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The Hippopotamus Analysis

Author: Poetry of Thomas Stearns Eliot Type: Poetry Views: 444

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Similiter et omnes revereantur Diaconos, ut

mandatum Jesu Christi; et Episcopum, ut Jesum

Christum, existentem filium Patris; Presbyteros

autem, ut concilium Dei et conjunctionem

Apostolorum. Sine his Ecclesia non vocatur; de

quibus suadeo vos sic habeo.


And when this epistle is read among you, cause

that it be read also in the church of the


The broad-backed hippopotamus

Rests on his belly in the mud;

Although he seems so firm to us

He is merely flesh and blood.

Flesh-and-blood is weak and frail,

Susceptible to nervous shock;

While the True Church can never fail

For it is based upon a rock.

The hippo's feeble steps may err

In compassing material ends,

While the True Church need never stir

To gather in its dividends.

The 'potamus can never reach

The mango on the mango-tree;

But fruits of pomegranate and peach

Refresh the Church from over sea.

At mating time the hippo's voice

Betrays inliexions hoarse and odd,

But every week we hear rejoice

The Church, at being one with God.

The hippopotamus's day

Is passed in sleep; at night he hunts;

God works in a mysterious way-

The Church can sleep and feed at once.

I saw the 'potamus take wing

Ascending from the damp savannas,

And quiring angels round him sing

The praise of God, in loud hosannas.

Blood of the Lamb shall wash him clean

And him shall heavenly arms enfold,

Among the saints he shall be seen

Performing on a harp of gold.

He shall be washed as white as snow,

By all the martyr'd virgins kiss,

While the True Church remains below

Wrapt in the old miasmal mist.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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michael clifford's writing style is similar to ts eliot's writing style

| Posted on 2015-05-08 | by a guest

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Correct grammar is "Due to spam, posts are moderated." You guys are missing the comma

| Posted on 2014-03-30 | by a guest

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Eliot\'s poem \"The Hippopotamus\", says that the true Church can never fail, for it is based upon a rock, and, whereas the hippo is weak and frail, and susceptible to nervous shock. The main theme is, True riches are at being one with God.

| Posted on 2012-11-14 | by a guest

.: :.

.S Eliot’s poem The Hippopotamus is a satirical view on organised religion, primarily Christianity in this case. Eliot compares a Hippopotamus’ nature to that of the church and uses this juxtaposition to present the frailty of a hippo compared to the vast web of defence from the church. “Flesh-and-blood is weak and frail; Susceptible to nervous shock; while the True Church can never fail for it is based upon a rock. “ The sound basis of the church is presented as stronger than a hippo even though a hippo is a very strong and large animal thus showing how powerful the church really is. The next stanza goes on to say how the hippo struggles to feed itself and how the church doesn’t even need to stir to “gather up its dividends”. He then criticises the churches extravagance which contradicts its preaching by saying how “fruits of pomegranate and peach refresh the church from over sea”. He then compares the voices of this odd pairing with the voice of a hippo which is hoarse and has many inflections whereas the church is united and sings with one strong voice of praise. One of the most powerful liens in this poem is, “The church can sleep and feed at once” which suggests that it feeds its people whilst ‘hypnotising them”. Eliot is primarily attacking not the values of the church but the way in which the church upholds itself. He is criticizing what religion has become, a vast web of persuasion where free thought is not encouraged whatsoever.

| Posted on 2010-06-06 | by a guest

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