The reference to Eliot's comment was to "Ash Wednesday." He was
asked, what he meant by "Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-
tree/ In the cool of the day," and he responded, "I meant, 'Lady, three
white leopards sat under a juniper-tree/ In the cool of the day.' "
I am interested in the varied affirmations of George's objection to
"pedantic" concerns. It seems to me that a list dealing with a profoundly
"pedantic," poet in the sense of exactness and precision, would be
honoring the poet by caring about language. It was Eliot who wanted to
"purify the dialect of the tribe," and except in dramatic dialogue, his own
language was precise, perfected, and always carefully edited. He was,
after all, an editor. And he commented on the importance of editing. He
said of editors when he sent TWL to the Dial "I hope they don't bitch the
punctuation because it's essential."
So why this reverse snobbery that implies anyone who shares Eliot's
exacting care is somehow out of line? One hardly finds elaborately slangy
or self-consciously colloquial language in his work. There may be no need
to correct one another constantly, but the only thing more annoying, to
me, is the demand that everyone demonstrate bemused contempt at care
with language or be sneered at.
Jacek, have fun--so much to sneer at, so little time,
Date sent: Sun, 18 May 2003 01:27:34 -0700
Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From: Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Journey of the Magi
To: [log in to unmask]
I think maybe Rick got it. Some commentator
or other cited an occasion at which a woman
asked Eliot your exact question, and his response
was to the effect that, I meant an old white horse
ran away in the meadow. Now I'm sure Nancy can give
us many reasons why we shouldn't be put off by such
a response, but it does suggest care is due.
I believe the white horse is symbolic of the hero.
His retreating could mean the passing of something.
That he was old suggests perhaps the Old Testament,
but I wouldn't say that too loudly. Someone could find
fault with it. Just don't ignore the literal level.
With a few brush strokes (pardon the cliché), Eliot
created a really calm, soothing scene, and the effect
and affect of that feeling at that point is deliberate.
Was it Freud that said that sometimes a cigar is just
From: Rita Proffitt
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 5/17/03 8:29 AM
Subject: Journey of the Magi
Read Journey of the Magi. Am thinking of using this poem for my class
assignment. Since I was raised Catholic (and went to parochial school were
we were off every Epiphany), so am familiar with the story. Liked the way
TSE told it from one of the kings perspective.
Could anyone tell me what you think is meant by the "white horse
galloped away"? I need to paraphrase and am having difficulty with the