Bridging the Gap
January 28, 2014
Poetry of the 17th century is unique because it is of a metaphysical nature and it is deeper in meaning that the courtly love poetry before its time. It focuses on love, death, and loss other than death such as innocence and material possessions. The seemingly imposable things such as the afterlife and Heaven are said to be metaphysical in nature and both subjects are present in the three selected poems for this paper. Ben Jonson exhibits grief upon the loss of his first daughter and his first son in the poems “On My First Son” and “On My First Daughter”, but his grief is displayed in different tones. Anne Bradstreet exhibits grief over the loss of her home and all of her material possessions in “Here Follows Some Verses Upon the Burning of Our House July 10th, 1666”, but her grief turns into a comforting tone as she realizes her true possessions are in Heaven, not on Earth. “Thou hast a house on high erect, framed by that mighty Architect, with glory richly furnished” (Ferguson, Salter, & Stallworthy, 2005, p. 467). The three chosen poems deal with loss and grief. The poet of each poem expresses religious beliefs in Heaven and the afterlife and a comforting tone is exhibited for the reader to find comfort in the possibility that a better life exists beyond life on Earth.
Ben Jonson was a poet born in 1572 and died in 1637. His work is often considered classical dramatics. His poem “On My First Son” expresses sorrow for the death of his first son. The poem is an elegy which means the poem is a serious reflection and a mournful poem about the dead. This is a twelve line poem with six pairs of rhyming couplets. Line five is the most emotional line. “O could I lose all father now!” (Ferguson et al., p. 323). Jonson tries to see death as an escape from the world. There is a calmer tone later in the poem as the poet is speaking in a more positive mood, seeing his son as his finest creation. The poem is written from the...
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