Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/52

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36
ANNE BRADSTREET.

left him, at his château du Bartas. It was there that he composed his long and numerous poems. . . .

His principal poem, La Semaine, went through more than thirty editions in less than six years, and was translated into Latin, Italian, Spanish, English, German and Dutch."

The influence was an unfortunate one. Nature had already been set aside so thoroughly that, as with Dryden, Spenser was regarded as common-place and even puerile, and the record of real life or thought as no part of a poet s office. Such power of observation as Anne Bradstreet had was discouraged in the beginning, and though later it asserted itself in slight degree, her early work shows no trace of originality, being, as we are soon to see, merely a rhymed paraphrase of her reading. That she wrote verse, not included in any edition of her poems, we know, the earliest date assigned there being 1632, but the time she had dreaded was at hand, and books and study went the way of many other pleasant things.

With the dread must have mingled a certain thrill of hope and expectation common to every thinking man and woman who in that seventeenth century looked to the New World to redress every wrong of the Old, and who watched every movement of the little band that in Holland waited, for light on the doubtful and beclouded future.

The story of the first settlement needs no repetition here. The years in Holland had knit the little band together more strongly and lastingly than proved to be the case with any future company, their minister, John Robinson, having infused his own intense and self-abnegating nature into every