On my first son
- Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy,
- My sin was too much hope of thee, loved boy;
- Seven years th' wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
- Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
- O, I could 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.
From: Epigrams, 1616.
In memory of Johnson's son who died at the age of seven during an outbreak of the plague in 1603.
- --oOo-- -