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,

--- On Mon, 2/1/10, Peter Montgomery <venture_v@TELUS..NET> wrote:
Let us not over look Dante's use of the word PERSONA in Eliot's epigraph
of the poem.