T. S. Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot

T. S.
Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot
1888
1965

American-born English Poet, Playwright, and Literary Critic

Author Quotes

We ask only to be reassured about the noises in the cellar and the window that should not have been open

We wait, we wait, and the saints and martyrs wait, for those who shall be martyrs and saints. Destiny waits in the hand of God, shaping the still unshapen: I have seen these things in a shaft of sunlight. Destiny waits in the hand of God, not in the hands of statesmen who do, some well, some ill, planning and guessing, having their aims which turn in their hands in the pattern of time.

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!

Infinitely suffering thing. Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh; the worlds revolve like ancient women gathering fuel in vacant lots.

A cold coming we had of it, just the worst time of the year for a journey, and such a long journey: The ways deep and the weather sharp, the very dead of winter. And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory, Lying down in the melting snow. There were times we regretted the summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, and the silken girls bringing sherbet. Then the camel men cursing and grumbling and running away, and wanting their liquor and women, and the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters, And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly And the villages dirty and charging high prices: A hard time we had of it. At the end we preferred to travel all night, sleeping in snatches, with the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly. Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley, Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation, with a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness, and three trees on the low sky. And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow. Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel, six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver, And feet kicking the empty wine-skins. But there was no information, and so we continued and arrived at evening, not a moment too soon Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory. All this was a long time ago, I remember, and I would do it again, but set down this set down this: were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was a birth, certainly, We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, but had thought they were different; this Birth was hard and bitter agony for us, like death, our death. We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, with an alien people clutching their gods. I should be glad of another death.

Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important.

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.

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.

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

Knowledge is invariably a matter of degree : you cannot put your finger upon even the simplest datum and say 'this we know'.

Moving between the legs of tables and of chairs, rising or falling, grasping at kisses and toys, advancing boldly, sudden to take alarm, retreating to the corner of arm and knee, eager to be reassured, taking pleasure in the fragrant brilliance of the Christmas tree.

Author Picture
First Name
T. S.
Last Name
Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot
Birth Date
1888
Death Date
1965
Bio

American-born English Poet, Playwright, and Literary Critic