Online Texts for Craig White's Literature Courses

  • Not a critical or scholarly text but a reading text for a seminar

Poems of

Anne Bradstreet


 To my Dear and Loving Husband

Stained-glass representation of Bradstreet
in St. Botolph's Church, Boston, Lincolnshire, England

 To my Dear and Loving Husband

[1]     If ever two were one, then surely we. 
[2]     If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee. 
[3]     If ever wife was happy in a man, 
[4]     Compare with me, ye women, if you can. 
[5]     I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold              [Romanticism / romance as desire]
[6]     Or all the riches that the East doth hold.                       ["East": Orientalism as proto-Romantic theme of exotic luxury]
[7]     My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,                   [the sublime?]
[8]     Nor ought but love from thee give recompense. 
[9]     Thy love is such I can no way repay.
[10]    The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray. 
[11]    Then while we live, in love let's so persever                  [last word pronounced / per SEV er / ]
[12]    That when we live no more, we may live ever. 

Questions for American Literature; Romanticism

 1. As a poem written more than a century before the Romantic movement, how do its themes, symbols, or narratives appear to anticipate Romanticism? What continuities between American Puritanism and American Romanticism? (Instructor: persistence of nuclear family as sacred or value-laden domestic form.)

2. Bradstreet's poetic form (rhymed couplets) is conventional but seems Romantic anyway. What about its genre, language, and aesthetics appeal to Romantic sensibilities? 

3. For post-Romantic readers like ourselves, how does the poem fulfill both the popular use of "romantic" or "romance" as love and the larger styles or themes of academic Romanticism?