Words of Wisdom:

"Our lives are unique. Live how to make these lives worth with no regrets." - Zerosampson

Anne Bradstreet

  • Date Submitted: 02/28/2015 08:34 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 76 
  • Words: 5146
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Anne Bradstreet, 1612 - 1672
Lines 1-2
Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth did'st by my side remain,
  * The poem opens with an apostrophe. No, no, we don’t mean the punctuation mark, but a direct form of address, as in “oh, Christmas tree,” or, as here, “thou ill-formed offspring.”
  * So, this is a poem that is addressed to something. Now even though we get the word “offspring,” this poem is not about the speaker’s child.
  * Well, it’s not about a human child, but rather an intellectual or artistic child: the book that this poem, presumably, introduces and is about.
  * The poem is the speaker’s address to her book (and we’re just assuming it’s a she), which she describes in these first lines as the “ill-formed” product of her “feeble brain.”
  * Sheesh, enough self-deprecation isn’t there? Yeah, definitely. The speaker seems to have some confidence issues about her writing.
  * However, this whole “my work is garbage and my brain isn’t good enough” business also used to be something of a convention, especially among young authors.
  * You weren’t supposed to be like, “thou incredible, awesome offspring of my genius,” after all. That would be arrogant, especially for a new poet or artist. It would be like a rookie athlete boasting about how awesome he was before ever proving himself.
  * Anyway, the speaker uses a metaphor and compares her book to a child that she gave birth to and that, after being born, remained by her side.
  * Note that these first two lines aren’t a complete sentence, only part of a longer sentence. (Don’t worry, we’ll get to it in a minute.)
  * Basically, this is all set-up, a description of the book about which we will surely learn more very soon. As in… right now.
Lines 3-4
Till snatcht from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad exposed to public view,
  * Aha. So the speaker gave birth to a book of poems—this is a metaphor for “wrote” a book of poems.


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