Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Our 11th Great Aunt Anne Dudley Bradstreet, the First Published American Poet.

Anne Dudley Bradstreet

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Family,
We enjoyed the holiday here at the Fortress with family. Part of the day was spent at Lindon Park. The evening found us on the Fortress’ decks overlooking Utah Valley. Marshmallows were roasted and Smores made as we waited for Pleasant Grove’s Fireworks show. The Fortress overlooks the school where the fireworks were launched giving everyone a fantastic viewing.

Today we want to celebrate the life of our 11th Great Aunt Anne Dudley Bradstreet, the first published American poet.

Relationship Chart

10th Great Grandfather. Thomas Dudley (1554-1635)
His Daughter and our 11th Great Aunt Anne Dudley Bradstreet
Samuel Dudley
Stephan Dudley
Nichlos Dudley
Betsey Dudley
Betsey Hill
Deborah Dearborn
Almira Swift
Isabel Deanora Helgerson McCrilles
Vesta Dennis
Violet Pierce and Walter Mattson
Luella, Linda, John, and Marvin

Anne Dudley Bradstreet (1612 – September 16, 1672) was an English-American writer, the first published American poet and the first woman to be published in Colonial America. Her work was very influential to Puritans in her time.

Bradstreet was born Anne Dudley in Northampton , England in 1612. She was the daughter of Thomas Dudley and Dorothy Yorke. Due to her family's position she grew up in cultured circumstances and was a well-educated woman for her time, being tutored in history, several languages, and literature. At the age of sixteen she married Simon Bradstreet. Both Anne's father and husband were later to serve as governors of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Anne and Simon, along with Anne's parents, immigrated to America aboard the Arbella as part of the Winthorp Fleet of Puritan emigrants in 1630.

Both Anne's father and her husband were instrumental in the founding of Harvard in 1636. Two of her sons were graduates, Samuel (Class of 1653) and Simon (Class of 1660). In October of 1997, the Harvard community dedicated a gate beside Canaday Hall in memory of America's first published poet.
Despite poor health, she had eight children and achieved a comfortable social standing. Having previously been afflicted with smallpox, Anne would once again fall prey to illness as paralysis took over her joints.
On July 10, 1666, the Bradstreet home burned down in a fire that left the family homeless and without personal belongings for a time. By then, Anne Bradstreet's health was slowly failing. She suffered from tuberculosis and had to deal with the loss of her daughter Dorothy to illness as well, losing her son shortly afterwards. But her will remained strong, and perhaps, as a reflection of her religious devotion and her knowledge of Biblical scriptures, she found peace in the firm belief that her daughter was in heaven.

Anne Bradstreet died on September 16, 1672 in North Andover, Massachusetts at the age of 60. North Andover is the original Andover Parish founded by the Stevens, Barker and Bradstreet families plus others in the 1640s. The precise location of Anne's grave is uncertain as she may either have been buried next to her husband in "the Old Burying Point" in Salem, or in "the Old Burying Ground" on Academy Road in North Andover. This area is now known as the The Valley of Poets.

A marker in the North Andover cemetery commemorates the 350th anniversary (2000) of the publishing of the poetry of Anne Dudley Bradstreet in London in 1650. This may be the only site honoring her memory in America. Her words and work have been largely obscure for nearly 400 years.

In 1647 Bradstreet's brother-in-law, Rev. John Woodbridge, sailed to England, carrying her manuscript of poetry without her knowledge. Anne's first work was published in London as "The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, by a Gentlewoman of those Parts".

In 1678 her self-revised "Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning" was posthumously published in America, and included one of her most famous poems, "To My Dear and Loving Husband".
This volume is owned by the Stevens Memorial Library of North Andover and resides in the Houghton Library vault at Harvard.

A quotation from Bradstreet can be found on a plaque at the Bradstreet Gate in Harvard Yard:
"I came into this Country, where I found a new World and new manners at which my heart rose."
Unfortunately the plaque seems to be based on a misinterpretation of the text; the following sentence is "But after I was convinced it was the way of God, I submitted to it and joined to the church at Boston." This suggests that her heart rose up in protest rather than in joy.

Bradstreet's education gave her advantages to write with authority about politics, history, medicine, and theology. Her personal library of books was said to have numbered over 800, before many were destroyed when her home burned down. This event itself inspired a poem entitled "Upon the Burning of Our House July 10th, 1666". She rejects the anger and grief that this worldly tragedy has caused her and instead looks toward God and the assurance of heaven as consolation, saying:

Verses upon the Burning of our House, July 18th, 1666
Upon the Burning of Our House
by Anne Bradstreet

In silent night when rest I took,

For sorrow near I did not look,

I waken'd was with thundring nois

And Piteous shreiks of dreadfull voice
That fearfull sound of fire and fire,

Let no man know is my Desire.

I, starting up, the light did spye,

And to my God my heart did cry

To strengthen me in my Distresse

And not to leave me succourlesse.

Then coming out beheld a space,

The flame consume my dwelling place.
And, when I could no longer look,

I blest his Name that gave and took,

That layd 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 Ruines oft I past,

My sorrowing eyes aside did cast,

And here and there the places spye

Where oft I sate, and long did lye.
Here stood that Trunk, and there that chest;

There lay that store I counted best:

My pleasant things in ashes lye,

And them behold no more shall I.

Under thy roof no guest shall sitt,

Nor at thy Table eat a bitt.

No pleasant tale 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 lye;

Adieu, Adeiu; All's vanity.

Then streight I gin my heart to chide,

And didst 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 skye

That dunghill mists away may flie.

Thou hast an house on high erect

Fram'd by that mighty Architect,

With glory richly furnished,

Stands permanent tho' this bee fled.

It's purchased, and paid for too

By him who hath enough to doe.
A Prise so vast as is unknown,

Yet, by his Gift, is made thine own.

Ther's wealth enough, I need no more;

Farewell my Pelf, farewell my Store.

The world no longer let me Love,

My hope and Treasure lyes Above.

The following is another example of her work:

To My Dear and Loving Husband
by Anne Bradstreet
Upon the Burning of Our House→

If ever two were one, then surely we.

If ever man were lov'd 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,

Or all the riches that the East doth hold.

My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,

Nor ought but love from thee, give recompence.

Thy love is such I can no way repay,

The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.

Then while we live, in love lets so persevere,

That when we live no more, we may live ever.

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