Wide World of Quotes > T. S. Eliot Quotes


T. S. Eliot
American-born British poet, critic and dramatist
(1888-1965)



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Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question. . . .

Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
Let us go and make our visit.
-- "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (1915)


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?

-- "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (1915)

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
-- "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (1915)

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.
-- "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (1915)

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
-- "The Waste Land" (1922)

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.
-- "The Waste Land" (1922)

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw.
-- "The Hollow Men" (1925)

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom
-- "The Hollow Men" (1925)

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
-- "The Hollow Men" (1925)

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.
-- "The Hollow Men" (1925)

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
-- "Ash Wednesday" (1930)

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 again
-- "Ash Wednesday (1930)

Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen.
-- "Ash Wednesday" (1930)

He'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 Cat", in: Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939)

He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare:
At whatever time the deed took place-
Macavity wasn't there.
-- "Macavity: The Mystery Cat", in: Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939)

Macavity, 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 Cat", in: Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939)

They 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 Cat", in: Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939)


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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