"On My First Sonne" by Ben Jonson

Essay by maloka May 2007

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“On My First Sonne” is an elegy in which the poet is expressing his deep sorrow and lamenting the death of his first son. Jonson contrasts his anguish feeling with that of satisfaction that his son must be now in a better place, in heaven. Jonson here uses careful phrasing and strong diction (language) to create a vivid image of sorrow and sadness for the death of his son.

The poet starts the poem by bidding a farewell to his only son , a line which is so moving and touching saying now goodbye my son, my only source of joy and happiness in this life. He comapred his son to his “right hand” to the great worth of his son and how he was part of his body. It also has a religious reference where in the Bible it is believed that Jesus is sitting at God’s right hand.

Farewell thou child of my right hand, and joy:The poet then continues to express his utter sadness by expressing that the only sin he has committed in life was loving his son too much and having put too much hope on him, yet he is now unable to overcome this desperate feeling of loss.

The reader of this poem cannot ignore the religious connotations that Jonson used when he was comparing his son to a loan from God,which he had to repay after seven years on the “just day” because this is his fate. This metaphor reflects the idea that all people belong to God . At this point, the reader becomes aware of his religion and faith in God and also in his ideas of an after life.

Seven yeers tho wert lent to me,and I thee pay, Exacted by thy fate ,on the just day.

Moreover, he started...