A possible source of the poet's account of Bleistein could be, I visualize, some story narrated by the boatman who "smiles" -- of one Bleistein, of his luxuriously voluptuous lifestyle as a Venetian merchant, who was once at Rialto, and who made lots of money in fur, and who died of drowning, his slimy body recovered from the river, his protruding eye stuck with the magnificence of Venice. Some said he was Viennese, some Semite, some said he was from
I'm not sure what to make of your post. If you're just saying that it's possible that Eliot heard an account by a gondolier of a man who drowned, was a Venetian merchant, made money by selling furs, had a protrusive eye, had people saying he was from Chicago, or was Viennese, and was a Semite, etc, etc, etc, well, I guess he could have heard a story filled with all those odd specifics. (By the way, you left out that the gondolier said the man was somehow associated with cigars).
But what are you getting at? Your hunch seems to just recount, as prose, all the specific details given in the poem. How is this different from saying that you have a hunch that "Death by Water" may have a source in a newspaper story about a sailor who liked seagulls and liked making profits and who drowned about two weeks ago when he got sucked into a whirlpool?
I'm not understanding what you think is interesting or useful about taking the details from TSE's poems and just stating that they could be factual events. Yes , they could be, but so what? I'm not asking this to denigrate your post: I'm asking this because I don't understand what point you are making.
-- Tom --