Anne Bradstreet

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The Environment of the Tenth Muse Anne Bradstreet was the first poet to be published from the New World. This new, alien environment influenced her work. Externally, Bradstreet was cast into an unfamiliar territory in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and internally, she was bound by the strict beliefs of the Puritan church. In the New World, she had to cope without her husband around and raise her family, and her religion dictated that she was a sinner who had to be humble, believe in the scriptures, and bear children—nothing more. Her most famous poem is "Contemplations," but her shorter, more self-explorative poetry reflects how she tries to reconcile both her external and religious environments with her inner self. The Puritan theology focused…show more content…
Anne Bradstreet wrote on a loose piece of paper "Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House, July 10th, 1666." This poem was written only six years before her passing in 1672. In it, she mourns the loss of the location of her precious memories and recalls, "My sorrowing eyes aside did cast, / And here and there the places spy / Where oft I sat and long did lie: / here stood that trunk, and there that chest, / There lay that store I counted best. / My pleasant things in ashes lie" (22-6). She is disheartened and grieving for what she has lost; however, she also uses these moments to look up to God. For example, when she saw the fire, she recounts, "And to my God my heart did cry / To strengthen me in my distress / And not to leave me succorless" (8-10). Additionally, she writes, "I blest His name that gave and took" (14), referring to a line in the scripture, Job 1.21. Bradstreet was upset by the tragedy, but she now found strength and comfort in her religion. At the end of the poem, there is a tonal shift, and she claims, "Thou hast an house on high erect, / Framed by that mighty Architect" (43-4). This line is about how she, as possibly one of the Puritan "elect," has a spot predestined for her in Heaven. In her old age, these religious beliefs were likely very comforting. Her feelings on her religion are apparently mixed; she goes to God for comfort and strength, yet she also is at odds with Puritan practices. She concludes, "There's wealth enough, I need no more, / Farewell my pelf, farewell my store. / The world no longer let me love, / My hope and treasure lies above" (51-4). Her final lines are bittersweet. While she anticipates a pleasurable afterlife, Bradstreet feels that she no longer has anything to love, or perhaps any love left to give. This poem is reflective of how Puritans diligently prepared for the afterlife and did not care for pleasures of the world. Bradstreet was upset about what
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