Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain, Who after birth didst by my side remain, Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true, Who thee abroad, exposed to public view, Made thee in rags, halting to th' press to trudge, Where errors were not lessened (all may judge). At thy return my blushing was not small, My rambling brat (in print) should mother call, I cast thee by as one unfit for light, The visage was so irksome in my sight; Yet being mine own, at length affection would Thy blemishes amend, if so I could. I washed thy face, but more defects I saw, And rubbing off a spot still made a flaw. I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet, Yet still thou run'st more hobbling than is meet; In better dress to trim thee was my mind, But nought save homespun cloth i' th' house I find. In this array 'mongst vulgars may'st thou roam. In critic's hands beware thou dost not come, And take thy way where yet thou art not known; If for thy father asked, say thou hadst none; And for thy mother, she alas is poor, Which caused her thus to send thee out of door.
Anne Bradstreet - 1612-1672
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 harmes, 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 stepdame'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.