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					Captain John Smith
William Bradford
  John Winthrop
  Cotton Mather
 Anne Bradstreet
  Edward Taylor
 Jonathan Edwards

          Captain John Smith (1580—1631)

          A real adventurer, he had fought the Turks in Hungary, where he
          was wounded and taken prisoner. He was sold as a slave and
          escaped by killing his master. In 1607, he helped to set up
          Jamestown, the first English colony in America.
          Smith sent a letter to the Virginia Company in London, defending
          the handling of the settlement and proclaiming the merits of the
          new land. In 1608, most part of his letter was published, under the
          title A True Relation of Such Occurrences and Accidents of Note
          as Hath Happened in Virginia Since the First Planting of That
          Colony. Thus, Captain John Smith became the first American
                   True Relation of Virginia (1608)
                 Description of New England (1616)
General History of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles (1624)

                 Captain John Smith (1580----1631)

Smith published eight in all. Some of   Captain Smith may not have been a
them were dealing with New England,     modest man, but it is clear that he
the coast of which he explored and      contributed more to the survival of the
mapped after his fortune faded with     Jamestown colony than did anyone
the Virginia Company. He sought a       else. He tirelessly explored the rivers
post as guide to the Pilgrims but,      and bays around the Chesapeake
th o u gh th ey mad e u s e o f h is    r e g io n . A n d h e s a w f r o m th e
publications and maps, they did not     beginning what was eventually to be a
want the man. He had too much color     basic principle of American history,
and flamboyance for sober Puritan       the need of “workers” instead of
tastes; moreover, he was suspected of   “gentlemen” for the tough job of
having less than complete regard for    planting colonies and pushing the
the exact truth.                        frontiers westward.

         Captain John Smith (1580----1631)

                True Relation of Virginia (1608)
              Description of New England (1616)

His descriptions of America were filled with themes,
myths, images, scenes, characters, and events that were a
foundation as a land of endless bounty. His vision helped
to lure the Pilgrims and the Puritans who saw themselves
as new saints with a spiritual mission to flee the Old
World and create a New Israel, a New Promised Land.
We can look on his description as a kind of fascinating
“advertisements” which try to persuade the reader to
settle in the New World (1).

Back                                               Forward
                         Captain John Smith (1580----1631)

            General History of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles (1624)

In this work, John Smith created a romantic story, which seemed to
have embroidered his adventures. Today we owe the famous story to        Two great stones were brought
the Indian maiden, Pocahontas. The tale is ingrained in the American     before Powhattan (the Indian
historical imagination. The story recounts how Pocahontas, favorite      “king ”): then as many as
daughter of Chief Powhatan, saved Captain Smith’s life when he           could dragged him (Smith) to
was a prisoner of the chief. Later, when the English persuaded           them, and thereon laid his head,
Powhatan to give Pocahontas to them as a hostage, her gentleness,        and being ready with their
intelligence, and beauty impressed the English, and, in 1614, she        clubs, to beat out his brains,
married John Rolf, an English gentleman. The marriage initiated an       P o c a ho n t a s , t he K i n g ’ s
eight-year peace between the colonists and the Indians, ensuring the     dearest daughter, got his head
survival of the struggling new colony.                                   in her arms, and laid down her
                                                                         own (head) upon his to save
The story is probably untrue, but it is the first famous tale from       him from death: whereat the
American literature. His Elizabethan style is not always easy to read,   King was contented he should
and his punctuation was strange even for the people in seventeenth       live.
century. Still, he can tell a good story:

          Back                                                                  William Bradford
                      William Bradford (1590----1657) )

William Bradford was a Puritan and also a Separatist. Separatists argued that the Church of
England was hopelessly corrupted by Catholic practices and was doomed to severe
punishment from angry God. The only solution, thought Separatist Puritans, was to
withdraw completely into small, “gathered” communities. This decision brought intense
persecution on them, in the form of heavy fines, imprisonment and exile.
A small band of Separatists, under the leadership of William Bradford, landed at what is
now Plymouth, Massachusetts, and established a struggling settlement there in 1620.
Shortly after that, he was elected governor of Plymouth in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
He was a deeply pious, self-educated man who had learned several languages, including
Hebrew, in order to “see with his own eyes the ancient oracles of God in their native
beauty”(1). His participation in the migration to Holland and the Mayflower voyage to
Plymouth, and his duties as governor, made him ideally suited to be the first historian of his
colony. In addition to history, Bradford left a wealth of letters, other prose writings about
the colony, and even a narrative poem. After his death, the New England colonies mourned
him in words written later by Cotton Mather, as “a common blessing and father to them

                            William Bradford (1590----1657) )
                                    Of Plymouth Plantation (1651)
It is the history of his group of          By the time Bradford neared the end of his history, in 1650,
Separatists, or “Pilgrims” as              he had become greatly discouraged that his fellow Pilgrims
they have since been called.               had lost the original faith that sustained them in the voyage
Bradford’s history, like virtually         and those difficult years. Partly, due to this reason, he wrote
all other Puritan’s writing, is            Of Plymouth Plantation to restimulate the primary impulse.
soaked in th e rh yth ms and               This work describes the Puritans’ difficult relations with
cadences of Scripture. His themes          the Indians. It also describes their difficulties during the first
typologically echo the main                winter, when half of the small colonies died. This is all
themes of the Bible. Like the              expressed in the wonderful “plain style”(1) which the
ancient Israelites, the Pilgrims           Puritans admired. In order to present the “clear light of
were exiled from an oppressive             truth”(2) to uneducated readers, Puritan writers avoided
government. Their arrival in the           elegant language. The examples they used were drawn either
N e w Wo r l d p a r a l l e l e d t h e
                                           from the Bible or from the everyday life of farmers and
conquest of the Promised Land.
                                           fishermen. At the same time, Bradford’s history is deeply
In this driving set of parallels,
Bradford is within the dominant            influenced by the belief that God directs everything that
discourse of 17th century.                 happens. Each event he writes about begins with, “It
                                           pleased God to…”(3)

           Back                                                                     John Winthrop
                               John Winthrop (1588----1649)
                               John Winthrop was the first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony
                               and, like most of the Puritan writers, was a minister all his life. He
                               began to keep a journal on the Bay Colonists’ voyage to
                               Massachusetts aboard the ship Arbella in 1630. He maintained this
                               practice for the rest of his life. Parts of his Journal were first
                               published in 1790. The complete work was at last printed in 1826
                               under the title The History of New England. This name is less
                               appropriate than “journal”, for the work has no scope and order
                               of history. Other Winthrop papers exist, but the Journal remains his
                               chief work. Like Bradford’s books, Winthrop’s is notable for its
                               candid simplicity and honesty, though the Plymouth governor is the
                               better writer. Each book is the most valuable kind of historical
                               source----an account of events by a man who has been a major
                               figure of his time. Both accounts were written, not from literary
John Winthrop (1588----1649)   ambition, but from a sense of the need to record important events in
                               permanent form. Yet, through a direct and vigorous prose style, each
                               account attained literary excellence.

                                 John Winthrop (1588----1649)

He believes there should be inferiors and superiors                Christ in the rescue of a few. He explained
in the new society that he and his fellow Puritans                 class distinction by “Model of Christian
were going to found because God intends to be so.                  Charity”(1). “That he (God) might have
Second, John Winthop was not only simply a                         the more occasion to manifest the work of
Protestant Christian, but also he was a Puritan, and               his Spirit, first, upon the wicked in
as much was influenced by the teaching of John                     moderating and restraining them; so that the
Calvin. He argued that God was the king who                        rich and the mighty should not eat up the
presided over a creation that was rank-ordered into                poor, nor the poor and despised rise up
inferiors and superiors; he was reflecting not only                against their superiors, and shake off their
just a generalized Christian discourse about                       yok e …”(2 ) He clai med th at so cial
maleness and monarchy, but also a specially                        distinction provided an opportunity for
Calvinist discourse that stresses the deep divisions               God’s spirit to restrain both the rich and the
in the world, the sharp distinctions between ruler                 poor from oppressing or slaughtering each
and ruled, saved and unsaved. He was reflecting                    other. Finally, Winthrop argued that an
Calvin’s insistence that God was an absolute                       unequal society is necessary so “that every
monarch, angry with humanity for its original and                  man might have need of other, and from
continuing disobedience, ready to punish all                       hence they might be all knit more nearly
e x c ep t f o r t h e g r a c i o u s i n t er v e n t io n o f   together in the bond of brotherly

                       John Winthrop (1588----1649)

                        The History of New England

This work is in the “plain style”, but it is far less cheerful. His writing style is rather
cold, because he rarely shows shock or sadness, even when he describes scenes of great
unhappiness. Sometimes, the dryness of his “plain style” is very effective. This is his
description of the New England coast when he arrived on June 7, 1630:

            We had now fair sunshine weather, and so pleasant a sweet air as did
            much refresh us, and there came a smell off shore like the smell of a

Like all of the Puritan historians, Winthrop believed that most events could be seen as
a sign from God. For example, when a snake was found and killed in a church, people
saw this as the victory of New England religion over Satan.

         Back                                                           Cotton Mather
                             Cotton Mather (1663----1728)
No account of New England colonial literature would be complete without mentioning
Cotton Mather, the master pedant. Son and grandson of influential Puritan ministers,
Cotton Mather was himself a clergyman, involved in several important events in New
England life including the trial of scores of people for witchcraft in the 1690s. He
wrote at length of New England in over 500 books and pamphlets.
Cotton Mather had an insane genius for advertising himself. Whenever something
happened to him in his life, he wrote a religious book. When his first wife died, he
published a long sermon called Death Made Easy and Happy. When his little daughter
died, he wrote The Best Way of Living, Which is to Die Daily. Most of these works
were quite short and of little interest to us today. But some, such as his famous
Magnalia Christi Americana (1702), were very long and were published in many
volumes. He was certain that his longest work, The Angel of Bethesda (1723), would
“prove one of the most useful books that have been published in the World”(1). But
the book was so long, no one ever tried to publish it. Cotton’s Diary gives us a clear
picture of the inner life of this strange and often unpleasant man. On almost every page,
he speaks of his special relationship with God. When he had a pain in his stomach or         Cotton Mather
teeth, he thought about how he had broken God’s law with his stomach or teeth.
During his last years, he expressed shock at the “increasing wickedness”(2) of the
people around him, including his own children.

                          Cotton Mather (1663----1728)

                         Magnalia Christi America (1702)
His most famous work, which exhaustively chronicles the settlement of
New England through a series of biographies, was “the mighty acts of
Christ in America”(1). The huge book presents the holy Puritan errand
into the wilderness to establish God’s kingdom; its structure is a
narrative progression of representative American “Saints’ Lives”.
His zeal somewhat redeems his pompousness. Mather explains his
purpose this way, “I write the wonders of the Christian religion, flying
from the deprivation of Europe to the American strand; and , assisted by
the holy author of that religion, I do, with all conscience of truth…report
the wonderful displays of His infinite power, wisdom, goodness, and
faithfulness, wherewith His divine providence hath irradiated an Indian
wilderness.”(2) In this work, each Puritan leader is compared to some
Biblical figure, and events are given their scriptural parallel, all in a
massive attempt to link the story of this small English colony to the
cosmic drama that God has been unfolding since the beginning of time.

          Back                                                                Forward
                      Cotton Mather (1663----1728)

The most fascinating part of this work is the description
of the Salem witch trials. He makes it clear that he
personally believed that this was an assault from hell and
that all of New England was filled with evil spirits from
hell. At the same time, he admitted that the witch trials
had been a mistake and that it was good that they were
finally stopped.
The writings of Cotton Mather show how the later
Puritan writers moved away from the “plain style” of
their grandfathers. Mather’s language in works well
into the new century remains typological, rooting
historical events in the sacred context. The language is
complicated and filled with strange words from Latin.
Although Mather called his style “a cloth of gold”,
ordinary people usually found it hard to read.

      Back                                                   Anne Bradstreet
       Anne Bradstreet (1612----1672)

Youth is the time of getting, middle age of improving, and old age of spending.

Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge: fitter to bruise
than polish.

I am obnoxious to each carping tongue
Who says my hand a needle better fits,
A poet's pen all scorn I should thus wrong
For such despite they cast on female
wits. . . .

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. If we did not
sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

If what I do prove well, it won't advance,
They‘ll say it's stolen, or else it was by

                      Anne Bradstreet (1612----1672)
                  Born in 1612 into a prosperous English family, Anne Dudley was given a
                  wide education uncommon for girls at that time. In 1628 she married Simon
                  Bradstreet, and two years later the couple migrated to North America along
                  with others of the Puritan outlook. The Bradstreets were an influential family
                  in Massachusetts Bay; Simon became judge, legislator, and eventually
                  governor of the colony. Meanwhile Anne Bradstreet cared for her husband
                  and growing family, and wrote poetry. Her extensive literary production was
                  managed along with the task of being a wilderness wife and the mother of
                  eight children.
                  Her first publish work appeared in London. It was taken there without her
                  knowledge by her brother-in-law, who put the work into the hands of a
                  publisher. She was perhaps too shy to offer it herself. The title of this
                  collection of poems complimented her, in classical allusion, as The Tenth
                  Muse Lately Sprung Up in America. (In Greek mythology the Muses were
                  nine daughters of Zeus. Each was the patron of a particular art such as poetry,
Anne Bradstreet   dance, music, etc.) Some of Anne Bradstreet’s poetic ventures were over
                  ambitious, but she wrote well when she dealt with the simple events of her
                  daily life. She preferred her long, religious poems on conventional subjects
                  such as the seasons, but contemporary readers most enjoy the witty poems on
                  subjects from daily life and her warm and loving poems to her husband and

         Anne Bradstreet (1612----1672)

          The Complete Works of Anne Bradstreet
      Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up In America (1650)
Several Poems Compiled with Great Wit and Learning (1678).

          “To My Dear and Loving Husband”
     If ever two were one, then surely we.
     If ever man were loved 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 recompense.
     Thy love is such I can no way repay,
     The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
     Then while we live, in love let's so persevere
     That when we live no more, we may live ever.

          Anne Bradstreet (1612----1672)

       The work (Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up In America) contained the
       first New World poems published in England, which shows the
       influence of Edmund Spenser, Philip Sidney and other English poets
       as well.
       Puritan scholar Robert Richardson has recently remarked that
       Bradstreet’s poetry demonstrates the essential struggle evident in so
       many New England Puritans: to be in the world but not of the world.
       In Bradstreet’s case, there was much of the “world” that
       occupied her time: children, husband, a home, and participation in
       town and church matters. On the other hand, she was very much a
       committed Puritan, with her eyes fixed on God and heaven. She
       worked diligently in her life as in her art, to interpret the events of
       earthly life as having eternal significance. Her later poems, written
       with charming simplicity, show her progress in the art. She refused
       “to sing of Wars, of Captains, and of Kings”(1). Instead, she gave
       us a look into the heart of a seventeenth-century American woman.

Back                                                      Edward Taylor
     Anne Bradstreet (1612----1672)

                      Study Note

Note that each of the first three lines begins with "If"--
a good example of anaphora. What is the effect of this
repetition? Does it undermine the certainty that other
lines seem to express? Note that it is further
emphasized by breaking the regular iambic rhythm.

                                            Close Note
     Anne Bradstreet (1612----1672)

                    Study Note

Scan the meter of this line, marking the accented
syllables, and note its irregularity. What words are
emphasized by the change? Look for the same
metric "disruption" in following lines.

                                       Close Note
     Anne Bradstreet (1612----1672)

                    Study Note

Whom is this poem addressed to? If just her
husband, why does she address "ye women"y here?
Is she speaking to both? Or is this a private poem,
probably not meant for publication? It was not
p u b l i s h e d   f o r   m a n y      y e a r s .

                                       Close Note
     Anne Bradstreet (1612----1672)

                    Study Note

Even by 1650 (not long before she wrote the poem),
British adventurers had not given up their hope that
there was a shortcut to the riches of the Indies in
America. This dream, expressed frequently in
Virginia, was rarely mentioned by the Puritans who
had more spiritual purposes in mind. However it is
interesting that she should make this particular
comparison, for she certainly knew of these golden
hopes--and their disappointment. Note how she uses
the imagery of physical wealth and ownership to
represent their emotional love, and its contrast with
the spiritual element at the end of their poem.

                                         Close Note
Anne Bradstreet (1612----1672)

                 Study Note

To put out, as a fire; to satisfy a thirst; to
suppress, inhibit. What does this image
suggest about her feelings for him?

                                      Close Note
 Anne Bradstreet (1612----1672)

               Study Note

Ought means both nothing and
expression of duty. These are very
different meanings. Which is she using
here? Could she be using both?

                                  Close Note
     Anne Bradstreet (1612----1672)

                    Study Note

to compensate, pay for, return in kind, repay.
Consider these three metaphors, and what she is
using them to say. Also note that this word does not
fit the rhyme scheme. What effect does that have?

                                       Close Note
    Anne Bradstreet (1612----1672)

                         Study Note

Why should she want to "repay" if they two are truly

Many times, a great deal; marked by diversity or variety

What does this paradox mean? How should they live now,
as lovers, if they are to live and love forever? How does
this tie in with their Puritan beliefs in predestination? Note
the extra syllable in these final two lines. What is its effect?

What does this paradox mean? How should they live now,
as lovers, if they are to live and love forever? How does
this tie in with their Puritan beliefs in predestination? Note
the extra syllable in these final two lines. What is its effect?

                                                   Close Note
                         Edward Taylor (1645----1729)
Like Anne Bradstreet, the intense, brilliant     Taylor did not publish any of his work. His
poet and minister Edward Taylor was born         poems were found in manuscript in 1937,
in England. The son of a yeoman farmer ---       more than two hundred years after his death.
- an independent farmer who owned his            This discovery brought Taylor to immediate
own land ---- Taylor was a teacher who           prominence in the colonial literary history,
sailed to New England in 1668 rather than        and enriched American poetic heritage. A
took an oath of loyalty to the Church of         complete edition of Taylor’s poems
England. He studied at Harvard College,          appeared in 1960.
and, like most Harvard-trained ministers,
                                                    Taylor wrote a variety of verse: funeral
he knew Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. A
                                                 elegies, lyrics, a medieval "debate," and a
selfless and pious man, Taylor acted as a
                                                 500-page Metrical History of Christianity
missionary to the settlers when he accepted
                                                 (mainly a history of martyrs). His best
his lifelong job as a minister in the frontier
                                                 works, according to modern critics, are the
town of Westfield, Massachusetts, 160
                                                 series of short Preparatory Meditations.
kilometers into the thickly forested, wild
interior. Taylor was the best-educated man         The Poetical Works (1939) Edited by Thomas
in the area, and he put his knowledge to use,    Johnson.
working as the town minister, doctor, and          Poems of Edward Taylor Edited by Donald E.
civic leader.                                    Stanford. Yale, 1960.

           Back                                                                 Forward
               Edward Taylor (1645----1729)
                        What Love is this of thine, that Cannot bee
                          In thine Infinity, O Lord, Confinde,
                        Unless it in thy very Person see,
                          Infinity, and Finity Conjoyn'd?
                          What hath thy Godhead, as not satisfide
                          Marri'de our Manhood, making it its Bride?

                        Oh, Matchless Love! filling Heaven to the brim!
                          O're running it: all running o're beside
                        This World! Nay Overflowing Hell; wherein
                          For thine Elect, there rose a mighty Tide!
                          That there our Veans might through thy Person bleed,
                          To quench those flames, that else would on us feed.

                        Oh! that thy Love might overflow my Heart!
                          To fire the same with Love: for Love I would.
Meditation 1            But oh! my streight'ned Breast! my Lifeless Sparke!
                          My Fireless Flame! What Chilly Love, and Cold?
                          In measure small! In Manner Chilly! See.
                          Lord blow the Coal: Thy Love Enflame in mee.

         Edward Taylor (1645----1729)
                  Make me, O Lord, thy Spinning Wheele compleat;
                    Thy Holy Worde my Distaff make for mee.
                  Make mine Affections thy Swift Flyers neate,
                    And make my Soule thy holy Spoole to bee.
                    My Conversation make to be thy Reele,
                    And reele the yarn thereon spun of thy Wheele.

                  Make me thy Loome then, knit therein this Twine:
                    And make thy Holy Spirit, Lord, winde quills:
                  Then weave the Web thyselfe. The yarn is fine.
                    Thine Ordinances make my Fulling Mills.
                    Then dy the same in Heavenly Colours Choice,
                    All pinkt with Varnish't Flowers of Paradise.

                  Then cloath therewith mine Understanding, Will,
                    Affections, Judgment, Conscience, Memory;
 Huswifery        My Words and Actions, that their shine may fill
                    My wayes with glory and thee glorify.
                    Then mine apparell shall display before yee
                    That I am Cloathd in Holy robes for glory.

Back                                                Jonathan Edwards
                Jonathan Edwards (1703----1758)

-- He believed in the inward communication of the soul with God.
-- He had a metaphorical mode of perception, i.e., a symbolic way
of looking at things.

                Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
-- A sermon, taking a line from
the Bible and explain it in oral
                                      Discussion Questions:
-- Daily examples and visual
images                                What is the purpose of Edwards
                                      in delivering the sermon?
-- It terrorized his listeners with
visions of un-regenerate men          Who are the sinners?
helplessly dangled over the pit       What is the significance of the
of hell by a wrathful God.            essay against the cultural
-- His purpose is to awaken a         background of Puritanism?
new sense of sin in the listeners
and to prepare them to receive
God’s grace.

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