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Isaac Watts poem - tears or tears?

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JAK

posted on Oct, 6 2006 @ 10:02 AM
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I was reading a poem by Isaac Watts (Let Dogs Delight) today which included:




    LET dogs delight to bark and bite,
    For God hath made them so;
    Let bears and lions growl and fight,
    For 'tis their nature too.

    But children, you should never let
    Your angry passions rise;
    Your little hands were never meant
    To tear each others eyes.


and was chatting to a friend about whether the last quoted line was tear as in rip/shred or used poetically for tear as in to bring tears to/make cry. I quite like the interpretation of to tear as in bring tears to, it could then be in reference to any behavior likely to cause pain to another, not just the physical. The reference to 'little hands' could be interpreted a metaphor for actions in general.

What do you think, or know it is supposed to be read as? Or is it perhaps a question that adds to the poem and is best left unanswered?


Jak



[edit on 6/10/06 by JAK]




posted on Oct, 6 2006 @ 10:28 AM
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I think it's written to let the reader come to their own interpretation, but the poet was probably citing more of the physical sense since the the earlier prose cites animals and their physical actions.

there can be also "tears of joy" so emotions were probably less of a factor than the physical harm man can do each other which probably far greater than the emotional harm can be done, broken hearts, souls and minds can be mended but the physical isn't that easy.


JAK

posted on Oct, 6 2006 @ 10:35 AM
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I think you're right WW. I see how it could be easily read as rip considering the preceeding passage but then is poetry usually not meant to be so vulgar in it's apparent meaning.

Also in talking to my Girlfriend (literally as you were posting) she too suggested that it was perhaps the poet's intention to leave it ambiguous and let the reader interpret it as they might. I didn't think of that initially
but I definately agree.

Jak

[edit on 6/10/06 by JAK]



posted on Oct, 6 2006 @ 10:47 AM
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I'd have to agree with both of you, as to it being left open to interpretation.

... not to inflict injury, harm nor fear whether it be physical or emotional.

Nice poem, JAK

Thanks for sharing




[edit on 10/6/2006 by 12m8keall2c]



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