Thanks, Vishvesh. Your remarks get me further interested in the subject.
I find that Rickard Parker's page "Songs in T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land"
draws our attention to the Red Wing lyric played on a mandolin -- a tune
which, Rick observes, was immensely popular in 1920s, one that was
played often and that everyone seemed to know. Well, it might, just might,
explain Eliot's reference to "The pleasant whining of a mandoline".
Let me reproduce the lyric provided by Rick:
There once lived an Indian maid,
A shy little prairie maid,
Who sang a lay,
a love song gay,
As on the plain she'd
while away the day;
She loved a warrior bold,
this shy little maid of old,
But brave and gay,
he rode one day
to battle far away.

     Now, the moon shines tonight on pretty Red Wing,
     the breeze is sighing,
     the night bird's crying,
     For afar 'neath his star her brave is sleeping,
     while Red Wing's weeping
     her heart away.
She watched for him day and night,
She kept all the campfires bright,
And under the sky,
each night she would lie,
And dream about his
coming by and by;
But when all the braves returned,
the heart of Red Wing yearned,
For far, far away,
her warrior gay,
fell bravely in the fray.

Here's a link too that Rick provides for the lyric's mandolin tablature:

Vishvesh Obla <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
That is interesting info, CR :)  That Eliot tried his hands on a musical instrument is news to me.
I share with John bird his vexation that Eliot found its sound ‘whining’ ! The mandolin can hardly whine, as much as I have heard it ! Its music is supposed to be short and quick paced by the very nature of its build and hardly can create a flow of music that could be suggestive of a whine.
By the way, I am reminded of a stanza (from Blake, I guess) Eliot quotes somewhere in one his essays (just as an aside):
The languid strings do scarcely move
THe sound is forced, the notes are few …
Eliot makes a very subtle point on the element of *prose* in that stanza.  For a man who was so sensitive to the music of language, he sure should have had a point to find the mandolin whining J

cr mittal <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
O City city, I can sometimes hear
Beside a public bar in Lower Thames Street,
The pleasant whining of a mandoline...
Well, here's an interesting note on Eliot's mandolin :
Hope you enjoy listening to it -- with the inner ear, of course :)

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