"Youth"
By Anne Bradstreet

Transcription, correction, editorial commentary, and markup by Staff and Research Assistants at The University of Virginia, John O'Brien, Sara Brunstetter
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Sources

Boston : John Foster, 1678 Our texts are taken from the Text Creation Partnership's digital edition of Several poems compiled with great variety of wit and learning published in Boston in 1678. This text is sometimes referred to by its alternate title, and the sobriquet given to Anne Bradstreet, "The Tenth Muse". Title page drawn from the University of Pennsylvania's Celebration of Women Writers.

Editorial Statements

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Citation

Bradstreet, Anne. "Youth". Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, John Foster, 1678 . Literature in Context: An Open Anthology. http://anthology.lib.virginia.edu/work/Bradstreet/bradstreet-youth. Accessed: 2024-03-01T14:22:43.336Z

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[TP] SEVERAL
POEMS
Compiled with great variety of Wit and
Learning, full of Delight;
Wherein especially is contained a compleat
Discourse, and Description of
The Four { ELEMENTS
CONSTITUTIONS,
AGES of Man,
SEASONS of the Year.

Together with an exact Epitome of
the three first Monarchyes

Viz, The { ASSYRIAN,
PERSIAN,
GRECIAN.
And beginning of the Romane Common-wealth
to the end of their last King:
With diverse other pleasant & serious Poems,
By a Gentlewoman in New-England.
The second Edition, Corrected by the Author,
and enlarged by an Addition of several other
Poems found amongst her Papers
after her Death.

Boston, Printed by John Foster, 1678.
Youth 1MY goodly cloathing, and my beauteous skin, 2Declare some greater riches are within; 3But what is best i'le first present to view, 4And then the worst, in a more ugly hue; 5For thus to do, we on this Stage assemble, 6Then let not him, which hath most craft dissemble; 7Mine education, and my learning's such, 8As might my self, and others, profit much: 9With nurture trained up in vertues Schools, 10Of Science, Arts, and Tongues, I know the rules, 11The manners of the Court, I likewise know, 12Nor ignorant what they in Country do; 13The brave attempts of valiant Knights I prize, 14That dare climbe Battlementsbattlements_battlementsThe summit of a mountain or a parapet at the top of a wall. Source: Oxford English Dictionary, rear'd to the skies; 15The snorting Horse, the Trumpet, Drum I like, 16The glistring Sword, and wel advanced Pike; 17I cannot lye in trench, before a Town, 18Nor wait til good advice our hopes do crown; 19I scorn the heavy Corsset, Musket-proof, 20Though thus in field, at home, to all most kind, 21So affable that I do suit each mind;> 22I can insinuate into the brest, 23And by my mirth can raise the heart deprest. 24Sweet Musick rapteth my harmonious Soul, 25And elevates my thoughts above the Pole. 26My wit, my bounty, and my courtesie, 27Makes all to place their future hopes on me. 28This is my best, but youth (is known) alas, 29To be as wilde as is the snuffing Asse, 30As vain as froth, as vanity can be, 31That who would see vain man, may look on me: 32My gifts abus'd, my education lost, 33My woful Parents longing hopes all crost, 34My wit, evaporates in meriment:> 35My valour, in some beastly quarrel's spent; 36Martial deeds I love not, 'cause they're vertuous, 37But doing so, might seem magnanimous. 38My Lust doth hurry me, to all that's ill, 39I know no Law, nor reason, but my wil; 40Sometimes lay wait to take a wealthy purse, 41Or stab the man, in's own defence, that's worse, 42Sometimes I cheat (unkind) a female Heir, 43Of all at once, who not so wise, as fair, 44Trusteth my loving looks, and glozing tongue, 45Until her freinds, treasure, and honour's gone. 46Sometimes I sit carousing others health, 47Until mine own be gone, my wit, and wealth; 48From pipe to pot, from pot to words, and blows, 49For he that loveth Wine, wanteth no woes; 50Dayes, nights, with Ruffins, Roarers, Fidlers spend; 51To all obscenity, my eares I bend. 52All counsel hate, which tends to make me wise, 53And dearest freinds count for mine enemies; 54If any care I take, 'tis to be fine, 55For sure my suit more then my vertues shine; 56If any time from company I spare, 57'Tis spent in curling, frisling up my hair; 58Some young Adonis I do strive to be, 59Sardana PallasSardanapallasSardanapallasSardanapallas is legendary tragic king of Assyria. Source: Encyclopedia Brittanica., now survives in me: 60Cards, Dice, and Oaths, concomitant, I love; 61To Masques, to Playes, to Taverns stil I move; 62And in a word, if what I am you'd heare, 63Seek out a Brittish, bruitish Cavaleer; 64Such wretch, such monster am I; but yet more, 65I want a heart all this for to deplore. 66Thus, thus alas! I have mispent my time, 67My youth, my best, my strength, my bud, and prime: 68Remembring not the dreadful day of Doom, 69Nor yet that heavy reckoning for to come; 70Though dangers do attend me every houre, 71And gastly death oft threats me with her power, 72Sometimes by wounds in idle combates taken, 73Sometimes by AguesaguesaguesSickness with a high fever. Source: Oxford english Dictionary all my body shaken; 74Sometimes by Feavers, all my moisture drinking, 75My heart lyes frying, and my eyes are sinking; 76Sometimes the Cough, Stitch, painful PlurisieplurisieplurisiePleurisy is an illness characterized by chest pains often accompanied with coughing and inflammation. Source: Oxford English Dictionary, 77With sad affrights of death, doth menace me; 78Sometimes the loathsome Pox, my face be-mars, 79With ugly marks of his eternal scars; 80Sometimes the Phrensie, strangely madds my Brain, 81That oft for it, in BedlambedlambedlamA truncation of Bethlehem Hospital, a facility for the supposed insane. Source: Oxford English Dictionary I remain. 82Too many's my Diseases to recite, 83That wonder 'tis I yet behold the light, 84That yet my bed in darknesse is not made, 85And I in black oblivions den long laid; 86Of Marrow ful my bones, of Milk my breasts, 87Ceas'd by the gripes of Serjeant Death's Arrests: 88Thus I have said, and what i've said you see, 89Child-hood and youth is vaine, yea vanity.

Footnotes