Peter, going by Eliot's habits of mind (ref. Southam), the epigraph may have provided him with a clue, the all-important starting point, for conceiving this dramatic monologue as a disguised mode of confession [a la Montefeltro in Inferno] -- putting on the persona of a middle aged man. Apart from what "persona" denotes in the epigraph, it could easily suggest to Eliot the technique of "persona" as a masque for a character other than the poet himself. Thanks & regards, CR --- On Mon, 2/1/10, Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote: Let us not over look Dante's use of the word PERSONA in Eliot's epigraph of the poem. P.