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Anne Bradstreet (ca. 1612-1672)

Verses upon the Burning of our House, July 18th, 1666


Here follows some verses upon the burning
of our house, July. 18th. 1666. Copyed out of
a loose Paper.

              1In silent night when rest I took,
              2For sorrow near I did not look,
              3I waken'd was with thund'ring noise
              4And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice.
              5That fearful sound of "fire" and "fire,"
              6Let no man know is my Desire.
              7I starting up, the light did spy,
              8And to my God my heart did cry
              9To straighten me in my Distress
            10And not to leave me succourless.
            11Then coming out, behold a space
            12The flame consume my dwelling place.
            13And when I could no longer look,
            14I blest his grace that gave and took,
            15That laid my goods now in the dust.
            16Yea, so it was, and so 'twas just.
            17It was his own; it was not mine.
            18Far be it that I should repine,
            19He might of all justly bereft
            20But yet sufficient for us left.
            21When by the Ruins oft I past
            22My sorrowing eyes aside did cast
            23And here and there the places spy
            24Where oft I sate and long did lie.
            25Here stood that Trunk, and there that chest,
            26There lay that store I counted best,
            27My pleasant things in ashes lie
            28And them behold no more shall I.
            29Under the roof no guest shall sit,
            30Nor at thy Table eat a bit.
            31No pleasant talk shall 'ere be told
            32Nor things recounted done of old.
            33No Candle 'ere shall shine in Thee,
            34Nor bridegroom's voice ere heard shall bee.
            35In silence ever shalt thou lie.
            36Adieu, Adieu, All's Vanity.
            37Then straight I 'gin my heart to chide:
            38And did thy wealth on earth abide,
            39Didst fix thy hope on mouldring dust,
            40The arm of flesh didst make thy trust?
            41Raise up thy thoughts above the sky
            42That dunghill mists away may fly.
            43Thou hast a house on high erect
            44Fram'd by that mighty Architect,
            45With glory richly furnished
            46Stands permanent, though this be fled.
            47It's purchased and paid for too
            48By him who hath enough to do.
            49A price so vast as is unknown,
            50Yet by his gift is made thine own.
            51There's wealth enough; I need no more.
            52Farewell, my pelf; farewell, my store.
            53The world no longer let me love;
            54My hope and Treasure lies above.

Notes

52] pelf: wealth.


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, manuscript of meditations, Stevens Memorial Library, North Andover, Mass., reproduced in Anne Bradstreet, The Tenth Muse (1650), a facsimile reproduction with an introduction by Josephine K.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1997.
Recent editing: 4:2002/1/20

Form: Tetrameter Couplets


Other poems by Anne Bradstreet