Puritan Poetess: Anne Bradstreet

one of the more common paintings of anne brads...
one of the more common paintings of Anne Bradstreet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am obnoxious to each carping tongue
Who says my hand a needle better fits,
A poet’s pen all scorn I should thus wrong,
For such despite they cast on female wits:
If what I do prove well, it won’t advance,
They’ll say it’s stol’n, or else it was by chance.
– Anne Bradstreet, “Prologue”

Anne Bradstreet originally intended to share her verses only with her family and close friends. Without her prior permission, her brother-in-law John Woodbridge took them to England and published them in 1650 under the title The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up In America. Apparently, Mrs. Bradstreet anticipated the skepticism with which her poetry might be received. In her Prologue (above), she apologizes for her lowly attempts and begs the reader to forgive her for her simple verses. While she admits her poems cannot compare with those of the Greeks or other great poets, she humbly asks to receive due credit for her efforts. I imagine Mrs. Bradstreet would be amazed to know that her humble expressions of devotion for her family and her God are still read and admired today, since she didn’t initially intend to publish them at all. Continue reading “Puritan Poetess: Anne Bradstreet”