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Anne Bradstreet

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If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can in no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love lets so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

I have always loved that poem. It conveys such sweet and pure and simple love. In contrast to our day–a day when husbands and wives are encouraged to be assertive and scornful toward one another–it conveys a passion and intensity that is charming and endearing. Anne Bradstreet loved her husband and she was not afraid to tell the world.

Anne Bradstreet is the subject of Faith Cook’s latest biography. Cook has previously written about John Bunyan and Lady Jane Grey, among others, establishing herself as one of the foremost contemporary Christian biographers. And in Anne Bradstreet she does nothing to cast doubt upon such ascendency. This is a good and rather straightforward biography of the Pilgrim poet–America’s first notable poet and still one of her best. Born Anne Dudley in Northampton, England, Anne emigrated to the New World in 1630, but not before marrying Simon Bradstreet at the tender age of 16. She lived and died in Massachusetts, discovering her gift for verse and becoming successfully published along the way.

Bradstreet suffered greatly in life and yet she rejoiced in her Savior. Her poetry often discusses such themes, reflecting on living for the Lord’s glory in a life filled with pain. She loved dearly, thought freely, worshiped greatly and recorded it all through her poems. A biographical introduction like this one helps explain her poems and allows the reader to meet her, though centuries lie between. To read this book is to understand her poems better and to appreciate them all the more.

Several months ago I was asked to pen an endorsement for this short volume. And here is what I wrote: In this telling of the life of Anne Bradstreet, viewed primarily through the legacy of her poems, Faith Cook continues to prove herself one of today’s foremost Christian biographers. I highly recommend it.

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