T. S. Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot

T. S.
Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot

American-born English Poet, Playwright, and Literary Critic

Author Quotes

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.

Playwriting gets into your blood and you can't stop it. At least not until the producers or the public tell you to.

Should I, after tea and cakes and ices, have the strength to force the moment to its crisis? But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed, though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter, I am no prophet--and here's no great matter; I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker and in short, I was afraid.

That corpse you planted last year in your garden,'Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?

The dove descending breaks the air with flame of incandescent terror of which the tongues declare the one discharge from sin and error. The only hope, or else despair lies in the choice of pyre or pyre- to be redeemed from fire by fire. Who then devised the torment? Love. Love is the unfamiliar Name behind the hands that wove the intolerable shirt of flame which human power cannot remove. We only live, only suspire consumed by either fire or fire.

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. First of all, there's the name that the family use daily, such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James, such as Victor or Jonathan, or George or Bill Bailey - all of them sensible everyday names. There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter, some for the gentlemen, some for the dames: such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter - But all of them sensible everyday names. But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular, a name that's peculiar, and more dignified, else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular, or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride? Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum, such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat, such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum - names that never belong to more than one cat. But above and beyond there's still one name left over, and that is the name that you never will guess; the name that no human research can discover - but THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess. When you notice a cat in profound meditation, the reason, I tell you, is always the same: his mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name: his ineffable effable Effanineffable deep and inscrutable singular Name.

The universality of irritation is the best assurance of peace. A country within which the divisions have gone too far is a danger to itself: a country which is too well united — whether by nature or by device, by honest purpose or by fraud and oppression — is a menace to others. In Italy and in Germany, we have seen that a unity with politico-economic aims, imposed violently and too rapidly, had unfortunate effects upon both nations. Their cultures have developed in the course of a history of extreme, and extremely sub-divided regionalism: the attempt to teach Germans to think of themselves as Germans first, and the attempt to teach Italians to think of themselves as Italians first, rather than as natives of a particular small principality or city, was to disturb the traditional culture from which alone any future culture could grow.

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.

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