Thomas Stearns Eliot









The Four Quartets (initial and final verses)


The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock







The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock




                           S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse

                                           A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,

                                           Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.

                                           Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo

                                           Non torno vivo alcun, s'i'odo il vero,

                                           Senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo.

                                           Dante, La Divina Commedia,

                                           L'Inferno,  Canto XXVII, versos 61-66 *




Let us go then, you and I,           

When the evening is spread out against the sky           

Like a patient etherised upon a table;           

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,           

The muttering retreats                   

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels           

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:           

Streets that follow like a tedious argument           

Of insidious intent           

To lead you to an overwhelming question...           

Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"           

Let us go and make our visit.           


In the room the women come and go           

Talking of Michelangelo.           


The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,           

The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes           

Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,           

Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,           

Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,           

Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,           

And seeing that it was a soft October night,           

Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.           


And indeed there will be time           

For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,           

Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;           

There will be time, there will be time           

To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;           

There will be time to murder and create,           

And time for all the works and days of hands           

That lift and drop a question on your plate;           

Time for you and time for me,           

And time yet for a hundred indecisions,           

And for a hundred visions and revisions,           

Before the taking of a toast and tea.           


In the room the women come and go           

Talking of Michelangelo.           


And indeed there will be time           

To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"           

Time to turn back and descend the stair,           

With a bald spot in the middle of my hair           

[They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!"]           

My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,           

My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin           

[They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!"]           

Do I dare           

Disturb the universe?           

In a minute there is time           

For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.           


For I have known them all already, known them all:           

Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,           

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;           

I know the voices dying with a dying fall           

Beneath the music from a farther room.           

  So how should I presume?           


And I have known the eyes already, known them all           

The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,           

And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,           

When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,           

Then how should I begin           

To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?           

  And how should I presume?           


And I have known the arms already, known them all           

Arms that are braceleted and white and bare           

[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]           

It is perfume from a dress           

That makes me so digress?           

Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.           

  And should I then presume?           

  And how should I begin?           

     .      .      .      .      .           

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets           

And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes           

Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?...           


I should have been a pair of ragged claws           

Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.           

     .      .      .      .      .           

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!           

Smoothed by long fingers,           

Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,           

Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.           

Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,           

Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?           

But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,           

Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,           

I am no prophetand here's no great matter;           

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,           

And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,           

And in short, I was afraid.           


And would it have been worth it, after all,           

After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,           

Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,           

Would it have been worth while,           

To have bitten off the matter with a smile,           

To have squeezed the universe into a ball           

To roll it toward some overwhelming question,           

To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,           

Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all"           

If one, settling a pillow by her head,           

  Should say: "That is not what I meant at all.           

  That is not it, at all."           


And would it have been worth it, after all,           

Would it have been worth while,           

After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,           

After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor           

And this, and so much more?           

It is impossible to say just what I mean!           

But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:           

Would it have been worth while           

If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,           

And turning toward the window, should say:           

  "That is not it at all,           

  That is not what I meant, at all."           

     .      .      .      .      .           

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;           

Am an attendant lord, one that will do           

To swell a progress, start a scene or two,           

Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,           

Deferential, glad to be of use,           

Politic, cautious, and meticulous;           

Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;           

At times, indeed, almost ridiculous           

Almost, at times, the Fool.           


I grow old ... I grow old...           

I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.           


Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?           

I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.           

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.           


I do not think that they will sing to me.           


I have seen them riding seaward on the waves           

Combing the white hair of the waves blown back           

When the wind blows the water white and black.           


We have lingered in the chambers of the sea           

By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown           

Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Prufrock and Other Observations.  1917.



  * O texto do poema não vem, em geral, acompanhado desta referência. Embora presumisse que deveria provir do Inferno de Dante, gastei uma boa meia hora para encontrar o local exacto.

Encontra uma tradução deste poema para  português aqui .


  The Four Quartets (initial and final verses)




Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.






What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
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. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.






O tempo presente e o tempo passado

Estão ambos talvez presentes no tempo futuro

E o tempo futuro contido no tempo passado.

Se todo o tempo é presente eternamente,

Todo o tempo é irredemível.

O que podia Ter sido é uma abstracção

Que fica em perpétua possibilidade

Apenas num mundo de especulação.

O que podia ter sido e o que foi

Apontam para um só fim, sempre presente.

Passadas ecoam na memória,

Descendo o caminho que não tomámos

Em direcção à porta que nunca abrimos

Do jardim das rosas. Assim ecoam

As minhas palavras na tua mente.

Mas qual o desígnio

Turbando o pó de um vaso com folhas de roseira,

Não sei.




Aquilo a que chamamos princípio é muitas vezes o fim

E fazer um fim é fazer um princípio.

O fim é de onde começámos. E cada expressão

E cada frase que está certa (onde cada palavra em sua casa

Ocupa o lugar em que sustenta as outras,

Sem desconfiança nem ostentação, a palavra,

Um comércio fácil entre o velho e o novo,

A palavra comum exacta e sem vulgaridade,

A palavra formal precisa e não pedante,

Os cônjuges completos dançando em conjunto),

Cada expressão e cada frase é um fim e um princípio,

Cada poema, um epitáfio. E toda a acção

É um passo para o patíbulo, para a fogueira, pelas goelas do mar abaixo.

Ou para uma pedra ilegível: e é aí que começamos.

Morremos com os que morrem:

Vê, eles partem e nós vamos com eles.

Nascemos com os mortos:

Vê: eles regressam e trazem-nos com eles.

O momento da rosa e o momento do teixo

São de igual duração. Um povo sem história

Não se redime do tempo, pois a história é uma teia

De momentos intemporais. Por isso, enquanto a luz se extingue

Numa tarde de inverno, numa capela isolada,

A história é agora a Inglaterra.

Com o atrair deste Amor e a voz desta Vocação

Não cessaremos de explorar

E o fim de toda a nossa exploração

Será chegar aonde começámos

E conhecer o lugar pela primeira vez.

Pelo portão desconhecido, relembrado,

Quando o último da terra partiu para descobrir,

É aquilo que era o princípio;

Na nascente do mais longo rio

A voz da cascata oculta

E as crianças na macieira

Não conhecidas porque não procuradas,

Mas ouvidas, semiouvidas na quietude

Entre duas ondas do mar.

Depressa agora, aqui, agora, sempre –

Uma condição de total simplicidade

(que custa nada menos do que tudo)

E tudo estará bem e

Toda a espécie de coisas estará bem

Quando as línguas de chama se enlaçam

E recolhem ao nó de fogo coroado

E o fogo e a rosa são um só.


Tradução de João Ferreira Duarte, em "LEITURAS

poemas do inglês", Relógio de Água, 1993).