First of all, this is a few lines out of context. Second, Sherry is not at all saying it is "funtablulous," whatever that might be, let alone a fusion of hilarity and seriousness. He is saying something quite different and serious--that at just this point, a poem that had been "evocative" of artistic decadence changes--a shift in rhythm "markedly, unpredictably. . . the measured cadence into the hurdy gurdy rigmarole of a Gilbert and Sulliven multiple-syllable rhyme." This shift "trivializes the disturbance he was just on the verge of stirring up."
The whole poem makes clear that the shift is a moment of what Sherry calls "a confrontation with the more difficult aspects of this [decadent] sensibility":
Here is a landscape grey with rain
On black umbrellas, waterproofs,
And dashing from the slated roofs
Into a mass of mud and sand,
Behind a row of blackened trees
The dripping plastered houses stand
Like mendicants without regrets
For unpaid debts
hand in pocket, undecided,
Indifferent if derided.
Among such scattered thoughts as these
We turn the corner of the street;
But why are we so hard to please?
Replaced in context, it reads, like many poems of IMH, as a poem aiming at an evocative atmosphere and, in fact, achieving it to a degree before undoing it and then pondering it. But it is not G & S as a poem. The first few lines--especially the first four
--would not seem especially out of place in Prufrock and Other Observations--but he was learning his craft, and they are not just hilarity.
>>> Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]
> 05/27/10 7:00 PM >>>
A funtabulous fusion of hilarity and seriousness, Eliot's lines from 'Fourth Caprice in Montparnasse' deserve to stand at the head of "Prufrock and Other Observations" -- an acid comment on what Vincent Sherry calls "[the] underside of urban modernity" in his essay on Imperial Decline in 'Companion to T.S. Eliot' edited by David E. Chinitz, pp.92-93. Here's the link, again:
I'm sure Eliot's lines will be found to have rich repercussions for the discussion at hand.
--- On Thu, 5/27/10, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]
> // "The dripping plastered houses stand
> Like mendicants without regrets
> For unpaid debts
> Hand in pocket, undecided,
> Indifferent if derided." //
> -'Fourth Caprice in Montparnasse', IMH
> "[the] underside of urban modernity" - Vincent Sherry, 'A
> Companion to T.S. Eliot' edited by David E. Chinitz, pp.
> //a hilarious image//