[<< wikiquote] T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns Eliot (26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965) was an American-born English poet, dramatist and literary critic. Noted for spiritual and religious themes in many of his poems, he converted from Unitarianism to Anglicanism in 1927.

See also:
Four Quartets
Murder in the Cathedral
The Family Reunion
The Cocktail Party


== Quotes ==

I am tired with my own life and the lives of those after me.
“A Song for Simeon” from Collected Poems 1909-1962I am moved by fancies that are curled  Around these images, and cling:  The notion of some infinitely gentle  Infinitely suffering thing.
"Preludes" (1917), § IVImmature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
"Philip Massinger", a biographical essay in The Sacred Wood (1920)Atheism should always be encouraged (i.e. rationalistic not emotional atheism) for the sake of the Faith.
Letter to Richard Aldington (24 February, 1927). The Letters of T.S. Eliot: 1926-1927 p. 424Mr. Aldous Huxley, who is perhaps one of those people who have to perpetrate thirty bad novels before producing a good one, has a certain natural — but little developed — aptitude for seriousness.
The Contemporary English Novelist, La Nouvelle Revue française (1 May 1927)A dangerous person to disagree with.
On Samuel Johnson in Homage to John Dryden: Three Essays on Poetry of the Seventeenth Century (1927)It is a test (a positive test, I do not assert that it is always valid negatively), that genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.
Dante (1929), a biographical essayI am glad you have a Cat, but I do not believe it is So remarkable a cat as My Cat. My Cat is a Lilliecat Hubvously. What a lilliecat it is. There never was such a Lilliecat. Its Name is JELLYORUM and its one Idea is to be Usefull!!
Letter to his godson, Thomas Erle Faber (January 1931) as quoted in "T.S. Eliot's Private Letters To Faber Publishing Family To Be Sold" at World Collector's Net (12 August 2005)Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
Preface to Transit of Venus: Poems by Harry Crosby (1931)It is self-evident that St. Louis affected me more deeply than any other environment has ever done. I feel that there is something in having passed one's childhood beside the big river, which is incommunicable to those people who have not. I consider myself fortunate to have been born here, rather than in Boston, or New York, or London.
Letter to Marquis Childs quoted in St. Louis Post Dispatch (15 October 1930) and in the address "American Literature and the American Language" delivered at Washington University (9 June 1953) published in Washington University Studies, New Series: Literature and Language, no. 23 (St. Louis : Washington University Press, 1953), p. 6When we read of human beings behaving in certain ways, with the approval of the author, who gives his benediction to this behavior by his attitude towards the result of the behavior arranged by himself, we can be influenced towards behaving in the same way.
It is certain that a book is not harmless merely because no one is consciously offended by it.
Religion and Literature (1935)No verse is free for the man who wants to do a good job....Poetry..remains one person talking to another....no poet can write a poem of amplitude unless he is the master of the prosaic.
The Music of Poetry (24 February 1942) the third W. P. Ker memorial lecture delivered in the University of GlasgowThe years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do more, and you are not yet decrepit enough to turn them down.
Time (23 October 1950)The majority of mankind is lazy-minded, incurious, absorbed in vanities, and tepid in emotion, and is therefore incapable of either much doubt or much faith; and when the ordinary man calls himself a sceptic or an unbeliever, that is ordinarily a simple pose, cloaking a disinclination to think anything out to a conclusion.
Introduction to Pascal’s PenséesFortunate the man who, at the right moment meets the right friend; fortunate also the man who at the right moment meets the right enemy. I do not approve the extermination of the enemy; the policy of exterminating or, as it is barbarously said, liquidating enemies, is one of the most alarming developments of modern war and peace, from the point of view of those who desire the survival of culture. One needs the enemy... A country within which the divisions have goon too far is a danger to itself: a country which is too well united - whether by nature or by device, by hounest purpose or by fraud and oppression - is a menace to others.
Notes towards the definition of culture(1948)Long ago I studied the ancient Indian languages, and while I was chiefly interested at that time in philosophy, I read a little poetry too; and I know that my own poetry shows the influence of Indian thought and sensibility.
source: Notes Towards the Definition of Culture, T.S. Eliot. Quoted from Gewali, Salil (2013). Great Minds on India. New Delhi: Penguin Random House.


=== The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915) ===
Full text online (at Wikisource)

Let us go then, you and I,  When the evening is spread out against the sky  Like a patient etherized upon a table.In the room the women come and go  Talking of Michelangelo.There will be time, there will be time  To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;  There will be time to murder and create,  And time for all the works and days of hands,  That lift and drop a question on your plate;  Time for you and time for me,  And time yet for a hundred indecisions,  And for a hundred visions and revisions,  Before the taking of a toast and tea.Do I dare  Disturb the universe?  In a minute there is time  For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.  For I have known them all already, known them all: —  Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,  I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;  I know the voices dying with a dying fall  Beneath the music from a farther room.So how should I presume?And I have known the eyes already, known them all —  The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,  And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,  When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,  Then how should I begin  To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?And how should I presume?And I have known the arms already, known them all —  Arms that are braceleted and white and bare  [But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]  It is perfume from a dress  That makes me so digress?  Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.  And should I then presume?And how should I begin?I should have been a pair of ragged claws  Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.I am no prophet — and here's no great matter;  I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,  And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,  And in short, I was afraid.It is impossible to say just what I mean!  But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:  Would it have been worth while If one, settling a  Pillow or throwing off a shawl,  And turning toward the window, should say:  "That is not it at all,  That is not what I meant, at all."No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;  Am an attendant lord, one that will do  To swell a progress, start a scene or two,  Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,  Deferential, glad to be of use,  Politic, cautious, and meticulous;  Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;  At times, indeed, almost ridiculous —  Almost, at times, the Fool.I grow old … I grow old ...  I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.  Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?  I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.  I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.  I do not think that they will sing to me.  I have seen them riding seaward on the waves  Combing the white hair of the waves blown back  When the wind blows the water white and black.  We have lingered in the chambers of the sea  By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown  Till human voices wake us, and we drown.


=== Tradition and the Individual Talent (1919) ===

Later republished in The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism (1922) We dwell with satisfaction upon the poet's difference from his predecessors, especially his immediate predecessors; we endeavour to find something that can be isolated in order to be enjoyed. Whereas if we approach a poet without this prejudice we shall often find that not only the best, but the most individual parts of his work may be those in which the dead poets, his ancestors, assert their immortality most vigorously. And I do not mean the impressionable period of adolescence, but the period of full maturity.Yet if the only form of tradition, of handing down, consisted in following the ways of the immediate generation before us in a blind or timid adherence to its successes, "tradition" should positively be discouraged. We have seen many such simple currents soon lost in the sand; and novelty is better than repetition. Tradition is a matter of much wider significance. It cannot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labour. It involves, in the first place, the historical sense, which we may call nearly indispensable to anyone who would continue to be a poet beyond his twenty-fifth year...The historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence; the historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and within it the whole of the literature of his own country has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order. This historical sense, which is a sense of the timeless as well as of the temporal and of the timeless and of the temporal together, is what makes a writer traditional. And it is at the same time what makes a writer most acutely conscious of his place in time, of his contemporaneity.No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead. I mean this as a principle of æsthetic, not merely historical, criticism.What happens when a new work of art is created, is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art which preceded it. The existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which is modified by the introduction of the new (the really new) work of art among them. The existing order is complete before the new work arrives; for order to persist after the supervention of novelty, the whole existing order must be, if ever so slightly, altered; and so the relations, proportions, values of each work of art toward the whole are readjusted; and this is conformity between the old and the new.Whoever has approved this idea of order, of the form of European, of English literature, will not find it preposterous that the past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past. And the poet who is aware of this will be aware of great difficulties and responsibilities.Some one said: "The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did." Precisely, and they are that which we know.What happens is a continual surrender of himself as he is at the moment to something which is more valuable. The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality.It is not the "greatness," the intensity, of the emotions, the components, but the intensity of the artistic process, the pressure, so to speak, under which the fusion takes place, that counts.The bad poet is usually unconscious where he ought to be conscious, and conscious where he ought to be unconscious. Both errors tend to make him "personal." Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.


=== Poems (1920) ===
Full text online

Here I am, an old man in a dry month,  Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain.
"Gerontion"Signs are taken for wonders. “We would see a sign!”  The word within a word, unable to speak a word,  Swaddled with darkness.
"Gerontion"Weave the wind. I have no ghosts,  An old man in a draughty house  Under a windy knob.
"Gerontion"After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now  History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors  And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,  Guides us by vanities. Think now  She gives when our attention is distracted  And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions  That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late  What's not believed in, or if still believed,  In memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon  Into weak hands, what's thought can be dispensed with  Till the refusal propagates a fear. Think  Neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices  Are fathered by our heroism. Virtues  Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes.  These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.
"Gerontion"The tiger springs in the new year. Us he devours. Think at last  We have not reached conclusion, when I  Stiffen in a rented house. Think at last  I have not made this show purposelessly  And it is not by any concitation  Of the backward devils.  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?
"Gerontion"so the countess passed on until she came through the little park, where Niobe presented her with a cabinet, and so departed.
"Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a cigar"The broad-backed hippopotamus  Rests on his belly in the mud;  Although he seems so firm to us  He is merely flesh and blood.
"The Hippopotamus"Webster was much possessed by death  And saw the skull beneath the skin
"Whispers of Immortality"Grishkin is nice: her  Russian eye is underlined for emphasis;  Uncorseted, her friendly bust  Gives promise of pneumatic bliss.
"Whispers of Immortality"; "Grishkin" has been identified by Ezra Pound as having been "Serafima Astafieva" a Russian dancer.


=== The Waste Land (1922) ===
Full text online (at Wikisource)

April is the cruellest month, breeding  Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing  Memory and desire, stirring  Dull roots with spring rain.
Line 1 et seq.There is shadow under this red rock  (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.
Line 25 et seq.I was neither  Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,  Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Line 39 et seq.Unreal city,  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.
Line 60 et seq.
This is a reference to Dante's Inferno, Canto III, lines 55-57O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag—  It's so elegant  So intelligent
Line 128 et seq.O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,  Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
Line 320 et seq.Who is the third who walks always beside you  When I count, there are only you and I together  But when I look ahead up the white road  There is always another one walking beside you
Line 359 et seq.
Eliot's note: Stimulated by Shackleton's Antarctic expedition where the explorers at the extremity of their strength believed there was another who walked with them across South Georgia!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  What is the city over the mountains  Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air  Falling towers  Jerusalem Athens Alexandria  Vienna London  Unreal
Line 367 et seq.In this decayed hole among the mountainsIn the faint moonlight, the grass is singingOver the tumbled graves, about the chapelThere is the empty chapel, only the wind's home.
Line 385 et seq.Then spoke the thunder  DA  Datta: what have we given?  My friend, blood shaking my heart  The awful daring of a moment's surrender  Which an age of prudence can never retract  By this, and this only, we have existed.I have heard the key  Turn in the door once and turn once only  We think of the key, each in his prison  Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison.These fragments I have shored against my ruins  Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe.  Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.  Shantih shantih shantih
The final lines of the poem.


=== The Hollow Men (1925) ===

Mistah Kurtz — he dead
A quotation from Heart of Darkness by Joseph ConradA penny for the Old Guy
A quotation of a traditional Guy Fawkes Night sayingWe are the hollow men  We are the stuffed men  Leaning together  Headpiece filled with straw.Those who have crossed  With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom  Remember us — if at all — not as lost  Violent souls, but only  As the hollow men  The stuffed men.Eyes I dare not meet in dreams  In death's dream kingdom´  These do not appear:  There, the eyes are  Sunlight on a broken column  There, is a tree swinging  And voices are  In the wind's singing  More distant and more solemn  Than a fading star.This is the dead land  This is cactus land  Here the stone images  Are raised, here they receive  The supplication of a dead man's hand  Under the twinkle of a fading star.  [...]  The eyes are not here  There are no eyes here  In this valley of dying stars  In this hollow valley  This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms  In this last of meeting places  We grope together  And avoid speech  Gathered on this beach of the tumid river  Sightless, unless  The eyes reappear  As the perpetual star  Multifoliate rose  Of death's twilight kingdom  The hope only  Of empty men.Between the idea  And the reality  Between the motion  And the act  Falls the ShadowFor Thine is the Kingdom.Between the conception  And the creation  Between the emotion  And the response  Falls the ShadowLife is very long.Between the desire  And the spasm  Between the potency  And the existence  Between the essence  And the descent  Falls the Shadow .This is the way the world ends  This is the way the world ends  This is the way the world ends  Not with a bang but a whimper.


=== Ash-Wednesday (1930) ===

Because I do not hope to turn again  Because I do not hope  Because I do not hope to turn  Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope  I no longer strive to strive towards such things  (Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?)  Why should I mourn  The vanished power of the usual reign?Because I do not hope to know  The infirm glory of the positive hour  Because I do not think  Because I know I shall not know  The one veritable transitory power  Because I cannot drink  There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing againBecause I know that time is always time  And place is always and only place  And what is actual is actual only for one time  And only for one place  I rejoice that things are as they are and  I renounce the blessèd faceBecause I cannot hope to turn again  Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something  Upon which to rejoiceLet these words answer  For what is done, not to be done again  May the judgement not be too heavy upon usBecause these wings are no longer wings to fly  But merely vans to beat the air  The air which is now thoroughly small and dry  Smaller and dryer than the will  Teach us to care and not to care  Teach us to sit still.  Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death  Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only  The wind will listen.Lady of silences  Calm and distressed  Torn and most whole  Rose of memory  Rose of forgetfulness  Exhausted and life-giving  Worried reposeful  The single Rose  Is now the Garden  Where all loves end   Terminate torment  Of love unsatisfied  The greater torment  Of love satisfied  End of the endless  Journey to no end  Conclusion of all that  Is inconclusible  Speech without word and  Word of no speech  Grace to the Mother  For the Garden  Where all love ends.This is the land which ye  Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity  Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.Redeem  The time. Redeem  The unread vision in the higher dream  While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent  If the unheard, unspoken  Word is unspoken, unheard;  Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,  The Word without a word, the Word within  The world and for the world;  And the light shone in darkness and  Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled  About the centre of the silent Word.        O my people, what have I done unto thee.   Where shall the word be found, where will the word  Resound? Not here, there is not enough silenceWavering between the profit and the loss  In this brief transit where the dreams cross  The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dyingAnd the lost heart stiffens and rejoices  In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices  And the weak spirit quickens to rebel  For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell  Quickens to recover  The cry of quail and the whirling plover  And the blind eye creates  The empty forms between the ivory gates  And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth  This is the time of tension between dying and birth  The place of solitude where three dreams cross  Between blue rocks   But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away  Let the other yew be shaken and reply.Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,  Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood  Teach us to care and not to careSister, mother  And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,  Suffer me not to be separated  And let my cry come unto Thee.


=== Choruses from The Rock (1934) ===

The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,  The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.O perpetual revolution of configured stars,  O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,  O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying!  The endless cycle of idea and action,  Endless invention, endless experiment,  Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;  Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;  Knowledge of words, and ignorance of The Word.  All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,  All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,  But nearness to death no nearer to God.  Where is the Life we have lost in living?  Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?  Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?  The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries  Brings us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.The lot of man is ceaseless labor,  Or ceaseless idleness, which is still harder,  Or irregular labour, which is not pleasant.  I have trodden the winepress alone, and I know  That it is hard to be really useful, resigning  The things that men count for happiness, seeking  The good deeds that lead to obscurity, accepting  With equal face those that bring ignominy,  The applause of all or the love of none.  All men are ready to invest their money  But most expect dividends.  I say to you: Make perfect your will.  I say: take no thought of the harvest,  But only of proper sowing.The world turns and the world changes,  But one thing does not change.  In all of my years, one thing does not change,  However you disguise it, this thing does not change:  The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil.You neglect and belittle the desert.  The desert is not remote in southern tropics  The desert is not only around the corner,  The desert is squeezed in the tube-train next to you,  The desert is in the heart of your brother.Let me show you the work of the humble. Listen.In the vacant places  We will build with new bricksWhere the bricks are fallen  We will build with new stone  Where the beams are rotten  We will build with new timbers  Where the word is unspoken  We will build with new speech  There is work together  A Church for all  And a job for each  Every man to his work.What life have you, if you have not life together?  There is not life that is not in community,  And no community not lived in praise of GOD.And now you live dispersed on ribbon roads,  And no man knows or cares who is his neighbor  Unless his neighbor makes too much disturbance,  But all dash to and fro in motor cars,  Familiar with the roads and settled nowhere.Much to cast down, much to build, much to restore.I have given you the power of choice, and you only alternate  Between futile speculation and unconsidered action.And the wind shall say: "Here were decent godless people:  Their only monument the asphalt road  And a thousand lost golf balls." When the Stranger says: "What is the meaning of this city ?  Do you huddle close together because you love each other?"  What will you answer? "We all dwell together  To make money from each other"? or "This is a community"?Oh my soul, be prepared for the coming of the Stranger.  Be prepared for him who knows how to ask questions.There is one who remembers the way to your door:  Life you may evade, but Death you shall not.  You shall not deny the Stranger.They constantly try to escape  From the darkness outside and within  By dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.  But the man that is shall shadow  The man that pretends to be.Then it seemed as if men must proceed from light to light, in the light of the Word,  Through the Passion and Sacrifice saved in spite of their negative being;  Bestial as always before, carnal, self seeking as always before, selfish and purblind as ever before,  Yet always struggling, always reaffirming,always resuming their march on the way that was lit by the light;  Often halting, loitering, straying, delaying, returning, yet following no other way.But it seems that something has happened that has never happened before: though we know not just when, or why, or how, or where.  Men have left GOD not for other gods, they say, but for no God; and this has never happened before  That men both deny gods and worship gods, professing first Reason,  And then Money, and Power, and what they call Life, or Race, or Dialectic.What have we to do but stand with empty hands and palms turned upwards in an age which advances progressively backwards?There came one who spoke of the shame of Jerusalem  And the holy places defiled;  Peter the Hermit, scourging with words.  And among his hearers were a few good men,  Many who were evil,  And most who were neither,  Like all men in all places.In spite of all the dishonour,  the broken standards, the broken lives,  The broken faith in one place or another,  There was something left that was more than the tales  Of old men on winter evenings.Our age is an age of moderate virtue  And moderate viceThe soul of Man must quicken to creation.Out of the meaningless practical shapes of all that is living or lifeless  Joined with the artist's eye, new life, new form, new colour.  Out of the sea of sound the life of music,  Out of the slimy mud of words, out of the sleet and hail of verbal imprecisions,  Approximate thoughts and feelings, words that have taken the place of thoughts and feelings,  There spring the perfect order of speech, and the beauty of incantation.The work of creation is never without travailLight  Light  The visible reminder of Invisible Light.O Light Invisible, we praise Thee!  Too bright for mortal vision.We see the light but see not whence it comes.  O Light Invisible, we glorify Thee!


=== Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939) ===

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,  It isn't just one of your holiday games;  You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter  When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
The Naming of CatsWhen the day's hustle and bustle is done,  Then the Gumbie Cat's work is but hardly begun.
The Old Gumbie CatYes the Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat —  And there isn't any call for me to shout it:  For he will do  As he do do  And there's no doing anything about it!
The Rum Tum TuggerJellicle Cats come out tonight,  Jellicle Cats come one come all:  The Jellicle Moon is shining bright —  Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball.
The Song of the JelliclesOld Deuteronomy's lived a long time;  He's a Cat who has lived many lives in succession.  He was famous in proverb and famous in rhyme  A long while before Queen Victoria's accession.
Old DeuteronomyAnd we all say: OH!  Well I never!  Was there ever  A Cat so clever  As Magical Mr. Mistoffelees!
Mr. MistoffeleesHe's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair:  For when they reach the scene of crime — Macavity's not there!
Macavity: The Mystery CatMacavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,  He's broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
Macavity: The Mystery CatHe always has an alibi, and one or two to spare:  At whatever time the deed took place-  Macavity wasn't there.
Macavity: The Mystery CatMacavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,  For he's a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.  You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square —  But when a crime's discovered, then Macavity's not there!
Macavity: The Mystery CatThey say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known  (I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone)  Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time  Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime!
Macavity: The Mystery CatThese modern productions are all very well,  But there's nothing to equal, from what I hear tell,  That moment of mystery  When I made history  As Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell.
Gus: The Theatre CatYou now have learned enough to see  That Cats are much like you and me  And other people whom we find  Possessed of various types of mind.  For some are sane and some are mad  And some are good and some are bad  And some are better, some are worse —  But all may be described in verse.
The Ad-dressing of Cats


== Quotes about Eliot ==
"Order"—that is what makes Mr Eliot's critical work so precious to us today; he has imposed an order on our chaos, our intellectual anarchy; he throws us a plank as we drown in a sea of platitudes and foaming stupidities. His criticism is sane without being dull or imitative; original without eccentricities; profound without obscurity; cultured without affectation; vigorous without being superficial.
Richard Aldington, Poetry Vol.17 ed. Harriet Monroe, Modern Poetry Association (1921)In writing his verse plays, Mr. Eliot took, I believe, the only possible line. Except at a few unusual moments, he kept the style Drap.
W. H. Auden, Secondary Worlds (1968)We are both poets and we both like to play. That's the similarity. The difference is this: I like to play euchre. He likes to play Eucharist.
Robert Frost, in Lawrance Thompson, 'Notes from Conversations with Robert Frost' (unpublished), in The Cambridge Companion to Robert Frost, ed. R. Faggen (2001)A damned good poet and a fair critic; but he can kiss my ass as a man and he never hit a ball out of the infield in his life.
Ernest Hemingway, 1950 letter quoted in Edwin McDowell, "The Literati's Appreciation for Baseball," New York Times (April 8,1981), p. 69.Did you know T.S. Eliot's little poem about me, called "Mr. Apollinax"? He seems to have noticed the madness.
Bertrand Russell, in a letter to Barry Fox (27 November 1927)The Diary of Vaslav Nijinjsky reaches a limit of sincerity beyond any of the documents that we have referred to on this study. There are other modern works that express the same sense that civilized life is a form of living death; notably the poetry of T. S. Eliot and the novels of Franz Kafka; but there is an element of prophetic denunciation in both, the attitude of healthy men rebuking their sick neighbors. We possess no other record of the Outsider's problems that was written by a man about to be defeated and permanently smashed by those problems.
Colin Wilson in The Outsider, p. 115 (1956)


== External links ==

The Four Quartets Online
Ash Wednesday online at the University of Cambridge
Harcourt Publishers of Eliot's Poetry
Complete Poems and Plays, 1909–1950, ISBN 015121185X
Four Quartets, ISBN 0156332256
Project Gutenberg for T.S. Eliot
The essay "Tradition and the Individual Talent"
Quotes by T.S. Eliot