Selected Poems of Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet (1612-72) was the daughter of Thomas Dudley, one of the founding fathers of the Massachusetts Bay Company, and the wife of Simon Bradstreet (they married shortly before they came to America in 1630 on board the Arbella), Anne Bradstreet was, along with Anne Hutchinson, one of New England’s most remarkable women. At a time when few women wrote anything other than letters, especially in the New World, Bradstreet was writing a long verse The Four Monarchies of the World and poems on the “Four Humours,” the “Four Seasons,” and the “Four Ages of Man,” as well as political poems about England, poems of affliction, and metaphysical and highly rhetorical love poems to her husband. The Bradstreets eventually settled in North Andover, and there, while bearing six children and maintaining all her domestic duties, she wrote poetry and prose meditations until shortly before her death in 1672. Her book of poems, The Tenth Muse lately sprung up in America (London, 1650), appeared in her lifetime; Several Poems compiled with Great Variety and Wit and Learning (Boston, 1678), appeared posthumously. A large collection of her poems and writings, many of them previously unpublished, appeared in John Harvard Ellis's The Works of Anne Bradstreet in Prose and Verse (Charlestown, MA: Abram E. Cutter, 1867). For a modern edition of Bradstreet's complete works, see Jeannine Hensley, ed., The Works of Anne Bradstreet (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967).

For more on Bradstreet's life, click here for her entry in the Biographical Summaries; click here for her spiritual autobiography.