Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The First Poetry for Children: “Divine Emblems” by John Bunyan

During his lifetime, the English Puritan minister and writer John Bunyan (1628-1688) wrote some 60 works, mostly collections of his sermons. After the death of Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) and the restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660, Bunyan spent 12 years in prison for refusing to stop preaching.

John Bunyan
It was during his imprisonment that he began work on his best-known work, still in print today, the allegory Pilgrim’s Progress. The work wasn’t published until 1978, six years after his release from prison.

Bunyan also wrote poetry. Specifically, he wrote poetry for children. First published in 1686, his A Book for Boys and Girls, or, Country Rhimes for Children is considered to be the oldest book of poetry for children. In 1724, the work was renamed Divine Emblems, which makes it sound less for children and more for religious adults.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

Top illustration: two pages from the original Divine Emblems.

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