English 231:  American Literature I

Anne Bradstreet

Anne [nee Dudley] Bradstreet (1612-1672)

The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung up in America (1647)

Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning (1678) [a reprint of

The Tenth Muse]

Selection of Annotated Bradstreet Poems On-Line

Other Notable Colonial Women

Ann [nee Marbury] Hutchinson (1591–1643)

religious dissenter labeled "dangerous" by John Winthrop and others

acknowledged retrospectively for a kind of American Colonial feminism

thought to be the inspiration for Hester Prynne in Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter

authored papers and letters

Sarah Kemble Knight (1666 –1727)

The Journal of Madam Knight (1825), published by Theodore Dwight.

diary of Knight’s 1704-1705 journey, from Massachusetts Bay Colony to Province of New York

Lady Deborah [nee Dunch] Moody (1586-1659), a.k.a. Lady Moore

first female landowner; only woman colonial settlement founder, of Gravesend, in 1645, in

New Netherland, which would later become part of Brooklyn, New York

staunchly against baptism of infants (who did not have a choice)

Mary [nee White] Rowlandson (c. 1637 –1711)

The Sovereignty and Goodness of God

made captivity narratives [a form of literary romance] a popular genre

In Memory Of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet,

Who Deceased August, 1665, Being A Year And Half Old

Farewell dear babe, my heart's too much content,

Farewell sweet babe, the pleasure of mine eye,

Farewell fair flower that for a space was lent,

Then ta'en away unto eternity.

Blest babe, why should I once bewail thy fate,

Or sigh thy days so soon were terminate,

Sith thou art settled in an everlasting state.

By nature trees do rot when they are grown,

And plums and apples thoroughly ripe do fall,

And corn and grass are in their season mown,

And time brings down what is both strong and tall.

But plants new set to be eradicate,

And buds new blown to have so short a date,

Is by His hand alone that guides nature and fate.

In Reference to her Children, 23 June 1659

I had eight birds hatcht in one nest,

Four Cocks were there, and Hens the rest.

I nurst them up with pain and care,

No cost nor labour did I spare

Till at the last they felt their wing,

Mounted the Trees and learned to sing.

Chief of the Brood then took his flight

To Regions far and left me quite.

My mournful chirps I after send

Till he return, or I do end.

Leave not thy nest, thy Dame and Sire,

Fly back and sing amidst this Quire.

My second bird did take her flight

And with her mate flew out of sight.

Southward they both their course did bend,

And Seasons twain they there did spend,

Till after blown by Southern gales

They Norward steer'd with filled sails.

A prettier bird was no where seen,

Along the Beach, among the treen.

I have a third of colour white

On whom I plac'd no small delight,

Coupled with mate loving and true,

Hath also bid her Dame adieu.

And where Aurora first appears,

She now hath percht to spend her years.

One to the Academy flew

To chat among that learned crew.

Ambition moves still in his breast

That he might chant above the rest,

Striving for more than to do well,

That nightingales he might excell.

My fifth, whose down is yet scarce gone,

Is 'mongst the shrubs and bushes flown

And as his wings increase in strength

On higher boughs he'll perch at length.

My other three still with me nest

Until they're grown, then as the rest,

Or here or there, they'll take their flight,

As is ordain'd, so shall they light.

If birds could weep, then would my tears

Let others know what are my fears

Lest this my brood some harm should catch

And be surpris'd for want of watch

Whilst pecking corn and void of care

They fall un'wares in Fowler's snare;

Or whilst on trees they sit and sing

Some untoward boy at them do fling,

Or whilst allur'd with bell and glass

The net be spread and caught, alas;

Or lest by Lime-twigs they be foil'd;

Or by some greedy hawks be spoil'd.

O would, my young, ye saw my breast

And knew what thoughts there sadly rest.

Great was my pain when I you bred,

Great was my care when I you fed.

Long did I keep you soft and warm

And with my wings kept off all harm.

My cares are more, and fears, than ever,

My throbs such now as 'fore were never.

Alas, my birds, you wisdom want

Of perils you are ignorant.

Oft times in grass, on trees, in flight,

Sore accidents on you may light.

O to your safety have an eye,

So happy may you live and die.

Mean while, my days in tunes I'll spend

Till my weak lays with me shall end.

In shady woods I'll sit and sing

And things that past, to mind I'll bring.

Once young and pleasant, as are you,

But former toys (no joys) adieu!

My age I will not once lament

But sing, my time so near is spent,

And from the top bough take my flight

Into a country beyond sight

Where old ones instantly grow young

And there with seraphims set song.

No seasons cold, nor storms they see

But spring lasts to eternity.

When each of you shall in your nest

Among your young ones take your rest,

In chirping languages oft them tell

You had a Dame that lov'd you well,

That did what could be done for young

And nurst you up till you were strong

And 'fore she once would let you fly

She shew'd you joy and misery,

Taught what was good, and what was ill,

What would save life, and what would kill.

Thus gone, amongst you I may live,

And dead, yet speak and counsel give.

Farewell, my birds, farewell, adieu,

I happy am, if well with you.