Late 16th and Early 17th Poetry: Ben Jonson

Poems written by Ben Jonson
On my First Son, Still to be Neat, Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes

Poetic Devices prevalent in Ben Jonson’s Work
Epigram, Parallel Structure, Imagery (sensory imagery), Classical Allusion

Poem’s structure in Ben Jonson’s Work
end-stopped line, speaker, enjambment, regular rhyme

On My First Son
rhyme scheme: aabbccddeeff, 12 lines 1 stanza, in iambic pentameter as well as some rhyme on page. tone: somber, sorrowful, of grief, of lamentation, Jonson is mourning the death of his son at seven years old. Gives metaphor that God lent him his son and it was time to give him back, Wonders why we are sad for people who die, since we should be jealous that they have escaped earthly pain and old age. He calls his son his best work of art and then vows in an epigram to not like something he loves too much, saying you never know when something will be taken away.

Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes
rhyme scheme: abcbabcb efgfefgf, 16 lines 2 stanzas of 8, some parallel structure. tone: loving and affection, admiration. The speaker wants a woman to look at him lovingly and kiss him, and relates this to drinking to him with her eyes and he is thirsting for his kiss not wine. It is a thirst of the soul and would not trade any other cup for it than hers. he then talks about how he sends a wreath to the girl and she breaths on it and sends it back. He says it smells of her

Still to be Neat
rhyme scheme: aabbccddeeff, 12 lines 2 stanzas of 6, lots of parallel structure and rhyming couplets and slant rhyme. tone: the first stanza starts out judgmental and criticizing, than sweet.The speaker says how this woman is dressed elegantly and made up, and how this must hide a personal or physical flaw. Then he says how guys prefer natural look and reject the fake makeup, since it is more appeal if you are natural. Art makes things impure, and they are appealing to the mind but not the heart.