Study Guide

Toads Stanza 9

By Philip Larkin

Stanza 9

Lines 33-36

I don't say, one bodies the other
      One's spiritual truth;
But I do say it's hard to lose either,
      When you have both.

  • In the poem's final quatrain, the speaker considers what he's up against, living a two-toad-life.
  • He's not saying that the internal-toad (the personal sense of obligation, duty, or honesty) creates the external-toad (the societal expectations or the actual time and energy taken up by work) or vice-versa. One toad doesn't give life, give body, to the other.
  • It's the co-existence that makes things so hard. It's dealing with these internal and external forces in conjunction that makes it so difficult to live a fulfilled life.
  • The moral of the story: work is a hard thing to get out of—so steer clear of toads.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...