What does Bradstreet request of her eight children in the future?"In Reference to Her Children,23 June 1659" by Anne Bradstreet

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Anne Bradstreet first cautions her children, as birds, metaphorically, in line 65:

O to your safety have an eye,

So happy may you live and die.

Then, in lines 81-92, after having told the children that she will "sing in seraphim," Bradstreet instructs them that, as they make nests of their own, they should in "chirping languages" tell their young that they had "a Dame that loved them well." that provided for her young as well as she could, nursing them until they were strong enough to fly on their own.  She instructed them in good and evil--"showed [them] joy and misery."  These instructions she gave to her children so that they would pass them on to their young in turn, thus preserving her words through the generations.

A poem of forty-six couplets, Bradstreet's poem tells of the universality of maternal love as it concludes with the mother's telling the children she will be happy if she remains in their memories:

Farewell, my birds, farewell, adieu,

I happy am, if well with you.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of this poem, what Anne Bradstreet is asking her children, essentially, is that they should remember her fondly after she is dead.  In addition, she wants them to tell their own children about her.  She wants her kids to tell their kids that she did her best to raise them in the right way, to be good people.  She says that if her kids do that, then she will be able to live on among them even after she has died.

You can find this in about the last 15 lines of the poem.

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