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The Dedicatory Lines
For Ezra Pound " Il miglior fabbro"
Eliot addressed this poem to his friend and compatriot, Ezra Pound, who helped him edit and publish The Waste Land. The second line is in the Italian vernacular used by Dante in his Divine Comedy and translates thus: "For Ezra Pound - the greater craftsman."
Ezra Pound (1885-1972) was an American expatriate poet living in London, where Eliot met him in September 1914. The two became life long friends. Pound was one of the leading Imagist poets and a key figure in the modernist movement in Anglo- American poetry. He helped Eliot publish his early poems like the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915). He also carried out extensive revisions on the early drafts of The Waste Land. As a token of his appreciation, Eliot dedicated the poem to "the greater craftsman" - Pound. Pound reduced Eliot"s long sprawling poem from its original thousand or so lines to just 434 in the final version - but he did not excise any lines from Parts IV and V. Eliot utilized some of the segments omitted by Pound in such later poems as Gerontion and Four Quartets.
"Il miglior Fabbro": This Italian phrase is quoted from Dante’s Purgatorio (Canto XXVI, Line.117). Dante used it to great the troubadour poet, Arnaut Daniel - an aristocratic minstrel from Provençe in Southern France, whom he meets in "purgatory."