Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain, Who after birth didst by my side remain, Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true, Who thee abroad, exposed to public view, Made thee in rags, halting to th' press to trudge, Where errors were not lessened (all may judge). At thy return my blushing was not small, My rambling brat (in print) should mother call, I cast thee by as one unfit for light, The visage was so irksome in my sight; Yet being mine own, at length affection would Thy blemishes amend, if so I could. I washed thy face, but more defects I saw, And rubbing off a spot still made a flaw. I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet, Yet still thou run'st more hobbling than is meet; In better dress to trim thee was my mind, But nought save homespun cloth i' th' house I find. In this array 'mongst vulgars may'st thou roam. In critic's hands beware thou dost not come, And take thy way where yet thou art not known; If for thy father asked, say thou hadst none; And for thy mother, she alas is poor, Which caused her thus to send thee out of door.
Anne Bradstreet - 1612-1672
To Her Father with Some Verses
Most truly honoured, and as truly dear, If worth in me or ought I do appear, Who can of right better demand the same Than may your worthy self from whom it came? The principal might yield a greater sum, Yet handled ill, amounts but to this crumb; My stock's so small I know not how to pay, My bond remains in force unto this day; Yet for part payment take this simple mite, Where nothing's to be had, kings loose their right. Such is my debt I may not say forgive, But as I can, I'll pay it while I live; Such is my bond, none can discharge but I, Yet paying is not paid until I die.