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‘In Memory Of My Dear Grandchild’ is a poem written by Anne Bradstreet. It was written following the untimely demise of her grandchild, Elizabeth, who was deceased on June 20, 1669.
About the Poet:
Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) was an eminent English poet. She was famed for being the first woman New World Poet. Famous works of hers include ‘The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America’, ‘To My Dear and Loving Husband’, and ‘The Flesh and the Spirit’.
Farewell dear babe, my heart's too much content, Farewell sweet babe, the pleasure of mine eye, Farewell fair flower that for a space was lent, Then ta'en away unto eternity. Blest babe why should I once bewail thy fate, Or sigh the days so soon were terminate; Sith thou art settled in an everlasting state.
The poem begins with a mournful farewell. The persona, the grieving grandparent, bids adieu to her grandchild. Despite being overwhelmed by the child’s death, the persona states that they are “content” and do not wish to “bewail thy (the grandchild’s) fate” for being taken away too soon as they are assured of the child passing to a better place– immortalized into its “everlasting state” in Heaven.
By nature trees do rot when they are grown. And plums and apples thoroughly ripe do fall, And corn and grass are in their season mown, And time brings down what is both strong and tall. But plants new set to be eradicate, And buds new blown, to have so short a date, Is by His hand alone that guides nature and fate.
Here, the persona accepts the inevitability of death. They draw a parallel between nature letting go once its time is up being similar to that of the passing of their grandchild, citing several examples. They conclude by stating that “His hand”, referring to God, “guides nature and fate”’, thus stating that death is God’s will.
This is a beautifully sad poem. It captures the heartwrenching emotions of an aged grandparent as they come to grips with their grandchild’s early passing, eventually accepting the inevitable with grace.