lur'd and caught.
4.87 Be I of worth, of learning, or of parts,
4.88 I judge I should have room in all men's hearts;
4.89 And envy gnaws if any do surmount.
4.90 I hate for to be had in small account.
4.91 If Bias like, I'm stript unto my skin;
4.92 I glory in my wealth I have within.
4.93 Thus good, and bad, and what I am, you see,
4.94 Now in a word, what my diseases be:
4.95 The vexing Stone, in bladder and in reins,
4.96 Torments me with intolerable pains;
4.97 The windy cholic oft my bowels rend,
4.98 To break the darksome prison, where it's penn'd;
4.99 The knotty Gout doth sadly torture me,
4.100 And the restraining lame Sciatica;
4.101 The Quinsy and the Fevers often distaste me,
4.102 And the Consumption to the bones doth waste me,
4.103 Subject to all Diseases, that's the truth,
4.104 Though some more incident to age, or youth;
4.105 And to conclude, I may not tedious be,
4.106 Man at his best estate is vanity.

Old Age.

5.1 What you have been, ev'n such have I before,
5.2 And all you say, say I, and something more.
5.3 Babe's innocence, Youth's wildness I have seen,
5.4 And in perplexed Middle-age have been,
5.5 Sickness, dangers, and anxieties have past,
5.6 And on this Stage am come to act my last.
5.7 I have been young, and strong, and wise as you
5.8 But now, Bis pueri senes is too true.
5.9 In every Age I've found much vanity.
5.10 An end of all perfection now I see.
5.11 It's not my valour, honour, nor my gold,
5.12 My ruin'd house, now falling can uphold;
5.13 It's not my Learning, Rhetoric, wit so large,
5.14 Now hath the power, Death's Warfare, to discharge.
5.15 It's not my goodly house, nor bed of down,
5.16 That can refresh, or ease, if Conscience frown;
5.17 Nor from alliance now can I have hope,
5.18 But what I have done well, that is my prop.
5.19 He that in youth is godly, wise, and sage
5.20 Provides a staff for to support his age.
5.21 Great mutations, some joyful, and some sad,
5.22 In this short Pilgrimage I oft have had.
5.23 Sometimes the Heavens with plenty smil'd on me,
5.24 Sometimes, again, rain'd all adversity;
5.25 Sometimes in honour, sometimes in disgrace,
5.26 Sometime an abject, then again in place:
5.27 Such private changes oft mine eyes have seen.
5.28 In various times of state I've also been.
5.29 I've seen a Kingdom flourish like a tree
5.30 When it was rul'd by that Celestial she,
5.31 And like a Cedar others so surmount
5.32 That but for shrubs they did themselves account.
5.33 Then saw I France, and Holland sav'd, Calais won,
5.34 And Philip and Albertus half undone.
5.35 I saw all peace at home, terror to foes,
5.36 But ah, I saw at last those eyes to close,
5.37 And then, me thought, the world at noon grew dark
5.38 When it had lost that radiant Sun-like spark.
5.39 In midst of griefs, I saw some hopes revive
5.40 (For 'twas our hopes then kept our hearts alive);
5.41 I saw hopes dash't, our forwardness was shent,
5.42 And silenc'd we, by Act of Parliament.
5.43 I've seen from Rome, an execrable thing,
5.44 A plot to blow up Nobles and their King.
5.45 I've seen designs at Ree and Cades cross't,
5.46 And poor Palatinate for every lost.
5.47 I've seen a Prince to live on others' lands,
5.48 A Royal one, by alms from Subjects' hands.
5.49 I've seen base men, advanc'd to great degree,
5.50 And worthy ones, put to extremity,
5.51 But not their Prince's love, nor state so high,
5.52 Could once reverse, their shameful destiny.
5.53 I've seen one stabb'd, another lose his head,
5.54 And others fly their Country through their dread.
5.55 I've seen, and so have ye, for 'tis but late,
5.56 The desolation of a goodly State.
5.57 Plotted and acted so that none can tell
5.58 Who gave the counsell, but the Prince of hell.
5.59 I've seen a land unmoulded with great pain,
5.60 But yet may live to see't made up again.
5.61 I've seen it shaken, rent, and soak'd in blood,
5.62 But out of troubles ye may see much good.
5.63 These are no old wives' tales, but this is truth.
5.64 We old men love to tell, what's done in youth.
5.65 But I return from whence I stept awry;
5.66 My memory is short and brain is dry.
5.67 My Almond-tree (gray hairs) doth flourish now,
5.68 And back, once straight, begins apace to bow.
5.69 My grinders now are few, my sight doth fail,
5.70 My skin is wrinkled, and my cheeks are pale.
5.71 No more rejoice, at music's pleasant noise,
5.72 But do awake at the cock's clanging voice.
5.73 I cannot scent savours of pleasant meat,
5.74 Nor sapors find in what I drink or eat.
5.75 My hands and arms, once strong, have lost their might.
5.76 I cannot labour, nor I cannot fight:
5.77 My comely legs, as nimble as the Roe,
5.78 Now stiff and numb, can hardly creep or go.
5.79 My heart sometimes as fierce, as Lion bold,
5.80 Now trembling, and fearful, sad, and cold.
5.81 My golden Bowl and silver Cord, e're long,
5.82 Shall both be broke, by wracking death so strong.
5.83 I then shall go whence I shall come no more.
5.84 Sons, Nephews, leave, my death for to deplore.
5.85 In pleasures, and in labours, I have found
5.86 That earth can give no consolation sound
5.87 To great, to rich, to poor, to young, or old,
5.88 To mean, to noble, fearful, or to bold.
5.89 From King to beggar, all degrees shall find
5.90 But vanity, vexation of the mind.
5.91 Yea, knowing much, the pleasant'st life of all
5.92 Hath yet amongst that sweet, some bitter gall.
5.93 Though reading others' Works doth much refresh,
5.94 Yet studying much brings weariness to th' flesh.
5.95 My studies, labours, readings all are done,
5.96 And my last period can e'en elmost run.
5.97 Corruption, my Father, I do call,
5.98 Mother, and sisters both; the worms that crawl
5.99 In my dark house, such kindred I have store.
5.100 There I shall rest till heavens shall be no more;
5.101 And when this flesh shall rot and be consum'd,
5.102 This body, by this soul, shall be assum'd;
5.103 And I shall see with these same very eyes
5.104 My strong Redeemer coming in the skies.
5.105 Triumph I shall, o're Sin, o're Death, o're Hell,
5.106 And in that hope, I bid you all farewell.

Anne Bradstreet

Spirit

Be still, thou unregenerate part,
Disturb no more my settled heart,
For I have vow'd (and so will do)
Thee as a foe still to pursue,
And combat with thee will and must
Until I see thee laid in th' dust.
Sister we are, yea twins we be,
Yet deadly feud 'twixt thee and me,
For from one father are we not.
Thou by old Adam wast begot,
But my arise is from above,
Whence my dear father I do love.
Thou speak'st me fair but hat'st me sore.
Thy flatt'ring shews I'll trust no more.
How oft thy slave hast thou me made
When I believ'd what thou hast said
And never had more cause of woe
Than when I did what thou bad'st do.
I'll stop mine ears at these thy charms
And count them for my deadly harms.
Thy sinful pleasures I do hate,
Thy riches are to me no bait.
Thine honours do, nor will I love,
For my ambition lies above.
My greatest honour it shall be
When I am victor over thee,
And Triumph shall, with laurel head,
When thou my Captive shalt be led.
How I do live, thou need'st not scoff,
For I have meat thou know'st not of.
The hidden Manna I do eat;
The word of life, it is my meat.
My thoughts do yield me more content
Than can thy hours in pleasure spent.
Nor are they shadows which I catch,
Nor fancies vain at which I snatch
But reach at things that are so high,
Beyond thy dull Capacity.
Eternal substance I do see
With which inriched I would be.
Mine eye doth pierce the heav'ns and see
What is Invisible to thee.
My garments are not silk nor gold,
Nor such like trash which Earth doth hold,
But Royal Robes I shall have on,
More glorious than the glist'ring Sun.
My Crown not Diamonds, Pearls, and gold,
But such as Angels' heads infold.
The City where I hope to dwell,
There's none on Earth can parallel.
The stately Walls both high and trong
Are made of precious Jasper stone,
The Gates of Pearl, both rich and clear,
And Angels are for Porters there.
The Streets thereof transparent gold
Such as no Eye did e're behold.
A Crystal River there doth run
Which doth proceed from the Lamb's Throne.
Of Life, there are the waters sure
Which shall remain forever pure.
Nor Sun nor Moon they have no need
For glory doth from God proceed.
No Candle there, nor yet Torch light,
For there shall be no darksome night.
From sickness and infirmity
Forevermore they shall be free.
Nor withering age shall e're come there,
But beauty shall be bright and clear.
This City pure is not for thee,
For things unclean there shall not be.
If I of Heav'n may have my fill,
Take thou the world, and all that will."

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.

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

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

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.

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."

Anne Bradstreet

In Thankful Remembrance for My Dear Husband's 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.

Anne Bradstreet

The Vanity of All Worldly Things

As he said vanity, so vain say I,
Oh! Vanity, O vain all under sky;
Where is the man can say, "Lo, I have found
On brittle earth a consolation sound"?
What isn't in honor to be set on high?
No, they like beasts and sons of men shall die,
And whilst they live, how oft doth turn their fate;
He's now a captive that was king of late.
What isn't in wealth great treasures to obtain?
No, that's but labor, anxious care, and pain.
He heaps up riches, and he heaps up sorrow,
It's his today, but who's his heir tomorrow?
What then? Content in pleasures canst thou find?
More vain than all, that's but to grasp the wind.
The sensual senses for a time they pleasure,
Meanwhile the conscience rage, who shall appease?
What isn't in beauty? No that's but a snare,
They're foul enough today, that once were fair.
What is't in flow'ring youth, or manly age?
The first is prone to vice, the last to rage.
Where is it then, in wisdom, learning, arts?
Sure if on earth, it must be in those parts;
Yet these the wisest man of men did find
But vanity, vexation of the mind.
And he that know the most doth still bemoan
He knows not all that here is to be known.
What is it then? To do as stoics tell,
Nor laugh, nor weep, let things go ill or well?
Such stoics are but stocks, such teaching vain,
While man is man, he shall have ease or pain.
If not in honor, beauty, age, nor treasure,
Nor yet in learning, wisdom, youth, nor pleasure,
Where shall I climb, sound, seek, search, or find
That summum bonum which may stay my mind?
There is a path no vulture's eye hath seen,
Where lion fierce, nor lion's whelps have been,
Which leads unto that living crystal fount,
Who drinks thereof, the world doth naught account.
The depth and sea have said " 'tis not in me,"
With pearl and gold it shall not valued be.
For sapphire, onyx, topaz who would change;
It's hid from eyes of men, they count it strange.
Death and destruction the fame hath heard,
But where and what it is, from heaven's declared;
It brings to honor which shall ne'er decay,
It stores with wealth which time can't wear away.
It yieldeth pleasures far beyond conceit,
And truly beautifies without deceit.
Nor strength, nor wisdom, nor fresh youth shall fade,
Nor death shall see, but are immortal made.
This pearl of price, this tree of life, this spring,
Who is possessed of shall reign a king.
Nor change of state nor cares shall ever see,
But wear his crown unto eternity.
This satiates the soul, this stays the mind,
And all the rest, but vanity we find.

Anne Bradstreet
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