Steve Pollock wrote:
SP> But Rick, if you look at the context of the "I want to die" quote in
SP> the Satyricon you'll see that the tone is not serious at all.
But Steve, I did. That is why I wrote:
RP> I think the Conrad epigraph does a better job of trying to get one
RP> inside the mind of the dying person that does the Petronius but that
RP> is what Conrad had in mind while Petronius was having fun.
SP> How do you account for using a passage with this tone if TSE was simply
SP> trying to convey the pain of a person's suffering?
Well, I could say that only one part of the Satryicon passage was
quoted and that it matched the Conrad quote in a number of ways: dying
words (with a little bit of patience--thanks Peter,) the words told in
a story form and a reflection on past actions. But what we have is a
scene with a foreground and a background. Eliot shows us the
foreground, the quote 'With my own eyes I saw the Sybil of Cumae
hanging in a bottle; and when the boys said to her: "Sybil, what do
you want?" she replied, "I want to die."' The question that you are
exploring is how much of the background did Eliot want us to see.
You are working something up to show that he wanted us to see a lot of
the background. I'm not arguing that you are wrong, and I'm enjoying
what you're saying, but I'm trying to remind you that Eliot might have
been in a hurry to find a new epigraph and wasn't so much interested in
the background as the foreground.
P.S. - Without going into the Satyricon's context, I don't think that
you would say the words in the epigraph haven't a serious meaning.