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Before the Birth of One of Her Children by Anne Bradstreet


This poem is a reflection on heart, home, and God. It goes on to speak of death, including her own, in hopes that she is remembered for her worth and values. The poet also speaks of the tears which were shed while writing this.

The poem by Bradstreet is written in couplet rhymes with pentameter lines. Nonetheless, it is arranged as simply one single piece and not split up into stanzas. Why is this? Perhaps it's because the author felt it was one single thought about a single subject. What is it with authors and death, anyway? Obviously, it's something we all think about, but we hardly ever put it into words. Poets like Bradstreet help put our own thoughts into words.


Before the Birth of One of Her Children

All things within this fading world hath end,
Adversity doth still our joys attend;
No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet,
But with death's parting blow are sure to meet.
The sentence past is most irrevocable,
A common thing, yet oh, inevitable.
How soon, my dear, death may my steps attend,
How soon't may be thy lot to lose thy friend,
We both are ignorant, yet love bids me
These farewell lines to recommend to thee,
That when the knot's untied that made us one,
I may seem thine, who in effect am none.
And if I see not half my days that's due,
What nature would, God grant to yours and you;
The many faults that well you know I have
Let be interred in my oblivious grave;
If any worth or virtue were in me,
Let that live freshly in thy memory
And when thou feel'st no grief, as I no harms,
Yet love thy dead, who long lay in thine arms,
And when thy loss shall be repaid with gains
Look to my little babes, my dear remains.
And if thou love thyself, or loved'st me,
These O protect from step-dame's injury.
And if chance to thine eyes shall bring this verse,
With some sad sighs honor my absent Hearse;
And kiss this paper for thy dear love's sake,
Who with salt tears this last farewell did take.

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