What is the name of the river in the Wasteland that "sweats oil and tar.?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The river spoken of in T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" is the Thames River. Readers first see the name of the river in line 176. Here, it is named the "Sweet Thames." The once beautiful Thames is now polluted with "empty bottles, sandwich papers, silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, and cigarette ends." Extending the illustration of the polluted river, even the nymphs have left.

The naming of the Thames illustrates how something regarded with so much beauty can be altered by mankind.