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"To My Dear and Loving Husband" by Anne Bradstreet, "Punishment," by Seamus Heaney, and "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time," by Robert Herrick

Author: Anne Bradstreet, Seamus Heaney, and Robert Herrick

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To My Dear and Loving Husband

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by Anne Bradstreet

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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 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 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.

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Source: The Complete Works of Anne Bradstreet (1981)

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Punishment

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by Seamus Heaney

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I can feel the tug
of the halter at the nape
of her neck, the wind
on her naked front.

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It blows her nipples
to amber beads,
it shakes the frail rigging
of her ribs.

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I can see her drowned
body in the bog,
the weighing stone,
the floating rods and boughs.

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Under which at first
she was a barked sapling
that is dug up
oak-bone, brain-firkin:

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her shaved head
like a stubble of black corn,
her blindfold a soiled bandage,
her noose a ring

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to store
the memories of love.
Little adulteress,
before they punished you

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you were flaxen-haired,
undernourished, and your
tar-black face was beautiful.
My poor scapegoat,

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I almost love you
but would have cast, I know,
the stones of silence.
I am the artful voyeur

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of your brains exposed
and darkened combs,
your muscles’ webbing
and all your numbered bones:

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I who have stood dumb
when your betraying sisters,
cauled in tar,
wept by the railings,

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who would connive
in civilized outrage
yet understand the exact
and tribal, intimate revenge.

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To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

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by Robert Herrick

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Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

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The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

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That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

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Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.

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Source: The Norton Anthology of Poetry Third Edition (1983)

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DMU Timestamp: March 29, 2019 18:11

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