(October 1929) is the third of Eliot’s shorter verse pieces that he gathered under the title of “Ariel Poems” in his

Collected Poems

(1936) and subsequent collections. Its title, meaning “little soul”, derives from a short Latin poem by the Emperor Hadrian (76-138 CE), translated by Lord Byron as “Adrian’s Address to His Soul When Dying”, with the opening line “

Animula vagula, blandula

” (“Little soul, wandering, pleasant”). This indicates that Eliot’s poem is a philosophical one concerning the journey of the soul. The opening line of the poem with its dramatic verb-subject inversion “Issues from the hand of God the simple soul” derives from the sixteenth canto of Dante’s


(lines 85-90) in which the human soul is figured as an infant. In…

2140 words

Citation: Baker, William, Katie Wales. "Animula". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 April 2021 [, accessed 17 April 2024.]

40473 Animula 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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