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Some fresh insights into The Waste Land vis-a-vis World War 1. 

Critical Insights: T.S. Eliot
Voices and Language in T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land
By Allan Johnson 

http://salempress.com/store/samples/critical_insights/eliot_voices.htm

CR



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Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 8:55 AM
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'The Waste Land' vis-a-vis WW1


"'The horror!  the horror!'" 
(from the epigraph to the original version of The Waste Land)


What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow 

Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,  20
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only 
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, 
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, 
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only 
There is shadow under this red rock,  25
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock), 
And I will show you something different from either 
Your shadow at morning striding behind you 
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; 
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

Unreal City,  60
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn, 
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many, 
I had not thought death had undone so many. 
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled, 
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.  65
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street, 
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours 
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine. 
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying “Stetson! 
You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!  70
That corpse you planted last year in your garden, 
Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year? 
Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed? 
Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men, 
Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again! 

HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME 
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME 
Goonight Bill. Goonight Lou. Goonight May. Goonight. 170
Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight. 
Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night.

The river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf 
Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind 
Crosses the brown land, unheard. 

By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept… 
Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song, 
Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long. 
But at my back in a cold blast I hear 185
The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.

A rat crept softly through the vegetation 
Dragging its slimy belly on the bank 
While I was fishing in the dull canal 
On a winter evening round behind the gashouse. 190
Musing upon the king my brother’s wreck 
And on the king my father’s death before him. 
White bodies naked on the low damp ground 
And bones cast in a little low dry garret, 
Rattled by the rat’s foot only, year to year.

Burning burning burning burning 
O Lord Thou pluckest me out 
O Lord Thou pluckest 310
 
burning

What is that sound high in the air 
Murmur of maternal lamentation 
Who are those hooded hordes swarming
Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth 
Ringed by the flat horizon only 370
What is the city over the mountains 
Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air 
Falling towers 
Jerusalem Athens Alexandria 
Vienna London 375
Unreal

A woman drew her long black hair out tight 
And fiddled whisper music on those strings 
And bats with baby faces in the violet light 
Whistled, and beat their wings 380
And crawled head downward down a blackened wall 
And upside down in air were towers 
Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours 
And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.

In this decayed hole among the mountains 385
In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing 
Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel 
There is the empty chapel, only the wind’s home. 

http://www.bartleby.com/201/1.html


CR