The former four now ending their discourse,
Ceasing to vaunt their good, or threat their force.
Lo other four step up, crave leave to show
The native qualityes that from them flow:
But first they wisely shew’d their high descent,
Each eldest daughter to each Element.
— From The Four Humours in Man’s Constitution, by Anne Bradstreet
As a young puritan poet, Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) wrote several poems in fourfold arrangements, dealing with fourfold topics, she called Quaternions.
- Four Elements
- Four Seasons
- Four Humours
- Four Life Ages
She later added another to her oeuvre, writing one dealing with Monarchies or Empires.
Anne Hildebrand / Anne Bradstreet’s Quaternions and “Contemplations”, Early American Literature, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Fall, 1973), pp. 117-125 (9 pages)
Jane Donahue Eberwein / The “Unrefined Ore” of Anne Bradstreet’s Quaternions, Early American Literature, Vol. 9, No. 1 (Spring, 1974), pp. 19-26 (8 pages)
Jane D. Eberwein / Civil War and Bradstreet’s “Monarchies”, Early American Literature, Vol. 26, No. 2 (1991), pp. 119-144 (26 pages)