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A Dialogue between Old England and New

Anne Bradstreet 1612 (Northampton) – 1672 (Andover)

New England.

1 Alas, dear Mother, fairest Queen and best,
2 With honour, wealth, and peace happy and blest,
3 What ails thee hang thy head, and cross thine arms,
4 And sit i' the dust to sigh these sad alarms?
5 What deluge of new woes thus over-whelm
6 The glories of thy ever famous Realm?
7 What means this wailing tone, this mournful guise?
8 Ah, tell thy Daughter; she may sympathize.

Old England.

9 Art ignorant indeed of these my woes,
10 Or must my forced tongue these griefs disclose,
11 And must my self dissect my tatter'd state,
12 Which Amazed Christendom stands wondering at?
13 And thou a child, a Limb, and dost not feel
14 My weak'ned fainting body now to reel?
15 This physic-purging-potion I have taken
16 Will bring Consumption or an Ague quaking,
17 Unless some Cordial thou fetch from high,
18 Which present help may ease my malady.
19 If I decease, dost think thou shalt survive?
20 Or by my wasting state dost think to thrive?
21 Then weigh our case, if 't be not justly sad.
22 Let me lament alone, while thou art glad.

New England.

23 And thus, alas, your state you much deplore
24 In general terms, but will not say wherefore.
25 What Medicine shall I seek to cure this woe,
26 If th' wound's so dangerous, I may not know?
27 But you, perhaps, would have me guess it out.
28 What, hath some Hengist like that Saxon stout
29 By fraud and force usurp'd thy flow'ring crown,
30 Or by tempestuous Wars thy fields trod down?
31 Or hath Canutus, that brave valiant Dane,
32 The regal peaceful Sceptre from thee ta'en?
33 Or is 't a Norman whose victorious hand
34 With English blood bedews thy conquered Land?
35 Or is 't intestine Wars that thus offend?
36 Do Maud and Stephen for the Crown contend?
37 Do Barons rise and side against their King,
38 And call in Foreign aid to help the thing?
39 Must Edward be depos'd? Or is 't the hour
40 That second Richard must be clapp'd i' th' Tower?
41 Or is it the fatal jar, again begun,
42 That from the red, white pricking Roses sprung?
43 Must Richmond's aid the Nobles now implore
44 To come and break the tushes of the Boar?
45 If none of these, dear Mother, what's your woe?
46 Pray, do not fear Spain's bragging Armado.
47 Doth your Ally, fair France, conspire your wrack,
48 Or doth the Scots play false behind your back?
49 Doth Holland quit you ill for all your love?
50 Whence is this storm, from Earth or Heaven above?
51 Is 't drought, is 't Famine, or is 't Pestilence?
52 Dost feel the smart, or fear the consequence?
53 Your humble Child entreats you shew your grief.
54 Though Arms nor Purse she hath for your relief--
55 Such is her poverty,--yet shall be found
56 A suppliant for your help, as she is bound.

Old England.

57 I must confess some of those Sores you name
58 My beauteous Body at this present maim,
59 But foreign Foe nor feigned friend I fear,
60 For they have work enough, thou knowest, elsewhere.
61 Nor is it Alcie's son and Henry's Daughter
62 Whose proud contention cause this slaughter;
63 Nor Nobles siding to make John no King,
64 French Louis unjustly to the Crown to bring;
65 No Edward, Richard, to lose rule and life,
66 Nor no Lancastrians to renew old strife;
67 No Crook-backt Tyrant now usurps the Seat, 68 Whose tearing tusks did wound, and kill, and threat. 69 No Duke of
York nor Earl of March to soil
70 Their hands in Kindred's blood whom they did foil;
71 No need of Tudor Roses to unite:
72 None knows which is the Red or which the White.
73 Spain's braving Fleet a second time is sunk.
74 France knows how of my fury she hath drunk
75 By Edward third and Henry fifth of fame;
76 Her Lilies in my Arms avouch the same.
77 My Sister Scotland hurts me now no more,
78 Though she hath been injurious heretofore.
79 What Holland is, I am in some suspense,
80 But trust not much unto his Excellence.
81 For wants, sure some I feel, but more I fear;
82 And for the Pestilence, who knows how near?
83 Famine and Plague, two sisters of the Sword,
84 Destruction to a Land doth soon afford.
85 They're for my punishments ordain'd on high,
86 Unless thy tears prevent it speedily.
87 But yet I answer not what you demand
88 To shew the grievance of my troubled Land.
89 Before I tell the effect I'll shew the cause,
90 Which are my sins--the breach of sacred Laws:
91 Idolatry,
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet was the first poet and first female writer in the British North American colonies to be published. more…

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