The Muse and the Mother in Bradstreet's "The Prologue" and "The Author to Her Book"
Early female authors and poets almost always introduced their work with some sort of apology for speaking out at all. Such an apology or plea was necessary for any woman who didn't want to be viewed as arrogant or rebellious, or otherwise out of line with her societal role. Bradstreet writes as the Muse by writing about writing in her poems "The Prologue" and "The Author to Her Book." In "The Prologue" she writes as the Muse, and in the second poem she writes as the Mother, which is synonymous with the Muse.
"The Prologue" stood as the introduction for her book The Tenth Muse. This poem is both an attack on men's attitudes towards women as writers and a plea for them not to condemn her poetry on the basis of her gender. She is not asserting that she is equal to male poets; in fact, she bases her plea on the idea that women are naturally inferior to men, and therefore should not be held to the same standard in their writing.
At the same time, she says that women should be allowed to write the best they can with whatever skill they have, and that men should not see them as a threat since they can only make them look more talented anyway.
Bradstreet begins the poem by claiming that she isn't attempting to touch the same subjects as men. "To sing of wars, of captains, and of kings,/.../For my mean pen are too superior things" (lines 1, 3). Already, she has identified herself as inferior. In the last two lines of the same stanza, she says that those subjects are for "poets and historians" and that she will not "dim their...