This Etext has been prepared by Bill Brewer, email@example.com
[Project Gutenberg Editor's note: This Etext is prepared with an extended character set to display characters with diacritical marks appropriate to phrases and poems written in foreign languages. For a version of this poetry volume which uses a basic character set without diacritical marks, please see Project Gutenberg files named TSEPM10.TXT and TSEPM10.ZIP.]
by T. S. ELIOT
New York Alfred A. Knopf 1920
To Jean Verdenal 1889-1915
Certain of these poems first appeared in Poetry, Blast, Others, The Little Review, and Art and Letters.
Gerontion Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar Sweeney Erect A Cooking Egg Le Directeur Mélange adultère de tout Lune de Miel The Hippopotamus Dans le Restaurant Whispers of Immortality Mr. Eliot's Sunday Morning Service Sweeney Among the Nightingales The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Portrait of a Lady Preludes Rhapsody on a Windy Night Morning at the Window The Boston Evening Transcript Aunt Helen Cousin Nancy Mr. Apollinax Hysteria Conversation Galante La Figlia Che Pianga
Thou hast nor youth nor age But as it were an after dinner sleep Dreaming of both.
Here I am, an old man in a dry month, Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain. I was neither at the hot gates Nor fought in the warm rain Nor knee deep in the salt marsh, heaving a cutlass, Bitten by flies, fought. My house is a decayed house, And the jew squats on the window sill, the owner, Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp, Blistered in Brussels, patched and peeled in London. The goat coughs at night in the field overhead; Rocks, moss, stonecrop, iron, merds. The woman keeps the kitchen, makes tea, Sneezes at evening, poking the peevish gutter.
I an old man, A dull head among windy spaces.
Signs are taken for wonders. "We would see a sign": The word within a word, unable to speak a word, Swaddled with darkness. In the juvescence of the year Came Christ the tiger
In depraved May, dogwood and chestnut, flowering Judas, To be eaten, to be divided, to be drunk Among whispers; by Mr. Silvero With caressing hands, at Limoges Who walked all night in the next room; By Hakagawa, bowing among the Titians; By Madame de Tornquist, in the dark room Shifting the candles; Fraulein von Kulp Who turned in the hall, one hand on the door. Vacant shuttles Weave the wind. I have no ghosts, An old man in a draughty house Under a windy knob.
After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions, Guides us by vanities. Think now She gives when our attention is distracted And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late What's not believed in, or if still believed, In memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon Into weak hands, what's thought can be dispensed with Till the refusal propagates a fear. Think Neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices Are fathered by our heroism. Virtues Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes. These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.
The tiger springs in the new year. Us he devours. Think at last We have not reached conclusion, when I Stiffen in a rented house. Think at last I have not made this show purposelessly And it is not by any concitation Of the backward devils. I would meet you upon this honestly. I that was near your heart was removed therefrom To lose beauty in terror, terror in inquisition. I have lost my passion: why should I need to keep it Since what is kept must be adulterated? I have lost my sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch: How should I use it for your closer contact?