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Short poem

Anne Bradstreet (ca. 1612-1672)

The Author to her Book

              1Thou ill-form'd offspring of my feeble brain,
              2Who after birth did'st by my side remain,
              3Till snatcht from thence by friends, less wise than true,
              4Who thee abroad expos'd to public view,
              5Made thee in rags, halting to th' press to trudge,
              6Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
              7At thy return my blushing was not small,
              8My rambling brat (in print) should mother call.
              9I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
            10Thy Visage was so irksome in my sight,
            11Yet being mine own, at length affection would
            12Thy blemishes amend, if so I could.
            13I wash'd thy face, but more defects I saw,
            14And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
            15I stretcht thy joints to make thee even feet,
            16Yet still thou run'st more hobbling than is meet.
            17In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
            18But nought save home-spun Cloth, i' th' house I find.
            19In this array, 'mongst Vulgars mayst thou roam.
            20In Critics' hands, beware thou dost not come,
            21And take thy way where yet thou art not known.
            22If for thy Father askt, say, thou hadst none;
            23And for thy Mother, she alas is poor,
            24Which caus'd her thus to send thee out of door.


7] by friends: Rev. John Woodbridge, her brother-in-the-law (White xiii), took her manuscript to the printer without her knowledge.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Anne Bradstreet, Several Poems, 2nd edn. (Boston: John Foster, 1678). Cf. The Complete Works of Anne Bradstreet, ed. Joseph R. McElrath, Jr., and Allan P. Robb (Boston: Twayne, 1981): 177-78.
First publication date: 1678
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1997.
Recent editing: 4:2002/1/19

Form: Heroic Couplets

Other poems by Anne Bradstreet