To My Dear and Loving Husband. By: Anne Bradstreet. 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,.
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By: Anne Bradstreet
then surely we.
was happy in a man,
if you can.
more than whole mines of gold,
that the East doth hold.
but love from thee give recompense.
I can no way repay;
in love let’s so persever,
we live no more,
we may live ever.
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever woman 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 by thy love give recompense.
Thy love is such that I can no way repay
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s persever
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
“My love is such that rivers cannot quench.” It’s a simple and powerful sentence. The image is strong and it occurs in the middle of the poem between some longer phrases.
It’s one of my favorites because it is simple and sweet but not sappy or corny. Her explanations of her love for her husband are original and powerful. She also communicates her religious beliefs without stereotype, prejudice, or righteousness. The form is also simple, but not corny. She writes in rhyming couplets that are never forced and there is some organization in the order that the ideas are presented (this helps me memorize it). First, she has three “if…then” statements. Then she talks about the power of love. Finally, she cannot repay the love given so she ends with her belief that God could and because they love they can live together in eternal life.
I kept saying “persevere,” but looked it up online and “per-se-ver” is a word. This is dated and sounds awkward to me, but rhymes with the final line, which is obviously the poet’s intention because she rhymes every other line. I hope that I remember to say it the old-fashioned way.