TWO POEMS BY BEN JONSON
1. On My First Daughter
2. On My First Son
On My First Daughter
Here lies, to each her parents’ ruth,
Mary, the daughter of their youth;
Yet all heaven’s gifts being heaven’s due,
It makes the father less to rue.
At six months’ end, she parted hence
With safety of her innocence;
Whose soul heaven’s queen, whose name she bears,
In comfort of her mother’s tears,
Hath placed amongst her virgin-train:
Where, while that severed doth remain,
This grave partakes the fleshly birth;
Which cover lightly, gentle earth!
On My First Son
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.
Oh, could I lose all father now ! For why
. .Will man lament the state he should envy?
To have so soon ‘scaped world’s and flesh’s rage,
. .And if no other misery, yet age !
Rest in soft peace, and, asked, say, Here doth lie
. .Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry.
For whose sake henceforth all his vows be such
. .As what he loves may never like too much.