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By Anne Bradstreet

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,

Who after birth didst by my side remain,

Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,

Who thee abroad, expos’d to publick view,

Made thee in raggs, halting to th’ press to trudge,

Where errors were not lessened (all may judg).

At thy return my blushing was not small,

My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,

I cast thee by as one unfit for light,

Thy Visage was so irksome in my sight;

Yet being mine own, at length affection would

Thy blemishes amend, if so I could:

I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,

And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.

I stretched thy joynts to make thee even feet,

Yet still thou run’st more hobling then is meet;

In better dress to trim thee was my mind,

But nought save home-spun Cloth, i’ th’ house I find.

In this array ’mongst Vulgars mayst thou roam.

In Criticks hands, beware thou dost not come;

And take thy way where yet thou art not known,

If for thy Father askt, say, thou hadst none:

And for thy Mother, she alas is poor,

Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door.


Source: The Complete Works of Anne Bradstreet (1981)

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Living
  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Anne Bradstreet is generally considered the first American poet. Born around 1612 near Northampton, England, she married Simon Bradstreet at age 16, and the couple emigrated to the New World in 1630. In such bestselling collections as The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, Bradstreet wrote of her life as a mother, wife, and daughter during the establishment of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

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