Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Anne Bradstreet

Today’s AWU WOD is Anne Bradstreet (born 1612 Northampton England- Sept. 16, 1672) She was America’s first published poet. She was born the daughter of a steward to the Earl of Lincoln, she was raised with private tutors and unlimited access to the Earl's private library -- a rarity for women of her time. Two years after marrying her father's assistant, Simon Bradstreet, Anne sailed to the New World with her family in 1630.

She was restricted by the gender roles of her day. She was confined during her eight pregnancies because she was often afflicted with illness and fever. She had been afflicted with smallpox, and as she grew older paralysis overtook her joints. She was alone as her husband travelled, negotiating the business of the new colonies. During the many lonely hours that she endured, Anne had a lot of time to think – and to write. Anne was especially fond of poetry, which she had begun to write herself; her works were kept private though, as it was frowned upon for women to pursue intellectual enlightenment, let alone create and air their views and opinions. She wrote for herself, her family, and close circle of educated friends, and did not intend on publication. One of her closest friends, Anne Hutchinson, who was also a religious and educated woman had made the mistake of airing her views publicly, and was banished from her community.

However, Anne's work would not remain unnoticed. Her brother-in-law, John Woodbridge, had secretly copied Anne's work, and would later bring it to England to have it published, albeit without her permission. Woodbridge even admitted to it in the preface of her first collection, "The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, By a Gentlewoman of Those Parts", which was published in 1650. The book did fairly well in England, and was to be the last of her poetry to be published during her lifetime. All her other poems were published posthumously.

As weary pilgrim, now at rest

As weary pilgrim, now at rest,
Hugs with delight his silent nest
His wasted limbes, now lye full soft
That myrie steps, haue troden oft
Blesses himself, to think vpon
his dangers past, and travailes done
The burning sun no more shall heat
Nor stormy raines, on him shall beat.
The bryars and thornes no more shall scratch
nor hungry wolues at him shall catch
He erring pathes no more shall tread
nor wild fruits eate, in stead of bread,
for waters cold he doth not long
for thirst no more shall parch his tongue
No rugged stones his feet shall gaule
nor stumps nor rocks cause him to fall
All cares and feares, he bids farwell
and meanes in safity now to dwell.
A pilgrim I, on earth, perplext
wth sinns wth cares and sorrows vext
By age and paines brought to decay
and my Clay house mouldring away
Oh how I long to be at rest
and soare on high among the blest.
This body shall in silence sleep
Mine eyes no more shall ever weep
No fainting fits shall me assaile
nor grinding paines my body fraile
Wth cares and fears ne'r cumbred be
Nor losses know, nor sorrowes see
What tho my flesh shall there consume
it is the bed Christ did perfume
And when a few yeares shall be gone
this mortall shall be cloth'd vpon
A Corrupt Carcasse downe it lyes
a glorious body it shall rise
In weaknes and dishonour sowne
in power 'tis rais'd by Christ alone
Then soule and body shall vnite
and of their maker haue the sight
Such lasting ioyes shall there behold
as eare ne'r heard nor tongue e'er told
Lord make me ready for that day
then Come deare bridgrome Come away.

AWU post & comments at http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2116001385620&set=o.343338393054&type=1