An Electronic Edition · Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)

Original Source: The Works of Anne Bradstreet in Prose and Verse. Edited by John Harvard Ellis. (Charlestown: A. E. Cutter, 1867)

Copyright 2003. This text is freely available provided the text is distributed with the header information provided.

Full Colophon Information

The Prologue.

TO sing of Wars, of Captains, and of Kings, 
Of Cities founded, Common-wealths begun, 
For my mean pen are too superiour things: 
Or how they all, or each their dates have run4.
Let Poets and Historians set these forth, 
My obscure Lines shall not so dim their worth. 

But when my wondring eyes and envious heart7.
Great Bartas sugar’d lines, do but read o’re
Fool I do grudg the Muses did not part 
‘Twixt him and me that overfluent store; 
A Bartas can, do what a Bartas will11.
But simple I according to my skill. 

From school-boyes tongue no rhet’rick we expect12.
Nor yet a sweet Consort from broken strings, 
Nor perfect beauty, where’s a main defect: 
My foolish, broken, blemish’d Muse so sings 
And this to mend, alas, no Art is able,16.
‘Cause nature, made it so irreparable. 

Nor can I, like that fluent sweet tongu’d Greek,18.
Who lisp’d at first, in future times speak plain 
By Art he gladly found what he did seek 
A full requital of his, striving pain 
Art can do much, but this maxime’s most sure22.
A weak or wounded brain admits no cure. 

I am obnoxious to each carping tongue24.
Who says my hand a needle better fits, 
A Poets pen all scorn I should thus wrong, 
For such despite they cast on Female wits: 
If what I do prove well, it won’t advance,28.
They’l say it’s stoln, or else it was by chance. 

But sure the Antique Greeks were far more mild30.
Else of our Sexe, why feigned they those Nine 
And poesy made, Calliope’s own Child; 
So ‘mongst the rest they placed the Arts Divine, 
But this weak knot, they will full soon untie,34.
The Greeks did nought, but play the fools & lye. 

Let Greeks be Greeks, and women what they are36.
Men have precedency and still excell, 
It is but vain unjustly to wage warre;
Men can do best, and women know it well 
Preheminence in all and each is yours;40.
Yet grant some small acknowledgement of ours. 

And oh ye high flown quills that soar the Skies,42.
And ever with your prey still catch your praise, 
If e’er you daigne these lowly lines your eyes 
Give Thyme or Parsley wreath, I ask no bayes, 
This mean and unrefined ure of mine46.
Will make your glistring gold, but more to shine. 

Full Colophon Information

Genre: Poetry
Subjects: Authorship, Women
Period: 1650-1700
Location: New England
Format: verse

This text was first published in 1678 in Several Poems.

This electronic text was prepared from and proofed against The Works of Anne Bradstreet in Prose and Verse. Edited by John Harvard Ellis. (Charlestown: A. E. Cutter, 1867). All preliminaries and notes have been omitted except those for which the author is responsible and those in which editorial notes indicate significant textual variations. All editorial notes have been omitted except for those which indicate significant textual variations. Line and paragraph numbers contained in the source text have been retained. In cases where the source text displays no numbers, numbers are automatically generated. In the header, personal names have been regularized according to the Library of Congress authority files as "Last Name, First Name" for the REG attribute and "First Name Last Name" for the element value. Names have not been regularized in the body of the text.