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“On My First son” by Ben Jonson

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 435
  • Category: Emotions

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In the poem “On my first son” Ben Jonson uses powerful diction and language to convey his emotions of anger and despair. These emotions which he feels as a Father over the loss of his son makes him question his faith in his maker.

In the first stanza Jonson conveys his sense of loss by using its diction and language. The words “farewell” of his “joy” in the first sentence show us the deep emotional pain he fell by losing the “child of [his] right hand”. Jonson has described his son with innocent and, literally, happy words. The use of “loved” and “joy” illustrates a relation that is deep and profound making its importance greater. The author carries undertone of anger has he uses words such as “sinne ” and “I thee pay”. The anger is confronts his faith with the word “lent to me”. The third line also shows the mental struggle Jonson faces with the untimely death of his son.

In the second stanza Jonson tries to control his raging emotions by justifying gods plan. He tries and believes that his son is fortunate to have “escaped worlds” and the agony and pain of flesh so early. Jonson tries weakly to envy his son’s sudden departure to heaven which is shown by the sentence “And if no other miserie, yet age?”. The poet tries and escapes the pain of his child’s death by wishing he forgot all memories and responsibilities of being the father “O, could I loose all father now!”. The sentence ” Why will man lament the state he should envy?” gives us an opening in to Jonson’s mind. He leaves his own experiences behind and questions the reason for grief. Jonson also questions the importance of life by believing that death is a more desirable state.

The third stanza shows Jonson’s anger and his realization of death and life. Th poet finally comes to terms with the death of his son. The use of the sentence “rest in soft piece” creates a peaceful and serene atmosphere for the reader. The contrast of this soft mood from the angry mood of the second stanza causes an abrupt change in thinking. The contrast in atmosphere also could be related to the author own life, the death of his son destroys his peace and he comes to comprehend the death. The stanza ends with Jonson loathing his own emotions, he plans to never love and like again. These final words also carry an undertone of anger towards his maker, an anger which if fuelled by the pain of life.

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