The cantos of ezra pound [from The Cantos of Ezra Pound (1972)]



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1414 and came back with no pep in him

1415 And we sit here. I have sat here

1416 For forty four thousand years,

1417 And they trapped him down here in the marsh land,

1418 in '46 that was;

1419 And the poor devils dying of cold, that was Rocca Sorano;

1420 And he said in his young youth:

1421 Vogliamo,

1422 che le donne, we will that they, le donne, go ornate,

1423 As be their pleasure, for the city's glory thereby.

1424 And Platina said afterward,

1425 when they jailed him

1426 And the Accademia Romana,

1427 For singing to Zeus in the catacombs,
[Page 51]
1428 Yes, I saw him when he was down here

1429 Ready to murder fatty Barbo, "Formosus,"

1430 And they want to know what we talked about?

1431 "de litteris et de armis, praestantibusque ingeniis,

1432 Both of ancient times and our own; books, arms,

1433 And of men of unusual genius,

1434 Both of ancient times and our own, in short the usual subjects

1435 Of conversation between intelligent men."

1436 And he with his luck gone out of him

1437 64 lances in his company, and his pay 8,000 a year,

1438 64 and no more, and he not to try to get any more

1439 And all of it down on paper

1440 sexaginta quatuor nec tentatur habere plures

1441 But leave to keep 'em in Rimini

1442 i.e. to watch the Venetians.

1443 Damn pity he didn't

1444 (i.e. get the knife into him)

1445 Little fat squab "Formosus"

1446 Barbo said "Call me Formosus"

1447 But the conclave wouldn't have it

1448 and they called him Paolo Secondo.

1449 And he left three horses at one gate

1450 And three horses at the other,

1451 And Fatty received him

1452 with a guard of seven cardinals "whom he could trust."

1453 And the castelan of Montefiore wrote down,

1454 "You'd better keep him out of the district.

1455 "When he got back here from Sparta, the people

1456 "Lit fires, and turned out yelling: 'Pandolfo'!"

1457 In the gloom, the gold gathers the light against it.


[Page 52]
1458 And one day he said: Henry, you can have it,

1459 On condition, you can have it: for four months

1460 You'll stand any reasonable joke that I play on you,

1461 And you can joke back

1462 provided you don't get too ornry.

1463 And they put it all down in writing:

1464 For a green cloak with silver brocade

1465 Actum in Castro Sigismundo, presente Roberto de Valturibus

1466 .. sponte et ex certa scienta ... to Enricho de Aquabello.
[Page 53]

XII


1467 And we sit here

1468 under the wall,

1469 Arena romana, Diocletian's, les gradins

1470 quarante-trois rangées en calcaire.

1471 Baldy Bacon

1472 bought all the little copper pennies in Cuba:

1473 Un centavo, dos centavos,

1474 told his peons to "bring 'em in."

1475 "Bring 'em to the main shack," said Baldy,

1476 And the peons brought 'em;

1477 "to the main shack brought 'em,"

1478 As Henry would have said.

1479 Nicholas Castano in Habana,

1480 He also had a few centavos, but the others

1481 Had to pay a percentage.

1482 Percentage when they wanted centavos,

1483 Public centavos.

1484 Baldy's interest

1485 Was in money business.

1486 "No interest in any other kind uv bisnis,"

1487 Said Baldy.

1488 Sleeping with two buck niggers chained to him,

1489 Guardia regia, chained to his waist

1490 To keep 'em from slipping off in the night;

1491 Being by now unpopular with the Cubans;

1492 By fever reduced to lbs. 108.

1493 Returned to Manhattan, ultimately to Manhattan.

1494 24 E. 47th, when I met him,

1495 Doing job printing, i.e., agent,

1496 going to his old acquaintances,

1497 His office in Nassau St., distributing jobs to the printers,
[Page 54]
1498 Commercial stationery,

1499 and later, insurance,

1500 Employers' liability,

1501 odd sorts of insurance,

1502 Fire on brothels, etc., commission,

1503 Rising from 15 dollars a week,

1504 Pollon d'anthropon iden,

1505 Knew which shipping companies were most careless;

1506 where a man was most likely

1507 To lose a leg in bad hoisting machinery;

1508 Also fire, as when passing a whore-house,

1509 Arrived, miraculous Hermes, by accident,

1510 Two minutes after the proprietor's angelos

1511 Had been sent for him.

1512 Saved his people 11,000 in four months

1513 on that Cuba job,

1514 But they busted,

1515 Also ran up to 40,000 bones on his own,

1516 Once, but wanted to "eat up the whole'r Wall St."

1517 And dropped it all three weeks later.

1518 Habitat cum Quade, damn good fellow,

1519 Mons Quade who wore a monocle on a wide sable ribbon.

1520 (Elsewhere recorded).

1521 Dos Santos, José Maria dos Santos,

1522 Hearing that a grain ship

1523 Was wrecked in the estuary of the Tagus,

1524 Bought it at auction, nemo obstabat,

1525 No one else bidding. "Damn fool!" "Maize

1526 Spoiled with salt water,

1527 No use, can't do anything with it." Dos Santos.

1528 All the stuff rotted with sea water.

1529 Dos Santos Portuguese lunatic bought it,

1530 Mortgaged then all his patrimony,

1531 e tot lo sieu aver,

1532 And bought sucking pigs, pigs, small pigs,
[Page 55]
1533 Porkers, throughout all Portugal,

1534 fed on the cargo,

1535 First lot mortgaged to buy the second lot, undsoweiter,

1536 Porkers of Portugal,

1537 fattening with the fulness of time,

1538 And Dos Santos fattened, a great landlord of Portugal

1539 Now gathered to his fathers.

1540 Did it on water-soaked corn.

1541 (Water probably fresh in that estuary)

1542 Go to hell Apovitch, Chicago aint the whole punkin.

1543 Jim X ...

1544 in a bankers' meeting,

1545 bored with their hard luck stories,

1546 Bored with their bloomin' primness

1547 and the little white rims

1548 They wore around inside the edge of their vests

1549 To make 'em look as if they had on two waistcoats,

1550 Told 'em the Tale of the Honest Sailor.

1551 Bored with their proprieties,

1552 as they sat, the ranked presbyterians,

1553 Directors, dealers through holding companies,

1554 Deacons in churches, owning slum properties,

1555 Alias usurers in excelsis,

1556 the quintessential essence of usurers,

1557 The purveyors of employment, whining over their 20 p. c.

1558 and the hard times,

1559 And the bust-up of Brazilian securities

1560 (S. A. securities),

1561 And the general uncertainty of all investment

1562 Save investment in new bank buildings,

1563 productive of bank buildings,

1564 And not likely to ease distribution,

1565 Bored with the way their mouths twitched

1566 over their cigar-ends,


[Page 56]
1567 Said Jim X ...:

1568 There once was a pore honest sailor, a heavy drinker,

1569 A hell of a cuss, a rowster, a boozer, and

1570 The drink finally sent him to hospital,

1571 And they operated, and there was a poor whore in

1572 The woman's ward had a kid, while

1573 They were fixing the sailor, and they brought him the kid

1574 When he came to, and said:

1575 "Here! this is what we took out of you."

1576 An' he looked at it, an' he got better,

1577 And when he left the hospital, quit the drink,

1578 And when he was well enough

1579 signed on with another ship

1580 And saved up his pay money,

1581 and kept on savin' his pay money,

1582 And bought a share in the ship,

1583 and finally had half shares,

1584 Then a ship

1585 and in time a whole line of steamers;

1586 And educated the kid,

1587 and when the kid was in college,

1588 The ole sailor was again taken bad

1589 and the doctors said he was dying,

1590 And the boy came to the bedside,

1591 and the old sailor said:

1592 "Boy, I'm sorry I can't hang on a bit longer,

1593 "You're young yet.

1594 I leave you re-sponsa-bilities.

1595 "Wish I could ha' waited till you were older,

1596 "More fit to take over the bisness ..."

1597 "But, father,

1598 "Don't, don't talk about me, I'm all right,

1599 "It's you, father."

1600 "That's it, boy, you said it.


[Page 57]
1601 "You called me your father, and I ain't.

1602 "I ain't your dad, no,

1603 "I am not your fader but your moder," quod he,

1604 "Your fader was a rich merchant in Stambouli."


[Page 58]

XIII


1605 Kung walked

1606 by the dynastic temple

1607 and into the cedar grove,

1608 and then out by the lower river,

1609 And with him Khieu, Tchi

1610 and Tian the low speaking

1611 And "we are unknown," said Kung,

1612 "You will take up charioteering?

1613 Then you will become known,

1614 "Or perhaps I should take up charioteering, or archery?

1615 "Or the practice of public speaking?"

1616 And Tseu-lou said, "I would put the defences in order,"

1617 And Khieu said, "If I were lord of a province

1618 I would put it in better order than this is."

1619 And Tchi said, "I would prefer a small mountain temple,

1620 "With order in the observances,

1621 with a suitable performance of the ritual,"

1622 And Tian said, with his hand on the strings of his lute

1623 The low sounds continuing

1624 after his hand left the strings,

1625 And the sound went up like smoke, under the leaves,

1626 And he looked after the sound:

1627 "The old swimming hole,

1628 "And the boys flopping off the planks,

1629 "Or sitting in the underbrush playing mandolins."

1630 And Kung smiled upon all of them equally.

1631 And Thseng-sie desired to know:

1632 "Which had answered correctly?"

1633 And Kung said, "They have all answered correctly,

1634 "That is to say, each in his nature."

1635 And Kung raised his cane against Yuan Jang,

1636 Yuan Jang being his elder,


[Page 59]
1637 For Yuan Jang sat by the roadside pretending to

1638 be receiving wisdom.

1639 And Kung said

1640 "You old fool, come out of it,

1641 Get up and do something useful."

1642 And Kung said

1643 "Respect a child's faculties

1644 "From the moment it inhales the clear air,

1645 "But a man of fifty who knows nothing

1646 Is worthy of no respect."

1647 And "When the prince has gathered about him

1648 "All the savants and artists, his riches will be fully employed."

1649 And Kung said, and wrote on the bo leaves:

1650 If a man have not order within him

1651 He can not spread order about him;

1652 And if a man have not order within him

1653 His family will not act with due order;

1654 And if the prince have not order within him

1655 He can not put order in his dominions.

1656 And Kung gave the words "order"

1657 and "brotherly deference"

1658 And said nothing of the "life after death."

1659 And he said

1660 "Anyone can run to excesses,

1661 It is easy to shoot past the mark,

1662 It is hard to stand firm in the middle."

1663 And they said: If a man commit murder

1664 Should his father protect him, and hide him?

1665 And Kung said:

1666 He should hide him.

1667 And Kung gave his daughter to Kong-Tch'ang

1668 Although Kong-Tch'ang was in prison.

1669 And he gave his niece to Nan-Young

1670 although Nan-Young was out of office.


[Page 60]
1671 And Kung said "Wang ruled with moderation,

1672 In his day the State was well kept,

1673 And even I can remember

1674 A day when the historians left blanks in their writings,

1675 I mean for things they didn't know,

1676 But that time seems to be passing."

1677 And Kung said, "Without character you will

1678 be unable to play on that instrument

1679 Or to execute the music fit for the Odes.

1680 The blossoms of the apricot

1681 blow from the east to the west,

1682 And I have tried to keep them from falling."


[Page 61]

XIV


1683 Io venni in luogo d'ogni luce muto;

1684 The stench of wet coal, politicians

1685 . . . . . . . . . e and . . . . . n, their wrists bound to

1686 their ankles,

1687 Standing bare bum,

1688 Faces smeared on their rumps,

1689 wide eye on flat buttock,

1690 Bush hanging for beard,

1691 Addressing crowds through their arse-holes,

1692 Addressing the multitudes in the ooze,

1693 newts, water-slugs, water-maggots,

1694 And with them. . . . . . . r,

1695 a scrupulously clean table-napkin

1696 Tucked under his penis,

1697 and . . . . . . . . . . . m

1698 Who disliked colloquial language,

1699 Stiff-starched, but soiled, collars

1700 circumscribing his legs,

1701 The pimply and hairy skin

1702 pushing over the collar's edge,

1703 Profiteers drinking blood sweetened with sh-t,

1704 And behind them . . . . . . f and the financiers

1705 lashing them with steel wires.

1706 And the betrayers of language

1707 . . . . . . n and the press gang

1708 And those who had lied for hire;

1709 the perverts, the perverters of language,

1710 the perverts, who have set money-lust

1711 Before the pleasures of the senses;

1712 howling, as of a hen-yard in a printing-house,

1713 the clatter of presses,
[Page 62]
1714 the blowing of dry dust and stray paper,

1715 foetor, sweat, the stench of stale oranges,

1716 dung, last cess-pool of the universe,

1717 mysterium, acid of sulphur,

1718 the pusillanimous, raging;

1719 plunging jewels in mud,

1720 and howling to find them unstained;

1721 sadic mothers driving their daughters to bed with decrepitude,

1722 sows eating their litters,

1723 and here the placard ,

1724 and here: THE PERSONNEL CHANGES,

1725 melting like dirty wax,

1726 decayed candles, the bums sinking lower,

1727 faces submerged under hams,

1728 And in the ooze under them,

1729 reversed, foot-palm to foot-palm,

1730 hand-palm to hand-palm, the agents provocateurs

1731 The murderers of Pearse and MacDonagh,

1732 Captain H. the chief torturer;

1733 The petrified turd that was Verres,

1734 bigots, Calvin and St. Clement of Alexandria!

1735 black-beetles, burrowing into the sh-t,

1736 The soil a decrepitude, the ooze full of morsels,

1737 lost contours, erosions.

1738 Above the hell-rot

1739 the great arse-hole,

1740 broken with piles,

1741 hanging stalactites,

1742 greasy as sky over Westminster,

1743 the invisible, many English,

1744 the place lacking in interest,

1745 last squalor, utter decrepitude,


[Page 63]
1746 the vice-crusaders, fahrting through silk,

1747 waving the Christian symbols,

1748 . . . . . . . . frigging a tin penny whistle,

1749 Flies carrying news, harpies dripping sh-t through the air,

1750 The slough of unamiable liars,

1751 bog of stupidities,

1752 malevolent stupidities, and stupidities,

1753 the soil living pus, full of vermin,

1754 dead maggots begetting live maggots,

1755 slum owners,

1756 usurers squeezing crab-lice, pandars to authority,

1757 pets-de-loup, sitting on piles of stone books,

1758 obscuring the texts with philology,

1759 hiding them under their persons,

1760 the air without refuge of silence,

1761 the drift of lice, teething,

1762 and above it the mouthing of orators,

1763 the arse-belching of preachers.

1764 And Invidia,

1765 the corruptio, foetor, fungus,

1766 liquid animals, melted ossifications,

1767 slow rot, foetid combustion,

1768 chewed cigar-butts, without dignity, without tragedy,

1769 . . . . .m Episcopus, waving a condom full of black-beetles,

1770 monopolists, obstructors of knowledge,

1771 obstructors of distribution.


[Page 64]

XV

1772 The saccharescent, lying in glucose,



1773 the pompous in cotton wool

1774 with a stench like the fats at Grasse,

1775 the great scabrous arse-hole, sh-tting flies,

1776 rumbling with imperialism,

1777 ultimate urinal, middan, pisswallow without a cloaca,

1778 . . . . . . r less rowdy, . . . . . . Episcopus

1779 . . . . . . . . sis,

1780 head down, screwed into the swill,

1781 his legs waving and pustular,

1782 a clerical jock strap hanging back over the navel

1783 his condom full of black beetles,

1784 tattoo marks round the anus,

1785 and a circle of lady golfers about him.

1786 the courageous violent

1787 slashing themselves with knives,

1788 the cowardly inciters to violence

1789 . . . . . n and. . . . . . . .h eaten by weevils,

1790 . . . . . . . ll like a swollen foetus.

1791 the beast with a hundred legs, USURA

1792 and the swill full of respecters,

1793 bowing to the lords of the place,

1794 explaining its advantages,

1795 and the laudatores temporis acti

1796 claiming that the sh-t used to be blacker and richer

1797 and the fabians crying for the petrification of putrefaction,

1798 for a new dung-flow cut in lozenges,

1799 the conservatives chatting,

1800 distinguished by gaiters of slum-flesh,

1801 and the back-scratchers in a great circle,

1802 complaining of insufficient attention,


[Page 65]
1803 the search without end, counterclaim for the missing scratch

1804 the litigious,

1805 a green bile-sweat, the news owners, . . . . s

1806 the anonymous

1807 . . . . . . . ffe, broken

1808 his head shot like a cannon-ball toward the glass gate,

1809 peering through it an instant,

1810 falling back to the trunk, epileptic,

1811 et nulla fidentia inter eos,

1812 all with their twitching backs,

1813 with daggers, and bottle ends, waiting an

1814 unguarded moment;

1815 a stench, stuck in the nostrils;

1816 beneath one

1817 nothing that might not move,

1818 mobile earth, a dung hatching obscenities,

1819 inchoate error,

1820 boredom born out of boredom,

1821 british weeklies, copies of the . . . . . . . . . . c,

1822 a multiple . . . . . . nn,

1823 and I said, "How is it done?"

1824 and my guide:

1825 This sort breeds by scission,

1826 This is the fourmillionth tumour.

1827 In this bolge bores are gathered,

1828 Infinite pus flakes, scabs of a lasting pox.

1829 skin-flakes, repetitions, erosions,

1830 endless rain from the arse-hairs,

1831 as the earth moves, the centre

1832 passes over all parts in succession,

1833 a continual bum-belch

1834 distributing its productions.


[Page 66]
1835 Andiamo!

1836 One's feet sunk,

1837 the welsh of mud gripped one, no hand-rail,

1838 the bog-suck like a whirl-pool,

1839 and he said:

1840 Close the pores of your feet!

1841 And my eyes clung to the horizon,

1842 oil mixing with soot;

1843 and again Plotinus:

1844 To the door,

1845 Keep your eyes on the mirror.

1846 Prayed we to the Medusa,

1847 petrifying the soil by the shield,

1848 Holding it downward

1849 he hardened the track

1850 Inch before us, by inch,

1851 the matter resisting,

1852 The heads rose from the shield,

1853 hissing, held downwards.

1854 Devouring maggots,

1855 the face only half potent,

1856 The serpents' tongues

1857 grazing the swill top,

1858 Hammering the souse into hardness,

1859 the narrow rast,

1860 Half the width of a sword's edge.

1861 By this through the dern evil,

1862 now sinking, now clinging,

1863 Holding the unsinkable shield.

1864 Oblivion,

1865 forget how long,

1866 sleep, fainting nausea.

1867 "Whether in Naishapur or Babylon"

1868 I heard in the dream.

1869 Plotinus gone,
[Page 67]
1870 And the shield tied under me, woke;

1871 The gate swung on its hinges;

1872 Panting like a sick dog, staggered,

1873 Bathed in alkali, and in acid.

1874

1875 blind with the sunlight,



1876 Swollen-eyed, rested,

1877 lids sinking, darkness unconscious.


[Page 68]

XVI


1878 And before hell mouth; dry plain

1879 and two mountains;

1880 On the one mountain, a running form,

1881 and another

1882 In the turn of the hill; in hard steel

1883 The road like a slow screw's thread,

1884 The angle almost imperceptible,

1885 so that the circuit seemed hardly to rise;

1886 And the running form, naked, Blake,

1887 Shouting, whirling his arms, the swift limbs,

1888 Howling against the evil,

1889 his eyes rolling,

1890 Whirling like flaming cart-wheels,

1891 and his head held backward to gaze on the evil

1892 As he ran from it,

1893 to be hid by the steel mountain,

1894 And when he showed again from the north side;

1895 his eyes blazing toward hell mouth,

1896 His neck forward,

1897 and like him Peire Cardinal.

1898 And in the west mountain, Il Fiorentino,

1899 Seeing hell in his mirror,

1900 and lo Sordels

1901 Looking on it in his shield;

1902 And Augustine, gazing toward the invisible.

1903 And past them, the criminal

1904 lying in blue lakes of acid,

1905 The road between the two hills, upward

1906 slowly,

1907 The flames patterned in lacquer, crimen est actio,

1908 The limbo of chopped ice and saw-dust,
[Page 69]
1909 And I bathed myself with the acid to free myself

1910 of the hell ticks,

1911 Scales, fallen louse eggs.

1912 Palux Laerna,

1913 the lake of bodies, aqua morta,

1914 of limbs fluid, and mingled, like fish heaped in a bin,

1915 and here an arm upward, clutching a fragment of marble,



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