To My Dear and Loving Husband: Summary (2023)

What is the best way to express your love for a loved one? It may differ from person to person, but for English-American Puritan poet, Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672), love was best explored and presented through poetry. In her poem, 'To My Dear and Loving Husband' (1678), Bradstreet intriguingly explores the themes of earthly and heavenly love through biblical allusions and imagery.

To My Dear and Loving Husband: Summary (1)

Fig 1: Bradstreet writes about the Christian ideal of marriage as a self-giving love and relationship.

'To My Dear and Loving Husband' Information Overview
Poet: Anne Bradstreet (1612‐1672)
Year Published: 1678
Type of Poem: Variation of a Sonnet
Meter:Iambic Pentameter
Literary/ poetic devices:Imagery, Metaphor, Anaphora, Allusion, Rhyming Couplets, Antithesis
Theme:Marriage, Earthly and Heavenly Love

To My Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet: Background Information

'To My Dear and Loving Husband' is a 12-line poem written by Anne Bradstreet (1612‐1672), an English Puritan woman who moved to New England and became the first American poet. 'To My Dear and Loving Husband' was published after the poet's death in the poetry collection, Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, Full of Delight (1678). This poetry collection is a revised and expanded edition of Bradstreet's acclaimed poetry book, The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America (1650). The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America was the first book to be published in both England and the American colonies.

English Puritans were 16th and 17th century English Protestants who sought greater reform within the Church of England. The Puritans wanted to rid the English Church of all Roman Catholic traditions. Many English Puritans left England because they were nonconformists and suffered economic hardships and religious persecution in their homeland.

The poem 'To My Dear and Loving Husband' is assumed to have been written between the years 1641 and 1643. It is a love poem to Anne Bradstreet's husband, Simon Bradstreet. The two came from prominent English Puritan families and were some of the first settlers in America as part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Anne Bradstreet married Simon when she was sixteen and the two had a happy marriage and eight children together.

It is important to remember that the intended audience for this poem is Anne Bradstreet's husband, as she wrote for personal reasons and not for a public audience.

Bradstreet's poem is written from the perspective of her Puritan faith. Puritanism placed great emphasis on the importance of marriage and family life and relationships. Bradstreet's poem expresses her love and devotion to her husband through Biblical imagery and allusions, as well as through the idea of heaven and eternal life.

To My Dear and Loving Husband: Summary (2)

(Video) To My Dear and Loving Husband Summary in English | Analysis in 5 Minutes |

Bradstreet read the Geneva Edition of the Bible, which is an English translation of the Bible originally published in 1560. The Bible greatly influenced her poetry.

To My Dear and Loving Husband: Full Poem

Below is Anne Bradstreet's poem 'To My Dear and Loving Husband' in its entirety.


'To My Dear and Loving Husband' by Anne Bradstreet














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.

the East: the East Indies, Southeast Asia

recompense: compensation, reward

manifold: abundantly

persever: persevere, continue steadfastly; remain in a religious state of grace

To My Dear and Loving Husband: Summary

In the poem, Anne Bradstreet writes to her husband about how the two of them are one in the conjugal love of marriage. She expresses her happiness in being his wife and says that she values her husband's love over money and tangible riches. Bradstreet expresses that she desires her husband's love more than anything and this love is beyond monetary and transactional value—it is something to be shared and given rather than repaid. Bradstreet prays that her husband receives many blessings and that their love and faith in God should increase steadfastly. She hopes they may live together forever in heaven when they die on Earth.

To My Dear and Loving Husband: Analysis of Form

'To My Dear and Loving Husband' is a 12line poem comprised of six rhyming couplets. The poem is a variation of a sonnet. Although it contains 12 lines rather than the traditional 14, it is written in iambic pentameter and focuses on the theme of love, as is commonly seen in traditional English sonnets.

Bradstreet makes the sonnet form her own by using rhyming couplets throughout. The rhyme scheme of the poem is AABBCCDDEEFF. The rhymes lend a song-like and riddle-like effect to the reading. Bradstreet presents her notions of love in a riddle-like manner to make the reader think and figure out her words to ultimately form an understanding of the ideal relationship between husband and wife.

Rhyming couplet: two consecutive lines of poetry with end words that rhyme.

"If ever two were one, then surely we. —A

If ever man were loved by wife, then thee. —A

If ever wife was happy in a man, —B

Compare with me, ye women, if you can." 1 —B

(Lines 1-4)

(Video) “To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet analysis

To My Dear and Loving Husband: Literary Devices

Anne Bradstreet uses literary devices in her poem in order to show the extent of her love in a clever, engaging way.


Bradstreet opens her poem with the use of anaphora, the repetition of a word or group of words at the beginning of consecutive statements.

"If ever two were one, then surely we.

If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.

(Video) "To My Dear and Loving Husband" Analysis

If ever wife was happy in a man" 1

(Lines 1-3)

Bradstreet repeats the phrase "If ever" 1 in the first three lines to emphasize a possibility and its fulfillment. She first calls the reader to question the ideal possibilities of unity, happiness, and fulfillment in marriage. She then uses the confirmation of these things in her own marriage to proclaim her love for her husband and suggest that they share an ideal relationship that is to be cherished.

Allusion and Imagery

Anne Bradstreet uses Biblical allusions, or references that create rich imagery, to describe her faithful love.

"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" 1

(Lines 5-7)

(Video) To My Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet - Poem Analysis

Writing about her love being more valuable than "whole mines of gold" 1 alludes to the Bible, in which faith and God's word are said to be more valuable than gold. This allusion, along with the picture of "all the riches that the East doth hold," suggests opulence, wealth, and abundance. Bradstreet uses this visual imagery in order to suggest that her love for her husband is more valuable than any earthly treasure.

The line, "My love is such that rivers cannot quench," is an allusion to the biblical Book of Solomon, which says "Muche water can not quench love, neither can the floods drowne it." 2 The Book of Solomon is a love poem written from the perspective of two lovers. It compares the love between man and woman to the love of Christ for his people and his church. As the Book of Solomon is known for being passionate and romantic, Bradstreet suggests the passion and romance of her own marriage through this allusion. The natural imagery of the "rivers" 1 that cannot be satisfied or run dry, suggests Bradstreet's everlasting desire for her husband's love and that her own love will never run dry. It is ever-flowing, but also ever-seeking.

To My Dear and Loving Husband: Summary (3)

Fig 3: Bradstreet uses the imagery of a river to suggest her unending and unquenchable love, which will only be fully satisfied in heaven. Bradstreet's everlasting love for her husband is a reflection of God's unending love and constant forgiveness of his people. Water symbolizes the purification and cleansing of sin in the Bible.


Bradstreet uses antithesis in the poem's final line, drawing attention to the ideas of life versus death.

"That when we live no more, we may live ever." 1 (Line 12)

Antithesis is the direct contrast of two ideas placed side by side. While it initially appears contradictory that Bradshaw writes that she hopes she and her husband may live when they are no longer living, it makes sense in the context of Bradstreet and her husband's Puritan faith. Once their lives on Earth are over, she hopes they can live together forever in the heavenly eternal life. Bradstreet expresses the Christian view that love is a virtue that carries into heaven.

To My Dear and Loving Husband: Theme

The poem 'To My Dear and Loving Husband' focuses on the themes of marriage and love—particularly, the ideas of earthly and heavenly love. Bradstreet does not speak of marriage as a civil contract, but as a spiritual union. She describes how she and her husband are truly one and how her love for him is powerful, prevailing, and priceless. Her greatest desire is to share in his love, and his love means more to her than any earthly riches. Nonetheless, however strong her love for her husband may be on Earth, she recognizes that it can only achieve its fulfillment in the perfection of heavenly love. The love of her husband brings the speaker a sense of heaven on Earth. She hopes that their love continues faithfully and they can share it even in the afterlife.

To My Dear and Loving Husband - Key Takeaways

  • 'To My Dear and Loving Husband' (1668) is a poem written by the Puritan poet, Anne Bradstreet.
  • 'To My Dear and Loving Husband' is a personal poem written to Bradstreet's husband, Simon.
  • The poem is a variation of a sonnet.
  • The poem focuses on the themes of marriage and love.
  • The poem uses literary devices such as anaphora, imagery, allusion, and antithesis.
(Video) To My Dear and Loving Husband | Anne Bradstreet | Bangla Explined | Literature Talk| 3rd Year|Nilima

1 Anne Bradstreet, 'To My Dear and Loving Husband,' Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, Full of Delight, 1678.

2 'Song of Solomon,' The Geneva Bible, 1560.


What is the central idea of Anne Bradstreet's poem? ›

Answer: The central idea of the 'As Weary Pilgrim Now at Rest' by Anne Bradstreet's is death and solace. In the poem, she has mentioned about death and a person who is longing to be with their loved ones who are not there anymore. And then, at last, God is with men and giving them solace as they will always be his.

What is the extended metaphor in To My Dear and Loving Husband? ›

The poet uses a metaphor in the line, “I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold”. It refers to the invaluable quality of love. In the line, “My love is such that rivers cannot quench”, the poet compares her love to thirst. It is also another metaphorical reference to physical love.

What is the author's purpose in To My Dear and Loving Husband? ›

“To My Dear and Loving Husband” was written between 1641 and 1643 by Anne Bradstreet, America's first published poet. This poem offers modern readers insights into Puritan attitudes toward love, marriage, and God. In the poem, Bradstreet proclaims her great love for her husband and his for her.

What is the summary of the author to her book? ›

'The Author to Her Book' is a poem that deals with the question of authorial agency, or the amount of control that an author has over his or her writing. Bradstreet clearly has a strong attachment to her work, so much so that she refers to it as a child to which she's given birth.

What is the summary of my dear and loving husband? ›

As its title suggests, "To My Dear and Loving Husband," is a poem about married love between a man and wife. It proposes that such love has a powerful effect on the two people involved: as the speaker announces in the first line, they become "one." This suggests that their love is pure and unified.

What is the topic of the poem my dear and loving husband? ›

Though a pious Puritan, Anne Bradstreet's poem to her “Dear and Loving Husband” is a passionate plea for true and everlasting romantic love.

What is a theme of a poem? ›

Lesson Summary

The theme of a poem is the message an author wants to communicate through the piece. The theme differs from the main idea because the main idea describes what the text is mostly about. Supporting details in a text can help lead a reader to the main idea.

How did the Puritans feel about marriage? ›

The Puritans rooted their love of mar- riage in the conviction that marriage is for the mutual support and comfort of a husband and wife, a convic- tion already developed within the Roman Catholic world. The Puritan William Gouge (1626: I, 122-123) writes that "the ends of Mariage" are three: 1.

What metaphor does Romeo use to describe love? ›

METAPHOR 1. Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 197-198 Romeo: "Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs. Being purged, a fire sparkling in lover's eye."

What is the writer's purpose in this story? ›

An author's purpose may be to amuse the reader, to persuade the reader, to inform the reader, or to satirize a condition. An author writes with one of four general purposes in mind: 1. To relate a story or to recount events, an author uses narrative writing.

What is the writer's main purpose in the poem? ›

An author's purpose is the main reason he or she has for writing. The three basic purposes are to inform, to persuade, and to entertain.

What is the author's purpose in this essay? ›

The author's purpose is their intent (or purpose) for writing something. To either persuade, inform or entertain an audience. You will most commonly see these three aspects attributed as being the author's purpose however, other elements, such as describing and explaining, are also commonly sighted.

What is the main summary of the story? ›

The summary follows the structure of a process essay; it describes the steps through which a story's conflict is resolved. It names and identifies important characters and describes the major events of the story.

Whats the summary of the book? ›

The summary of a book is called a synopsis. It shows an overview of the story and answers the question, “what is your book about?” Also, it serves as a way to pitch your book to a potential agent or publisher.

What is the plot summary of a book? ›

A plot summary is a short, concise description of the events of a story. It covers all the main things that happen in the text - but it doesn't go into any detail. There's no analysis or explanation, only an overview.

What is the theme of how I met my husband summary? ›

The theme of this short story centers around the idea that you don't have to chase opportunities, as oftentimes opportunity will find you. In How I Met My Husband, the narrator never receives the letter from Chris that she so faithfully waited for each day.

How would you describe the narrator's relationship with her husband John? ›

In the beginning of the story, the narrator has a very loving and appreciative view of John. She says how he is always so thoughtful to her and how he loves her and wants her to get better: “He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction” (Gilman 320) and also “Dear John!

What overall effect does Bradstreet achieve in To My Dear Loving Husband? ›

What overall effect does Bradstreet achieve in "To My Dear Loving Husband" through her use of hyperbole and metaphor? She conveys the depth of her intense love.

How do I love the poem summary? ›

In “How Do I Love Thee?” true love is depicted as long-lasting and even eternal. However, the poem also reveals a tension between love as an attachment to earthly life and the things of this world, and love as something that transcends life on earth.

What is the main idea of the poem Love After Love? ›

“Love After Love” is a poem of consolation addressed to anyone who's suffered a breakup or other romantic disappointment. Assuring such sufferers that things will get better, the speaker depicts the recovery process as one of reconnecting with—and relearning to love—one's inner self.

What is theme of the story? ›

The term theme can be defined as the underlying meaning of a story. It is the message the writer is trying to convey through the story. Often the theme of a story is a broad message about life. The theme of a story is important because a story's theme is part of the reason why the author wrote the story.

What is the theme or themes of the story? ›

A story's theme is what the story is about—but not in the way you might initially think. A theme isn't the work's literal details like its character or setting. It's the universal message the story communicates.

What is the mood of the poem? ›

In poetry, the mood describes how word choice, subject matter, and the author's tone convey an overall feeling that characterizes the emotional landscape of a poem for readers.

Did Puritans allow divorce? ›

In fact, the Puritan colonies of New England allowed for divorce, and they tended to see marriage as a civil contract. The Massachusetts Bay Colony legalized divorce in 1629 and the first divorce happened in the United States in 1638. Some of the grounds for divorce were bigamy, desertion, abuse and adultery.

What was the punishment for cheating on your husband or wife in Puritan America? ›

In the 1658 revision of the laws a more specific punishment for adultery was stipulated. Not only were convicted adulterers to be severely whipped twice, but they were to forever display the nature of their crime upon their person.

Are Puritans allowed to divorce? ›

In America, as in England before the Marriage Act of 1753, a man and a woman could enter into marriage by mutual consent and open cohabitation.” He notes that Puritans would also attempt to have the two parties to reconcile before granting divorce, but if their efforts failed a court would hand down the divorce.

What is Romeo trying to say about love? ›

For Romeo, true love is a liberating force. Love gives him not just wings, but “light wings” and the power to overcome all “stony limits.” Romeo answers Juliet's serious and practical question with a flight of romantic fantasy. Throughout the play, Juliet is more grounded in the real world than Romeo.

How does Romeo represent the theme of love? ›

"To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss." Romeo suggests that he is 'rough' and not worthy of Juliet's touch. The fact Romeo describes the kiss as 'tender' illustrates Romeo's gentle and true emotions and feelings for Juliet. This shows that their first meeting was charged with love and desire for one another.

What does Romeo teach us about love? ›

If there's one lesson common to all versions of this story, it's that love is and always will be universal. Be it in social position, race, or anything else, wherever fear and hatred create barriers, love will keep on tearing them down.

What is the main point made by the author? ›

The main idea of a paragraph is the author's message about the topic. It is often expressed directly or it can be implied.

What is the author's perspective? ›

The author's perspective, or viewpoint, is how the author feels about the subject. In order to determine the author's perspective, you need to figure out what opinion or attitude the author has about the subject.

What is the author's purpose in a sentence? ›

An author's purpose is his or her reason for creating a particular work. Can a piece of writing have more than one author's purpose? , a piece of writing can have more than one author's purpose. For example, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's author's purposes are to entertain and to inform.

What is a author's message? ›

An author's message is the "big idea" of the text or a part of the text. It is what the author wants the reader to learn or take away from reading the text. There may be more than one message in a text. A life lesson: The moral, or lesson, that stories like fables are trying to teach readers.

What is the purpose of short story? ›

Short stories are self-contained works of prose fiction whose function is to impart a moral, capture a moment, or evoke a certain mood. Short stories are often more focused, as all the elements within—plot, character, pacing, story structure, and so on—must work together towards this common goal.

How does the author present his ideas? ›

Authors can take the same event and present the information in different ways. They might present the facts, share a personal experience, paint a picture or persuade their audience to see things from their perspective. These influence the way that an author presents information.

What is the tone of the essay? ›

The tone of an essay refers to how the essay sounds to the reader. The writer conveys tone through their choice of words, sentence structure, and writing style and is dependent on the purpose and audience of an essay.

How does the author prove that there is an issue? ›

There are three major ways that authors present an argument: Reasoning, in which the author presents a logical explanation of the argument. Evidence, in which the author presents statistics, facts, and studies to prove his point. Appeal, in which the author appeals to the reader's emotions to elicit empathy.

What is the main idea of the story answers? ›

The main idea of a story is the central concept that the author wants to portray through the narrative, characters and settings. The main idea looks different in stories than it does in essays, informational text, and other forms of writing intended to simply inform the reader.

What is the main part of the story? ›

A theme is your story's main takeaway. Your story can have one theme, or several. The theme of your story helps to focus the narrative and answers the question: What's the point?

What is the final plot of the story? ›

Also known as the denouement, the resolution is a literary term for the final plot points that occur after a story's climax and falling action. A resolution can be a scene or series of scenes that tie a narrative arc together near the end of the story.

What is the main message of the book? ›

The theme is the message, lesson, or moral of a book. By asking crucial questions at before you read, while you read, and after you read a book, you can determine the main idea and theme of any book you are reading!

Which is the main idea of the book? ›

Theme is the main or central idea in a literary work. It is the unifying element of a story. A theme is not a summary of characters or events.

What is in a good book summary? ›

A good summary should give an objective outline of the whole piece of writing. It should answer basic questions about the original text such as "Who did what, where, and when?", or "What is the main idea of the text?", "What are the main supporting points?", "What are the major pieces of evidence?".

What is the extended metaphor of Dunbar's poem? ›

Answer and Explanation: ''Sympathy'' is one extended metaphor comparing the speaker to the bird. He understands the bird because he, too, feels caged by the circumstances of his life: as a black man, there are a great many opportunities and experiences that are not open to him.

What is the extended metaphor in the poem? ›

What is an extended metaphor? Extended metaphor is a literary term referring to when a writer compares unrelated objects or ideas with figurative language for more than a sentence. This literary device may be used throughout a paragraph, chapter, or even a complete work.

What is the extended metaphor in The love Song of J Alfred Prufrock? ›

Lines 13-22: An extended metaphor comparing the streets to a cat runs through this entire stanza. Prufrock never actually uses the word "cat," but it's clear from words like "muzzled," "back," "tongue," "leap," and "curled" that he is talking about a sly little kitty.

What is the extended metaphor in Bradstreet's the author to her book? ›

Bradstreet's poem “The Author to Her Book” examines the author's chagrin at having her work published without her knowledge and exposed to the critical public. In an extended metaphor, the author's book becomes her child; hence, she is embarrassed when it is snatched from her and reflects on her as the mother.

What does chalice steals mean? ›

The speaker uses a metaphor here, when he says that the "faint perfume" of the flower "steals" (in this case, that basically means "creeps") from "its chalice." A chalice is a cup used for drinking wine. Here, the speaker refers to the flower as a "chalice," or a wine cup, from which comes a beautiful smell.

What does the central image symbolize sympathy? ›

In his poem "Sympathy," Paul Laurence Dunbar evokes the symbolism of a caged song bird incessantly beating its wings against the "cruel bars." A self-reflexive symbol of Dunbar's proscribed subaltern expression, the poem's central image signifies the epistemological dilemma inherent in African American literary ...

What does first bud opes mean? ›

In the beginning of the poem Dunbar utilized sight when he said, “the first bud opes”(5). The poet expresses that the bird sees the first flower bud open. In addition to using sight, the poet also used the imagery sound to express bird chirping; “When the first bird sings”(Dunbar 5).

What are 5 examples of metaphor? ›

Common metaphor examples
  • Life is a highway.
  • Her eyes were diamonds.
  • He is a shining star.
  • The snow is a white blanket.
  • She is an early bird.
Jan 12, 2021

What is simile in poem? ›

Simile is common poetic device. The subject of the poem is described by comparing it to another object or subject, using 'as' or 'like'. For example, the subject may be 'creeping as quietly as a mouse' or be 'sly, like a fox. '

What is an example of figurative language in a poem? ›

Most generally, figurative language refers to language that is not literal: it suggests a comparison to something else, so that one thing is seen in terms of another. For example, the phrase fierce tears (the personification of tears) is figurative, since tears cannot really act in a fierce way, as people can.

What is Prufrock's main dilemma in the poem? ›

He was confined by the real world and had no way to change and flee. Therefore, it was his dilemma that made him could not live in harmony with the real world and then led to him spiritually paralyzed and alienated.

What is the message of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock? ›

On the surface, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" relays the thoughts of a sexually frustrated middle-aged man who wants to say something but is afraid to do so, and ultimately does not.

What is the main theme of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock? ›

One of the poem's central themes is social anxiety and how it affects Prufrock's ability to interact with those around him. This line, like the others in the tea scene, is indicative of the discomfort Prufrock feels in social situations and his belief that he needs to put on a "face" or mask in order to fit in.

What kind of relationship does Bradstreet liken her feelings for her book in the author to her book? ›

In summary, she calls likens the book to a child or 'offspring', produced by her weak brain. Her poems were 'snatched' from her and taken away to be published without her consent, like somebody kidnapping her child.

What possessions does Bradstreet grieve the loss of? ›

The speaker, generally taken as Bradstreet herself, grieves the loss her home and all her material possessions, but also argues that this tragedy was God's way of teaching her a spiritual lesson about the value of piety and faith.

What is a controlling metaphor? ›

If a metaphor is extended across an entire piece of writing, it's called a controlling metaphor. In the novel Invisible Man, for example, Ralph Ellison extends the metaphor of invisibility to describe how black men and women are often overlooked in American society, pushed to the margins and into the shadows.


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