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

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 which is not to be found in our obituaries or in memories draped by the beneficent spider or under seals broken by the lean solicitor in our empty rooms.

Not fare well, but fare forward.

Or whatever event, this is your real destination.'

Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.

So I find words I never thought to speak in streets I never thought I should revisit when I left my body on a distant shore.

That meddling in other people's affairs...formerly conducted by the most discreet intrigue is now openly advocated under the name of intervention.

The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we know we started and know the place for the first time.

The only wisdom we can hope to acquire Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless. The houses are all gone under the sea. The dancers are all gone under the hill.

The work of creation is never without travail.

These fragments I have shored against my ruins

Till Human voices wake us, and we drown.

Two people who know they do not understand each other, breeding children whom they do not understand and who will never understand them.

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.

What life have you, if you have not life together?

Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;

Your shadow at morning striding behind you.

It is human, when we do not understand another human being, and cannot ignore him, to exert an unconscious pressure on that person to turn him into something that we can understand: many husbands and wives exert this pressure on each other. The effect on the person so influenced is liable to be the repression and distortion, rather than the improvement, of the personality; and no man is good enough to have the right to make another over in his own image.

Last year's words belong to last year's language, and next year's words await another voice.

My greatest trouble is getting the curtain up and down.

Not the intense moment, isolated, with no before and after, but a lifetime burning in every moment.

Our difficulties of the moment must always be dealt with somehow, but our permanent difficulties are difficulties of every moment.

Poetry should help, not only to refine the language of the time, but to prevent it from changing too rapidly.

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

That was my way of putting it-not very satisfactory: A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion, Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle With words and meanings.

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 bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.

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