Conclusion, Part II: Grieving Parents, Grieving Children

  • Janet Goodall


Throughout history, children have risked death by disease, deprivation and violence. Therapies change and statistics with them, but world-wide, too many children still die. For centuries, wherever death occurred and from whatever cause, both mourners and watchers have found death in childhood to be especially moving: if the bell is tolling for one so young, how soon will it toll for me or for one of mine? This is the thought which underpins the epitaph composed by Sir John Beaumont (1583–1627) for his ‘dear son, Gervase Beaumont’. He speaks in his opening lines of the ‘songs of death’ he had often composed for others, and finishes,

Dear Lord, receive my son, whose winning love To me was like a friendship, far above The course of nature or his tender age; Whose looks could all my bitter griefs assuage: Let his pure soul, ordain’d seven years to be In that frail body which was part of me, Remain my pledge in Heaven, as sent to show How to this port at every step I go.


Scarlet Fever Dead Child Bereave Parent Dead Person Conceptual Building Block 
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    G.K. Chesterton, Autobiography (London, 1936), pp. 35–6.Google Scholar
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    J. Crowe Ransome, Selected Poems (New York, 1945).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

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  • Janet Goodall

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