On My First Son | Study Guide

Ben Jonson

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Course Hero. "On My First Son Study Guide." March 2, 2020. Accessed July 28, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/On-My-First-Son/.


Course Hero, "On My First Son Study Guide," March 2, 2020, accessed July 28, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/On-My-First-Son/.



Ben Jonson

Year Published





Philosophy, Religion

Perspective and Narrator

The first two couplets in "On My First Son" are written in the second person. The poet and speaker, Ben Jonson (1572–1637), is apostrophizing, or speaking directly to someone who is absent. The first line of the next couplet uses the first person for Jonson's lamentation. The next three lines, though written in the third person, continue this lamentation. In lines 9 and 10 Jonson again uses the second person to address his son. The final couplet is in the third person.


"On My First Son" is recounted in both the past and the present tense.

About the Title

Jonson composed "On My First Son" shortly after his first son died of the plague at age seven. The poem serves as both an elegy and an epitaph for the boy.


This study guide for Ben Jonson's On My First Son offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.


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