Anne Bradstreet Day: September 16

Anne Bradstreet, a 17th century Puritan, is widely considered to be the first American poet. Her exact birth date is not known; September 16th marks the day of her death in 1672.

I posted this part of a poem by Anne Bradstreet last September, but no one has volunteered to set it to music yet.

As for this poem, I imagine many authors may feel this way when sending forth a book into the world:

The Author To Her Book by Anne Bradstreet

Thou ill-formed 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 exposed 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,
The visage was so irksome in my sight,
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could.
I washed 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 may’st thou roam.
In critic’s 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 caused her thus to send thee out of door.

5 thoughts on “Anne Bradstreet Day: September 16

  1. Very cool! We are studying Bradstreet and other Puritan poets this week at the Am. Lit class I teach at our co-op. I shall mention this tomorrow in class!

  2. Now I regret being behind in my blog reading, as the 16th passed me by! However, I highly recommend Heidi Nichols’ _Anne Bradstreet: The Life and Thought of a Puritan Poet_, published by P&R. Nichols does more than provide an excellent biographical intro and well-chosen collection of Bradstreet’s works–she also argues convincingly why, all these centuries later, we should give Bradstreet our attention. I encourage anyone interested in poetry and/or colonial history to get a copy.

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