A Cooking Egg

En l'an trentiesme de mon aage
Que toutes mes hontes j'ay beucs ...


Pipit sate upright in her chair
Some distance from where I was sitting;
Views of the Oxford Colleges
Lay on the table, with the knitting.

Daguerreotypes and silhouettes,
Her grandfather and great great aunts,
Supported on the mantelpiece
An Invitation to the Dance.
. . . . . .
I shall not want Honour in Heaven
For I shall meet Sir Philip Sidney
And have talk with Coriolanus
And other heroes of that kidney.

I shall not want Capital in Heaven
For I shall meet Sir Alfred Mond:
We two shall lie together, lapt
In a five per cent Exchequer Bond.

I shall not want Society in Heaven,
Lucretia Borgia shall be my Bride;
Her anecdotes will be more amusing
Than Pipit's experience could provide.

I shall not want Pipit in Heaven:
Madame Blavatsky will instruct me
In the Seven Sacred Trances;
Piccarda de Donati will conduct me ...
. . . . . .
But where is the penny world I bought
To eat with Pipit behind the screen?
The red-eyed scavengers are creeping
From Kentish Town and Golder's Green;

Where are the eagles and the trumpets?

Buried beneath some snow-deep Alps.
Over buttered scones and crumpets
Weeping, weeping multitudes
Droop in a hundred A.B.C.'s

by Thomas Stearns Eliot

Comments (13)

Add a comment.Ainoli
Bombastic was another nice word you could have used Michael. In the age of the stone age typewriter, when references and translations were not but a word search away, Eliot in foreign language was a problem if scholastic or detailed understanding was sort. An esteemed company to be included among, and a compliment to learning earnestly sort. Alexander Pope expressed such requisite learning best do you think? A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again.
How does one contest the erudite opinions expressed at such tedious length by writers Craddock, Graham and Fraser? Dare I say all three have been afflicted with hyperbolic logorrhea in a stilted tongue?
Interesting comments all. Funny while studying English Lit I was never informed who the three most cherished poets in English poetry were. Although after studying American, English, Australian, and New Zealand Poetry predominantly but not exclusively; and Medieval English Literature, Renaissance Poetry & Prose, Romantic Poetry & Prose, Augustan Poetry & Prose, Victorian Poetry & Prose and Twentieth Century Poetry; I personally believe this to be a statement that cannot be qualified. Eliot’s ‘A Cooking Egg’ has been claimed as American Poetry so let ‘The Wasteland’ remain English European, or not if you feel so strongly about the issue. Eliot’s use of Latin, Greek, French, and German used directly in his poetry to make important comments without translation, is frustrating and dare I say snobbish. A translation footnoted or referenced at the back of a volume is both polite and necessary. A basic knowledge of Myth & Literature, Greek & Roman Literature, The Novel in various periods is usually a help with the classical poets, sooner or later. More importantly enjoy and read them as you like. That is after all the purpose of poetry. So ‘PIPIT sate upright in her chair’, seems they argued a lot. She is a homely girl, ‘with the knitting’. Perhaps if Eliot is rather a self confessed cad, he should not have married a woman of family tradition and orientation, with so many family photographs ‘Supported on the mantelpiece’. The type of woman he preferred is attested to with ‘I shall not want Society in Heaven, Lucretia Borgia shall be my Bride’. With her documented incestuous relationship and the Borgia reputation, truth or myth, one wonders did she really make it to heaven or not. Being the daughter in-law of a Pope probably helps though. No I a not knocking the Roman Catholic Church, I have great respect for my cousin Father John, due to the fact it is warranted. These were a different era in Papal Diplomacy, and the poem is an intriguing read, worth the effort of looking it up on a different web site.
Why doe's my screen say text of poem can not be published because of copyright laws? ? ? ? ? ? ?
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