Study Guide

To My Dear and Loving Husband Love

By Anne Bradstreet

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"To My Dear and Loving Husband" is one giant love fest. And it's not about just any old kind of love. We're talking unconditional, unstoppable, undying love. The speaker spends the bulk of the poem coming up with different ways to describe her love for her totally awesome husband, which is so strong that not even a river can "quench it," she claims. In addition to the speaker's love for her husband, we also learn a little bit about her husband's love for her. By the end of the poem, the speaker suggests that the love between her and her husband is so powerful that it can somehow give them immortality. Now that's love.

Questions About Love

  1. When the speaker says rivers cannot quench her love, to what is she comparing her love? What does that comparison really mean, anyway?
  2. Would you use some of the lines from the poem to declare your love for somebody? Or are they just too corny for your taste? 
  3. Do you think the lines about riches and gold are generic or clichéd? Or are they new and inventive? (Remember, she was writing this half a millennium ago!)
  4. Does the fact that the speaker mentions love in nearly every line make the poem annoying or tiresome? Or is it swoon-worthy all the way through?

Chew on This

Love is a powerful, binding force. In the poem, for example, it has the ability to make two people one.

Love defies definition. The speaker describes it in so many different ways because there is no one, simple way to explain it.

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