It is significant that Anne Bradstreet was a devout Puritan. As such, she exhibited this religious influence in her poetry as she assumed an attitude of humility toward her father and because humility is expected of people who have been selected to be among the elect. In addition, the Puritans used writing to explore their inner and outer lives.
In the poem "To Her Father with Some Verses," Bradstreet employs the Shakespearean sonnet form of fourteen lines of iambic pentameter to acknowledge her place as a woman and daughter. As a Puritan woman who understands the superior role of men, Bradstreet praises her father in the first quatrain and is self-deprecating as she writes, "My stock's so small I know not how to pay." But, she promises that she will make every effort to repay her father for all he has given her:
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;
And, she ends with the rhyming couplet
which states that she will endeavor all her life to repay the debt she owes her father.
Bradstreet's sonnet is an extended metaphor
as every line applies to a financial investment which is her life. Her indebtedness is the devotion and instruction which her father has given her. And, while the language is the simple, clear language of the Puritan, Bradstreet does play upon (pun
) the word "pay" in the last line of the couplet:
Yet paying is not paid until I die.
Other metaphors are "the principal" in line 5, which is her father's belief in her, and the "crumb" signifies the best that she has been able to do with what has been given her.
Consistently humble, Bradstreet writes a sonnet that is both laudatory to her father and self-deprecating to herself.