Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If Ever Two Were One . . .

During my sophomore year in High School, my tenth grade English teacher told a story of the birth of his first child. He was desperately poor, and wanted so badly to share something special with his wife. He had no money. It was late at night, and, as he walked outside of the hospital, he found the most beautiful rose in someone's yard. Despite the late hour, he knocked on the door, and pleaded with the disgruntled home owner, could he please have that beautiful rose to give to his wife who had just borne their first child?

A short time later, he returned to the hospital with the late-night rose, and a note for his wife, containing the slightly altered words of Anne Bradstreet to her husband, Governor Simon Bradstreet. We memorized those words, every one of them. We didn't just memorize them in our minds, rather we memorized them in our hearts.

It seemed too impossibly beautiful to think that a mother of eight who lived in the 1600s could capture such sincere intimacy in this private letter to her husband. At the time I could only hope to feel so about my future beloved, but while I attempt to express how I feel about my own husband now, I do not think any words could say it better than Anne did, almost four hundred years ago:

To My Dear and Loving Husband
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd 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,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persevere,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

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