In November of 1812 William and Mary Wordsworth's third child became sick with the measles. His name was Thomas, he was just six years old and seemed to be holding up well for five days before he suddenly died on the first of December. The death of a child was much more common two hundred years ago but it can hardly have been any easier to bear. This is what William wrote to his friend
For myself dear Southey I dare not say in what state of mind I am; I loved the Boy with the utmost love of which my soul is capable, and he is taken from me - yet in the agony of my spirit in surrendering such a treasure I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it. God comfort and save you and all our friends and us all from a repetition of such trials. - O Southey feel for me!