Wednesday, December 20, 2006

postal scrotum: Annika peeks at Jonson

La belle Annika, sans peur et sans reproche, was kind enough to take a look at the Ben Jonson situation. Her take:

Oh gawd Ben Jonson is too difficult for me. I think the poem is about time. It's better to live [a] short and beautiful life, like the "lily of a day" than to live like an oak only to die "dry, bald, and sere."

Jonson lost a son, who was only seven years old, so that sentiment makes sense. He wrote about it:

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.

This might dovetail with Nathan's intuition that Jonson was referring to a person who has passed away. Hm.


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