Poem: originally comes from the Greek, meaning a thing made or created
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Poem: originally comes from the Greek, meaning a thing made or created. Ben Jonson (1572-1637) was an actor, playwright and a poet. During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

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Ben Jonson (1572-1637) was an actor, playwright and a poet. During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

He lived through many traumas: not only did his son die at a young age but he was also convicted of murdering a fellow actor, Gabriel Spencer, fought as a soldier in Flanders,

Jonson never saw his father, who died before he was born.

As well as writing plays he also wrote two collections of poetry.

Want to know more? CLICK HERE (this is an external link).


Put the Poem Back in Order During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

Look for clues in the punctuation as well as in the sense of the lines


On my first Sonne During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;

My sinne was too much hope of thee, lov’d boy.

Seven yeeres tho’wert lent to me, and I thee pay,

Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.

O, could I loose all father, now. For why

Will man lament the state he should envie?

To have so soone scap’d worlds, and fleshes rage,

And, if no other miserie, yet age?

Rest in soft peace, and, ask’d, say here doth lye

Ben. Jonson his best piece of poetrie.

For whose sake, hence-forth, all his vows be such,

As what he loves may never like too much.

Ben Jonson 1616


Farewell, During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

thou child of my right hand, and joy;

What kind of a statement is this? Who is he speaking to?


Religion was really important in the 17 During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!th Century. Who sat at the right hand of God? Is there a connection?

Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;

How did he feel about his son?


The church had very strict rules in the 17 During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!th Century. Your relationship with your loved ones should have been seen as second to your relationship with God. Maybe Jonson feels that his relationship with God was not as it should have been and that as a result, God has taken his son away?

Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;

My sinne was too much hope of thee, lov’d boy.

Jonson believes that he has sinned by loving his son too much. He feels responsible for his son’s death.


Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy; During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

My sinne was too much hope of thee, lov’d boy.

Seven yeeres tho’wert lent to me, and I thee pay,

Why use this word?

How is he paying?


Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy; During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

My sinne was too much hope of thee, lov’d boy.

Seven yeeres tho’wert lent to me, and I thee pay,

Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.

‘just’ means – morally right and fair. Jonson believes his punishment to be fair.


Bank of GOD During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

You owe ME one child!

Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;

My sinne was too much hope of thee, lov’d boy.

Seven yeeres tho’wert lent to me, and I thee pay,

Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.

In the first four lines of the poem, Jonson forms the beginnings of an ‘extended metaphor’. His child’s life has been a seven year loan. The day that his son died is the day that he paid back the loan.

Did you know that Jonson’s child was called Benjamin and that ‘child of my right hand’ is the English translation of this Hebrew name?


Now spelt ‘lose’ During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

O, could I loose all father, now. For why

Will man lament the state he should envie?

Father is him & GOD. What could this statement be suggesting? (Who has his son gone to be with?)


Now spelt ‘lose’ During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

O, could I loose all father, now. For why

Will man lament the state he should envie?

Wanting what his son has got.

Father is him (Jonson) & GOD. What could this statement be suggesting? (Who has his son gone to be with?)

Be sad about something


Escaped During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

O, could I loose all father, now. For why

Will man lament the state he should envie?

To have so soone scap’dworlds, and fleshes rage,

And, if no other miserie, yet age?

His son has managed to escape the earthly misery of ageing.

There is a real CONTRAST to his feelings in the first part of the poem. Why do you think he uses the phrases ‘escaped worlds’ and ‘fleshes rage’?

The misery is on earth


O, could I loose all father, now. For why During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

Will man lament the state he should envie?

In the first part of the poem we saw Jonson blame himself for his son’s death. He created the image that his son had only been lent to him.

In the next four lines we see a contrast to his earlier feelings. He now displays a little jealousy at the fact that his son has escaped the miseries of earth and found the peaceful and envious place of Heaven.

To have so soone scap’d worlds, and fleshes rage,

And, if no other miserie, yet age?


An Epitaph? During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

Rest in soft peace, and, ask’d, say here doth lye

Ben. Jonsonhis best piece of poetrie.

Is he talking about this poem or something else? Poetry is a creation.This is a metaphor for something he created. What?

Who is he talking about here?


Rest in soft peace, and, ask’d, say here doth lye During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

Ben. Jonson his best piece of poetrie.

promises

For whose sake, hence-forth, all his vows be such,

As what he loves may never like too much.

He got too close to his son and was hurt badly. He promises never to get that close to the ones he loves again!


Rest in soft peace, and, ask’d, say here doth lye During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

Ben. Jonson his best piece of poetrie.

In the final four lines of the poem, Jonson says farewell to his son – ‘rest in peace’. He says that his son was the best thing he ever had a hand in creating.

He has also learnt that getting close to the people you love can cause immense grief; something he vows to avoid in the future.

For whose sake, hence-forth, all his vows be such,

As what he loves may never like too much.


Discuss the meaning of the word poem
Discuss the meaning of the word Poem… During his day he was a very highly regarded playwright, even more so than his contemporary, William Shakespeare, who appeared in one of his plays!

…in light of the contradiction/tension in the poem: Jonson knows that his son belongs to God and has returned to him (“I thee pay”), yet simultaneously he is claiming his son as his own creation, “his best piece of poetrie”.


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