Resonates as well with "the Magi" ???

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.


From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>;
To: <[log in to unmask]>;
Subject: Re: TS Eliot: A Song for Simeon
Sent: Sun, Jul 1, 2012 12:40:45 PM

The nabobs are not left with much to exult, Peter!

Simeon is rich in the range of representation. He could be Simeon, Virgil, Gerontion, poet himself, reader.


From: Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>;
To: <[log in to unmask]>;
Subject: Re: TS Eliot: A Song for Simeon
Sent: Sun, Jul 1, 2012 3:51:54 AM

Simeon of course makes an interesting companion piece to Gerontion.
They resonate together wel. My efforts are only to please
the nattering nabobs of negativity. ;->

----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask]">Chokh Raj
Sent: Saturday, June 30, 2012 6:01 AM
Subject: Re: TS Eliot: A Song for Simeon

All the same, the critics, and we with them, shall continue to explore.

I look forward to reading the entire article. 

As also "the poetics of recovery" in Eliot's Ariel poems:


From: P <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2012 8:49 PM
Subject: Re: TS Eliot: A Song for Simeon

I' m curious what justifies the step into Dante. It seems a step too far to me, but what do I know?
As far as I can see, the poem is meaningless. It is a set of perceptions
of the future from the past and of the past from the future. A sort of poetic exercise.

Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

one more time

A Song for Virgil: Dantean References in Eliot's "A Song for Simeon"
Daniela. Cavallaro
From: Journal of Modern Literature 
Volume 24, Number 2, Winter 2000/2001 
pp. 349-352


// [M]ost critics studying the sources of "A Song for Simeon," focus on Luke's or Mark's Gospel. Some, such as Leonard Unger, have connected the image of the stairs to the mystical ascent described by St. John of the Cross. Yet the presence of Dante, or any Dantean influence in this poem, has apparently gone unobserved. An analysis of the Dantean references in Eliot's "A Song for Simeon," however, reveals new parallels between the character of Simeon and that of Virgil.

The first example of the Dantean influence which can be found in "A Song for Simeon" is "the wind that chills towards the dead land." This wind is similar to that created by the moving wings of Lucifer which freeze the waters of Cocytus (Inferno XXXIV). The "cords, scourges and lamentation," furthermore, recall the punishments of the damned in Hell. And the "stations of the mountain of desolation," besides their obvious reference to the martyrdom of Christ on the way to Calvary, can be associated with the various stations through which Dante, together with Virgil, had to pass on their ascent of Mount Purgatory.

Particularly evocative is a passage from the fourth stanza of the poem, in which Simeon lists those experiences of Christianity that "are not for him": "Light upon light, mounting the saints' stair./ Not for me the martyrdom, the ecstasy of thought and prayer,/ Not for me the ultimate vision." Several images in this passage resonate with the experience that is offered to Dante in Purgatory. In the course of his ascent of Mount Purgatory, Dante undergoes a series of purifications, which include dreams, ecstasies, and visions. In the third "cornice," images of the meek (Purgatorio XV, 85-114) and the wrathful (Purgatorio XVII, 13-39) appear to Dante "in una visione estatica di subito . . . tratto" [rapt of a sudden in an ecstatic vision] (Purgatorio XV, 85-86). In addition, prayer -- above all, collective prayer -- is the most constant means of purification in Purgatory, as in the case of "Te lucis ante" of the Anti-purgatory (Purgatorio VIII, 13-18), or of the "Our Father," recited by the proud (Purgatorio XI, 1-24).

On the other hand, the martyrdom, the passage from light to light, the saints' stair, and the ultimate vision may have their source in Dante's Paradise. Martyrdom, for example, was the necessary passage for some blessed souls to reach that same peace which Simeon asks of God, as we see in the case of Boezio: "l'anima santa . . . da martiro e da essilio venne a questa pace" [the holy soul . . . came from martyrdom and exile to this peace] (Paradiso X, 125-129). Further on, in Paradiso XV, Cacciaguida repeats the same words: "venni dal martiro a questa...// 

breaking fresh grounds!