Upon The Burning Of Our House Analysis: Inspired by an actual event, Anne Bradstreet writes this long poem narrating the event. Anne is believed to have written this poem after a tragic incident of her house burning down. She describes the painful incident through this poem to the readers, and every line reflects her sadness.
She begins the poem with a three-line text as a warning or stamp that the following lines are written solely on the incident of her house burning down on July 10, 1666. The lines are as follows:
Here Follows Some Verses Upon the Burning of Our House, July 10th. 1666. Copied Out of a Loose Paper.
Students can also check the English Summary to revise with them during exam preparation.
Upon The Burning Of Our House Summary
The poet begins the poem by expressing shock at how a pleasant night turned into a night with gloominess. She speaks about how carefree she went to sleep, little knowledge about the events that will shape the night.
She was sleeping in peace when she heard a thundering and chaotic noise of someone shouting fire. She further describes how that noise made her feel. The poet wishes that no man in the world should ever be unfortunate enough to hear those noises.
The speaker describes how she watches the house burnt down and her goods turn into ashes. However, she blesses the almighty for he who gives takes away. She remembers all the pleasant events that used to happen in the house, which won’t happen anymore.
The poet grieves on her favourite shelf, turning to ashes. Her well-furnished house burning down gives her pain beyond measures. The tragic incidents have broken her to the extent that she will no longer be able to love.
However, the poet believes that God does what is good and devotes herself to the faith once again.
Upon The Burning Of Our House Themes
The major themes of the poem are loss, grief, and faith. The poem begins with feelings of loss. The poet describes the incident and how it stunned her. We could feel her loss, her crying heart.
The poem further describes her grief. The grief of losing her house, where no more pleasant activities can happen. She grieves that her furnished house is gone in ashes taking away her favourite spot in the house, her favourite shelf and the dreams she had.
Proceeding to the end, we see that the poet, despite all the loss, believes that God has his ways. She believes that God will eventually bring her happiness, and she truly belongs to him (God).
Upon The Burning Of Our House Structure and Form
The poem is a fifty-four lines long poem with no stanza division. It follows the traditional and most common poetic style and structure of complete rhyming of words at the end of each line. We can notice the use of the aabbccdd.. technique at the end of each line.
The poet uses these techniques to make the reader quickly jump to another line and continue the flow and rhythm of the poem effortlessly.
Upon The Burning Of Our House Literary Devices
The use of figurative language in the poem is quite broad. We can see the benefit of major literary devices that makes the lyrics better to read and consume. The major literary devices used in the poem are assonance, consonance, alliteration, imagery, enjambment, rhetorical question and symbolism.
Assonance is identified by the repetition of vowel sounds or tones. In the poem, we can see the lines “With glory richly furnished” and “By him who hath enough to do”, following assonance with the Upon The Burning Of Our House tone of the vowels I and o.
Consonance is the sound of the same consonant in a particular line. The poem writes, “Framed by that mighty Architect” and “Nor bridegroom’s voice e’er heard shall be”, where we can see the presence of consonance.
Alliteration is the repetition of consonant tone or sound in the same line. For example, the sound of I in “The world no longer let me, love.”
Imagery is the poetic technique that makes the readers imagine or see things delivered by the poet. The imagery is made by using various senses such as similes, metaphors, proverbs, etc. In the lines “The flame consume my dwelling place” and “Under thy roof no guest shall sit”, we can see a precise use of imagery.
Enjambment is an idea or thought that is break in between to continue another. For example, in the lines “It’s purchased and paid for too By Him who hath enough to do”, we can see the break of the line at “too,” where one thought quickly ends to make space for another.
A rhetorical question is a question asked to prove a point. Never does a rhetorical question has an answer. The poem asks several rhetorical questions such as “And did thy wealth on earth abide? Didst fix thy hope on mould’ring dust? The arm of flesh didst make thy trust?”
Symbolism is the use of words as symbols that define an inner meaning rather than the literal meaning. In this poem, fire is used as a symbol of destruction.
Detailed Analysis of Upon The Burning Of Our House
In silent night when rest I took,
For sorrow near I did not look,
I wakened was with thundering noise
And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice.
That fearful sound of “fire” and “fire,”
Let no man know is my Desire.
The speaker narrates that the night was silent when she was taking rest or sleeping, and little did she know that sorrow was on her doorsteps. She was awakened by a loud thundering noise and the pitiful cry of people. They were all shouting, fire!
This made the speaker cautious and frightened. She was so shocked by the pathetic cry due to the incidents that she prays that no man should be unfortunate enough to listen to such a cry.
The first lines clearly draw a picture for the readers of how the speaker felt when she realized there was a fire in her house.
I, starting up, the light did spy,
And to my God my heart did cry
To straighten me in my Distress
And not to leave me succourless.
Then, coming out, behold a space
The flame consume my dwelling place.
The speaker becomes stressed and remembers God, above. She cries to God for help and hopes that God will straighten her in this time of distress. She prays that God doesn’t leave her succourless. She turns to God for help.
The speaker then moves out of her house and stands to watch her house burning down. She is sad while writing the last line as she remembers watching her house burn down.
And when I could no longer look,
I blest His name that gave and took,
That laid my goods now in the dust.
Yea, so it was, and so ‘twas just.
It was his own, it was not mine,
Far be it that I should repine;
He might of all justly bereft
But yet sufficient for us left.
The speaker in these lines says that it was breaking her heart to look at the house burning down to ashes, but she still blesses the almighty. She believes that God gives and God takes away because everything is his.
The speaker has faith in her God and never ceases to break it down. She believes that her house’s burning might be painful and unfortunate, but it is justice done by God. Thus, she accepts God’s deed and relishes that there’s sufficient left.
Line 21- 26
When by the ruins oft I past
My sorrowing eyes aside did cast
And here and there the places spy
Where oft I sate and long did lie.
Here stood that trunk, and there that chest,
There lay that store I counted best.
When she walks by the ruins of her burnt house, the poet remembers all the places in the house that were dear to her. She is utterly saddened to look at the ruins and cast the house, where she often indulge in various activities.
She glances at the place she used to sit and lie down. She identifies the place where her trunk stood and chest lay. She sadly looks at the home where the store formerly played that she counted best.
In these lines, the poet is very overwhelmed and saddened by the present look of her house in ruins.
Line 27 – 34
My pleasant things in ashes lie
And them behold no more shall I.
Under thy roof no guest shall sit,
Nor at thy Table eat a bit.
No pleasant talk shall ‘ere be told
Northings recounted done of old.
No Candle e’er shall shine in Thee,
Nor bridegroom‘s voice e’er heard shall be.
The speaker is saddened by the way her pleasant things are into ashes. She realizes that she will never be able to touch, feel or behold the same objects. She speaks how under that roof, no guest shall ever sit anymore, nor will anybody eat at that table.
All the area for pleasant talks is gone, and no candle shall burn, or the bloomy voice of a bridegroom shall ever be heard under this roof. The poet remembers all the good things that used to happen in the house, which shall no longer exist.
Line 35 – 42
In silence ever shalt thou lie,
Adieu, Adieu, all’s vanity.
Then straight I ‘gin my heart to chide,
And did thy wealth on earth abide?
Didst fix thy hope on mould’ring dust?
The arm of flesh didst make thy trust?
Raise up thy thoughts above the sky
That dunghill mists away may fly.
The speaker, despite being heartbroken, takes a positive turn and bids farewell to her house. She then rhetorically questions all the material possessions and what they did for her. However, from a broader perspective, she knows that she has lost a lot, and life will not be very same after this.
She, however, takes a positive turn and says that she raises her thoughts above the sky, and slowly the smoke, the black mist must fly away to vanity from her house and her life.
Line 43 – 48
Thou hast a house on high erect
Framed by that mighty Architect,
With glory richly furnished,
Stands permanent though this be fled.
It‘s purchased and paid for too
By Him who hath enough to do.
These lines reflect one of the themes of this poet, God and faith. Here, the poet says that everyone has a house on high erect, in the heavenly land where God’s architect has made the glorious house for us to live in.
The almighty’s house is glamorously furnished with all that’s needed, and it shall never fall at any moment of destruction. That house is purchased and paid for by the almighty who has enough with him and for all of us. That is the house we all belong to and someday must reach.
Line 49 – 54
A price so vast as is unknown,
Yet by His gift is made thine own;
There‘s wealth enough, I need no more,
Farewell, my pelf, farewell, my store.
The world no longer let me love,
My hope and treasure lies above.
The price of that divine house is unknown, but it belongs to the God because only God can afford its pleasure. Further, the poet says that she has enough wealth, enough to start again, and needs no more of it. By these lines, she means that the blessing of her almighty is enough wealth for her, and the material possessions shall not compare to it.
She bids farewell to her pelf, her house, her favourite store, her memories in the house. She is extremely saddened by the event of her home burning down, but she is faithful towards her God.
In the last two lines, she says that she can no longer love the world, but she will have faith and belief. She says her only hope now lies in the attainment of God. She says that her treasures are not the material possessions that burned down but the treasures that God has planned for her.
The themes of sorrow, loss, acceptance and faith are very beautifully highlighted in the poem.
Similar poems to consider reading if you enjoy this poem are:
- Church Going by Philip Larkins
- The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket by John Keats
- To My Dear and Loving Husband by Anna Bradstreet
- The Collar by George Herbert
- They are all gone into the World of Light by Henry Vaughan
- The Oxen by Thomas Hardy
- Ash-Wednesday by TS Eliot
- Good Friday by Christina Rossetti
- A Hymn to God the Father by John Donne
- Done is a Battell on the dragon blak by William Dunbar.
What is the message in verses upon the burning of our house?
Major Themes in “Verses upon the Burning of our House”: Faith and acceptance are the major themes of this poem. The poem narrates a tragic incident that destroyed her home. It represents the internal struggle of the speaker whose earthly house turned into ashes.
What is here follow some verses upon the Burning of our House July 10th 1666 about?
In the poem “Here Follow Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House, July 10th, 1666,” the author expresses no anger or ill will at God for allowing the home she has lived in for so long to be destroyed by fire. She actually expresses thankfulness to God for allowing this physical destruction to occur.
What is the extended metaphor in verses upon the burning of our house?
Figurative language in this poem includes the use of extended metaphor. Bradstreet speaks of another house. The Architect (or designer/builder) is God. This house is better than her earthly home because it is furnished with spiritual glory.
What major point does Bradstreet make in upon the burning of our house?
Themes. While Bradstreet speaks on a variety of themes, such as loss, sorrow, and material wealth, the main focus of this poem is on God and religion. In the fifty-four lines of the pome Bradstreet details her emotional experience on the night that her home burned down and she lost all of her material possessions.