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T.S. Eliot (1888–1965). Poems. 1920.

2. Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar

  • Tra-la-la-la-la-la-laire—nil nisi divinum stabile est; caetera fumus—the gondola stopped, the old palace was there, how charming its grey and pink—goats and monkeys, with such hair too!—so the countess passed on until she came through the little park, where Niobe presented her with a cabinet, and so departed.

  • BURBANK crossed a little bridge

    Descending at a small hotel;

    Princess Volupine arrived,

    They were together, and he fell.

    Defunctive music under sea

    Passed seaward with the passing bell

    Slowly: the God Hercules

    Had left him, that had loved him well.

    The horses, under the axletree

    Beat up the dawn from Istria

    With even feet. Her shuttered barge

    Burned on the water all the day.

    But this or such was Bleistein’s way:

    A saggy bending of the knees

    And elbows, with the palms turned out,

    Chicago Semite Viennese.

    A lustreless protrusive eye

    Stares from the protozoic slime

    At a perspective of Canaletto.

    The smoky candle end of time

    Declines. On the Rialto once.

    The rats are underneath the piles.

    The jew is underneath the lot.

    Money in furs. The boatman smiles,

    Princess Volupine extends

    A meagre, blue-nailed, phthisic hand

    To climb the waterstair. Lights, lights,

    She entertains Sir Ferdinand

    Klein. Who clipped the lion’s wings

    And flea’d his rump and pared his claws?

    Thought Burbank, meditating on

    Time’s ruins, and the seven laws.