T. S. Eliot Quotes

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About T. S. Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot (September 26 1888 – January 4 1965) was an American-born English poet, dramatist and literary critic. Noted for spiritual and religious themes in many of his poems, he converted from Unitarianism to Anglicanism in 1927.

Born: September 26th, 1888

Died: January 4th, 1965

Categories: English people, People from Missouri, American poets, Anglicans, Playwrights, Nobel Prize winners, 1960s deaths

Quotes: 202 sourced quotes total (includes 5 about)

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In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo.
Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain.
This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.
Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherized upon a table.
We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw.
Mistah Kurtz — he dead
The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason.
Who is the third who walks always beside you When I count, there are only you and I together But when I look ahead up the white road There is always another one walking beside you
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter, It isn't just one of your holiday games; You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
A penny for the Old Guy
I was neither Living nor dead, and I knew nothing, Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Between the desire And the spasm Between the potency And the existence Between the essence And the descent Falls the Shadow .
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
Unreal city, Under the brown fog of a winter dawn, A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many, I had not thought death had undone so many.
And the wind shall say: "Here were decent godless people: Their only monument the asphalt road And a thousand lost golf balls."
Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom Remember us — if at all — not as lost Violent souls, but only As the hollow men The stuffed men.
There is shadow under this red rock (Come in under the shadow of this red rock), And I will show you something different from either Your shadow at morning striding behind you Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
Half the harm that is done in this world Is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm — but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it Because they are absorbed in the endless struggle To think well of themselves.
It is impossible to say just what I mean! But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen: Would it have been worth while If one, settling a Pillow or throwing off a shawl, And turning toward the window, should say: "That is not it at all, That is not what I meant, at all."
Some one said: "The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did." Precisely, and they are that which we know.
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; Am an attendant lord, one that will do To swell a progress, start a scene or two, Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool, Deferential, glad to be of use, Politic, cautious, and meticulous; Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse; At times, indeed, almost ridiculous — Almost, at times, the Fool.
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward, Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair: For when they reach the scene of crime — Macavity's not there!
There will be time, there will be time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet; There will be time to murder and create, And time for all the works and days of hands, That lift and drop a question on your plate; Time for you and time for me, And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions, Before the taking of a toast and tea.
O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag— It's so elegant So intelligent
In this decayed hole among the mountains In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home.
I have heard the key Turn in the door once and turn once only We think of the key, each in his prison Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison.
I am no prophet — and here's no great matter; I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, And in short, I was afraid.
Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity, For he's a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity. You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square — But when a crime's discovered, then Macavity's not there!
Every moment is a fresh beginning.
Webster was much possessed by death And saw the skull beneath the skin
Grishkin is nice: her Russian eye is underlined for emphasis; Uncorseted, her friendly bust Gives promise of pneumatic bliss.
I am moved by fancies that are curled Around these images, and cling: The notion of some infinitely gentle Infinitely suffering thing.
These fragments I have shored against my ruins Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe. Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. Shantih shantih shantih
They say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known (I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone) Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime!
Then spoke the thunder DA Datta: what have we given? My friend, blood shaking my heart The awful daring of a moment's surrender Which an age of prudence can never retract By this, and this only, we have existed.
What is that sound high in the air Murmur of maternal lamentation Who are those hooded hordes swarming Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth Ringed by the flat horizon only What is the city over the mountains Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air Falling towers Jerusalem Athens Alexandria Vienna London Unreal
Weave the wind. I have no ghosts, An old man in a draughty house Under a windy knob.
Here I am, an old man in a dry month, Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain.
Signs are taken for wonders. “We would see a sign!” The word within a word, unable to speak a word, Swaddled with darkness.
The broad-backed hippopotamus Rests on his belly in the mud; Although he seems so firm to us He is merely flesh and blood.
When the day's hustle and bustle is done, Then the Gumbie Cat's work is but hardly begun.
Macavity, Macavity, there's no on like Macavity, He's broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
And we all say: OH! Well I never! Was there ever A Cat so clever As Magical Mr. Mistoffelees!
Sister, mother And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea, Suffer me not to be separated And let my cry come unto Thee.
Jellicle Cats come out tonight, Jellicle Cats come one come all: The Jellicle Moon is shining bright — Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball.
Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden, Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood Teach us to care and not to care
Whoever has approved this idea of order, of the form of European, of English literature, will not find it preposterous that the past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past. And the poet who is aware of this will be aware of great difficulties and responsibilities.
Yet if the only form of tradition, of handing down, consisted in following the ways of the immediate generation before us in a blind or timid adherence to its successes, "tradition" should positively be discouraged. We have seen many such simple currents soon lost in the sand; and novelty is better than repetition. Tradition is a matter of much wider significance. It cannot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labour. It involves, in the first place, the historical sense, which we may call nearly indispensable to anyone who would continue to be a poet beyond his twenty-fifth year...
Much to cast down, much to build, much to restore.
The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven, The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
Because I cannot hope to turn again Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something Upon which to rejoice
What have we to do but stand with empty hands and palms turned upwards in an age which advances progressively backwards?
He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare: At whatever time the deed took place- Macavity wasn't there.
The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do more, and you are not yet decrepit enough to turn them down.
These modern productions are all very well, But there's nothing to equal, from what I hear tell, That moment of mystery When I made history As Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.
No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead. I mean this as a principle of æsthetic, not merely historical, criticism.
Because I do not hope to turn again Because I do not hope Because I do not hope to turn Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope I no longer strive to strive towards such things (Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?) Why should I mourn The vanished power of the usual reign?
Lady of silences Calm and distressed Torn and most whole Rose of memory Rose of forgetfulness Exhausted and life-giving Worried reposeful The single Rose Is now the Garden Where all loves end Terminate torment Of love unsatisfied The greater torment Of love satisfied End of the endless Journey to no end Conclusion of all that Is inconclusible Speech without word and Word of no speech Grace to the Mother For the Garden Where all love ends.
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?
The soul of Man must quicken to creation.
Light Light The visible reminder of Invisible Light.
Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only The wind will listen.
Redeem The time. Redeem The unread vision in the higher dream While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.
Let these words answer For what is done, not to be done again May the judgement not be too heavy upon us
Wavering between the profit and the loss In this brief transit where the dreams cross The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
This is the land which ye Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.
There is one who remembers the way to your door: Life you may evade, but Death you shall not. You shall not deny the Stranger.
Old Deuteronomy's lived a long time; He's a Cat who has lived many lives in succession. He was famous in proverb and famous in rhyme A long while before Queen Victoria's accession.
The world turns and the world changes, But one thing does not change. In all of my years, one thing does not change, However you disguise it, this thing does not change: The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil.
Because these wings are no longer wings to fly But merely vans to beat the air The air which is now thoroughly small and dry Smaller and dryer than the will Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still. Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
But it seems that something has happened that has never happened before: though we know not just when, or why, or how, or where. Men have left GOD not for other gods, they say, but for no God; and this has never happened before That men both deny gods and worship gods, professing first Reason, And then Money, and Power, and what they call Life, or Race, or Dialectic.
The bad poet is usually unconscious where he ought to be conscious, and conscious where he ought to be unconscious. Both errors tend to make him "personal." Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.
The work of creation is never without travail
Let me show you the work of the humble. Listen.
In the vacant places We will build with new bricks
I have given you the power of choice, and you only alternate Between futile speculation and unconsidered action.
Two people who know they do not understand each other, Breeding children whom they do not understand And who will never understand them.
It is a test (a positive test, I do not assert that it is always valid negatively), that genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.
What life have you, if you have not life together? There is not life that is not in community, And no community not lived in praise of GOD.
What is hell? Hell is oneself. Hell is alone, the other figures in it Merely projections. There is nothing to escape from And nothing to escape to. One is always alone.
It is not the "greatness," the intensity, of the emotions, the components, but the intensity of the artistic process, the pressure, so to speak, under which the fusion takes place, that counts.
In spite of all the dishonour, the broken standards, the broken lives, The broken faith in one place or another, There was something left that was more than the tales Of old men on winter evenings.
You neglect and belittle the desert. The desert is not remote in southern tropics The desert is not only around the corner, The desert is squeezed in the tube-train next to you, The desert is in the heart of your brother.
Because I know that time is always time And place is always and only place And what is actual is actual only for one time And only for one place I rejoice that things are as they are and I renounce the blessèd face
There came one who spoke of the shame of Jerusalem And the holy places defiled; Peter the Hermit, scourging with words. And among his hearers were a few good men, Many who were evil, And most who were neither, Like all men in all places.
Because I do not hope to know The infirm glory of the positive hour Because I do not think Because I know I shall not know The one veritable transitory power Because I cannot drink There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again
Where the bricks are fallen We will build with new stone Where the beams are rotten We will build with new timbers Where the word is unspoken We will build with new speech There is work together A Church for all And a job for each Every man to his work.
You now have learned enough to see That Cats are much like you and me And other people whom we find Possessed of various types of mind. For some are sane and some are mad And some are good and some are bad And some are better, some are worse — But all may be described in verse.
It is self-evident that St. Louis affected me more deeply than any other environment has ever done. I feel that there is something in having passed one's childhood beside the big river, which is incommunicable to those people who have not. I consider myself fortunate to have been born here, rather than in Boston, or New York, or London.
T. S. Eliot
• Letter to Marquis Childs quoted in St. Louis Post Dispatch (15 October 1930) and in the address "American Literature and the American Language" delivered at Washington University (9 June 1953) published in Washington University Studies, New Series: Literature and Language, no. 23 (St. Louis : Washington University Press, 1953), p. 6.
• Source: Wikiquote: "T. S. Eliot" (Quotes, General)
Then it seemed as if men must proceed from light to light, in the light of the Word, Through the Passion and Sacrifice saved in spite of their negative being; Bestial as always before, carnal, self seeking as always before, selfish and purblind as ever before, Yet always struggling, always reaffirming,always resuming their march on the way that was lit by the light; Often halting, loitering, straying, delaying, returning, yet following no other way.
We dwell with satisfaction upon the poet's difference from his predecessors, especially his immediate predecessors; we endeavour to find something that can be isolated in order to be enjoyed. Whereas if we approach a poet without this prejudice we shall often find that not only the best, but the most individual parts of his work may be those in which the dead poets, his ancestors, assert their immortality most vigorously. And I do not mean the impressionable period of adolescence, but the period of full maturity.
An awareness of solitude.
Our age is an age of moderate virtue And moderate vice
O Light Invisible, we praise Thee! Too bright for mortal vision.
Destiny waits in the hand of God, not in the hands of statesmen.
We see the light but see not whence it comes. O Light Invisible, we glorify Thee!
It will do you no harm to find yourself ridiculous. Resign yourself to be the fool you are.
Oh my soul, be prepared for the coming of the Stranger. Be prepared for him who knows how to ask questions.
so the countess passed on until she came through the little park, where Niobe presented her with a cabinet, and so departed.
Yes the Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat — And there isn't any call for me to shout it: For he will do As he do do And there's no doing anything about it!
They constantly try to escape From the darkness outside and within By dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good. But the man that is shall shadow The man that pretends to be.
And now you live dispersed on ribbon roads, And no man knows or cares who is his neighbor Unless his neighbor makes too much disturbance, But all dash to and fro in motor cars, Familiar with the roads and settled nowhere.
Men learn little from others' experience. But in the life of one man, never The same time returns. Sever The cord, shed the scale. Only The fool, fixed in his folly, may think He can turn the wheel on which he turns
Can we only love Something created in our own imaginations? Are we all in fact unloving and unloveable? Then one is alone, and if one is alone Then lover and beloved are equally unreal And the dreamer is no more real than his dreams.
The church shall be open, even to our enemies. We are not here to triumph by fighting, by stratagem, or by resistance, Not to fight with beasts as men. We have fought the beast And have conquered. We have only to conquer Now, by suffering. This is the easier victory.
Out of the meaningless practical shapes of all that is living or lifeless Joined with the artist's eye, new life, new form, new colour. Out of the sea of sound the life of music, Out of the slimy mud of words, out of the sleet and hail of verbal imprecisions, Approximate thoughts and feelings, words that have taken the place of thoughts and feelings, There spring the perfect order of speech, and the beauty of incantation.
A dangerous person to disagree with.
T. S. Eliot
• On Samuel Johnson in Homage to John Dryden: Three Essays on Poetry of the Seventeenth Century (1927).
• Source: Wikiquote: "T. S. Eliot" (Quotes, General)
All cases are unique, and very similar to others.
We must always take risks. That is our destiny.
Disillusion can become itself an illusion If we rest in it.
Only by acceptance of the past will you alter its meaning.
You will find that you survive humiliation And that's an experience of incalculable value.
Atheism should always be encouraged (i.e. rationalistic not emotional atheism) for the sake of the Faith.
T. S. Eliot
• Letter to Richard Aldington (24 February, 1927). The Letters of T.S. Eliot: 1926-1927 p. 424.
• Source: Wikiquote: "T. S. Eliot" (Quotes, General)
To men of a certain type The suspicion that they are incapable of loving Is as disturbing to their self-esteem As, in cruder men, the fear of impotence.
If we all were judged according to the consequences Of all our words and deeds, beyond the intention And beyond our limited understanding Of ourselves and others, we should all be condemned.
Mr. Aldous Huxley, who is perhaps one of those people who have to perpetrate thirty bad novels before producing a good one, has a certain natural — but little developed — aptitude for seriousness.
O father, father Gone from us, lost to us, The church lies bereft, Alone, Desecrated, desolated. And the heathen shall build On the ruins Their world without God. I see it. I see it.
You will change your mind, but you are not free. Your moment of freedom was yesterday. You made a decision. You set in motion Forces in your life and in the lives of others Which cannot be reversed.
Everyone's alone — or so it seems to me. They make noises, and think they are talking to each other; They make faces, and think they understand each other. And I'm sure they don't. Is that a delusion?
When the Stranger says: "What is the meaning of this city ? Do you huddle close together because you love each other?" What will you answer? "We all dwell together To make money from each other"? or "This is a community"?
I see more than this, more than I can tell you, More than there are words for. At this moment there is no decision to be made; The decision will be made by powers beyond us Which now and then emerge.
I shall be left with the inconsolable memory Of the treasure I went into the forest to find And never found, and which was not there And is perhaps not anywhere? But if not anywhere Why do I feel guilty at not having found it?
You shall forget these things, toiling in the household, You shall remember them, droning by the fire, When age and forgetfulness sweeten memory Only like a dream that has often been told And often been changed in the telling. They will seem unreal. Human kind cannot bear very much reality.
Servant of God has chance of greater sin And sorrow, than the man who serves a king. For those who serve the greater cause may make the cause serve them, Still doing right: and striving with political men May make that cause political, not by what they do But by what they are.
We die to each other daily. What we know of other people Is only our memory of the moments During which we knew them. And they have changed since then. To pretend that they and we are the same Is a useful and convenient social convention Which must sometimes broken. We must also remember That at every meeting we are meeting a stranger.
There is another way, if you have the courage. The first I could describe in familiar terms Because you have seen it, as we all have seen it, Illustrated, more or less, in lives of those about us. The second is unknown, and so requires faith — The kind of faith that issues from despair. The destination cannot be described; You will know very little until you get there; You will journey blind. But the way leads towards possession Of what you have sought for in the wrong place.
I don't belong to any generation.
All things become less real, man passes From unreality to unreality.
The man who returns will have to meet The boy who left.
Accident is design And design is accident In a cloud of unknowing.
In a world of lunacy Violence, stupidity, greed…it is a good life.
God is leaving us, God is leaving us, more pang, more pain, than birth or death.
If I tried to explain, you could never understand; Explaining would only make a worse misunderstanding...
To rest in your own suffering Is evasion of suffering. We must learn to suffer more.
There is nothing at all to be done about it, There is nothing to do about anything
You're still trying to invent a personality for me Which will only keep me away from myself.
It is certain that a book is not harmless merely because no one is consciously offended by it.
The pattern is the action and the suffering, that the wheel may turn and still be forever still.
You have come to where the word 'insult' has no meaning; And you must put up with that.
Neither way is better. Both ways are necessary. It is also necessary To make a choice between them.
Hold tight, hold tight, we must insist that the world is what we have always taken it to be.
Your burden is not to clear your conscience But to learn how to bear the burdens on your conscience.
Did you know T.S. Eliot's little poem about me, called "Mr. Apollinax"? He seems to have noticed the madness.
This is what matters, but it is unspeakable. Untranslatable: I talk in general terms Because the particular has no language.
The best of a bad job is all any of us make of it — Except of course the saints
Those who take the other Can forget their loneliness. You will not forget yours. Each way means loneliness — and communion.
We did not wish anything to happen. We understood the private catastrophe, The personal loss, the general misery, Living and partly living;
Harry has crossed the frontier Beyond which safety and danger have a different meaning. And he cannot return. That is his privilege.
The one thing to do is to do nothing. Wait. … You will find that you survive humiliation and that's an experience of incalculable value.
In writing his verse plays, Mr. Eliot took, I believe, the only possible line. Except at a few unusual moments, he kept the style Drap.
We are both poets and we both like to play. That's the similarity. The difference is this: I like to play euchre. He likes to play Eucharist.
About T. S. Eliot
• Robert Frost, in Lawrance Thompson, 'Notes from Conversations with Robert Frost' (unpublished), in The Cambridge Companion to Robert Frost, ed. R. Faggen (2001).
• Source: Wikiquote: "T. S. Eliot" (Quotes about Eliot)
In life there is not time to grieve long But this, this is out of life, this is out of time, An instant eternity of evil and wrong.
Thus with most careful devotion Thus with precise attention To detail, interfering preparation Of that which is already prepared Men tighten the knot of confusion Into perfect misunderstanding
All that I can hope to make you understand Is only events: not what has happened. And people to whom nothing has ever happened Cannot understand the unimportance of events.
It is very often that my patients Are only pieces of a total situation Which I have to explore. The single patient Who is ill all by himself, is rather the exception.
No verse is free for the man who wants to do a good job....Poetry..remains one person talking to another....no poet can write a poem of amplitude unless he is the master of the prosaic.
He is every bit as sane as you or I, He sees the world as clearly as you or I see it, It is only that he has seen a great deal more than that.
I have had quite enough humiliation Lately, to bring me to the point At which humiliation ceases to humiliate. You get to the point at which you cease to feel And then you speak your mind.
It's all a delusion, Everything you feel — I don't mean what you think, But what you feel. '''You attach yourself to loathing As others do to loving; an infatuation That's wrong, a good that is misdirected.
Pain is the opposite of joy, but joy is a kind of pain I believe the moment of birth Is when we have knowledge of death I believe the season of birth Is the season of sacrifice
The moment of sudden loathing And the season of stifled sorrow The whisper, the transparent deception The keeping up of appearances The making the best of a bad job All twined and tangled together, all are recorded.
There are several symptoms Which must occur together, and to a marked degree, To qualify a patient for my sanatorium: And one of them is an honest mind. That is one of the causes of their suffering.
You would bar the door Against the lion, the leopard, the wolf or the boar, Why not more Against beasts with the souls of damned men, against men Who would damn themselves to beasts. My Lord! My Lord!
The circle of our understanding Is a very restricted area. Except for a limited number Of strictly practical purposes We do not know what we are doing; And even then, when you think of it, We do not know much about thinking.
I'd say that she suffered all that we should suffer In fear and pain and loathing — all these together — And reluctance of the body to become a thing. I'd say she suffered more, because more conscious Than the rest of us.
Everything is true in a different sense, A sense that would have seemed meaningless before. Everything tends towards reconciliation As a stone falls, as the tree falls, And in the end That is the completion which at the beginning would have seemed the ruin.
I've no gift of language, but I'm sure of what I mean: We most of us seem to live according to circumstance, But with people like him, there's something inside them That accounts for what happens to them. You get a feeling of it.
I should really like to think there's something wrong with me — Because, if there isn't then there's something wrong, Or at least, very different from what it seemed to be, With the world itself — and that's much more frightening! That would be terrible.
You isolate the single event As something so dreadful that it couldn't have happened Because you could not bear it. So you must believe That I suffer from delusions. It is not my conscience Not my mind, that is diseased, but the world I have to live in.
Purpose is plain. Endurance of friendship does not depend Upon ourselves, but upon circumstance. But circumstance is not undetermined. Unreal friendship may turn to real But real friendship, once ended, cannot be mended. Sooner shall enmity turn to alliance. The enmity that never knew friendship Can sooner know accord.
I am glad you have a Cat, but I do not believe it is So remarkable a cat as My Cat. My Cat is a Lilliecat Hubvously. What a lilliecat it is. There never was such a Lilliecat. Its Name is JELLYORUM and its one Idea is to be Usefull!!
The majority of mankind is lazy-minded, incurious, absorbed in vanities, and tepid in emotion, and is therefore incapable of either much doubt or much faith; and when the ordinary man calls himself a sceptic or an unbeliever, that is ordinarily a simple pose, cloaking a disinclination to think anything out to a conclusion.
It is only when they see nothing That people can always show the suitable emotions — And so far as they feel at all, their emotions are suitable. They don't understand what it is to be awake, To be living on several planes at once Though one cannot speak with several voices at once.
In the small circle of pain within the skull You still shall tramp and tread one endless round Of thought, to justify your action to yourselves, Weaving a fiction which unravels as you weave, Pacing forever in the hell of make-believe Which never is belief: this is your fate on earth And we must think no further of you.
"Order"—that is what makes Mr Eliot's critical work so precious to us today; he has imposed an order on our chaos, our intellectual anarchy; he throws us a plank as we drown in a sea of platitudes and foaming stupidities. His criticism is sane without being dull or imitative; original without eccentricities; profound without obscurity; cultured without affectation; vigorous without being superficial.
I feel it would be a kind of surrender — No, not a surrender — more like a betrayal. You see, I think I really had a vision or something Though I don't know what it is. I don't want to forget it. I want to live with it. I could do without everything Put up with anything, if I might cherish it.
That is the worst moment, when you feel you have lost The desires for all that was most desirable, Before you are contented with what you can desire; Before you know what is left to be desired; And you go on wishing that you could desire What desire has left behind. But you cannot understand. How could you understand what it is to feel old?
One thing you cannot know: The sudden extinction of every alternative, The unexpected crash of the iron cataract. You do not know what hope is, until you have lost it. You only know what it is not to hope: You do not know what it is to have hope taken from you, Or to fling it away, to join the legion of the hopeless Unrecognized by other men, though sometimes by each other.
Wherever a saint has dwelt, wherever a martyr has given his blood for the blood of Christ, There is holy ground, and the sanctity shall not depart from it Though armies trample over it, though sightseers come with guide-books looking over it; From where the western seas gnaw at the coast of Iona, To the death in the desert, the prayer in forgotten places by the broken Imperial column, From such ground springs that which forever renews the earth Though it is forever denied.
The Diary of Vaslav Nijinjsky reaches a limit of sincerity beyond any of the documents that we have referred to on this study. There are other modern works that express the same sense that civilized life is a form of living death; notably the poetry of T. S. Eliot and the novels of Franz Kafka; but there is an element of prophetic denunciation in both, the attitude of healthy men rebuking their sick neighbors. We possess no other record of the Outsider's problems that was written by a man about to be defeated and permanently smashed by those problems.
Between the conception And the creation Between the emotion And the response Falls the Shadow  Life is very long.
Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow  For Thine is the Kingdom.
And I have known the eyes already, known them all — The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase, And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin, When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall, Then how should I begin To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?  And how should I presume?
Do I dare Disturb the universe? In a minute there is time For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. For I have known them all already, known them all: — Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons; I know the voices dying with a dying fall Beneath the music from a farther room.  So how should I presume?
And I have known the arms already, known them all — Arms that are braceleted and white and bare [But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!] It is perfume from a dress That makes me so digress? Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl. And should I then presume?  And how should I begin? I should have been a pair of ragged claws Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent If the unheard, unspoken Word is unspoken, unheard; Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard, The Word without a word, the Word within The world and for the world; And the light shone in darkness and Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled About the centre of the silent Word.       O my people, what have I done unto thee. Where shall the word be found, where will the word Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
They speak better than they know, and beyond your understanding. They know and do not know, what it is to act or suffer. They know and do not know, that action is suffering And suffering is action. Neither does the agent suffer Nor the patient act. But both are fixed In an eternal action, an eternal patience. To which all must consent that it may be willed And which all must suffer that they may will it, That the pattern may subsist, for the pattern is the action And the suffering, that the wheel may turn and still Be forever still.
And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices And the weak spirit quickens to rebel For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell Quickens to recover The cry of quail and the whirling plover And the blind eye creates The empty forms between the ivory gates And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth This is the time of tension between dying and birth The place of solitude where three dreams cross Between blue rocks But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away Let the other yew be shaken and reply.
The lot of man is ceaseless labor, Or ceaseless idleness, which is still harder, Or irregular labour, which is not pleasant. I have trodden the winepress alone, and I know That it is hard to be really useful, resigning The things that men count for happiness, seeking The good deeds that lead to obscurity, accepting With equal face those that bring ignominy, The applause of all or the love of none. All men are ready to invest their money But most expect dividends. I say to you: Make perfect your will. I say: take no thought of the harvest, But only of proper sowing.
What happens when a new work of art is created, is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art which preceded it. The existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which is modified by the introduction of the new (the really new) work of art among them. The existing order is complete before the new work arrives; for order to persist after the supervention of novelty, the whole existing order must be, if ever so slightly, altered; and so the relations, proportions, values of each work of art toward the whole are readjusted; and this is conformity between the old and the new.
I grow old … I grow old ... I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled. Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach? I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me. I have seen them riding seaward on the waves Combing the white hair of the waves blown back When the wind blows the water white and black. We have lingered in the chambers of the sea By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
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.
Fortunate the man who, at the right moment meets the right friend; fortunate also the man who at the right moment meets the right enemy. I do not approve the extermination of the enemy; the policy of exterminating or, as it is barbarously said, liquidating enemies, is one of the most alarming developments of modern war and peace, from the point of view of those who desire the survival of culture. One needs the enemy... A country within which the divisions have goon too far is a danger to itself: a country which is too well united - whether by nature or by device, by hounest purpose or by fraud and oppression - is a menace to others.
It's not that I'm afraid of being hurt again: Nothing again can either hurt or heal. I have thought at moments that the ecstasy is real Although those who experience it may have no reality. For what happened is remembered like a dream In which one is exalted by intensity of loving In the spirit, a vibration of delight Without desire, for desire is fulfilled In the delight of loving. A state one does not know When awake. But what, or whom I love, Or what in me was loving, I do not know. And if all that is meaningless, I want to be cured Of a craving for something I cannot find And of the shame of never finding it.
The historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence; the historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and within it the whole of the literature of his own country has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order. This historical sense, which is a sense of the timeless as well as of the temporal and of the timeless and of the temporal together, is what makes a writer traditional. And it is at the same time what makes a writer most acutely conscious of his place in time, of his contemporaneity.
You think me reckless, desperate and mad. You argue by results, as this world does, To settle if an act be good or bad. You defer to the fact. For every life and every act Consequence of good and evil can be shown. And as in time results of many deeds are blended So good and evil in the end become confounded. It is not in time that my death shall be known; It is out of time that my decision is taken If you call that decision To which my whole being gives entire consent. I give my life To the Law of God above the Law of Man. Those who do not the same How should they know what I do?
O perpetual revolution of configured stars, O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons, O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying! The endless cycle of idea and action, Endless invention, endless experiment, Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness; Knowledge of speech, but not of silence; Knowledge of words, and ignorance of The Word. All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance, All our ignorance brings us nearer to death, But nearness to death no nearer to God. Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries Brings us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.
You are all people To whom has happened, at most a continual impact Of external events. You have gone through life in sleep. Never woken to the nightmare. I tell you life would be unendurable If you were wide awake. You do not know The noxious smell untraceable in the drains, Inaccessible to the plumbers, that has its hour of the night; you do not know The unspoken voice of sorrow in the ancient bedroom At three o'clock in the morning. I am not speaking Of my own experience, but trying to give you Comparisons in a more familiar medium. I am the old house With the noxious smell and the sorrow before morning, In which all past is present, all degradation Is unredeemable. As for what happens — Of the past you can only see what is past, Not what is always present. That is what matters.
We praise thee, O God, for thy glory displayed in all the creatures of the earth, In the snow, in the rain, in the wind, in the storm, in all of thy creatures, both the hunters and the hunted, For all things exist as seen by thee, only as known by thee, all things exist Only in thy light, and thy glory is declared even in that which denies thee; the darkness declares the glory of light. Those who deny thee could not deny, if thou didst not exist; and their denial is never complete, for if it were so, they would not exist. They affirm thee in living; all things affirm thee in living; the bird in the air, both the hawk and the finch; the beast on the earth, both the wolf and the lamb. Therefore we, whom thou hast made to be conscious of thee, must consciously praise thee, in thought and in word and in deed.
Saints are not made by accident. Still less is a Christian martyrdom the effect of a man's will to become a Saint, as a man by willing and contriving may become a ruler of men. Ambition fortifies the will of man to become ruler over other men: it operates with deception, cajolery, and violence, it is the action of impurity upon impurity. Not so in Heaven. A martyr, a saint, is always made by the design of God, for His love of men, to warn them and to lead them, to bring them back to His ways. A martyrdom is never the design of man; for the true martyr is he who has become the instrument of God, who has lost his will in the will of God, not lost it but found it, for he has found freedom in submission to God. The martyr no longer desires anything for himself, not even the glory of martyrdom. So thus as on earth the Church mourns and rejoices at once, in a fashion that the world cannot understand; '''so in Heaven the Saints

End T. S. Eliot Quotes