Anne Bradstreet’s “To My Dear and Loving Husband” is essentially a love letter. Written in a genre-name form by content, it would look something like this: “Bradstreet: love letter.” This poem reminds me a lot of the poem that I used to write in Valentine cards: “Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet; so are you.” The one reason why the “Roses are red…” poem is so easy to remember is because of the rhyme scheme: ABCB. Bradstreet’s poem also uses rhyme scheme (a different form than ABCB) to also connect meeting. Bradstreet employs a similar rhyme scheme. The rhyme scheme for Bradstreet’s poem looks like this: AABBCCDEFFGG. She pairs the lines up. When reading the poem aloud, it allows the meaning of the first line to flow into the second line because of the exterior rhyming.
The exterior rhyme scheme is obvious, and it was the first component of this poem that I recognized. When I read the poem for the third time, I noticed the first two lines were striking. By using paradox, Bradstreet shows the reader what the love is like: “If two were one, then surely we.” It even occurs in the second line: “If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.” Then later in lines 5, 6, and 7, we see how much the poet loves her husband; Bradstreet uses hyperbole: “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,/” She uses another hyperbole in line By using paradoxical and hyperbolic statements, Bradstreet is showing the reader how much she really loves her husband.
Although the use of rhyme scheme, paradox, and hyperbole are imperative in making this love poem so great, I think the greatest component of this love poem is how it takes love poem clichés and twists them. Bradstreet takes the classic components of a cliché love poem (like hyperbole) and uses them in clever ways. I think a cliché love poem would be something that started out like: “I love you. You mean the world to me. The angels could not sing of how great your love means to me. I love you more than you know. I love you so much.” The line of the love poem that I just wrote seems distant and dishonest. I don’t get that same feeling from Bradstreet’s poem. The use of minimal punctuation keeps the rhythm flowing, and the rhyme scheme that Bradstreet uses compliments her use of punctuation here.
The main point of a poem is to look at where the poem starts and where it ends. Do they end and start at the same place? In this case, I think the poet has gone in a circle. At first, the poet starts to describe what kind of a relationship she and her husband are in. Then as she is traveling in this circle, she is beginning to explore what this love is really like. Then in the last four lines, she is in awe of this love that her husband gives to her.