In keeping with my preference for wrist-slitting poetry, I give you Ben Jonson's "On My First Daughter." Jonson (1572-1637) was roughly a contemporary of Shakespeare's (1564-1616), and wrote important plays (Volpone, The Alchemist, Epicene), masques (The Masque of Blackness and the Masque of Oberon), and enough verse to please even me. If there's been no Shakespeare, we'd probably have a Jonson requirement in a lot of English majors.
On a trip to Scotland in 1618, Jonson hung out with one William Drummond of Hawthorndon, who recorded Jonson's conversation, included ribald stories about that other playwright guy. Poor old WD, also a poet, will be remembered for his notetaking skills rather than his own poetry. Maybe, though, that's not so bad; his "conversations" are one of those weird quirky artifacts that give those of us who care about really dead folks grist. Thanks, WD!
So, this poem. When someone tells you that medieval and early modern people didn't care about their kids because they died so often, think of this poem, and of Jonson's poem after the death of his son Ben, and know better.
On My First Daughter
HERE lies to each her parents' ruth,
Mary, the daughter of their youth:
Yet, all heaven's gifts, being heaven's due,
It makes the father, less, to rue.
At six months' end, she parted hence
With safety of her innocence;
Whose soul heaven's queen, (whose name she bears)
In comfort of her mother's tears,
Hath placed amongst her virgin train:
Where, while that severed doth remain,
This grave partakes the fleshly birth.
Which cover lightly, gentle earth.