I had an fairly elaborate post in the works for National Poetry Day, but alas, life intervened and blew it out of the water for the time being. I will finish it and post it later, but I ran across this wonderful poem and was reminded of Mistress Anne Bradstreet, the grand dame of early American poetry. It’s a lovely treat, deceptively simple, and will most certainly appeal to a certain kind of insomniac (e.g., my kind!)
“Anne Bradstreet was the first woman to be recognized as an accomplished New World Poet. Her volume of poetry The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America received considerable favorable attention when it was first published in London in 1650. Eight years after it appeared it was listed by William London in his Catalogue of the Most Vendible Books in England, and George III is reported to have had the volume in his library. Bradstreet’s work has endured, and she is still considered to be one of the most important early American poets.” (The Poetry Foundation http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/anne-bradstreet)
“By Night when Others Soundly Slept”
BY ANNE BRADSTREET 1612–1672
By night when others soundly slept
And hath at once both ease and Rest,
My waking eyes were open kept
And so to lie I found it best.
I sought him whom my Soul did Love,
With tears I sought him earnestly.
He bow’d his ear down from Above.
In vain I did not seek or cry.
My hungry Soul he fill’d with Good;
He in his Bottle put my tears,
My smarting wounds washt in his blood,
And banisht thence my Doubts and fears.
What to my Saviour shall I give
Who freely hath done this for me?
I’ll serve him here whilst I shall live
And Loue him to Eternity.*
*[Loue is an archaic early American spelling of Love when used as a verb.]