Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/29

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13
ANNE BRADSTREET.

bethan age had been one of immense animal life and vigor, and of intense capacity for enjoyment, and, deny it as one might, the effect lingered and had gone far toward forming character. The early Nonconformist still shared in many worldly pleasures, and had found no occasion to condense thought upon points in Calvinism, or to think of himself as a refugee from home and country.

The cloud at first no bigger than a man's hand, was not dreaded, and life in Nonconformist homes went on with as much real enjoyment as if their ownership were never to be questioned. Serious and sad, as certain phases come to be, it is certain that home life developed as suddenly as general intelligence. The changes in belief in turn affected character. "There was a sudden loss of the passion, the caprice, the subtle and tender play of feeling, the breath of sympathy, the quick pulse of delight, which had marked the age of Elizabeth; but on the other hand life gained in moral grandeur, in a sense of the dignity of manhood, in orderliness and equable force. The larger geniality of the age that had passed away was replaced by an intense tenderness within the narrower circle of the home. Home, as we now conceive it, was the creation of the Puritan. Wife and child rose from mere dependants on the will of husband or father, as husband or father saw in them saints like himself, souls hallowed by the touch of a divine spirit and called with a divine calling like his own. The sense of spiritual fellowish gave a new tenderness and refinement to the common family affections."

The same influence had touched Thomas Dudley, and Dorothy Dudley could have written of him as