Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/46

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

most natural thing in the world to make "an entrance upon the study of school divinity, wherein his father was the most eminent scholar of any gentleman in England and had a most choice library. . . . Having therefore gotten into the house with him an excellent scholar in that kind of learning, he for two years made it the whole employment of his time."

Much of such learning Simon Bradstreet had taken in unconsciously in the constant discussions about his father's table, as well as in the university alive to every slightest change in doctrine, where freer but fully as interested talk went on. Puritanism had as yet acquired little of the bitterness and rigor born of persecution, but meant simply emancipated thought, seeking something better than it had known, but still claiming all the good the world held for it. Milton is the ideal Puritan of the time, and something of the influences that surrounded his youth were in the home of every well-born Puritan. Even much farther down in the social scale, a portrait remains of a London house mother, which may stand as that of many, whose sons and daughters passed over at last to the new world, hopeless of any quiet or peace in the old. It is a turner in Eastcheap, Nehemiah Wallington, who writes of his mother: "She was very loving and obedient to her parents, loving and kind to her husband, very tender-hearted to her children, loving all that were godly, much misliking the wicked and profane. She was a pattern of sobriety unto many, very seldom was seen abroad except at church; when others recreated themselves at holidays and other times, she would take her needle-work and say—'here is my recreation' . . . God had given her