Ben Jonson's On My First Sonne

1762 Words8 Pages
Ben Jonson's On My First Sonne Ben Jonson writes On My First Sonne from a father’s point of view grieving over the death of his very young son. The title alone suggests which time period this poem is from i.e. it is from the 17th century (1603)- when the poet’s son Benjamin died- through the use of language of the time. This poem has been written in memory of a seven year old child whose death has dealt a great blow to a father. Throughout the poem, the use of religious comparisons and words creates a vivid picture of the thoughts running in the mind of Ben Jonson and we know almost exactly what he feels. The inter-relation of father and son in this piece of poetry leads us back to the beginning of the poem. The son, sitting on the right hand of his father, would remind a Christian reader of the Creed, in which the Son 'sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.' What others would interpret from the line-“Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;” is that a father is bidding farewell to his most loved one and his heir. Again in line 2, when the poet says “My sinne was too much hope of thee, lov’d boy”, the poem suggests that Ben had taken his son much for granted as if now he possessed him and so loved him too much. It is ironical as he is comparing the love towards his son as a sin. As mentioned, he now considered that, love, his “sin” which has a deep meaning from a religious point of view. A sin, in the eye of GOD is a bad deed but in this case means a mistake or an error. The language used, hence in relation with religion, exclaims Ben Jonson’s sorrow and love for the child; despite the fact that he is in a way happy ... ... middle of paper ... ...es of the poem. Contrastingly, in Refugee Mother and Child, the mother still showed her love and affection towards the child in the last few days. She cannot let go as easily. Most mothers would in this situation have lost hope and would have “ceased / to care…” but not her. She would ‘fight’ this sorrow till the end. Both poems hence clearly depict the true feelings about the death of a child. We get the perspective from two points of view in either case i.e. from a mother’s and a father’s point of view and the feeling before and after the death of a child. The language used is very specific and has been used in the most appropriate contexts. Sorrow and remorse are the main themes of both poems along with death of a child, yet there is another shadow of a theme i.e. the ‘sin’ of loving the child so much which causes almost endless grief in the end.
Open Document