What the Thunder Said
by T. S. Eliot
After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
Here is no water but only rock
Who is the third who walks always beside you?
What is that sound high in the air
A woman drew her long black hair out tight
In this decayed hole among the mountains
Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves
I sat upon the shore
 In the first part of Part V three themes are employed: the journey to Emmaus, the approach to the Chapel Perilous (see Miss Weston's book) and the present decay of eastern Europe.
 This is Turdus aonalaschkae pallasii, the hermit-thrush which I have heard in Quebec County. Chapman says (Handbook of Birds of Eastern North America) "it is most at home in secluded woodland and thickety retreats…. Its notes are not remarkable for variety or volume, but in purity and sweetness of tone and exquisite modulation they are unequalled." Its "water-dripping song" is justly celebrated.
 The following lines were stimulated by the account of one of the Antarctic expeditions (I forget which, but I think one of Shackleton's): it was related that the party of explorers, at the extremity of their strength, had the constant delusion that there was one more member than could actually be counted.
 Cf. Hermann Hesse, Blick ins Chaos:
 French version of “cock-a-doodle-doo” (Infoplease Editors)
 “Datta, dayadhvam, damyata” (Give, sympathize, control). The fable of the meaning of the Thunder is found in the Brihadaranyaka-Upanishad, 5, 1. A translation is found in Deussen's Sechzig Upanishads des Veda, p. 489.
[The Hindu fable referred to is that of gods, men, and demons each in turn asking of their father Prajapati, “Speak to us, O Lord.” To each he replied with the one syllable “DA,” and each group interpreted it in a different way: “Datta,” to give alms; “Dayadhvam,” to have compassion; “Damyata,” to practice self-control. The fable concludes, “This is what the divine voice, the Thunder, repeats when he says: DA, DA, DA: ‘Control yourselves; give alms; be compassionate.’ Therefore one should practice these three things: self-control, alms-giving, and compassion.” (Infoplease Editors)]
 Cf. Webster, The White Devil, v. vi:
Also F. H. Bradley, Appearance and Reality, p. 346:
 V. Weston, From Ritual to Romance; chapter on the Fisher King.
 ceu→uti (Editor)
 When shall I be as the swallow? (Infoplease Editors)
V. Pervigilium Veneris. Cf. Philomela in Parts II and III.
 The Prince of Aquitaine to the ruined tower (Infoplease Editors)
V. Gerard de Nerval, Sonnet El Desdichado.
 V. Kyd's Spanish Tragedy.
 Shantih. Repeated as here, a formal ending to an Upanishad. 'The Peace which passeth understanding' is a feeble translation of the content of this word.