Anne Bradstreet: Introduction


The Fire, Air, Earth and Water did contest Which was the strongest, noblest and the best, Who was of greatest use and might'est force; In placide Terms they thought now to discourse, That in due order each her turn should speak; But enmity this amity did break All would be chief, and all scorn'd to be under Whence issued winds &rains, lightning &thunder. The quaking earth did groan, the Sky looked black, The Fire, the forced Air, in sunder crack; The sea did threat the heav'ns, the heavn's the earth, All looked like a Chaos or new birth; Fire broyled Earth, &scorched Earth it choaked Both by their darings, water so provoked That roaring in it came, and with its source Soon made the Combatants abate their force; The rumbling, hissing, puffing was so great The worlds confusion, it did seem to threat Till gentle Air, Contention so abated That betwixt hot and cold, she arbitrated The others difference, being less did cease All storms now laid, and they in perfect peace That Fire should first begin, the rest consent, The noblest and most active Element.