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Sunday, September 18, 2011

To My Dear and Loving Husband

(Detail of Portrait of Anne Bradstreet by unknown

Born in England, Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) became the first published poet in America with her collection The Tenth Muse, Lately Sprung Up in America written by A Gentlewoman from Those Parts. She lived in New England from 1630, when she and her Puritan family landed in Salem, Massachusetts, from England.

Bradstreet was a popular and widely read author. She wrote essays about theology and politics, and poetry about both public and private themes, like her praise of Queen Elizabeth I, her thoughts about her faith, and her fears of dying in childbirth.

The verse below is one of several love poems she wrote to her husband.


If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved 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 recompense.
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.

* persever - persevere

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