'To My Dear And Loving Husband' by 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 recompetence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

Editor 1 Interpretation

To My Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet

When we think of colonial America, we often imagine long, cold winters, harsh living conditions, and a Puritan society that valued hard work, piety, and moral rectitude above all else. However, amidst this austere backdrop, a group of poets emerged who defied the conventions of their time and found beauty and inspiration in the world around them. One such poet was Anne Bradstreet, the first female poet to be published in colonial America.

Bradstreet's poem "To My Dear and Loving Husband" is a beautiful and heartfelt expression of love and devotion, written in a time when such sentiments were often suppressed or frowned upon. In this essay, we will explore Bradstreet's use of language, imagery, and form to create a powerful and enduring piece of literature that still resonates with readers today.

Context and Background

Before we dive into the poem itself, it's important to understand the cultural and historical context in which it was written. Anne Bradstreet was born in England in 1612, but emigrated with her family to Massachusetts in 1630. She was a devout Puritan and lived in a society that believed in the importance of hard work, self-discipline, and a strict adherence to religious doctrine.

Despite these constraints, Bradstreet was able to find joy and beauty in the world around her, and she used her poetry to express her innermost thoughts and feelings. In many ways, her writing can be seen as a form of rebellion against the restrictive norms of her time, as she dared to explore emotions and experiences that were often considered taboo.

"To My Dear and Loving Husband" was written in 1678, when Bradstreet was in her mid-sixties. It was included in a collection of her poetry that was published posthumously in 1678, two years after her death. The poem is one of Bradstreet's most famous works, and it has been celebrated for its lyrical beauty and its honest portrayal of love and devotion.

Critical Analysis

Structure and Form

One of the first things that strikes the reader about "To My Dear and Loving Husband" is its simplicity and straightforwardness. The poem is composed of nine rhyming couplets, each of which consists of two lines that follow an AABBCCDD... rhyme scheme. The poem is written in iambic pentameter, which means that each line consists of ten syllables, with the stress falling on every other syllable.

This regularity and symmetry of form lends the poem a sense of balance and harmony, which mirrors the theme of love and devotion that is at its heart. The use of couplets also emphasizes the close relationship between the speaker and her husband, as each pair of lines works together to create a sense of unity and completeness.

Language and Imagery

Despite its simple structure, "To My Dear and Loving Husband" is filled with rich and powerful language that conveys the depth of feeling that the speaker has for her husband. Bradstreet uses a variety of poetic devices to create a vivid and evocative picture of their love, including metaphor, hyperbole, and personification.

One of the most striking metaphors in the poem is the comparison of love to gold. The speaker says that her love for her husband is "more than whole mines of gold" (line 3), which emphasizes not only the value that she places on their relationship, but also the enduring nature of love. Gold is a precious and valuable commodity that lasts for centuries, and the speaker suggests that her love for her husband is just as valuable and long-lasting.

Bradstreet also uses hyperbole to exaggerate the strength of the speaker's love. She says that her love is so strong that it "shall grow / While we live" (lines 5-6), which suggests not only the depth of feeling that she has for her husband, but also the idea that their love will continue to grow and develop over time.

Finally, Bradstreet uses personification to give human qualities to abstract concepts like love and time. She says that their love is "so much refined / That it exceeds all drossy gold" (lines 7-8), which suggests that their love has been purified and made more valuable through the experiences that they have shared together. Similarly, she says that time will "waste" (line 9) their bodies, but their love will not be affected by the passage of time.

Theme and Meaning

At its core, "To My Dear and Loving Husband" is a celebration of love and devotion. The speaker is deeply in love with her husband and expresses her feelings in a way that is both sincere and heartfelt. However, the poem also touches on some deeper themes and meanings.

One important theme is the idea of the enduring nature of love. Bradstreet suggests that love is more valuable than gold or any other material possession, and that it will continue to grow and develop over time. This idea is particularly relevant in the context of Puritan society, where material possessions and earthly pleasures were often seen as sinful or superficial.

Another important theme is the idea of the relationship between the physical and the spiritual. Bradstreet suggests that while their bodies may "waste" over time, their love will not be affected by the passage of time. This suggests that there is something deeper and more enduring about their love that transcends the physical realm.


"To My Dear and Loving Husband" is a beautiful and powerful poem that celebrates the enduring nature of love and devotion. Through its simple structure, rich language, and vivid imagery, Anne Bradstreet is able to convey the depth of feeling that the speaker has for her husband, while also exploring some deeper themes and meanings.

As we read the poem today, we can still appreciate its beauty and relevance, and we can see how Anne Bradstreet's writing continues to inspire and influence readers centuries after it was first written.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

To My Dear and Loving Husband: A Timeless Ode to Love and Devotion

Anne Bradstreet's "To My Dear and Loving Husband" is a classic poem that has stood the test of time. Written in the 17th century, this poem is a beautiful expression of love and devotion that transcends time and culture. In this article, we will take a closer look at this timeless ode to love and explore its themes, structure, and literary devices.


The central theme of "To My Dear and Loving Husband" is love and devotion. The poem is a declaration of love from a wife to her husband, and it celebrates the deep emotional connection that exists between them. The poem is also a celebration of marriage, and it highlights the importance of a strong and loving relationship between two people.

Another theme that emerges from the poem is the idea of spiritual love. Bradstreet was a deeply religious woman, and her faith is evident in her writing. In "To My Dear and Loving Husband," she suggests that the love between a husband and wife is a reflection of the love that exists between God and his people.


The poem is structured as a sonnet, which is a traditional form of poetry that originated in Italy. A sonnet is a 14-line poem that follows a specific rhyme scheme and meter. Bradstreet's sonnet follows the traditional rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, and it is written in iambic pentameter.

The poem is divided into three quatrains and a final couplet. Each quatrain explores a different aspect of the speaker's love for her husband, while the couplet serves as a conclusion to the poem. The structure of the poem is simple and elegant, and it allows Bradstreet to express her ideas in a clear and concise manner.

Literary Devices

Bradstreet uses a variety of literary devices in "To My Dear and Loving Husband" to enhance the poem's emotional impact. One of the most prominent devices she uses is imagery. Throughout the poem, she uses vivid and sensual imagery to describe the depth of her love for her husband. For example, in the first quatrain, she writes:

"If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were loved by wife, then thee; If ever wife was happy in a man, Compare with me ye women if you can."

Here, Bradstreet uses the image of two becoming one to describe the deep emotional connection between her and her husband. She also uses the image of happiness to describe the joy that their relationship brings her.

Another literary device that Bradstreet uses is repetition. Throughout the poem, she repeats certain words and phrases to emphasize their importance. For example, she repeats the word "love" several times throughout the poem, and she also repeats the phrase "my love" in the final couplet. This repetition serves to reinforce the poem's central theme of love and devotion.


"To My Dear and Loving Husband" is a timeless ode to love and devotion that has resonated with readers for centuries. Bradstreet's use of vivid imagery, repetition, and traditional sonnet structure make this poem a masterpiece of English literature. The poem celebrates the deep emotional connection that exists between two people in love, and it highlights the importance of a strong and loving relationship. This poem is a testament to the enduring power of love, and it will continue to inspire readers for generations to come.

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