So, as I'm reading American writers, I though I'd share some of the American poets in this anthology. Anne Bradstreet is considered to be the first American woman poet, although she was born in England in around 1612 & emigrated to Massachusetts with her husband in 1626. This poem, Before the birth of one of her children, is addressed to her husband in the event of her death in childbirth. Anne had eight children, so she must have faced these fears every time. It's such a poignant, loving poem & must have reflected the feelings of every woman who faced the dangers of childbirth until very recent times.
While I was looking up Anne, I discovered that, among her descendants, is another of the American writers I want to read, Sarah Orne Jewett. Maybe it's a sign...
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 is 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 are both ignorant, yet love bids me
These farewell lines to recommend to thee,
That when that 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 interr’d 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 Dames injury.
And if chance to thine eyes shall bring this verse,
With some sad sighs honour my absent hearse;
And kiss this paper for thy loves dear sake,
Who with salt tears this last Farewell did take.