Thanks, Marcin, for this engaging discussion on 'Preludes". I'm afraid I do not find any evidence in the poem that could substantiate your following remark: // Thus being "moved" by the "fancies", in itself, would be symptomatic of sympathy on the part of the speaker. He/she seems to sympathise with the "hands", the "feet", the "eyes" with all the synecdochically mutilated inhabitants of his/her world. // The narrator does assume different (not differing) identities -- from "The grimy scraps / Of withered leaves about _your_ feet", in Prelude I, to the impersonal "_One_ thinks of all the hands..." in Prelude II, to " _You_ had such a vision of the street..." in Prelude III. Prelude IV makes a departure in that it begins with " _His_ soul stretched tight across the skies..." but concludes with "_I_ am moved by fancies..." as well as "Wipe _your_ hand across your mouth, and laugh..." Marcin, I take note of the _deprecating_ note in each of the Preludes irrespective of the identity the speaker assumes. And I find no evidence of his/her _sympathy_ with the social scene he/she depicts. In Prelude I, there are adjectives like "burnt-out", "smoky", "grimy", "withered", "vacant", and "broken". The speaker's impatience with this mundane reality is signified in the image of a lonely cab horse that "steams and stamps". It is disillusionment such as this that is ancillary to the metaphoric "lighting of the lamps". The note of deprecation continues in Prelude II that depicts the other "masquarades" of time with qualifying adjectives like "stale", "muddy" and "dingy". In Preludes III, in the "thousand sordid images of which your soul was constituted", the qualifier "sordid" underscores the speaker's sense of disgust with his/her existence -- the image of "sparrows in the gutters" does not merely describe the scene. These images induce in the speaker "a vision of the street..." Preludes IV tells us of the impact of this sordid reality on the soul of the speaker --- "His soul stretched tight across the skies" vis-a-vis the "conscience of a _blackened_ street..." The lines "I am moved by _fancies_ that are curled / Around these images, and cling" hardly indicate any sympathy for them. For, these only engender "The notion of some infinitely gentle / Infinitely suffering thing." This "infinitely gentle" being obviously owes his/her infinite suffering to the impact of this dismal social scene on his/her psyche. Finally, the speaker laughs away the emotion in the manner of Laforgue, not without the parting comment about the timeless nature of the world's futile and debasing engagements. I, therefore, find a note of unity in the speaker's response to his/her sordid and dreary existence, in spite of the apparently differing identities he/she puts on. Incidentally, those who are familiar with the chronology of the Preludes' composition, know that Preludes I & II were written in October 1910, Preludes III (begun in Paris, 1910; completed in July 1911 ), and Preludes IV (Cambridge, Mass., 1911). In bringing them together as one poem, the poet seems to have deliberately chosen to retain differing pronouns -- it would lend a wider validity to the experience of continued disillusionment with the sordid reality of the social scene. I'm not sure if my arguments hold. But they're there :) Regards. ~ CR --------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Get on board. You're invited to try the new Yahoo! Mail.