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Anne Bradstreet

My goodly clothing, and my beauteous skin,
Declare some greater riches are within;
But what is best I’ll first present to view,
And then the worst, in a more ugly hue;
For thus to do, we on this Stage assemble
Then let not him, which hath most craft dissemble
Mine education, and my learning’s such,
As might my self, and others, profit much:
With nurture trained up in virtue’s Schools,
Of Science, Arts, and Tongues, I know the rules,
The manners of the Court, I likewise know,
Nor ignorant what they in Country do;
The brave attempts of valiant Knights I prize,
That dare climb Battlements, rear’d to the skies
The snorting Horse, the Trumpet, Drum I like,
The glittering Sword, and well advanced Pike;
I cannot lye in trench, before a Town,
Nor wait til good advice our hopes do crown;
I scorn the heavey CorsletA corslet is defensive metal armor covering the body. Musket-proof,
I fly to catch the Bullet that’s aloof;
Though thus in field, at home, to all most kind
So affable that I do suit each mind;
I can insinuate into the breast,
And by my mirth can raise a heart deprest
Sweet Music rapteth my harmonious Soul,
And elevates thoughts above the Pole.The Pole as in the North Pole. To elevate thoughts above the Pole is to make them divine/relate to the heavens.
My wit, my bounty, and my courtesy,
Makes all to place their future hopes on me.
This is my best, but youth (is known) alas,
To be as wild as is the snuffing Ass
As vain as froth, as vanity can be,
That who would see vain man, may look on me:
My gifts abus’d, my education lost,
My woeful Parents longing hopes all crost,
My wit, evaporates in merriment:
My valor, in some beastly quarrel’s spent;
Marital deeds I love not, ’cause they’re virtuous
But doing so, might seem magnanimous
My Lust doth hurry me to all that’s ill,
I know no Law, nor reason, but my will;
Sometimes lay wait to take a wealthy purse,
Or stab the man, in’s own defence, that’s worse.
Sometimes I cheat (unkind) a female Heir,
Of all at once, who not so wife, as fair,
Trusteth my loving looks and glozingTo gloze: to make excuses for.tongue,
Until her friends, treasure, and honor’s gone.
Sometimes I sit carousingTo carouse: to drink plentiful amounts of alcohol and enjoy oneself with others in a noisy, lively way.others’ health,
Until mine own be gone, my wit, and wealth;
From pipe to pot, from pot to words, and blows,
For he that loveth Wine, wanteth no woes;
Days, nights, with Ruffians, Roarers, Fiddlers spend,
To all obscenity, my ears I bend.
All counsel hate, which tends to make me wise,
And dearest friends count for mine enemies;
If any care I take, ’tis to be fine,
For sure my suit more than my virtues shine;
If any time from company I spare,
Some young AdonisThe Greek god of beauty and desire.I do strive to be,
Sardana PallasSardanapallas was, supposedly, the last king of Assyria. He was said to have lived indulgently and decadently., now survives in me:
Cards, Dice, and Oaths, concomitant, I love;
To Masques, to Plays,t to Taverns still I move;
And in a word, if what I am you’d hear,
Seek out a British, brutish Cavalier;The name the Roundheads or Parliamentarians called the supporters of Charles I and the monarch before and during the English Civil War
Such wretch, such monster am I; but yet more,
I want a heart all this for to deplore.
Thus, thus alas! I have misspent my time,
My youth, my best, my strength, my bud, and prime:
Remembering not that dreadful day of Doom,The day of death.
Nor yet that heavy reckoningIsaiah 10:3 “What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches?”for to come;
Though dangers do attend me every hour,
And ghastly death oft threats me with her power,
Sometimes by wounds in idle combats taken,
Sometimes by AguesMalaria or other diseases with hot and cold spurts and shaking.all my body shaken;
Sometimes by Fevers, all my moisture drinking,
My heart lys frying, and my eyes are sinking;
Sometimes the Cough, Stitch, painful PleurisyA condition in which the membrane in the chest cavity becomes inflamed; causes sharp chest pain and worsens with breathing,
With sad affrights of death, doth menace me;
Sometimes the loathsome Pox, my face be-mars,
With ugly marks of his eternal fears;
Sometimes the Frenzy, strangely mads my Brain,
That oft for it, in BedlamBethlehem Royal Hospital: a psychiatric hospital in London. Also a play on words for “bedlam” meaning a noisy or confused state or scene.I remain.
Too many’s my Diseases I recite,
That wonder ’tis I yet behold the light,
That yet my bed in darkness is not made,
And I in black oblivion’s den long laid;
Of Marrow full my bones, of Milk my breasts,
Ceas’d by the gripes of Sergeant Death’s Arrests:
Thus I have said, and what I’ve said you see,
Child-hood and youth is vain, yea vanity.