On our bedroom wall hangs a framed poem written by Anne Bradstreet (ca. 1612-1672) entitled “To My Dear and Loving Husband.” I gave it to CJ on our 25th wedding anniversary. The first four lines in this poem are my favorite:
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.
This past week a friend sent me another poem written by the same author. Anne Bradstreet penned this when she and her family lost everything in a house fire. In light of the massive loss that so many in our country are facing at present I thought it might be helpful for all of us to view our earthly homes and possessions through the lense of this godly woman’s biblical perspective.
VERSES UPON THE BURNING OF OUR HOUSE, JULY 18th, 1666
Here follows some verses upon the burning of our house, July. 18th. 1666. Copied out of a loose Paper.
1 In silent night when rest I took,
2 For sorrow near I did not look,
3 I waken’d was with thund’ring noise
4 And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice.
5 That fearful sound of “fire” and “fire,”
6 Let no man know is my Desire.
7 I starting up, the light did spy,
8 And to my God my heart did cry
9 To straighten me in my Distress
10 And not to leave me succourless.
11 Then coming out, behold a space
12 The flame consume my dwelling place.
13 And when I could no longer look,
14 I blest his grace that gave and took,
15 That laid my goods now in the dust.
16 Yea, so it was, and so ‘twas just.
17 It was his own; it was not mine.
18 Far be it that I should repine,
19 He might of all justly bereft
20 But yet sufficient for us left.
21 When by the Ruins oft I past
22 My sorrowing eyes aside did cast
23 And here and there the places spy
24 Where oft I sate and long did lie.
25 Here stood that Trunk, and there that chest,
26 There lay that store I counted best,
27 My pleasant things in ashes lie
28 And them behold no more shall I.
29 Under the roof no guest shall sit,
30 Nor at thy Table eat a bit.
31 No pleasant talk shall ‘ere be told
32 Nor things recounted done of old.
33 No Candle ‘ere shall shine in Thee,
34 Nor bridegroom’s voice ere heard shall be.
35 In silence ever shalt thou lie.
36 Adieu, Adieu, All’s Vanity.
37 Then straight I ‘gin my heart to chide:
38 And did thy wealth on earth abide,
39 Didst fix thy hope on mouldring dust,
40 The arm of flesh didst make thy trust?
41 Raise up thy thoughts above the sky
42 That dunghill mists away may fly.
43 Thou hast a house on high erect
44 Fram’d by that mighty Architect,
45 With glory richly furnished
46 Stands permanent, though this be fled.
47 It’s purchased and paid for too
48 By him who hath enough to do.
49 A price so vast as is unknown,
50 Yet by his gift is made thine own.
51 There’s wealth enough; I need no more.
52 Farewell, my self; farewell, my store.
53 The world no longer let me love;
54 My hope and Treasure lies above.