Quotes from Four Quartets

T.S. Eliot ·  48 pages

Rating: (12.1K votes)


“For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“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, quote from Four Quartets


“Humankind cannot bear very much reality.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“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, quote from Four Quartets


“Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets



“Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“In my end is my beginning.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years-
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres-
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholy new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate - but there is no competition -
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“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.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets



“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, quote from Four Quartets


“time past and time future
what might have been and what has been
point to one end, which is always present.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“I am glad you have a Cat, but I do not believe it is So remarkable a cat as My Cat.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“Only through time time is conquered”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“The historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets



“There are three conditions which often look alike
Yet differ completely, flourish in the same hedgerow:
Attachment to self and to things and to persons, detachment
From self and from things and from persons; and, growing between them, indifference, ... .”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.

The houses are all gone under the sea.

The dancers are all gone under the hill.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it agian? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets



“Or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“I do not know much about gods;but I think that the river is a strong brown god-sullen, untamed and intractable . . .”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“At the still point, there the dance is.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“Time present and time past / are both perhaps present in time future.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets



“What was to be the value of the long looked forward to,
Long hoped for calm, the autumnal serenity
And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us
Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders,
Bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit?
The serenity only a deliberate hebetude,
The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets
Useless in the darkness into which they peered
Or from which they turned their eyes. There is, it seems to us,
At best, only a limited value
In the knowledge derived from experience.
The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies,
For the pattern is new in every moment
And every moment is a new and shocking
Valuation of all we have been. We are only undeceived
Of that which, deceiving, could no longer harm.”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


“that which is only living
Can only die”
― T.S. Eliot, quote from Four Quartets


About the author

T.S. Eliot
Born place: in St. Louis, Missouri, The United States
Born date September 26, 1888
See more on GoodReads

Popular quotes

“For if we regard space and time as properties that must, as regards their possibility, be found in things in themselves, [...] then we really cannot blame the good Bishop Berkeley for degrading bodies to mere illusion. Nay, even our own existence, which would thus be made dependent on the self-subsistent reality of a non-entity such as time, would, along with this time, be changed into mere illusion - an absurdity of which hitherto no one has been guilty.”
― Immanuel Kant, quote from Critique of Pure Reason


“You’re being domineering again,” I informed him.
I felt his mouth grin under mine and watched his eyes do it.
“Yeah, baby, fair warnin’, when we’re naked, you better get used to that.”
I gasped at his words then he kissed me.”
― Kristen Ashley, quote from The Gamble


“Just how many sisters do you have? (Valerius)
Eight. (Tabitha)
Eight? (Valerius)
What? (Tabitha)
I'm just pitying whatever poor males lived in that house with all of you. It must have been truly frightening at least one week out of every month. (Valerius)
Was that a joke? (Tabitha)
Merely a frightening statement of fact. (Valerius)”
― Sherrilyn Kenyon, quote from Seize the Night


“There are many who consider as an injury to themselves any conduct which they have a distaste for, and resent it as an outrage to their feelings; as a religious bigot, when charged with disregarding the religious feelings of others, has been known to retort that they disregard his feelings, by persisting in their abominable worship or creed. But there is no parity between the feeling of a person for his own opinion, and the feeling of another who is offended at his holding it; no more than between the desire of a thief to take a purse, and the desire of the right owner to keep it. And a person's taste is as much his own peculiar concern as his opinion or his purse. It is easy for any one to imagine an ideal public, which leaves the freedom and choice of individuals in all uncertain matters undisturbed, and only requires them to abstain from modes of conduct which universal experience has condemned. But where has there been seen a public which set any such limit to its censorship? or when does the public trouble itself about universal experience. In its interferences with personal conduct it is seldom thinking of anything but the enormity of acting or feeling differently from itself; and this standard of judgment, thinly disguised, is held up to mankind as the dictate of religion and philosophy, by nine tenths of all moralists and speculative writers. These teach that things are right because they are right; because we feel them to be so. They tell us to search in our own minds and hearts for laws of conduct binding on ourselves and on all others. What can the poor public do but apply these instructions, and make their own personal feelings of good and evil, if they are tolerably unanimous in them, obligatory on all the world?”
― John Stuart Mill, quote from On Liberty


“Most humans expressed affection by pressing their lips together, a simple act, so why would anyone feel the need to research the process?”
― Melissa Landers, quote from Alienated


Interesting books

Thorn Queen
(19.3K)
Thorn Queen
by Richelle Mead
Queen of the Darkness
(22.5K)
Queen of the Darknes...
by Anne Bishop
Unleash the Night
(36.4K)
Unleash the Night
by Sherrilyn Kenyon
The Lathe of Heaven
(37.9K)
The Lathe of Heaven
by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Yearling
(23.6K)
The Yearling
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
In the Woods
(223.7K)
In the Woods
by Tana French

About BookQuoters

BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.

We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.

Founded in 2023, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.