To my Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet

To read To my Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet in modern day, 21st century America, is kind of like stepping into a daydream. In a society where the majority of marriages fail, scandal runs rampant, and divorce is almost expected, this poem by Anne Bradstreet is like a breath of fresh air. Her deep and genuine love for her husband is clear and evident.

 

To my Dear and Loving Husband Analysis

Line 1

She begins the poem, To my Dear and Loving Husband, with a proclamation.

“If ever two were one, then surely we”.

This reveals her truly deep love for her husband by claiming that if any two people in the history of marriages have ever been bonded together as though they were one person, then surely she and her husband are bonded together in this deep and intimate way.

 

Line 2

In the second line, Bradstreet reassures her husband of her own love and commitment to him by claiming that she loves him as much as any woman as ever loved a man. This is a great claim, as there are countless lovers in the world. But she is confident that she loves her husband as much as any woman has ever loved a man.

 

Lines 3-4

In the third and fourth lines, she reassures her husband that she is happy with him. She challenges him to compare her with any other woman and see that she herself is happiest of all women because she is married to him.

 

Lines 5-6

In the fifth and sixth lines, she proclaims to her husband that his love is worth far more to her than any amount of money could ever be worth. She claims that she values his love “more than whole mines of gold” and even more than “all the riches that the East doth hold”. This shows that she values the human feeling of love in connection and commitment with another person far more than she could ever value any amount of material wealth.

 

Line 7

In the seventh line, she reveals that even though she is happiest of women, she does not count herself fully satisfied, because the nature of her love for him is such that she feels she can never get enough. This is why she says. “My love is such that rivers cannot quench”.

 

Line 8

In the eighth line, she reveals her gratitude for being the recipient of her husband’s love, by claiming that she could never “recompense” his love. This shows that she feels so loved by her husband that she doesn’t believe she could ever make him feel as loved as he has made her feel.

 

Line 10

In the ninth line, she reiterates her thought that his love is deeper than what she could ever return by saying, “Thy love is such I can no way repay”. And since she doesn’t believe that she herself could ever repay her husband for the love he has bestowed on her, she prays to God that He will bless her husband in reward for the way he has loved his wife (line 10).

 

Line 11

She ends To my Dear and Loving Husband by claiming that they will persevere in love until the end. Bradstreet has no doubt that she and her husband will stay married and in love until one passes from this life to the next. This is revealed when she says, “Then while we live, in love let’s so persever”.

 

Line 12

The final line of this poem ends with a small glimpse into the next life. She says, “That when we live no more, we may live ever”. This line suggests that their love with be eternal. She believes that even after this life is over, they will continue to be in love for all of eternity.

 

Anne Bradstreet Background

Anne Bradstreet was one of the very first women to publish any poetry or works of literature in America. She was a Puritan, and so she believed in life after death, and put her hope in this belief. This is shown in the last two lines of To my Dear and Loving Husband. Bradstreet had many intellectual ideas, and loved to discuss religion. She enjoyed nature and writing, and she became a beacon of hope for many female writers who wished to be acknowledged for their intellect. Although Bradstreet adhered to the male hierarchy promoted in her society at this time, one must remember that she was a Puritan, and that under her influence and beliefs, she did her best to promote the acknowledgement of the intellect and ability of women everywhere. Bradstreet did not fight the system, as many later women would, but this is perhaps because in her personal experience, she had a loving father, and a loving and gentle husband, and so she promoted women within the context of male hierarchy. She did not, apparently, personally feel the oppression many women must have felt at her time. This poem particularly reveals that, as Anne seems to have been in a loving and genuine marriage in which her husband did not oppress her, but loved and esteemed her.

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  • Avatar Cherie Bowman says:

    Allisa Corfman,
    I really appreciated your analysis of Anne Bradstreet’s “To My Dear and Loving Husband”.Glad for this tool to help me guide my 16 year old son, for his assignment in an Early American Literature class.
    He is an honors student and usually very good in English courses, but still struggles when it comes to Poetry. My son does enjoy the various forms of literature, and from hearing his many negative comments and dramatic rantings over similar assignments, one can be certain that poetry is his least favorite type. The rantings were very comical… ” Why was she ( Anne Bradstreet) needing to write such a poem and also to publish it? That was unheard of for women of their time and religion!”
    Didn’t her husband know how much she really loved him, without it?” It could’ve been shorter, without repeating several words, including the word love.”
    Although, in my opinion, this poem was shorter than many others that could have been assigned and not too difficult to analyse. That being the case and knowing that “mom’s” opinion and knowledge is not usually well received or excepted, or considered worth much attention. I decided to look up some helpful backup resources. If not for his benefit, than for mine… or for passing on to other students.
    Even though, I had already had suggested he search for himself, so he would have some more resources and possibly garner better insight on the subject, besides what he had from a class handout.
    He wouldn’t dare take that kind of action, unless one of his esteemed classmates suggested that it was an excellent idea..
    I can and do remember those days, as well myself….most teens think their own parents don’t know much good or helpful information and they themselves know almost everything, worth knowing . Not much changes, huh.

    • Lee-James Bovey Lee-James Bovey says:

      Hi there Cherie,

      Sorry but Alissa doesn’t write for us any longer. I hope you don’t mind me replying in lieu of her? Your message was really lovely and I didn’t want it to go unanswered! Poetry can certainly be tricky! It took me a long time to really start to grasp poems without (ironically) using this web site! I am a father but my kids are too young to rebel against subjects they don’t like, but I really hope they have a love for poetry. In fact I think i’m going to start adding poetry to their bedtime reading just to make sure! It sounds like you have done a fab job of raising your son though, pressing him to strive for better! Good for you! Thank you for visiting our site and don’t be a stranger!

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