Anne Bradstreet’s Poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband”

“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 recompense” (Lauter 194).

Response paper

Literature is a discipline that has been used for centuries as a way of expressing people’s feelings as well as an avenue for passing across messages about important issues. Artists use their pieces of writing to communicate to the general and bring about change concerning various issues that affect the society.

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This passage is by Anne Bradstreet. For everyone in their life deals with love and emotions and can understand how love can hurt and how it can heal. Though the readers do not know who the two people in the poem by Bradstreet are, it is clear that they have some feelings to each other. The author devotes the poem to her husband whom she loves showing this feeling to all people.

Pure love is depicted in the poem by Bradstreet. The passage from this poem reveals a part of the story of the author’s love to her husband whom she loves deeply and sincerely. The author is full of desire to devote herself to her husband believing that the whole world can stop if she loses him or move again if she finds him again with the help of her love.

It seems that the love between these two people has a one-way direction because the author says nothing about the love of her husband to her though the love is a compass that leads her in the darkness and lights up everything around.

The author claims that her feeling is very strong and she would never want to exchange it for any other goodness on the earth. Love described by Bradstreet is something eternal, which exists around people and in exceptional moments, people are given a chance to experience love or to take a piece of it and enjoy it for the rest of their lives; the strength of the feeling is such “that Rivers cannot quench” (Lauter 194) .

The author was a Puritan following the rules and customs of this religion; she had eight children and wrote poems while her husband was building his career. In this case, the readers can see how a woman’s role in society could influence her inspiration and application of powers and talents.

Moreover, Bradstreet was an educated woman for that time even compared to most men who made her a genuine exemplar for other women with the same enthusiasm and energy as Bradstreet when they did nothing but suffered from the unrevealed and unrealized potential of their mind and soul.

Bradstreet found the way to demonstrate her emotions, which was not exactly positive in that period though she received positive acclaims of her poems becoming the first poet published in America and the first female poet published in the New and the Old World (Lauter 187).

The poem demonstrates emotions and feelings of a Puritan woman toward her husband though this is not a story people got used to see or hear. At the same time, she is talking about the gold and riches (Bradstreet, 194) meaning that no treasures of the world can be compared to the happiness of loving and being loved. The symbols of richness can also be found in another poem written by Bradstreet, “The Flesh and the Spirit” (191-193) where the author compares the richness of the earthly life to the love of God.

However, the poem about the author’s love to her husband can be contrasted to the “The Flesh and the Spirit” where human existence is contrasted to the love of God. Love in terms of human nature and feelings will always compete with the love to God and ability of people to forget all the earthly joys and enjoy the will of God. Bradstreet contrasts the earthly life full of riches to the spiritual happiness in the kingdom of God where people can live in accordance with His rules:

Earth hath more silver, pearls, and gold

Than eyes can see or hands can hold (191)

…………………………………………….

The hidden Manna I do eat;

The word of life, it is my meat (192)

As such, the “word of life” (192) is more important for a religious woman than all joys of family life despite her love to her husband which “rivers cannot quench” (194).

Contradictions may appear when comparing the poem about God and religion to the one about love and true human emotions. The contribution of Bradstreet is great in terms of the poetry and topics disclosed with the help of exact wording and various stylistic devices.

Though emotions can be experienced as well as a picture can be seen or music listened, a poem can reflect all those concepts using the power of words. As such, the expressive means and accurate choice of words enabled the author to reveal her emotions in terms of the feelings toward her husband without trying to contrast it to the obedience to God and religious moral.

Overall, it is possible to compare this poem by Bradstreet with the works of other religious writers such as Taylor and Edwards. Their concept of love for God is based on devotion and the belief in the perfect nature of the Supreme Being. Moreover, it is premised on the idea that God can give a person something more important than material values. Similarly, Anne Bradstreet rejects “mines of gold” and “all the riches” for her beloved.

The reader does not know whether she believes him to be perfect or ideal, but she is fully devoted to him. She does not ask him anything but love and this unselfishness distinguishes her from religious writers and theologians. Thus, Anne Bradstreet’s concept of love can be even more poignant than that one of Edwards and Taylor.

Though the poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband” written by Bradstreet in the seventeenth century can be related to her other works, it is not actually relevant to all other works of the course because they have different frameworks in spite of being written in the same period of traveling, changes, lack of rights for women, and a number of other concepts that characterize this era.

Most literary works of the course let the readers into the history of Americas and the perception of this new world by travelers with regard to missing home and family, having difficulties related to food, language of indigenous people, and dangers.

However, the poem is related to all other works in terms of spirit that is typical of all people of that era being the driving force and the main strength that dragged people to the unknown countries and dangerous places. As such, the poem by Anne Bradstreet gives the readers a great insight of her feelings that can overcome any difficulty because she is a strong educated woman of the era when people could walk miles to find a better fortune.

To conclude, the poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband” written by Bradstreet is a great contribution to the American literature being a model of feelings a wife should have to her husband and a model of poetic verse a poet should use when writing about true human feelings and emotions.

The era, when the poem was written, makes us hesitate about the sincerity of the author’s feelings because most works of literature focused on expeditions and religious studies; however, sophisticated and well-selected wording and style make the poem a profound work a woman could ever write.

Works Cited

Bradstreet, Anne. “The Flesh and the Spirit.” The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Concise Edition. Ed. Paul Lauter. Stamford, CT: Cengage/Wadsworth Publishing, 2009. 191-193. Print.

Bradstreet, Anne. “To My Dear and Loving Husband.” The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Concise Edition. Ed. Paul Lauter. Stamford, CT: Cengage/Wadsworth Publishing, 2009. 194. Print.

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