A Christian martyrdom is never an accident, for Saints are not made by accident. Still less is a Christian martyrdom the effect of a man’s will to become a Saint, as a man by willing and contriving may become a ruler of men. A martyrdom is always the design of God, for His love of men, to warn them and to lead them, to bring them back to His ways. It is never the design of man; for the true martyr is he who has become the instrument of God, who has lost his will in the will of God, and who no longer desires anything for himself, not even the glory of being a martyr.
— from “Interlude” (sermon of Archbishop Thomas Beckett), Murder in the Cathedral.
T.S. Eliot (1888–1965) is perhaps the most famous American poet— if not English-language poet — of the 20th Century. His despairing view of the world, embodied by such poems as “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and “The Wasteland,” eventually gave way to a more Christian view after his conversion to Anglicanism — perhaps most clearly expressed in his play about St. Thomas Beckett, Murder in the Cathedral.