Verses Upon The Burning Of Our House English Literature Essay

Anne Bradstreet, a puritan woman who grew up with and married into wealth lived a privileged life, would have had things that she cherished and would hurt to lose. In her poem "Versus upon the Burning of Our House," Bradstreet writes about the burning of her home, which led her to a self-evaluation of her attachment to the physical desires of this world, and her relationship with God. Throughout the poem Bradstreet learns three things about herself as well as the things around her, from the tragedy of the fire.

Bradstreet first epiphany develops in the first 18 lines of her poem, when she is thanking God for her house burning. "The earth belongs to the Lord, and everything in it, the world and all its people" (Psalms 24:1). Bradstreet realizes in line 17 that everything she is losing, she did not actually own, it belongs to God. Before this realization, Anne states, "And to my God my heart did cry to straighten me in my distress and not to leave me succorless. Then coming out, behold the space The flame consume my dwelling place. And then when I could no longer look, I blest his grace that gave and took" (lines 9-14). Even as the items she love and cherish burn in the fire, she knows that God is the creator of everything and he has the right to take it away. Job 1:21confirms this by saying "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away." So even though it hurts, she knows she has no right to complain, and in the end God will make everything better. Therefore, she had no reason to mourn the loss of her worldly treasures, because they were not hers to begin with.

The next lesson Anne learns is that she cannot miss what she never had and that sometimes for God to speak to you; things have to be taken (lines 20-36). She shows her focus deviate from god to the past when she reverts back to what she used to have. "Here stood that trunk, and there that chest, there lay the store I counted best, My pleasant things in ashes lie And them behold no more shall I" (lines 25-28). Bradstreet also misses the memories that happened or could have happened in her house. "Nor at thy Table eat a bit. No pleasant tale shall 'ere be told Nor things recounted done of old. No Candle 'ere shall shine in Thee, Nor bridegroom's voice ere heard shall bee" (lines 30-34). Bradstreet remorse for her lost possessions is in vain because god said in Isaiah 43:18-19, "Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert." Once she can realize that this isn’t a bad situation, her eyes will open to the wonderful things god has planned for her.

Bradstreet’s last learns that what she wants to hold onto doesn’t compare to the wealth waiting for her in heaven (lines 37-54). In the last lines of her poem, Bradstreet eyes finally open and she has an epiphany telling her that the fire isn’t as bad as she imagines it to be. Bradstreet comes to the conclusion that all she need to do is rely on the Lord, and he will always provide and be there for her. "Farewell, my pelf, farewell, my store. The world no longer let me love, My hope and treasure lies above" (lines 52-54). Anne Bradstreet finally is able to let go of the idea that worldly pleasures will make her happy, and comes to the conclusion that they can come and be taken away; and that her true treasures lie in heaven. Matthew 6:19-21 says, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Bradstreet’s poem helps illustrate that what we posses now will not last forever, so when it is lost just let it go and be thankful. Being a puritan God always comes first, and at the moment of loss and tragedy Anne lost her site of God, which field her with everything negative. As soon as she released the negative her heart was field with the love of God and reminded her of the blessing she has yet to come. As shown from her poem and testimony, sometimes it takes a tragedy to help open your eyes to the greater things and blessings in life.