Exploring The Waste Land
An allusion page linked from The Waste Land, Part V, line 356

Hermit Thrush

Walt Whitman's poem When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd has many mentions of the hermit thrush and it's song, the "gray-brown bird" being identified with these lines comprising stanza 4:

In the swamp in secluded recesses,
A shy and hidden bird is warbling a song.

Solitary the thrush,
The hermit withdrawn to himself, avoiding the settlements,
Sings by himself a song.

Song of the bleeding throat,
Death's outlet song of life, (for well dear brother I know,
If thou wast not granted to sing thou wouldist surely die.)

Later, in stanza 14 of the poem, we hear the song of the hermit thrush in the pines:

I fled forth to the hiding receiving night that talks not,
Down to the shores of the water, the path by the swamp in the dimness,
To the solemn shadowy cedars and ghostly pines so still.

And the singer so shy to the rest receiv'd me,
The gray-brown bird I know receiv'd us comrades three,
And he sang the carol of death, and a verse for him I love.

From deep secluded recesses,
From the fragrant cedars and the ghostly pines so still,
Came the carol of the bird.

And the charm of the carol rapt me,
As I held as if by their hands my comrades in the night,
And the voice of my spirit tallied the song of the bird.

Come lovely and soothing death,
Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving,
In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
Sooner or later delicate death.

See other Whitman allusions.

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T 136 - Whitman, Walt
T 85 - Nightingale Thrush - New World


L 42 - Walt Whitman: Leaves of Grass
E-text at Bartleby.com
L 176 - Voices and Visions - a video series from The Annenberg/CPB Multimedia Collection
Voices and Visions, a video series from The Annenberg/CPB Multimedia Collection, explores the lives and works of 13 of America's most famous modern poets. This is the page for Eliot (links to Pound and Whitman are here too.)

Exploring The Waste Land
File name: aq356.html
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002
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