And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep . . . tired . . . or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet–and here's no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.
Again, we see Prufrock's inability to face his fears. The procrastination is very evident in his personality. He elaborates on how his urge to ask "the question" is apparent. His intent is sleeping in the room, "smothered by long fingers". It is "here beside you and me", this elaborates on his desire to express himself to his lover. He questions wether he will ever have the strength to force himself upon "the question". He doesn't believe he is a prophet, despite how he has "prayed, wept, and fasted". Whats more is how he has seen his head on a platter. Does this mean Prufrock has had visions of some sort? Perhaps he is trying to make it seem like this whole ordeal with his love is not that big of a deal after all. The "flickering" description tells us that his greatness is behind him and that the "eternal footman" represents his interaction with death. He expresses himself, after all his conceitedness of living all there is to live, as being afraid and fearful.