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T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets : their pattern and meaning Erickson, Eric E. 1975

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T. S. ELIOT'S FOUR QUARTETS: THEIR PATTERN AND MEANING by ERIC E. ERICKSON B.A., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1969 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN THE REQUIREMENTS MASTER PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF FOR THE DEGREE OF OF ARTS in the Department of English We accept th i s thesis as conforming to the required standard The University of B r i t i s h Columbia October 1975 In presenting th i s thesis in pa r t i a l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the Un ivers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L ibrary sha l l make it f ree l y ava i l ab le for reference and study. I fur ther agree that permission for extensive copying of th i s thesis for scho lar ly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representat ives. It is understood that copying or pub l i ca t ion of th is thes is for f inanc ia l gain sha l l not be allowed without my writ ten permission. Department of The Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date /97^ ABSTRACT This thesis i s an attempt to describe T. S. E l i o t ' s Four Quartets as a work that is highly dependent upon pattern. This i s in keeping with the views of those c r i t i c s (e. g. Helen Gardner, Harry Blamires, El izabeth Drew) who feel that the Quartets, throughout a l l four books, are the drawing out of a continuous thread of meaning. The under-pinnings of the poem are re l i g ious and sacramental and i t s purpose is to bring a sense of the eternal to the temporal world. Throughout, one is guided by the notion that E l i o t i s describing the way to re l ig ious v i s ion. Chapter one, therefore, is a discussion of E l i o t ' s attempts to establ ish a fundamental point of view, the point at which v is ion begins. One is required to seek the meaning of indiv idual words and the pattern of key images which lead to what E l i o t c a l l s "a condition of complete s imp l i c i t y . " The conclusion of the chapter suggests that v i s ion begins where i t ends, that E l i o t ' s goal is the ext inct ion of the bodily eye and the kindl ing of the l i g h t of inner v i s ion. Chapter two proceeds to discuss the c i r cu l a r pattern of the Quartets, the constantly re i terated theme that in order to make a beginning one must make an end, or "the end is where we s ta r t from." I t i s argued - i -i i that the thing that prevents one's making an end is one's fear of change. Thus i t i s the fear of change that clouds the way to mystic v i s i on . Following is a chapter on the mandala and how i t relates to the general pattern of poetic imagery. It is viewed as a synthesis of many meanings, most pa r t i cu l a r l y what mystics c a l l the "downward way to wisdom." The mandala, that i s , i s a symbolic way of stat ing the paradox that v i s ion occurs through darkness. And as the mandala resolves th is one paradox so i t resolves many others. The intensely complex association of ideas that the mandala represents i s interpreted to be an image of "enlightened consciousness." Chapter four develops th is same theme, only going into more deta i l as concerns the f i ne r points of the pattern. Here i s discussed the descent into darkness and what th i s s i gn i f i e s in the general pattern of mystic thought. Also discussed is the re lat ionsh ip of images of darkness and l i gh t and how th is leads to a sense of a pattern of growth. Symbolic of th i s l a t t e r pattern are images of the tree and i t s leaves to which chapter s ix then gives expression. A b r ie f summary looks at the pattern of development in E l i o t ' s prose, poetry and drama and draws the conclusion that Four Quartets i s the work of the mature a r t i s t , sure of his talents and able to speak in the aff i rmat ive voice that had eluded him in much of his e a r l i e r work. In a l l , Four Quartets represents the coherent ordering not only of the pattern of one man's l i f e but of the l i f e of a people as he observes i t to be. TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction • • • • 1 Chapter I 1 3 Chapter II 22 Chapter III 3 1 Chapter IV 5 0 Chapter V 6 9 Conclusion . . 88 Footnotes 99 Bibliography 1 0 4 INTRODUCTION Many c r i t i c s feel that Four Quartets is a work that is based on pattern. Just casually glancing at the range of E l i o t c r i t i c i s m one finds such comments as the fo l lowing: The influence of Ulysses can be detected throughout Four Quartets. Its patterning i s systematic and complex in the Joycean way, i t s use of words Joycean to a degree which c r i t i c s . . . have scarcely begun to sense.1 Harry Blamires attr ibutes to E l i o t ' s work a high degree of verbal pattern. As he points out, words are "cross referenced" and the i r meaning in one context enriched by the i r meaning in another. Much the same argument is advanced by R. P. Blackmur who believes that the images of Four Quartets are "agents of composition": That i s to say they are seen as themselves analogies which by enlightening each other are themselves enlightened . . . . The analogies are always pretty much undeclared, they do not say what they are about. They are ungoverned; they do not come d i r ec t l y under the head or power of anything, but only by the i r associat ion. They are incomplete: they always require the i r p a r a l l e l s , and they always represent more than they state.2 Helen Gardner i s no less aware of the pattern, in one form or another, of E l i o t ' s work: The more fami l i a r we become with Four Quartets . . . the more we rea l i ze that the analogy with music goes much - 1 -2 deeper than a comparison of the sections with the movements of a quartet.3 The pattern of the Quartets, Gardner argues, i s one in which we are: constantly reminded of music by the treatment of images, which recur with constant modif icat ions, from the i r context, or from the i r combination with other recurring images, as a phrase recurs with modifications in music.4 Whether one is speaking of words or images there i s a systematic counterpointing of both. The phrase recurs, as in music, and therefore i s constantly modified and given new shades of meaning. Gardner i s influenced by E l i o t ' s own essay, The Music of Poetry, which she c i t e s : I think that a poet may gain much from the study of music: how much technical knowledge of musical form i s desirable I do not know, for I have not that technical knowledge myself. But I believe that the properties in which music concerns the poet most nearly, are the sense of rhythm and the sense of structure. I think that i t might be possible for a poet to work too c lose ly to musical analogies: the resu l t might be an e f fect of a r t i f i c i a l i t y ; but I know that a poem, or a passage of a poem, may tend to rea l i ze i t s e l f f i r s t as a par t i cu la r rhythm before i t reaches expression in words, and that th is rhythm may bring to b i r th the idea and the image; and I do not believe that th i s i s an experience pecul iar to myself. There are p o s s i b i l i t i e s for verse which bear some analogy to the development of a theme by d i f fe rent groups of instruments; there are p o s s i b i l i t i e s of t rans i t ions in a poem comparable to the d i f fe rent movements of a symphony or a quartet; there are p o s s i b i l i t i e s of contrapuntal arrangement of subject-matter. I t i s in the concert room, rather than in the opera house, that the germ of a poem may be quickened.5 In e f fect E l i o t lends support to the commentators who see in the Quartets a contrapuntal arrangement of words and images. There i s l i t t l e doubt that the musical analogy applies to the Quartets, and that E l i o t intended i t to apply. On th i s subject Miss Gardner's work i s learned and convincing. The work of Blami res is simply more exhaustive 3 and treats of every possible interplay of word and image. They, together with Blackmur and others, attest to E l i o t ' s pursuit of musical form. The shortcoming of th is approach i s that i t tends to ignore the spec i f i c meaning of indiv idual words, phrases and images. In the concert h a l l , for example, one does not l i s t en to the s ingle instrument, and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This, indeed, i s what Blami res believes Joyce to have been saying of the l i f e of Leopold Bloom: from the context of one's tota l being and from a phantasia of experience l i f e i s rea l i zed. So Gardner argues of the Quartets: . . . to read Four Quartets one must have some sense of the whole before one attempts to make very much of the parts.6 Further: I t i s better in reading poetry of th i s kind to trouble too l i t t l e about 'meaning' than to trouble too much. Her placing of meaning in inverted commas states a key c r i t i c a l premise: one is wrong too f u l l y to pursue the 'meaning' of any image or idea apart from the tota l context within which i t occurs. For: . . . the music and the meaning ar i se at 'a point of i n t e r s e c t i o n ' , in the changes and movement of the whole.'' I can only say that my own understanding of the meaning of pattern in Four Quartets is quite d i f fe rent from th i s . I would say, for example, that one must trouble a great deal about indiv idual images, whether these are considered in i so la t ion or in unison. To treat meaning as something that mysteriously r i ses from a "point of in tersect ion " can create more problems than i t solves. I t leads Gardner to say: Four Quartets i s unique and es sent ia l l y in imitab le. In i t the form is the perfect expression of the subject; so 4 much so that one can hardly in the end dist inguish subject from form. The whole poem in i t s unity declares more eloquently than any s ingle l i ne or passage that truth i s not the f i n a l answer to a ca l cu la t ion , nor the l a s t stage of an argument, nor something to ld us once and for a l l , which we spend the rest of our l i f e proving by examples. The subject of Four  Quartets i s the truth which i s indist inguishable from the way and the l i f e in which we f ind i t .8 One wonders on encountering Gardner's use of the word "unique" whether she has forgotten E l i o t ' s own argument concerning the unique-ness or the novelty of a work of a r t . He of course says, in "Tradit ion and the Individual Talent," that no a r t i s t or work of art i s unique. Each, rather, exists within a t r ad i t i on which can only be modified and added to as one adds to any gradually evolving art or medium of expression. E l i o t staunchly avows, therefore, that the poet exists with in a publ ic domain and that his work i s indeed " im i t ab l e " , though the works of Ford may suffer in comparison to Shakespeare. As more d i r e c t l y concerns the view that I am trying to es tab l i sh , I doubt the ef f icacy of pure form as a conveyor of meaning. Though E l i o t says Only by the form, the pattern, Can words or music reach The s t i l l n e s s , as a Chinese j a r s t i l l Moves perpetually in i t s s t i l l n e s s . (BN V) he is not to be taken ent i re l y at his word, for the pattern i s merely the imitat ion of an experience, and i t i s this one dominant experience that one wishes to know. The form, in other words, contains the meaning, and that meaning may be arr ived at by a consideration of form but not by form alone. The form and the pattern are simply a way of arranging a par t i cu la r landscape so as to give i t unity and perspective as, say, the painter does in paint ing. 5 In short, I do not see the value of a c r i t i c a l view which states that the whole i s greater than the sum of the parts, espec ia l ly when one speaks of E l i o t . Were he wr i t ing a symphonic score i t would be quite another matter; but he is not, he i s wr i t ing of the r e a l i t y of re l i g ious experience and of the doctrine of Incarnation - - these are s p e c i f i c , substantial matters and are not something which, l i k e music, may disappear in a vapor. One begins and ends in the f u l l knowledge that: What might have been and what has been Point to one end, which i s always present. (BN I) If one i s considering pattern i t especia l ly points to "one end" which is always present, and the nearest thing to that end is the indiv idual word, phrase and image. One :cannot imagine, for instance, how form can manifest the Chr ist ian meaning of the word Love, or "prayer, observance, d i s c i p l i n e , thought and act ion . " (DS V) These words and ideas cannot be i l luminated except by troubl ing a very great deal about indiv idual meanings.9 Indeed as one progresses through the Quartets i t becomes quite remarkable that such a depth of meaning i s packed into indiv idual words. Images such as the rose garden and the rose are equally complex, and they y i e l d the i r f u l l e s t meaning not by a consideration of form but by a de l icate probing of the i r own inner depths. To be sure the rose garden of "Burnt Norton" i s arranged in a pattern but the pattern i s not rea l ized at some remote "point of i n te r sect ion . " Rather, the pattern to which E l i o t alludes is one which requires a studied attention to deta i l and the c learest sense of the meaning of words. 6 In yet a further area there is evidence of a very consistent and concrete pattern, a pattern which, I f e e l , can be l o g i c a l l y explored from beginning to end. This i s in the realm of h i s t o r i c a l consciousness, for the pattern of the Quartets, in large part, i s an ' ex te rna l ' pattern l a i d down by men who l i v ed , thought and suffered long before E l i o t began to wr i te. So great i s his sense of history that he constantly reminds us of a process which he knows to have preceded him and which w i l l also survive a f ter him. An a l lu s ion to St. John of the Cross, therefore, is more the mark of E l i o t ' s humil ity than an immodest show of learning. I believe him to be admitting a profound debt to the past and indeed emphasizing the eloquence and the authority of people from other times and other places. Especia l ly in the case of Dante, E l i o t admits him to be the unr ival led master of re l ig ious verse, and i f we are to understand the one we must see him as wr i t ing under the dominion of the other. In e f fec t , then, I believe E l i o t has t r i ed to create a work which w i l l both r e f l e c t and conform to the pattern of poe t i ca l , h i s t o r i c a l and re l ig ious thought as he knew i t to his day. One must take very seriously such assertions as the fol lowing: Readers of my Waste Land w i l l perhaps remember that the v i s ion of my c i t y clerks trooping over London Bridge from the railway stat ion to the i r o f f i ces evoked the re f l ec t i on 'I had not thought death had undone so many'; and that in another place I de l iberately modified a l i ne of Dante by a l te r ing i t - - ' s ighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled. ' And I gave the references in my notes, in order to make the reader who recognized the a l l u s i on , know that I meant him to recognize i t , and know that he would have missed the point i f he did not recognize i t . 10 E l i o t ' s a l lus ions to Dante, as to others, are intended to have the reader see that work as a whole, as for instance one would see 7 the ent i re meaning, scope and pattern of the Paradiso through the l i ne s , " F i g l i a del tuo f i g l i o , / Queen of Heaven." (DS IV) And not only is one to see that par t i cu la r work as a whole, but as a part of a pattern of works that have one thing in common: the attempt to set the world in some kind of s p i r i t u a l order. In b r i e f , there i s but one "pattern" and that pattern is universal. This i s the lesson that we learn from reading Dante and the Bible and the Bhagavad G i ta . Such works represent, as I believe E l i o t would have us see, a type of efflorescence of the human mind; as the re l ig ious impulse in general begins to work i t s e l f up to consciousness i t takes shape around par t i cu la r images, patterns and doctrines. So i f one wanted to know the Quartets, he could do no better than to embark on a detai led invest igat ion of E l i o t ' s sources; to know that the al lus ions to Krishna, Dame Ju l ian of Norwich and St. John of the Cross are not i nc identa l , nor are they there for the sake of the fact that these are what we c a l l " r e l i g i ou s " people. Rather, they are given a place in the pattern because they are the pattern, and any thought of the Quartets without these people would make the meaning of that work ent i re l y d i f fe rent . One of E l i o t ' s most s i gn i f i can t undertakings i s , perhaps, the attempt to unite these people, the i r be l ie f s and the i r a t t i tudes , in a s ingle pattern - - "the complete consort dancing together." (LG V) Krishna says: I am the sou l , prince v ic tor ious , which dwells in the heart of a l l things. I am the beginning the middle, and the end of a l l that l i v e s . (Bhagavad Gita) The words of Chr i st are: I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the f i r s t and the l a s t . 8 And while the cornerstone of Chr i s t i an i t y i s the doctrine of love leading to eternal l i f e , the Bhagavad Gita says: But beyond t h i s , v i s i b l e and i n v i s i b l e , there is An I nv i s i b l e , higher, Eternal ; and when a l l things pass away this remains for ever and ever. This Inv i s ib le is ca l led the Everlasting and is the highest End supreme. Those who reach him never return. This i s my supreme abode. This S p i r i t Supreme, Arjuna, is attained by an ever l i v ing love. In him a l l things have the i r l i f e , and from him a l l things have come. (Bhagavad Gita 8) As in E l i o t ' s references in the Waste Land, I believe that one i s meant to see the pervading purpose of a s pec i f i c a l l u s i on , and to dig below the surface and come up with the pa ra l l e l pattern of seemingly d i f fe rent re l i g ious f a i t h s . I t i s not that any one re l i g i on can be mistaken for another, but rather that there is a s t r i v i ng in many re l i g i on s , for reasons hardly to be understood, toward the same summit of thought. While my reading of the people to whom E l i o t alludes has been s u p e r f i c i a l , i t has been just deep enough, poss ibly, to give the freshness of ins ight that comes with f i r s t acquaintance. Reading Dante and the Bhagavad G i t a , for instance, I was immediately struck by the fact that any s ingle image in E l i o t could be expanded un t i l i t became one with images from these two sources. Gradually th is led to a be l i e f that there is both an internal and an external order of-words and images in Four Quartets; there is indeed an independent order of meaning within the work but there is also a sense in which E l i o t cannot be understood without reference to a great number of outside sources. This i s by way of saying that there i s nothing quasi-mystical about the way in which E l i o t creates meaning. Though he may have had mystical experiences he i s sensible enough not 9 to ta lk about them. He t e l l s us, rather, that the way to the experience - -the experience of what the Quartets are about - - i s through a consideration of history and authority. The indiv idual experience does not matter, and even the Quartets do not matter except as they are an attempt to echo the pattern that has already been discovered: And what there is to conquer By strength and submission, has already been discovered Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope To emulate - - but there i s no competition - -There is only the f i ght to recover what has been lo s t And found and los t again and again: and now under conditions That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss. For us there i s only the t ry ing . The rest i s not our business. (EC V) E l i o t makes no special claims to author i ty, and what he i s involved i n , s t r i c t l y speaking, is a process of discovery. The pattern which i s purely his own, the pattern which we more immediately perceive, i s simply that which points to the broader h i s t o r i ca l pattern and the nature of re l ig ious experience more c lea r l y revealed. One is led to conclude that the Quartets are imbued by such a strong h i s t o r i ca l sense that the only way to approach them is through the pattern of time and h i s tory; h i s tory, that i s , w i l l shed l i g h t on Four Quartets rather than they on history. E l i o t i s not simply E l i o t , but the E lyot, his ancestor, of Sixteenth Century England^ He i s Dante down to the present day, and Dame Ju l ian merely seen through contemporary eyes, a f igure from the past absorbed into the modern consciousness. Each suffers a sea change as each is f i l t e r e d through the present moment, but perhaps, as E l i o t says, th i s "neither gain nor loss . " For what i s complete - - v i s ion in i t s highest form - - cannot be added to, and what i s incomplete i s merely that v i s ion in i t s various stages of ebb and 10 flow throughout the pattern of time and h istory. One's moment in time may not be the most propitious moment, but " fo r us there is only the t r y ing . " I t may appear from my introduction that I have paid a great deal of attention to the people to whom E l i o t alludes but th i s i s not altogether the case. Having discovered the source of an a l lu s ion and that E l i o t was thinking of th is person or that work there is not much else that can be said unless we consider the work and the person as part of a general pattern. The real importance of Dante for instance is not that he is author of the l i ne " f i g l i a del tuo f i g l i o " but rather that he is creator of the image of the Ce lest ia l Rose and that the image and the highly complex pattern of thought for which i t stands has special importance for E l i o t . In s imi la r manner the " f igure of the ten s t a i r s " i s not in i t s e l f as interest ing as the fact that through the a l lu s ion E l i o t opens up the ent i re subject of the mystic journey, a journey that occurs in de f in i te stages and requires many levels of " d i s c i p l i n e , thought and act ion . " One learns that knowledge is gained through a r i t u a l exercise and that th is exercise has been mapped out as one maps the features of an ent i re continent - - in order to travel from east to west and north to south, discovering every dark nook of human experience, one must know the prerequis ite steps. There are p i t s and shoals that Dame Ju l ian of Norwich, St. John of the Cross and a host of mystics pinpoint as one would locate boundaries and place-names on a map. Thus the Four Quartets span the four quarters of the known world and descend into a world that i s darker and more awesome. Their pattern is one that begins, as Dante does, in the commonplace realms of material 11 experience but leads step by step to the almost chartless realms of inner being. Here the importance of the "map", or the mandala is v i v i d l y seen. What I have t r i ed to do, by dealing wi.th the pattern of the Quartets, i s show i t s broad contours and to i s o l a te , where poss ible, spec i f i c images such as the mandala, the rose, the tree and i t s leaves. Thus I have hoped to show the way of approach to the " s t i l l point" to which E l i o t so constantly al ludes. My chapters are divided according to the view that one's f i r s t task i s to establ i sh a "point of view"; that view being established one is then able to pay far greater attent ion to the " de ta i l of the pattern" and to separate the deta i l from the constant f lux of the material world. As the journey proceeds one gradually learns that the "world" is destroyed in order to be created again along spec i f i c l ines of s p i r i t ua l awareness. The mandala, for example, contains the world in miniature - - everything is reduced to symbolic proportions and new meanings are attached to old words, values and be l i e f s . Eventually achieved i s a reversal of the world as i t i s commonly known. The darkness becomes the l i gh t and the s t i l l n e s s the dancing. Nothing r ea l l y i s new but is simply seen from a d i f fe rent perspective or from a standpoint of s p i r i t u a l rather than material laws. But again one i s not in the world but out of i t ; one has become a creator of worlds - - the creator of the kingdom of s p i r i t u a l consciousness. One looks back at the world and everything in i t as the same and yet d i f fe rent ju s t as a mirror re f l ec t s the same and yet d i f fe rent images of r e a l i t y . And so the pool-begotten v i s ion with which the Quartets open becomes something more than an echo or a Platonic world of second-hand r e a l i t y . Instead one looks, as Dante 12 looks at the end of the "Paradiso", into the very heart of light-, the heart of the pattern, the point of union of man and God, s t i l l n e s s and motion, joy and suffer ing and a l l the dua l i t i e s of which the world i s made: And a l l shal l be well and A l l manner of thing shal l be well When the tongues of flame are in-folded Into the crowned knot of f i r e And the f i r e and the rose are one. (LG V) CHAPTER I In Four Quartets one of E l i o t ' s primary aims i s to establ i sh a point of view. His wish i s to give focus not only to his poetry but to the world in general. This i s a daring undertaking but one which is the essence of the Quartets and i t s kindred re l i g ious poetry. One thinks, for example, of Dante's Divine Comedy which i s one of the most outstanding attempts in poetry to reduce the world to a s ingle p r inc ip le or moment of v i s i on . As in M i l ton ' s Paradise Lost, God is l i g h t , and once th i s i s understood the world assumes a new s imp l i c i t y - - E l i o t ' s "condit ion of complete s imp l i c i t y . " (LG V) The s imp l i c i t y of l i g h t i s the fountainhead of a l l worldly being. Henry Vaughn says: I saw eternity the other night Like a great r ing of pure and endless l i g h t , A l l calm as i t was br ight; And round beneath i t , time, in hours, days, years. Driven by the spheres, Like a vast shadow moved, in which the world And a l l her t r a i n were hurled. In one way or another, Dante, Milton and Vaughn a l l a r r ive at the oneness and unity of l i g h t . In attempting to establ ish a s imi la r view, Will iam Blake speaks of seeing "the world in a grain of sand", and "e te rn i ty in an hour." This sought-after i l luminat ion - - the seeing of the world in a grain of sand - - i s more or less what E l i o t attempts to achieve in - 13 -14 his own terms. This i s why I have begun by discussing point of view, or what may be termed the ' focus ' of Four Quartets. For E l i o t ' s method, r e a l l y , i s one of ever greater attent ion to d e t a i l , forcing one to look at the world as one would at a f i ne l y balanced mechanism and to discover i t s governing p r i nc ip l e . His purpose is to f ind the key that unlocks the mystery of the whole. Which i s to say, one seeks the deta i l of the pattern before the pattern i t s e l f . In general, E l i o t attempts to establ i sh the d r i f t of his poetry, the tack that i t must take in order to ar r ive at a sense of what the world i s about. On one level his concern must obviously be, as he i s a poet, for speech, the pur i fy ing of the " d i a l e c t of the t r i b e . " (LG II) As with the world, of which speech i s a part, he must t ry to f i nd key words, key utterances, which t e l l what the language is about. Yet the poet 's task i s a d i f f i c u l t one, for standing between the word and i t s meaning, i r o n i c a l l y , i s the barr ier of ' poet ry ' : Thunder ro l l ed by r o l l i n g stars Simulates triumphal cars Deployed in constal lated wars Scorpion f ights against the Sun Unt i l the Sun and Moon go down Comets weep and Leonids f l y Hunt the heavens and the plains Whirled in a vortex that shal l bring The world to that destructive f i r e That burns before the ice-cap reigns. (EC II) I have always looked upon this as one of the ' f i n e r ' pieces of wr i t ing in E l i o t , something so de l iberate ly rhetor ica l that i t stands in bold r e l i e f to the words that immediately fo l low: That was a way of putting i t - - not very sat i s factory : A per iphrast ic study in a worn-out poetical fashion, Leaving one s t i l l with the into lerab le wrestle With words and meanings. 15 By his own protestation the previous l ines were "not very s a t i s f ac to r y " , for they were too much an attempt at s ty le rather than meaning. One must s t i l l "wrest le" with words and rescue them from the bed of poetry within which they l i e . The poetry, says E l i o t , "does not matter", and yet i t does matter and what he rea l l y means is that the poetry apart from the meaning does not matter. The conversational tone that he assumes - - " that was a way of putting i t " - - i s meant to draw one's attention to the word, and not only to the word but to i t s sometimes almost inexpressible meaning. If one considers E l i o t ' s essay For Lancelot Andrewes, his own purposes as a poet, especia l ly in Four Quartets, become c learer: Andrewes takes the word and derives the world from i t ; squeezing and squeezing the word unt i l i t y ie lds a ju i ce of meaning which we should never have supposed any word to possess. Andrewes was one who "wrestled" with words and sought to establ i sh the i r r ichest and deepest meaning. As an example, his seventeen Sermons of the Nat iv i ty cons istently strove to come to grips with the meaning of the word " Incarnation." Because of his great success, Andrewes won E l i o t ' s admiration. From the ent ire body of Chr ist ian be l i e f he took a s ingle word and set i t l i k e a jewel among rough stones. E l i o t ' s purposes are much l i k e Andrewes 1, for in order to arr ive at world-unity he must ar r ive at the unity of language. Language, that is-, i s too often a trap - - words change, they mean d i f fe rent things to d i f fe rent people, and they cannot bear the "burden": Words s t ra in Crack and sometimes break, under the burden, Under the tension, s l i p , s l i d e , per ish, Decay with imprecision, w i l l not stay in place, 16 Wi l l not stay s t i l l . Shrieking voices Scolding, mocking, or merely chatter ing, Always assa i l them. (BN V) Yet at the very moment that E l i o t proclaims the uncertainty and i n s t a b i l i t y of language he sh i f t s ground, and with no moment of pause says: The Word in the desert Is most attacked by the voices of temptation, The crying shadow in the funeral dance, The loud lament of the disconsolate chimera. (BN V) The "Word" i s Andrewes' "word within a word, unable to speak a word." The Word, or the Incarnate Chr i s t , i s locked with in a word and a language that can both be a trap. Even to utter the word seems an imposs ib i l i t y and one must come at from oblique angles. Though E l i o t i s not shy to introduce the idea of Incarnation - - as he has ju s t done - - he does make us see the extreme importance of s i f t i n g language, of str ipping i t of accident and imperfection and t r y ing , even for a moment, to make i t "stay s t i l l . " We, then, l i k e the poet, must engage in the pur i fy ing of the d ia lec t of the t r i be and must try to f ind the cruc ia l point at which the word and i t s meaning in ter sect ; where the two are jo ined, i s where temporary s t i l l n e s s of v i s ion occurs. In no other way but that one arr ive at the essence of language can such a goal be attained. Thus, the passage "Thunder r o l l ed by r o l l i n g stars " i s del iberately contrasted to "That was a way of putting i t - - not very sat i s factory : / A per iphrast ic study in a worn-out poetical fashion." E l i o t i s simply try ing to establ i sh the fact that there must be a harmony of words and meaning, that the poetry must act not ju s t in i t s own service but in 17 the service of language. One is always concerned with the harmony, the sudden union of 'poetry ' and meaning or sound and sense. With s im i la r thoughts of union in mind, E l i o t says: But to apprehend The point of intersect ion of the timeless With time, is an occupation for the saint - -No occupation e i ther , but something given And taken, in a l i f e t i m e ' s death in love, Ardour and self lessness and self -surrender, For most of us, there is only the unattended Moment, the moment in and out of time, The d i s t ract ion f i t , los t in a shaft of sunl ight, The w i ld thyme unseen, or the winter l ightning Or the wa te r f a l l , or the music heard so deeply That i t i s not heard at a l l . . . . (DS V) E l i o t i s proclaiming the need to know the "point of intersect ion of the timeless / With time" ju s t as one seeks to know the intersect ion of the word and i t s meaning. For i t i s in moments of "t imelessness", when one is free of the temporal, that the meaning of the world is most c l ea r l y seen. Yet too often one i s " l o s t in a shaft of sunl ight. " Those subtle images which should s t r i ke the sense with deepest meaning are lo s t in the commonplace l i gh t of day. One such image is the "wi ld thyme" which, though i t i s the 'essence' of thyme - - the play on words being apparent - - goes unnoticed. Far sooner one sees the domestic counterpart of the image, the thyme that is not w i ld but which i s so i led by common use and common sight. Thus, s t i l l l o s t in a shaft of sunl ight, one does not hear the ' w a t e r f a l l ' or see the sudden f lash of 'winter l i gh tn ing . ' In E l i o t ' s words, one suffers a "d i s t rac t ion f i t " , or i s so deeply seized by the commonplace that a l l else is unheeded. A l lu s ion to rare and sudden manifestations of meaning are elsewhere repeated: 18 Whisper of running streams, and winter l i gh tn ing , The wi ld thyme unseen and the wi ld strawberry . . . . (EC III) E l i o t i s attempting to draw one's attent ion away from the b lurr ing panorama of rushing r i ve r s , l i gh t that f a l l s in great " sha f t s " , and the cloying f r u i t of everyday experience. As I have t r i ed to suggest, he i s concerned to ar r ive at essences, whether i t i s in the realm of language or of images. One must have a point of view, a fundamental focus, in order to know where to begin, where, indeed, to end. An outstanding example of the attempt to steady one's gaze and to give i t a point of or ientat ion occurs in "The Dry Salvages", where E l i o t says: The sea has many voices Many gods and many voices . . . . The sea howl And the sea ye lp, are d i f fe rent voices Often together heard: the whine in the r igg ing, The menace and caress of wave that breaks on water, The distant rote in the granite teeth, And the wai l ing warning from the approaching headland Are a l l sea voices . . . . (DS I) The sea i s an aimless presence which speaks no c lear message - -in the wave there i s both a "menace" and a "caress." Yet i t i s toward a s ingle unit of a r t i cu l a te speech that E l i o t moves and thus, just b r ie f l ines l a t e r , says: Between midnight and dawn, when the past i s a l l deception, The future future!ess, before the morning watch When time stops and time is never ending; And the ground swe l l , that i s and was from the beginning, Clangs The b e l l . Though i t i s a very gradual process, "The Dry Salvages" i s an attempt to reduce the many voices of the sea, the "howl" and the " ye l p " , to the s imp l i c i t y and the unity of the " b e l l . " This i s not ju s t any be l l 19 as we l a te r discover: Also pray for those who were in ships, and Ended the i r voyage on the sand, in the sea's l i p s Or wherever cannot reach them the sound of the sea b e l l ' s Perpetual angelus. (DS IV) Wave af ter wave may break upon the shore but there remains, as e a r l i e r witnessed, the "ground swel l , that i s and was from the beginning." That swell carr ies through the poem and raises to s ight the praying "Lady, whose shrine stands on the promontory." (DS IV) Altogether there i s a pattern that reduces the ringing of the sea to the sea b e l l ' s "perpetual angelus." One has arr ived at the sea that c a l l s to serv ice, the thr ice rung da i ly be l l of the Incarnation. Everything intersects within a network of meaning that includes the V i r g i n , the Son, and the idea of sa lvat ion. But rea l l y th is i s where one began: The Dry Salvages - -or " l e s t ro i s sauvages" - - are the group of rocks o f f the N. E. coast of Cape Ann which r i ses above the eddying mass of the sea. They are a s ingle point of s t a b i l i t y ju s t as the angelus i s a s ingle point of meaning. Impl ic i t in this i s the fact that E l i o t is try ing to create a fundamental point of view. Through certa in images (the w i ld thyme and the winter l i gh tn ing ) 5 through a pattern of the fewest possible words, and the gathering together of a l l the sea's voices, he is attempting to have his reader see where the pattern begins. It i s l i k e searching for the tag-end of a ba l l of s t r i n g , ju s t the r ight piece that w i l l allow the pattern slowly to unfold. What i s looked f o r , thus, i s the point of convergence - - the gathering together of a l l l i g h t within a s ingle f l a sh , a l l words within a Word, the sea's many voices with in a b e l l . 20 This, I be l ieve, i s E l i o t ' s primary aim. But in a r r i v ing at what he c a l l s a "condit ion of complete s imp l i c i t y " one i s sure to encounter the problem of change. The sea, for example, i s a vast pattern of change, and Burnt Norton, East Coker and L i t t l e Gidding a l l t e s t i f y to th i s same force. The a l ien power in the world, therefore, the power that sometimes clouds man's v i s i on , i s the power of destruct ion. "East Coker" presents the simple message: Houses r i se and f a l l , crumble, are extended, Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in the i r place Is an open f i e l d , or a factory, or a by-pass. (EC I) I t i s the same in "The Dry Salvages" where the sea has a double edge and the keener side seems to be the pattern of destruction rather than sa lvat ion: There is no end of i t , the voiceless wa i l i ng , No end to the withering of withered flowers, To the movement of pain that i s painless and motionless, To the d r i f t of the sea and the d r i f t i n g wreckage . . . . (DS II) E l i o t of course ends by saying that there i s "Only the hardly, barely prayable / Prayer of the one Annunciation." (DS II) But unless one perceives that the timeless i s interwoven with time ju s t as permanence is with change there can be, r e a l l y , no prayer. And to perceive such a subtly complex pattern one must accept a l l signs and symbols of change. From th i s basic problem there can be no backward journeying, only a plunge into the future, a casting of oneself onto the treadmil l of time. Just so, says E l i o t , "Krishna admonished Arjuna / On the f i e l d of b a t t l e " : Not fare w e l l , But fare forward, voyagers. (DS IV) The fundamental importance of pattern, thus, is that i t provides the key to v i s i on , and v i s ion i s what Four Quartets are about. In 21 th i s regard, however, one cannot over-emphasize the fact that, for E l i o t , i f v i s ion is to occur i t must occur in stages. Even the Saint and the mystic, in the testimony they have given us, speak of a well defined journey. So, E l i o t seems to say, i f we are to part ic ipate in anything near mystic v i s i on , we must do as the Saint and rea l i ze that: . . . any action Is a step to the block, to the f i r e , down the sea's throat Or to an i l l e g i b l e stone: and that i s where we s ta r t . We die with the dying: See, they depart, and we go with them. We are born with the dead: See, they return, and bring us with them. The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree Are of equal duration. (LG V) In order to achieve the permanent, one must accept the impermanent, in order to l i v e one must " d i e . " More paradoxical than anything, where we end i s where we begin, and th i s i s precisely what I have t r i ed to say of the pattern of Four Quartets in general: they pose the necessity of v i s ion beginning where i t ends. Where, that i s , the bodily eye suffers i t s e l f to be consumed in darkness i s where the l i gh t of inner v i s ion is found. " I t i s in CHAPTER II. changing that things f ind - - Heracl itus repose." When the world is viewed in i t s utmost state of s imp l i c i t y i t seems, merely, that universal f lux is eternal and man i s temporal. The Quartets remind us of th is again and again. The manor house at Burnt Norton was once destroyed by f i r e and rose again on the same foundations. East Coker i s the former s i t e of E l i o t ' s ancestral home and L i t t l e Gidding the location of the re l ig ious community established by Nicholas Ferrar. Thus each t i t l e betokens change and this leads E l i o t , in "The Dry Salvages", to say: There i s no end, but addit ion: the t r a i l i n g Consequence of further days and hours, While emotion takes to i t s e l f the emotionless Years of l i v i n g among the breakage Of what was believed in as the most r e l i a b l e - -And therefore the f i t t e s t for renunciation. (DS II) Days are heaped upon days in the endless "add i t ion " of temporal existence. Following l ines say: Where is the end of them, the fishermen s a i l i n g Into the wind's t a i l , where the fog cowers? We cannot think of a time that i s oceanless Or of an ocean not l i t t e r e d with wastage Or a future that is not l i a b l e Like the past, to have no dest inat ion. (DS II) - 22 -23 The problem, as i t has always been, is pointing a goal. One is unable to f i n d , e i ther in a word, an image or a phrase, a sense of the timeless within time: We have to think of them as forever b a i l i n g , Setting and hauling, while the North East lowers Over shallow banks unchanging and erosionless Or drawing the i r money, drying s a i l s at dockage; For a haul that w i l l not bear examination. Being so thoroughly imbued with a sense of l inear time we cannot think of the fishermen — as a type of humanity — coming to rest. Rather we see them as "forever b a i l i n g , / Setting and haul ing." With the i r nets sunk so deep and no deeper the fishermen f ind that there is no haul that w i l l "bear examination" and therefore no end to t he i r voyage. The problem which E l i o t here p a r t i a l l y defines is that man constantly charts a course between time past and time future. In doing this he creates the impression that there i s "no end, but add i t ion: the t r a i l i n g / Consequence of further days and hours." L i f e , h i s tory, human endeavour are simply a continuum which pushes forever into the future. But underlying this i s a te leo log ica l foundation - - a n assumption rea l l y - - which man himself has created. Out of his fear of change he thinks of his l i f e as a voyage without end, a series of bright new harbours forever appearing on the horizon. This, as E l i o t would have i t , i s man's way of disowning the past, of never facing squarely the fact that when a l l is considered a l l i s change. So the endless voyage, the fear of coming to res t , i s the resu l t of the way man thinks and the way he suffers. He cannot bear the thought of there being a stop to time and a forced ' add i t i on ' of the meaning and value of his l i f e . One i s better to s a i l above the ocean, avoiding i t s troubled depths and the problem of time and change. 24 But E l i o t does not accept, in anything near i t s common understanding, the doctrine of change. Nor does he accept what he i m p l i c i t l y terms " s upe r f i c i a l notions of evolution" - - the notion that the future develops out of the past and that man's h istory i s the working out of an always new pattern of existence. With extreme consciousness of purpose E l i o t sets himself in opposition to such theories and would have us gain a new sense of time: I have said before That the past experience revived in the meaning Is not the experience of one l i f e only But of many generations - - not forgett ing Something that is quite inef fab le: The backward look behind the assurance Of recorded h istory, the backward half- look Over the shoulder, towards the pr imit ive ter ror . (DS II) The pr imit ive terror in the Chr i s t ian sense i s that the ent i re race owes a profound debt to the past and that the debt i s never f u l l y paid, the s in of man's transgression against God never en t i r e l y expiated, except by personal s a c r i f i c e . Thus past, present and future are inextr icab ly bound together and yet man behaves as though they were not. This, then, i s the problem seen in a somewhat d i f fe rent l i g h t , for man fears not only change but the t e r r i b l e burden of the past, and of the "experience" revived in i t s f u l l weight of meaning. Therefore the way of escaping the past - - the way too of escaping change - - i s never to think beyond the l im i t s of l inear time. This, I bel ieve, makes sense of E l i o t saying: Men's cu r io s i t y searches past and future And cl ings to that dimension. (DS V) I f man projects himself on a l inear scale of time, i f his " cu r i o s i t y " searches just that f a r , he indeed becomes the fisherman to whose voyage 25 "there i s no end, but addi t ion. " The journey simply goes on interminably, and the only "end", the one f i n a l consummation, is rea l ized "In a d r i f t i n g boat with a slow leakage." E l i o t ' s p o r t r a i t , once i t i s reduced to i t s essent ia l s , i s of a humankind that s a i l s in a slowly rot t ing vessel , who would avoid the ravages of time or "the t r i a l and judgement of the sea", but who must suffer i t anyway. Thus, the straight-arrow concept of time, while i t seems a comfort, i s i t s own undoing. For E l i o t translates the voyage into moral terms and suggests that there can be no true escape from the past. Eventually one must turn homeward, steering not into the future but into the eternal now, the moral dilemma that has never been reconci led. The only way of arrest ing the voyage, as I see i t , is to conquer the problem of time and change; but so long as man imagines himself on a sh ip ' s course into the future, running from a past that cannot be escaped, there can be no end, no f i n a l contest that ends in v ictory. As I have argued, one must develop that type of v i s ion which can countenance time and change and can therefore allow one to make an abrupt stop within the aspect of time. The goal i s not to be drawn forever forward by the wind, but to be drawn downward by a relaxation of tension to the very ground of one's being. Vis ion begins where i t ends, at the absolute. But to portray an end E l i o t must point the way backward in time and force the human ship to turn s a i l . His task is more than formidable and yet he says: There is only the f i ght to recover what has been lo s t And found and lo s t again and again . . . . (EC V) What has been lo s t are the c lear categories of human existence ---defined in a Chr ist ian way - - which have nothing to do with time. Yet 26 the Chr ist ian meaning of l i f e , the "experience" which we have forgotten, l i e s in the "past" which we have denied. Therefore to get beyond our locked-in moment of time we must think of the c i r cu l a r pattern of l i f e , of the ship that is "rounded homeward"-^and the return to the point in human history where time f i r s t began. Metaphors throughout the Quartets are dedicated to the s ingle purpose of having the human "machine" recognize the deep-felt rhythms of the universe. In one way or another one must return to the past, uncover the pattern, dance one's way to salvat ion through destruction. But the rhythm and the movement are always inward and downward as in the dance of "East Coker": In that open f i e l d I f you do not come too close, i f you do not come too c lose, On a summer midnight, you can hear the music Of the weak pipe and the l i t t l e drum And see them dancing around the bonfire The association of man and woman In daunsinge, s ign i fy ing matrimonie - -A d i gn i f i ed and commodious sacrament. Two and two, necessarye com'unction, Holding eche other by the hand or the arm Whiche betokeneth concorde. Round and round the f i r e Leaping through the flames, or joined in c i r c l e s , Rust ica l l y solemn or in ru s t i c laughter L i f t i n g heavy feet in clumsy shoes, Earth feet , loam feet , l i f t e d in country mirth Mirth of those long since under earth Nourishing the corn. Keeping time, Keeping the rhythm in the i r dancing As in the i r l i v i n g in the l i v i n g seasons The time of the seasons and the constel lat ions The time of milking and the time of harvest The time of the coupling of man and woman And that of beasts. Feet r i s i n g and f a l l i n g , Eating and drinking. Dung and death (EC I) The passage focuses on the ent i re spectrum of time, from that of "man and beasts" to that of "the seasons and the conste l la t ions . " E l i o t is s t r i v i ng here as elsewhere to create unity of v i s i on , the wedding 27 of a l l creation in a s ingle pattern of existence. Yet to achieve this end he must evoke the idea of the c i r c u l a r pattern of l i f e which leads downward through various stages of change and ends in ultimate death. Man and woman are seen, for instance, moving Round and round the f i r e Leaping through the flames, or joined in c i r c l e s . . . . Altogether ignored is the former pattern of the t ra in which moved so desirously on i t s "metalled ways" of time past and time future. Having abandoned the purely l inear and mechanical function of l i f e , man and woman are now "jo ined in c i r c l e s , r u s t i c a l l y solemn or in ru s t i c laughter." Each step of the dance is a r i t u a l movement and is timed to the flow of the ent i re universe. But th i s "t ime" completely inverts or reverses the idea of sequence and progression. The pattern of l i f e i s now gathered within the compass of the c i r c l e but that c i r c l e never turns i t s face from the f i r e at i t s centre, the dominant symbol of change that i s always present. Thus the only movement i s the movement toward the absolute, or as E l i o t l a te r says: And any action Is a step to the block, to the f i r e , down the sea's throat Or to an i l l e g i b l e stone: and that is where we s ta r t . (LG V) In these l a t t e r words is revealed much of E l i o t ' s meaning: l i f e begins where i t ends and, i f we re late the pieces of the pattern, the c i r c l e is the dominant mode of human existence. In other words, "any act ion" i s equivalent to the dance and this dance is l i k e a magnetic f i e l d of force that al igns everything in one c y c l i c pattern of creation and destruction. The block, the f i r e and the sea are emblems of one world process - - the process of change - - yet such change, i t must be 28 understood, is self-sought change, that mystic descent into the pure essence of being that annuls and makes meaningless a l l categories of temporal existence. Further hint of c i r c u l a r pattern is found in the use of archaic s pe l l i n g , as in "daunsinge" and "matrimonie." Cal led to mind i s the c y c l i c pattern of the generations, each one set to the "neccesarye" task of f u l f i l l i n g i t s appointed round. Such are the dance and the marriage: not recent innovations but age-long r i t u a l s . The pattern of the dead is the pattern of the l i v i n g ; old blood moves through new veins. This pattern i s so thoroughly preordained and so dedicated to i t s own ends that man can never hedge or equivocate in the face of something he ca l l s " t ime." Given to "a condition of complete s imp l i c i t y " the dancers have absolutely no knowledge of l i f e measured in minutes and hours. The measure now i s the measure of the dance, the metre and rhythm of i t s movement. And the f i na l measure of a l l i s one of qua l i t y , not of duration. Did the dancers dance well? Was the c i r c l e r i ch and meaningful and did i t , most of a l l , reach a worthy end? Within the scope of the dance, then, is found the meaning of time as c i r c u l a r pattern and as an "end" which is simultaneously a "beginning." The point at which end and beginning perfect ly coincide is the f i r e : within the flames - - the flames of mystic s e l f - ex t i nc t i on - - one dies but is born again. But to reach the f i r e , to reach the end and there-fore the beginning, one must accept change. This again reca l l s the Heraclitean doctrine - - one which is always i m p l i c i t in the Quartets - -" I t i s in changing that things f ind repose." Rest comes at that point at which one achieves union with the source and power of s t i l l n e s s that exists "at the s t i l l point of the turning world." (BN I V ) ^ 29 At times the pattern of c i r c u l a r i t y is far more e x p l i c i t l y evident than in the l ines I have ju s t discussed. An outstanding example i s again found in "East Coker" which opens: In my beginning i s my end. In succession Houses r i se and f a l l , crumble, are extended . . . . and closes: In my end is my beginning. The simple fact that these key phrases occur at the beginning and end of "East Coker" indicates that some form of c i r c u l a r pattern i s in force. Not only that, but enclosed with in th i s pattern are the words: Home i s where one starts from. As we grow older The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated Of dead and l i v i n g . (EC V) The word "home", in even i t s simplest value, denotes a point of both departure and return: each journeying forth is a journeying back, for "home", otherwise, would not be home. And, too, home i s a beginning and an end. Therefore E l i o t i s again evoking the idea of c i r c u l a r pattern. His purpose, as I have t r i ed to argue, i s to of f set the t e r r i b l y pervasive force of l inear time, a force that is symbolized by t ra ins and ships and vans and the mechanistic view of l i f e that attend them. In these varying ways a pattern of c i r c u l a r i t y - - what at one point i s ca l led "the recurrent end of the unending" - - i s set fo r th . L i f e is not an endless and perfect ly l inear pattern of new ends, but a c y c l i c and repeated occurrence of the old - - what has been " l o s t / And found and l o s t again and again." E l i o t i s working toward a conception of l i f e which consists in a pattern of eternal return. The world as 30 a moral ent i ty is destined to end where i t began. One cannot d issociate the past from the present or from the future e i ther. But E l i o t would pr imar i ly have us look upon the ent ire universe as a kind of p l a s t i c power which shapes i t thus; rather than teaching a morality he is teaching a pattern and the l a t t e r gives r i se to the former. Chief among his purposes i s to have us see how the world constantly renews and repeats i t s e l f . What has been of o ld , as Ecclesiastes says, w i l l be again - -there is nothing new under the sun.-'-4 The pattern, the basic mode of human existence, is unchanging in time. A l l that time can do is cloud man's purposes and, by concealing his end, conceal also his beginning. Thus, as I have spoken often of the end that is a beginning, I should l i k e to suggest that both the end and beginning of Four Quartets are represented by the garden at "Burnt Norton." Though we read to the l a s t l i ne of " L i t t l e Gidding" we increasingly rea l i ze that where we end is where we begin, or to repeat E l i o t ' s own words: We sha l l not cease from exploration And the end of a l l our exploring Wi l l be to arr ive where we started And know the place for the f i r s t time. (LG V) CHAPTER III There are, I bel ieve, two general ways in which the world may be known: in the simplest possible terms, the one is to proceed from the par t i cu la r to the general and the other from the general to the par t i cu la r . In a l l that I have said so fa r I have t r i ed to indicate that E l i o t chooses the l a t t e r method. Such pregnant phrases as "the s t i l l point of the turning world" o f fe r more than a hint of the pattern I am try ing to describe. What i t amounts to , r e a l l y , i s a tracing of a l l worldly phenomena to the i r point of o r i g i n . This is espec ia l ly seen in the clos ing l ines of " L i t t l e Gidding": We sha l l not cease from exploration And the end of a l l our exploring Wi l l be to ar r ive where we started And know the place for the f i r s t time. Through the unknown, remembered gate When the l a s t of earth l e f t to discover Is that which was the beginning: At the source of the longest r i ve r . . . . (LG V) Each image suggests the a r r i va l at the point of departure, so that one is going " f u l l c i r c l e . " This once more points the fact that E l i o t i s attempting to reverse the world 's generally l inear pattern, but also i t reveals that he is using the opposite of an ampliative approach. When he speaks of the wi ld thyme, the wi ld strawberry and the winter - 31 -32 l ightning i t i s in the voice of one who is t ry ing to make us acutely aware of essences or of beginnings. Without the awareness that l i f e has a beginning, a point of o r ig in as in the image of the r i ve r which we trace to i t s source, there can be no " e n d . " ^ Even the image of the rose reveals th is fundamental pattern of beginning at the beginning or of reducing a l l things to one dominant word, image or idea. It i s a type, r e a l l y , of " i n f o l d e d " ^ pattern. That i s , there is a s ingle conceptual notion which holds a l l the petals of the rose in stable synthesis.17 But i t i s of absolutely no ava i l to try to know the rose - -as I have said of the world - - in any objective f a s h i on . ^ It i s the " idea" at the centre that gives the rose meaning^ as in Dante's Ce les t ia l Rose. In other words, one seeks to penetrate to the absolute centre of the rose as one does the s t i l l point of the turning world. There one finds the key to the door that gives egress to the world at large. Thus, the whole point of the human journey i s to seek the "centre" or the world 's absolute point of or ientat ion. Having arr ived at th i s conceptual centre one becomes united with the world - - and th i s i s absolutely v i t a l - - as a s ingle coherent ent i ty . Yet in my second chapter I have t r i ed to point the extraordinary d i f f i c u l t y that is placed in one's way, and th i s i s nothing other than the law of change, that law which has again and again been taken as the fundamental p r inc ip le of a l l human existence - - nothing in the world exists but i t i s subject to th is a l l pervading law - - th i s i s the beginning and i t i s also the end. What I have here t r i ed to suggest, however, i s that E l i o t f inds an escape, paradoxical though i t i s , in 33 the Heraclitean doctr ine, " I t i s in changing that things f ind repose . " i y In l i g h t of th is "The Dry Salvages" - - as jus t one example - - i s a testimony to change, but that which destroys, when we have achieved f u l l enlightenment, also creates. For example: And the ragged rock in the rest less waters, Waves wash over i t , fogs conceal i t ; On a halycon day i t i s merely a monument, In navigable weather i t i s always a seamark To lay a course by: but in the sombre season Or the sudden fury, is what i t always was. (DS II) The rock represents, of course, the church and in many ways "The Dry Salvages" speaks the saving power of divine grace, the wisdom and enlightenment that l i e beyond the level of any sea change. To further recapitu late the argument of my second chapter, the way of achieving the " s t i l l n e s s " - - which i s the very opposite of change - -is w i l l i n g l y to submit to change. But change must be seen as occurring within c i r c u l a r pattern; the dancers of "East Coker" do not represent a simple dying within l inear time but a return to o r i g in s , a descent away from the time-bound se l f and a movement toward the se l f that pre-existed time and material existence in general. The c i r c l e that one pursues, in e f f e c t , i s the c i r cu l a r " return" to everything that i s implied in b i b l i c a l notions of the garden. There was a time of no-time, and of a se l f that was freed from the exigencies of bodily s e l f . Everything was "centered" and created in such a way as never to disturb the balance, never to allow one to lose sight of the whole which flows as a r i ve r from one pure source. In many ways the garden of "Burnt Norton" represents the conceptual centre of the four books of the Quartets, for as one reaches the end of 34 " L i t t l e Gidding" a l l indicat ions are that the "end" represents the "beginning", or that the "end of a l l our exploring / Wi l l be to arr ive where we s ta r ted " , in the garden. But I wish presently to explore the separate images of the garden passage and to demonstrate how the garden, in a further extension of paradox, is not f u l l y the end I have argued i t to be but a new beginning. To again quote E l i o t : What we c a l l the beginning i s often the end And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end i s where we s tar t from. (LG V) I think this may be interpreted in the sense that the beginning i s an end but that th is end is once more a new beginning in a constant reassertion of c i r c u l a r pattern. The point E l i o t would make, I be l ieve, i s that each completion of the c i r c l e reveals to us some further depth of meaning. Thus the garden i s indeed an end but i t i s also an ent i re l y new beginning in which we may read the f i ne r deta i l of the pattern. For instance, the Quartets as a whole are a c i r c l e , the garden i s a smaller c i r c l e , and the rose a part of a smaller c i r c l e yet. Our purpose must be to see how the pattern that i s established closes down to a smaller and smaller point un t i l a l l that i s l e f t , in a very s t r i c t sense, i s the moment of i l luminat ion. I t might leg i t imately be argued, thus, that the way of the Quartets - - in a l l d irect ions - - leads to the garden, the garden to the rose, and the rose to the " s t i l l point" of the turning world - - or as otherwise described, the pure essence of enlightenment. That the garden i s l a i d d i r e c t l y in our path i s made clear by the l i ne s : Foot fa l l s echo in the memory Down the passage which we did not take 35 Towards the door we never opened Into the rose garden. (BN I) Though someone else has taken the passage and opened the door into the rose garden we have not. By memory alone do we reca l l the journey that once took place. E l i o t presses on, however, the hint of roses and the rose garden not long out of s ight. In words of near admonitory tone we read: My words echo Thus, in your mind. But to what purpose Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves I do not know.20 The garden, or rather the pre-existence of the garden, echoes down the corridors of time, and i t i s th is distance in time that E l i o t seeks to emphasize. What we are l e f t with is token reminders of what once was - - the "rose leaves", the time-worn, dust-laden symbol of former fu l lness and l i f e . But each step takes us nearer the inner reaches of the garden, hesitate though we w i l l at i t s verge: Other echoes Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow? Quick, said the b i r d , f ind them, f ind them, Round the corner. Through the f i r s t gate, Into our f i r s t world, shal l we follow The deception of the thrush? Into our f i r s t world. (BN I) The d i f f i c u l t y that we encounter i s that E l i o t terms this "our f i r s t world" though we have never entered i t . And the b i rd is deceiving in the sense that i t leads us into a world that i s part r e a l , part i l l u s i o n . An echo, that i s , i s a reverberation with no substance. I t comes to us "Round the corner" and in such obscure fashion that we are prevented d i rect v i s i on . But the b i rd f l i e s above the garden 36 and i t s tortured ways and sees the pattern as a whole - - i t urges us to " f i nd them, f ind them" as though we were seeking some foreign being whose presence is f e l t but hardly seen. Once more the emphasis i s on lack of v i s ion: There they were, d i gn i f i ed , i n v i s i b l e , Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,21 In the autumn heat, through the vibrant a i r , And the b i rd c a l l ed , in response to The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery, And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses Had the look of flowers that are looked at. Again E l i o t does not allow the p o s s i b i l i t y of d i rec t v i s ion and therefore the beings in the garden are both " d i gn i f i ed " and " i n v i s i b l e . " One's sense of the i r presence i s largely a resu l t of the b i rd which serves as a guide - - one whose purpose is l i k e that of Beatrice in The Divine Comedy. The garden and the rose are one's central mission but as in the Comedy v is ion must come slowly. Beatrice knows that a too sudden view of the l i gh t would be blindness. And as the music "hidden in the shrubbery" represents unity and harmony - - the very essence of v i s ion — man once more finds that the b i rd must act as his intermediary - - "And the b i rd ca l led in response to / The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery." The garden, in one sense, i s a th i cket , especia l ly i f one considers i t s untended state at Burnt Norton. The shrubbery is in a l l l i ke l i hood tangled, the roses grown w i l d , and yet: . . . the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses Had the look of flowers that are looked at. With the emphasis s t i l l upon seeing, E l i o t says that, "the roses / Had the look of flowers that are looked a t . " One sees but does not 37 see; the "unseen eyebeam" i s said to have "crossed", as though there were a gulf of v i s ion separating man and the rose. And yet there i s a v i t a l meaning in the word "crossed", for i t denotes, on one l e v e l , a point of in tersect ion: that point at which the seeing and the b l ind do at l a s t meet. This view hinges upon one's sense of the Chr ist ian meaning of the cross and how i t symbolizes the death of one who existed both in and out of time, one whose presence now i s further symbolized by the rose. If the rose is the centre of the garden i t i s also the centre of Chr i s t ian b e l i e f . ^ The point of intersect ion occurs when man perceives the meaning of the cross and takes that leap of f a i t h whi:ch carr ies hin out of the realm of time and makes him one with the rose, one with this dominant symbol of Chr ist ian love. Yet as man s t i l l ex ists in time v is ion i s not f u l l y h i s . This i s not to say that the pattern may not be completed: So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern, Along the empty a l l e y , into the box c i r c l e , To look down into the drained pool, Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged, And the pool was f i l l e d with water out of sunlight . . . . The importance of the "formal pattern" cannot be over-emphasized, but for the moment one notices how v i s ion is s t i l l denied. The pool i s f i l l e d with i l l u s o r y "water out of sunl ight. " I t i s as though nothing in the garden is yet r e a l , least of a l l the water which is more mirage than r e a l i t y . When v is ion does occur i t i s f l ee t ing and passes, as indeed the mirage does, with the mere passing of a cloud: And the pool was f i l l e d with water out of sunl ight, And the lotos rose, qu ie t l y , qu ie t l y , The surface g l i t t e r ed out of heart of l i g h t , And they were behind us, ref lected in the pool. Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty. 38 The extraord inar i ly s t r i k i ng feature of th is passage i s the one l i n e : "And the lotos rose, qu ie t l y , qu i e t l y . " When considered in conjunction with other words and images this presents a pattern that i s as complex as anything one w i l l f ind in E l i o t . As a beginning, one might notice that the " l o to s " i s said to have r i sen , yet in the past tense of the verb r i se is the noun " rose" , a word which in every way i s central to the Quartets, central to the garden and to the ent i re pattern which one perceives. As I have t r i ed to suggest, the rose is the concomitant of v i s i on . It i s so important an image that when the mere word "rose" occurs, in whatever context, one must be ready to explore i t s every possible meaning. For example, an actual lotus rose i s one of many var ie t ie s of the lotus. In Eastern art and re l i g i on the lotus - - which may be assumed to represent the lotus rose - - has a s p e c i f i c a l l y re l i g ious meaning. Consider: P r imar i l y , the lotus-f lower appears to have symbolized for the Aryans from very remote times the idea of superhuman or divine b i r t h ; and, secondari ly, the creative force and immortality. The t rad i t i ona l Indian and Buddhist explanation of i t i s that the glorious lotus-f lower appears to spring not from the sordid earth but from the surface of the water, and i s always pure and unsu l l ied, no matter how impure may be the water of the lake.24 I would force no comparison but note simply that E l i o t says: And the lotos rose, qu ie t l y , qu ie t l y , And the surface g l i t t e r ed out of heart of l i g h t . . . . In another valuable source the wr i ter speaks of the Buddhist mantra, "The Jewel in the Lotus": Om mani padme hum (or Om). Mani i s the Radiant Jewel; padmi the lotus which, rooted in the mud, grows upwards 39 through the water and opens i t s petals in the l i g h t of the sun. The lotus i s the symbol of enlightened consciousness.25 In E l i o t the lotos appears simply to r i se out of i l l u s o r y water and the surface to g l i t t e r momentarily in the " l i g h t " of the sun. Once more there is no true "enlightenment" but certa in ly, i f one accepts E l i o t ' s knowledge of Eastern r e l i g i o n , there is a slowly emerging pattern. Burnt Norton contains a garden, the garden a pool - - one which is enclosed in a "box c i r c l e " - - and the pool a lotos. Again, the movement toward a s t i l l point is of utmost importance. The idea of th is pattern might be considered in l i g h t of the fo l lowing: Now what is here in the c i t y of Brahma, is an abode, a small lotus-f lower. Within that i s a small space. What is within that, should be searched out; that assuredly, i s what one should desire to understand.26 One might notice that the journey here i s from the c i t y to the flower, and from the flower to a "small space." In E l i o t , as I have attempted to describe, the journey is somewhat the same: from house to garden, garden to pool, and pool to lotos. Thus, having recognized the mystic s t ra in in E l i o t , one may begin the search for that "small space" which i s the heart of the lotos and which, in symbolic terms, is the "heart of enlightenment." To penetrate to the core of the lotos - -as we now understand i t - - i s to penetrate to the core of l i f e i t s e l f . Rightly understood, therefore, the lotos i s the s t i l l point for which one has been searching. No longer does one contemplate the world at large but, rather, a small sign or token of r e a l i t y which i s an ent i re " c i t y " unto i t s e l f . The whole notion becomes the more s t r i k i ng when one real izes that the very cornerstone of Eastern meditative pract i ce , to which E l i o t so frequently a l ludes, contains the notion of a "small point" - -40 a point which, l i k e the heart of the lo tos , i s thought to be the a l l -i n - a l l . This the Indians c a l l s a r t o r i , a sudden vis ionary ins ight into the universe as a whole. Basic to the be l i e f i s the idea that the lotos represents a point of convergence: here the paths of man and Buddha - -symbol of highest wisdom - - c ro s s .^ That i s , Buddha i_s_ the flower, the indwell ing heart of wisdom, and having understood or conceived of the essence of his being one sees in a mirror image of l i gh t the meaning of a l l existence. On th i s score, however, much remains to be sa id. What I wish now to consider is the lotos in re la t ion to E l i o t ' s extremely pregnant phrase, "box c i r c l e " , which occurs at the end of the l i ne s : So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern, Along the empty a l l e y , into the box c i r c l e . . . . As some commentators have f e l t , the box c i r c l e may be simply a box wood hedge in the form of a c i r c l e , and such indeed is the case in many "formal" gardens. But in Eastern re l i g i on and ar t there i s nothing more "formal" than the depiction of the Mandala, th is pattern incorporating in a very special way not only the lotos - - as shal l l a te r be seen - -but the idea of a "box c i r c l e " : In Sanskrit Mandala l i t e r a l l y means c i r c l e and center. Its t rad i t i ona l design often u t i l i z e s the circle-symbol of the universe in i t s ent i rety - - and the square-symbol of the earth or man-made world . . . . In Tibet the Mandala has achieved i t s f u l l e s t and most complex development --- both as an a r t i s t i c form and as a meditative r i t u a l emphasizing cosmic integrat ion. The center, the abode of the de i ty , i s contained within the square - - the palace of inner being - -surrounded by a c i r c l e or a series of c i r c l e s , each symbolizing a par t i cu la r phase or level of consciousness .;28 _ In l i g h t of th i s descr ipt ion, E l i o t ' s use of the words "box c i r c l e " becomes deeply suggestive. As above, the two most dominant features of 41 the mandala are the c i r c l e and the square. The theory of the mandala i s that i t implies a meditative r i t u a l leading to enlightenment. Such enlightenment i s achieved through the gradual penetration of the square - -"symbol of the man-made world" - - and the inner series of concentric c i r c l e s - - "symbol of the universe in i t s en t i re ty . " But beyond the realm of the smallest c i r c l e is something of far greater importance and th i s i s the lotos: . . . the c l a s s i ca l Tibetan Mandala •. . . i s often conceived of as a palace or fortress . . . . Not only i s the Mandala l i t e r a l l y a cosmic plan, but also a ce l e s t i a l palace. Such Mandalas are the "homes" of the Deity . . . the basic features of the Mandala are: a protective c i r c l e comprised of a f i r e . . . and a lotus band; the four po r ta l s ? 9 or gates of the palace; and the inner lotus which i s . . . the seat of the Deity. On the lotus petals and placed around the inner square are other features embodying aspects of I l luminating wisdom. 3 0 Not only does the center of the pattern contain an " inner lotus " - -as in the center of E l i o t ' s garden - - but th i s lotus i s thought to be the "seat of the Deity." Hence, the formal pattern of square (box), c i r c l e , lotos equals mandala, and the lotos in i t s e l f equals Deity. Moreover, there is the fact that a four-sided f i gure , often with "four por ta l s " , enters into almost a l l representations of the mandala. The re lat ion of th i s to the t i t l e Four Quartets i s , of course, c lea r . Through the four portals of the mandala one enters into the palace of wisdom — otherwise known as "the heart of enlightenment" ( c f . "and the surface g l i t t e r ed out of heart of l i g h t " ) . Interpreted in th i s way, each Quartet is a " po r t a l " which opens on E l i o t ' s own world of I l lumin-ating wisdom. To the idea of fourness th i s simply adds a further dimension. Especia l ly interest ing is a work en t i t l ed The Secret of the Golden 01 1 Flower. I am in no way suggesting that E l i o t was acquainted with this 42 spec i f i c work but I am indeed convinced that he read widely in Eastern re l i g i on and was inescapably aware of the meaning of the mandala. Witness Carl C. Jung's commentary on the text of The Golden Flower: Mandala means a c i r c l e , more especia l ly a magic c i r c l e , and this form of symbol is not only to be found a l l through the East, but among us . . . . The s p e c i f i c a l l y Chr i s t ian ones come from the ea r l i e r Middle Ages. Most of them show Christ in the cen t re ,w i t h four evangel ists, or the i r symbols, at the cardinal points. Later there i s to be found a c lear and very interest ing mandala in Jacob Boehme's book on the soul. The l a t t e r mandala, i t i s easy to see, deals with a psycho-cosmic system having a strong Chr ist ian colour. Boehme ca l l s i t the "phi losophical eye", or the "mirror of wisdom", which obviously means a body of secret knowledge. For the most part, the mandala form i s that of a f lower, cross, or wheel, with a d i s t i n c t tendency toward four as the basis of the structure.32 Whether in the East or the West the mandala, as above, is a means of establ ishing a central point w i th in , say, a c i r c l e . One example would be Chr i st s ituated within a pattern of the four evangelists. What such a mandala implies is that one reaches the center — Christ - -by the four portals of wisdom which are represented by the evangelists, or the preachers of the four gospels. But as Jung also points out, and this i s more in keeping with the Eastern t r a d i t i o n , the center may be expressed by means of a flower (e.g. E l i o t ' s lotos rose), a wheel, or a cross. Now in E l i o t , in the passage under consideration, there occurs the l i n e , "and the unseen eyebeam crossed." This can mean either that an eyebeam crosses a certa in space or that an actual "cross" i s inscribed within a c i r c l e or space, as within the "box c i r c l e " of the garden. If this indeed i s the case, then the seminal pattern of a mandala ex i s t s . Yet there i s further evidence to support th i s theory and i t consists 43 in the fact that "eyebeam" i s a compound word that may be broken down into i t s compQnent parts. The Oxford English Dictionary gives one possible meaning of eye as, "the center " , or the "greatest point of l i g h t . " This reminds one that the lotos i s also thought to contain an "eye" which is i t s greatest point of l i g h t . Thus, in E l i o t ' s own terminology, there may be thought to be an answering of " l i g h t to l i g h t . " 3 3 The unseen eyebeam, in other words, crosses from the outer to the inner c i r c l e of the garden and i s met by the beam of l i g h t from the lotos . That E l i o t intends a meaning of th is sort i s borne out by the fact that the "beam" of eyebeam can be interpreted as, "a l i ne stretching d i r e c t l y from the c i r c l e to the c e n t e r . ' " 3 4 I t seems an almost extraordinary use of language - - a consciousness of purpose to the utmost degree - - when one considers, too, that "beam" may be interpreted as, "The axe l - t ree, or middle beam of the e y e . " 3 ^ Turning to the word " a xe l - t r ee " , one finds that i t y i e l d s , "the central l i n e ; the axis of v i s i on . " A l l t o l d , E l i o t has developed a Donne-like image --• something even more complex than in Donne - - in which there i s an intertwining of eyebeams. The lotos , in e f f e c t , i s the "heart of l i g h t " ("and the surface g l i t t e r ed out of heart of l i g h t " ) , and one must t r a i n the eye in that d i rec t ion in order to achieve the l i g h t and the heart of the pattern of the mandala 3 The problem that E l i o t faces, of course, is that he is dealing in a highly complex pattern of images and that he cannot elucidate each of them for us. But even a sense of the meaning of "eyebeam", "formal pattern " , "box c i r c l e " , and " lotos rose" u lt imately y ie lds the pattern of the mandala and i t s even further chain of associations. For instance, the 44 mandala does not mark the end of a journey but the beginning, ju s t as the garden of "Burnt Norton", too, i s not an end but a beginning. Here one a r r i ves , within the box c i r c l e , intent upon making the descent that "Burnt Norton" l a te r spel l s out: Descend lower, descend only Into the world of perpetual so l i tude, World not world, but that which i s not world, Internal darkness, deprivation And dest i tut ion of a l l property, Desiccation of the world of sense, Evacuation of the world of fancy, Inoperancy of the world of s p i r i t . . . (BN II I) The box c i r c l e , indeed the mandala as a whole, is ju s t one way of pointing the manner of one's a r r i va l at a condition between two worlds - -a "World not world, but that which i s not world." This i s the so-cal led mystic "middle way", a way of gradual s e l f - e x t i n c t i o n . ^ The importance of the mandala i s that i t holds in suspension a l l the ideas inherent in mystic thought; each component in i t s pattern symbolizes various stages on the road to enlightenment. Thus, as one enters the box c i r c l e one indeed enters a "World not world, but that which is not world." In other words, the journey toward the center of the garden, the contemplation of the pool and the qu iet ly r i s i n g " lotos rose" i s the precise equivalent of mystic descent into darkness. This darkness i s a world en t i re l y unto i t s e l f . The box c i r c l e , i t may be further added, serves the prime function of the resolut ion of paradox. Its basic design speaks this purpose, for how can that which i s square be made round? The ent i re notion has to do with the "coincidence of opposites" and the i r resolut ion in the one being of God or Buddha. One might reca l l E l i o t ' s epigraph 45 to the Quartets: "The way up and the way down are one and the same." ETiot, I bel ieve, intends that we should see the bas i ca l l y paradoxical nature of the universe; a paradox which Heracl itus solved through the postulation of f i r e as his "One p r i n c i p l e . " A l l seeming d i f ferences, according to th is early dictum, become one as they are absorbed within an e ve r - l i v i n g , all-consuming f i r e . E l i o t , of course, states the solut ion d i f f e ren t l y . That i s , whatever opposites there are in the world, they ult imately coincide in the one being of God. E l i o t i s squarely in the t rad i t i on of Nicholas of Cusa who, in one work, says: Thou, Lord, dost stand and move at the same time, at the same time Thou dost proceed and rest. Cusa speaks of God as being " g i r t round with the coincidence of cont rad ic to r ie s " , and I wish simply to suggest that E l i o t departs l i t t l e from this doctr ine, as indeed is l i t t l e done in even the Eastern t r ad i t i on . Cusa is not unique, he is simply one among many who postulate the notion that a l l oppositions and antagonisms can be absorbed with in the one being of God, Buddha, or Deity in general. To return to the notion of the mandala, as one crosses the border between the world of paradox and the world of the " lotos rose", one emerges upon a plane of supernatural experience. The mandala is possessed of the absolute power of a symbol - - i t i s not l o g i c a l , nor is i t l i n g u i s t i c , for i t s express purpose is to transcend both of these categories. Thus, upon the level of the supernatural, there is a "coincidence" of time and e te rn i ty , motion and rest , l i g h t and dark, man and god - - and indeed, the square and the c i r c l e . 3 ^ E l i o t , of course, i s faced with the problems of paradox inherent in the Christ ian r e l i g i o n , espec ia l ly those involved 46 in the doctrine of Incarnation: At the s t i l l point of the turning world. Neither f lesh nor f l e sh le s s ; Neither from nor towards; at the s t i l l point, there the dance i s , But neither arrest nor movement. (BN II) And l a te r : F i g l i a del tuo f i g l i o , Queen of Heaven. (DS IV) S i gn i f i c an t l y , E l i o t echoes the f i r s t l i ne of the l a s t canto of the Paradiso: " 0 V i rg in Mother, Daughter of thy Son." What th is has to do with the mandala, or any such s im i la r be l i e f , i s that Dante, too, was dependent upon the power of an image or a symbol to demonstrate the supra-rational power of his b e l i e f , th is image being the Ce les t ia l Rose. Dante finds that he cannot l o g i c a l l y explain the essence of his v i s ion at the end of the Paradiso: How weak are words, and how unf i t to frame My concept — which lags far a f ter what was shown So f a r , 'twould f l a t t e r i t to c a l l i t lame!39 One learns only by reading the Paradiso that the "frame" within which Dante's concept did appear was the image of the Ce les t ia l Rose, but even that image was hardly adequate to express what he perceived: As the geometer his mimd applies To square the c i r c l e , nor for a l l his wit Finds the r ight formula, howe'er he t r i e s , So strove I with that wonder - - how to f i t The image to the sphere; so sought to see How i t maintained the point of rest in i t . Thither my own wings could not carry me, But that a f lash my understanding clove. Whence i t s desire came to i t suddenly.^0 Though Dante's wings w i l l indeed carry him no further, there is but one way that he has reached even th i s point of understanding and that 47 i s by v i r tue of the "image" which he mentions. What has occurred is that the rose, t rans l i te ra ted to a vast degree, has become a symbol embodying a l l aspects of divine wisdom; thus the pattern that begins in the garden - - even in Dante - - leads onward to the rose and from the rose to the " s t i l l point" that exists at i t s innermost core.41 The para l le l s between E l i o t and Dante are too numerous to mention, but the one common feature of utmost importance i s the image of the rose. In both poets th i s image is the key to v i s ion: i t i s the means by which they point a pattern that is " i n f o l ded " , l i k e the rose, petal by peta l . With these thoughts in mind one can return to the garden of Burnt Norton and the unreconciled problem of v i s i on : And the pool was f i l l e d with water out of sunl ight, And the lotos rose, qu ie t l y , qu ie t l y , The surface g l i t t e red out of heart of l i g h t , And they were behind us, ref lected in the pool. There is an extremely important passage in Dante, in which he too sees a "mirrored" r e a l i t y : . . . I raised my head . upright; But what I saw so carr ied me away To gaze on i t , that ere I could confess, I had forgotten what I meant to say. Like as from a polished and transparent glass, Or as from water clear and luminous, Whose shallows leave the bottom shadowless, The image of a face comes back to us So f a i n t , a pearl on a white forehead s t i r s The seeing sense no s lowl ier than this does, So I saw faces, many and diverse, Eager to speak; and stra ight f e l l in a snare -•-The pool-anamoured swain 's, but in reverse, 48 For I, the moment I beheld them there, Taking them for r e f l e c t i on s , turned my head Hast i ly round, to f ind out whose they were. But I saw nothing . . . . (Paradiso, Canto III) 4 2 Like Narcissus, Dante was enamoured of the re f l ec t i on in a pool. While th is r e f l ec t i on was not his own but someone e l s e ' s , the real importance of the passage rests in the fact that the re f l ec t i on is that of souls who were inconstant to the i r vows in th is l i f e - - those who occupy the lowest order in the hierarchy of b l i s s . And yet Dante cannot perceive them d i r ec t l y as his eye has not been trained to look thereto. The l i g h t of v i s i on , even on this primary l e v e l , i s so bright as to be b l ind ing: he must be led gradually to look at the l i gh t by Beatr ice, the mediatrix of v i s i on . She protects, as the cloud protects in E l i o t , from a bl inding f lash of l i g h t : Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty. Go, said the b i r d , for the leaves were f u l l of ch i ld ren , Hidden exc i ted ly , containing laughter. Go, go, said the b i rd : human kind Cannot bear very much r e a l i t y . (BN I) The " r e a l i t y " i s unmediated v i s i on , the f i n a l mystic sense of God's existence that begins and ends in the garden and to which the rose bears steadfast witness. As has been argued, the end is the beginning and the beginning the end, here within the garden. But th is paradox takes on a deepening meaning for i t i s not jus t in terms of pattern and arch i tectura l form that the garden represents a beginning and an end: now, the meaning that we must see i s that the rose and the mandala - - as a synthesis of pattern - - mark another end-beginning which i s the mystic "dying unto s e l f . " As the approach to the mandala's "palace of wisdom" i s begun, 49 one finds that the journey begins in a world of utter darkness - - but there also i s one's end: Descend lower, descend only Into the world of perpetual so l i tude, World not world, but that which i s not world, Internal darkness, deprivation And dest i tut ion of a l l property, Desiccation of the world of sense, Evacuation of the world of fancy, Inoperancy of the world of s p i r i t ; This i s the one way, and the other Is the same, not in movement But abstention from movement; while the world moves In appetency, on i t s metalled ways Of time past and time future. To further deal with the way of mystic enlightenment, which E l i o t here alludes to, i s the subject of my next chapter. CHAPTER IV As I have argued, i t i s very much within the realm of E l i o t ' s purpose to focus one's attention on the garden, that garden being both a beginning and an end. Once within the garden the scope of one's v i s ion is f ixed on smaller and smaller points un t i l a l l that is l e f t i s the pool, the qu iet ly r i s i ng lotos rose, and the "water out of sunl ight. " This I have deemed the pattern of Four Quartets to th is point. One may read to the la s t l i ne of " L i t t l e Gidding", but in order to get the d i s t i l l e d sense of what the Quartets are about i t i s necessary to return to the garden of "Burnt Norton" and the mystery of the box c i r c l e . There, within the compass of the garden, is the absolute essence of v i s i on . I t i s as though one must reach an end in order to know the meaning of a beginning. And further, i t now appears that: . . . the end precedes the beginning, And the end and the beginning were always there Before the beginning and after the end. And a l l i s always now. (BN V) When the f i n a l moment of v i s ion has occurred i t i s an eternal moment and has no beginning and no end. Such an ins ight , however, i s not the product of every man's experience, for as E l i o t says: "We had the experience but missed the meaning" (DS I I ) . - 50 -51 I t i s a l l but impossible to interpret the "experience" - - those sudden moments of v i s ion - - and to know that " a l l i s always now." Ch ief ly the d i f f i c u l t y is due to the fact that: . . . to apprehend The Point of intersect ion of the timeless With time, i s an occupation for the saint - -No occupation e i ther , but something given And taken, in a l i f e t i m e ' s death in love, Ardour and self lessness and self-surrender.. (DS V) Men are not saints and even saints must undergo what E l i o t c a l l s "a l i f e t i m e ' s death in love." But having experienced through Chr i s t ian love the meaning of dea th - i n - l i f e the saint has struggled to bring us closer to the meaning of his experience. Though E l i o t never says i t , i t i s l i k e l y that he experienced a moment of v is ion in the garden of Burnt Norton, and so he struggles to do as others have done - - not to give us the experience but a sense of the experience, the pattern within which i t is bound. Thus the garden contains certa in signs and images that point the way of the experience: th i s i s the "beginning" - -the point at which we f i r s t recognize the potential meaning of the word " v i s i on " - - and yet i t i s the beginning of the end. This i s no play on words but the actual log ica l consequence of making one's way through the garden and standing at the edge of the pool as one stands at the edge of a great prec ip ice; for mystics have long envisioned a descent into darkness which is analogous to a descent into the symbolic depths of the pool. Thus the choice is one of e ither darkness or l i g h t , and the lotos i s a clue to th i s meaning for i t represents the r i s i ng toward the l i g h t of a flower that grows in the dark. Enlightened consciousness must be the same - - i t must be drawn upward by inner 52 impulse and outer force, both the darkness and the l i g h t seeking to become one. It i s th i s seeking of essential unity through a descent into darkness which shal l be the subject of th i s chapter. My purpose is to show how the pattern of the garden leads to that end which, as I have noted, mystics refer to as a "dying unto s e l f . " Also, i t i s referred to as a "dying unto God", and therefore i f God i s l i gh t i t i s God who redeems man from the dark. This he does through the Chr ist ian miracle of Incarnation, the sending of his only begotten Son into the world of time. If we read the Quartets correct ly we more and more rea l i ze that they are about the miracle of Incarnation and that the i r every thought and action is intended to point in th i s d i rec t i on . In other words, Chr i st i s the s t i l l n e s s that exists at the " s t i l l point of the turning world. " But also he i s symbolically represented by the absolute essence of l i g h t which exists at the heart of the lo tos , the heart of the mandala as a whole. Thus one's purpose, as before, is to engage in the meditative r i t u a l - - or an attempted understanding thereof - - that the mandala impl ies: the gradual ext inct ion of s e l f in pure darkness as one journeys toward the l i g h t . How a l l th i s i s achieved in the Quartets i s through an interplay of images of darkness and l i g h t and i t i s these which I now wish to discuss. For instance, there is the passage which begins: Here i s a place of d i sa f fect ion Time before and time a f te r In a dim l i g h t : neither dayl ight Investing form with luc id s t i l l n e s s Turning shadow into transient beauty VJith slow rotat ion suggesting permanence 53 Nor darkness to pur i fy the soul Emptying the sensual with deprivation Cleansing a f fect ion from the temporal. (BN III) The world of time is viewed as a t rap, the absolute l im i t s of which are past and future or, "Time before and time a f t e r . " The problem that exists i s that time spreads human l i f e over a span of years ju s t as the c i t y dissolves and diffuses darkness and l i g h t over too broad a landscape. Of London and the surrounding areas E l i o t can only speak as he speaks in The Waste Land: Men and b i t s of paper, whirled by the cold wind That blows before and af ter time, Wind in and out of unwholesome lungs Time before and time a f te r . Eructation of unhealthy souls Into the faded a i r , the torpid Driven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy h i l l s of London. Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney, Highgate, Primrose and Ludgate. Not here Not here the darkness, in th i s twi t ter ing world. (BN III) The wind is aimless and blows in any d i r ec t i on , the a i r "faded." Again there i s no i n tens i t y , e ither of existence and experience or darkness and l i g h t . What are tossed up, as on- the sea of "The Dry Salvages", are the waste elements of a society: "Men and b i t s of paper, whirled by the cold wind / That blows before and af ter time." I t i s a kind of frenzy dance in which man i s a part ic ipant and i s a far cry from the order and precis ion of the dance of "East Coker." Now there is no center, no purposeful movement. How interest ing that E l i o t offers in his catalogue of place-names both "Highgate" and "Ludgate." Both indeed are "gates", but they are gates to the c i t y of London, to confusion and disarray. In no way are these equivalent to "the f i r s t gate" that enters " in to our f i r s t world" at the beginning of "Burnt Norton." Now man is in the 54 second world of the c i t y rather than the f i r s t world of the garden. Gone i s the in tens i t y , the immediacy of primal experience: Not here Not here the darkness, in th is twi t ter ing world. Judging from the word " tw i t t e r i n g " i t appears that even the b i r d , whose value was so pos i t ive in the beginning, and whose presence now i s only impl ied, issues a most small and tremulous cry. So E l i o t must say: Descend lower, descend only Into the world of perpetual so l i tude, World not world, but that which is not world, Internal darkness, deprivation And dest i tut ion of a l l property, Desiccation of the world of sense, Evacuation of the world of fancy, Inoperancy of the world of s p i r i t ; This i s the one way, and the other Is the same, not in movement But abstention from movement; while the world moves In appetency, on i t s metalled ways Of time past and time future. (BN III) Where there is no darkness, E l i o t i s driven to say, one must create an " Internal darkness." Where there is an overabundance of the mater ia l , one must seek to create a sense of the immaterial. What i s l o s t , thus. i s the world of time and motion and mate r i a l i t y ; what is gained, i t may simply be, is the darkness of inner being but: So the darkness shal l be the l i g h t , and the s t i l l n e s s the dancing. (EC III) To the mystic there i s nothing foreign about the paradox of the darkness being the l i g h t . Nicholas of Cusa has sa id, in ant ic ipat ion of union with God: Hence I observed how needful i t i s for me to enter into the darkness, and to admit the coincidence of opposites, beyond a l l the grasp of reason, and there to seek the truth where imposs ib i l i t y meeteth me . . . . And the more that dark 55 imposs ib i l i t y i s recognized as dark and impossible, the more doth His Meccesity shine f o r t h , and is more unveiledly present, and draweth nigh.43 Of th is same descent into s e l f , John Ruysbroeck has sa id: And there is death and f r u i t i o n and a melting and dying into the Essential Nudity, where a l l the Divine names, and a l l the l i v i n g images which are ref lected in the mirror of Divine Truth lapse in the Onefold and ineffable in waylessness and without reason. For in th i s unfathomable abyss of the S impl i c i t y a l l things are wrapped in f r u i t i v e b l i s s ; and the abyss i t s e l f may not be comprehended unless by the Essential Unity. To th i s the Persons [the t r i n i t y ] and a l l that l i ve s in God, must give place; for here there i s nought but an eternal rest in the f r u i t i v e embrace of an outpouring Love. And this i s that wayless being which a l l i n t e r i o r s p i r i t s have chosen above a l l other things. This i s the dark s i lence in which a l l lovers lose themselves.44 That Ruysbroeck chooses the word " lovers " i s s i gn i f i c an t inasmuch as the f i na l union of man and God i s looked upon, in mystic l i t e r a t u r e , as a Sp i r i t ua l Marriage. In re la t ion to E l i o t , a l l the elements of the descent into s e l f and " in terna l darkness" are present in the above passage. Ruysbroeck speaks of the "wayless being which a l l i n t e r i o r s p i r i t s have chosen." The " i n t e r i o r s p i r i t " i s he who, having gazed in the "mirror of Divine Truth", attempts to make the mirror image conform to the deep r e a l i t y that l i e s within the "unfathomable abyss of the S imp l i c i t y . " To the mystic the " S imp l i c i t y " i s the sense of wholeness and unity that comes of having made E l i o t ' s descent into darkness. Once within the S impl ic i ty "there i s nought but an eternal r e s t " , as in E l i o t there i s " s t i l l n e s s " at the " s t i l l point of the turning world. " One might not ice, too, how in E l i o t , Dante and Ruysbroeck, there is a common attempt to escape the mirror-begotten image and to perceive d i r e c t l y the r e a l i t y . 56 So intent is E l i o t upon pointing the necessity of mystic descent into s e l f that he returns to the theme in "East Coker", restat ing i t in blunt and straightforward language: You say I am repeating Something I have said before. I shal l say i t again. Shall I say i t again? In order to arr ive there, To a r r i ve where you are, to get from where you are not, You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy. In order to arr ive at what you do not know You must go by a way which i s the way of ignorance. In order to possess what you do not possess You must go by the way of dispossession. In order to arr ive at what you are not You must go through the way in which you are not. And what you do not know i s the only thing you know And what you own i s what you do not own And where you are is where you are not. (EC III) Now there is no mention of darkness and l i g h t , or of descent e i the r , but the language which E l i o t uses c l ea r l y t ie s the passage to a we l l -defined pattern of mystic thought. "Ecstasy", for example, is an extremely ca re fu l l y used word and has no place in the highest sort of mystical experiences. Later l ines show how thoroughly misplaced the word would be in the context of E l i o t ' s meaning: The c h i l l ascends from feet to knees, The fever sings in mental wires. I f to be warmed, then I must freeze And quake in f r i g i d purgatorial f i r e s Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke i s b r i a r s . (EC IV) I t i s not ecstasy but suffer ing and atonement that the mystic experience i s about. Thus i f one traced the development of the pattern of descent from "Burnt Norton" through "East Coker" there would be seen the co ld , log ica l development of an idea: the i n i t i a t e to the mystical experience i s a passive sufferer who, having dispossessed himself of an ent i re world, having abandoned a l l thought and reason, ex ists in a death- l ike 57 state of inner darkness. As E l i o t approaches nearer the heart of his meaning he grows more e x p l i c i t in terms of Chr i s t ian dogma: the pattern of descent, the pattern of su f fer ing , are in imitat ion of the death of Chr ist . One notices, in th i s regard, how c lea r l y E l i o t focuses on a par t i cu la r day in the Chr ist ian calendar and how this day crowns those l ines which view man as dying "of the absolute paternal care " , dying because he must do so in order to l i v e : The dripping blood our only drink The bloody f lesh our only food: In spite of which we l i k e to think That we are sound, substantial f lesh and blood - -Again, in spite of that, we c a l l th is Friday good. (EC IV) In terms of Chr ist ian be l i e f Good Friday i s one of the darkest days of the year, a day on which the Cathol ic clergy appear in black robes, the a l t a r i s stripped bare, and the candles are u n l i t . Thinking of t h i s , one rea l izes with what care E l i o t has developed the theme of darkness and how, too, the "cross" i s made central to the Quartets both in terms of dogma and pattern. Here, i f one w i l l , i s the "point of i n t e r -sec t ion " , the meeting of two patterns of darkness and suf fer ing. Yet, in terms of the poetry the journey through the dark night of the soul i s not yet done, for Good Friday is the day of death and not of resurrect ion, and much remains to be said.45 We look, therefore, to the pattern of poetic dispensation rather than to a r t i c l e s of dogmatic f a i t h . The pattern of the experience, as before, i s what one is seeking; the point of intersect ion i s s t i l l to be found in terms of images of darkness and l i g h t . One extremely s i gn i f i can t passage in th is regard i s the one which introduces the 58 dance of "East Coker": In my beginning is my end. Now the l i gh t f a l l s Across the open f i e l d , leaving the deep lane Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon, Where you lean against a bank while a van passes, And the deep lane i n s i s t s on the d i rect ion Into the v i l l a g e , in the e l e c t r i c heat Hypnotized. In a warm haze the su l t ry l i g h t Is absorbed, not refracted, by grey stone. The dahlias sleep in the empty s i lence. Wait for the early owl. (EC I) A dominant image i s "the deep lane / Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon." Previously there had been an "empty a l l e y " that led into the box c i r c l e , but now the twice repeated "deep lane" " i n s i s t s " on the d i rect ion into the v i l l a ge . It i s as though one were back at "Highgate" and "Ludgate", the gates to London but not to the garden, nor to the box c i r c l e . The image of the deep lane is t i ed to the idea of the mechanized way of modern, urban l i f e , for as the "van" passes, tot ing i t s f re ight of material goods, i t too suggests a deeply l inear pattern. Not equipped to leave the road nor to seek i t s own d i rec t i on , the van is l i k e the world that "moves / In appetency, on i t s metalled ways / Of time past and time future. " It simply suggests, again, the idea of the enchainment of past and future, the l inear pattern of time. As regards the idea of darkness, the passage is further suggestive, for the lane i s "shuttered" with branches as though there were a del iberate attempt to exclude the l i g h t of i l l uminat ion . This i s one kind of darkness but i t i s not that which E l i o t seeks. Rather than a condition of darkness leading to the l i g h t i t i s a state of somnolence leading to hypnosis: And the deep lane i n s i s t s on the d i rect ion Into the v i l l a g e , in the e l e c t r i c heat Hypnotized. 59 And then: In a warm haze the su l t ry l i g h t Is absorbed, not refracted, by grey stone. The dahlias sleep in the empty s i lence. Wait for the early owl. In a "warm haze" that shrouds the ent i re scene there i s a mere " su l t r y l i g h t " and nothing to s t a r t l e the eye nor to awaken the drowsing s p i r i t . The idea of a lack of v i s ion is emphasized by the fact that the dahlias "s leep" in the "empty s i l ence. " Moreover they do not await the sun but "the early owl " , a b i rd whose v i s ion i s any but the keenest. Yet E l i o t intersperses in such scenes a hint of his meaning in terms of pattern. In speaking of the su l t ry l i g h t being "absorbed" not " re f racted " by the grey stone he i s marking the difference between animate and inanimate matter. The stone, being but a s p i r i t l e s s object cannot, as in an ea r l i e r passage, r e f l e c t the l i g h t back to i t s source: After the k ingf i sher ' s wing Has answered l i g h t to l i g h t , and i s s i l e n t , the l i g h t i s s t i l l At the s t i l l point of the turning world. (BN IV) It i s not that the "k ingf i sher " has the consciousness or purpose of man set on a par t i cu la r goal, but in the scheme of things - - maybe ju s t in the pattern of the poetry - - i t serves a decided funct ion. It i s a " f i s he r " of "kings" in an image that must be thought del iberate. In the darkness and seclusion which i s thought to be i t s habitation i t seeks and "answers" " l i g h t to l i g h t . " E l i o t , of course, i s fond of the image that suggests a pattern of l i g h t being returned to i t s source, but underlying the image i s the notion that God knows Himself in ref lected glory only. And only thus does man discover Him, for unless he becomes one with the l i g h t there can be no l i g h t . This i s a be l i e f upon which 60 the whole of Dante's "Paradiso" and his Ce les t ia l Rose i s founded. E l i o t r e l i e s on the same pattern of imagery; l i k e Dante he i s sett ing man on a downward course toward a kind of winter of the human s p i r i t , and then asking the question: "Where is the summer, the unimaginable / Zero summer?" The answer, again, l i e s within the sense of pattern that has been created: man leaves the dark lane, enters the true darkness of the soul , and there turns his face toward the l i g h t as do the saints arranged in the hierarchy of the Ce les t ia l Rose. This i s the "springtime" ( c f . L.G. I) but, as E l i o t says, "not in t ime's covenant" (L.G. I ) . Here the s p i r i t blooms eternal ly in the "covenant" of love between man and God. 4 6 As I e a r l i e r suggested, the ent ire passage dealing with the "deep lane" and i t s sense of blindness i s in contrast to the scene that fol lows: In that open f i e l d If you do not come too c lose, i f you do not come too c lose, On a summer midnight, you can hear the music Of the weak pipe and the l i t t l e drum And see them dancing around the bonfire The association of man and woman In daunsinge, s ign i fy ing matrimonie A d i gn i f i ed and commodiois sacrament. That the dance is a "commodiois" sacrament, I bel ieve, suggests that i t can accommodate the general ity of men. I t bears witness to the fact that one may leave the shuttered lane, enter the f i e l d and fol low the " l i g h t . " Having done so, one is allowed par t i c ipat ion in the dance, one which is attuned to the rhythms of the universe rather than to any mere temporal and secular pattern of existence. Heeding this rhythm, one i s brought nearer and nearer the point of ex t inc t ion , but that, a f ter a l l , i s what the mystic experience is about. One "d ies " into the 61 f u l l e s t possible pattern of l i f e and thereby becomes one with the saint whose purpose is to rea l i ze the sum of l i f e through a s imi la r death. Thus the dance i s translated into a symbolic gesture, a f i n a l , decis ive step toward ann ih i l a t ion . " L i t t l e Gidding" puts i t : And any action Is a step to the block, to the f i r e , down the sea's throat Or to an i l l e g i b l e stone: and that is where we s ta r t . (LG V) By now the log ic of the Quartets has become clear and simple: we "begin" where we "end", but the end must be framed with in a purposeful " ac t i on . " Such an action could be defined as one's wi l l ingness to leave the course of secular time, the course of the ship the van and the t r a i n , and to seek the c i r cu l a r pattern of the dance and a l i f e that leads to the darkness that " sha l l be the l i g h t . " A l l of course depends on one's "descent" into the essential pattern of l i f e , a pattern which may be defined as the dance but may be defined as fol lows: Old men ought to be explorers Here and there does not matter We must be s t i l l and s t i l l moving Into another intens i ty For a further union, a deeper communion Through the dark cold and the empty desolat ion, The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end i s my beginning. (EC V) Without having l i t e r a l l y to say i t - - as in the conscious use of the word descent - - E l i o t here implies the same thing: the "deeper communion" of man and Chr i st i s achieved through a descent into the purgative depths of the ocean or, as the image suggests, "the vast waters / Of the petrel and the porpoise." Yet counterpoised to t h i s , as a means of presenting a composite picture of the way of both ascent and descent, 62 is such an image as occurs in the fo l lowing: What is the late November doing With the disturbance of the spring And creatures of the summer heat, And snowdrops writhing under feet And hollyhocks that aim too high Red into grey and tumble down Late roses f i l l e d with early snow? (EC II) Pr imar i ly suggested i s that everything in nature "tumbles" once more into the scheme of generation and decay. Snowdrops "wr ithe" in seeming physical agony - - "under feet " which crush them to the earth that they struggle vainly to escape. And the hollyhocks, as though conscious of a s imi la r struggle, "aim too high" and "tumble down." Implied is the f u t i l i t y of the struggle toward the l i g h t with in the scheme of generation. Man, were he to remain simply on the level of the earthly and the temporal, would be s im i l a r l y fated. What E l i o t is doing, in an adroit juxtapos it ion of patterns of imagery, i s contrasting two ways of reaching toward the l i g h t . In " l a t e November" - - the dark time of the year - - creatures of the summer heat seek l i g h t and warmth an escape, r e a l l y , from the i r very creaturel iness. But the phys ica l -temporal bond is inescapable and thus everything that aims too high is destined to tumble down. Again and again the cycle is repeated, unless one seeks another kind of winter, another darkness. There must be something in the nature of what E l i o t spel l s out in " L i t t l e Gidding": Midwinter spring i s i t s own season Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown, Suspended in time, between pole and t rop ic . (LG I) The spring which occurs in midwinter i s i t s own season, a season, as we ult imately learn, of the human s p i r i t . Putting off nature altogether - -the all-too-human condition of E l i o t ' s "creatures of the summer heat" - -63 one establishes oneself in the everlast ing or "sempiternal" calm of inner being. In a magnificently condensed pattern of imagery E l i o t i s suggesting that i t i s the "sundown" of the day, but that i t i s the sundown, too, of the temporal world. Thus the day of generation and decay i s ending and a new day dawning. This i s a movement toward the " s t i l l point of the turning world" as one becomes "suspended in t ime", suspended between f ros t and f i r e , pole and t rop i c , darkness and l i g h t . E l i o t c l ings to the image of a dying year: When the short day i s br ightest, with f ros t and f i r e , The b r i e f sun flames the i c e , on pond and ditches, In a windless cold that is the heart ' s heat, Ref lect ing in a watery mirror A glare that i s blindness in the early afternoon. (LG I) Yet, when the "short day" i s br ightest, the sun is most intense: "The b r i e f sun flames the i c e , on pond and d itches. " At th i s point one can only marvel at the precis ion of E l i o t ' s poetry and his dedication to a s ingle meaning and unity of purpose. The descending sun - - marking the end of the physical-temporal world - - i s in fact the Son who descends in a rush of l i gh t to "flame" and to kindle to an intense f i r e of passion the frozen human s p i r i t : And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or b raz ie r , S t i r s the dumb s p i r i t : no wind, but pentecostal f i r e In the dark time of the year. In the "dark time of the year" i t i s no sun but the Son of "pente-costal f i r e " who " s t i r s the dumb s p i r i t . " Here is the crossroads of meaning to which E l i o t has been attempting to point since the beginning: there i s no darkness of any consequence but i t leads to th i s sort of l i g h t . Man has f a l l en into the world of time and the only way that he can escape that world i s by a further f a l l into a world of utter darkness. 64 This i s the "middle way" where: Between melting and freezing The sou l ' s sap quivers. There is no earth smell Or smell of l i v i n g thing. This i s the spring time But not in t ime's covenant. (LG I) Thinking of bishop Lancelot Andrewes, whose works E l i o t knew so w e l l , i t i s Chr ist who "spr ings " , l i k e a t i g e r , in the new year. His coming, however, whether on the day of pentecost or any other day, i s not to the world of time: "This i s the spring time / But not in time's covenant." And so, too, in a metaphor that i s a l i ve with meaning, "the soul ' s sap quivers" and r i ses as i t would within the tree that has suddenly become regenerate - - in the spring time. But the tree is more than any normal t ree, i t i s the "axle t r ee " , the hub of the world, the point at which s t i l l n e s s and motion, darkness and l i g h t , man and Chr i s t , f i n a l l y meet. This i s the point of intersect ion: The hint half guessed, the g i f t half understood, is Incarnation. Here the impossible union Of spheres of existence i s actua l , Here the past and future Are conquered and reconci led, Where action were otherwise movement Of that which is only moved And has in i t no source of movement - -Driven by daemonic, chthonic Powers. (DS V) Having gone underground, as i t were, man i s subject to "daemonic, chthonic / Powers." These powers might be termed the powers of darkness, but E l i o t does not concede this shade of meaning, for "chthonic " , as well as being "daemonic" i s beneficent: Hermes stood in the cycle of the Chthonian gods, the powers that send up f r u i t s and bounteous blessings from below. (Oxford English Dictionary) 65 One must r e a l i z e , I bel ieve, that the world of C lass ica l mythology - -the Chthonian gods and a l l such agents - - are meant merely to express the bounteousness of darkness. One fears the darkness, but both Chr ist ian mysticism and Class ica l lore impart to i t a special meaning - - even those powers that reside beneath the earth "dr i ve " man toward some ultimate good. Too, the C lass ica l a l lu s ion i s but another way of h int ing an a l l -pervas ive pattern, that r i s i ng of the human s p i r i t from out the dark of night and i t s movement toward a point of f r u i t i o n . It i s th is idea of the bounteousness of darkness that is important in terms of the,development of a s ingle pattern of imagery. For instance, "East Coker" has one type of voyager savouring the " f r u i t " of action and of the temporal world: You cannot face i t s tead i l y , but th is thing i s sure, That time i s no healer: . the patient is no longer here. When the t ra in s t a r t s , and the passengers are sett led To f r u i t , per iodicals and business l e t te r s (And those who saw them of f have l e f t the platform) Their faces relax from g r ie f into r e l i e f , To the sleepy rhythm of a hundred hours. (EC III) E l i o t ' s "passengers" are never far-removed from some image of the imprisonment of l inear time, which in th i s case i s the t r a i n . Now, however, i s added the further dimension of the i r s e t t l i n g to " f r u i t " , per iodicals and business l e t t e r s . I t i s th i s mood of quiescence, the slow savouring of the f r u i t of th i s l i f e that sets the tone of the ent i re passage. But there is the t e r r i b l y b i t t e r irony that i t was the taste of f r u i t that f i r s t cast man into the world of time. Thus, while meditating the process of time, E l i o t is led to a sense of how time began: 66 Time the destroyer is time the preserver, Like the r i ve r with i t s cargo of dead negroes, cows and chicken coops, The b i t t e r apple and the b i te in the apple. (DS II) The " b i t t e r apple", indeed, is the a f ter - tas te of the f i r s t apple eaten from a par t i cu la r tree. Yet man continues to reside by the onflowing r i ve r of time - - witnessing i t s very destructiveness - - and seldom thinks to seek the f r u i t of what E l i o t would term a meaningful act ion: Last season's f r u i t is eaten And the f u l l fed beast shal l kick the empty p a i l . (LG II) And l a te r the dead master speaks again the rewards of time, the f r u i t of th is l i f e : Let me disclose the g i f t s reserved for age To set a crown upon your l i f e t i m e ' s e f f o r t . F i r s t , the cold f r i c t i o n of expir ing sense Without enchantment, of fer ing no promise But b i t t e r tastelessness of shadow f r u i t As body and soul begin to f a l l asunder. (LG III) The f r u i t which man may once have savoured is now reduced, as time has i t s way, to the " b i t t e r tastelessness of shadow f r u i t . " In terms of E l i o t ' s pattern of meaning, the choice remains ever the same: to look for the f r u i t of action in th i s l i f e or in another. Translated into the images and meaning that are consistently present, th i s becomes a choice of darkness and l i g h t or of temporal l i f e and s p i r i t u a l death. Evidence of how man should decide the matter i s offered in a passage from "The Dry Salvages": 'Fare forward, you who think that you are voyaging; You are not those who saw the harbour Receding, or those who w i l l disembark. Here between the hither and the farther shore While time i s withdrawn, consider the future 67 And the past with an equal mind. At the moment which i s not of action or inaction You can receive th i s : "on whatever sphere of being The mind of man may be intent At the time of death" - - th is i s the one action (And the time of death is every moment) Which shal l f r u c t i f y in the l i f e of others: And do not think of the f r u i t of act ion. Fare forward. (DS II I) What I am intent upon revealing i s that E l i o t t r i e s so desperately hard to reduce a l l " act ion " in the Quartets to that one "moment which is not of action or inact ion" - - i t i s a moment of w i l l i n g surrender to blindness, darkness and death. Thus does l i f e " f r u c t i f y " and bear the ever-r ipening, never to be decayed, " f r u i t " of s p i r i t u a l v i s i on . One is f i n a l l y driven to rea l i ze the extraordinary consistency of E l i o t ' s imagery and how, most of a l l , i t tends toward the idea of l i f e as a s ingle organic unity - - an embryonic growth which sets i t s seed in darkness and flowers in the sun. For example, the " sou l ' s sap" is said to quiver l i k e the sap of a tree which, though dormant, is not dead., Thus i s the s p i r i t u a l body " resurrected", given new l i f e . So, too, the "daemonic, chthonic / Powers" are those who "send up f r u i t and bounteous blessings from below." I t i s they who set the soul on a further path of f r u i t f u l existence. And, indeed, a l l the references to temporal " f r u i t " suggest that real f r u c t i f i c a t i o n shal l occur only If our temporal reversion nourish (Not too far from the yew-tree) The l i f e of s i gn i f i can t s o i l . E l i o t ' s meaning i s l i k e a slowly unwinding parchment s c r o l l - -everything i s contained within that s c r o l l , but i t cannot be seen at a glance. We may not see, for instance, the idea of l i f e as a l i v i n g 68 tree, a tree quite opposite to the "yew-tree", but the image i s there, and i t grows to r e a l i t y only when we rea l i ze the meaning of "the l i f e of s i gn i f i can t s o i l . " That so i l i s one within which, as I have t r i ed to suggest, the seed of l i f e i s planted, the seed of man which descends into darkness and returns again to the l i g h t . CHAPTER V In my preceding chapters I have t r i ed to trace the development of pattern. One of the greatest d i f f i c u l t i e s in doing so is that the pattern, though i t follows a log ica l order, i s abstract in the extreme. This i s why, I be l ieve, E l i o t hints the presence of the mandala early in the Quartets, fo r i t gives s o l i d form to an otherwise bodiless idea. The mystic journey becomes something that is spel led out in terms of a "formal pattern" , one which draws together and holds in stable synthesis a great number of complex ideas. This i s the chief value of a symbol of th is sort. It i s a means, as one man has put i t , " to express simultaneously several meanings the unity between which is not evident on the plane of immediate exper ience . " 4 ' ' The mandala is seen as a way of hinting a pattern of order within the Quartets. Indeed, one of the most important features of the mandala, as many commentators agree, is i t s structur ing of space. North, East, South and West are given a common d i rect ion - - the four quarters of the earth f ind one center. The idea of c en t r a l i t y , however, can be variously f igured, as in the image of the tree. Where the image of the tree begins to usurp the power of the mandala, I bel ieve, i s in i t s c learer suggestion of th is cen t ra l i t y - - rather than pure " v i s i on " - - and, a l so, in i t s c learer pattern of ascent. Mystics f e e l , for example, - 69 -70 that the lotos holds the key to v i s i on , but that the t ree, branching in a l l d i rect ions , marks the way of ascent from the moment of v i s ion to the l i f e of pure unity. To make this notion somewhat c learer , one might think of the geography of E l i o t ' s garden in which there is both a lotos and a tree - -the l a t t e r , of course, being far more i m p l i c i t , but i t i s the same tree as occurs at the end of " L i t t l e Gidding": And the chi ldren in the apple-tree Not known, because not looked for But heard, half-heard, in the s t i l l n e s s Between two waves of the sea. (LG V) These chi ldren in the apple-tree are the same chi ldren that were "hidden" in the leaves in "Burnt Norton": Go, said the b i r d , for the leaves were f u l l of ch i ld ren, Hidden exc i ted ly , containing laughter. E l i o t is intent on drawing our attention to the t ree, ju s t as to the lotos. One notices, however, that in the order of the poetry the lotos comes f i r s t . In a most studied manner E l i o t points the way to the pool, and only l a t e r , much l a t e r , does he hint the existence of an actual tree. The reason for th is i s that the one is a point of departure, the other a point of a r r i v a l . That i s , the lotos points the way of "descent" into the dark and the tree the way of "ascent" into the l i g h t . Both ways are necessary, but the l a t t e r i s the absolute end which Four Quartets seek. This I hope to prove in my present chapter, and to demonstrate the idea of absolute unity that comes of our under-standing of the pattern that leads to the tree. The pattern is one that begins in the c i t y - - the very ant i thes i s of the garden in which the tree is located. Here there is no c lear 71 center and, ce r ta i n l y , no unity: Men and b i t s of paper, whirled by the cold wind That blows before and af ter time, Wind in and out of unwholesome lungs Time before and time a f te r , Eructation of unhealthy souls Into the faded a i r , the torpid Driven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy h i l l s of London, Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney, Highgate, Primrose and Ludgate. Not here Not here the darkness, in th i s twi t ter ing world. (BN III) In the f i r s t few l ines of the quotation i t i s as though the corporeal body, through the very fact of breathing - - "wind in and out of unwholesome lungs" - - gives "breath" to the wind, indeed aids i t in creating the aimlessness of urban l i f e . With the word "eructat ion" i t further seems that man is casting his breath - - indeed his very l i f e - - upon the wind. The notion of breathing denotes the perpetuation of l i f e , but a l i f e that is without purpose or gravity. One is caught on a wind that sweeps throughout the suburbs of London: Eructation of unhealthy souls Into the faded a i r , the torpid Driven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy h i l l s of London, Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney, Highgate, Primrose and Ludgate. Rather than the notion of c en t r a l i t y , the l ines suggest the dispersion of wind breath, and being over an ever vaster landscape. As the wind "sweeps the gloomy h i l l s of London" there is a growing loss of i n tens i ty , order, and unity - - everything that the garden, the lotos , and the tree represent. By contrast, one notices that the cruc ia l opening l ines of " L i t t l e Gidding" s p e c i f i c a l l y declare a windless condit ion: When the short day is br ightest, with f ro s t and f i r e , The b r i e f sun flames the i c e , on pond and ditches, In a windless cold that is the heart ' s heat . . . . 72 In order to approach the "heart" of the poetry - - as in the "heart ' s heat" - - there must be no wind. The very notion of the heart ' s heat implies a type of cauldron, a point at which the heart, now at the "heart" of the pattern, melts into pure unity. The wind cannot now disperse the sou l ' s passionate intens i ty - - an intens i ty that ex ists outside of time, outside of the world of "London / Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney." As E l i o t concludes: And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or braz ier , S t i r s the dumb s p i r i t : no wind, but pentecostal f i r e In the dark time of the year. In e f fec t , there i s no wind to disturb the calm of inner being, nor any wind that can add to the intens i ty of "pentecostal f i r e . " This f i r e is one that burns within the realm of i t s own being and has nothing to do with the vague wanderings of the wind and f i r e of the temporal world. In other passages, E l i o t i s concerned to show the opposite of a perfect ly windless and intense state of being. The dead master passage of " L i t t l e Gidding" i s a perfect example: In the uncertain hour before the morning Near the ending of interminable night At the recurrent end of the unending After the dark dove with the f l i c k e r i n g tongue Had passed below the horizon of his homing While the dead leaves s t i l l r a t t l ed on l i k e t i n Over the asphalt where no other sound was Between three d i s t r i c t s whence the smoke arose I met one walking, l o i t e r i n g and hurried As i f blown towards me l i k e the metal leaves Before the urban dawn wind unresist ing. (LG II) An extremely arrest ing phrase i s , "As i f blown towards me l i k e the metal leaves." Leaves which are "metal" are something hard and 73 intractable and suggest the i r being forged in the "asphalt" streets of London. The interest ing feature of the image is the way in which i t relates to the dead master, for both man and the leaf have been sucked dry of the i r l i f e . Yet with both something remains to speak the or ig ina l form — a ghost from the past, a breath of former being. S t i l l the dead master cannot escape his dry and l i f e l e s s condit ion. A voice and no more, he is blown aimlessly through the streets of London. Like E l i o t he i s unable to set down roots, to f ind "The l i f e of s i gn i f i can t s o i l . " (DS V) The ent i re passage evokes the idea of aimlessness in which the wind plays a large part: And so, compliant to the common wind, Too strange to each other for misunderstanding, In concord at this intersect ion time Of meeting nowhere, no before and a f te r , We trod the pavement in a dead pat ro l . Where previously the dead master had been blown "before the urban dawn wind unres i s t ing " , both he and E l i o t , again l i k e leaves, are now "compliant to the common wind." The further sense that the passage conveys is that the two men are in a kind of purgatory, but one in which, as yet, they are incapable of purgation. The cleansing r i t u a l of the descent into darkness is here, in war-torn London, hardly possible. The problem i s simple: the purgatory that the two men occupy is the purgatory of the temporal world. To escape they must f i r s t establ i sh a sense of purpose and then begin the i r descent into another kind of darkness. Thus, knowing f u l l well that his s p i r i t i s "unappeased and peregrine" - -u n f u l f i l l e d in the deepest sense - - the dead master speaks his f i n a l words: 74 From wrong to wrong the exasperated s p i r i t Proceeds, unless restored by that ref in ing f i r e Where you must move in measure, l i k e a dancer.' The day was breaking. In the disf igured st reet He l e f t me, with a kind of va led ic t ion , And faded on the blowing of the horn. The wrong that man commits is that he never f inds his "measure." Yet i t i s by "measure", the correct apportioning of the resources of the human s p i r i t , that man finds salvation within the f i r e . It i s as though one has to f ind the " f i g u re " , or the pattern - - as do the dancers in "East Coker" - - in order to avoid the "d i s f igured" streets of war-torn London - - streets l a i d out l i k e a gr id which endlessly "cross" and re-cross but never reveal a true point of " i n te r sec t i on . " The dancer, however, learns the measure, the rhythmed pattern of movement that allows him to discover the point at which two paths cross. His steps take him nearer and nearer the center of the pattern - - the meeting point of s t i l l n e s s and motion, darkness and l i g h t , time and etern i ty . Never would one f i n d , in the windy world of temporal time, such a point of intersect ion. In contrast to t h i s , the general pattern of the dead master passage reveals an aimless and "d i s f igured" world. When the day "breaks" — in a perfect echo of "d i s f igured" - - there is no real dawn, no new b i r th of l i gh t and v i s ion. Man sees as darkly as ever and not the least message is wr itten on the "urban dawn wind", a wind that r a t t l e s l i k e a deathknell the dead leaves upon the pavement. The i n t r i cac i e s of the dead master passage, of course, reveal more than th i s . But on one s i gn i f i can t level the passage speaks of the rootlessness of both temporal and urban existence. One notices 75 that the dead master is described as being "a f ami l i a r compound ghost." He is evocative of the world 's many l i t e r a r y ghosts that wander the world looking for a resting place. In his own words the dead master finds that: . . . the passage presents no hindrance To the s p i r i t unappeased and peregrine Between two worlds become much l i k e each other . . . . There is no essential difference between the world of London and the implied purgatory from which the ghost appears ••- "the passage presents no hindrance" and he i s free to wander as he w i l l . For E l i o t th i s is a damning c r i t i c i s m of a society. Moreover, i t suggests that the only real purgatory, and the only condition that leads to the Bea t i f i c V i s ion, i s the purgatory of s e l f . Otherwise there i s no real darkness, and therefore no real l i g h t . As e a r l i e r was sa id, "Not here / Not here the darkness, in th is tw i t ter ing world." It i s as though one must throw down roots, roots which sink to the very s o i l , in order to stay the progress of time, the rush of the wind, and the "unappeased" wanderings of the human s p i r i t . But th i s seeking of the l i f e of s i gn i f i can t s o i l , the descent into darkness known to mystics as a state of " F r u i t i v e Bl i ss " ,48 implies the "agony / Of death and b i r t h . " (EC III) Of major present concern i s the association of ideas inherent in the wind and the leaves and human wanderings. In sum they lead to a sense of aimlessness. The world of London lacks a center, jus t as the human soul lacks a point of absolute f i x i t y . What E l i o t does in the face of th is immense d i f f i c u l t y i s overlay the pattern of one world on that of another. London i s London the mechanical, the desert of urban 76 society. It i s a barren world which i s incapable of growth or renewal, a place where "the dead leaves s t i l l r a t t l ed on l i k e t i n . " Nowhere, amid the "asphalt" s t reets , can the seed of the human s p i r i t plant i t s e l f . This i s the wasteland where "there is no water but only rock." In order to discover the opposite pattern one need simply turn to " L i t t l e Gidding": Midwinter spring i s i t s own season Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown, Suspended in time, between pole and t rop ic . . . . And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or brazier S t i r s the dumb s p i r i t : no wind, but pentecostal f i r e In the dark time of the year. Between melting and freezing The soul ' s sap quivers. There is no earth smell Or smell of l i v i n g thing. This i s the spring time But not in time's covenant. (LG I) The pattern of the temporal world, running aimlessly through the a r id streets of "London, / Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney" ends here. The long sought point of f i x i t y and the s o i l of s p i r i t u a l generation are found in a moment of v i s ion "suspended in time, between pole and t r op i c . " "Spring" is a process of the human heart, swell ing toward the myst ic ' s moment of " F r u i t i v e B l i s s . " But, in an absolutely key image, i t i s through the ineffable power of "pentecostal f i r e " that the soul ' s sap "quivers" at i t s moment of b i r t h . No power in man, neither that of reason, w i l l , or desire can move the human s p i r i t , a s p i r i t which i s now "Driven by daemonic, chthonic / Powers." And the power that "dr ives " man drives him as though from the seed through the root, and from the root through the l i v i n g tree of l i f e and upward to the outermost branch: Ascend to summer in the tree We move above the moving tree In l i g h t upon the figured leaf 77 And hear upon the sodden f l oo r Below, the boarhound and the boar Pursue the i r pattern as before But reconciled among the stars . (BN ll\ Having asked, "Where i s the summer, the unimaginable / Zero summer?", E l i o t finds at least a pa r t i a l answer - - an answer given a semblance of tangible form - - in the image of the tree that is l i f t e d out of the order of temporal time. Once having descended to the dark "winter" of the human s p i r i t , one i s able to become united with the mystic pattern of F ru i t i ve B l i s s and thereby "Ascend to summer in the t r ee . " A l l the world 's windblown leaves are gathered in th is s ingle image, and man i s part of that image, part of the l i v i n g tree. The quivering soul has at l a s t r i sen to that point at which i t : . . . moves above the moving tree in l i g h t upon the figured leaf . . . . The l i g h t now, however, is that of "enlightenment", the power by which man reads the message inscribed on "the figured l ea f . " One_ can hardly escape reca l l i ng the "d i s f i gured" street of the dead master passage, a pattern of meaning that had been tortured out of existence by the shattering experience of war. There the tree had not grown, and such leaves as existed bore no message but, rather, " r a t t l e d " l i k e death. E l i o t ' s image of the tree, thus, i s one way of speaking the regeneration of l i f e , for as the tree l i ves so man l i ve s . Indeed, the tree i s a means of "ascent" from death to l i f e , from darkness to l i g h t . The very apogee of man's l i f e i s reached when, as the poetry says, he "moves above the moving t r ee " , for to th is point motion - - the flow of time - - has been confusion but now i t i s enlightenment - - "We move 78 above the moving tree / In l i g h t upon the figured l ea f . " In other words, one is detached from the secular pattern and, through the bounty of the tree and a l l that i t stands f o r , i s able to see the pattern at a glance. But the pattern i s not, as one may think, contained in one's seeing but, rather, in one's hearing: We move in l i g h t upon the figured leaf And hear upon the sodden f l oo r Below, the boarhound and the boar Below, pursue the i r pattern as before But reconciled among the stars. The log ic of the Quartets, so simple and yet so complex, derives from the body of mystic be l i e f which dictates that v i s ion is blindness. One thinks again of the meaning inherent in the l ines of " L i t t l e Gidding": When the short day is br ightest, with f rost and f i r e , The b r ie f sun flames the i ce , on pond and ditches, Reflecting in a watery mirror A glare that is blindness in the ear ly afternoon. The paradoxical sun/Son extinguishes the bodily eye - - at the moment when v i s ion occurs - - and one no longer sees in the sense of the temporal world. Everything now, as one of the chief tenets of Chr ist ian mysticism declares, exists in the l i g h t of Love. The figured leaf bears jus t one word, a word which Dante was leading to throughout the entire length of The Divine Comedy: 0 grace abounding, whereby I presumed So deep the eternal l i g h t to search and sound That my whole v i s ion was therein consumed! In that abyss I saw how love held bound Into one volume a l l the leaves whose f l i g h t , Is scattered through the universe around. (Canto XXXI I I ) 4 9 One notices that the dead master passage had spoken of "the dark dove with the f l i c k e r i n g tongue", a bold image suggesting the corruption 79 of love - - a dove-aircraft with a f l i c k e r i n g tongue of flame. Such " love" holds nothing bound, least of a l l the " leaves " , as in Dante: In that abyss I saw how love held bound Into one volume a l l the leaves whose f l i g h t Is scattered through the universe around. In the "abyss" into which E l i o t peers there is only a "dark" dove whose reign causes the leaves to be loosed and to r a t t l e with dry meta l l i c sound over the asphalt. Dante, of course, has emerged from the world of temporal time which E l i o t has not yet done. Yet when E l i o t does approach the timeless moment, and when one rea l i zes that the " f igured" leaf bears the word love, and i t i s th is that holds a l l the leaves bound in one volume, he declares the existence of another dove: The dove descending breaks the a i r With flame of incandescent terror Of which the tongues declare The one discharge from sin and error. The only hope, or else despair Lies in the>;choice of pyre or pyre--To be redeemed from f i r e by f i r e . Who then devised the torment? Love. Love i s the unfamil iar Name Behind the hands that wove The into lerab le s h i r t of flame Which human power cannot remove. We only l i v e , only suspire Consumed by either f i r e or f i r e . (LG IV) I f the "dark dove" had spoken one message th i s dove speaks another: the difference is the difference between the monstrous dove of destruction and that of sa lvat ion. One notices, too, how de l iberate ly E l i o t relates the dark dove and the image of "dead leaves": After the dark dove with the f l i c k e r i n g tongue Had passed below the horizon of his homing While the dead leaves s t i l l r a t t l ed on l i k e t i n . . . . 80 The enemy a i r c r a f t , passing "below the horizon of his homing" had brought a breath of flame that blew the leaves to destruct ion, r a t t l i n g them upon the asphalt l i k e the r a t t l e of f a l l i n g bombs. One might even see in the dark dove the image of the serpent who, with i t s f l i c k e r i n g tongue, steals into the darkness from whence i t comes. It is a bold t rans i t ion from th is dove to the dove that: . . . breaks the a i r With flame of incandescent terror Of which the tongues declare The one discharge from s in and error. The Redeemer comes and speaks, as he spoke to the apostles, in tongues of f i r e : And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a c lose, they were a l l together in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a v io lent wind blowing, and i t f i l l e d the house where they were s i t t i n g . And there appeared to them parted tongues as of f i r e , which set t led upon each of them. (Apostles 2:3) This sheds further l i gh t on E l i o t ' s l i ne s : And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or braz ier , S t i r s the dumb s p i r i t : no wind, but pentecostal f i r e In the dark time of the year. (LG I) The blow that is more intense than blaze of branch, or braz ier , i s that of "pentecostal f i r e " , or of the descending dove that speaks in "tongues" of f i r e . In other words, the r isen Chr ist descends and speaks to f a l l en man: The only hope, or else despair Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre--To be redeemed from f i r e by f i r e . The message is simple: one can "burn" e i ther with or without purpose - - the choice is that of pyre or pyre - - e i ther London in the flames of temporal destruction or the se l f in the flames of sa lvat ion. 81 It i s remarkable the extent to which the f i r s t dove scene is the perfect reversal of the second. In the implied burning streets of London, for example, the flames are those that are l i t by the d iabo l i ca l enemy a i r c r a f t - - the "dove" that passes "below the horizon of his homing." There the message contained in the " f l i c k e r i n g tongue" was one of disunity and s t r i f e . The d i f ference, again, is the difference between the f l i c k e r i n g tongue of destruction and that of sa lvat ion. The e f fect of the reversal i s s t r i k i n g l y seen in the l ines which I have previously c i t ed : The dove descending breaks the a i r With flame of incandescent ter ror Of which the tongues declare The one discharge from sin and error. The only hope, or else despair Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre--To be redeemed from f i r e by f i r e . This dove, while no less t e r r i f y i n g than the f i r s t , t e r r i f i e s to some pos it ive end. In i t s tongue of flame i t speaks the necessity of being "redeemed from f i r e by f i r e " , of choosing the flames of unity over those of d isunity. This, again, i s the message of the dead master: From wrong to wrong the exasperated s p i r i t Proceeds, unless restored by that ref in ing f i r e Where you must move in measure, l i k e a dancer. 1 The moving in measure, " l i k e a dancer", brings one to the point of recognition of meaning in f i r e . The "torment" i s no longer the aimless torment of the temporal world: Who then devised the torment? Love Love is the unfamil iar Name Behind the hands that wove The into lerab le s h i r t of flame Which human power cannot remove. Everything, from the beginning to the end, from the dead master passage to here, i s "devised" to point in the d i rect ion of ideas re la t ing 82 to Chr ist ian Love. This is the force which, through death, brings l i f e ; i t i s the power of l i g h t which ends the dark. Most of a l l , Love is the power of unity which gathers a l l the " leaves" in a s ingle volume. The Quartets speak, r e a l l y , one long act of attempted synthesis: the tree and i t s f a l l en leaves are united; the book of l i f e is once more pieced together; man i s one with the universe, one with God. The pattern of the tree figures in i t a l l , for the tree i s the means of enlightenment. It bears upon i t s " f igured l e a f " , the one word, "Love." One turns again, then, to an absolutely key passage in which the tree is a v i t a l image: Gar l i c and saphires in the mud Clot the bedded ax le- t ree. The t r i l l i n g wire in the blood Sings below inveterate scars Appeasing long forgotten wars. The dance along the artery The c i r cu l a t i on of the lymph Are figured in the d r i f t of stars Ascend to summer in the tree We move above the moving tree In l i gh t upon the figured leaf And hear upon the sodden f l oo r Below, the boarhound and the boar Pursue the i r pattern as before But reconciled among the stars. (BN II) The importance of the tree as the unifying force of the ent i re passage cannot be overestimated. There is f i r s t the "ax le - t ree " which in ancient usage denoted the "ax i s " of the world, the s t i l l n e s s amid motion. The image derives from the axle and the wheel, for while the one turned the other was s t i l l . More than t h i s , however, the ax le-tree represented the point of communication between heaven and earth. Having been thought that the axle-tree was a " s t i l l po int " , i t was s im i l a r l y thought that by entering the s t i l l n e s s one could pass from one plane of existence to another. The passing from one level to 83 another was accomplished by the fact that the tree altered space-time relat ions ju s t as, in a sense, the axle turns s t i l l n e s s into motion. As jus t one example of th is idea, Buddha is said to have seated himself, a f te r the long days of his struggle toward enlightenment, under the Bo-tree. When suddenly he l e f t behind his earthly body and the enchainment of temporal time the tree was given as the e f fect i ve cause. Other people have attr ibuted the same sacred qua l i t i e s to a pa r t i cu la r tree. Usually the tree is found at the center of a v i l l a ge jus t as the axle is the center of the wheel. By performing certa in r i t e s at the base of the tree one entered not only sacred time but sacred space. The realm of the tree was an area in which one could become as a chil 'd again. In e f f e c t , time was reversed and there was a "return to or ig ins . But in being reborn the process was thought to be more s p i r i t u a l than phys ica l , more a matter of enlightenment than anything e l se. Thus, to be Buddha-born was to be born into the realm of l i g h t , to have had one's physical-temporal being u t te r l y transformed by the sacred power of the tree. One thinks immediately of E l i o t ' s . . . chi ldren in the apple-tree Not known, because not looked for But heard, half-heard, in the s t i l l n e s s Between two waves of the sea. (LG V) The "two waves" are the waves that wash upon the shore of temporal being, but between the waves, as between past and future, is the " s t i l l n e s s " of v i s ion to which the chi ldren have attained. In the passage under consideration, however, the ef f i cacy of the tree is in question: Gar l i c and saphires in the mud Clot the bedded ax le- t ree. 84 The difference between the c l o t t i ng "mud" and the l i g h t of v i s ion is s e l f evident. Where man allows the impulse to v i s ion to f a i l he r i ses no higher than the level of the reeking plant, i s aware of no greater radiance than the fa l se glow of saphires. Indeed, ga r l i c may be thought to represent a type of superst it ious be l i e f that leads to ever greater depths of darkness rather than l i g h t . I t i s symptomatic of fear ju s t as the saphire i s symptomatic of pseudo-grandiosity. Having hinted the idea of the world e ither turning or not turning on i t s ax le - t ree, E l i o t speaks of another type of rotat ion or c i r c u l a t i on : The t r i l l i n g wire in the blood Sings below inveterate scars Appeasing long forgotten wars. The axle-tree denotes ro tat ion , and human blood, in i t s own way,. rotates within a f ixed sphere. As bad the blood should cease to move as the axle-tree to turn. But the blood does turn, even below the level of " inveterate scars " and there i s a singing that w i l l not allow the wars to be forgotten. Thus, i f the axle-tree in i t s turning provides the music of the spheres, the blood provides an answering music within i t s sphere. E l i o t ' s l ink ing of the two i s quite b r i l l i a n t , and the oneness of two types of c i r c u l a t i o n , of two "spheres of existence" (DS V), i s immediately stressed: The dance along the artery The c i r cu l a t i on of the lymph Are figured in the d r i f t of stars . . . . The idea of the music of the spheres, the "dance" of a l l existence in one universal harmony, i s perfect ly repeated in "the dance along the ar tery . " Thus does one a t ta in the cosmic view, for within the " c i r cu l a t i on of the lymph" is " f igured" the " d r i f t of s ta r s . " One 85 knows the universe because both man and the universe are governed by the same laws and one knows the dance because one is the dance: "you are the music / While the music l a s t s . " (DS V) The ax le-tree that penetrates the earth at i t s center, and which reaches to the level of the s tars , i s f igured in the "heart" of human l i f e . The heart of man, the heart of the tree, and the heart of the ent ire universe beat in one rhythm. Thus, with the tree so much the center of the pattern, i t i s easy to see why E l i o t l a te r speaks of the " sou l ' s sap" (DG I ) , for the tree is the means by which one of the highest acts of synthesis occurs - -the bonding together of man and the universe at a c ruc ia l point of " i n te r sec t i on . " Further, to think of the axle-tree i s not only to think of the bond between man and the universe but between man and Chr i st . This i s rea l ized by E l i o t ' s constant hint ing of the pattern of the cross, whether through "eyebeam", as one has e a r l i e r witnessed, or through the very word "crossed" which occurs in conjunction with i t . , And, as one presently sees, the t rans i t i on from axle-tree to tree i s made easy by the gradual development of pattern: Ascend to summer in the tree We move above the moving tree In l i g h t upon the figured leaf And hear upon the sodden f l oo r Below, the boarhound and the boar Pursue the i r pattern as before But reconciled among the stars. The ascent of the tree i s the point at which Chr ist departed the world and so i t i s with he who imitates that pattern. This I have t r i ed to point out through the meaning of the word Love, which is the Chr ist ian explanation of Chr i s t ' s death on the cross. If the " f igured 86 lea f " bears that message then i t is by the leaf that man i s "enl ightened." Thus we get: We move above the moving tree In l i g h t upon the f igured leaf . . . . Because the tree, s t r i c t l y speaking, exists in time i t i s "moving", but man has conquered time and therefore moves "above the moving t ree . " The sou l , being reduced to a quintessential sap, i s now further reduced to a i r and l i g h t . One i s free of the world through the l i be ra t ing power of Love. So great is th i s power, once i t i s r ea l i zed , that i t l i f t s man from the "sodden f l oo r / Below"and, having str ipped him of his creaturel iness, allows him to see a l l other creatures at a glance, a l l in a s ingle "pat te rn " , a l l " reconci led among the s tar s . " Thus, from the level of a timeless star - - as in the star that heralded the beginning of the Chr ist ian era - - one looks back in enlightenment at the whole of time and the changing world. The at l a s t understood pattern of man and the pattern of Chr ist are made one. It i s not ju s t through the t ree, although the tree is a l l important, that this occurs. Rather, an extremely complex association of images - -complex yet simple - - l i f t toward the "crowned knot of f i r e " of which E l i o t speaks at the end of the Quartets: Quick now, here, now, always - -A condition of complete s imp l i c i t y (Costing not less than everything) And a l l sha l l be well and A l l manner of thing shal l be well When the tongues of flame are in-folded Into the crowned knot of f i r e And the f i r e and the rose are one. In these l a s t l ines is the ultimate proclamation of unity and s imp l i c i t y . The Cost of such s imp l i c i t y is "not less than everything", 87 for "any action / Is a step to the block, to the f i r e , down the sea's throat . . . ." The s a c r i f i c e of s e l f leaves one with nothing, and yet , in a paradox that pers ists to the end, of nothing comes everything. The kingdom of heaven i s achieved through a dea th - i n - l i f e and a l i f e -in-death. The crown that i s thus worn is the "crowned knot of f i r e " , the in - fo ld ing through love of the f i r e and the rose, the earthly and the ethereal, the symbol and the r e a l i t y . For, inasmuch as man is entering the pattern of the rose - - the lotos rose of "Burnt Norton" - -he is committing himself to a death by f i r e at the heart of the pattern and there he quakes . . . in f r i g i d purgatorial f i r e s Of which the flame i s roses, and the smoke i s b r i a r s . (EC IV) But there, in such paradoxical heat of passion, another rose i s born, the rose of enlightened consciousness. Thus does the "symbol", the rose that is bedded in the garden and which gradually becomes one with the pattern of the mandala, become translated into something wholly d i f fe rent - - an idea, a thought, an image of e tern i ty . But as man himself aspires to etern i ty he aspires along the path of the rose. It i s a downward way to darkness and yet i t leads to the l i g h t , to the crown which one f i n a l l y wears. So the rose ends in ashes, but man begins in flame and the c i r c l e i s once more complete. CONCLUSION One of the fasc inat ing features of the Quartets i s that they have been written about in such deta i l but that the deta i l can always be f i t t e d to a more coherent pattern. Reading the best c r i t i c i s m s , one would be hard pressed to discover a sense of unbroken unity, and c r i t i c s have overcome th i s by speaking of E l i o t ' s "al1usiveness." My own point of view i s that E l i o t i s indeed a l l u s i ve but that there i s no s ing le image or idea that i s out of place. Which i s to say, E l i o t has never been more aware of his purposes or more in control of his s t y le . This i s the work of the mature poet who knew exactly what he wanted to say. Further, there i s absolutely nothing new in the Quartets, but simply a fresh way of ordering the fact s . The ent ire work i s in the nature of an h i s t o r i c a l document which speaks to us of the past as seen from the present; i t s one most dominant voice i s composed of the blended voices of a l l those people whom E l i o t has read, studied, absorbed. Such a judgement is made in f u l l recognition of the a r t i s t ' s simultaneous o r i g i n a l i t y and extreme indebtedness to the past. The h i s t o r i c a l consciousness with which the Quartets are imbued i s , of course, at once evident. But how the poet 's mind sets that consciousness down on paper i s another matter. E l i o t comes at his task - 88 89 with a pecul iar sense of dedication; he begins by c i t i n g Heraclitus and thereby establishes the h i s t o r i ca l mood. He next introduces his theme which i s a meditation upon time. Each of the four books that follows is a further exploration of th i s theme and each i s an attempt to broaden i t and to look at i t from a new perspective - - there is hardly a thing in " L i t t l e Gidding" that i s not to be found in "Burnt Norton." This much has been recognized and the re lat ionship of the Quartets to E l i o t ' s key essay The Music of Poetry has also been noted. Thus the Quartets by general agreement are highly orchestrated. Yet no one to my knowledge has mentioned the way in which section one of " L i t t l e Gidding" i s the near perfect echo of section two of "Burnt Norton." I speak in regard to the fact that the tree i s the dominant image of both passages and that each contains the notion of growth from darkness to l i g h t , from the level of f lesh to that of s p i r i t , and from the seed that is in the heart to the flower of Chr i s t ian l o v e . ^ Nor has anyone f u l l y explored the constantly re iterated images of darkness and l i gh t and how they form a single harmony. The r e f l e c t i v e pool of "Burnt Norton", for instance, is enriched in meaning and scope by the "watery mirror" of " L i t t l e Gidding." And each of these in turn i s related to the "k ing f i sher ' s wing" that answers " l i g h t to l i g h t . " (BN IV) I have t r i ed to ind icate, too, the difference between l i gh t that i s "absorbed" and l i g h t that is " r e f r ac ted " , as in section one of "East Coker." In general, I have t r i ed to show that no s ingle l i g h t image i s as meaningful in i so l a t i on as i t i s in "harmony." Ult imately one discovers that the "music" of E l i o t ' s poetry consists of an extremely well worked out pattern. Where "East Coker" says 90 If to be warmed, then I must freeze And quake in f r i g i d purgatorial f i r e s Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is b r i a r s . (EC IV) " L i t t l e Gidding" rep l i e s : Ash on an old man's sleeve Is a l l the ash the burnt Roses leave. (LG II) Though E l i o t may be "a l l ud ing " to a number of ideas there are spec i f i c tangible facts which help unite the above images in a s ingle pattern. Certain Buddhists, fo r instance, believe in a r i t u a l "burning of the roses" by which they think to be achieving pure s p i r i t . S im i l a r l y , i f one follows up the implications of the mandala, certa in of them are found to contain an inner " lotus band", a flaming r ing of rose- l i ke f l o w e r s ^ by which means one i s thought to be pur i f i ed on the way to enlightenment. By a number of related images E l i o t i s h int ing the idea of pu r i f i c a t i on by f i r e , a flaming rose that consumes i t s e l f as i t consumes man but thereby y ie lds the higher essence of both. Another area in which pattern has been almost completely ignored i s in E l i o t ' s glancing references to Dante's Ce lest ia l Rose. No one pursues the fact that " F i g l i a del tuo f i g l i o " (DS IV) i s the beginning of the great choral ode that ends The Divine Comedy. Nor i s i t mentioned that the greatest paradox that both Dante and E l i o t face - - 0 V i rg in Mother, Daughter of Thy Son - - i s in a sense "consumed" within the image of the Ce les t ia l Rose. There, by means of the v i s ion for which the Ce les t ia l Rose stands, a l l paradox melts into one supreme image of love and unity. Not only is the Virg in Mother Daughter of Her Son but the three persons of the T r i n i t y are s ingle yet separate beings. As w e l l , the Ce les t ia l Rose represents the sense of v i s ion which Dante 91 had ea r l i e r seen "mirrored" in the moon, ju s t as E l i o t has seen his v i s ion mirrored in the surface of the pool. These things I have t r i ed to ind icate, and to show not only that E l i o t is indebted to Dante but that he consciously echoes the pattern of v i s ion of The Divine Comedy. The most s i gn i f i can t conclusion that I have come to, as concerns pattern, is that each image is developmental. The rose garden leads to the rose and this same rose, i f I am correct, to a cross -cu l tura l rose - - the lotos rose which appears at the center of the "box c i r c l e " or the mandala. Through th i s E l i o t i s searching for a means of conveying not only the idea of v i s i on , but of death- that - i s -1 i fe and "darkness" that is the " l i g h t . " Coupled with this i s the desire to show that the heart of the rose i s the heart of man and that the two coincide at the "heart" of the pattern. The chain of associat ions, however, seems almost endless, for the absolute center of the pattern i s meant to imply the point of intersect ion whereat Chr i st enters the world of time. Thus the rose, p a r t i a l l y as a symbol of Chr ist ian love, represents the ultimate idea of Incarnation. One very important feature of the rose, as a symbol, i s that i t drives one into the darkness of the absolute and of pure se l f . Having been consumed by love, by the r ight choice of e i ther "pyre or pyre", one i s no more than a "seed." With th i s in mind I have attempted to argue, as a l l mystics argue, in one way or another, that from the seed i s the tree sprung. This relates to E l i o t ' s consistent pattern of leaf imagery and to his extremely pregnant notion of the " sou l ' s sap" - - words within which I hear, at the very leas t , the voice of Jacob Boehme and his idea of the "astr ingent" soul which draws the 92 "sap" from the blood (Aurora) and blossoms forth in the l i gh t of love. Thus the tree, as in my f i na l chapter, i s the tree of l i f e reincarnate. The chi ldren who are in the tree are one with the pattern: they represent those who have gone from death to l i f e along the course of v i s ion that E l i o t lays down. The closing image of the tongues of flame being " in fo lded" is simply another log ica l consequence of the development of pattern - - i t i s an overt ly sexual image in which man comes to Chr ist and to the church in a tongue of flame ju s t as the br ide-groom comes to the b r i d e . ^ The ent i re pattern i s one of darkness and l i g h t , death and l i f e , descent and ascent, separation and union. The music of the Quartets i s the dancing in harmony of a l l these images and ideas. The sphere within which the harmony occurs is the completed c i r c l e of meaning, the pattern that breaks the wall between death and l i f e , the timeless and the temporal, the c i r c l i n g blood and the d r i f t i n g stars: The dance along the artery The c i r cu l a t i on of the lymph Are figured in the d r i f t of stars. (BN II) This i s by way of saying that there is no point outside the se l f for which one need be searching, for in E l i o t ' s own words: "you are the music / While the music l a s t s . " (DS V) The temple, the shrine, the point of intersect ion - - everything that i s contained in the world without - - i s contained in the world w i th in . In point of view of E l i o t ' s e a r l i e r work - - and in l i g h t of his prose c r i t i c i s m - - Four Quartets come nearer the type of perfection he sought than anything he has wr i t ten. Here his voice i s far more nearly that of the man who creates than the mind that suffers. " Prufrock" and 93 " Po r t r a i t of a Lady" had been the work of the excruciat ingly self-aware young poet. "The Waste Land", in whatever way i t i s viewed, was a period of a r i d i t y - - a poem that founded i t s greatness, no matter how much E l i o t argued to the contrary, on a sense of d i s i l l u s i o n and despair. The important fact is not what the poet intended but the e f fect that the poem creates. I venture that few people would argue that The Waste Land i s a poem of l i gh t and hope. The dominant impression i s of the ruin of a society rather than the bui lding of a poetic or re l ig ious f a i t h . In"The Hollow Men" E l i o t reaches the height of negation: This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This i s the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper. I t can be argued that the poet was describing an extra-personal condit ion, the state-of-the-world as i t were, but i t is s t i l l the poet's world, a mid-twenties period of gloom that had sett led upon some few people. From "Prufrock" through "The Hollow Men"there i s an evident search for some absolute value upon which to pin not only a poetic creed but a personal f a i t h . "Journey of the Magi" can be viewed as a middle poem; there is both hope and despair though neither is absolute. The despair consists in E l i o t having reached the point at which he i s perfect ly e x p l i c i t about the dea th - i n - l i f e that is the modern world. At the end of the journey there i s no v i s i on , no redemption, no sense of the dawn of a new era: I had seen b i r t h and death, But had thought they were d i f f e ren t ; this B i r th was Hard and b i t t e r agony for us, l i k e Death, our death. 94 The Magi are simply not equivalent to the s i t ua t i on , not having brought anything to i t and having been starved of the sense of v i s ion which formerly attended the B i r t h . Therefore they are simple i ron i c reversals of the or ig ina l Magi who had journeyed with such purpose and dedication. E l i o t can only b i t t e r l y conclude, "I should be glad of another death." But in such bitterness i s the hope that Ash Wednesday makes more c lear , for there the poet abandons the mask^4 of despair and welcomes the scatter ing of his bones as the one possible means to 1 i fe: And I who am here dissembled Proffer my deeds to ob l i v i on , and my love To the poster ity of the desert and the f r u i t of the gourd. The gourd i s of course hollow - - l i k e the ea r l i e r "hollow round of my s k u l l " - - and the desert i s as barren as the inner regions of s e l f , but th is i s E l i o t ' s point: I t i s th i s which recovers My guts the str ings of my eyes and the ind igest ib le portions Which the leopards re ject . I t i s concluded that only through a tota l surrender to "death" can there be l i f e , as in the sense of death implied in"'Journey of the Magi!' It i s marginal hope but i t i s hope nonetheless. The dissembled body may be pieced together, a new person made out of the ruin of the o ld . Even in his choice of t i t l e , Ash Wednesday, E l i o t reveals his newly found course. It i s a path that leads, as in Four Quartets, to a far more af f i rmat ive voice and a surety of be l i e f that was hitherto unseen. There is a stark rea l i za t i on of the importance of par t i cu la r images: 95 The s ingle Rose Is now the Garden Where a l l loves end Terminate torment . . . . And there is a c learer statement of categories of Chr ist ian be l i e f : Grace to the Mother For the Garden Where a l l love ends. The s ingle Rose is the Garden and a last ing symbol of love, a symbol that i s eminently rediscovered in Four Quartets. But even the plays, as in The Family Reunion, echo a gradually developing pattern of be l i e f which expresses i t s e l f in key images: Agatha. I only looked through the l i t t l e door When the sun was shining on the rose-garden: And heard in the distance t iny voices And then a black raven flew over. In th i s early play Agatha ant ic ipates key categories of Four Quartets: the open door; the sun overhead; the rose-garden; the voices of ch i ld ren; and a passing b i rd . This may be small sign of s p i r i t u a l growth but i t i s ind icat ion of E l i o t creating a consistent pattern of be l i e f . I t i s recognized, as in the Quartets, that l i f e must run a course from beginning to end: Agatha. This i s the way of pilgrimage Of expiation Round and round the c i r c l e Completing the charm So the knot may be unknotted The cross be uncrossed • And the crooked made stra ight And the curse be ended By intercession By pilgrimage By those who depart In several d irect ions For the i r own redemption And that of the departed - -May they rest in peace. (Part I I, Scene III) 96 In the garden Agatha has had f l ee t i ng glimpses of r e a l i t y and knows to some extent that the "curse" that must be undone i s the curse of time. She is f a i n t l y aware, too, that the pattern of her l i f e is t ied up with the "cross" which must be "uncrossed" in order for her to be redeemed from the curse, from the bondage of time. And, fur ther , i f the curse may be undone by " i n te rces s ion " , the intercessor i s the "Lady" of Four Quartets, she "whose shrine stands on the promontory." (DS IV) Thus, the center of the c i r c l e in both Ash Wednesday and the Quartets i s the cross, the point of intersect ion which marks the meaning of Incarnation. E l i o t never abandons his newly found f a i t h , and in as la te a play as The Elder Statesman proclaims i t anew: Lord Claverton. And Michael - -I love him, even for reject ing me, For the me he rejected, I re ject also. I 've been freed from the se l f that pretends to be someone; And in becoming no one, I begin to l i v e . I t i s worth dying, to f ind out what l i f e i s . (Act III) The symbolic death of se l f i s now a consistent theme, a theme which reaches f u l l maturity in Four Quartets. In the present play E l i o t is simply rehearsing this theme and struggl ing gradually to escape Prufrock 's agonies of l i v i n g in the material world. Though one could at greater length describe the pattern of development in the poems, plays and c r i t i c i s m i t i s s u f f i c i en t to say that Four Quartets are the apt summary of everything E l i o t has previously wr i t ten. Yet I must of fer the caution that the Quartets are not the drawing to a calm close of a long poetic career. Far from seeking escape into mystic serenity - - the l a s t retreat of the aging man - - E l i o t is proclaiming his f a i t h as an endless and sometimes profound struggle toward v i s i on . 97 Moreover, one cannot escape the notion of one's " fear of fear and f renzy" , a fear that arises from the pattern of l i f e being, at every moment, "a new and shocking / Valuation of a l l that we have been." (EC II) E l i o t i n s i s t s that we look d i r e c t l y at the pe r i l which attends our surrender to the world, to the extra-personal pattern that da i l y surrounds us. As early as The Waste Land there were hints of th is meaning: Datta: what have we given? My f r i end , blood shaking my heart The awful daring of a moment's surrender Which an age of prudence can never retract . . . . (The Waste Land V) In E l i o t ' s a t t i tude toward the idea of "surrender" I see much of the l a te r Yeats, in par t i cu la r that especia l ly f ine poem, "A Dialogue of Se l f and Soul " : I am content to l i v e i t a l l again And yet again, i f i t be l i f e to pitch Into the frog-spawn of a b l ind man's d i t ch , A b l i nd man battering b l ind men . . . . Yeats' "frog-spawn of a b l ind man's d i t ch " i s simply that point at which one surrenders, as E l i o t seeks surrender, to a world of forces which govern man as they w i l l . But most of a l l , for both poets in the i r respective ways, the headlong plunge into the tumult of l i f e represents the ever attempted re-creation of se l f in the dark smithy of one's own soul. It matters l i t t l e that Yeats speaks of the f rog-spawn of a b l ind man's ditch and E l i o t of the "dark . . . which shal l be the darkness of God", for the nature of the experience which the two men seek i s en t i r e l y undif ferent iated. What most matters i s that both the secular and the re l ig ious poet hold fast to the idea of man being able to complete the c i r c l e of l i f e many times over. In e i ther case there is the "awful daring of a moment's surrender", the act of 98 introspection to the point of ann ih i la t ion of which, perhaps, few men are capable. To think that E l i o t in his waning years sought the shelter ing wing of Anglo-Catholicism i s more than a s l i gh t misunderstanding of the man. Indeed, he held fast to the tenets of his r e l i g i o n , but at the same time he was deeply involved in i t s mystical s ide. He probed and questioned and consistently sought the meaning of the re l ig ious experience in i t s deepest sense. These are not the marks of a complacent man or a conservative poet. Rather they are indicat ions of the man who t r i ed again and again to achieve a more naked v i s i on . FOOTNOTES Harry Blamires, Word Unheard: A Guide Through E l i o t ' s 'Four  Quartets' (London: Methuen, 1969), p. 2. 2 R. P. Blackmur, Form and Value in Modern Poetry, (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1952), p. 179. 3 Helen Gardner, The Art of T. S. E l i o t (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1959), p. 48. 4 Gardner, p. 48. 5 Gardner, p. 36. 6 Gardner, p. 54. 7 Gardner, p. 54. ° Gardner, pp. 55-56. 9 When E l i o t mentions (EC III) the words ' f a i t h ' , 'hope ' , and ' l o ve ' he i s doubtless aware that they are the three theological values of St. Paul and therefore seems very conscious of his use of indiv idual words. 10 T. S. E l i o t , To C r i t i c i z e the C r i t i c (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1965), p. 128. 11 S i r Thomas Elyot, a distant r e l a t i ve of E l i o t ' s whose home was East Coker. 12 Cf. "The heaving groaner / Rounder homeward." (DS I) The image sugggests the pain of the journey through time, the sometimes v i t a l necessity of putting in to safe harbour through th i s "end" is only temporary as the human ship awaits further travel through time. 13 Union implies the Chr ist ian union of man and God. - 99 -100 E l i o t consciously paraphrases Ecclesiastes and attempts to have us see, perhaps, that in spite of the indiv idual human l i f e being mutable the generational pattern is eternal . 15 That i s , an end to time, an end to l inear pattern, an end to action and suffer ing. 16 By general impl icat ion the rose is an infolded pattern. 17 In the Chr ist ian sense this i s the power of love. 1^ Best explained by the notion, "you are the music / While the music l a s t s . " (DS V) As in Yeats where the dancer j_s the dance here there can be no separation of the knower from the known. 19 Though the only d i rect reference to Heraclitus occurs in E l i o t ' s epigraph i t i s l i k e l y that he intended us to feel the implied presence of the Heraclitean doctrine of change throughout the Quartets. 20 Later l ines read, "Ash on an old man's sleeve / Is a l l the ash the burnt roses leave." (LG II) In one way or another i t i s hinted that the rose has f a l l en into decay. C l In "dead leaves" there i s an echo of the former "rose leaves," but i t i s perhaps more s i gn i f i cant that the ent ire "autumn" passage with i t s word "crossed" is a hint of the Chr ist ian " F a l l . " 22 The rose is a t rad i t i ona l symbol of Chr ist ian Love. 23 The more common spe l l ing appears to be " l o tu s . " 24 Encyclopaedia of Rel igion and. Eth ics , Vol. VIII. Ed. James Hastings (New Yo rk : - Cha r l e s Scribner" 1^ Sons, 1915), p. 144. 25 F. C. Happold, Prayer and Meditation: Their Nature and Pract ise (Middlesex: Penguin Books L td . , 1971) ,"pp. 374-75. 26 Robert Ernest Hume, trans., The Thirteen Pr inc ipa l Upanishads, 2nd ed. (1931; rpt. Oxford: Oxford Univers ity Press, 1921), p. 262. 27 "And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses / Had the look of flowers that are looked a t . " In both Chr ist ian and Eastern re l ig ious be l i e f the cross - - note "crossed" - - i s of prime importance. 28 Jose and Miriam Arguelles, Mandala (London: Shambala Publ icat ions, Inc., 1972), p. 13. 29 I t a l i c s mine. Cf. "empty a l l e y " (BN I ) . 30 Arguelles, p. 91. 101 -31 A work wherein the trans lator argues the indebtedness of Western to Eastern thought and points out that the Golden flower ( i . e. lotus) i s the key to the unconscious and to archetypal patterns in general; with the t r a i n of thought here espoused E l i o t must have been f am i l i a r . 32 Richard Wilhelm, trans., The Secret of the Golden Flower: a_ Chinese Book of L i f e , 10th ed. (1957 rpt. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul L td . , 1957), pp. 96-97. 33 cf . "A f ter the k ingf i sher ' s wing / Has answered l i g h t to l i g h t , and i s s i l e n t , the l i g h t is s t i l l / At the s t i l l point of the turning world." (BN III) 3 4 Oxford English Dictionary (1961 rpt. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1933),?728 35 Oxford English Dict ionary, p. 728. 36 That the "unseen eyebeam" is connected with the lotus rose depends on one's reading of the word "crossed" as an implied point of intersect ion, i . e. the unseen eyebeam "crosses" from the c i r c l e to the center, from the garden to the center of the pool, the heart of the pattern. 37 Some form of the "middle way" i s referred to by most mystics. 32 A Commentator says: "One of the greatest discoveries of the human s p i r i t . . . was antic ipated on the day when, by certain re l ig ious symbols, man guessed that oppositions and antagonisms can be f i t t e d and integrated into a un i ty . " Mircea El iade, The Two and the One, trans. J . M. Cohen (New York and Evanston: Harper and Row, 1963), p. 206. 39 0 quanto e corto i l d i r e , e come f ioco al mio concetto! e questo, a quel ch ' i o v i d i d , e tanto, che non basta a dicer poco. (Paradiso 33, 11. 121-23) 40 Qual e i l geometre che tutto s ' a f f i g e per misurar lo cerchio, e non r i t r o v a , pensando, quel p r inc ip io ond 'egl i indige; ta le era io a quel la v i s ta nuova: veder voleva, come s i convenne l'amago al cerchio e comevi s ' indova; ma non eran da cio le properie penne, se non che la mia mente fu percossa da und fulgore, in che suavoglia venne. (Paradiso 33, 11. 133-41) 41 Preparing him for the moment of f i n a l v i s i on , St. Bernard says to Dante: "Over th is garden with thy v i s ion f l y , / For looking on i t w i l l prepare thy gaze / To r i se towards God's luminence on high." (Paradiso 31, 11. 97-99) 102 42 . . . levai lo cappo a proferer piu erto. Ma v is ions apparve, che ritenne a se me tanto s t r e t t o , per veders i , che di mia confession non mi sovvenne. Quali per vet r i transparent!' e t e r s i , o ver per acque n i t i de e t r anqu i l l e , non s i profonde che i fondi sien pe r s i , toran dei nostr i v i s i le p o s t i l l e deb i l i s i , che perl a in biance fonte non vien men tosto a l l e nostre pupp i l le ; t a l i v i d ' i o piu facce a parlar pronte, perch ' io dentro a l l ' e r r o r contrario corsi a quel ch'accese amor t ra 1'uomo e i l fonte, Subito, s i com'io di l o r m'accors i, quelle stimando specch iat i , sernbianti, per c h ' i o dentro a l l ' e r r o contrario corsi e nul la v id i . . . . (Paradiso 3, 11. 7-22) 43 F. C. Happold, Mysticism: A Study and an Anthology (Middlesex: Penguin Books L td . , 1963), p. 305." 4 4 Happold, Prayer and Meditation, pp. 124-25. 4 ^ Easter, the day of resurrect ion, i s one of the brightest days in the Chr i s t ian calendar. The l i gh t ing of churches on the eve of Easter Day, sometimes the l i gh t ing of whole c i t i e s , was once a t r ad i t i ona l pract ice. 4 6 Cf. "a l i f e t i m e ' s death in love. " (DS V) In the mystic experience the end-product of l i gh t - - or "enlightened consciousness" - - i s an understanding of the meaning of Chr i s t ian love or Agape. 4 ? Mircea E l iade, The Two and the One, trans. J . M. Cohen (New York and Evanston: Harper and Row, 1963), p. 203. 4 ^ See once more F. C. Happold's quotation of John Ruysbroesck, p. 55 above. 4 9 0 abbondante graz ia, ond' io presuni f i c c a r lo viso per la luce eterna tanto, che la venduta v i consunsi! Nelsuo profondo v id i che s ' i n te rna , legato con amore in un volume, cio per 1'universo s i squanderna . . . . (Paradiso 33, 11. 82-87) 50 A be l i e f in a return to or ig ins i s the subject of Mircea E l iade ' s i11uminative work, The Myth of Eternal Return. 103 5 1 Jacob Boehme says: "now behold! When the seed i s generated i t standeth in the centre of the heart, for there the mother catcheth the Ternary or T r i n i t y . " In his Aurora Boehme ascribes to the heart the a b i l i t y to reduce the blood to "sap" and thereby to lay down the " root " of the T r i n i t y . 52 cf . chapter 3 and my descr ipt ion of the mandala. 53 The image of the bridegroom and the bride occurs frequently in mystic l i t e r a t u r e . 5.4- In abandoning the dramatic monologue E l i o t i s foregoing the mask technique and while growing paradoxically more "personal" i s achieving a higher kind of impersonal a r t . BIBLIOGRAPHY Primary Sources Bergsten, Steffan. Time and Etern i ty: a Study in the Structure and  Symbolism of T. S. E l i o t ' s 'Four Quartets ' . Stockholm: Svenska Bokforlaget Bonnier, 1960. Blamires, Harry. Word Unheard: a Guide through E l i o t ' s 'Four Quartets ' . London: Methuen, 1969. " Bodelson, C. A. T. S. E l i o t ' s 'Four Quartets ' : a Commentary. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde and Bagger, 1958. Drew, El izabeth. T. S. E l i o t : the Design of his Poetry. New York: Charles Scr ibner ' s Sons, 1949. E l i o t , T. S. The Complete Poems and Plays. London: R. MacLehose and Company L td . , 1969. . Selected Essays. New York: Harcourt, World and Brace Inc., 1932. • The Idea of a Chr ist ian Society. London: Faber and Faber, 1939. . Notes towards the Def in i t ion of Culture. London: Faber and Faber, 1948. . On Poetry and Poets. London: Faber and Faber, 1957. . To C r i t i c i z e the C r i t i c : Eight Essays on L i terature and Education. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1965. Frye, Northrop. T. S. E l i o t . Edinburgh and London: Ol iver and Boyd, 1963. Gardner, Helen. The Art of T. S. E l i o t . New York: E. P. Dutton and Co. Inc., 1959. - 104 -105 Kenner, Hugh. The Inv i s ib le Poet: T. S. E l i o t , few York: Ivan Obolenskyj Inc., 1959. Mathiessen, F. 0. The Achievement of T. S. 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