T. S. Eliot, Prufrock and Other Observations (London: The Egoist, 1917): 35-36. E546 P784 1917 Fisher Rare Book Library.
2His laughter tinkled among the teacups.
5Gaping at the lady in the swing.
7He laughed like an irresponsible fœtus.
8His laughter was submarine and profound
9Like the old man of the sea's
10Hidden under coral islands
11Where worried bodies of drowned men drift down in the green silence,
12Dropping from fingers of surf.
13I looked for the head of Mr. Apollinax rolling under a chair,
14Or grinning over a screen
15With seaweed in its hair.
16I heard the beat of centaurs' hoofs over the hard turf
17As his dry and passionate talk devoured the afternoon.
18"He is a charming man" -- "But after all what did he mean?" --
19"His pointed ears .... He must be unbalanced," --
20"There was something he said that I might have challenged."
21Of dowager Mrs. Phlaccus, and Professor and Mrs. Cheetah
22I remember a slice of lemon, and a bitten macaroon.
1] This poem describes the Cambridge philosopher Bertrand Russell, including his pointed ears (The Letters of T. S. Eliot, ed. Valerie Eliot, Vol. 1: 1898-1922 [London: Faber and Faber, 1988]: 483). Back to Line
3] Fragilion: a name suggesting an effeminate man. Back to Line
4] Priapus: classical god of procreation. Back to Line
6] Professor Channing-Cheetah: according to Valerie Eliot, this resembles one of Eliot's teachers at Harvard, Professor William Henry Schofield (1870-1920; Letters, p. 483). Back to Line
Publication Start Year
First printed in "Observations," Poetry 8.6 (Sept. 1916). Donald Gallup, T. S. Eliot: A Bibliography (London: Faber and Faber, 1969): A1, C28.
RPO poem Editors
© T.S. Eliot and Faber and Faber Ltd 1974