Then the camel men cursing and grumbling and running away, and wanting their liquor and women, And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters, And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly And the villages dirty and charging high prices: A hard time we had of it. The present participles and the paratactic syntax, presenting one thing after another in a simple narrative, hold us to the banalities of romantic travellers. The speaker makes me think that the whole world had a sort of stirring and made them feel uneasy. Notice the form of the poem. Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley, Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation; With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness, And three trees on the low sky, And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow. Is what they did more representational of understanding birth or death? Eliot's Poetry and Plays: A Study in Sources and Meaning.
At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches, With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly. This poem has been shared here under fair use guidelines provided by. This poem is very deep and hard to understand at the very first reading. Think of the secular A Visit From St. The sight of the baby profoundly changed the way they lived their lives from that moment on. At the end of the day he finds himself in a place from where he looks back to the region, he has traversed and feels satisfied with the advance he has made. The first stanza tells of them traveling.
And whose Birth or Death was it? It is the same in the final paragraph, except that here we are confronted directly with the abstract idea. It was this mindless slaughter combined with the torture of his own marriage and alienation from his family that helped to produce his personal Ash Wednesday. This shows that those people lacked farsightedness about the importance of Christ's birth. The poem shows the three stages of sacrement of penance contrition, confession, and satisfaction. Eliot recalling the journey of the three Wise Men to witness the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.
In the way they did not get shelter and food. The wisemen had a lot going against them to make their traveling terrible. The different use of details guides the reader to use his imagination about a Biblical reference of more than 2,000 years ago. This verse depicts how deceiving reality is. All this was a long time ago, I remember, And I would do it again, but set down This set down This: were we led all that way for Birth or Death? In his dramatic monologue, Eliot uses vivid understanding of the three Kings journey by the use of imagery.
Later on, he traveled to Germany to study philosophy at Oxford. Sparknotes bookrags the meaning summary overview critique of explanation pinkmonkey. Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website! There is no set rhyme scheme or meter metre in British English and the lines are of varied length. Posted on 2009-10-04 by a guest. The poem is in three stanzas.
Joseph and Mary were turned away from every inn in Bethlehem. Through them there is a call to a world beyond words—just as the mystics of historic Christianity beckoned to Eliot from the beginning of his journey. Does it sound like anything else you've listened to? In the course of a journey, they saw a temperate valley with natural vegetation and beauty which lessened their tiredness. Here it is a complaint in the voice of one of the Magi, the three kings who crossed the desert to honor the birth of Jesus. The 'Kingdoms' mentioned are perfectly sensible in the poem's context, but remind readers of Eliot's work of 'death's other Kingdom' and 'death's dream kingdom'. The traditional landscape, however, is never mentioned, being involved indirectly through the details of 'the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory'.
Eliot challenges this idealized depiction and—while avoiding cynicism—offers a more realistic interpretation of the original Christ-seekers. When returning to their kingdoms they can barely recognize their people. Notice that he doesn't rejoice, but says it was 'satisfactory. His negation is partly ignorant, for he does not understand in what way the Birth is a Death; he is not aware of the sacrifice. Journey of the Magi is both monologue and metaphor.
Even then he had been reading deeply in the Christian mystics—Julian of Norwich, Saint John of the Cross, The Imitation of Christ, and Dante. He contributes to many magazines, papers, and journals, including National Catholic Register, St Austin Review, Catholic Digest, and Intercollegiate Review. From The Savage and the City in the work of T. The sight of the baby profoundly changed the way they lived their lives from that moment on. It is the story of the journey to the Christ child and back again. It delivers a message: that we are all involved in the process of perfection of self, and somberly, one can only reach this place of utter satisfaction through death.
They know in their hearts that this newborn is going to affect their life in a very big way. My analysis of this poem will not be better, but it will be my own. In the second stanza, the Three Kings are closer from their objective. The narrator has seen and yet he does not fully understand; he accepts the fact of Birth but is perplexed by its similarity to a Death, and to death which he has seen before: All this was a long time ago, I remember, And I would do it again, but set down This set down This: were we led all that way for Birth or Death? The biblical version that is most popular doesn't seem to mention anything bad or difficult about the journey that they made. In her biography of the poet Lyndall Gordon tracked down the books Eliot was reading while still an undergraduate at Harvard. In spite of living in poverty, his love for Della is what keeps him putting one foot in front of the other.