Exploring The Waste Land
An allusion page linked from The Waste Land, Part III, line 197

The Parliament of Bees

A double allusion. Eliot's note directs us to Day's The Parliament of Bees and that mentions the myth of Actaeon being turned into a stag by the goddess Diana.

The play

John Day's allegorical play The Parliament of Bees (a quarto edition of the play was published in 1641) has Polypragmus, the Plush Bee, ask a servant about another's new home and hearing a pleasant description of the hive, built with dyed straw, he describes how he will have a more glorious hive built incorporating gilding and pearls. In his description he then adds more elaborate decorations including a paving of clouds and glowing artificial sun, moon and stars. And finally

... Overhead
A roof of woods and forests I'll have spread,
Trees growing downwards, full of fallow-deer;
When of the sudden, listening, you shall hear
A noise of horns and hunting, which shall bring
Actaeon to Diana in the spring,
Where all shall see her naked skin; and there
Actaeon's hounds shall their own master tear,
As emblem of his folly that will keep
Hounds to devour and eat him up asleep.
All this I'll do that men with praise may crown
My fame for turning the world upside-down.

Philip R. Headings' commentary is "His world is topsy-turvy, like his values." T.S. Eliot: Revised Edition. p. 108

The myth

The Exploring The Waste Land site has a poetic translation of Ovid's The Transformation of Actaeon into a Stag from Metamorphoses, Book III. It was

Translated into English verse under the direction of Sir Samuel Garth by John Dryden, Alexander Pope, Joseph Addison, William Congreve and other eminent hands.

There is also the story of Diana and Actaeon from Bulfinch's Mythology and an encyclopedia entry for Actaeon.

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T 92 - Ovid

Exploring The Waste Land
File name: aq197.html
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002
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