Monday, January 18, 2010


...Cum Iunone iocos et 'maior vestra profecto est

...they'll remarry

100. Cf. Part III, l. 204.

115. Cf. Part III, l. 195.

118. Cf. Webster: 'Is the wind in that door still?'

126. Cf. Part I, l. 37, 48.

138. Cf. the game of chess in Middleton's Women beware Women.

176. V. Spenser, Prothalamion.

192. Cf. The Tempest, I. ii.

196. Cf. Marvell, To His Coy Mistress.

197. Cf. Day, Parliament of Bees:

199. I do not know the origin of the ballad from which these lines are taken: it was reported to me from Sydney, Australia.

202. V. Verlaine, Parsifal.

210. The currants were quoted at a price 'carriage and insurance free to London'; and the Bill of Lading, etc., were to be handed to the buyer upon payment of the sight draft.

218. Tiresias, although a mere spectator and not indeed a 'character', is yet the most important personage in the poem, uniting all the rest. Just as the one-eyed merchant, seller of currants, melts into the Phoenician Sailor, and the latter is not wholly distinct from Ferdinand Prince of Naples, so all the women are one woman, and the two sexes meet in Tiresias. What Tiresias sees, in fact, is the substance of the poem. The whole passage from Ovid is of great anthropological interest:

221. This may not appear as exact as Sappho's lines, but I had in mind the 'longshore' or 'dory' fisherman, who returns at nightfall.

23. Cf. Ecclesiastes 12:5.

253. V. Goldsmith, the song in The Vicar of Wakefield.

257. V. The Tempest, as above.

264. The interior of St. Magnus Martyr is to my mind one of the finest among Wren's interiors. See The Proposed Demolition of Nineteen City Churches (P. S. King & Son, Ltd.).

266. The Song of the (three) Thames-daughters begins here. From line 292 to 306 inclusive they speak in turn. V. Götterdammerung, III. i: The Rhine-daughters.

279. V. Froude, Elizabeth, vol. I, ch. iv, letter of De Quadra to Philip of Spain:

293. Cf. Purgatorio, V. 133:

307. V. St. Augustine's Confessions: 'to Carthage then I came, where a cauldron of unholy loves sang all about mine ears'.

308. The complete text of the Buddha's Fire Sermon (which corresponds in importance to the Sermon on the Mount) from which these words are taken, will be found translated in the late Henry Clarke Warren's Buddhism in Translation (Harvard Oriental Series). Mr. Warren was one of the great pioneers of Buddhist studies in the Occident.

309. From St. Augustine's Confessions again. The collocation of these two representatives of eastern and western asceticism, as the culmination of this part of the poem, is not an accident.

31. V. Tristan und Isolde, i, verses 5–8.

357. This is Turdus aonalaschkae pallasii, the hermit-thrush which I have heard in Quebec County. Chapman says (Handbook of Birds in Eastern North America) 'it is most at home in secluded woodland and thickety retreats.... Its notes are not remarkable for variety or volume, but in purity and sweetness of tone and exquisite modulation they are unequalled.' Its 'water-dripping song' is justly celebrated.

360. The following lines were stimulated by the account of one of the Antarctic expeditions (I forget which, but I think one of Shackleton's): it was related that the party of explorers, at the extremity of their strength, had the constant delusion that there was one more member than could actually be counted.

367–77. Cf. Hermann Hesse, Blick ins Chaos:

401. 'Datta, dayadhvam, damyata' (Give, sympathize, control). The fable of the meaning of the Thunder is found in the Brihadaranyaka--Upanishad, 5, 1. A translation is found in Deussen's Sechzig Upanishads des Veda, p. 489.

407. Cf. Webster, The White Devil, V, vi:

411. Cf. Inferno, xxxiii. 46:

42. Id. iii, verse 24.

424. V. Weston, From Ritual to Romance; chapter on the Fisher King.

427. V. Purgatorio, xxvi. 148.

428. V. Pervigilium Veneris. Cf. Philomela in Parts II and III.

429. V. Gerard de Nerval, Sonnet El Desdichado.

431. V. Kyd's Spanish Tragedy.

433. Shantih. Repeated as here, a formal ending to an Upanishad. 'The Peace which passeth understanding' is a feeble translation of the conduct of this word.

46. I am not familiar with the exact constitution of the Tarot pack of cards, from which I have obviously departed to suit my own convenience. The Hanged Man, a member of the traditional pack, fits my purpose in two ways: because he is associated in my mind with the Hanged God of Frazer, and because I associate him with the hooded figure in the passage of the disciples to Emmaus in Part V. The Phoenician Sailor and the Merchant appear later; also the 'crowds of people', and Death by Water is executed in Part IV. The Man with Three Staves (an authentic member of the Tarot pack) I associate, quite arbitrarily, with the Fisher King himself.

60. Cf. Baudelaire:

63. Cf. Inferno, iii. 55–7:

64. Cf. Inferno, iv. 25–27:

68. A phenomenon which I have often noticed.

74. Cf. the Dirge in Webster's White Devil.

76. V. Baudelaire, Preface to Fleurs du Mal.

77. Cf. Antony and Cleopatra, II. ii. 190.

92. Laquearia. V. Aeneid, I. 726:

98. Sylvan scene. V. Milton, Paradise Lost, iv. 140.

99. V. Ovid, Metamorphoses, vi, Philomela.

"Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi
in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent:
τι θελεις
; respondebat illa: αποθανειν θελω."

A noise of horns and hunting, which shall bring

Actaeon to Diana in the spring,

all'orribile torre.

Also F. H. Bradley, Appearance and Reality, p. 346:

'Ara vos prec per aquella valor

Arbiter hic igitur sumptus de lite iocosa

At pater omnipotens (neque enim licet inrita cuiquam

che l'aura eterna facevan tremare.

che morte tanta n'avesse disfatta.

Corpora serpentum baculi violaverat ictu

dependent lychni laquearibus aureis incensi, et noctem flammis funalia vincunt.

Deque viro factus, mirabile, femina septem

di gente, ch'io non avrei mai creduto

Dicta Iovis firmat; gravius Saturnia iusto

Dixit 'ut auctoris sortem in contraria mutet,

ed io sentii chiavar l'uscio di sotto

Egerat autumnos; octavo rursus eosdem

Ere the worm pierce your winding-sheet, ere the spider

Facta dei fecisse deo) pro lumine adempto

For Ezra Pound
il miglior fabbro.

Forma prior rediit genetivaque venit imago.

Fourmillante cité, cité pleine de rêves,


APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding

A little life with dried tubers.

And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.

And I was frightened. He said, Marie,

And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,

And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,

Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch.

Dull roots with spring rain.

Earth in forgetful snow, feeding

I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

In the mountains, there you feel free.

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.

Memory and desire, stirring

My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,

Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee

Winter kept us warm, covering

With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,

(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),

A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,

And I will show you something different from either

And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,

And the dry stone no sound of water. Only

Der Heimat zu.

Frisch weht der Wind

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,

Looking into the heart of light, the silence.

Mein Irisch Kind,

Od' und leer das Meer.

Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;

Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,

Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither

There is shadow under this red rock,

'They called me the hyacinth girl.'

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow

Wo weilest du?

—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,

You cannot say, or guess, for you know only

'You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;

Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not

Your shadow at morning striding behind you

(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)

And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,

Had a bad cold, nevertheless

Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,

Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,

I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.

Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,

Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,

One must be so careful these days.

Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:

Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,

The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.

The lady of situations.

Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find

Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,

With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,

A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,

And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.

Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,

'Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?

I had not thought death had undone so many.

'Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,

'Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?

'Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!

Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,

'That corpse you planted last year in your garden,

There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying 'Stetson!

To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours

Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,

Unreal City,

With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.

'You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!

'You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!'


(Another hid his eyes behind his wing)

Above the antique mantel was displayed

And drowned the sense in odours; stirred by the air

And other withered stumps of time

And still she cried, and still the world pursues,

As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene

Burned green and orange, framed by the coloured stone,

Doubled the flames of sevenbranched candelabra

Filled all the desert with inviolable voice

Flung their smoke into the laquearia,

Footsteps shuffled on the stair.

From satin cases poured in rich profusion;

From which a golden Cupidon peeped out

Glowed into words, then would be savagely still.

Glowed on the marble, where the glass

Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines

Huge sea-wood fed with copper

THE Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne,

In fattening the prolonged candle-flames,

In vials of ivory and coloured glass

In which sad light a carvèd dolphin swam.

'Jug Jug' to dirty ears.

Leaned out, leaning, hushing the room enclosed.

Reflecting light upon the table as

So rudely forced; yet there the nightingale

Spread out in fiery points

Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling.

That freshened from the window, these ascended

The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king

The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it,

Under the firelight, under the brush, her hair

Unguent, powdered, or liquid—troubled, confused

Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,

Were told upon the walls; staring forms

'I never know what you are thinking. Think.'

'My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.

'Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak.

'What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?

I think we are in rats' alley

Where the dead men lost their bones.

And if it rains, a closed car at four.

And we shall play a game of chess,

'Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?'



I remember

'I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street

It's so elegant

Nothing again nothing.


O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag—

Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door.

So intelligent

The hot water at ten.

The wind under the door.

Those are pearls that were his eyes.

'What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?'

'What is that noise?'

'What shall I do now? What shall I do?'

'What shall we ever do?'

'With my hair down, so. What shall we do to-morrow?

'You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember

When Lil's husband got demobbed, I said—

(And her only thirty-one.)

(She's had five already, and nearly died of young George.)

And if you don't give it him, there's others will, I said.

And no more can't I, I said, and think of poor Albert,

And they asked me in to dinner, to get the beauty of it hot—

But if Albert makes off, it won't be for lack of telling.

Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night.

Goonight Bill. Goonight Lou. Goonight May. Goonight.

He said, I swear, I can't bear to look at you.

He'll want to know what you done with that money he gave you

He's been in the army four years, he wants a good time,






I can't help it, she said, pulling a long face,

I didn't mince my words, I said to her myself,

If you don't like it you can get on with it, I said.

It's them pills I took, to bring it off, she said.

Now Albert's coming back, make yourself a bit smart.

Oh is there, she said. Something o' that, I said.

Others can pick and choose if you can't.

Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight.

The chemist said it would be alright, but I've never been the same.

Then I'll know who to thank, she said, and give me a straight look.

To get yourself some teeth. He did, I was there.

Well, if Albert won't leave you alone, there it is, I said,

Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon,

What you get married for if you don't want children?

You have them all out, Lil, and get a nice set,

You ought to be ashamed, I said, to look so antique.

You are a proper fool, I said.


A rat crept softly through the vegetation

And bones cast in a little low dry garret,

And on her daughter

And on the king my father's death before him.

And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors;

But at my back from time to time I hear

But at my back in a cold blast I hear

By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept...

Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind

Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.

Departed, have left no addresses.

Dragging its slimy belly on the bank

Et, O ces voix d'enfants, chantant dans la coupole!

THE river's tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf

Musing upon the king my brother's wreck

O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter

On a winter evening round behind the gashouse

Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed.

Rattled by the rat's foot only, year to year.

Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends

Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring.

Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,

Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long.

Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.

The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.

The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,

The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring

They wash their feet in soda water

While I was fishing in the dull canal

White bodies naked on the low damp ground

Jug jug jug jug jug jug

So rudely forc'd.


Twit twit twit

Asked me in demotic French

C.i.f. London: documents at sight,

Followed by a weekend at the Metropole.

Mr. Eugenides, the Smyrna merchant

To luncheon at the Cannon Street Hotel

Under the brown fog of a winter noon

Unreal City

Unshaven, with a pocket full of currants

(And I Tiresias have foresuffered all

A small house agent's clerk, with one bold stare,

And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit...

And makes a welcome of indifference.

And walked among the lowest of the dead.)

As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.

At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives

At the violet hour, when the eyes and back

Bestows on final patronising kiss,

Enacted on this same divan or bed;

Endeavours to engage her in caresses

Exploring hands encounter no defence;

Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;

He, the young man carbuncular, arrives,

Her drying combinations touched by the sun's last rays,

Her stove, and lays out food in tins.

His vanity requires no response,

Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea,

I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs

I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives,

I too awaited the expected guest.

I who have sat by Thebes below the wall

Like a taxi throbbing waiting,

Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see

On the divan are piled (at night her bed)

One of the low on whom assurance sits

Out of the window perilously spread

Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest—

Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.

The meal is ended, she is bored and tired,

The time is now propitious, as he guesses,

The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights

Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits

Which still are unreproved, if undesired.

And puts a record on the gramophone.

Hardly aware of her departed lover;

Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass:

Paces about her room again, alone,

She smoothes her hair with automatic hand,

She turns and looks a moment in the glass,

'Well now that's done: and I'm glad it's over.'

When lovely woman stoops to folly and

And a clatter and a chatter from within

And along the Strand, up Queen Victoria Street.

Beside a public bar in Lower Thames Street,

Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold.

O City city, I can sometimes hear

Of Magnus Martyr hold

The pleasant whining of a mandoline

'This music crept by me upon the waters'

Where fishmen lounge at noon: where the walls

Down Greenwich reach

Drifting logs

Oil and tar

Past the Isle of Dogs.

Red sails

The barges drift

The barges wash

The river sweats

To leeward, swing on the heavy spar.

Wallala leialala

Weialala leia


With the turning tide

A gilded shell

Beating oars

Carried down stream

Elizabeth and Leicester

Red and gold

Rippled both shores

Southwest wind

The brisk swell

The peal of bells

The stern was formed

Wallala leialala

Weialala leia

White towers

He wept. He promised "a new start".

Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew

I can connect

I made no comment. What should I resent?'

la la

'My feet are at Moorgate, and my heart

My people humble people who expect

Nothing with nothing.


'On Margate Sands.

Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe.'

The broken fingernails of dirty hands.

'Trams and dusty trees.

Under my feet. After the event

Undid me. By Richmond I raised my knees

To Carthage then I came

Burning burning burning burning

O Lord Thou pluckest me out

O Lord Thou pluckest



A current under sea

And the profit and loss.

Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

Entering the whirlpool.

Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep seas swell

Gentile or Jew

He passed the stages of his age and youth

O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,

PHLEBAS the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,

Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell


After the agony in stony places

After the frosty silence in the gardens

He who was living is now dead

Of thunder of spring over distant mountains

Prison and place and reverberation

The shouting and the crying

AFTER the torchlight red on sweaty faces

We who were living are now dying

With a little patience

A pool among the rock

A spring

Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think

And also water

And dry grass singing

And no rock

And water

But dry sterile thunder without rain

But red sullen faces sneer and snarl

But sound of water over a rock

But there is no water

Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit

Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop

From doors of mudcracked houses
If there were water

Here is no water but only rock

Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit

If there were only water amongst the rock

If there were rock

If there were the sound of water only

If there were water we should stop and drink

Not the cicada

Rock and no water and the sandy road

Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand

The road winding above among the mountains

There is not even silence in the mountains

There is not even solitude in the mountains

Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees

Which are mountains of rock without water

But when I look ahead up the white road

—But who is that on the other side of you?

Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded

I do not know whether a man or a woman

There is always another one walking beside you

When I count, there are only you and I together

Who is the third who walks always beside you?

Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air

Falling towers

Jerusalem Athens Alexandria

Murmur of maternal lamentation

Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth

Ringed by the flat horizon only


Vienna London

What is that sound high in the air

What is the city over the mountains

Who are those hooded hordes swarming

A woman drew her long black hair out tight

And bats with baby faces in the violet light

And crawled head downward down a blackened wall

And fiddled whisper music on those strings

And upside down in air were towers

And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.

Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours

Whistled, and beat their wings

Bringing rain

Co co rico co co rico

Dry bones can harm no one.

In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust

In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing

In this decayed hole among the mountains

It has no windows, and the door swings,

Only a cock stood on the rooftree

Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel

There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home.

By this, and this only, we have existed




Damyata: The boat responded

Datta: what have we given?

Dayadhvam: I have heard the key

Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar

Gaily, when invited, beating obedient

Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves

Gathered far distant, over Himavant.

In our empty rooms

My friend, blood shaking my heart

Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours

Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider

Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor

Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus

The awful daring of a moment's surrender

The jungle crouched, humped in silence.

The sea was calm, your heart would have responded

Then spoke the thunder

Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison

To controlling hands

Turn in the door once and turn once only

Waited for rain, while the black clouds

We think of the key, each in his prison

Which an age of prudence can never retract

Which is not to be found in our obituaries

Fishing, with the arid plain behind me

I sat upon the shore

Shall I at least set my lands in order?

London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down

Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.

Le Prince d'Aquitaine à la tour abolie

Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina

Quando fiam ceu chelidon—O swallow swallow

These fragments I have shored against my ruins

Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe.

Shantih shantih shantih




Illa negat; placuit quae sit sententia docti

In the afternoon we were in a barge, watching the games on the river. (The queen) was alone with Lord Robert and myself on the poop, when they began to talk nonsense, and went so far that Lord Robert at last said, as I was on the spot there was no reason why they should not be married if the queen pleased.

In the first part of Part V three themes are employed: the journey to Emmaus, the approach to the Chapel Perilous (see Miss Weston's book), and the present decay of eastern Europe.

Iudicis aeterna damnavit lumina nocte,

Line 20 Cf. Ezekiel 2:7.

Make a thin curtain for your epitaphs.

My external sensations are no less private to myself than are my thoughts or my feelings. In either case my experience falls within my own circle, a circle closed on the outside; and, with all its elements alike, every sphere is opaque to the others which surround it.... In brief, regarded as an existence which appears in a soul, the whole world for each is peculiar and private to that soul.

Nam duo magnorum viridi coeuntia silva

Nec pro materia fertur doluisse suique

non avea pianto, ma' che di sospiri,

Not only the title, but the plan and a good deal of the incidental symbolism of the poem were suggested by Miss Jessie L. Weston's book on the Grail legend: From Ritual to Romance (Macmillan). Indeed, so deeply am I indebted, Miss Weston's book will elucidate the difficulties of the poem much better than my notes can do; and I recommend it (apart from the great interest of the book itself) to any who think such elucidation of the poem worth the trouble. To another work of anthropology I am indebted in general, one which has influenced our generation profoundly; I mean The Golden Bough; I have used especially the two volumes Adonis, Attis, Osiris. Anyone who is acquainted with these works will immediately recognize in the poem certain references to vegetation ceremonies.


Nunc quoque vos feriam!' percussis anguibus isdem

Où le spectre en plein jour raccroche le passant.

Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina.

Quaerere Tiresiae: venus huic erat utraque nota.

Quam, quae contingit maribus', dixisse, 'voluptas.'

'que vos guida al som de l'escalina,

Quivi, secondo che per ascoltare,

'Ricorditi di me, che son la Pia;

Schon ist halb Europa, schon ist zumindest der halbe Osten Europas auf dem Wege zum Chaos, fährt betrunken im heiligen Wahn am Abgrund entlang und singt dazu, singt betrunken und hymnisch wie Dmitri Karamasoff sang. Ueber diese Lieder lacht der Bürger beleidigt, der Heilige und Seher hört sie mit Tränen.

Scire futura dedit poenamque levavit honore.

si lunga tratta

Siena mi fe', disfecemi Maremma.'

'sovegna vos a temps de ma dolor.'

The Waste Land

Vidit et 'est vestrae si tanta potentia plagae',

When of the sudden, listening, you shall hear,

Where all shall see her naked skin...