Anne Bradstreet (ca. 1612-1672)
The Author To Her Book (1678)
1 Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
2 Who after birth did’st by my side remain,
3 Till snatcht from thence by friends, less wise than true,
4 Who thee abroad expos’d to public view,
5 Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge,
6 Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
7 At thy return my blushing was not small,
8 My rambling brat (in print) should mother call.
9 I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
10 Thy Visage was so irksome in my sight,
11 Yet being mine own, at length affection would
12 Thy blemishes amend, if so I could.
13 I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,
14 And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
15 I stretcht thy joints to make thee even feet,
16 Yet still thou run’st more hobbling than is meet.
17 In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
18 But nought save home-spun Cloth, i’ th’ house I find.
19 In this array, ‘mongst Vulgars mayst thou roam.
20 In Critics’ hands, beware thou dost not come,
21 And take thy way where yet thou art not known.
22 If for thy Father askt, say, thou hadst none;
23 And for thy Mother, she alas is poor,
24 Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door.