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et c'est remarquable
 
As a sequel to 'La Figlia', as it were, the lines from Middleton find a strong resonance in 'Gerontion':
 
"I would meet you upon this honestly.
 I that was near your heart was removed therefrom
 To lose beauty in terror, terror in inquisition.  
 I have lost my passion: why should I need to keep it  
 Since what is kept must be adulterated? 
 I have lost my sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch:  
 How should I use them for your closer contact?"

Reminds me of Eliot's pronouncement in 'Tradition': "the most individual parts of [a poet's] work may be those in which the dead poets, his ancestors, assert their immortality most vigorously".
 
Cheers,
 CR


--- On Sun, 5/23/10, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Dear Peter,
 
It was BC Southam who, in the first place, drew my attention to this passage from Middleton -- it was in the context of La Figlia's lines:
 
"Clasp your flowers to you with a pained surprise—
Fling them to the ground"
 
[Ref. A Student's Guide to the Selected Poems of T.S. Eliot (London: Faber and Faber, 4th ed., 1981), p. 54]
 
Actually, the lines from The Changeling that hold special interest vis-a-vis Eliot are:
 
"I am that of your blood was taken from you
For your better health; look no more upon’t,
But cast it to the ground regardlessly,
Let the common sewer take it from distinction.
Beneath the stars, upon yon meteor
Ever hung my fate, 'mongst things corruptible;
I ne'er could pluck it from him; my loathing
Was prophet to the rest, but ne'er believed."
                            (The Changeling, V, iii) 
 
I'm sorry I do not have Southam with me just now, so I can't confirm what qualifying words he used with regard to Eliot's use of this passage -- but in all probability it was Southam who gave me the impression that it was one of Eliot's "favourite".
 
However, other critics have taken note of Eliot's fascination with this passage. Here is Lyndall Gordon in 'T.S. Eliot: An Imperfect Life', pp. 287-88:
 
"The best commentaries are his essays, especially his record of the horror that is 'projected from the poet's inner world of nightmare'. This nightmare -- and it is here that Eliot makes his dazzling leap to a spiritualized view of his career -- 'is a triumph; for hatred of life is an important phase -- even, if you like, a mystical experience -- in life itself'. The essays also analyse a mind that becomes moral by becoming damned. Eliot was fascinated by Middleton's seventeenth-century play The Changeling about a strange sexual tie in which the unwilling partner becomes 'habituated' to the repulsive partner:
 
      Beneath the stars, upon yon meteor
      Ever hung my fate, 'mongst things corruptible.
 
Twice, Eliot's essay quotes these lines of the damned mate."
 
  
Incidentally, here is a recent article by Frank Kermode -- an interesting one -- which focuses on the passage from The Changeling at great length:
 
Eliot and the Shudder
by Frank Kermode
London Review of Books
Vol. 32 No. 9 · 13 May 2010, pages 13-16
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v32/n09/frank-kermode/eliot-and-the-shudder
 
an excerpt:
 
"Here, for instance, is another favourite passage, this time from Middleton’s The Changeling. At the end of the play, when all is lost, Beatrice-Joanna addresses her father:
I am that of your blood was taken from you
For your better health; look no more upon’t,
But cast it to the ground regardlessly,
Let the common sewer take it from distinction.
Knowing what we now know, we can see how Eliot might have reacted (almost shudderingly) to this remarkable speech. He quotes it admiringly in his essay on Middleton and refers to its context elsewhere, in ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’ and in ‘Philip Massinger’. He would admire the directness of the language used to affirm Beatrice-Joanna’s guilt, and the last line, with its yoking together of ‘sewer’ and ‘distinction’, the nasty particularity of the one confronted by the grand abstraction of the other, could probably score high in a shudder contest. It has a quality Eliot always praised: ‘that perpetual slight alteration of language, words perpetually juxtaposed in new and sudden combinations’, allowing a fusion in a single phrase of ‘two or more diverse impressions’, as for example in Shakespeare’s ‘strong toil of grace’."
 
-----
 
Regards,
 CR


--- On Sat, 5/22/10, Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
The Changeling was an important work to Eliot, but I
don't remember his picking that passage as a favourite.
Have you the documentation at all?
 
Tanks,
Peter
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="http:[log in to unmask]" rel=nofollow target=_blank>Chokh Raj
To: [log in to unmask] href="http:[log in to unmask]" rel=nofollow target=_blank>[log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 7:09 AM
Subject: OT - a poetic reflection

 A passage which was Eliot's favorite --
 
"Beneath the stars, upon yon meteor
 Ever hung my fate, 'mongst things corruptible;
 I ne'er could pluck it from him; my loathing
 Was prophet to the rest, but ne'er believed."
 
 -- Thomas Middleton, The Changeling (V, iii)
 
a haunting strain
 
CR