Several poems compiled with great variety of wit and learning, full of delight wherein especially is contained a compleat discourse, and description of the four elements, constitutions, ages of man, seasons of the year, together with an exact epitome of the three by a gentlewoman in New-England.
Bradstreet, Anne, 1612?-1672.
What you have been, ev'n such have I before·
And all you say, say I, and somewhat more.
Page 55Babes innocence, youths wildness I have seen,
And in perplexed middle Age have been:
Sickness, dangers, and anxieties have past,
And on this stage am come to act my last.
I have been young and •rong and wise as you:
But now Bis pueri sene•, is too true.
In every Age I've found much vanity,
An end of all perfection now I see.
It's not my valour, honour, nor my gold,
My ruin'd house now falling can uphold,
It's not my learning Rhetorick wit so large,
Hath now the power, death's warfare to discharge▪
It's not my goodly state, nor bed of downe
That can refresh, or ease if Conscience frown.
Nor from Alliance can I now have hope,
But what I have done well, that is my prop;
He that in youth is godly, wise and sage,
Provides a staff then to support his Age.
Mutations great, some joyful and some sad,
In this short pilgrimage I oft have had.
Sometimes the Heavens with plenty smil'd on me
Sometime again rain'd all Adversity.
Sometimes in honour, sometimes in disgrace,
Sometime an Ab••ct, then again in place.
Such private changes oft mine eyes have seen,
In various times of state I've also been.
I've seen a Kingdome flourish like a tree,
When it was rul'd by that Celestial she;
And like a Cedar, others so surmount:
That but for shrubs they did themselves account.
Page 56Then saw I France and Holland, sav'd Cales won,
And Philip and Albertus half undone.
I saw all peace at home, terror to foes,
But ah, I saw at last those eyes to close,
And then methought the day at noon grew dark
When it had lost that radiant Sun-like Spark:
In midst of griefs I saw our hopes revive,
(For 'twas our hopes then kept our hearts alive)
We chang'd our queen for king under whose rayes
We joy'd in many blest and prosperous dayes.
I've seen a Prince, the glory of our land
In prime of youth seiz'd by heavens angry hand,
Which fil'd our hearts with fears, with tears our eyes,
Wailing his fate & our own destinies.
I've seen from Rome an execrable thing,
A Plot to blow up Nobles and their King,
But saw their horrid fact soon disappointed,
And Land & Nobles sav'd with their anointed.
I've Princes seen to live on others lands;
A royal one by gifts from strangers hands
Admired for their magnanimity,
Who lost a Prince-dome and a Monarchy.
I've seen designs for Ree and Rochel crost,
And poor Palatinate for ever lost
I've seen unworthy men advanced high,
(And better ones suffer extremity)
But neither favour, riches, title, State,
Could length their dayes or once reverse their fate
I've seen one stab'd, and some to loose their heads
And others fly, struck both with gilt and dread.
Page 57I've seen and so have you▪ for tis but late,
The desolation of a goodly State,
Plotted and acted so that none can tell,
VVho gave the counsel, but the Prince of hell,
Three hundred thousand slaughtered innocents,
By bloudy Popish, hellish miscreants:
Oh may you live, and so you will I trust
To see them swill in bloud untill they burst.
I've seen a King by force thrust from his throne,
And an Usurper subt'ly mount thereon.
I've seen a state unmoulded rent in twain,
But ye may live to see't made up again.
I've seen it plunder'd, taxt and soak'd in bloud,
But out of evill you may see much good.
What are my thoughts, this is no time to say.
Men may more freely speak another day.
These are no old-wives tales, but this is truth,
We old men love to tell what's done in youth.
But I return from whence I stept awry,
My memory is bad, my brain is dry:
Mine Almond tree, grey hairs, doe flourish now,
And back once straight, apace begins to bow:
My grinders now are few, my sight doth •ail,
My skin is wrinkled, and my cheeks are pale,
No more rejoyce at musicks pleasing noise,
But waking glad to hear the cocks shrill voice:
I cannot scent savours of pleasant meat,
Nor sapors find in what I drink or eat:
My arms and hands once strong have lost their might
I cannot labour, much less can I fight.
Page 58My comely legs as nimble as the Roe
Now stiff and numb, can hardly creep or goe,
My heart sometimes as fierce as Lion bold,
Now trembling is, all fearful sad and cold;
My golden Bowl and silver Cord e're long
Shall both be broke, by racking death so strong:
Then shall I go whence I shall come no more,
Sons, Nephews leave my farewel to deplore.
In pleasures and in labours I have found
That Earth can give no consolation found;
To great to rich to poor▪ to young to old,
To mean to noble, fearful or to bold:
From King to begger all degrees shall find
But vanity vexation of the mind.
Yea knowing much the pleasants life of all,
Hath yet among those sweets some bitter gall;
Though reading others works doth much refresh,
Yet studying much brings weariness to th' flesh:
My studies, labours readings all are done,
And my last period now ev'n almost run.
Corruption my Father I do call▪
Mother and Sisters both, the worms that crawle
In my dark house such kindred I have store,
Where I shall rest till heavens shall be no more,
And when this flesh shall rot and be consum'd,
This body by this Soul shall be assum'd:
And I shall see with these same very eyes,
My strong Redeemer coming in the Skies.
Triumph I shall o're sin, o're death, o're Hell,
And in that hope I bid you all farewel.