T. S. Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot

T. S.
Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot

American-born English Poet, Playwright, and Literary Critic

Author Quotes

When war is not just it is subsequently justified; so it becomes many things. In reality, an unjust war is merely piracy. It consists of piracy, ego and, more than anything, money. War is our century's prostitution.

You do not know how much they mean to me, my friends, and how, how rare and strange it is, to find iIn a life composed so much, so much of odds and ends,(For indeed I do not love it ... you knew? you are not blind! How keen you are!) To find a friend who has these qualities, who has, and gives those qualities upon which friendship lives. How much it means that I say this to you-without these friendships-life, what cauchemar!

In the vain laughter of folly, wisdom hears half its applause.

It's not wise to violate rules until you know how to observe them.

Most contemporary novels are not really written. They obtain what reality they have largely from an accurate rendering of the noises that human beings currently make in their daily simple needs of communication; and what part of a novel is not composed of these noises consists of a prose which is no more alive than that of a competent newspaper writer or government official. A prose that is altogether alive demands something of the reader that the ordinary novel-reader is not prepared to give.

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 idiculous— almost at times the Fool. 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.

One starts an action simply because one must do something.

Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead, Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell And the profit and loss.

She laughed I was aware of becoming involved in her laughter and being part of it, until her teeth were only accidental stars with a talent for squad-drill. I was drawn in by short gasps, inhaled at each momentary recovery, lost finally in the dark caverns of her throat, bruised by the ripple of unseen muscles. An elderly waiter with trembling hands was hurriedly spreading a pink and white checked cloth over the rusty green iron table, saying: If the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden, if the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden ... I decided that if the shaking of her breasts could be stopped, some of the fragments of the afternoon might be collected, and I concentrated my attention with careful subtlety to this end.

Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.

The difference between being an elder statesman And posing successfully as an elder statesman Is practically negligible.

The most important thing for poets to do is to write as little as possible.

The tiger springs in the new year. Us he devours.

There is one who remembers the way to your door: Life you may evade, but Death you shall not.

This is one moment, but know that another shall pierce you with a sudden painful joy.

Truth on our level is a different thing from truth for the jellyfish.

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.

Webster was much possessed by death and saw the skull beneath the skin.

When we read of human beings behaving in certain ways, with the approval of the author, who gives his benediction to this behavior by his attitude towards the result of the behavior arranged by himself, we can be influenced towards behaving in the same way.

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.

In this brief transit where the dreams cross. The dream-crossed twilight between birth and dying (Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things from the wide window towards the granite shore. The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying unbroken wings 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.

It's strange that words are so inadequate. Yet, like the asthmatic struggling for breath, so the lover must struggle for words.

Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.

No peevish winter wind shall chill, no sullen tropic sun shall wither the roses in the rose-garden which is ours and ours only.

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.

Author Picture
First Name
T. S.
Last Name
Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot
Birth Date
Death Date

American-born English Poet, Playwright, and Literary Critic