Coventry Patmore

(23 July 1823 - 26 November 1896 / Essex, England)

The Toys


My little Son, who look'd from thoughtful eyes
And moved and spoke in quiet grown-up wise,
Having my law the seventh time disobey'd,
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  • E C (9/18/2007 11:59:00 AM)

    Symbolism is in the eyes of the beholder. The father in this setting does not represent God any more than the son represents Jesus. What makes this poem live is the sadness in the human condition, that repeats itself ad infinitum. Who has not felt the unexpected wrath of someone they worship? Who has not hurt those whose very existence is intimately connected to his own? Who has not suffered the remorse of having acted hastily, foolishly and even viciously-characteristics so remote from what God is. This is not about life eternal, but about life temporal. (Report) Reply

  • S R (3/14/2006 9:34:00 AM)

    The poem Toys is very symbolic in its setting. Even though the poet speaks of his little son, from a broader perspective, the poem underlies the 'comfort' man resorts to, when God admonishes him... When man is buffeted for his faults, or when he encounters certain undesirable happenings in his life, he immediately resorts to other resorts to comfort and solace him, thus moving away from his creator. But still, God, much akin to Francis Thompson's 'Hound of Heaven, ' in all His grace forgives man for his shortcomings and kisses him (blesses him with His heavenly comfort) .
    The creator’s concern for His creation and the creation’s antipathy to the love of God are manifested in this poem. The slumber of the child represents the forgetfulness and the sheer childish callousness of children towards elders (here God) .
    The lines
    “anged there with careful art,
    To comfort his sad heart”
    are of particular significance because, man in his love of the world, forgets whatever blessings he has derived from the Almighty and turns to the world in times of distress.
    The poem has a great import on the love of God and the antipathy of man. (Report) Reply

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