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On My First Son

On My First Son


by Ben Jonson

On My First Son Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Does "On My First Son" reflect genuine sadness?
  2. Is the speaker right to envy his dead son?
  3. Is this a poem you would ever recite at a funeral? Are there parts of it that you would maybe recite?
  4. Do you think this poem would help someone who has lost a loved one? Why/why not? 
  5. Do you consider "On My First Son" a beautiful poem? Explain.
  6. The famous critic Samuel Johnson once said: "where there is leisure for fiction [i.e., for making poetry, art, etc.] there is little grief." Do you agree with this idea? Explain your answer.

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