Anne Bradstreet- American Literature
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Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet
Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet was the first person who published English poetry in North America. She sailed from England to America with her husband and her parents and other Puritans in 1630, when she was 18 years old. They lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Bradstreet wrote poems about her life, and what she thought Heaven would be like after she died.

Here is one of Anne Bradstreet's poems:

In Reference to her Children


I had eight birds hatched in one nest,
Four cocks there were, and hens the rest.
I nursed them up with pain and care,
Nor cost, nor labour did I spare,
Till at the last they felt their wing,
Mounted the trees, and learned to sing...

... When each of you shall in your nest
Among your young ones take your rest,
In chirping language, oft them tell,
You had a dam [mother] that loved you well,
That did what could be done for young,
And nursed you up till you were strong,
And 'fore she once would let you fly,
She showed you joy and misery;
Taught what was good, and what was ill,
What would save life, and what would kill.
Thus gone, amongst you I may live,
And dead, yet speak, and counsel give:
Farewell, my birds, farewell adieu,
I happy am, if well with you.

And here is another of her poems, this time to her husband:

To My Dear and Loving Husband


If ever two were one, then surely we.

If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee;
If ever wife 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 recompence.

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

Learn by doing: Memorize and recite a poem!
Another American poet: Phillis Wheatley

Bibliography and further reading about American literature:

Native American Literature
American History
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Celebrating Black History Month with the pharaoh Hatshepsut, the queen Shanakdakhete, the poet Phillis Wheatley, the medical consultant Onesimus, the freedom fighters Toussaint L'Ouverture, Denmark Vesey, Yaa Asantewaa, and Samora Moises Machel, and the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
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