Verses upon the Burning of Our House by Anne Bradstreet

In this heartfelt poem, Anne Bradstreet muses upon the emotions she experienced during and after the catastrophic fire that consumed her family’s home.

Verses upon the Burning of Our House,
July 18th, 1666

by Anne Bradstreet

Here follows some verses upon the burning of our house, July. 18th. 1666. Copyed out of a loose Paper.

1     In silent night when rest I took,
2    For sorrow near I did not look,
3    I waken’d was with thund’ring noise
4    And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice.
5    That fearful sound of “fire” and “fire,”
6    Let no man know is my Desire.
7    I starting up, the light did spy,
8    And to my God my heart did cry
9    To straighten me in my Distress
10  And not to leave me succourless.
11   Then coming out, behold a space
12  The flame consume my dwelling place.
13  And when I could no longer look,
14  I blest his grace that gave and took,
15  That laid my goods now in the dust.
16  Yea, so it was, and so ’twas just.
17  It was his own; it was not mine.
18  Far be it that I should repine,
19  He might of all justly bereft
20 But yet sufficient for us left.
21  When by the Ruins oft I past
22  My sorrowing eyes aside did cast
23  And here and there the places spy
24  Where oft I sate and long did lie.
25  Here stood that Trunk, and there that chest,
26  There lay that store I counted best,
27  My pleasant things in ashes lie
28  And them behold no more shall I.
29  Under the roof no guest shall sit,
30  Nor at thy Table eat a bit.
31   No pleasant talk shall ‘ere be told
32  Nor things recounted done of old.
33  No Candle ‘ere shall shine in Thee,
34  Nor bridegroom’s voice ere heard shall bee.
35  In silence ever shalt thou lie.
36  Adieu, Adieu, All’s Vanity.
37  Then straight I ‘gin my heart to chide:
38  And did thy wealth on earth abide,
39  Didst fix thy hope on mouldring dust,
40  The arm of flesh didst make thy trust?
41   Raise up thy thoughts above the sky
42  That dunghill mists away may fly.
43  Thou hast a house on high erect
44  Fram’d by that mighty Architect,
45  With glory richly furnished
46  Stands permanent, though this be fled.
47  It’s purchased and paid for too
48  By him who hath enough to do.
49  A price so vast as is unknown,
50  Yet by his gift is made thine own.
51   There’s wealth enough; I need no more.
52  Farewell, my pelf; farewell, my store.
53  The world no longer let me love;
54  My hope and Treasure lies above.

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