These prose writings, predominantly religious in tone, are like
Perhaps the collection most like this one from the period was written by
, who took the opposite side from Lady Bridgewater in the English Civil War, but shared with her the experience of striving for a properly pious response to God's taking away her children. Lady Bridgewater's titles are self-explanatory. A Prayer when I was with Child
is a title used for several prayers, one of which thanks God for the blessing of her son and daughter who lived long enough to be christened, and beseeches: when I come to the cruell grones of labour, in this my travaile giue me patience.
A late example is entitled, as if she now needs to be more careful over distinguishing them, A Prayer when I was with Child of Stuart
. A Prayer in time of Labour
calls that time this height of paine.A Prayer after I was brought to Bed
says thou art ever mercyfull and hast brought us at this time from many and great dangers, and me from the great torture of Childbirth.
Other speaking titles include A Prayer when I continued wth [sic] Child, after I thought I should have fallen in Labour
(a tiny narrative), Upon occasion of the death of my Boy Henry
(who died at twenty-nine days when his mother was twenty-nine years old: she prays that she may avoid wishing he had never been born),
and When I lost my Deare Girle Kate
(who died of smallpox
at twenty-two months, a promising child, much loved by her brothers and sister, who would make her mind knowne at any time, & was kind to all, even to Strangers, & had no Anger in her
Two more poems on Kate follow.
's writings almost all connected with family. Here, however, the family is not a network of individuals wielding power in the social sphere, but a succession of babies prone to illness and, all too frequently, to death. Lady Bridgewater writes frequently and eloquently about pregnancy, labour, child illnesses, and child death, in a collection amounting, as Travitsky argues, to a kind of autobiography of her own most challenging experiences.