"The Waste Land" by T.S. Eliot, Parts I & II

Considered a classic of Modernist literature, this unpredictable poem is a collage of voices and languages that explores British society and myths of devastated civilizations. Read the full text here.

Here are links to our lists for the poem: Parts I & II, Part III, Parts IV & V

Here is a link to our list for The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock by T.S. Eliot.
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Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. colonnade
    structure consisting of a row of evenly spaced columns
    Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
    With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
    And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
    And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
  2. rubbish
    worthless material that is to be disposed of
    What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
    Out of this stony rubbish?
  3. stride
    walk with long steps
    And I will show you something different from either
    Your shadow at morning striding behind you
    Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
    I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
  4. horoscope
    an astrological diagram
    If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
    Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
    One must be so careful these days.
  5. hypocrite
    a person who professes beliefs that he or she does not hold
    “You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!”
  6. burnished
    made smooth and bright by or as if by rubbing
    The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne,
    Glowed on the marble, where the glass
    Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines
    From which a golden Cupidon peeped out
  7. standard
    an upright pole or beam (especially one used as a support)
    The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne,
    Glowed on the marble, where the glass
    Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines
    From which a golden Cupidon peeped out
  8. wrought
    shaped to fit by altering the contours of a pliable mass
    The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne,
    Glowed on the marble, where the glass
    Held up by standards wrought with fruited vines
    From which a golden Cupidon peeped out
  9. profusion
    the property of being extremely abundant
    The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it,
    From satin cases poured in rich profusion
  10. synthetic
    a compound made artificially by chemical reactions
    In vials of ivory and coloured glass
    Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,
    Unguent, powdered, or liquid
  11. unguent
    preparation applied externally as a remedy or for soothing
    In vials of ivory and coloured glass
    Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,
    Unguent, powdered, or liquid
  12. coffer
    a chest especially for storing valuables
    ...these ascended
    In fattening the prolonged candle-flames,
    Flung their smoke into the laquearia,
    Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling.
  13. mantel
    a shelf that projects from the wall above fireplace
    Above the antique mantel was displayed
    As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene
    The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king
    So rudely forced....
  14. sylvan
    relating to or characteristic of wooded regions
    Above the antique mantel was displayed
    As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene
    The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king
    So rudely forced....
  15. barbarous
    primitive in customs and culture
    Above the antique mantel was displayed
    As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene
    The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king
    So rudely forced....
  16. inviolable
    immune to attack; incapable of being tampered with
    ...yet there the nightingale
    Filled all the desert with inviolable voice
    And still she cried, and still the world pursues,
    “Jug Jug” to dirty ears.
  17. mince
    make less severe or harsh
    When Lil’s husband got demobbed, I said—
    I didn’t mince my words, I said to her myself,
    HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME
  18. smart
    elegant and stylish
    Now Albert’s coming back, make yourself a bit smart.
  19. antique
    belonging to or lasting from times long ago
    You ought to be ashamed, I said, to look so antique.
  20. gammon
    hind portion of a side of bacon
    Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon,
    And they asked me in to dinner, to get the beauty of it hot

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