Verses Scribbl’d in My Burning House
By Katherine J. Leisering
While reviewing 17th c. surveyor map holdings, Massachusetts librarian Emma Loade discovered this first draft of Anne Bradstreet's "Upon the Burning of Our House". Footnotes are Miss Loade's.
Asleep was I, to dream of love
When three floors below to me above
Rose cries of, "Fire! Fire! my dear!
Get thy derriere outta here!"
Before I flew, toward door as dart,
My pen grabbed I close to my heart,
And put to scorch'd paper few brief verses,
In between some well placed curses.
Thought I, nightie now well heated,
"The hell with poems!" I'd become unseated.
Rising swiftly pray'd I to God,
"Please! Spare for me my bod!
And allow me like, you know, to step
Outside real quick and call a Geico rep."
We are covered well 'tis sure
For occasions ill, e'en backed up sew'r.
And should no payment come or stall late,
I shall but compare costs with Allstate.
How didst such flames begin a-firing?
Was it ubiquitous faulty wiring?
Or mayhap pyromaniac parson
Who lately'd been accused of arson?
My goods turned to ashes thus
Will ne'er make me Gloomy Gus.
Though friends they may become aloof
Refusing meals if there's no roof.
Then shall we simply move up windward
To summer digs on Martha's Vineyard.
 I, too, have Allstate.
 Parson Thurgood Mulch racked up a record thirty-three trips to the neck pillory in 1652 for setting trash can fires all over Plymouth.
 "Gloomy" Gus Standish (Miles' nephew) briefly dated Anne Bradstreet before tragically choking on a Thanksgiving turkey bone and succumbing in the arms of an Indian.
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