Little Gidding (from Four Quartets)

This is an extract from a longer poem by T.S Elliot, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948. It reflects on the optimism of life. ‘Four Quartets’ is a series in which Elliot reflects on old age; the final part, ‘Little Gidding,’ was one of his last poems.

Little Gidding (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, unremembered 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.
Quick now, here, now, always
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

 

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