This phrase from The Waste Land
, like the Carthage
reference mentioned above, alludes to the Confessions
of Saint Augustine of Hippo
Augustine has been speaking about the temptation to become ensnared by worldly beauty and human creations. This occurs when we forget that all beauty in the world comes from God, and merely passes through our hands and into the things we create. Then he says:
"And I, though I speak and see this, entangle my steps with these outward beauties; but Thou pluckest me out, O Lord, Thou pluckest me out; because Thy loving-kindness is before my eyes. For I am taken miserably, and Thou pluckest me out mercifully; sometimes not perceiving it, when I had but lightly lighted upon them; otherwhiles with pain, because I had stuck fast in them."