Heroic Couplet

two end-stopped iambic pentameter lines rhymed aa, bb, cc with the thought usually completed in the two-line unit. See the following example from Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock:
But when to mischief mortals bend their will,
How soon they find fit instruments of ill!

The Author To Her Book
Anne Bradstreet

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

In her poem “The Author to her Book”, Anne Bradstreet portrays the trouble that poets find in their own work. Sometimes when one may try to correct things in a piece of work one can end up creating bigger mistakes to oneself and to the work at large. She believes that poets are in fact the parents of their individual works, a fact that she states in the last two lines, or the heroic couplet. “And for they Mother, she alas is poor, which caus’d her thus to send thee out of the door.”

Link: Zero Puppets

"Authority without wisdom is like a heavy ax without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish."

~Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet

         Anne Bradstreet was born in Norhampton, England in the year 1612, it is believed. She was born Anne Dudley, one of five children born to Thomas Dudley and Dorothy Yorke. Anne was next to the eldest child born. Anne did not have a formal education, but was taught many things because an education was important to the Dudley family. She learned by reading and studying such things as the bible, the encyclopedia, poetry, keeping a journal and more. When she was 18 years old, in the year 1628, she married Simon Bradstreet. Even though the marriage may have been arranged by her father, it was full of love, as you can tell by reading her poetry.

         Both families, the Dudleys and the Bradstreets, moved to the New World in 1630. The trip to America was a three month journey aboard the ship Arbella. The ship landed in Salem, Massachusetts. Upon arriving they did not find what they had expected. What they found was disease and a shortage of supplies among the colonies. After coming to this raw New World both families moved quite often, but finally in the year 1645 they were settled in North Andover, Massachusetts. Anne encountered many health problems in her life in America.

          In the year 1633 Anne gave birth to her first child. Simon became a judge and eventually took the position of governor of Massachusetts. Together he and Anne had eight children.

         In those times it was very rare to find women poets anywhere. Anne Bradstreet is known for writing on the verity and facts before her. Her individualism is due to her choice of material more than her style. Her poetry reflects Puritan thinking. Her work is known to be elegant and genteel. Anne Bradstreet’s life was both complicated and unique. She was in a unique situation being one of the first to come to the New World. Being a daughter of a governor and being a wife and mother of eight children put her in a situation where she had many inner conflicts. She was an enlightened woman of her time and she did not believe in the subordination of women.