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Poetry of Anne Bradstreet This paper presents a literary ana

This paper presents a literary analysis of the poetry of Anne Bradstreet (16121672). She was an Englishborn poet of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Bradstreet was an aristocrat by birth. She was the daughter of one governor of the colony and the wife of another. In general, Bradstreet's poetry varies from scenes of domestic affection and traditional confessions of piety. One unusual characteristic of Bradstreet's verse is that it sometimes demonstrates a sensitivity to beauty not usually found in the Puritan theological approach.

The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America is the only edition of her verse published during her lifetime. This work is also the first volume of original poetry to be written in America. The collection includes "A Dialogue between Old England and New" and such efforts as "Four Elements," "Four Constitutions," "Four Ages of Man," "Four Seasons," and "Four Monarchies," the last poem being an incomplete attempt at composing universal history. However, "Contemplations," which came out in 1678 in the second edition of The Tenth Muse, is customarily thought to be Bradstreet's most effective poetic composition. This poem is a meditative and descriptive work, very likely influenced by Edmund Spenser and Giles Fletcher. Hyatt H. Waggoner states about "Contemplations": "It could be called our first nature poem, though she would not have thought of it that way" (Waggoner 8).

In "Contemplations," when Bradstreet thinks of the glory of a New England autumn, with its tints that appear to be "painted" but are really "true," she discovers her senses are "rapt" and scarcely knows what she ought to feel: "I wist not what to wish, yet sure, thought I,/If so much excellence abide below/How excellent is He that dwells on high,/Whose power and beauty by his works we know." This seems more emotional than we might expect from someone who is a part of the Puritan tradition. But Bradstreet is unusual in this regard. In a sen...

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