Verse > T.S. Eliot > Poems
T.S. Eliot (1888–1965).  Poems.  1920.
2. Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar
          Tra-la-la-la-la-la-laire—nil nisi divinum stabile est; caetera fumus—the gondola stopped, the old palace was there, how charming its grey and pink—goats and monkeys, with such hair too!—so the countess passed on until she came through the little park, where Niobe presented her with a cabinet, and so departed.
BURBANK crossed a little bridge
  Descending at a small hotel;
Princess Volupine arrived,
  They were together, and he fell.
Defunctive music under sea        5
  Passed seaward with the passing bell
Slowly: the God Hercules
  Had left him, that had loved him well.
The horses, under the axletree
  Beat up the dawn from Istria        10
With even feet. Her shuttered barge
  Burned on the water all the day.
But this or such was Bleistein’s way:
  A saggy bending of the knees
And elbows, with the palms turned out,        15
  Chicago Semite Viennese.
A lustreless protrusive eye
  Stares from the protozoic slime
At a perspective of Canaletto.
  The smoky candle end of time        20
Declines. On the Rialto once.
  The rats are underneath the piles.
The jew is underneath the lot.
  Money in furs. The boatman smiles,
Princess Volupine extends        25
  A meagre, blue-nailed, phthisic hand
To climb the waterstair. Lights, lights,
  She entertains Sir Ferdinand
Klein. Who clipped the lion’s wings
  And flea’d his rump and pared his claws?        30
Thought Burbank, meditating on
  Time’s ruins, and the seven laws.

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