Elegies Ben Johnson's and Dylan Thomas Essay

Pages: 3 (1139 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

Elegies

Ben Johnson's and Dylan Thomas's Elegies

Throughout time, poetry has allowed countless poets to express their emotions and beliefs regarding love, loss, nature, and a multitude of other philosophical questions they may have about themselves and the world around them. Through a comparison of Ben Johnson's poem "On My First Sonne" and Dylan Thomas's poem "Do not go gentle into the good night" demonstrate the timeless ability of nature to serve as a vehicle for emotional expression and serves as a device for learning to cope with loss.

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Written in 1616, Johnson's "On My First Sonne" details the impact that the death of his son had on Johnson. Although only 12 lines in length, the poem can be divided into four distinct, straightforward sections. In the first section allows Johnson to address how much he loved his son and how important he considered his son to be. Johnson writes, "Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;/My sin was too much hope of thee, lov'd boy./Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay,/Exacted by thy fate, on the just day" (lines 1-4) Johnson admits that he had too many hopes for his son, and believes them to be one of his greatest sins. In this section, Johnson uses allusion to infuse the poem with his religious beliefs although he does not implicitly use religious symbols. Johnson believes that his son was lent to him by God for a mere seven years before being called back to the heavens and that there was nothing that could be done to prevent his death as it was "[e]xacted by thy fate" (line 4).

Essay on Elegies Ben Johnson's and Dylan Thomas's Elegies Assignment

The poem transitions to anger and confusion as Johnson attempts to come to terms with his loss. Johnson wishes that he could rid himself of the fatherly attachment he has yet recognizes that he has been blessed to be a father and writes, "Oh, I could lose all father now! For why/Will man lament the state he should envy?" (lines 5-6). Johnson's lament over "the state he should envy" can also be taken to mean that he is envious of death because it allows a person to escape the "world's and flesh's rage,/and if no other misery, yet age!" (lines 7-8). Johnson's fluctuating emotions are best represented in this section as he writes that he not only feels envy, but that he believes he is constantly bombarded by rage and misery.

The last two sentences of the poem can be analyzed as different sections because of the emotions that can be attributed to them. Johnson writes, "Rest in soft peace, and, ased, say, Here doth lie/Ben Johnson his best piece of poetry./for whose sake henceforth all his vows be such/as what he loves may never like too much." (lines 9-12). In the first section, Johnson is attempting to reconcile his emotions, however, in these concluding sentences, he appears to not only have accepted his son's death, but also resolved to never put himself in a position to suffer the emotional pain he has suffered again in the second section. In this concluding section, Johnson reinforces his love for his departed son by calling referring to him as "his best piece of poetry," thus creating a connection between two of his greatest passions, family and poetry. Furthermore, by comparing his son to poetry, Johnson infers that his son was not only his greatest achievement or… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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