Sunday 20 October 2013


2013-38   Don't Criticise: The Toys - Coventry Patmore

Coventry Patmore [1823-1896]
   [ Coventry Patmore (1823–1896)
s one of the least known but highly-regarded Victorian poets. He was also an English critic who had a deep concern for religion. A collected edition of Patmore's poems appeared in two volumes in 1886, with his characteristic preface: "I have written little; but it is all my best. I have never spoken when I had nothing to say, nor spared time or labour to make my words true. I have respected posterity; and I dare to hope that it will respect me."
The Angel in the House is considered to be his best poem. The Unknown Eros is full of exalted thought, expressed in poetry of the richest and most dignified melody.The homely but elevated pathos of "The Toys" therein, are unsurpassed in English poetry.] 

    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, 
I struck him, and dismiss'd 
With hard words and unkiss'd,
—His Mother, who was patient, being dead.
Then, fearing lest his grief should hinder sleep, 
I visited his bed, 
But found him slumbering deep, 
With darken'd eyelids, and their lashes yet 
From his late sobbing wet. 
And I, with moan, 
Kissing away his tears, left others of my own; 
For, on a table drawn beside his head, 
He had put, within his reach, 
A box of counters and a red-vein'd stone, 
A piece of glass abraded by the beach, 
And six or seven shells, 
A bottle with bluebells, 
And two French copper coins, ranged there with careful art, 
To comfort his sad heart.

So when that night I pray'd 
To God, I wept, and said: 
Ah, when at last we lie with trancèd breath, 
Not vexing Thee in death, 
And Thou rememberest of what toys 
We made our joys, 
How weakly understood 
Thy great commanded good, 
Then, fatherly not less 
Than I whom Thou hast moulded from the clay, 
Thou'lt leave Thy wrath, and say, 
'I will be sorry for their childishness.' 




1 comment:

  1. Throughout the entire evening, our service was poor. I was thirsty when I walked in, so I drank my glass of water almost immediately - it was not filled up once in 90 minutes of sitting there. Taxi Coventry to London