Before the Birth, Ann Bradstreet
1. All things within this fading world hath end,
2. Adversity doth still our joys attend;
3. No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet,
4. But with death’s parting blow are sure to meet.
5. The sentence past is most irrevocable,
6. A common thing, yet oh, inevitable.
7. How soon, my Dear, death may my steps attend,
8. How soon may be thy lot to lose thy friend,
9. We both are ignorant, yet love bids me
10. These farewell lines to recommend to thee,
11. That when the knot’s untied that made us one,
12. I may seem thine, who in effect am none.
13. And if I see not half my days that’s due,
14. What nature would, God grant to yours and you;
15. The many faults that well you know I have
16. Let be interred in my oblivious grave;
17. If any worth or virtue were in me,
18. Let that live freshly in thy memory
19. And when thou feel’st no grief, as I no harms,
20. Yet love thy dead, who long lay in thine arms,
21. And when thy loss shall be repaid with gains
22. Look to my little babes, my dear remains.
23. And if thou love thyself, or loved’st me,
24. These O protect from stepdame’s injury.
25. And if chance to thine eyes shall bring this verse,
26. With some sad sighs honor my absent hearse;
27. And kiss this paper for thy dear love’s sake,
29. Who with salt tears this last farewell did take.
Using apostrophe, the poem’s speaker addresses