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On My First Sonne by Ben Jonson


This poem was written after his son, Benjamin, died at age seven. It is a reflection of the poet's pain he felt during his son's passing. This is one of Jonson's more acutely moving works. It is written in rhyming couplets and iambic pentameter.

Death always brings out the most emotions. And because of this, sadly, a lot of the best poems ever written were about this subject. Instead of something happy, we get death. But death is something we all go through. We all know a loved one who passed away and we all know we will die sooner or later, but that doesn't make it any less of an impact, especially when it is one of our children.


On My First Sonne

Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
  My sin was too much hope of thee, loved boy.
Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
  Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
Oh, could I lose all father now! For why
  Will man lament the state he should envy?
To have so soon 'scaped world's and flesh's rage,
  And if no other misery, yet age!
Rest in soft peace, and asked, say, Here doth lie
  Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry.
  For whose sake henceforth all his vows be such
As what he loves may never like too much.

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