Ben Jonson, "Still To Be Neat", "On My First Son", And "Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes".

977 words - 4 pages

Ben Jonson was a major dramatist and poet of the seventeenth century. However, very little is known about his early life. Even though his works reflect most of his life, this time period isn't included. It is known, however, that he was born in 1572 in London and his father died shortly before he was born. Jonson got married in 1594 to Anne Lewis, and this is when he began to work as an actor and playwright. During the next several years they had at least two children, but not much else is known about their marriage. His works led him to being one of the well known writers among readers and other playwrights such as William Shakespeare, who played a lead in one of Jonson's plays. I will show and analyze just a few of Ben Jonson's poems in this paper.The first poem I read by Ben Jonson was "Still to Be Neat". The poem is written as if a man were talking to a woman. It is about their relationship and passion towards each other, as you can see in this poem, it is not put bluntly. There are many figures of speech throughout the poem. One example of this is "feast" in line 2. It is perhaps a metaphor for a place that is not suitable for passion to be shown. Another example of figurative language in this poem is a symbol. In line 7 of the poem, "give me a face" symbolizes her and him becoming one, which also contributes to the poem's meaning. The meaning is the comparison between art and lovers.Jonson's structure for this poem is very simple. It has 2 stanzas, each consisting of 6 short lines. Each two lines are rhyming lines. The last line in the first stanza, "All is not sweet, all is not sound", is using parallel structure. This is intended for the reader to want to hear the speakers remarks. Also, the subject of the speaker switches from neatness to passion and love which also signifies the central theme, the comparison between art and lovers.This theme is that of human nature. A comparison is created between the secretive, passionate side of human nature and that of "adulteries of art". Both sides are shown in this poem for the reader in the description of art in lines 5-11.The next poem is called "On My First Son". It was written in memory his son who died on his seventh birthday of a plague in 1603. Even with this sad tone however, the writing is very intriguing.In the first line he approaches the boy bidding him farewell and seeks meaning for his loss throughout the poem. Jonson blames himself for his son's death saying in a way that he hoped too much for him who was only on loan to him. In line 3, "Seven years though wert lent...

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