To My Dear and Loving Husband
by Anne Bradstreet ( 1612-1672)
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.
I prize thy love more that 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 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.
The poem titled as “To my Dear Husband” gives as an account of the feelings of love narrated by a wife for her husband. At the surface level, the poem depicts typical sentiments of wives accompanied by purity and perseverance.
It is in the form of couplets with artistically embedding harmonious rhyming scheme that contributes in making it a lyrical poem or song.
The title itself suggests that the poem is about the inner feelings of a woman towards her husband.
In the first couplet the device of anaphora has been applied through the repetition of “if” at the beginning of the two lines.
Comparing her feelings with the mines of gold as well as the riches of the east can be looked as an example of metaphor. It implies the speaker’s emotions are much stronger than the worldly precious ornaments and all the important things that are worthy of importance. But as far as her love is concerned she is determined to prefer that over all the other things exist in this life.
We can point out many instances of grammatical deviation; a type of deviation in which writer deviates general patterns of grammar. So in the very first line “then surely we” is a clause showing grammatical deviation. The normal sentence structure has been broken in this line, however, this deviation is for the purpose of creating aesthetic pleasure in the minds of the readers. With this the poet has also maintained lyrical composition of the poem.
The final line “That when we live no more, we may live ever” consists of a paradoxical statement which means when there is no life they will be alive for ever. In fact it tells us the intensity of the sentiments of the poet. This line marks the conclusion of the poem giving us a resolution of the tension that was raised in the beginning. Its real interpretation is that her love will remain pure not only in this world but also in the hereafter. The emotions and feelings of love are so strong that they can’t be broken off by death.