T.S. Eliot Quotes


Type: Poet, dramatist, literary critic, editor

Born: 26 September 1888

Died: 4 January 1965

Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a British essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and "one of the twentieth century's major poets". He moved from his native United States to England in 1914 at the age of 25, settling, working, and marrying there. He was eventually naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at the age of 39, renouncing his American citizenship.

T.S. Eliot Quotes

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.

Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.

A prose that is altogether alive demands something of the reader that the ordinary novel reader is not prepared to give.

So I find words I never thought to speak

In streets I never thought I should revisit

When I left my body on a distant shore.

The world turns and the world changes, But one thing does not change. In all of
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.

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.

Humor is also a way of saying something serious.

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.

There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.

There is one who remembers the way to your door: Life you may evade, but Death you shall not.

If you haven’t the strength to impose your own terms upon life, then you must accept the terms it offers you.

Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want; whatever you feel, be sure that is what you feel.

We had the experience but missed the meaning. And approach to the meaning restores the experience in a different form.

Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity

Truth on our level is a different thing from truth for the jellyfish.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

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?

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in infomation?

The dream crossed twilight between birth and dying.

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.

The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.

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.

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 emotion know what it means to want to escape from these.

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor -
And this, and so much more? -

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
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
-But who is that on the other side of you?

The visible reminder of Invisible Light.

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 think we are in rats’ alley
Where the dead men lost their bones.

My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.
'Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak.
'What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?
'I never know what you are thinking. Think.

Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.

Till Human voices wake us, and we drown.

Honest criticism and sensible appreciation are directed not upon the poet but upon the poetry.

As she laughed I was aware of becoming involved in her laughter and being part of it, until her teeth were only accidental stars with a talent for squad-drill.

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.

We returned to our palaces, 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.

Someone 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.

Destiny waits in the hand of god, shaping the still unshapen..

We die to each other daily. What we know of other people is only our memory of the moments during which we knew them. And they have changed since then. To pretend that they and we are the same is a useful and convenient social convention which must sometimes be broken. We must also remember that at every meeting we are meeting a stranger.

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.

Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment.

And the end and the beginning were always there
Before the beginning and after the end.
And all is always now.

Do I dare Disturb the universe?

But the Church cannot be, in any political sense, either conservative or liberal, or revolutionary. Conservatism is too often conservation of the wrong things: liberalism a relaxation of discipline; revolution a denial of the permanent things.

Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse

I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood-
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.

Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance

music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but
you are the music
While the music lasts.

If time and space, as sages say,
Are things which cannot be,
The sun which does not feel decay
No greater is than we.
So why, Love, should we ever pray
To live a century?
The butterfly that lives a day
Has lived eternity.

T.S. Eliot deems dangerous the tendency "to associate tradition with the immovable; to think of it as something hostile to all change; to aim to return to some previous condition which we imagine as having been capable of preservation in perpetuity". "Tradition without intelligence, he challenges, "is not worth having.

Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important.

Unreal friendship may turn to real
But real friendship, once ended, cannot be mended

The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink.

And right action is freedom from past and future also.
For most of us, this is the aim never to be realized. Who are only undefeated because we have gone on trying. "The Dry Salvages

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