Women’s History Month makes me think of one of my favorite poets Anne Bradstreet! Anne Bradstreet was the first American female writer to have her writing and poetry published!
Traveling to America with her husband in the early 1600’s was a challenge to her adventurous spirit, but most of all to her spiritual quest. As a child she had committed her life to Christ, but faced common challenges between the flesh and the spirit throughout her young adult years – she was married at age 16, but by the time she was 18 she longed, as did many others, for freedom to follow and practice her beliefs and to write about them. Thus, the beginning of a new life for Anne Bradstreet.
Yes, she was a young woman of an earlier time, but she suffered the same frailties ,both physical and spiritual, carried the same visions, and attempted the same impossibilities every bit as much as do women of our day, who refuse to allow their circumstances to daunt them. And who step out in faith to follow where God leads them.
Nothing was easy about Anne’s life. She grew up in high society and was well-educated. She loved horses and having fun, But she had little time to indulge in these. After marriage to Simon Bradstreet, who later became governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, she became discouraged at not being able to bear children for a time. However she eventually did bear eight children. During those years, I imagine Anne, having stolen a few moments from her busy life, a faraway look in her pensive face, sitting by the river in her favorite spot, knees up with a pad and writing instrument of some type against them, twigs and leaves, and at least one tiny child clinging to her skirts, and penning the following poem:
To My Dear and Loving Husband
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved 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 aught 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 persevere,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.