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T.S. Eliot (1888–1965). Poems. 1920.

11. Mr. Eliot’s Sunday Morning Service

  • Look, look, master, here comes two religious caterpillars.
  • Jew of Malta.


    The sapient sutlers of the Lord

    Drift across the window-panes.

    In the beginning was the Word.

    In the beginning was the Word.

    Superfetation of ,

    And at the mensual turn of time

    Produced enervate Origen.

    A painter of the Umbrian school

    Designed upon a gesso ground

    The nimbus of the Baptized God.

    The wilderness is cracked and browned

    But through the water pale and thin

    Still shine the unoffending feet

    And there above the painter set

    The Father and the Paraclete.


    The sable presbyters approach

    The avenue of penitence;

    The young are red and pustular

    Clutching piaculative pence.

    Under the penitential gates

    Sustained by staring Seraphim

    Where the souls of the devout

    Burn invisible and dim.

    Along the garden-wall the bees

    With hairy bellies pass between

    The staminate and pistilate,

    Blest office of the epicene.

    Sweeney shifts from ham to ham

    Stirring the water in his bath.

    The masters of the subtle schools

    Are controversial, polymath.