A Letter to Her Husband Absent Upon Public Employment
by Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)
As loving Hind that (Hartless) wants her Deer,
Scuds through the woods and fern with harkning ear,
Perplext, in every bush and nook doth pry,
Her dearest Deer, might answer ear or eye;
So doth my anxious soul, which now doth miss
A dearer dear (far dearer Heart) than this.
Still wait with doubts, and hopes, and failing eye,
His voice to hear or person to descry.
Or as the pensive Dove doth all alone
On withered bough most uncouthly bemoan
The absence of her Love and loving Mate,
Whose loss hath made her so unfortunate:
Ev’n thus do I, with many a deep sad groan,
Bewail my turtle true, who now is gone,
His presence and his safe return still woo,
With thousand doleful sighs and mournful Coo.
Or as the loving Mullet, that true Fish,
Her fellow lost, nor joy nor life do wish,
But launches on that shore, there for to die,
Where she her captive husband doth espy.
Mine being gone, I lead a joyless life,
I have a loving peer, yet seem no wife;
But worst of all, to him can’t steer my course,
I here, he there, alas, both kept by force.
Return my Dear, my joy, my only Love,
Unto thy Hind, thy Mullet, and thy Dove,
Who neither joys in pasture, house, nor streams,
The substance gone, O me, these are but dreams.
Together at one Tree, oh let us browse,
And like two Turtles roost within one house,
And like the Mullets in one River glide,
Let’s still remain but one, till death divide.