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Ts eliot's masterpiece
Posted by: stem (203.212.242.---)
Date: May 27, 2005 09:41AM

Hi readers,

This is an extract from the poem wasteland by t.s.eliot. These lines are considered to be the masterpiece in the history of literature. put it here for reading.


THE Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne,
Glowed on the marble, where the glass
Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines
From which a golden Cupidon peeped out 80
(Another hid his eyes behind his wing)
Doubled the flames of sevenbranched candelabra
Reflecting light upon the table as
The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it,
From satin cases poured in rich profusion; 85
In vials of ivory and coloured glass
Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,
Unguent, powdered, or liquid—troubled, confused
And drowned the sense in odours; stirred by the air
That freshened from the window, these ascended 90
In fattening the prolonged candle-flames,
Flung their smoke into the laquearia,
Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling.
Huge sea-wood fed with copper
Burned green and orange, framed by the coloured stone, 95
In which sad light a carvèd dolphin swam.
Above the antique mantel was displayed
As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene
The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king
So rudely forced; yet there the nightingale 100
Filled all the desert with inviolable voice
And still she cried, and still the world pursues,
'Jug Jug' to dirty ears.
And other withered stumps of time
Were told upon the walls; staring forms 105
Leaned out, leaning, hushing the room enclosed.
Footsteps shuffled on the stair.
Under the firelight, under the brush, her hair
Spread out in fiery points
Glowed into words, then would be savagely still. 110

Re: Ts eliot's masterpiece
Posted by: Desi (Moderator)
Date: May 27, 2005 11:13AM


Some info on philomela:


Re: Ts eliot's masterpiece
Posted by: mohamed (
Date: May 31, 2005 02:21AM

i need some ctitcs of all the works of ts eliot

Re: Ts eliot's masterpiece
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: May 31, 2005 07:27AM

Here you go Mohamed:

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Re: Ts eliot's masterpiece
Posted by: Elliot (
Date: June 08, 2005 04:58PM

If it didn't have short (4 to 5 iams) per line, we'd think it were prose...


Re: Ts eliot's masterpiece
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: June 09, 2005 11:17AM

As Eliot so often said, "If you don't understand my poetry, that's T.S.!"

Re: Ts eliot's masterpiece
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: June 10, 2005 04:29AM

I am worried about the lung capacity of anyone trying to read this aloud - the first full stop is at the end of line 20 of that excerpt, and it's 9 lines before you even get a quick breath at the one semi-colon. Presumably potential our-loud readers have to be pearl-divers reading poetry off-season! As for trying to make sense of all the clauses and phrases making up such a long sentence, so as to convey it to your audience......something of a challenge! Perhaps it isn't meant for reading aloud but studying in minute detail to show how accomplished the author was?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2005 04:30AM by marian2.

Re: Ts eliot's masterpiece
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: June 10, 2005 05:06PM

Good points. If I remember correctly, Ezra Pound read and corrected some of the text before TSE was done with it, so the long-winded problems must have escaped him as well.

Re: Ts eliot's masterpiece
Posted by: stem (202.83.53.---)
Date: June 11, 2005 09:06AM


The wasteland is a large poem . It is the poets lamentation of degredation of modern man's soul in pursuits of material life. Through these lines Eliot brings the richness of old world,when people had time to look at themselves and being indulged in romantic pursuits. IN these lines , he describes a lady sitting in front of her make up mirror and seen introspecting herself with scent of perfumes floating in the air.After these lines poet suddenly brings a contrast with baraness of modern age. IN fact the poet is reflecting the keatsien lines.


Re: Ts eliot's masterpiece
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: June 11, 2005 10:09AM

There are more references than just the ones from Keats. See the detailed analysis here, for example:

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Personally, I enjoy Wendy Cope's take on Eliot's lines:

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Re: Ts eliot's masterpiece
Posted by: Linda (
Date: June 11, 2005 11:10AM

Good ones. I hadn't seen those before. I must read more Wendy Cope, I'm going to a talk she's giving at Lichfield festival 13th July and it would help if I had some idea of her work.

Re: Ts eliot's masterpiece
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: June 11, 2005 01:40PM

Here you go Linda:

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Re: Ts eliot's masterpiece
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: June 12, 2005 11:46AM

I'm going to a talk she's giving at Lichfield festival 13th July ...

Wendy Cope in person!? I am viridescent with envy, congrats. Make sure you mention that many of us wanted her for poet laureate instead of Andrew Motion. She doesn't want the job? Tough luck - she owes it to her fans.

Re: Ts eliot's masterpiece
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: June 12, 2005 11:56AM

Back to the Waist Land, here is (to me) an iteresting aside about the Death By Water section. See Eliot's Dan Le Restaurant poem, where a boy gets chased away from his best girl by a big dog:

Que de se gratter les doigts et se pencher sur mon épaule:
"Dans mon pays il fera temps pluvieux,
Du vent, du grand soleil, et de la pluie;
C'est ce qu'on appelle le jour de lessive des gueux."
(Bavard, baveux, à la croupe arrondie,
Je te prie, au moins, ne bave pas dans la soupe).
"Les saules trempés, et des bourgeons sur les ronces--
C'est là, dans une averse, qu'on s'abrite.
J'avais septtans, elle était plus petite.
Elle etait toute mouillée, je lui ai donné des primavères."
Les tâches de son gilet montent au chiffre de trente-huit.
"Je la chatouillais, pour la faire rire.
J'éprouvais un instant de puissance et de délire.

Mais alors, vieux lubrique, a cet âge ...
"Monsieur, le fait est dur.
Il est venu, nous peloter, un gros chien;
Moi j'avais peur, je l'ai quittee a mi-chemin.
C'est dommage."

Mais alors, tu as ton vautour!
Va t'en te décrotter les rides du visage;
Tiens, ma fourchette, décrasse-toi le crâne.
De quel droit payes-tu des expériences comme moi?
Tiens, voilà dix sous, pour la salle-de-bains.

Phlébas, le Phénicien, pendant quinze jours noyé,
Oubliait les cris des mouettes et la houle de Cornouaille,
Et les profits et les pertes, et la cargaison d'etain:
Un courant de sous-mer l'emporta tres loin,
Le repassant aux étapes de sa vie antérieure.
Figurez-vous donc, c'etait un sort penible;
Cependant, ce fut jadis un bel homme, de haute taille.

An exact translation of the last stanza appears in DBW?

IV. Death by Water

Phelbas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
And the profit and loss.
A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering whirpool.
Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

Now why in the heck did Eliot do that anyway?

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