He had gone to Burnt Norton with Emily Hale, and she was someone with whom he had had over 30 years of relationship. Before he left the US and settled in England, he had thought himself in love with her. The "would have been" seems clearly to be about things that might have happened but never did.
>>> DIana Manister <[log in to unmask]
> 02/01/10 8:09 AM >>>
I'm guessing that when Eliot uses "would have been" he is not using
the future tense. If he meant to indicate a conflation of tenses he
would do so pointedly, as in the quote you posted.
Sent from my iPod
On Feb 1, 2010, at 5:23 AM, Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]
> From: Diana Manister
> Dear Ken,
> All your convoluted reasoning cannot change the past to the future. A
> speaker musing about what might have been is not dreaming of the
> Peter observes by quoting:
> "Time present and time past
> Are both perhaps present in time future,
> And time future contained in time past."