Edward Taylor’s poem ‘Upon wedlock and death of children’ shows the poet’s grief after losing his children. Apparently, the piece was written for personal use only, considering the emotional attachment he develops in the poem.
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In the beginning, the poem appears to be happy and uplifting. For instance, the poet says, “A manly flower breaks out”, and “…another Flower…” which probably means the happiness that follows the birth of his first two children. However, the tone of the poem changes progressively from happiness to sadness as the poet narrates his sorrow.
In the first stanza, the poet talks about love- true love. It is clear that the poet is talking about his love for his wife and the wife’s love for him. He says, “It was true love… sweet than spice…” He is happy that God gave him a lovely wife. He seems to love his wife and children.
In the second stanza, the poet talks about his joy for having a lovely family. He compares his wife and children to roses, primrose, and lilies that have all beautiful colors and nice smells.
In the third stanza, the poet is talking about the birth of his children. He says that he planted his stock and soon flowers started breaking out. This is an indication of his appreciation for the birth of his first child. Then he says “and my branch did… bring out another flower…” In this way, he attempts to describe the happiness in the family upon the birth of the two children.
However, the tone of the poem starts changing in the fourth stanza. Here, he describes the sudden death of the first child. The poet uses the term “it”, to show that the child died early in its infancy and soon after the birth of the second child. He believes that the Angels were responsible for the death of the child and even took it to heaven. Using the phrases “darksome hour”, the poet describes the sad moment he and his wife experienced upon the child’s death. However, using a small stanza, the poet says that Christ also wanted to have a nice and lovely flower in his presence, which means that the poet accepts that Jesus took the child to live with him because it was nice.
The poet shows his commitment to God in the sixth stanza. Here, he says that he has no choice but to accept the fact that God did according to his will. He thanks God for his actions, despite the sad moments surrounding the death of the child.
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In the seventh stanza, the poet describes the birth of another son and daughter after the death of the first lot. Similarly, the births brought happy moments in the family. It makes the poet forget the sad moments he had experienced when the first children were sick with a fever that caused vomiting, groaning, and pains for six weeks.
In the last stanza, the poet seems to be requesting God to take care of him and his family. It seems the poet is afraid that God might decide to take the remaining children away from him. He tells God that the children belong to Him and should do according to his will. However, he hopes that all will be well. It is clear that the poet is still in grief for the loss of the first children.