Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Wise Words for Women: Anne Bradstreet

Being Valentine's Day, today's Wise Words for Women have been chosen appropriately. It is a poem by Anne Bradstreet and beautifully expresses a wife's love for her husband.

But before leaving you to read this piece of poetry, you may be wondering who Anne Bradstreet is. Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) was the first American female writer and poet to have her work published. She was born in Northampton, England in 1612 and married at the age of 16 to Simon Bradstreet, the son of a Puritan minister. In 1630, Anne and her family emigrated to America on one of the first ships to bring the many Puritans to New England.

Her work serves as a document of the struggles of a Puritan wife against the hardships of the New England colonial life and an ongoing battle with illness. In spite of this, Anne's faith has been described as exemplary, as was her love for her husband and eight children. Many of her poems were written not only in times of trial but in periods of loneliness when her husband's political duties required him to travel frequently on political errands.

Much of Anne's work centres around religious themes, the family, and in particular the love she had for her husband. In a time when Puritan culture somewhat repressed the love between husband and wife, so as not to distract from devotion to God, some of Bradstreet's sonnets work against this idea. A good example of this is the poem, "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 persevere
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
If you would like to read more about Anne Bradstreet and her work go here.


Bessers said...

Thank you so much for this poem and your wonderful blog. I found it recently through Desiring God and have been both challenged and encouraged by all your writings. Today I linked to you on my blog, because I want my readers to be blessed by your writing as well. Thanks again and keep up the good work!

rosemary said...

I love this poem and had planned to post it today on my blog. You beat me to the punch; good for you! So I posted one by Lucy Shaw that I like too. Come have a look!