About the Poet:
Anne Bradstreet (March 20, 1612- September 16, 1672) was one of the most prominent of Early English poets of North America. She was among the first few writers in England’s North American colonies to be published. Born in Northampton, England, she was a well-read scholar, especially affected by the works of Du Bartas. She was the first Puritan figure in American Literature for her notable works in poetry as well as her personal writings that were published posthumously.
Introduction to the poem:
Bradstreet involves the cycle of grief following joy in every sense of life. She narrates the tragedies of separation that could stand in between friendships. Before the birth of her child, she mentions in a letter about death being a surprise that can spring into her life at any given moment. Elements of separation dictate the poem where Bradstreet narrates the implications that could follow in any given situation or relation.
Setting of Before The Birth of One Of Her Children:
The poet, Anne Bradstreet, before the birth of one of her children, writes in a letter about this poem that deals with the unfortunate implications that death brings between relationships. In the lines “adversity doth our joyes attend” and “how soon, my Dear, death may my steps attend” portray her concern for the people in her life, like her husband and his friend whom she cannot help but worry for. The poem deals with her fear of separating from the dear ones in her life, but she also cannot help but to accept that such changes are inevitable and narrates her views on it in this poem.
Poetic Devices in Before The Birth of One Of Her Children:
Line 1: “All things within this fading world”
Line 2: “Adversity doth still our joys attend;
Line 3: “No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet”
Line 8: “How soon’t may be thy Lot to lose thy friend”
Line 13: “And if I see not half my days that’s due;”
Line 14: “What nature would, God grants to your and you;”
Line 17: “If any worth or virtue were in me”
Line 18: “Let that live freshly in thy memory”
Line 20: “Yet love thy dead, who long lay in thine arms”
Line 22: “Look at my little babes”
Line 25: “And if chance to thine eyes shall bring this verse”
Line 26: “With some sad signs”
Line 27: “And kiss this paper for thy “
Style of Before The Birth of One Of Her Children:
“All things within this fading world hath end” (A)
“Adversity doth still our joys attend” (A)
“No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet” (B)
“But with death’s parting blow is sure to meet.” (B)
Summary of Before The Birth of One Of Her Children:
The poem is a symbol of sorrow being a constant possibility within the joys of life. Bradstreet wishes to address the fact that she, along with everyone else in the world, is living an ignorant life where grief can surprise them at any given moment. She portrays her views on death playing a major role in separating two souls and being responsible for changing the lives of many individuals. The concern of her death troubles her the most which is why she writes this poem to her husband as a last message to be remembered by, if and when her death occurs.
Critical Analysis of Before The Birth of One Of Her Children:
Bradstreet addresses sorrowful circumstances in life that are relatable in life till this present day. She warns her readers to beware of death, which can divide the union of any two individuals. Although she is fearful of elements such as death tearing the couple apart, she has accepted the phase of the oblivion that she has to face. Bradstreet wishes to make people conscious of circumstances that hold the possibility of changing their lives but also leads through as an example of how to remain calm and hopeful throughout the journey that life has in store.
Central Idea of Before The Birth of One Of Her Children:
Anne Bradstreet’s poem is based around the concept of oblivion being a constant obstacle to the joys in our life. Although this oblivion is inevitable, Bradstreet enables the reader to look at it as a part and parcel of life. She expresses despair over the possible intrusion of death being the separator between her husband or children and herself, but she also cherishes these moments through this poem that she writes.
Tone of the Poem of Before The Birth of One Of Her Children:
The poem begins with Bradstreet describing the adversities that have control over most of the joys in our life. She believes there is nothing stronger than death to tear a friendship apart. She imagines death knocking on her doorstep and wonders that repercussions that will have to be taken once it is near. Bradstreet treats this poem as a few lines of farewell to her husband, in case the need for it arises. She then goes on to say that if she was worthy or of any virtue, her memory shall live forever in the minds of her near and dear ones. Kissing the letter as her probable posthumous message, she marks her goodbye as she sheds a few tears over the letter and presents it to her husband.
Bradstreet through this poem delivers the message of uncertainty and ignorance as a catalyst to the grieving moments in our lives. The factor of death dictating as a possibility throughout one’s life is what she conveys to her readers. She warns them about the uncertainties of life and how they always need to be aware of oblivion being inevitable and hence living their life to the fullest by being immersed completely in the present.
Contributor: Deeksha Honawar
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