Poetry and Beliefs
IN 'Prufrock and other Observations' to a limited extent, more apparently in Poems 1920, are dispersed the themes which are developed and organised to achieve their greatest impact in The Waste Land. Some of these anticipations have already been indicated. Before it can be properly seen how The Waste Land uses its material, however, it is necessary to examine the more tentative grouping of themes in the second volume of poems. This volume contains the seeds not only of The Waste Land but also of the transition poems leading to Four Quartets. An examination of it is therefore essential to detailed interpretation of The Waste Land, and to an understanding of Eliot's poetic development.
Perhaps the clearest allusion in 'Prufrock and other Observations' to the fertility motif is in 'Mr. Apollinax':
I thought of Fragilion, that shy figure among the birch trees,
And of Priapus in the shrubbery
Gaping at the lady in the swing.
A parallel reference in Poems 1920 occurs in 'Sweeney Erect', where Ariadne replaces Priapus:
Display me Aeolus above
Reviewing the insurgent gales
Which tangle Ariadne's hair
And swell with haste the perjured sails.