Anne Bradstreet: Poems

Anne Bradstreet: Poems Summary and Analysis of "Another" and "Another (II)"

Summary ("Another"):

The poet writes that Phoebus makes haste and wants to be gone, but she hopes he will stay so she can pour out the “woeful accents of my doleful sound.” She hopes that he will stop at this particular errand along his route, as his presence would be a boon for her. She is the sorrowful “widowed wife,” full of bleak thoughts, tears, moans, and fears. She wonders, if her husband loves her, why does he not abide here?

She implores anyone who can count the stars, the grasses, the sands, or the motes in the sunshine to count her tears and sighs. They might also count her steps. She knows that others glimpse the sun and are happy, but for her, she tells Phoebus that when he returns, he will witness “chaos blacker than the first.” She wants Phoebus to warn her husband that his “little world” is drowning in his absence. Only her husband can dry her tears. She wants to say more but cannot; her mind is too oppressed to utter a long tale. She allows Phoebus to move along with haste and keep in mind what she has said, and urge her husband not to stay where he is.

Summary ("Another II"):

The poet compares herself to a female deer leaping through the woods and ferns, and poking into bushes and thickets looking for its mate. This image invokes her “anxious soul,” which misses her dearest. She waits, filled with doubts and fears, hoping to hear her husband’s voice or see his face. She is like the “pensive dove” moaning the absence of her mate; she feels like a turtledove calling out for her love and hoping for his safe return. She also compares herself to a mullet longing for her companion fish; she will throw herself on the shore and expire in his presence - unable to survive because he has been captured by fishermen.

Now that her husband is gone, the poet writes, she lives a "joyless life." She is still a wife but does not feel like one. Force is keeping her apart from her husband. She calls for him to return, using pet names, like her dear, her love, her hind, her dove, and her mullet. She laments that his substance is gone and only her dreams remain. She wants to be with her husband as if they were two turtledoves roosting or two mullets swimming in the river, united until they die.


These two poems are usually published and read as a pair. They are similar to “To My Dear and Loving Husband” and “A Letter to her Husband, absent upon Publick Employment” in that Anne Bradstreet expresses her most intimate feelings of love and her desire for her husband. These pieces are from her later, more private period of poetry and she may not have intended them for public attention.

In “Another,” the poet describes herself as widowed because her husband is away once again. She is effusive in her display of suffering, writing about her mourning in a loud and theatrical way: “woeful accents of my doleful sound,” “My dumpish thoughts, my groans, my brakish tears.” These sentiments are extremely personal, and most Puritan women would have deemed Bradstreet's words as over-the-top. Bradstreet uses metaphors of nature’s multiplicity to explain how much she loves her husband, describing it as greater than the number of stars, grains of sand, leaves in the woods, drops of rain, or grains in the fields.

The poet then explains that when Phoebus, the personification of the sun and of time, cycles back into the sky, he will witness “chaos blacker than the first.” She worries that her tears will turn her husband’s little world into a “fathom under water," because only her husband can dry the “torrents.” She hopes the Phoebus (the sun), as her messenger, will exhort her husband not to stay where he is any longer and return to her soon.

In “Another (II),” Bradstreet also writes about her sorrow at being left alone when her husband goes away. She compares herself to a hind and her husband to a deer, which, as critic Randall Huff writes, is “an emblem of virility.” The poet continues this comparison for many lines, describing herself rooting through nooks, bushes, and ferns in her search for her missing mate. She then compares herself to a dove mourning its mate, emitting “doleful sighs and mournful coos” (doves were thought to mate for life), and a mullet (a fish) throwing herself on the shore to die after she seeing a fisherman catch her mate. Overall, Huff explains, the poem is close to “admitting the animal aspects of [Anne Bradstreet's] nature.”

In the last section of the poem, Bradstreet combines these animal metaphor with her “real” self and explains how lonely and grief-stricken she feels without her husband. Her words invoke a traditional wedding vow as she implores, “Let’s still remain but one, till death divide.” Although, as a Puritan, Bradstreet was aware that her life on Earth was supposed to serve as preparation for the afterlife, Bradstreet believes she and her husband can and should live a life full of love and harmony “at home, abroad, and everywhere.” These two poems are stirring evocations of romantic marital love in a capable and pleasing rhyme scheme.