Verses upon the Burning of our House, July 18th, 1666 by Anne Bradstreet
The poem speaks about her house burning, showing great feeling and grief over the event while showing then-present day Puritan attitudes of affection and attachment. In line 26 the word "pelf" simply means money. Like many of her other works, this is written in iambic pentameter with couplet rhymes.
"Verses upon the Burning of our House, July 18th, 1666" is, very obviously, written about a true event. Which event? That's not clear. However, what is clear is the Puritan attitudes she speaks of. Although, perhaps it is embellished slightly--most poets do that in order to gain effect and emotion. This poem is seen as one of Bradstreet's more popular works.
Verses upon the Burning of our House, July 18th, 1666 In silent night when rest I took, For sorrow near I did not look, I waken'd was with thund'ring noise And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice. That fearful sound of 'fire' and 'fire,' Let no man know is my Desire. I starting up, the light did spy, And to my God my heart did cry To straighten me in my Distress And not to leave me succourless. Then coming out, behold a space The flame consume my dwelling place. And when I could no longer look, I blest his grace 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, He might of all justly bereft But yet sufficient for us left. When by the Ruins oft I past My sorrowing eyes aside did cast And here and there the places spy Where oft I sate and long did lie. Here stood that Trunk, and there that chest, There lay that store I counted best, My pleasant things in ashes lie And them behold no more shall I. Under the roof no guest shall sit, Nor at thy Table eat a bit. No pleasant talk shall 'ere be told Nor things recounted done of old. No Candle 'ere shall shine in Thee, Nor bridegroom's voice ere heard shall bee. In silence ever shalt thou lie. Adieu, Adieu, All's Vanity. Then straight I 'gin my heart to chide: And did thy wealth on earth abide, Didst fix thy hope on mouldring dust, The arm of flesh didst make thy trust? Raise up thy thoughts above the sky That dunghill mists away may fly. Thou hast a house on high erect Fram'd by that mighty Architect, With glory richly furnished Stands permanent, though this be fled. It's purchased and paid for too By him who hath enough to do. A price so vast as is unknown, Yet by his gift is made thine own. There's wealth enough; I need no more. Farewell, my pelf; farewell, my store. The world no longer let me love; My hope and Treasure lies above. Published in The Tenth Muse 1650.
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