The poem Here follow some verses upon the burning of our house, July 10, 1666 is a poem, in which Anne Bradstreet described the horrific episode of the fire that perished her home, personal belongings and her writings. But, it also caused the death of several of her relatives.
Backgrounds to this poem
How many people can say, that a fire such as the one that destroyed the house of Bradstreet, was something that God intended for her family to change their lives; more devotional.
The poetess feels guilty, because she misses her possessions. She is nothing but a human, a sinner for feeling this way. Remember, that in the days this poem was written, people looked differently towards God(s). This was an act of God, Bradstreet believed.
The fire that is mentioned in this poem, took place only six years before Bradstreet died (September 16 1672). At that time, she was sixty years old. It is safe to assume, that many of her work was lost forever. The list of the work of Bradstreet could have been much longer.
This fire would mark the beginning of a new era. Not the era she would have probably hoped for, based on this poem. Her health deteriorated and eventually she got sick. She suffered from tuberculosis.
One can say, that the poetess describes an intense and traumatic experience, through poetry. She lost. Therefore, this is a poem with a deeper meaning.
Here follow some verses upon the burning of our house, July 10, 1666
In silent night when rest I took
For sorrow near I did not look
I waked was with thund’ring noise
And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice.
That fearful sound of “Fire!” and “Fire!”
Let no man know is my desire.
I, starting up, the light did spy,
And to my God my heart did cry
To strengthen me in my distress
And not to leave me succorless.
Then, coming out, beheld a space
The flame consume my dwelling place.
And when I could no longer look,
I blest His name that gave and took,
That laid my goods now in the dust.
Yea, so it was, and so ’twas just.
It was His own, it was not mine,
Far be it that I should repine;
He might of all justly bereft
But yet sufficient for us left.
When by the ruins oft I past
My sorrowing eyes aside did cast,
And here and there the places spy
Where oft I sat and long did lie:
Here stood that trunk, and there that chest,
There lay that store I counted best.
My pleasant things in ashes lie,
And them behold no more shall I.
Under thy roof no guest shall sit,
Nor at thy table eat a bit.
No pleasant tale shall e’er be told,
Nor things recounted done of old.
No candle e’er shall shine in thee,
Nor bridegroom’s voice e’er heard shall be.
In silence ever shall thou lie,
Adieu, Adieu, all’s vanity.
Then straight I ‘gin my heart to chide,
And did thy wealth on earth abide?
Didst fix thy hope on mold’ring dust?
The arm of flesh didst make thy trust?
Raise up thy thoughts above the sky
That dunghill mists away may fly.
Thou hast an house on high erect,
Framed by that mighty Architect,
With glory richly furnished,
Stands permanent though this be fled.
It’s purchased and paid for too
By Him who hath enough to do.
A price so vast as is unknown
Yet by His gift is made thine own;
There’s wealth enough, I need no more,
Farewell, my pelf, farewell my store.
The world no longer let me love,
My hope and treasure lies above.
— Anne Bradstreet