Annotations in the List of Works Cited:
Contributor name. The Online Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound, IV: n.gloss number. The Cantos Project. Web. Date of access.
Example: Preda, Roxana. The Online Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound, IV: n.13. The Cantos Project. Web. 5 September 2016.
([Contributor name], OCCEP IV: n.no).
Example: (Bressan, OCCEP IV: n.3). If no name is indicated, the gloss was written by Roxana Preda. In this case, the citation will have this format: (OCCEP IV: n.13).
References to The Cantos
As The Cantos Project is numbering the lines of The Cantos for the first time, references to cantos already glossed will be by canto number and line(s), as standard with classical works. Example: III: 7-17.
For cantos that are not yet glossed within the project, the references will be by canto number slash page number, as standard in the research on the poem. Example: III/12. The page number refers to the American edition of The Cantos by Ezra Pound. New York: New Directions, 1998.
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
|C||Terrell Carroll F. A Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: U of California P, 1993|
|L&S||Lewis & Short Latin Dictionary|
|L/HP||Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound To His Parents: Letters 1895-1929. Eds. Mary de Rachewiltz, A David Moody and Joanna Moody. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2010.|
|L/JQ||The Selected Letters of Ezra Pound to John Quinn: 1915-1924.Ed. Timothy Materer. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1991.|
|LR||The Little Review|
- Dogana – The customs-house in Venice is placed at the point where the Grand Canal flows into the lagoon. It is a unique site where one can contemplate the Square of St Mark on the left, the lagoon itself, with the Isola di San Giorgio and the San Giorgio Maggiore cathedral in front and the Giudecca on the right. The place is a crossway of water routes, a place to contemplate personal options for the future. The Dogana has a statue of the Fortuna on top, which Henry James had observed in his own time and mentioned in his Italian Hours (Ricciardi Ghiande 11). Map.
- That year – probably 1908. Pound had been fired from his first teaching job at Wabash College Indiana in February and used this as an opportunity to go off to Europe. He spent April to August in Venice, where he published his first volume of poems, A Lume Spento, at his own expense. In August 1908, he would go to London and settle there (L/HP 109, 127).
- Those girls – Pound revisits his implicit dialogue with Browning’s Sordello in which the older poet reviewed pretty girls from the ‘palace step’ where he was sitting. Browning's Sordello.
Pound here reworked and drastically cut a longer passage in Three Cantos I: 87-96:
“Your ‘palace step’?
My stone seat was the Dogana’s curb,
And there were not ‘those girls’ there was one flare, one face.
’Twas all I ever saw, but it was real….;
And I can no more say what shape it was …
But she was young, too young.
True, it was Venice,
And at Florian’s and under the north arcade
I have seen other faces, and had my rolls for breakfast, for that matter;
So, for what it’s worth, I have the background.
- Bucintoro – the oldest rowing club in Venice, established in 1882, not far from the Dogana. Map.
- Stretti - "Holding you tight": from the Italian song La Spagnola, by Vicenzo di Chiara, 1906. Source.
- Morosini – Venetian aristocratic family. Pound arranged two concerts for the pianist Katherine Ruth Heyman, one of them at Countess Morosini’s house on 4 August 1908 (L/HP 126). It was clear that he was not invited – from the street, he could only see the play of light on the ceiling.
- Koré – Koré (Gr. “the maiden”) is another name for Persephone, the queen of the underworld. Persephone’s story is told in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter: the girl had been picking flowers together with her friends near Enna in Sicily when she saw a clump of bright daffodils – when she tried to pluck them, the ground beneath her feet opened and Hades in a chariot grabbed and carried her into the underworld. She shrieked out loud and her mother Demeter heard her but could not find her daughter anywhere on earth as no one had seen what happened. Finally, the god Helios (he sun) told the inconsolable mother that Zeus had given the girl in marriage to his brother Hades. In her grief, Demeter shunned the company of the gods and laid the earth to waste: no seeds were growing; all plants remained under the earth. Seeing that she could not reconcile herself to the loss of her daughter, Zeus permitted Persephone to come up from the underworld each year. Hades gave her pomegranate seeds to eat so she would have to return. Hymn to Demeter.
- Koré’s house – The phrase is taken from Gabrielle D’Annunzio’s prose poem Notturno, which Pound referred to in his “Paris Letter” for The Dial in November 1922:
“In Koré’s house there are now only white peacocks. I see only the great stone base, and the trees of the hidden garden, and a strip of luminous water.”
D’Annunzio is referring to the unfinished, dilapidated building of the Palazzo dei Leoni in Venice. The building of the palazzo was interrupted at the ground floor and can only suggest the edifice it would have been, if finished. The palace is very near the Dogana and now houses the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. Peggy bought it in 1949 while Pound was at St. Elizabeths and dedicated it to her collection of modern art: Ernst, Pollock, Calder and Brancusi. Olga Rudge’s flat, "the hidden nest" where Pound spent his old age was very near the museum, which Pound may have visited after returning to Italy.
D’Annunzio’s Notturno encourages Pound to make an important dissociation between prose and poetry: while prose is “negative,” a diagnostic survey of the mediocrity of contemporary life, poetry is a record of the cultured mind: “Gabriele is a male, civilized, he writes of Dolmetsch, Wm. Lawes, Scriabine, Venice, of the things that make life bearable […] he lies with a bandaged eye in a bombarded Venice, foaming with his own sensations, memories, speculations as to what Dante might or might not have done had he been acquainted with Aeschylus.” (P&P IV: 262-63).
- Gods float – in the lines that follow, Pound makes a synthesis of lines in Three Cantos I: 128-144 which delineate his own “phantastikon,” or “shimmering garment” of his imagination. Pound believed in an enchanted world populated by deities of the wood and water who become visible to the mind in moments of revelation. He is evoking here his experience at Sirmione and the Lake Garda, the first instance of terrestrial paradise in The Cantos.
- Tuscan - In Three Cantos I, Pound uses Catullus's word "Lydiae" (Etruscan) to refer to the old gods of the Lake Garda. Here he modernizes the term, blending it unobtrusively into the texture of the line. Etruscan civilization was established in today's Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria.
The very sun rains and a spatter of fire
Darts from the “Lydian” ripples; “locus,” as Catullus
And the place is full of spirits.
Not lemures, not dark and shadowy ghosts,
But the ancient living, wood-white,
Smooth as the inner bark, and firm of aspect,
And all agleam with colors—no, not agleam,
But colored like the lake and like the olive leaves,
Glaukopos, clothed like the poppies, wearing golden greaves,
Light on the air.
Are they Etruscan gods? (Three Cantos I: 70-81).
- Panisks – little Pan gods.
- Dryas – or dryad, tree nymph.
- Maelid – nymph of the apple trees. Pound told John Quinn that he had invented the term:
“‘Maelids’ is correct. They (the nymphs of the apple trees) are my one bit of personal property in Greek mythology. The professed and professional Hellenists have, I believe, let them alone. I scored with them on even the assiduous Aldington, who had translated the Greek as ‘apple-trees.’” (L/JQ 124).
- Poggio – Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459) Italian humanist famous for the discovery of Latin manuscripts in the libraries and monasteries of Europe. In 1416, he had the opportunity of visiting the Baden baths and wrote the impressions of his visit to his friend Niccolo Niccoli. Poggio was shocked and amazed by the way men and women mingled together in the baths in complete freedom, with no embarrassment about nudity and no jealousy. He felt the place was designed for pleasure and happiness. Source.
In his imaginary dialogue “Aux Etuves de Weisbaden” [sic] published in LR in July 1917, Pound presented Poggio as an alter ego, not a moralist, but an aesthete, making him say about himself that: “I myself am a rag-bag, a mass of sights and citations, but I will not beat down life for the sake of a model.”
Further, Pound made Poggio declare:
“Is beauty an ideal like the rest? I confess I see the need of no other. When I read that from the breast of the Princess Hellene there was cast a cup of "white gold," the sculptor finding no better model; and that this cup was long shown in the temple at Lyndos, which is in the island of Rhodes; or when I read, as I think is the textual order, first of the cup and then of its origin, there comes upon me a discontent with human imperfection” (P&P II: 226). Pound would return to these musings in Canto CVI/772. Aux Etuves de Weisbaden.
- Gray steps – Reference to Three Cantos I: 157-163, where the gray steps lead to the temple of Kwannon.
gray gradual steps
Lead up beneath flat sprays of heavy cedars,
Temple of teak wood, and the gilt-brown arches
Triple in tier, banners woven by wall,
Fine screens depicted, sea waves curled high,
Small boats with gods upon them,
Bright flame above the river!
- My Cid…Burgos – Pound’s pastiche of the first stanzas of the Lay of the Cid, about which he had first written in 1906 (“A Dream City of Old Castile” P&P I: 11-14; 1910 (Spirit of Romance 66-72) and 1917 (Three cantos II: 130-147). The Banishment of the Cid.
- Una niña di nueve años – S. “a nine year old girl.” She was sent to talk to the Cid, as the adults were too frightened of the king’s interdiction.
- Voce tinnula – L. “with a shrill voice” (L&S: tinnulus – ringing, shrill). Pound would use the expression (which he has from Catullus 61:13) again in Cantos XX/90 and XXVIII/137).
- Bivar – small village 6 miles north of Burgos.
- Raquel and Vidas – Jewish moneylenders in Burgos. El Cid left them two trunks as a collateral for a loan. It was supposed to be full of gold but the Jews were admonished not to open them until the year was due. Trusting the honour of El Cid, they paid up without checking. The trunks (cofres de el cid) were filled with sand: one of them is now kept in the Burgos cathedral, where Pound saw it in 1906, during his postgraduate research trip to Spain (P&P I: 11-14).
- Menie – ME. "menie": household, attendants, feudal retainers, retinue.
- Valencia – the city El Cid conquered from the Moors in 1094 and held it until his death in 1099. Though nominally El Cid administered it in the name of Alfonso, the king of Castile, de facto he controlled it completely. After his death, his body was initially buried in the monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña and then brought back to the Burgos cathedral. Valencia fell back to the Moors in 1102 and they held it for 175 years (Linehan 29).
- Ignez da Castro – Ines de Castro (1325-1355). Pound sees Ignez as a Koré figure: he had compared her to Proserpina in Three Cantos II: 171-193 in a free interpretation of lines in Camoes (Companion to Three Cantos II: n.39-42). Like the goddess, she was a much-loved young woman who died suddenly, leaving huge bereavement behind. Assassinated by knights on the order of the king Alphonso IV, she was dug out of her tomb after her lover, Prince Pedro, became king of Portugal in 1357. Pedro put her corpse on the throne, forcing his courtiers to kiss her hand and acknowledge her in death what they had refused her in life – the dignity of queen of Portugal.
Pound interpolated the reference to Ignez into the text of the present canto after the publication of A Draft of XVI Cantos: Ronald Bush remarked that it was to serve as a reminder of the story, dealt more extensively in canto XXX (192). Another reason may be the several references to Persephone and her “house” in the canto.
- Drear waste - The palace of the Gonzaga family in Mantua which Pound visited with Edgar Williams in 1911 (Wilhelm 71). Mantegna painted in fresco only half of
La camera degli sposi: like the Palazzo dei Leoni in Venice, La camera is unfinished and ruined by neglect.
Send out your thought upon the Mantuan palace
Drear waste, great halls,
Silk tatters still in the frame, Gonzaga's splendour
Alight with phantoms! What have we of them,
Or much or little?
Where do we come upon the ancient people? (Three Cantos II: 2-7)
- Mantegna – Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506) court painter of the Gonzaga family in Mantua, referred to in Three Cantos I: 204.
- Nec Spe Nec Metu – L. “without hope, without fear” – personal motto of Isabella d’Este (1474-1539) the wife of Francesco Gonzaga. After the death of the Marquis Lodovico Gonzaga in 1478, Isabella held the house together not only by her role in the family, but also by political and military assignments. At the same time, she was a significant patron of the arts. The Palazzo ducale in Mantua, which Pound first saw in bad disrepair in 1911 can thus too be regarded as a Koré’s house.