The poem tells us that the child is very playful and adventurous by using phrases like ‘Fit playfellow for Fays, by moonlight pale’ the poet is trying to say that his son is a fit playmate for a fairy or elf as they seem to be adventurous and cheerful. The last part ‘by moonlight pale’ could mean that his son is bursting with energy and can play all day till night time when the moon is out. The poem also suggests that the poet’s son is mischievous but also innocent by using phrases like ‘Thou imp of mirth and joy!’ which suggests the writer is saying his son is a mischievous child of laughter and joy. The phrase ‘untouched by sorrow and unsoiled by sin’ suggests that the child is innocent and has no sin as it is only a small child.
‘Thou cherub but of earth’ also tells us that the child is innocent and sweet. The poem also uses phrases ‘That dog will bite him if he pulls its tail!’ ‘He’ll break the mirror with that skipping-rope!’ ‘He’ll have that jug off, with another shove!’ ‘He’s got a knife!’ and ‘He’s got the scissors, snipping at your gown’ to show that the child is young and playing innocently unaware of the harm that it could cause. The poem also tells us that the child is a very happy and joyful child by using phrases like ‘happy, happy elf!’, as elves are happy, ‘Thou merry, laughing sprite!’ laughter is a sign of happiness and ‘In harmless sport and mirth’ which is also laughter.
The poet uses poetic devices like enjambment ‘From every blossom in the world that blows- Singing in Youth’s Elysium ever sunny’ tells us that the child lives in ideal happiness and perfect bliss it also shows the excitement moving from one line to the next. A metaphor is used: ‘Thou happy, happy elf!’ the poet is comparing the child to an elf as they are cheerful and small which creates the effect of you thinking of images in your head. The simile ‘Light as the singing bird that wings the air’ also creates the image in your head of how a bird flies smoothly which looks effortless and weightless.
The poet also uses ambiguity with the phrase ‘No storms, no clouds, in thy blue sky foreseeing’ as what it means is that the child is not troubled but always happy, the use of phrases like this will get you thinking about the different possibilities that it could mean. Another simile is ‘Balmy, and breathing music like the south’ which creates the images of calmness, and another simile is ‘Fresh as the morn, and brilliant as its star’ makes you think that the stars in the morning aren’t that bright so this could also be an allusion. Pathetic fallacy is used in the last stanza ‘Bold as the hawk, yet gentle as the dove’ which emphasises the mood and emotion of the poem.