Anne Bradstreet Poems Part 07,Although known as one of the first female writers to be published in the North America colonies, Anne Bradstreet was actually born in Northampton, England, in March 1612. Her father Thomas Dudley and mother, Dorothy Yorke, were able to afford a very good education for Anne and she was well tutored in languages, literature and history. At the age of sixteen she was married to Simon Bradstreet.
Anne Bradstreet Bio
In 1630 she, her husband and parents emigrated to Massachusetts, USA, with the Winthrop Fleet carrying British Puritans who had rejected the Church of England and the rule of King Charles 1st. Landing initially at the Pioneer Village (Salem) the Puritan group moved south to Charleston before travelling on down the Charles River to establish the city of Boston. Anne’s father and husband went on to serve as Governors of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and were later among those who founded Harvard College in 1636. There is a gate next to Canaday Hall at Harvard which is dedicated to Anne’s memory.
Anne Bradstreet Poems Part 07
The four Seasons of the Year.
Another four I’ve left yet to bring on,
Of four times four the last Quaternion,
The Winter, Summer, Autumn & the Spring,
In season all these Seasons I shall bring:
Sweet Spring like man in his Minority,
At present claim’d, and had priority.
With smiling face and garments somewhat green,
She trim’d her locks, which late had frosted been,
Nor hot nor cold, she spake, but with a breath,
Fit to revive, the nummed earth from death.
Three months (quoth she) are ‘lotted to my share
March, April, May of all the rest most fair.
Tenth of the first, Sol into Aries enters,
And bids defiance to all tedious winters,
Crosseth the Line, and equals night and day,
(Stil adds to th’last til after pleasant May)
And now makes glad the darkned northern wights
Who for some months have seen but starry lights.
Now goes the Plow-man to his merry toyle,
He might unloose his winter locked soyl:
The Seeds-man too, doth lavish out his grain,
In hope the more he casts, the more to gain:
The Gardner now superfluous branches lops,
And poles erects for his young clambring hops.
Now digs then sowes his herbs, his flowers & roots
And carefully manures his trees of fruits.
The Pleiades their influence now give,
And all that seem’d as dead afresh doth live.
The croaking frogs, whom nipping winter kil’d
Like birds now chirp, and hop about the field,
The Nightingale, the black-bird and the Thrush
Now tune their layes, on sprayes of every bush.
The wanton frisking Kid, and soft-fleec’d Lambs
Do jump and play before their feeding Dams,
The tender tops of budding grass they crop,
They joy in what they have, but more in hope:
For though the frost hath lost his binding power,
Yet many a fleece of snow and stormy shower
Doth darken Sol’s bright eye, makes us remember
The pinching North-west wind of cold December.
My second moneth is April, green and fair,
Of longer dayes, and a more temperate Air:
The Sun in Taurus keeps his residence,
And with his warmer beams glanceth from thence
This is the month whose fruitful showrs produces
All set and sown for all delights and uses:
The Pear, the Plum, and Apple-tree now flourish
The grass grows long the hungry beast to nourish.
The Primrose pale, and azure violet
Among the virduous grass hath nature set,
That when the Sun on’s Love (the earth) doth shine
These might as lace set out her garment fine.
The fearfull bird his little house now builds
In trees and walls, in Cities and in fields.
The outside strong, the inside warm and neat;
A natural Artificer compleat.
The clocking hen her chirping chickins leads
With wings & beak defends them from the gleads
My next and last is fruitfull pleasant May,
Wherein the earth is clad in rich aray,
The Sun now enters loving Gemini,
And heats us with the glances of his eye,
Our thicker rayment makes us lay aside
Lest by his fervor we be torrifi’d.
All flowers the Sun now with his beams discloses,
Except the double pinks and matchless Roses.
Now swarms the busy, witty, honey-Bee,
VVhose praise deserves a page from more then me
The cleanly Huswifes Dary’s now in th’prime,
Her shelves and firkins fill’d for winter time.
The meads with Cowslips, Honey-suckles dight,
One hangs his head, the other stands upright:
But both rejoyce at th’heavens clear smiling face,
More at her showers, which water them a space.
For fruits my Season yields the early Cherry,
The hasty Peas, and wholsome cool Strawberry.
More solid fruits require a longer time,
Each Season hath his fruit, so hath each Clime:
Each man his own peculiar excellence,
But none in all that hath preheminence.
Sweet fragrant Spring, with thy short pittance fly
Let some describe thee better then can I.
Yet above all this priviledg is thine,
Thy dayes still lengthen without least decline:
When Spring had done, the Summer did begin,
With melted tauny face, and garments thin,
Resembling Fire, Choler, and Middle age,
As Spring did Air, Blood, Youth in’s equipage.
Wiping the sweat from of her face that ran,
With hair all wet she puffing thus began;
Bright June, July and August hot are mine,
In’th first Sol doth in crabbed Cancer shine.
His progress to the North now’s fully done,
Then retrograde must be my burning Sun,
Who to his southward Tropick still is bent,
Yet doth his parching heat but more augment
Though he decline, because his flames so fair,
Have throughly dry’d the earth, and heat the air.
Like as an Oven that long time hath been heat,
Whose vehemency at length doth grow so great,
That if you do withdraw her burning store,
Tis for a time as fervent as before.
Now go those frolick Swains, the Shepherd Lads
To wash the thick cloth’d flocks with pipes full glad
In the cool streams they labour with delight
Rubbing their dirty coats till they look white:
Whose fleece when finely spun and deeply dy’d
With Robes thereof Kings have been dignifi’d.
Blest rustick Swains, your pleasant quiet life,
Hath envy bred in Kings that were at strife,
Careless of worldly wealth you sing and pipe,
Whilst they’r imbroyl’d in wars & troubles rise:
VVhich made great Bajazet cry out in’s woes,
Oh happy shepherd which hath not to lose.
Orthobulus, nor yet Sebastia great,
But whist’leth to thy flock in cold and heat.
Viewing the Sun by day, the Moon by night
Endimions, Dianaes dear delight,
Upon the grass resting your healthy limbs,
By purling Brooks looking how fishes swims.
If pride within your lowly Cells ere haunt,
Of him that was Shepherd then King go vaunt.
This moneth the Roses are distil’d in glasses,
VVhose fragrant smel all made perfumes surpasses
The Cherry, Gooseberry are now in th’prime,
And for all sorts of Pease, this is the time.
July my next, the hott’st in all the year,
The sun through Leo now takes his Career,
VVhose flaming breath doth melt us from afar,
Increased by the star Canicular.
This Month from Julius Cæsar took its name,
By Romans celebrated to his fame.
Now go the Mowers to their slashing toyle,
The Meadowes of their riches to dispoyle,
VVith weary strokes, they take all in their way,
Bearing the burning heat of the long day.
The forks and Rakes do follow them amain,
VVhich makes the aged fields look young again.
The groaning Carts do bear away this prize.
To Stacks and Barns where it for Fodder lyes.
My next and last is August fiery hot
(For much, the Southward Sun abateth not)
This Moneth he keeps with Virgo for a space,
The dryed Earth is parched with his face.
August of great Augustus took its name,
Romes second Emperour of lasting fame,
With sickles now the bending Reapers goe
The russling tress of terra down to mowe;
And bundles up in sheaves, the weighty wheat,
Which after Manchet makes for Kings to eat:
The Barly, Rye and Pease should first had place,
Although their bread have not so white a face.
The Carter leads all home with whistling voyce,
He plow’d with pain, but reaping doth rejoyce;
His sweat, his toyle, his careful wakeful nights,
His fruitful Crop abundantly requites.
Now’s ripe the Pear, Pear-plumb, and Apricock,
The prince of plumbs, whose stone’s as hard as Rock
The Summer seems but short, the Autumn hasts
To shake his fruits, of most delicious tasts
Like good old Age, whose younger juicy Roots
Hath still ascended, to bear goodly fruits.
Until his head be gray, and strength be gone.
Yet then appears the worthy deeds he’th done:
To feed his boughs exhausted hath his sap,
Then drops his fruits into the eaters lap.
Of Autumn moneths September is the prime,
Now day and night are equal in each Clime,
The twelfth of this Sol riseth in the Line,
And doth in poizing Libra this month shine.
The vintage now is ripe, the grapes are prest,
Whose lively liquor oft is curs’d and blest:
For nought so good, but it may be abused,
But its a precious juice when well its used.
The raisins now in clusters dryed be,
The Orange, Lemon dangle on the tree:
The Pomegranate, the Fig are ripe also,
And Apples now their yellow sides do show.
Of Almonds, Quinces, Wardens, and of Peach,
The season’s now at hand of all and each.
Sure at this time, time first of all began,
And in this moneth was made apostate Man:
For then in Eden was not only seen,
Boughs full of leaves, or fruits unripe or green,
Or withered stocks, which were all dry and dead,
But trees with goodly fruits replenished;
Which shews nor Summer, Winter nor the Spring
Our Grand-Sire was of Paradice made King:
Nor could that temp’rate Clime such difference make,
If scited as the most Judicious take.
October is my next, we hear in this
The Northern winter-blasts begin to hiss.
In Scorpio resideth now the Sun,
And his declining heat is almost done.
The fruitless Trees all withered now do stand,
Whose sapless yellow leavs, by winds are fan’d,
Which notes when youth and strength have past their prime
Decrepit age must also have its time.
The Sap doth slily creep towards the Earth
There rests, until the Sun give it a birth.
So doth old Age still tend unto his grave,
Where also he his winter time must have;
But when the Sun of righteousness draws nigh,
His dead old stock, shall mount again on high.
November is my last, for Time doth haste,
We now of winters sharpness ‘gins to tast.
This moneth the Sun’s in Sagitarius,
So farre remote, his glances warm not us.
Almost at shortest is the shorten’d day,
The Northern pole beholdeth not one ray.
Now Greenland, Groanland, Finland, Lapland, see
No Sun, to lighten their obscurity:
Poor wretches that in total darkness lye,
With minds more dark then is the dark’ned Sky.
Beaf, Brawn, and Pork are now in great request,
And solid meats our stomacks can digest.
This time warm cloaths, full diet, and good fires,
Our pinched flesh, and hungry mawes requires:
Old, cold, dry Age and Earth Autumn resembles,
And Melancholy which most of all dissembles.
I must be short, and shorts, the short’ned day,
What winter hath to tell, now let him say.
Cold, moist, young flegmy winter now doth lye
In swadling Clouts, like new born Infancy
Bound up with frosts, and furr’d with hail & snows,
And like an Infant, still it taller grows;
December is my first, and now the Sun
To th’Southward Tropick, his swift race doth run:
This moneth he’s hous’d in horned Capricorn,
From thence he ‘gins to length the shortned morn,
Through Christendome with great Feastivity,
Now’s held, (but ghest) for blest Nativity.
Cold frozen January next comes in,
Chilling the blood and shrinking up the skin;
In Aquarius now keeps the long wisht Sun,
And Northward his unwearied Course doth run:
The day much longer then it was before,
The cold not lessened, but augmented more.
Now Toes and Ears, and Fingers often freeze,
And Travellers their noses sometimes leese.
Moist snowie February is my last,
I care not how the winter time doth haste.
In Pisces now the golden Sun doth shine,
And Northward still approaches to the Line,
The Rivers ‘gin to ope, the snows to melt,
And some warm glances from his face are felt;
Which is increased by the lengthen’d day,
Until by’s heat, he drive all cold away,
And thus the year in Circle runneth round:
Where first it did begin, in th’end its found.
My Subjects bare, my Brain is bad,
Or better Lines you should have had:
The first fell in so nat’rally,
I knew not how to pass it by;
The last, though bad I could not mend,
Accept therefore of what is pen’d,
And all the faults that you shall spy
Shall at your feet for pardon cry.
The Vanity of All Worldly Things
Oh! Vanity, O vain all under sky;
Where is the man can say, “Lo, I have found
On brittle earth a consolation sound”?
What isn’t in honor to be set on high?
No, they like beasts and sons of men shall die,
And whilst they live, how oft doth turn their fate;
He’s now a captive that was king of late.
What isn’t in wealth great treasures to obtain?
No, that’s but labor, anxious care, and pain.
He heaps up riches, and he heaps up sorrow,
It’s his today, but who’s his heir tomorrow?
What then? Content in pleasures canst thou find?
More vain than all, that’s but to grasp the wind.
The sensual senses for a time they pleasure,
Meanwhile the conscience rage, who shall appease?
What isn’t in beauty? No that’s but a snare,
They’re foul enough today, that once were fair.
What is’t in flow’ring youth, or manly age?
The first is prone to vice, the last to rage.
Where is it then, in wisdom, learning, arts?
Sure if on earth, it must be in those parts;
Yet these the wisest man of men did find
But vanity, vexation of the mind.
And he that know the most doth still bemoan
He knows not all that here is to be known.
What is it then? To do as stoics tell,
Nor laugh, nor weep, let things go ill or well?
Such stoics are but stocks, such teaching vain,
While man is man, he shall have ease or pain.
If not in honor, beauty, age, nor treasure,
Nor yet in learning, wisdom, youth, nor pleasure,
Where shall I climb, sound, seek, search, or find
That summum bonum which may stay my mind?
There is a path no vulture’s eye hath seen,
Where lion fierce, nor lion’s whelps have been,
Which leads unto that living crystal fount,
Who drinks thereof, the world doth naught account.
The depth and sea have said ” ’tis not in me,”
With pearl and gold it shall not valued be.
For sapphire, onyx, topaz who would change;
It’s hid from eyes of men, they count it strange.
Death and destruction the fame hath heard,
But where and what it is, from heaven’s declared;
It brings to honor which shall ne’er decay,
It stores with wealth which time can’t wear away.
It yieldeth pleasures far beyond conceit,
And truly beautifies without deceit.
Nor strength, nor wisdom, nor fresh youth shall fade,
Nor death shall see, but are immortal made.
This pearl of price, this tree of life, this spring,
Who is possessed of shall reign a king.
Nor change of state nor cares shall ever see,
But wear his crown unto eternity.
This satiates the soul, this stays the mind,
And all the rest, but vanity we find.
To Her Father with Some Verses
Most truly honoured, and as truly dear,
If worth in me or ought I do appear,
Who can of right better demand the same
Than may your worthy self from whom it came?
The principal might yield a greater sum,
Yet handled ill, amounts but to this crumb;
My stock’s so small I know not how to pay,
My bond remains in force unto this day;
Yet for part payment take this simple mite,
Where nothing’s to be had, kings loose their right.
Such is my debt I may not say forgive,
But as I can, I’ll pay it while I live;
Such is my bond, none can discharge but I,
Yet paying is not paid until I die.
To her most Honoured Father Thomas Dudley Esq; these humbly presented.
Of your four Sisters cloth’d in black and white,
Of fairer Dames the Sun, ne’r saw the face;
Though made a pedestal for Adams Race;
Their worth so shines in these rich lines you show
Their paralels to finde I scarcely know
To climbe their Climes, I have nor strength nor skill
To mount so high requires an Eagles quill;
Yet view thereof did cause my thoughts to soar;
My lowly pen might wait upon these four
I bring my four times four, now meanly clad
To do their homage, unto yours, full glad:
Who for their Age, their worth and quality
Might seem of yours to claim precedency:
But by my humble hand, thus rudely pen’d
They are, your bounden handmaids to attend
These same are they, from whom we being have
These are of all, the Life, the Nurse, the Grave,
These are the hot, the cold, the moist, the dry,
That sink, that swim, that fill, that upwards fly,
Of these consists our bodies, Cloathes and Food,
The World, the useful, hurtful, and the good,
Sweet harmony they keep, yet jar oft times
Their discord doth appear, by these harsh rimes
Yours did contest for wealth, for Arts, for Age,
My first do shew their good, and then their rage.
My other foures do intermixed tell
Each others faults, and where themselves excell;
How hot and dry contend with moist and cold,
How Air and Earth no correspondence hold,
And yet in equal tempers, how they ‘gree
How divers natures make one Unity
Something of all (though mean) I did intend
But fear’d you’ld judge Du Bartas was my friend
I honour him, but dare not wear his wealth
My goods are true (though poor) I love no stealth
But if I did I durst not send them you
Who must reward a Thief, but with his due.
I shall not need, mine innocence to clear
These ragged lines, will do’t, when they appear:
On what they are, your mild aspect I crave
Accept my best, my worst vouchsafe a Grave.
From her that to your self, more duty owes
Then water in the boundess Ocean flows.
To my Dear and Loving Husband
If ever man were lov’d 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 recompetence.
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.
To my Dear Children.
I leaue for yov when I am dead,
That, being gone, here yov may find
What was your liueing mother’s mind.
Make vse of what I leaue in Loue
And God shall blesse yov from above.
To the Memory of my dear and ever honoured Father Thomas Dudley Esq; Who decease
To celebrate the praises of the dead,
My mournfull mind, sore prest, in trembling verse
Presents my Lamentations at his Herse,
Who was my Father, Guide, Instructer too,
To whom I ought whatever I could doe:
Nor is’t Relation near my hand shall tye;
For who more cause to boast his worth then I?
Who heard or saw, observ’d or knew him better?
Or who alive then I, a greater debtor?
Let malice bite, and envy knaw its fill,
He was my Father, and Ile praise him still.
Nor was his name, or life lead so obscure
That pitty might some Trumpeters procure.
Who after death might make him falsly seem
Such as in life, no man could justly deem.
Well known and lov’d, where ere he liv’d, by most
Both in his native, and in foreign coast,
These to the world his merits could make known,
So needs no Testimonial from his own;
But now or never I must pay my Sum;
While others tell his worth, I’le not be dumb:
One of thy Founders, him New-England know,
Who staid thy feeble sides when thou wast low,
Who spent his state, his strength, & years with care
That After-comers in them might have share.
True Patriot of this little Commonweal,
Who is’t can tax thee ought, but for thy zeal?
Truths friend thou wert, to errors still a foe,
Which caus’d Apostates to maligne so.
Thy love to true Religion e’re shall shine,
My Fathers God, be God of me and mine.
Upon the earth he did not build his nest,
But as a Pilgrim, what he had, possest.
High thoughts he gave no harbour in his heart,
Nor honours pufft him up, when he had part:
Those titles loath’d, which some too much do love
For truly his ambition lay above.
His humble mind so lov’d humility,
He left it to his race for Legacy:
And oft and oft, with speeches mild and wise,
Gave his in charge, that Jewel rich to prize.
No ostentation seen in all his wayes,
As in the mean ones, of our foolish dayes,
Which all they have, and more still set to view,
Their greatness may be judg’d by what they shew.
His thoughts were more sublime, his actions wise,
Such vanityes he justly did despise.
Nor wonder ’twas, low things ne’r much did move
For he a Mansion had, prepar’d above,
For which he sigh’d and pray’d & long’d full sore
He might be cloath’d upon, for evermore.
Oft spake of death, and with a smiling chear,
He did exult his end was drawing near,
Now fully ripe, as shock of wheat that’s grown,
Death as a Sickle hath him timely mown,
And in celestial Barn hath hous’d him high,
Where storms, nor showrs, nor ought can damnifie.
His Generation serv’d, his labours cease;
And to his Fathers gathered is in peace.
Ah happy Soul, ‘mongst Saints and Angels blest,
VVho after all his toyle, is now at rest:
His hoary head in righteousness was found:
As joy in heaven on earth let praise resound.
Forgotten never be his memory,
His blessing rest on his posterity:
His pious Footsteps followed by his race,
At last will bring us to that happy place
Where we with joy each others face shall see,
And parted more by death shall never be.
Within this Tomb a Patriot lyes
That was both pious, just and wise,
To Truth a shield, to right a Wall,
To Sectaryes a whip and Maul,
A Magazine of History,
A Prizer of good Company
In manners pleasant and severe
The Good him lov’d, the bad did fear,
And when his time with years was spent
If some rejoyc’d, more did lament.
To the memory of my dear Daughter in Law, Mrs. Mercy Bradstreet, who deceased Se
And live I still to see Relations gone,
And yet survive to sound this wailing tone;
Ah, woe is me, to write thy Funeral Song,
Who might in reason yet have lived long,
I saw the branches lopt the Tree now fall,
I stood so nigh, it crusht me down withal;
My bruised heart lies sobbing at the Root,
That thou dear Son hath lost both Tree and fruit:
Thou then on Seas sailing to forreign Coast;
Was ignorant what riches thou hadst lost.
But ah too soon those heavy tydings fly,
To strike thee with amazing misery;
Oh how I simpathize with thy sad heart,
And in thy griefs still bear a second part:
I lost a daughter dear, but thou a wife,
Who lov’d thee more (it seem’d) then her own life.
Thou being gone, she longer could not be,
Because her Soul she’d sent along with thee.
One week she only past in pain and woe,
And then her sorrows all at once did go;
A Babe she left before, she soar’d above,
The fifth and last pledg of her dying love,
E’re nature would, it hither did arrive,
No wonder it no longer did survive.
So with her Children four, she’s now a rest,
All freed from grief (I trust) among the blest;
She one hath left, a joy to thee and me,
The Heavens vouchsafe she may so ever be.
Chear up, (dear Son) thy fainting bleeding heart,
In him alone, that caused all this smart;
What though thy strokes full sad & grievous be,
He knows it is the best for thee and me.
Upon a Fit of Sickness
since nature gave me breath,
My race is run, my thread spun,
lo, here is fatal death.
All men must die, and so must I;
this cannot be revoked.
For Adam’s sake this word God spake
when he so high provoked.
Yet live I shall, this life’s but small,
in place of highest bliss,
Where I shall have all I can crave,
no life is like to this.
For what’s this but care and strife
since first we came from womb?
Our strength doth waste, our time doth haste,
and then we go to th’ tomb.
O bubble blast, how long can’st last?
that always art a breaking,
No sooner blown, but dead and gone,
ev’n as a word that’s speaking.
O whilst I live this grace me give,
I doing good may be,
Then death’s arrest I shall count best,
because it’s Thy decree;
Bestow much cost there’s nothing lost,
to make salvation sure,
O great’s the gain, though got with pain,
comes by profession pure.
The race is run, the field is won,
the victory’s mine I see;
Forever known, thou envious foe,
the foil belongs to thee.
Upon Some Distemper of Body
And wasting pains, which best my body knows,
In tossing slumbers on my wakeful bed,
Bedrenched with tears that flowed from mournful head,
Till nature had exhausted all her store,
Then eyes lay dry, disabled to weep more;
And looking up unto his throne on high,
Who sendeth help to those in misery;
He chased away those clouds and let me see
My anchor cast i’ th’ vale with safety.
He eased my soul of woe, my flesh of pain,
and brought me to the shore from troubled main.