Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/24

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8
ANNE BRADSTREET.

"In a long fitt of sickness which I had on my bed, I often communed with my heart and made my supplication to the most High, who sett me free from that affliction."

For a childhood which at six searches the Scriptures to find verses applicable to its condition, there cannot have been much if any natural child life, and Mrs. Hutchinson's experience again was probably duplicated for the delicate and serious little Anne. "Play among other children I despised, and when I was forced to entertain such as came to visit me, I tried them with more grave instruction than their mothers, and plucked all their babies to pieces, and kept the children in such awe, that they were glad when I entertained myself with elder company, to whom I was very acceptable, and living in the house with many persons that had a great deal of wit, and very profitable serious discourses being frequent at my father's table and in my mother's drawing room, I was very attentive to all, and gathered up things that I would utter again, to great admiration of many that took my memory and imitation for wit. … I used to exhort my mother's words much, and to turn their idle discourses to good subjects."

Given to exhortation as some of the time may have been, and drab-colored as most of the days certainly were, there were, bright passages here and there, and one reminiscence was related in later years, in her poem "In Honour of Du Bartas," the delight of Puritan maids and mothers:

"My muse unto a Child I may compare,
Who sees the riches of some famous Fair,
He feeds his eyes but understanding lacks