Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy; My sin was too much hope of thee, lovd boy; Seven years tho wert lent to me, and I thee pay, Exacted by thy fate, on the just day. O, could I lose all father, now! For why Will man lament the state he should envy? To have so soon scapd worlds and fleshs rage, And, if no other misery, yet age! Rest in soft peace, and, asked, say here doth lie Ben Johnson his best piece of poetry. For whose sake, hence-forth, all his vows be such, As what he loves may never like too much.
SummaryThe poem On My First Son by Ben Jonson is about a father that loses his son. He talks abouthow much he loved and adored him and howthe world is such an unforgiving place.
Speaker + AudienceThe speaker of the poem is the father (wereassuming Ben Jonson, because hes mentionedin the poem) and the audience is his son whowas taken from him too soon.
Mood + ThemeThe mood of the poem is sorrow and sadness.He continually grieves about his deceased sonwhich isnt the happiest of topics. The themeis that no one should take life for granted, asit could be taken away at any moment.
Lines that Stood OutThere were a couple of lines that really setthe tone and mood of the poem and give ussome insight on understanding the speakersmessage and perspective.
Line 1"Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;" In this line, we get an image of a father holding his sonshand, but then the son being pulled away. This linealready shows us how important he was to the father,because the son was like his right hand; always with him.
Line 3"Seven years tho wert lent to me, and I thee pay" This line explains that the speakers son was "taken" fromhim at a young age (7). Almost as if the son was lent tohim, only to be taken away.
Line 5"O, could I lose all father, now!" Here, we see that the speaker feels as if he has now lostall the father to him because his son was taken away. Thisshows that he was extremely close with this boy and thathe is losing a piece of himself.
Poetic DevicesSymbolism:- The author compares the son to a piece of poetry whenit says "Ben Johnson his best piece of poetry". This meansthat the fathers best work and accomplishment in life wasraising and caring for his son.- Religious theme; "thou child of my right hand" mighthave had something to do with Jesus sitting on the righthand of the Father.