Tom sent in a quote by Ruskin:
"Bat-like, out of the holes and caverns and shadows of the earth, the
bones gather and the clay heaps heave, rattling and adhering into
half-kneaded anatomies, that crawl, and startle, and struggle up among
the putrid weeds, with the clay clinging to their clotted hair, and
their heavy eyes sealed by the earth darkness"
_If_ Eliot was thinking of that in "Gerontion" he _may_ have been
thinking of something like that again in the "Son of man" passage in
"The Waste Land." Perhaps "Gerontion" was considered as a preface to
TWL for that reason.
1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit
of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.
2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on
the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.
3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign
LORD, you alone know.”
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them,
‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!
5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make
breath enter you, and you will come to life.
6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover
you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then
you will know that I am the LORD.’ “
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there
was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to
8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered
them, but there was no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and
say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four
winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ ”
10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they
came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of
Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are
12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD
says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from
them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.
13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your
graves and bring you up from them.
14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you
in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I
have done it, declares the LORD.’ “