Read Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot Online

four-quartets

The Four Quartets is a series of four poems by T.S. Eliot, published individually from 1936 to 1942, and in book form in 1943; it was considered by Eliot himself to be his finest work. Each of the quartets has five "movements" and each is titled by a place name -- BURNT NORTON (1936), EAST COKER (1940), THE DRY SALVAGES (1941), and LITTLE GIDDING (1942). Eliot's insights iThe Four Quartets is a series of four poems by T.S. Eliot, published individually from 1936 to 1942, and in book form in 1943; it was considered by Eliot himself to be his finest work. Each of the quartets has five "movements" and each is titled by a place name -- BURNT NORTON (1936), EAST COKER (1940), THE DRY SALVAGES (1941), and LITTLE GIDDING (1942). Eliot's insights into the cyclical nature of life are revealed through themes and images woven throughout the four poems. Spiritual, philosophical, and personal themes emerge through symbolic allusions and literary and religious references from both Eastern and Western thought. The work addresses the connections of the personal and historical present and past, spiritual renewal, and the very nature of experience; it is considered the poet's clearest exposition of his Christian beliefs. (The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature)...

Title : Four Quartets
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ISBN : 9780571068944
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 48 Pages
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Four Quartets Reviews

  • Camille Stein
    2019-01-03 14:54

    Young Eliot — Chris Buzelli - http://ow.ly/AfgL30aLNgZTime present and time pastAre both perhaps present in time futureAnd time future contained in time past.If all time is eternally presentAll time is unredeemable.What might have been is an abstractionRemaining a perpetual possibilityOnly in a world of speculation.What might have been and what has beenPoint to one end, which is always present.Footfalls echo in the memoryDown the passage which we did not takeTowards the door we never openedInto the rose-garden. My words echoThus, in your mind. But to what purposeDisturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leavesI do not know. . Tiempo presente y tiempo pasadoEstán ambos quizá presentes en el tiempo futuroY el tiempo futuro contenido en el tiempo pasado.Si todo tiempo es eternamente presenteTodo tiempo es irredimible.Lo que podía haber sido es una abstracciónY permanece como posibilidad perpetuaSólo en un mundo de especulación.Lo que podía haber sido y lo que ha sidoApuntan a un fin, que es siempre presente.Las pisadas resuenan en la memoriaBajando el pasillo que no tomamosHacia la puerta que nunca abrimosA la rosaleda. Mis palabras resuenanAsí, en tu mente. Pero con qué propósitoRemoviendo el polvo en un cuenco de pétalos de rosaNo lo sé.

  • Anthony Vacca
    2019-01-07 19:47

    T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets are as apocalyptically-sound as his more well-known The Waste Land (at least in terms of bored freshman who, in the fullness of time, will most likely only dimly remember sludging their way through the poem in some requisite English Lit courses), but whereas the latter keeps its cosmic lens rolling on the ecological, religious and human desolation brought to the early 20th century by the wonders of Imperialism and Industrialization, the FQ, on the other hand, carpet bombs the idea of consciousness and its relation with Time and Being. Who would have guessed that having self-awareness could be such a terrifying notion? Using an effective array of techniques to get his point across—repetition of words, letters and syllables (usually in sets of three); spurts of faux-Middle English; Thesaurus-bending diction; a heady blending of up-to-the-minute psychology, philosophy and multi-religious allusions—Eliot’s poems reject the notion of Time as a flowing line and instead present the concept as a brick wall in which Being moves through or puddles about in a dizzying array of cross-currents. Movement is key to understanding the FQ with its many metaphors involving travel by sea, air and dirt. Published over a period of six years, the heft of these poems is not found in their narrative continuity, but in the revisiting of meditations that are clawed at again and again with Eliot’s lush and articulate narrative voice, all in the hopes of dispensing with notions of endings and beginnings as ways of thinking about anything.A poet/musician who is a good buddy of mine has been at me for months to read these poems, and all I have to say is that the dude knows what he’s talking about. Four Quartets is a class-act display of poetic virtuosity that I hope to be repeatedly revisiting over however long a time I’ll be kicking around this mortal coil.

  • howl of minerva
    2018-12-28 17:49

    I remember being at my first anatomy dissection as a demonstrator took this slim volume out of his pocket and said to me, in a room full of cadavers, "In my end is my beginning. Isn't that wonderful? TS Eliot. Do you know it? You must read it." If I'd read the scene in a novel I would have thought it contrived and overly theatrical. But I swear it actually happened.

  • Kelly
    2019-01-08 11:55

    This is the first record of my reading that I have not posted on this website in 6 and a half years.You can find my full review of the amazing experience of this book at soapboxing: http://soapboxing.net/2013/10/four-qu...* * *ORIGINAL: Well. I just... I... what I mean to say is... I think I...Holy fuck.Yeah, gimme a minute on this one, guys.

  • Pooja
    2019-01-13 14:40

    This type of poetry fills me with bewilderment of where was I till now and how it took me this much time to encounter something as brilliant as this! Seriously, where was I ?

  • Hadrian
    2019-01-08 17:58

    Apparently I haven't put this into Goodreads and thought I did. Ah well.This is really good poetry. Don't trust me. Go read it. It's not very long, and you can probably find it in 30 seconds on Google. Please go read it.That being said, it is rather astonishing. Eliot has this rhythm, which survives even in Prufock, and shines here. Themes from religion and nature and history. Heraclius and Marcus Aurelius and St. John and aphorism and myth, Pentacostal fire and the chanting advance of the Bhagavad Ghita. This stuff speaks to you. It has overly religious themes, which somehow seem very universal. History and the present moment. Written in the despair and fragile hope of the Blitz.Bluh. I'm far too inarticulate to give these praise. Go read them. Then come back in a few months and closely follow a few lines, and commit them to memory. Then read them again.

  • Abailart
    2019-01-08 13:58

    This is something that I've been reading and returning to for more than 40 years. Few works are so intimately connected with my own life changes. Truly, all poems are read afresh with each reading: as oneself changes, the poems change. In the case of Four Quartets, I used to go o it for melancholy comfort, a vague spiritual longing too balmed with its reverberations of paradox and eastern thoughts while rooted in the soil of an East Anglian mysticism. I also found its original influence (along with Auden et al) on me towards Leavisite cultural pessimism now reflected back, refracted rather, through prisms of my own beginnings and ends. I have swerved away from both such indulgences, especially the second which I now feel as naive and elitist.One thing that hasn't changed is that these are excellent poems by any standard. I heard not long ago a world-famous novelist decry Eliot's poetry on the ground that he was anti-semitic. He said that if Eliot's stuff was good poetry it doesn't say much for poetry. Leaving aside the intense debates about Eliot's views (debates without any agreed conclusion), less controversial would be his adherence to a strict and disciplined anglicanism, royalism and belief in tradition - none of which I personally have any time for. As it happens, I don't think Eliot was any more 'anti-semitic' than, say Winston Churchill, or any of the thousands of other establishment figure's in England's torrid history of discrimination against Jewry. The poems themselves gain their power not from statements, affirmations and exclusions, but from their formal qualities. Insofar as I have just re-read them it was to appreciate again Eliot's persistent difficulty in expressing the ineffable, in using words no matter how brilliantly, to go beyond themselves. For me, the best poets and writers have as their chief energy a longing which can at best be partially expressed only by dismantling the very means of expression:So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years—Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerresTrying to use words, and every attemptIs a wholly new start, and a different kind of failureBecause one has only learnt to get the better of wordsFor the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in whichOne is no longer disposed to say it. And so each ventureIs a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulateWith shabby equipment always deterioratingIn the general mess of imprecision of feeling,Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquerBy strength and submission, has already been discoveredOnce or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hopeTo emulate—but there is no competition—There is only the fight to recover what has been lostAnd found and lost again and again: and now, under conditionsThat seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.(East Coker V)Words move, music movesOnly in time; but that which is only livingCan only die. Words, after speech, reachInto the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,Can words or music reachThe stillness, as a Chinese jar stillMoves perpetually in its stillness.Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts,Not that only, but the co-existence,Or say that the end precedes the beginning,And the end and the beginning were always thereBefore the beginning and after the end.And all is always now. Words strain,Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,Will not stay still. Shrieking voicesScolding, mocking, or merely chattering,Always assail them. The Word in the desertIs most attacked by voices of temptation,The crying shadow in the funeral dance,The loud lament of the disconsolate chimera.(Burnt Norton V)

  • Peycho Kanev
    2019-01-21 17:52

    The Four Quartets by TS Eliot is a classic. The Four Quartets are regarded by many to be the greatest philosophical poem of this century. The titles of the four sections which make up the Quartets are place names, each corresponding to a phase of spiritual development. What particularly satisfies about the Four Quartets is that they complete Eliot's broad spiritual landscape begun with "Prufrock," "Gerontion," and The Wasteland, poems about failure in a bankrupt universe, but with the words from the Upanishads, "Datta . . . Dayadhvam . . . Damyata1" spoken by the thunder at The Wasteland's conclusion, Eliot anticipates a revitalized world that he fully conceives in the Four Quartets. In this later poem, Eliot once again includes the world of desire, fear, and death that haunted The Wasteland and other earlier efforts; but in the Quartets the importance of this darker world has been diminished, relegated to the sphere of time to form a mere backdrop to Eliot's expanded vision of life as unblemished eternity. The greatest achieve of Eliot in Four Quartets, is the way he manages to reach out to the greatest poet in history, who lived a number of centuries ago, and have the language speak with his tongue, simultaneously admitting that Dante's world view cannot be copied in today's world - but that does not mean that his form of structure and vivid allusions should not be employed: in this poem, the Trecento and the century of the atomic bomb have found common ground to behold each other as not quite congenial, yet deeply related brothers. The past is not dead - it's not even past yet.

  • Pantelis
    2019-01-17 15:05

    A vision of salvation through transcendental awareness... To read in tandem with Octavio Paz's "Piedra de Sol"...

  • Manny
    2019-01-09 19:45

    Question 1 (5 points)Contrast the treatment of denotation and reference in the following works:- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations- T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets- Marcel Proust, A L'Ombre Des Jeunes Filles En FleursWell, that's what I think's wrong with formal examinations._______________________________________(Gratuitous cross-promotion)Question 2 (3 points)Order the following by the extent to which they glorify substance abuse:- Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas- Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano- Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- notgettingenough, Review of "The Marijuana Papers"

  • rahul
    2019-01-02 14:07

    We shall not cease from explorationAnd the end of all our exploringWill be to arrive where we startedAnd know the place for the first time.Through the unknown, unremembered gateWhen the last of earth left to discoverIs that which was the beginning;At the source of the longest riverThe voice of the hidden waterfallAnd the children in the apple-treeNot known, because not looked forBut heard, half-heard, in the stillnessBetween two waves of the sea.Quick now, here, now, always—A condition of complete simplicity(Costing not less than everything)And all shall be well andAll manner of thing shall be wellWhen the tongues of flames are in-foldedInto the crowned knot of fireAnd the fire and the rose are one.Fuck Me!!!!

  • Tim
    2019-01-19 19:45

    T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets is a masterpiece. I don't know how I missed it before this year. How can you not love a poem that says things like:There is, it seems to us,At best, only a limited valueIn the knowledge derived from experience.The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies,For the pattern is new in every momentAnd every moment is a new and shockingValuation of all we have been....Do not let me hearOf the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.The only wisdom we can hope to acquireIs the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.or So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years—Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerresTrying to use words, and every attemptIs a wholly new start, and a different kind of failureBecause one has only learnt to get the better of wordsFor the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in whichOne is no longer disposed to say it. And so each ventureIs a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulateWith shabby equipment always deterioratingIn the general mess of imprecision of feeling,Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquerBy strength and submission, has already been discoveredOnce or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hopeTo emulate—but there is no competition—There is only the fight to recover what has been lostAnd found and lost again and again: and now, under conditionsThat seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

  • João Fernandes
    2019-01-09 16:08

    "We can only live, only suspireConsumed by either fire or fire."

  • Abdul Kareem
    2019-01-12 12:06

    Eliot's True Masterpiece!T.S Eliot's poems are musical and spiced with sentimental preaching. A short book of just 48 pages. This book is a set of four parts "BURNT NORTON", "EAST COKER", "THE DRY SALVAGES", and "LITTLE GIDDING" which reflects the rigorous spiritual and philosophies that preoccupied with the poet. I was extremely lucky to get the chance to read this book. A gem of a book! A true gem that should be appreciated. I left the library in extreme awe from the great literary masterpiece I had just read. Anyhow, now it is definitely going to my all-time-favorites and will go to my re-read shelf.SAMPLE THISI said to my soul, be still, and wait without hopeFor hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without loveFor love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faithBut the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasyNot lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony Of death and birth.

  • Ken Moten
    2018-12-27 17:09

    " The dove descending breaks the airWith flame of incandescent terrorOf which the tongues declareThe one dischage from sin and error.The only hope, or else despair Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre- To be redeemed from fire by fire.Who then devised the torment? Love.Love is the unfamiliar NameBehind the hands that woveThe intolerable shirt of flameWhich human power cannot remove. We only live, only suspire Consumed by either fire or fire." - Section 4 of "Little Gidding"Now over the whole period of listening/reading this poem I have been wondering how I would review such a personal and colossal statement as this. So I will do my best to simply say what I felt or my interpretation of this poem overall instead of going into elaborate detail about each section which is what I planned.The 'Quartets' are based on the elements air, water, wind, and fire; the main themes are time, God, history, and death (and England). And these themes are expressed in each poem differently. This poem, especially when we get to "East Coker", is for Eliot his defining work of him "coming-out" as a Christian (which was, in the circles he hung out in, not very popular) and it seems as though he is trying to tie in the elements of his ante- and post-Anglican self together in this one work (he had already "announced" his new found religion in Ash Wednesday which I sadly haven't read yet) and I think he pulls it off well, much to some people's, then and now, disdain. " Our only health is the diseaseIf we obey the dying nurseWhose constant care is not to pleaseBut to remind us of our, and Adam's curse,And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.The whole earth is our hospitalEndowed by the ruined millionaire,Wherein, if we do well, we shallDie of the absolute paternal careThat will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.The chill ascends from feet to knees,The fever sings in mental wires.If to be warmed, then I must freezeAnd quake in frigid purgatorial firesOf which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.The dripping blood our only drink,The bloody flesh our only food:In spite of which we like to thinkThat we are sound, substantial flesh and blood-Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good." - From section 4 of "East Coker"Eliot being a long time Dante fan can't resist finally feeling able to truly stand close to his idol; and like Dante, T.S. Eliot has his own non-Christian but very much respected hero of literature make a guess spot in this poem, though instead of the Roman Poet Virgil we have the Hindu god Krishna show up in "The Dry Salvages" to warn against simply wasting time about baseless personal gains of the future instead of following divine will.""Fare forward, you who think that you are voyaging;You are not those who saw the harbourReceding, or those who will disembark.Here between the hither and the farther shoreWhile time is withdrawn, consider the futureAnd the past with an equal mind.At the moment which is not of action or inactionYou can receive this: 'on whatever sphere of beingThe mind of a man may be intentAt the time of death' - that is the one action(And the time of death is every moment)Which shall fructify in the lives of others:And do not think of the fruit of action.Fare forward. O voyagers, O seamen,You who came to port, and you whose bodiesWill suffer the trial and judgement of the sea,Or whatever event, this is your real destination."So Krishna, as when he admonished ArjunaOn the field of battle. Not fare well,But fare forward, voyagers." - From section 3 of "The Dry Salvages" The aspect of time and how it relates in life and death also show up in this poem. 3out of the 4 "Quartets" were written during the Battle of Britain and its aftermath, so this poem served as a rallying cry and a sort of philosophical piece for England. "Here, the intersection of the timeless momentIs England and nowhere. Never and always." So I will confess while this won't out-shine The Waste Land for me, but it is fast becoming a favorite of mine and is an instant masterpiece for me. No reason why you shouldn't read it no matter your feelings about Eliot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBD_OW..." Ash on an old man's sleeveIs all the ash the burnt roses leave.Dust in the air suspendedMarks the place where a story ended.Dust inbreathed was a house-The walls, the wainscot and the mouse,The death of hope and despair, This is the death of air.There are flood and drouthOver the eyes and in the mouth,Dead water and dead sandContending for the upper hand.The parched eviscerate soilGapes at the vanity of toil,Laughs without mirth. This is the death of earth.Water and fire succeedThe town, the pasture and the weed.Water and fire derideThe sacrifice that we denied.Water and fire shall rotThe marred foundations we forgot,Of sanctuary and choir. This is the death of water and fire."

  • Narjes Dorzade
    2018-12-28 19:02

    پس زجر را کدام کس ساخته است ؟ عشق ، عشق نام ناآشنایی ست ، پشت دستانی که پیرهن تحمل ناشدنی شعله را ببافند . پیرهنی که نیروی انسانی توان کندنش را ندارد . او باریده ی آتش یا آتش که فقط ما می زی ایم و دم می زنیم .یک کتاب خوب از الیوت با ترجمه ی نسبتا خوب .

  • Arlette
    2019-01-19 19:52

    If you read this to yourself out loud and slowly, it will echo in your head the rest of your life. I think it will last forever.

  • Richard
    2018-12-24 18:42

    I think that "Four Quartets" is Eliot's masterpiece and one of the great poetic works of the twentieth century. Of the four, my favourites are the first and the last, but all four have moments of Epiphany such as this section in "East Coker":"Love is most nearly itself When here and now cease to matter. Old men ought to be explorers Here or there does not matter We must be still and still moving Into another intensity For a further union, a deeper communion Through the dark cold and the empty desolation, The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning."The intellectuality in Eliot's use of an intricate allusive approach combined with a depth of spirituality creates a powerful meditation that one can read again and again.

  • Felicity
    2018-12-30 19:10

    Four Quartets is one of the most astounding pieces of writing I've ever encountered. It may start off strange and esoteric, but it becomes more and more familiar through the reading, until you feel almost as if you are experiencing Eliot's journeys and musings instead of reading a poetic result of them. It builds upon itself in the most transparent yet masterful ways. An incredible experience for me as a writer and a thinker.

  • Laurel Hicks
    2019-01-12 15:42

    Just beautiful! This set of poems deserves many readings.

  • Mohammed Hmood
    2018-12-29 13:58

    I need to read this beauty again ❤️

  • Matthew
    2019-01-14 17:53

    Listen to T.S. Eliot read "Four Quartets" here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga8tQrG4ZSwBurnt NortonITime present and time pastAre both perhaps present in time futureAnd time future contained in time past.If all time is eternally presentAll time is unredeemable.What might have been is an abstractionRemaining a perpetual possibilityOnly in a world of speculation.What might have been and what has beenPoint to one end, which is always present.Footfalls echo in the memoryDown the passage which we did not takeTowards the door we never openedInto the rose-garden. My words echoThus, in your mind. But to what purposeDisturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leavesI do not know. Other echoesInhabit the garden. Shall we follow?Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,Round the corner. Through the first gate,Into our first world, shall we followThe deception of the thrush? Into our first world.There they were, dignified, invisible,Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,And the bird called, in response toThe unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the rosesHad the look of flowers that are looked at.There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,Along the empty alley, into the box circle,To look down into the drained pool.Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,The surface glittered out of heart of light,And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.Go, go, go, said the bird: human kindCannot bear very much reality.Time past and time futureWhat might have been and what has beenPoint to one end, which is always present.IIGarlic and sapphires in the mudClot the bedded axle-tree.The trilling wire in the bloodSings below inveterate scarsAppeasing long forgotten wars.The dance along the arteryThe circulation of the lymphAre figured in the drift of starsAscend to summer in the treeWe move above the moving treeIn light upon the figured leafAnd hear upon the sodden floorBelow, the boarhound and the boarPursue their pattern as beforeBut reconciled among the stars.At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.The inner freedom from the practical desire,The release from action and suffering, release from the innerAnd the outer compulsion, yet surroundedBy a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,Erhebung without motion, concentrationWithout elimination, both a new worldAnd the old made explicit, understoodIn the completion of its partial ecstasy,The resolution of its partial horror.Yet the enchainment of past and futureWoven in the weakness of the changing body,Protects mankind from heaven and damnationWhich flesh cannot endure. Time past and time futureAllow but a little consciousness.To be conscious is not to be in timeBut only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,The moment in the draughty church at smokefallBe remembered; involved with past and future.Only through time time is conquered.IIIHere is a place of disaffectionTime before and time afterIn a dim light: neither daylightInvesting form with lucid stillnessTurning shadow into transient beautyWtih slow rotation suggesting permanenceNor darkness to purify the soulEmptying the sensual with deprivationCleansing affection from the temporal.Neither plentitude nor vacancy. Only a flickerOver the strained time-ridden facesDistracted from distraction by distractionFilled with fancies and empty of meaningTumid apathy with no concentrationMen and bits of paper, whirled by the cold windThat blows before and after time,Wind in and out of unwholesome lungsTime before and time after.Eructation of unhealthy soulsInto the faded air, the torpidDriven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy hills of London,Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney,Highgate, Primrose and Ludgate. Not hereNot here the darkness, in this twittering world. Descend lower, descend onlyInto the world of perpetual solitude,World not world, but that which is not world,Internal darkness, deprivationAnd destitution of all property,Dessication of the world of sense,Evacuation of the world of fancy,Inoperancy of the world of spirit;This is the one way, and the otherIs the same, not in movementBut abstention from movememnt; while the world movesIn appetency, on its metalled waysOf time past and time future.IVTime and the bell have buried the day,the black cloud carries the sun away.Will the sunflower turn to us, will the clematisStray down, bend to us; tendril and sprayClutch and cling?ChillFingers of yew be curledDown on us? After the kingfisher's wingHas answered light to light, and is silent, the light is stillAt the still point of the turning world.VWords move, music movesOnly in time; but that which is only livingCan only die. Words, after speech, reachInto the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,Can words or music reachThe stillness, as a Chinese jar stillMoves perpetually in its stillness.Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts,Not that only, but the co-existence,Or say that the end precedes the beginning,And the end and the beginning were always thereBefore the beginning and after the end.And all is always now. Words strain,Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,Will not stay still. Shrieking voicesScolding, mocking, or merely chattering,Always assail them. The Word in the desertIs most attacked by voices of temptation,The crying shadow in the funeral dance,The loud lament of the disconsolate chimera. The detail of the pattern is movement,As in the figure of the ten stairs.Desire itself is movementNot in itself desirable;Love is itself unmoving,Only the cause and end of movement,Timeless, and undesiringExcept in the aspect of timeCaught in the form of limitationBetween un-being and being.Sudden in a shaft of sunlightEven while the dust movesThere rises the hidden laughterOf children in the foliageQuick now, here, now, always-Ridiculous the waste sad timeStretching before and after.East CokerI In my beginning is my end. In successionHouses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their placeIs an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earthWhich is already flesh, fur and faeces,Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.Houses live and die: there is a time for buildingAnd a time for living and for generationAnd a time for the wind to break the loosened paneAnd to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trotsAnd to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto. In my beginning is my end. Now the light fallsAcross the open field,, leaving the deep laneShuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon,Where you lean against a bank while a van passes,And the deep lane insists on the directionInto the village, in the elctric heatHypnotised. In a warm haze the sultry lightIs absorbed, not refracted, by grey stone.The dahlias sleep in the empty silence.Wait for the early owl. In that open fieldIf you do not come too close, if you do not come too close,On a summer midnight, you can hear the musicOf the weak pipe and the little drumAnd see them dancing around the bonfirethe association of man and womanIn daunsinge, signifying matrimonie˜A dignified and commodious sacrament.Two and two, necessarye coniunction,Holding eche other by the hand or the armWhiche betokeneth concorde. Round and round the fireLeaping through the flames, or joined in circles,Rustically solemn or in rustic laughterLifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes,Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirthMirth of those long since under earthNourishing the corn. Keeping time,Keeping the rhythm in their dancingAs in their living in the living seasonsThe time of the seasons and the constellationsThe time of milking and the time of harvestThe time of the coupling of man and womanAnd that of beasts. Feet rising and falling.Eating and drinking. Dung and death. Dawn points, and another dayPrepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn windWrinkles and slides. I am hereOr there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.IIWhat is the late November doingWith the disturbance of the springAnd creatures of the summer heat,And snowdrops writhing under feetAnd hollyhocks that aim too highRed into grey and tumble downLate roses filled with early snow?Thunder rolled by the rolling starsSimulates triumphal carsDeployed in constellated warsScorpion fights against the SunUntil the Sun and Moon go downComets weep and Leonids flyHunt the heavens and the plainsWhirled in a vortex that shall bringThe world to that destructive fireWhich burns before the ice-cap reigns. That was a way of putting it - not very satisfactory:A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion,Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestleWith words and meanings. The poetry does not matter.It was not (to start again) what one had expected.What was to be the value of the long looked forward to,Long hoped for calm, the autumnal serenityAnd the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us,Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders,Bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit?The serenity only a deliberate hebetude,The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secretsUseless in the darkness into which they peeredOr from which they turned their eyes. There is, it seems to us,At best, only a limited valueIn the knowledge derived from experience.The knowledge inposes a pattern, and falsifies,For the pattern is new in every momentAnd every moment is a new and shockingValuation of all we have been. We are only undeceivedOf that which, deceiving, could no longer harm.In the middle, not only in the middle of the waybut all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble,On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold,And menaced by monsters, fancy lights,Risking enchantment. Do not let me hearOf the wisdom of old men, but rahter of their folly,Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.The only wisdom we can hope to acquireIs the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.The houses are all gone under the sea.The dancers are all gone under the hill.IIIO dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant,The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters,The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers,Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees,Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark,And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de GothaAnd the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors,And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.And we all go with them, into the silent funeral,Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury.I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon youWhich shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changedWith a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panoramaAnd the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away-Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stationsAnd the conversation rises and slowly fades into silenceAnd you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepenLeaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing-I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hopeFor hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faithBut the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasyNot lost, but requiring, pointing to the agonyOf death and birth. You say I am repeatingSomething I have said before. I shall say it again.Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not, You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstacy.In order to arrive at what you do not know You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.In order to possess what you do not possess You must go by the way of dispossession.In order to arrive at what you are not You must go through the way in which you are not.And what you do not know is the only thing you knowAnd what you own is what you do not ownAnd where you are is where you are not.IVThe wounded surgeon plies the steelThat quesions the distempered part;Beneath the bleeding hands we feelThe sharp compassion of the healer's artResolving the enigma of the fever chart.Our only health is the diseaseIf we obey the dying nurseWhose constant care is not to pleaseBut to remind us of our, and Adam's curse,And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.The whole earth is our hospitalEndowed by the ruined millionaire,Wherein, if we do well, we shallDie of the absolute paternal careThat will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.The chill ascends from feet to knees,The fever sings in mental wires.If to be warmed, then I must freezeAnd quake in frigid purgatorial firesOf which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.The dripping blood our only drink,The bloody flesh our only food:In spite of which we like to thinkThat we are sound, substantial flesh and blood-Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.VSo here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years-Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres-Trying to use words, and every attemptIs a wholy new start, and a different kind of failureBecause one has only learnt to get the better of wordsFor the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in whichOne is no longer disposed to say it. And so each ventureIs a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,With shabby equipment always deterioratingIn the general mess of imprecision of feeling,Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquerBy strength and submission, has already been discoveredOnce or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hopeTo emulate - but there is no competition -There is only the fight to recover what has been lostAnd found and lost again and again: and now, under conditionsThat seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.Home is where one starts from. As we grow olderthe world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicatedOf dead and living. Not the intense momentIsolated, with no before and after,But a lifetime burning in every momentAnd not the lifetime of one man onlyBut of old stones that cannot be deciphered.There is a time for the evening under starlight,A time for the evening under lamplight(The evening with the photograph album).Love is most nearly itselfWhen here and now cease to matter.Old men ought to be explorersHere or there does not matterWe must be still and still movingInto another intensityFor a further union, a deeper communionThrough the dark cold and the empty desolation,The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast watersOf the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.Read the full text here: http://www.davidgorman.com/4Quartets/

  • Anastasia
    2018-12-27 11:49

    Quattro quartetti è la penultima raccolta di poesie del caro Eliot. Un Eliot diverso, però, meno personale, si rivolge non più a sé, ma al tempo. E' un'intera dedica al Tempo, alle sue sfacettature, alle case in cui dimora (le rughe di un uomo, le stagioni, le case, la Terra). In seguito comporrà solo due o tre poesie, si dedicherà completamente al saggio. Posso dire che mi è mancato un sacco l'Eliot di The Hollow Men, The Waste Land, Ash-Wednesday? Non sono neanche sicura di essere abbastanza matura per capire queste poesie. Sono piuttosto astruse, complicate, proprio difficili da comprendere. Prendo la prima strofa che mi viene in mente:Il dettaglio della trama è movimento come nella figura delle dieci scale. Desiderio stesso è movimentoper se stesso non desiderabile; amoreè per se stesso immobile, soltantocausa e fine di movimento senza tempo e senza desideriofuorché nell'aspetto del tempocondensato in forma di limitazionetra non essere ed essere.(The detail of the pattern is movement,As in the figure of ten stairs.Desire itself is movement,Not in itself desiderable;Love itself unmoving,Only the cause and end of movement,Timeless, and undesiringExcept in the aspect of timeCaught in the form of limitationBetween un-being and being.Ora, io ho provato a diverse volte a leggerlo. Ho provato con la versione tradotta, quella in inglese, ma non ho afferrato l'intera strofa. Sono arrivata a "causa e fine di movimento" e il mio comprendonio s'è bloccato lì. Mi sto ancora adesso scervellando per capire. Ho persino fatto leggere i versi a mia madre, che dopo un po' è scappata via dicendo che se continuava così, le sarebbe scoppiata la testa. Molto bene, Eliot è pericoloso. La traduzione della Feltrinelli, per quanto molto buona, scombina completamente la struttura delle sue poesie e va a intricare ulteriormente il problema. Una cosa positiva è che ha un suo ritmo veramente godibile, si respira sempre al momento giusto per creare una notevole sinfonia. E ha diversi riferimenti ad Eraclito, che come filosofo mi garba parecchio. Felice di sapere che Eliot è un suo grande fan. Meno felice della completa dedica alla religione delle ultime strofe, purtroppo non sono credente come lui e certi versi non li posso..sentire, ma nel senso "sentire dentro di me". Non è che non li posso sopportare, ma no.Sono sicura che ritornerò su questa raccolta, forse fra uno, due anni, sapendo già che nonostante l'ipotetica maturazione, dovrò scervellarmi ancora. Per quanto abbia apprezzato Quattro Quartetti nonostante i miei limiti, preferisco ancora le poesie precedenti. Assume un tono molto più stretto al lettore che qua, dove in alcuni punti sembra quasi freddo.

  • Eleanor
    2019-01-19 11:42

    Beautiful, mesmerising poetry. There is so much to contemplate in these four poems about time, faith and spiritual belief, whether the reader is a practising Christian, or a humanist, or a follower of a philosophy such as Buddhism. It is a meditation on the human condition. It end with this famous passage:We shall not cease from explorationAnd the end of all our exploringWill be to arrive where we startedAnd know the place for the first time.Through the unknown, remembered gateWhen the last of earth left to discoverIs that which was the beginning;At the source of the longest riverThe voice of the hidden waterfallAnd the children in the apple-treeNot known, because not looked forBut heard, half-heard, to the stillnessBetween two waves of the sea.Quick now, here, now, always -A condition of complete simplicity(Costing not less than everything)And all shall be well andAll manner of thing shall be wellWhen the tongues of flames are in-foldedInto the crowned knot of fireAnd the fire and the rose are one.

  • Ana Rînceanu
    2019-01-13 17:54

    If I knew less about European history and Christianity, I probably wouldn't get the subtle points of the writing. Eliot's rhythm and universal themes balance the rest out, but I'll probably need to come back to it.

  • Khalil
    2019-01-05 16:48

    Caution : this is a 5 stars rating ,( obviously like everybody here on Goodreads ) the rest of the stars are coming along when I understand what does thispoetrymean , or when my mind evolve to understand such a poetry :)

  • Roya
    2019-01-11 18:51

    I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon youWhich shall be the darkness of God

  • Teresa Proença
    2019-01-22 16:42

    "No meu começo está o meu fim. Uma após outraAs casas erguem-se e caem, desmoronam, são aumentadas,São mudadas, destruídas, restauradas, ou onde estavamFica um descampado ou uma fábrica ou um desvio.De pedra velha a edifício novo, de lenha velha a fogos novos,De fogos velhos a cinzas e de cinzas à terraQue é já carne, pele e fezes,Osso de homem e bicho, haste de trigo e folha.As casas vivem e morrem: há um tempo para edificarE um tempo para viver e para procriarE um tempo para o vento quebrar a vidraça soltaE abanar o lambril onde se apressa o rato do campoE abanar o arrás em farrapos lavrado com uma divisa silenciosa.(...)

  • Allegra
    2019-01-13 19:47

    This quartet of longer poems is Eliot's very best and most provoking poetry. He has become a sort of Modernist monster over the years, but forget Prufrock and read this. His allusion to Beethoven's Four Quartets is apt. Eliot did not publish anymore poetry after this text, and Beethoven's quartet with four movements was his last finished work. Listen to the Beethoven quartet. Read Taking the Quantum Leap. Read about Sanskrit and Hinduism as well, appreciate this intricately layered poem even more. The quartets are steeped in canonical mystery; you can almost smell the Frankincense and lotus.

  • A.J.
    2018-12-24 13:46

    A spiritual mediation on existence contemplated in shades of light and gloam, Four Quartets is beautiful, concurrently haunting and illuminating.“I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon youWhich shall be the darkness of God.”