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As Nancy said, the phrase is from 12TH KNIGHT (cf Epiphany).
It is important to note that Orsino is doing an extended dying
for lack of a romantic response from Countess Olivia. It is VERY
self-centred and has a lot of the characteristics of an effete
social put-on. There is a similarity in the personal style of
the woman in "Portrait" and in the ethos of "Prufrock". It is
very satirical in Shakespeare and Eliot has imported that satire
with the phrase.

The death is phoney. The fall has all the characteristics of a
swan song by a highly ego-centric performer. Surely Italian
Opera could provide the equivalkent vocabulary.

Also, re: "Preludes" I am curious about how you might be
translating the ANCIENT of "ancient women". I don't think
ancient there can be read as OLD or even "VERY OLD". The word
ANCIENT just isn't used that way in English (one archaic
exception was its use as a noun with reference to an old man).
I have seen some commentators use this fact to support seeing
the women as the fates, given the connections with the word
WORLDS.
-----Original Message-----
From: Sara Trevisan
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 6/16/03 9:41 AM
Subject: Music and TS Eliot

I've been noting lately that one of Eliot's loved images was the 'dying
fall', which appears in Prufrock and also in Portrait of a Lady, being
always related to voices or musicality. In Portrait of a Lady it's
written between inverted commas ("dying fall"). Here it is referred to
the music that's being played and also to the lady's destiny ('Now that
we talk of dying'); whereas in Prufrock, it's referred to voices 'dying
with a dying fall' as opposed to the 'music from a farther room'.
But 'dying fall' is always accompanied by another 'dying' used
singularly.
Translating the same phrase within two different poems, I found that
surprisingly I cannot translate them with the same Italian expressions.
For instance, as for the voices, 'fall' can also be assumed as a precise
vocal intonation, whereas a 'dying fall' in music would be more likely
translated through a technical expression (i.e., 'diminuendo' and
'morendo'), which are typical of classical scores. Of course, 'morendo'
means 'dying', as well.
But I perceive a subtle difference between the two phrases in English,
also, which lies beyond the contextual reference.

Cheers --
Sara