Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet was born in Northampton, England in 1612. Her father was Thomas Dudley, the chief steward of Theophilus Clinton, the Earl of Lincoln. She married the fellow Puritan, Simon Bradstreet in 1628.

In 1630, Anne sailed for America with her husband and father on the Arbella, joined the Puritans who established the Massachusetts Bay Colony in America. John Winthrop became the colony's first governor of Massachusetts but later her father, Thomas Dudley, and her husband, Simon Bradstreet, held this office.

Bradstreet had eight children and lived at different times in Cambridge, Ipswich and Andover. She began writing poetry and her brother-in-law arranged for them to be published in England as The Tenth Muse (1650). Bradstreet therefore became America's first published poet. However, it was another 28 years before the The Tenth Muse was published in America. Another collection of poems, Great Variety of Wit and Learning was published posthumously. Anne Bradstreet died on 16th September, 1672.

Primary Sources

(1) Anne Bradstreet, The Prologue (1650)

Let Greeks be Greeks, and women what they are,

Men have precedency and still excel.

It is but vain unjustly to wage war,

Men can do best, and women know it well.

Preeminence in all and each is yours -

Yet grant some small acknowledgment of ours.

(2) Anne Bradstreet, To My Dear and Loving Husband (1678)

If ever two were one, then surely we.

If ever man was loved by wife, than thee;

If ever with 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 recompense.

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 preserve,

That when we live no more, we may live ever.