Compare and Contrast Two Poets Opinions On Infant Mortality.

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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 – heaven.

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“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,

“…say here doth lye

BEN. JONSON his best piece of poetrie.”

This extract is very touching to the reader as it is ...

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