What reassurance does Bradstreet give her grown children?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Anne Bradstreet's poem, "In Reference to Her Children, 23 June 1659," Mrs. Bradstreet, in recalling all the experiences of her children's youth as the metaphor of little birds in her nest, the pains and cares taken with them, reassures her children that their having grown up has not terminated her concern for them:

Great was my pain when I you bred,

Great was my care when I you fed.

Long did I keep you soft and warm

And with my wings kept off all harm.

My cares are more, and fears, than ever,

My throbs such now as fore were never.

Alas, my birds, you wisdom want

Of perils you are ignorant.

In fact, Bradstreet is even more concerned about her children, her "birds," because they are unworldly and naive about the dangers that lie beyond their home. And, although the metaphor of the bird is extended for a lengthy fashion, Bradstreet's poem expresses tenderly the feeling of motherly love.

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