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C/W Comparing The Poems; On My First Sonne, Ben Johnson And Mid-Term Break, Seamus Heaney

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H/W Comparing The Poems; On My First Sonne, Ben Jonson And Mid-Term Break, Seamus Heaney. It has been said that having a child is the greatest gift in the World; therefore losing a child must be devastating. Both of the above poems describe the tragedy of a young child dying. In the poem 'On My First Sonne' The author Ben Jonson speaks about the death of his son, at the age of seven; 'Seven yeeres thou wert lent to me'. Seamus Heaney however describes the death of his younger brother some time ago, when his brother was just four years old; 'A four foot box, a foot for every year'. Also, in an attempt to increase the reader's sympathy, both poems reveal the child's age later on in the poem. Although there are various changes of mood throughout both poems, it is crystal clear that both poets want peace and gentleness for the dead child. Seamus Heaney describes how soft candlelight 'soothed' the unfortunate child's bedside, whereas Ben Jonson bids his child to rest in 'soft' peace. ...read more.


Ben Jonson was confident in his plans of what to tell the world. It is as if Ben Jonson expects to be 'asked' whose grave it is and almost instructs the public to say it is his 'best piece of poetrie'. He is saying that no poetry on earth means as much to him as his son, and that his son was his greatest creation. For Seamus Heaney the unprecedented shift in social strata was an embarrassment: 'Old men standing up to shake my hand and tell me they were sorry for my trouble' and to see his father publicly crying, when hitherto 'He had always taken funerals in his stride'. Both poems are: short, concise and simply structured. Seamus Heaney's poem is made up of three-lined stanzas with seven paragraphs ending with a rhyming couplet whilst Ben Jonson's poem is similarly short but slightly different; it has twelve lines in iambic pentameter and two rhetorical questions. Seamus Heaney's simply told poem has a profound impact and Ben Jonson's 'On my first Sonne' is simple but also very controlled; he is trying to find reasons for the tragedy. ...read more.


of The Great War - now calling to mind so many unnecessary deaths that have already occurred, perhaps the poet is looking for some justification of the tragedy, trying to place it in 'the great scheme of things'. It is obvious that Ben Jonson's; 'On my first Sonne' was written a lot earlier than Seamus Heaney's poem because of his use of old English words like; 'thee' and 'thou' 'yeeres' and 'poetrie', it is written for a mature audience who could understand and share his feelings of grief for a lost child. Whereas Seamus Heaney's poem is much more modern and written in simple terms, so much so that a five year old, I'm sure could read and understand the words in it, if not the meaning. In Conclusion both poets end on a hurt note. Ben Jonson vows never to 'like too much', as if to say he will never love so deeply again. He has put up a metaphoric wall as a defence mechanism. Whereas Seamus Heaney concludes by reflecting on the smallness and brevity of a child's life. Yet still nothing is resolved and both poets convey their ongoing pain. ...read more.

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