"The Prologue" Anne Bradstreet
October 7, 2007
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When it comes to poetry prior to the 1800’s, it’s often hit or miss with me. I like the really old epics poems, like Beowulf and Gilgamesh, but sometimes, poets like Anne Bradstreet turn off my brain. However, Bradstreet did not turn off my brain! As a matter of fact, she did the opposite.
Her poem, “The Prologue”, is an exploration of the types of poets and topics. She wrote this in 1650, angry that people think that she isn’t worthy of writing poetry. She knows she’s not one of the great poets, she just wants to write anyway. It was in 1650 that a friend of hers stole a bunch of her poetry and published it without her knowledge. This poem is in response to the criticism she received. My favorite stanza is the last:
And oh, ye high flown quils, that soare the skies,
And ever with your prey, still catch your praise,
If e’re you daigne these lowly lines, your eyes
Give wholsom Parsley wreath, I aske no Bayes:
This meane and unrefined stuff of mine,
Will make your glistering gold but more to shine.
In this stanza, she’s saying, “dude, you’re better at this than I am and I know it. Just don’t slam me like that – give me a little credit for making you look better.”
I think I like Anne Bradstreet.