According to Southam this question is to be found in a letter of Laforgue's
dated 1881.  I have not read the letter, but Eliot was very influenced by
Laforgue at that time.  The question seems to be linked in Eliot's poem to
the "overwelming question," which alludes to Marvell's "To His Coy
Mistress."  That is where the image of squeezing the universe into a ball
comes from.

You really will get a start on all these allusions from the extensive notes in

Re:  Waste Land and war--soldiers like Stetson and Lil's husband, rats
alley (a term apparently for the trenches), dead bodies, the song about
Mrs. Porter, which was apparently sung by Australian troops. . . .

Date sent:              Sat, 22 Feb 2003 14:57:17 -0500
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From:                   Susan Cappetta <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                Do I dare disturb the universe
To:                     [log in to unmask]

 Does anyone know of writing or other references to do I dare disturb the
 univers? thanks