Bridging the Gap Essay

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Bridging the Gap Paper Tina Flynn-Thompson ENG 306 Monday, April 6, 2015 Catherine Canino Bridging the Gap Paper This essay will attempt to explore the poetic elements of three pieces of 17th century poetry. Each piece will be compared and contrasted with the next and the method of each author analyzed. "On My First Son" by Ben Jonson, "The Altar" by George Herbert, and "To the Memory of My Beloved, the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare, and What He Hath Left Us" by Ben Jonson all ties together a theme of love and loss, of worship and praise, of regrets and sorrow, and finally friendship and loyalty. These elements are prominent in these poems; however, the elements themselves are directed very differently and create a surprising perspective of difference as they relate to human relationships, sorrow, faith, and pain. In "The Altar" by George Herbert, we encounter a man, who knows he is dying, who wishes to leave behind something that will worship the Lord even after he is gone. He arranges his poem in the shape of an altar and tells God he's building an altar made from his heart and held together with his tears. Herbert boldly states that nobody has carved or fixed up the "stones" he's using to build the altar, (they are as God created them). He's putting all of his heart and soul into this altar in order to show his praise. And in order to leave something behind after he's gone that will still worship God. In the end, he wants God's sacrifice to be his, and for God to bless this altar he has built for him. Our speaker is facing his own mortality, and yet his first thought is to God and how he can praise him now and after his passing. This is the first example of the prevalent theme of mortality, loss, love, and faith. In "On My First Son" by Ben Jonson we find a man who has lost his son, his joy. He feels the vastness of empty space, the loss has created,

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