Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

100 Inspirational Quotes By T. S. Eliot, The Author Of Four Quartets

Famous As: Best Known as a Leader of the Modernist Movement in Poetry
Born On: September 26, 1888
Died On: January 4, 1965
Born In: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died At Age: 76

20th century Britain saw the emergence of one of the most ground-breaking poets in English literature in Thomas Stearns Eliot. An essayist, poet, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic by profession, Eliot first rose to prominence with his maiden poem, ‘The Love Story of J Alfred Prufrock’ attracted widespread attention. The poem was a masterpiece of the Modernist movement and was followed by equally successful poems including his magnum opus, ‘The Waste Land’, which became one of the most talked about poems in literary history, and others such as ‘The Hollow Men’, ‘Ash Wednesday’ and ‘Four Quartets’. It was for his outstanding contribution to modern day poetry that Eliot received the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. Most of his poems articulated the disillusionment of a younger post-World War I generation with the values and conventions, both literary and social, of the Victorian era. In addition to being a renowned poet, Eliot was an important playwright, whose verse dramas include ‘Murder in the Cathedral’, ‘The Family Reunion’, and ‘The Cocktail Party’. Eliot’s brilliance at words and thoughts is equally visible in his meaningful quotes that are sure to make you ponder. This collection of quotes by T S Eliot is sure to make you view life with a new perspective!

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For last year's words belong to last year's language 
And next year's words await another voice.

For last year's words belong to last year's language And next year's words await another voice.

T S Eliot
Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

T S Eliot
To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man's life.

To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man's life.

T S Eliot
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.

T S Eliot
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.

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.

T S Eliot
Do I dare 
Disturb the universe? 
In a minute there is time 
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

Do I dare Disturb the universe? In a minute there is time For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

T S Eliot
Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.

Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.

T S Eliot
April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.

April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.

T S Eliot
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.

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.

T S Eliot
The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man

The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man

T S Eliot
Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.

T S Eliot
Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.

Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.

T S Eliot
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

T S Eliot
If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?

If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?

T S Eliot
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.

There will be time, there will be time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.

T S Eliot
What is hell? Hell is oneself. 
Hell is alone, the other figures in it 
Merely projections. There is nothing to escape from 
And nothing to escape to. One is always alone.

What is hell? Hell is oneself. Hell is alone, the other figures in it Merely projections. There is nothing to escape from And nothing to escape to. One is always alone.

T S Eliot
Humankind cannot bear very much reality.

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.

T S Eliot
You are the music while the music lasts.

You are the music while the music lasts.

T S Eliot
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow

T S Eliot
If you haven’t the strength to impose your own terms upon life, then you must accept the terms it offers you.

If you haven’t the strength to impose your own terms upon life, then you must accept the terms it offers you.

T S Eliot
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.

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.

T S Eliot
For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

For last year's words belong to last year's language And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning." (Little Gidding)

T S Eliot
Footfalls echo in the memory, down the passage we did not take, towards the door we never opened, into the rose garden.

Footfalls echo in the memory, down the passage we did not take, towards the door we never opened, into the rose garden.

T S Eliot
Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want; whatever you feel, be sure that is what you feel.

Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want; whatever you feel, be sure that is what you feel.

T S Eliot
What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.

What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.

T S Eliot
Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.

T S Eliot
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. 

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me.

T S Eliot
Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity

Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity

T S Eliot
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.

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.

T S Eliot
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.

T S Eliot
These fragments I have shored against my ruins

These fragments I have shored against my ruins

T S Eliot
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.

Love is most nearly itself When here and now cease to matter.

T S Eliot
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.

Time present and time past Are both perhaps present in time future And time future contained in time past.

T S Eliot
It will do you no harm to find yourself ridiculous.
Resign yourself to be the fool you are...
...We must always take risks. That is our destiny...

It will do you no harm to find yourself ridiculous. Resign yourself to be the fool you are... ...We must always take risks. That is our destiny...

T S Eliot
Light
Light
The visible reminder of Invisible Light.

Light Light The visible reminder of Invisible Light.

T S Eliot
Distracted from distraction by distraction

Distracted from distraction by distraction

T S Eliot
I learn a great deal by merely observing you, and letting you talk as long as you please, and taking note of what you do not say.

I learn a great deal by merely observing you, and letting you talk as long as you please, and taking note of what you do not say.

T S Eliot
Words strain, 
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden, 
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish, 
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, 
Will not stay still.

Words strain, Crack and sometimes break, under the burden, Under the tension, slip, slide, perish, Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, Will not stay still.

T S Eliot
Success is relative. It is what we make of the mess we have made of things.

Success is relative. It is what we make of the mess we have made of things.

T S Eliot
Where does one go from a world of insanity? Somewhere on the other side of despair.

Where does one go from a world of insanity? Somewhere on the other side of despair.

T S Eliot
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

T S Eliot
The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink.

The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink.

T S Eliot
We don't actually fear death, we fear that no one will notice our absence, that we will disappear without a trace.

We don't actually fear death, we fear that no one will notice our absence, that we will disappear without a trace.

T S Eliot
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.

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.

T S Eliot
There is one who remembers the way to your door: Life you may evade, but Death you shall not.

There is one who remembers the way to your door: Life you may evade, but Death you shall not.

T S Eliot
Do I dare Disturb the universe?

Do I dare Disturb the universe?

T S Eliot
Teach us to care and not to care

Teach us to care and not to care

T S Eliot
We do not pass through the same door twice
Or return to the door through which we did not pass

We do not pass through the same door twice Or return to the door through which we did not pass

T S Eliot
There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music.

There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music.

T S Eliot
An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.

An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.

T S Eliot
Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

T S Eliot
We had the experience but missed the meaning. And approach to the meaning restores the experience in a different form.

We had the experience but missed the meaning. And approach to the meaning restores the experience in a different form.

T S Eliot
Humor is also a way of saying something serious.

Humor is also a way of saying something serious.

T S Eliot
I grow old … I grow old …	
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

I grow old … I grow old … I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

T S Eliot
I should have been a pair of ragged claws/ Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

I should have been a pair of ragged claws/ Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

T S Eliot
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

T S Eliot
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you
I will show you fear in a handful of dust

And I will show you something different from either Your shadow at morning striding behind you Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you I will show you fear in a handful of dust

T S Eliot
I can connect
Nothing with nothing

I can connect Nothing with nothing

T S Eliot
Music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but
you are the music
While the music lasts.

Music heard so deeply That it is not heard at all, but you are the music While the music lasts.

T S Eliot
So I find words I never thought to speak

In streets I never thought I should revisit

When I left my body on a distant shore.

So I find words I never thought to speak In streets I never thought I should revisit When I left my body on a distant shore.

T S Eliot
This love is silent.

This love is silent.

T S Eliot
The last act is the greatest treason. To do the right deed for the wrong reason.

The last act is the greatest treason. To do the right deed for the wrong reason.

T S Eliot
We read many books, because we cannot know enough people.

We read many books, because we cannot know enough people.

T S Eliot
For you know only a heap of broken images

For you know only a heap of broken images

T S Eliot
No one can become really educated without having pursued some study in which he took no interest- for it is a part of education to learn to interest ourselves in subjects for which we have no aptitude.

No one can become really educated without having pursued some study in which he took no interest- for it is a part of education to learn to interest ourselves in subjects for which we have no aptitude.

T S Eliot
Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.

Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.

T S Eliot
My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.	 
'Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak.	 
'What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?	 
'I never know what you are thinking. Think.

My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me. 'Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak. 'What are you thinking of? What thinking? What? 'I never know what you are thinking. Think.

T S Eliot
Unreal friendship may turn to real 
But real friendship, once ended, cannot be mended

Unreal friendship may turn to real But real friendship, once ended, cannot be mended

T S Eliot
It's not wise to violate the rules until you know how to observe them.

It's not wise to violate the rules until you know how to observe them.

T S Eliot
Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance

Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance

T S Eliot
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.

T S Eliot
Men dislike being awakened from their death in life.

Men dislike being awakened from their death in life.

T S Eliot
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in infomation?

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in infomation?

T S Eliot
I am moved by fancies that are curled, around these images and cling, the notion of some infinitely gentle, infinitely suffering thing.

I am moved by fancies that are curled, around these images and cling, the notion of some infinitely gentle, infinitely suffering thing.

T S Eliot
We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time.

We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time.

T S Eliot
People to whom nothing has ever happened cannot understand the unimportance of events.

People to whom nothing has ever happened cannot understand the unimportance of events.

T S Eliot
Footfalls echo in the memory
down the passage we did not take
towards the door we never opened
into the rose garden. My words echo
thus, in your mind

Footfalls echo in the memory down the passage we did not take towards the door we never opened into the rose garden. My words echo thus, in your mind

T S Eliot
Someone said, 'The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did.' Precisely, and they are that which we know.

Someone said, 'The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did.' Precisely, and they are that which we know.

T S Eliot
Every experience is a paradox in that it means to be absolute, and yet is relative; in that it somehow always goes beyond itself and yet never escapes itself.

Every experience is a paradox in that it means to be absolute, and yet is relative; in that it somehow always goes beyond itself and yet never escapes itself.

T S Eliot
What have we given?
My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment's surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed.

What have we given? My friend, blood shaking my heart The awful daring of a moment's surrender Which an age of prudence can never retract By this, and this only, we have existed.

T S Eliot
Time past and time future
what might have been and what has been
point to one end, which is always present.

Time past and time future what might have been and what has been point to one end, which is always present.

T S Eliot
Only by acceptance of the past, can you alter it

Only by acceptance of the past, can you alter it

T S Eliot
Where is the Life we lost in living?

Where is the Life we lost in living?

T S Eliot
I have measured out my life in coffee spoons.

I have measured out my life in coffee spoons.

T S Eliot
This is one moment, / But know that another / Shall pierce you with a sudden painful joy.

This is one moment, / But know that another / Shall pierce you with a sudden painful joy.

T S Eliot
We ask only to be reassured
About the noises in the cellar
And the window that should not have been open

We ask only to be reassured About the noises in the cellar And the window that should not have been open

T S Eliot
And indeed there will be time to wonder, 'Do I dare?', and 'Do I dare?

And indeed there will be time to wonder, 'Do I dare?', and 'Do I dare?

T S Eliot
There's no vocabulary For love within a family, love that's lived in But not looked at, love within the light of which All else is seen, the love within which All other love finds speech. This love is silent.

There's no vocabulary For love within a family, love that's lived in But not looked at, love within the light of which All else is seen, the love within which All other love finds speech. This love is silent.

T S Eliot
Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality but an escape from personality.

Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality but an escape from personality.

T S Eliot
My mind may be American but my heart is British.

My mind may be American but my heart is British.

T S Eliot
The historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence

The historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence

T S Eliot
Only through time time is conquered

Only through time time is conquered

T S Eliot
We must learn to suffer more.

We must learn to suffer more.

T S Eliot
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience.

He who was living is now dead We who were living are now dying With a little patience.

T S Eliot
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 towards some overwhelming question

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 towards some overwhelming question

T S Eliot
Of lovers whose bodies smell of each other 
Who think the same thoughts without need of speech

Of lovers whose bodies smell of each other Who think the same thoughts without need of speech

T S Eliot
I am glad you have a Cat, but I do not believe it is So remarkable a cat as My Cat.

I am glad you have a Cat, but I do not believe it is So remarkable a cat as My Cat.

T S Eliot
Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living
Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,
Can words or music reach
The stillness...

Words move, music moves Only in time; but that which is only living Can only die. Words, after speech, reach Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern, Can words or music reach The stillness...

T S Eliot
Hell is oneself,
Hell is alone.

Hell is oneself, Hell is alone.

T S Eliot
Till Human voices wake us, and we drown.

Till Human voices wake us, and we drown.

T S Eliot