Puritan Poetry Puritanism As Seen Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

First, his use of rhyme is incredibly heavy, and quickly becomes awkward and intrusive:

Ye sons of men that durst contemn the Threatnings of Gods Word,

How cheer you now? your hearts, I trow, are sthrill'd as with a sword.

(stanza 8)

The internal rhyme in the odd numbered lines of each stanza, especially when coupled with the end rhyme in the even numbered lines (this pattern repeats in the second half of the stanza), gives the poem a condescending feel as though it is an instruction for children, while at the same time hammering itself into the mind of the reader in an obsessive manner. The complete lack of enjambment strengthens this effect, especially when reading the poem out loud.

In comparison to this, Bradstreet's sometimes stilted rhyme comes out very favorably. In one of her most well-known poems, "To My Dear and Loving Husband," even her twelve straight lines of rhyming couplets do not seem as oppressive as the rhymes utilized by Wigglesworth. The final couplet of this poem is indicative of the rest: "Then while we live, in love let's so persever / That when we live no more, we may live ever" (lines 11-12). Not only does the rhyme not feel as heavy, but it is also used to reinforce the logic of the line, tying the ideas together and presenting a meaningful analysis and interaction with the situation described in the poem. This is clear in the construction of the other couplets of the poem, as well. Wigglesworth's rhymes appear blindly conventional; Bradstreet's have a more definite purpose.

It should already be clear that two very different personalities reflecting two different examples of Puritanism are at work in these poems. Wigglesworth reflects the blind and obsessive adherence to certain "rules" that many associate with Puritanism in his poetry, whereas Bradstreet takes more agency in determining the use of certain devices. Another example of these differences between the two authors comes in the sources from which they drew their inspiration. Bradstreet's poems show a definite relationship to other contemporary poems, with her construction and even certain stylistic elements resembling Shakespeare's sonnets. She also uses the phrase "whilst there is world or time" in her poem "In Honour of that High and Mighty Princess, Queen Elizabeth," which is a clear echo of a line in Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress," which was written in England in the same time period (line 4). Wigglesworth, in contrast, draws only on the Bible and certain other Puritan beliefs that were themselves derived from Biblical interpretations. Again, his single-mindedness surfaces as an example of an oppressive type of Puritanism, while Bradstreet demonstrates a better poetic skill aided by her engagement with worldly things, such as the monarchy and other poetry.

Qualitative judgments are, of course, inherently impossible to prove. But the differences between the poems of Bradstreet and Wigglesworth reflect clear differences in style and construction that necessarily create differences in the quality of the poems. The Puritanism that Wigglesworth reflects leads to heavy handed and unpleasing poetry; Bradstreet's more open minded nature is reflected in the depth and breadth of her poems. The connection between an open mind and good art is an important lesson to remember.

Works Cited

Bradstreet, Anne. "To My Dear and Loving Husband." Accessed 5 May 2009. http://www.annebradstreet.com/to_my_dear_and_loving_husband.htm

Bradstreet, Anne. "In Honour of that High and Mighty Princess, Queen Elizabeth." Accessed 5 May 2009. http://www.annebradstreet.com/in_honour_of_that_high_and_mighty_princess_queen_elizabeth.htm

Wigglesworth, Michael. "The Day of Doom." Accessed 5 May 2009. http://www.puritansermons.com/poetry/doom001.htm

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Bradstreet, Anne. "To My Dear and Loving Husband." Accessed 5 May 2009. http://www.annebradstreet.com/to_my_dear_and_loving_husband.htm

Bradstreet, Anne. "In Honour of that High and Mighty Princess, Queen Elizabeth." Accessed 5 May 2009. http://www.annebradstreet.com/in_honour_of_that_high_and_mighty_princess_queen_elizabeth.htm

Wigglesworth, Michael. "The Day of Doom." Accessed 5 May 2009. http://www.puritansermons.com/poetry/doom001.htm

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"Puritan Poetry Puritanism As Seen" (2009, May 06) Retrieved August 9, 2020, from
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"Puritan Poetry Puritanism As Seen", 06 May 2009, Accessed.9 August. 2020,
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/puritan-poetry-puritanism-as-seen-22122