Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) was married at age 16, and as a bride set sail from England for Massachusetts Bay. There, facing the stark hardships of the frontier and recurrent illness, she raised eight children and without support of any women — "I am obnoxious to each carping tongue
Who says my hand a needle better fits"—
wrote poetry published England in 1650 as The Tenth Muse.
In Honour of . . .Queen Elizabeth [excerpt]
Now say, have women worth? or have they none?
Or had they some, but with our Queen is't gone?
Nay masculines, you have thus taxed us long,
But she, though dead, will vindicate our wrong.
Let such as say our sex is void of reason,
Know 'tis a slander now but once was treason.
But happy England which had such a queen;
Yea happy, happy, had those days still been.
But happiness lies in a higher sphere,
Then wonder not Eliza moves not here.
Full fraught with honour, riches, and with days
She set, she set like Titan in his rays.
No more shall rise or set so glorious sun
Until the heaven's great revolution:
If then new things their old form shall retain,
Eliza shall rule Albion once again . . . .
Further Reading: Bradstreet, Anne (edited by Jeannine Hensley, foreword by Adrienne Rich) The Works of Anne Bradstreet, 1981; Gordon, Charlotte, Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of America’s First Poet — both in our library.