Allusion in The Waste Land
Terms in this set (57)
The Burial of the Dead
Reference to the Anglican Order of the same name.
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten (10).
A public park in Munich.
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow / Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man... (20)
From Ezekiel 2:1, in which God addresses Ezekiel, whose mission will be to preach the coming of the Messiah to unbelievers, saying "Son of Man, stand up upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee."
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...(23)
Ecclesiastes 12:5, in which the preacher speaks of the fearful deprivations of old age: "Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because men goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets..."
Only / There is a shadow under this red rock (25).
See Isaiah 32:2, which describes a kingdom under righteous rule: "And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."
Frisch weht der Wind / Der Heimat zu / Mein Irisch Kind, / Wo weilest du? (31-4).
German: "Fresh blows the wind to the homeland - my Irish child, where do you tarry?" From Richard Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde (1865), I.5-8, this is a sailor's lament for the girl he has left behind in Ireland.
Oed' und leer das Meer (42).
German: "Desolate and empty is the sea." Eliot's note cites Tristan und Isolde 3.24, in which Tristan lies dying, waiting for his beloved, Isolde, to come to him, but there is no sign of her ship on the sea.
Madame Sosostris (43)
Thought to be borrowed from the character of the same name in Aldous Huxley's novel Crome Yellow (1921).
Those are pearls that were his eyes (48).
From Ariel's song in Shakespeare's The Tempest I.2 397-403: "Full fathom five thy father lies; / Of his bones are coral made; / Those are pearls that were his eyes; / Nothing of him that doth fade / But doth suffer a sea-change / Into something rich and strange: / Sea nymphs hourly ring his knell: / Burden. Ding-dong. / Hark! Now I hear them - ding-dong bell."
Lady of the Rocks (49)
Possible ironic reference to Leonardo da Vinci's painting Madonna and the Rocks
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel (51)
Wheel of Fortune
"Les sept vieillards" by poet Charles Baudelaire; also, the "City" is the name for London's financial district, located north of London Bridge.
I had not thought death had undone so many (62)
Dante's Inferno which describes the souls in Hell's vestibule: "such a long stream / of people, that I would not have thought / that death had undone so many." These vestibule inhabitants "undecided stood" in passive moral stagnancy, refusing to choose good or bad.
Saint Mary Woolnoth (67)
Church in King William Street. Eliot joined a campaign to save this church from demolition.
You who were with me in the ships at Mylae! (70)
The Battle of Mylae (260 BCE) took place during the trade-based First Punic War between the Romans and the Carthaginians.
Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men, / Or with his nails he'll dig it up again! (74-5)
John Webster's play The White Devil (1612): 5.4: "But keep the wolf far from thence, that's foe to men, / For with his nails he'll dig them up again."
Sirius, the Dog Star, heralded the annual flooding of the Nile in Egyptian mythology.
A Game of Chess
Title of Thomas Middleton's 1624 satirical political drama. In Middleton's play Women Beware Women, a game of chess distracts a mother-in-law, preventing her from noticing that her daughter-in-law is being seduced upstairs. Each move in the chess game mirrors a move in the seduction.
The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne (77)
Antony and Cleopatra, 2.2.190: "The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne, / Burned on the water."
As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene... (98)
Milton's Paradise Lost describing the Garden of Eden seen through Satan's Eyes.
The change of Philomel, by the barbaraous king / So rudely forced; yet there be the nightingale (100)
Ovid's Metamorphoses 6, which tells the Greek myth of Philomela, who was raped and had her tongue cut out by King Tereus of Thrace (her brother-in-law) before being changed into a nightingale.
"Jug Jug" to dirty ears (103)
In Elizabethan poetry, this was a conventional representation of a nightingale's song. Also, a crude reference to sexual intercourse.
I think we are in rat's alley (115)
Metamorphoses 6, part 3 line 195
"What is that noise?" / The wind under the door (117-8)
John Webster's The Devil's Law Case (3.2.162). A patient who is believed to have been stabbed to death groans in pain, prompting the surgeon to ask, "Is the wind in the door still?"
OOOO that Shakespeherian Rag (128)
Reference to the popular American ragtime song performed in Ziegfield's Follies in 1912.
And we shall play a game of chess, / Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door (137-8)
The game of chess in Middleton's Women Beware Women.
When Lil's husband got demobbed (<--definition) (line 139)
Demobilized; released from military service.
HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME (141)
Expression used by bartenders in Britain to announce closing time.
Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight. Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night (170-3).
Ophelia's last words in Hamlet (4.5.72-3) before she drowns herself. These words are taken by her father as evidence that she has been driven insane by Hamlet's seeming indifference to her.
The Fire Sermon
Sermon preached by the Buddha against passions (such as lust, anger, and envy) that consume people and prevent their regeneration.
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song (176).
Edmund Spenser's Prothalamion (1596), a poem that celebrates the ideals of marriage, written to commemorate the joint marriages of the two daughters of the Earl of Worcester.
By the water of Leman I sat down and wept...(182)
Reference to Psalms 137, in which the Hebrews lament their exile in Babylon and their lost homeland of Jerusalem: "By the rivers of Babylon, there sat we down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion." For Babylon, Eliot substitutes ________ which is the French name for Lake Geneva. It is also a medieval word meaning sweetheart.
The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear (186)
Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress": "But at my back I always hear / Time's winged chariot hurrying near" (lines 21-2).
While I was fishing in the dull canal / On a winter evening round behind the gashouse / Musing upon the king my brother's wreck / And on the king my father's death before him (192).
Shakespeare's The Tempest I.2.388-93, in which Ferdinand, shipwrecked on the shore, is prompted by Ariel's music to ponder the supposed drowning of his father, King Alonso: "Sitting on a bank, / Weeping again the king my father's wrack / The music crept by me upon the waters, / Allaying both their fury and my passion / With its sweet air." This is the first of two references to this passage in The Waste Land (also line 257).
Rattled by the rat's foot only, year to year / But at my back from time to time I hear (195-6)
John Day's Parliament of Bees. "When of the sudden, listening you shall hear / A noise of horns and hunting, which shall bring / Actaeon to Diana in the spring, / Where all shall see her naked skin."
Character in two earlier poems by Eliot, "Sweeney Erect" and "Sweeney Among the Nightingales."
Et O ces voix d'enfants, chantant dans la coupole! (202).
French: "And O those children's voices singing under the cupola." Eliot's note indicates that this is the last line of French poet Paul Verlaine's sonnet "Parsifal". Verlaine refers to the opera Parsifal by Richard Wagner, in which a choir of children sings while the innocent knight Parsifal has his feet washed before entering the Castle of the Grail.
C.i.f London: documents at sight (211)
Means that the price includes cost, insurance, and freight to London. Documents on sight indicates that the Bill of Landing were to be handed to the buyer upon payment of the sight draft.
Asked me in demotic (<-- definition) French (212)
At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives / Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea (220-1).
Sappho's poem Fragment 149, in which Hesperus, the evening star, brings home "all things the bright dawn disperses" including "the sheep, the goat, the child to its mother."
One of the low on whom assurance sits / As a silk hat on a Bradford* millionaire (232-3)
Textile center in industrial Yorkshire, many of whose residents became extremely wealthy during the textile boom that accompanied WWI.
I who have sat by Thebes below the wall / And walked among the lowest of the dead (246-7)
In Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, Tiresias perceives that the curse of infertility plaguing the people and the land of Thebes has been brought upon them by the unwitting marriage of Oedipus to his mother, Jocasta. In book 9 of the Odyssey, Odysseus journeys to the underworld, where he consults Tiresias.
When lovely woman stoops to folly (253)
Oliver Goldsmith's novel The Vicar of Wakefield (1762), in which Olivia, returning to the place where she was seduced, sings: "When lovely woman stoops to folly / And finds too late that men betray / What charm can soothe her melancholy, / What art can wash her guilt away? / The other art her guilt to cover, / To hide her shame from every eye, / To give repentance to her lover, / And wring his bosom - is to die."
This music crept by me upon the waters (257)
Shakespeare's The Tempest.
Trams and dusty trees. / Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew / Undid me. By Richmond I raised my knees / Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe (292-5).
Parody from Dante's Purgatorio.
After the torchlight red on sweaty faces / After the frosty silence in the gardens / After the agony in stony places / The shouting and the crying / Prison and palace and reverberation / Of thunder of spring over distant mountains / He who was living is now dead (322-8).
References to the events from the betrayal of Christ.
Dead mountain mouth of carious (<-- definition) teeth that cannot spit (359).
Not the cicada (354).
Grasshopper. See Ecclesiastes 12.4: "Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets."
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 (367-76).
Reference to Herman Hesse's Blick ins Chaos: Drei Aufsatze (in English: A Glimpse into Chaos: Three Essays)
Only a cock stood on the rooftree / Co co rico co co rico (392-3).
The crowing of the cock signals the coming of the morning and the departure of the ghosts and evil spirits, as in Hamlet I.1, when Hamlet's father's ghost disappears with its call. Also, in the Gospels Peter repents his repudiation of Christ after the cock crows.
DA / Datta: what have we given? (401-2).
Reference to the Hindu fable in which gods, men, and demons each in turn ask the lord of creation, Prajapati, "Please instruct us, Sir." To each he utters the syllable "Da" and each group interprets the answer differently.
Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider (408).
John Webster's The White Devil: "...they'll remarry / Ere the worm pierce your winding-sheet, ere the spider / Make a thin curtain for your epitaphs." (In this excerpt, the villain Flamineo urges men never to trust their wives.)
I have the key (411).
Dante's Inferno 33.46, in which Ugolino della Gherardesca remembers being locked up with his children in the tower, where they all starved to death.
Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus (417)
Roman general of Shakespeare's play of the same name. A character who is motivated by pride rather than duty, Coriolanus leads the enemy against Rome, the city from which he has been exiled.
I sat upon the shore / Fishing, with the arid plain behind me (424-5).
The Fisher King; deities have long been associated as Fishers for their origin and preservation of life.
Shall I at least set my lands in order (426)
Isaiah 38.1: "Thus saith the Lord, set thin house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live."
Shantih shantih shantih (436)
Formal ending to an Upanishad.
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