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Literary Devices in To My Dear and Loving Husband

Literary Devices Examples in To My Dear and Loving Husband:

Text of the Poem

🔒 5

"we may live ever..."   (Text of the Poem)

The final line offers another interpretation of the poem’s structure as a whole. Notice that the speaker’s metaphors move from the earthly realm into the spiritual in ascending order. The speaker moves from the “mines of gold” underground in line five to the “riches” and “rivers” above ground in line six and seven. She then alludes to the “heavens” and prayer in line ten and lastly to the eternal, spiritual afterlife in the final line. If we look at this structure in a religious context, Bradstreet may be suggesting that earthly love should be modeled after the kind of godly love that results in admission to heaven.

"Rivers..."   (Text of the Poem)

The capitalization of “rivers” here is interesting, because it is unclear as to why Bradstreet might have done so. We might infer that it is capitalized for emphasis, much like “Mines” was in line five. This might suggest their great breadth and depth, making the speaker’s declaration that rivers cannot “quench” her love even more bold.

"ever..."   (Text of the Poem)

The continuance of the anaphora “if ever” in this line underscores that this couple’s marriage is idyllic. Out of all romances to “ever” come, theirs represents the model romance that others should strive for.

"then..."   (Text of the Poem)

Notice that the first three lines of the poem follow an “if...then” grammatical structure. Along with the use of somewhat formal language, this logical design gives the poem a kind of rational tone that contrasts with the poem’s emotional subject, love. The contrast between the logical and the emotional becomes an important theme throughout the poem, as the speaker struggles to describe highly sentimental, romantic feelings with language, something that is inherently limiting.

"If ever..."   (Text of the Poem)

The repetition of the words “if ever” in the first three lines of the poem are an example of anaphora, a literary device in which a word or phrase is repeated at the beginning of successive clauses. The phrase “if ever” could read today as something like “if there ever was,” which alludes to the past. Thus, opening with this particular anaphora introduces one of the poem’s central themes: the passage of time and how love can be affected by it.

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