‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey:
The ways 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 going 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 in
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 imformation, 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 led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth,
certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had
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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of T.S. Eliot's poem Journey Of The Magi

33 Comments

  1. julissa says:

    this poem is fantastic but it
    ‘s not easy to understand it without reading it over and over again

  2. Mike Thompson says:

    The poem was written in the UK. T S Eliot was a British citizen who was born in the US but produced his work in the UK where he lived for most of his life.

  3. Caleb galadima says:

    It a wonderful poem bigup to eliot.

  4. nandita says:

    eliot at his best…the biblical allusions are commendable….

  5. Catherine says:

    What I take from the sense of sadness and resignation in the narrator is that he had this experience. He made this difficult journey. He was searching for something, but when he found it, he could not bring himself to fully accept the implications. This reminds me of the ending of that Rilke poem “You must change your life”. The narrator is unwilling to do this, and because of this he cannot enjoy the reality or the fruits of a true rebirth in Christ. He remains in the liminal zone of betwixt and between, neither here nor there. Physical death would be a relief to him because he can no longer enjoy the old but neither can he truly embrace the new. To do so he would have to sacrifice the comforts of the old and the familiar and leap boldly into the new, into the arms of Christ.

  6. assia zoubeir says:

    throught my reading to this wonderful poem i concluded to the fact that it goes beyond two important phases that is the first one is a physical journey where the 1st stanza is describing its hardship while the rest of the poem is emphasizing the spiritual journey that appears more difficult than the 1st one..

  7. ofentse habana says:

    wonderfull and deserve to be on the number one hot spot

  8. ajisegbede oluwafunmilola toyin says:

    its a very nice poem that one needs to read over and over again just like the bible that brings different meanings each time it is read

  9. Melanie McCormick says:

    If we look at these words “I would be glad of another death” it would be easy to be lead to believe the wise visitor of the Christ Child is feeling pangs of despair. Despair however is not consistent with Christian thought. The tiny baby born in the stable at Bethlehem is the cause of our joy. “Do not be afraid” said the angels to the shepherds. Rather than despair, another death, a physical one, is the point of entry into eternal life where we look forever upon the face of Christ as the magus has seen for himself. That face which is all hope and beauty and peace for a man jaded of the things of this world. Recall another man, an elderly one, Simeon the proghet, who waited his whole life in the temple to see the face of of the redeemer. “Now you may release your servant oh Lord, for my eyes have seen your salvation.” He is glad of death because a life much greater awaits him too. Happy Epiphany 2010!

  10. neeraja says:

    jouney of the magi is a wonderful as well as a hearttouching poem….even though it is hard 2 understand it is quite easier when understood….i wonder how the poet could bring out meaningful similies for the biblical incidents ,so succesfully…the sucess of the poet lies in bringing out words which really posess entirely different meaning from what they seem to be..

  11. Badmus mustapha olalekan says:

    The poem is fantastic.

  12. Oyehan Abdu-R-Rosheed says:

    T S Eliot is a poet with great wealth of language and philosophy. That is why the poem cannot be understood after reading it once. I will advise readers to go over it as much as possible.

  13. Werlay says:

    I believe it is a poem to read over and over again. It is full of picturesque imagries that sends one on mental torment.

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