REFERENCE: These lines have been taken from the poem Departure and Arrival written by T. S. Eliot.
The poet in this poem says that man should keep in view his departure right at his arrival in the world. He should determine objects of his life and work for them. Man should leave a better world before his departure to the next world. As sons of the twentieth century we should set good examples for the coming generation, so that we may be remembered forever. We must struggle to make the future better, before we start for our destination. The poem shows Eliot’s faith in idealism and optimism.
In these lines the poet has compared life to a sea. He says that while standing upon the shore of the sea of life, we delay for a few moments and ponder over the situation for sometime, doubtfully. This we do for what we know about the previous life of our forefathers. After that we take heart and cheerfully sail across the harbour by crossing its limits. Then we have no guide map to show us of the dangers of rocks that lie below water. Even then, we start our journey very courageously. The sea of life is full of dangers and threats but we start our life even if we do not know about them.
In the given lines the poet says that although the path of life is slow, troublesome and zigzag, although it is full of countless fears, yet it appears to the hopeful eye of our young generation, very colourful. It is like a street, on both sides of which hawthorn flowers and roses have grown and the street is red and beautiful. We hope it may be so. But it never happens that life is always colourful. Would that we might know about the future life, but we cannot predict the nature of our future life. We do not have certain knowledge of the future years.
Many great duties devolve upon the 20th century. These duties are even more important than those granted to the previous age. These duties call upon us to be more responsible, because no body knows what has been written in our fate. So no body knows what we can give to the future life in terms of good and great deeds. No body knows whether, we will overcome the pains and miseries of our future life. Also no body knows whether 20th century will create heroes greater and better than those of the olden times (19th century). But we hope that the future years will bring us better conditions and heroes.
In the given lines the poet assures that if they (people of twentieth century) have to make the 20th century greater than the past ones, its inhabitants will have to work hard with eager and willing hearts to help make its destiny shining. They should work hard for the better future of their own century and see that this
century achieves proud estate and then, this century should bequeath its best estate to the future centuries.
The 20th century should produce a legacy of advantages and benefits and bestow it upon the coming century. So that the sons of this century are counted among those who have been trying and labouring hard for good of their century till their death. And that the people of the coming century may not ask any other question
than to know that people of 20th century have helped making their future glorious. And that the people of 20th century have raised their flag and of the coming century, to height.
In these lines the poet says that some time in future years when the people of 20th century have gone grey and have become old, by then, they will desire to see that place again which they have left behind. They will like to see what-ever changes they have brought or whatever has been done for the betterment of the coming century by them, shall be recommended. This makes no difference even if people of 20th century live no more and have gone to the unknown places (have died) they will like not to be forgotten in any age because of their good deeds for the future generation.