Infant Mortality in We are Seven by William Wordsworth and On My First Sonne by Ben Johnson
The two poems are 'We are Seven' by William Wordsworth and 'On My
First Sonne' by Ben Jonson.
Prior to 1900 infant mortality featured in most peoples lives but
although it was expected it still created personal catastrophe which
could be devastating. Although both 'We are Seven' and 'On My First
Sonne' are both taking about the subject of infant mortality, they
portray it in a very different way. Wordsworth's poem is about a young
girl who does not recognize death as a separation or loss which the
narrator feels he is trying to explain to her but in fact the girl
teaches him a lot more than he teaches her. Jonson's poem is about the
father-son relationship, an exploration of a father's feelings on the
loss of his son.
In Jonson's poem we get an insight into how Jonson is feeling over the
loss of his son. Jonson's poem has a complex structure and we can see
from this that perhaps he wanted to focus his mind on a poem to try
and ease the pain of his loss. The poem can also suggest to us that at
this point Jonson's feelings are also very complex as he uses
different arguments in his poem to try and convince himself that his
son is now at and advantage.
"My Sinne was too much hope of thee, lov'd boy"
In the opening lines we see how Jonson feels that he has loved his son
too much and that his future was too dependent on his son.
"Seven yeeres th'wert lent to me, and I thee pay,"
We see how Jonson feels at this point saying that he was only lent to
him and now he is paying for it because of the pain he is
experiencing. Jonson has decided that it would have been better not to
have had a son as it caused so much pain. Jonson doesn't consider the
good times that he and his son have shared and still wishes he could
"loose all father, now". Jonson's thought then changes and he begins
to question why he is unhappy as his son has gone to a better place -
"To have so soon scap'd worlds, and fleshes rage"
Jonson goes on trying to convince himself that he has gone to a better
place by saying what his son will now miss out on, wars and disruption
in the world. He also says he has missed out on being old and so will
miss all the pain that he connects with age mainly being loneliness.
We see some of Jonson's emotion through it when he says,
"â€¦say here doth lye
BEN. JONSON his best piece of poetrie."
This extract is very touching to the reader as it is showing how
Jonson actually feels. It is the only part in the poem that he really
shows his emotion in, for the rest of the poem he keeps it tightly
enclosed. We see how hurt Jonson is by the loss of his son but we also
see how proud he was of his son. In this short phrase he says how none
of his many talented poems...