Journey of the Magi by T. S. Eliot

"A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter."
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

1 comentario:

  1. By María Fernanda Salas

    In his poem "Journey of the Magi," Elliot utilizes one of the three Wise Men as a speaker who narrates their journey from "their summer palaces" (9) to the manger where Jesus is born. One might think that this journey must be satisfying because in the end they witness a once-in-a-lifetime miracle, but it is not so. The speaker is dissatisfied with both the journey and the result.

    The trip to Bethlehem does not have a good beginning. The Three Wise Men must part during winter, "the worst time of the year" (2), to embark on a long journey. They regret leaving behind their palaces, specially because of the harsh conditions of their trip. They face hostile people, lack of shelter, expensive prices, and mockery from random strangers who constantly tell them "that this was all folly" (20). Still, the men endure all of this because they are after something unbelievable.

    This something unbelievable, however, turns out to be not so unbelievable after all. It results being plain "satisfactory." The speaker states that he would do the journey again, but with some conditions. He is not so open-minded anymore, since what he encounters is different from what he had in his mind. He is unsure of what he has witnessed: "Birth or Death?" (36). With the birth of Jesus comes the death of the Wise Men's credibility. They predicted that they would witness a magnificent event, but all they see is an average-looking baby be born. Because they had blindly expected a miracle before, they are "no longer at ease [there,] in the old dispensation" (41). How will they face their people if they so readily abandoned them for the promise of a new messiah? For this, they should be "glad of another death" (43).