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Most truly honoured, and as truly dear,
If worth in me or ought I do appear,
Who can of right better demand the same
Than may your worthy self from whom it came?
The principal might yield a greater sum,
Yet handled ill, amounts but to this crumb;
My stock’s so small I know not how to pay,
My bond remains in force unto this day;
Yet for part payment take this simple mite,
Where nothing’s to be had, kings loose their right.
Such is my debt I may not say forgive,
But as I can, I’ll pay it while I live;
Such is my bond, none can discharge but I,
Yet paying is not paid until I die–Anne Bradstreet
Anne Dudley Bradstreet — the first published Puritan poet of any substance — was born into comfortable circumstances in the North of England in 1612 and got married at the age of 16 to Simon Bradstreet. The young couple, along with Anne’s parents, emigrated to the New World in 1630 (Anne was 18), ultimately moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1632, where Anne, despite lifelong poor health, accommodated herself to her new and very different life (including early years of hardship and privation) and had the first of her eight children.
Eventually, the family settled and prospered, and both her husband and father served, at one point or another, as governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and were instrumental in the founding of Harvard University, from which two of Anne and Simon’s sons graduated.