CR and Diana,
       I thank both of you for your comments  and insights. One thing for 
sure, TSE's poetry has extraordinary depth and power  beyond words.

In a message dated 7/29/2007 1:27:01 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
[log in to unmask] writes:

Thanks for your thought-provoking comments,  Barnwell. 
To me, Ophelia too is swayed by the "waters"  of passion
-- and her death by drowning reveals  the destructive aspect
of "water" (her passion). The allusion to her  at the end of 
"A Game of Chess" helps to place the tragedy  of Lil and the 
lady (with her nerves) in a historical  perspective. "Water" 
(passion/love) has proved fatal in all  these cases.
Then, there is the daily "death" of  the Thames daughters -- the water
(the passion) which should be  life-giving is vitiated -- it has become
Well, that's how I read it.
As for reading Heraclitian flux in the image  of Thames, yes, a sense 
of the flux of history and time is certainly  evident in the image of 
"the turning tide" -- "The nymphs are  departed" -- "The river bears 
no...testimony of summer nights" -- "Southwest  wind / Carried down
stream / The peal of bells / White  towers / Weialala leia...", as also
in the image of "A current under sea...the  whirlpool".

Barnwell, thanks for the pertinent comments on Eliot's use of water. However, 
 I think as a symbol in TWL it does not point clearly to any interpretation. 
I'll  have to go back to the mss version to see if some transitions were 
deleted that  might make it more clear.  
One can extrapolate many interpretations from the juxtaposition of water as a 
 cause of fear and death, something that dissolves the body of the sailor, 
and  the later symbolizing of water as life-bringer, but I do not see sufficient 
 evidence in the poem for anything but speculation. Diana

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