Flesh is the unsettled questioning heart while spirit

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Flesh is the unsettled, questioning heart, while spirit is the settledheart. Flesh and Spirit are personified by two sisters:One flesh was call'd, who had her eyeOn worldly wealth and vanity;The other Spirit, who did rearHer thoughts unto a higher spere: (Blair 234)Although Bradstreet presents the correct dogma in her poem, its purposeis not to instruct but, again, to express her personal feelings. It is thepersonal that provides the heretical aspects.Literary historian Samuel Morison has called "The Flesh and The Spirit"one of the best expressions in English literature of the conflict described bySt. Paul in the Eighth Chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, "a conflict thatwas evidently part of the personal experience of the poetess. The prosemeditation that she left to her children shows that she had often been beset bydoubts 'whether there was a God'"(Morison 220)."To My Dear and Loving Husband" is a passionate love poem that islyrical, lovely, human and simple; it is also free of any religious dogma. Forthis reason, it may be considered to have the most heretical elements of any ofher poems. The poem is universal. Except for one obsolete accent (perseverinstead of persevere), the poem can be read as a modern one, as well as one fromearly America.The poem is openly passionate.If ever two were one, then surely we.If ever man were lov's by wife, then thee;If ever wife was happy in a man,Compare with me ye women if you can.I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.My love is such that Rivers cannot quench (Blair 231-232).The only reference to religion is to pray the heavens reward her husband,hardly a Puritan prayer."Anne Bradstreet loved Simon Bradstreet and her children and God with atroubled realization that she fell short of God's, 'Thou shalt love the Lordthey God with all thy heard'"(Blair 229).Anne Bradstreet's poetry shows a merging of the private life with thereligious life, but also a rebellious, inquiring spirit. The heretical themesin her poetry stem from this spirit and her need for self-expression.Works CitedBlair, Walter, T. Hornberger, R. Stewart and J.E. Miller, Jr. The Literature ofthe United States, 3rd ed. New York: New York University Press, 1966.Bowtell, Stephen. The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America. By a Gentlewomanin those Parts. London, 1650.Hall, David D. Puritanism in Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts, New York: HoltRinehart and Winston, 1968.Hensley, Jeannine, ed. The Works of Anne Bradstreet, Boston: HarvardUniversity Press, 1967.Morison, Samuel Eliot. The Intellectual Life of Colonial New England, 4th ed.New York: New York University Press, 1970.Spiller, Robert E., W. Thorp, T.H. Johnson, H.S. Canby and R.M. Ludwig,Literarty History of the United States, 3rd. ed. New York: TheMacMillan Company, 1963.Stanford, Ann. Anne Bradstreet: The Wordly Puritan. New York: Burt Franklin,1974.Unger, Leonard ed. American Writers: Supplement I. Part I. NY: CharlesScribrer's Sons, 1979. 8 vols.White, Elizabeth Wade. Anne Bradstreet: "The Tenth Muse." New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 1971.

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