The speakers in two poems by Anne Bradstreet, "To My Dear and Loving Husband" and "Upon the Burning of Our House, July 10th, 1666," express the view that what appears of worth here on earth, whether material or emotional, gains its worth only by its relation to the afterlife in Heaven. Both speakers express the supremacy of the world of the spirit in both gratitude (for love) and grief (for the burned house).
On first glance, it might appear that the speaker in "Husband" is saying that her love for her mate and his for her are all that she needs to be happy in this world, but the poem's last three lines show that the speaker is, finally, focused not on this life but the one to come. The speaker in "House," on first glance, appears to be distraught at the material losses she (and her husband?) endured in the burning of the house and their belongings.
Once again, however, it becomes clear that the speaker gains spiritual sustenance from the experience as she turns toward God and Heavenly rather than merely earthly rewards. Both speakers, then, after first seeming to focus on earthly concerns (love and loss), in fact finally make clear that their heart lies with God and Heaven rather than with anything here on earth.
The speaker in "House" is awakened in the night by fire. Her house is burning. She is frightened and immediately cries to God (line 8), "To strengthen me in my distress/ And not to leave me succorless" (9-10). She wavers between her sense of loss for the house and its belongings and the warm memories associated with them, and her knowledge that everything belongs to God always and ever.
The speaker looks at the house as long as she can, "And when I could no longer look,/ I blest his Name that gave and took,/ That laid my goods now in the dust:/ Yea so it was, and so 'twas just./ It was his own, it was not mine;/ Far be it that I should repine" (13-18).
Nevertheless, he speaker certainly does repine. H...