30 Preface to The Tenth Muse, Lately Sprung Up in America
Had I opportunity but to borrow some of the Author’s wit, ’tis possible I might so trim this curious work with such quaint expressions, as that the Preface might bespeak thy further Perusal; but I fear ’twill be a shame for a Man that can speak so little, to be seen in the title-page of this Woman’s Book, lest by comparing the one with the other, the Reader should pass his sentence that it is the gift of women not only to speak most, but to speak best; I shall leave therefore to commend that, which with any ingenious Reader will too much commend the Author, unless men turn more peevish than women, to envy the excellency of the inferiour Sex. I doubt not but the Reader will quickly find more than I can say, and the worst effect of his reading will be unbelief, which will make him question whether it be a woman’s work and aske, “Is it possible?”
If any do, take this as an answer from him that dares avow it: It is the Work of a Woman, honoured, and esteemed where she lives, for her gracious demeanour, her eminent parts, her pious conversation, her courteous disposition, her exact diligence in her place, and discreet managing of her Family occasions, and more than so, these Poems are the fruit but of some few houres, curtailed from her sleep and other refreshments. I dare adde but little lest I keep thee too long; if thou wilt not believe the worth of these things (in their kind) when a man sayes it, yet believe it from a woman when thou seest it. This only I shall annex, I fear the displeasure of no person in the publishing of these Poems but the Author, without whose knowledg, and contrary to her expectation, I have presumed to bring to publick view, what she resolved in such a manner should never see the Sun; but I found that diverse had gotten some Scattered Papers, and affected them well, were likely to have sent forth broken pieces, to the Authors predjudice, which I thought to prevent, as well as to pleasure those that earnestly desired the view of the whole.
Anne Bradstreet and Her Time, Helen Campbell, Public Domain