EARLY COLONIAL LITERATURE
(Bradstreet and Wheatley)
To my Dear and Loving Husband By night when Others Soundly Slept
By Anne Bradstreet By Anne Bradstreet
If ever two were one, then surely we. By night when others souldly slept
If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee. And hath at once both ease and Rest,
If ever wife was happy in a man, My waking eyes were open kept
Compare with me, ye women, if you can. And so to lie I found it best.
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold
Or all the riches that the East doth hold. I sought him whom my Soul did lOve,
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench With tears I sought him earnestly.
Nor ought but love from thee give recompetence. He bow’d his ear down from Above.
Thy love is such I can no way repay. In vain I did not seek or cry.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever My hungry Soul he fill’d with Good;
That when we live no more, we many live ever. He in his Bottle put my tears,
My smarting wounds washt in his blood,
And banish thence my Doubts and fears.
An Hymn To The Evening
What to my Saviour shall I give
By Phillis Wheatley Who freely hath done this for me?
SOON as the sun forsook the eastern main I’ll serve him here whilst I shall live
The pealing thunder shook the heav'nly plain; And Love him to Eternity.
Majestic grandeur! From the zephyr's wing,
Exhales the incense of the blooming spring. On Being Brought From Africa To America
Soft purl the streams, the birds renew their notes,
And through the air their mingled music floats.
By Phillis Wheatley
Through all the heav'ns what beauteous dies are 'Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
But the west glories in the deepest red:
Taught my benighted soul to understand
So may our breasts with ev'ry virtue glow, That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too:
The living temples of our God below!
Fill'd with the praise of him who gives the light,
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
And draws the sable curtains of the night, Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
Let placid slumbers sooth each weary mind,
At morn to wake more heav'nly, more refin'd;
"Their colour is a diabolic die."
So shall the labours of the day begin Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,
More pure, more guarded from the snares of sin.
Night's leaden sceptre seals my drowsy eyes,
May be refin'd and join th'angelic train
1. What is the common thread that runs through all of these poems? Give an example from each.
2. In “By Night When Others Soundly Slept”, whom is the poet seekig? What is she doing?
3. In “On Being Brought From Africa To America”, what does Wheatley call her homeland? What is she
saying was a positive to being brought to America?
4. In that same poem, how does Wheatley make an allusion to injustice afforded her race?