“Portrait of a Lady” by T.S. Eliot

Portrait of a Lady

"Thou hast committed—"
"Fornication: but that was in another country,
And besides, the wench is dead."
The Jew of Malta.



Among the smoke and fog of a December afternoon
You have the scene arrange itself —as it will seem
                                                           to do—
With "I have saved this afternoon for you"
And four wax candles in the darkened room
Four rings of light upon the ceiling overhead
An atmosphere of Juliet's tomb
Prepared for all the things to be said, or left unsaid.

We have been, let us say, to hear the latest Pole
Transmit the Preludes, through his hair and finger-

[. . .]


T.S. Eliot's "Portrait of a Lady" was first published in Others: A Magazine of the New Verse (vol. 1 no. 3) in September 1915. It was first anthologized in Others: An Anthology of the New Verse in 1916. The full poem contains three sections. The selection here is an excerpt from the first section (the poem still remains under copyright protection in Belgium).

Digitized versions of the original publication context(s):

Others: An Anthology at Archive.org

Others: A Magazine at the Modernist Journals Project