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Peter, There are two main sources/variations for this story/myth. Generally, Tiresias is either blinded by Hera for siding with Zeus on the question of who enjoys the physical aspects of love more, men or women; or version two he is blinded by Athena for watching Athena bathe in the Hippocrene fountain--the font of poetic inspiration and sacred to the nine muses by the way--and his mother ( an attendant to the goddess) intercedes on his behalf, and because mother is a favorite of Athena, and to prove She does not go around blinding children at a whim, the goddess grants the young Tiresias the gift of prophecy. The first story is related by Ovid; the second is related by the poet Callimachus in his 5th hymn, and I go on at length here because I want to both champion Callimachus as a wonderful poet and possible source for Eliot/Waste Land and to show his details for the blinding of Tiresias (and to say, if we take Call's account to be authoritative, "no, Tiresias is not blinded by light," instead: ...Tiresias alone whose cheeks were just darkening with down still roamed with his hounds the sacred spot. With unspeakable thirst he came to the flowing spring, poor wretch, and unwittingly saw the things unlawful to see. Though angered, still Athena said to him, "What god, O son of Everes, led you to take this harsh road so that never again will you take back your eyes?" She spoke and night took away the eyes of the boy. He stood speechless, for pain stiffened his knees and distress checked his voice. I love the image of night taking away Tiresias' sight, but whether this may be a whim of the translator, I couldn't say for sure. The better point is in neither story/myth nor in any reference to Tiresias in Ovid, Homer, Sophocles, or Callimachus do I see light being specified as the "implement" by which T's sight is removed. I believe Pindar may also have a direct reference to one of the versions of the story/myth but I can't track it down. I'm not as familiar with him as I am with the other writers above. Only Call. and Ovid have direct accounts of the blinding among those four mentioned above. Again, translations may vary enough to prove me wrong here, but in those I have--I'll spare you and others any more length in this post and skip which ones--there's no light mentioned. Others may want to check out the potential similarities between Callimachus and E. as poets. Only six full poems of C. still survive and many fragments, but he wrote much more than that. He was a profound scholar of poetry, among other things, and he was considered the "exemplar of sophistication" by Roman poets. He preferred and generally wrote shorter, distinct or sequenced works, rather than the more highly regarded epic, and according to the Oxford Classical Dictionary (source for most of this background) he "commands an extraordinary variety of tone...[and] scholarship is integral to the poetry, which even quotes its own sources." The scholarship, sources, and deeper issues of history, biography etc. are beyond me, but I can say I've read the hymns and some fragments, and he is highly allusive, ironic, and complex. If anyone knows for sure whether E. was familiar with him, there is a potential paper in it I'd say! My source for the lines above is again Callimachus, Hymn Five--often called "On the Bath of Pallas" or "The Blinding of Tiresias"-- translated by Barbara Hughes Fowler in _Hellenistic Poetry: An Anthology_ U of Wisconsin Press: 1990 --Greg-- Peter Montgomery wrote: > The exploring the waste Land site is down. > > Lines39/40 I was neither living nor dying obviously reflect the > the sybil and the state of the fisher king. > > The wound comes from light. Tiresias is blinded. > > Yes? No? > > Thanks, > P. > > Dr. Peter C. Montgomery > Dept. of English > Camosun College > 3100 Foul Bay Rd. > Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2 > [log in to unmask] > www.camosun.bc.ca/~peterm