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
6 Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
7 My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
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
12 That when we live no more, we may live ever.
1. we: Anne's husband was Simon Bradstreet (1603-97). They were married in England in 1628.
6. the East: East Indies
7. quench: satisfy
8. ought: nothing; expression of duty / recompense: repay; return in kind
10. manifold: many; marked by diversity or varity
Upon My Dear and Loving Husband,
on his Going into England Jan. 16, 1661
1 I commend Thy servant, Lord.
2 Keep and preserve My husband, my dear friend.
3 At Thy command, O Lord, he went,
4 Nor nought could keep him back.
5 Then let Thy promise joy his heart,
6 O help and be not slack.
7 Uphold my heart in Thee, O God.
8 Thou art my strength and stay,
9 Thou see'st how weak and frail I am,
10 Hide not Thy face away.
11 I in obedience to Thy will
12 Thou knowest did submit.
13 It was my duty so to do;
14 O Lord, accept of it.
15 Unthankfulness for mercies past
16 Impute Thou not to me.
17 O Lord, Thou know'st my weak desire
18 Was to sing praise to Thee.
19 Lord, be Thou pilot to the ship
20 And send them prosperous gales.
21 In storms and sickness, Lord, preserve.
22 Thy goodness never fails.
23 Unto Thy work he hath in hand
24 Lord, grant Thou good success
25 And favour in their eyes to whom
26 He shall make his address.
27 Remember, Lord, Thy folk whom Thou
28 To wilderness hast brought;
29 Let not Thine own inheritance
30 Be sold away for nought.
31 But tokens of Thy favour give,
32 With joy send back my dear
33 That I and all Thy servants may
34 Rejoice with heavenly cheer.
35 Lord, let my eyes see once again
36 Him whom Thou gavest me
37 That we together may sing praise
38 Forever unto Thee.
39 And the remainder of our days
40 Shall consecrated be
41 With an engaged heart to sing
42 All praises unto Thee.
4. "nor nought": nothing
6. "be not slack": don’t delay
9. "Thou see’st how weak and frail I am": Anne had poor health her entire life, and almost died once
In My Solitary Hours in My Dear Husband, his Absence
1 O Lord, Thou hear'st my daily moan
2 And see'st my dropping tears.
3 My troubles all are Thee before,
4 My longings and my fears.
5 Thou hitherto hast been my God;
6 Thy help my soul hath found.
7 Though loss and sickness me assailed,
8 Through Thee I've kept my ground.
9 And Thy abode Thou'st made with me;
10 With Thee my soul can talk;
11 In secret places Thee I find
12 Where I do kneel or walk.
13 Though husband dear be from me gone,
14 Whom I do love so well,
15 I have a more beloved one
16 Whose comforts far excel.
17 O stay my heart on Thee, my God,
18 Uphold my fainting soul.
19 And when I know not what to do,
20 I'll on Thy mercies roll.
21 My weakness, Thou dost know full well
22 Of body and of mind;
23 I in this world no comfort have,
24 But what from Thee I find.
25 Though children Thou has given me,
26 And friends I have also,
27 Yet if I see Thee not through them
28 They are no joy, but woe.
29 O shine upon me, blessed Lord,
30 Ev'n for my Saviour's sake;
31 In Thee alone is more than all,
32 And there content I'll take.
33 O hear me, Lord, in this request
34 As Thou before hast done,
35 Bring back my husband, I beseech,
36 As Thou didst once my son.
37 So shall I celebrate Thy praise
38 Ev'n while my days shall last
39 And talk to my beloved one
40 Of all Thy goodness past.
41 So both of us Thy kindness, Lord,
42 With praises shall recount
43 And serve Thee better than before
44 Whose blessings thus surmount.
45 But give me, Lord, a better heart,
46 Then better shall I be,
47 To pay the vows which I do owe
48 Forever unto Thee.
49 Unless Thou help, what can I do
50 But still my frailty show?
51 If Thou assist me, Lord,
52 I shall Return Thee what I owe.
35. beseech: beg
44. surmount: surpass
In Thankful Remembrance for My Dear Husband's Safe Arrival Sept 3, 1662
1 What shall I render to Thy name
2 Or how Thy praises speak?
3 My thanks how shall I testify?
4 O Lord, Thou know'st I'm weak.
5 I owe so much, so little can
6 Return unto Thy name,
7 Confusion seizes on my soul,
8 And I am filled with shame.
9 O Thou that hearest prayers, Lord,
10 To Thee shall come all flesh
11 Thou hast me heard and answered,
12 My plaints have had access.
13 What did I ask for but Thou gav'st?
14 What could I more desire?
15 But thankfulness even all my days
16 I humbly this require.
17 Thy mercies, Lord, have been so great
18 In number numberless,
19 Impossible for to recount
20 Or any way express.
21 O help Thy saints that sought Thy face
22 T' return unto Thee praise
23 And walk before Thee as they ought,
24 In strict and upright ways.
12. "My plaints have had access": my prayers have been heard
13. "What did I ask…": what haven’t I got that I asked for?
Another Letter to Her Husband
1 Phoebus make haste, the day's too long, be gone,
2 The silent night's the fittest time for moan;
3 But stay this once, unto my suit give ear,
4 And tell my griefs in either hemisphere.
5 (And if the whirling of thy wheels don't drown'd)
6 The woeful accents of my doleful sound,
7 If in thy swift carrier thou canst make stay,
8 I crave this boon, this errand by the way,
9 Commend me to the man more loved than life,
10 Show him the sorrows of his widowed wife;
11 My dumpish thoughts, my groans, my brakish tears
12 My sobs, my longing hopes, my doubting fears,
13 And if he love, how can he there abide?
14 My interest's more than all the world beside.
15 He that can tell the stars or ocean sand,
16 Or all the grass that in the meads do stand,
17 The leaves in th' woods, the hail, or drops of rain,
18 Or in a corn-field number every grain,
19 Or every mote that in the sunshine hops,
20 May count my sighs, and number all my drops.
21 Tell him the countless steps that thou dost trace,
22 That once a day thy spouse thou may'st embrace;
23 And when thou canst not treat by loving mouth,
24 Thy rays afar salute her from the south.
25 But for one month I see no day (poor soul)
26 Like those far situate under the pole,
27 Which day by day long wait for thy arise,
28 O how they joy when thou dost light the skies.
29 O Phoebus, hadst thou but thus long from thine
30 Restrained the beams of thy beloved shine,
31 At thy return, if so thou could'st or durst,
32 Behold a Chaos blacker than the first.
33 Tell him here's worse than a confused matter,
34 His little world's a fathom under water.
35 Nought but the fervor of his ardent beams
36 Hath power to dry the torrent of these streams.
37 Tell him I would say more, but cannot well,
38 Oppressed minds abruptest tales do tell.
39 Now post with double speed, mark what I say,
40 By all our loves conjure him not to stay.
1. Phoebus: sun god2. suit: petition; request
11. brakish: rough, dirty 1 besett: came upon me; I felt
Another Letter to Her Husband (II)
1 As loving hind that (hartless) wants her deer,
2 Scuds through the woods and fern with hark'ning ear,
3 Perplext, in every bush and nook doth pry,
4 Her dearest deer, might answer ear or eye;
5 So doth my anxious soul, which now doth miss
6 A dearer dear (far dearer heart) than this.
7 Still wait with doubts, and hopes, and failing eye,
8 His voice to hear or person to descry.
9 Or as the pensive dove doth all alone
10 (On withered bough) most uncouthly bemoan
11 The absence of her love and loving mate,
12 Whose loss hath made her so unfortunate,
13 Ev'n thus do I, with many a deep sad groan,
14 Bewail my turtle true, who now is gone,
15 His presence and his safe return still woos,
16 With thousand doleful sighs and mournful coos.
17 Or as the loving mullet, that true fish,
18 Her fellow lost, nor joy nor life do wish,
19 But launches on that shore, there for to die,
20 Where she her captive husband doth espy.
21 Mine being gone, I lead a joyless life,
22 I have a loving peer, yet seem no wife;
23 But worst of all, to him can't steer my course,
24 I here, he there, alas, both kept by force.
25 Return my dear, my joy, my only love,
26 Unto thy hind, thy mullet, and thy dove,
27 Who neither joys in pasture, house, nor streams,
28 The substance gone, O me, these are but dreams.
29 Together at one tree, oh let us browse,
30 And like two turtles roost within one house,
31 And like the mullets in one river glide,
32 Let's still remain but one, till death divide.
33 Thy loving love and dearest dear,
34 At home, abroad, and everywhere.
1. hind/hart: deer; a pun on “heart” and “hart”
2. hark’ning: listening
3. pry: look
10. uncouthly: not polite; rude
14. turtle: play on turtle-dove.
For the restoration of my dear Husband from a burning Ague.
1 When feares and sorrowes me besett
2 Then did’st thou rid me out,
3 When heart did faint &Spirits quail
4 Thou comforts me about.
5 Thou rais’st him vp I feard to loose
6 Regau’st me him again
7 Distempers thou didst chase away.
8 Wth strenght didst him sustain.
9 My thankful heart wth pen record
10 The Goodness of Thy God
11 Let thy obedc testefye
12 He taught thee by his rod.
13 And wth his staffe did thee support
14 That thou by both may’st learn
15 And ’twixt ye good and evill away from me
16 But graunted my Suit.
Title. Ague: fever
1. besett: came upon me; I felt
2. thou: God
5. him: Simon Bradstreet Sr. / vp: up
6. Regau’st: returned
7. Distempers: sickness
8. Wth: with / strenght: strength
11. obedc: abode, home / testefye: testify
12. "He taught thee by his rod": Proverbs 13:24- "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him."
13. "thy staffe": Psalm 23: 4- "Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."
14. both: sickness and health/help
15. ’twixt: took
16. Suit: request