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, 
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 tranced 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.’

 

Coventry Patmore

 

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