Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/18

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ANNE BRADSTREET.

disallowed by Anne Bradstreet. In her "Elegy upon Sir Philip Sidney," whose mother, the Lady Mary, was the eldest daughter of that Duke of Northumberland, she wrote:

"Let, then, none disallow of these my straines,
Which have the self-same blood yet in my veines."

With the second edition of her poems, however, her faith had changed. This may have been due to a growing indifference to worldly distinctions, or, perhaps, to some knowledge of the dispute as to the ancestry of Robert Dudley, son of the Duke, who was described by one side as a nobleman, by another as a carpenter, and by a third as "a noble timber merchant"; while a wicked wit wrote that "he was the son of a duke, the brother of a king, the grandson of an esquire, and the great-grandson of a carpenter; that the carpenter was the only honest man in the family and the only one who died in his bed.

Whatever the cause may have been she renounced all claim to relationship, and the lines were made to read as they at present stand:

"Then let none disallow of these my straines
Whilst English blood yet runs within my veines."

In any case, her father, Thomas Dudley, was of gentle blood and training, being the only son of Captain Roger Dudley, who was killed in battle about the year 1577, when the child was hardly nine years old. Of his mother there is little record, as also of the sister from whom he was soon separated, though we know that Mrs. Dudley died shortly after her hus-