The boat responded
Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar
The boat responds gaily, lightheartedly, happily to the prospect of being controlled by a skilled sailor. This comes, we should note, just after the word ‘Damyata’, meaning ‘control thyself’. Thus, Eliot stresses restraint as a natural, beneficial manner.
Eliot himself was handy with a sailboat due to his childhood holidays on the Maine coast.
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