In 1650, Anne Bradstreet had her first book of poems, Tenth Muse, unknowingly published by her brother-in-law. Once she saw her work in print, she instantly criticized it, as can be seen in this poem. She uses a metaphor comparing her feelings for her work to an unsatisfied parent for a child. Bradstreet uses and irritated tone to display the discontent theme of The Author to Her Book. Because the “rambling brat” belongs to her, she declares it “irksome in my sight”. If she could, she would have “washed thy face” but upon the correction would create even more mistakes.
However, Bradstreet in a mother’s affection sense is protective of her work and wishes it would never had fallen into critics hands in the first place. In the end her work was “snatched from thence by friends” and published too early for her liking. Her “ill-formed offspring” was out there wandering “’mongst vulgars” instead of sophisticated people because it was not worthy in her opinion. Regardless of how she feels about her work she is still embarrassed to send it into the world, but needs the money. So that leaves her nothing to do but pass judgment on.
The Author to Her Book is a couplet, with almost every pair of lines rhyming and alternating stresses. In addition, every line ends in some form of punctuation, allowing the rhythmic flow to continue with slight pauses. There are several run-ons that show urgency, I think to display how passionate she feels about that one part. Bradstreet personifies her poem to give it human characteristics like roaming, hobbling, and rambling. I had liked this poem, it was short and easy to understand something I often have trouble with.
It was also relatable, in the sense that one will criticize their own work. I think Bradstreet was a perfectionist, and if she had intended to publish her work herself it would never have been done because she would constantly be unsatisfied and tried to fix it. If her brother-in-law hadn’t published the book, its existence would not be here today. Also, my favorite part would be the third line where she calls her friends “less wise than true”. She basically pokes fun at them and calls them moronic, a context that today’s generation does multiple times a day to their closest friends.
In my mind it shows that regardless of how much time has passed, some things never change. My opinion of the poem on the whole is while it’s a great selection; Bradstreet was way too hard on herself. It is understandable to be hesitant and embarrassed when your personal scribbles are shown to the world, but it wouldn’t have been shown to the world if there wasn’t something good about it in the first place. Anne Bradstreet needed to give herself more praise rather than disparagement. Credit is due where credit is deserved.