800px Cesare Borgia Duke of Valentinois

COMPANION TO CANTO XXX

 

CITATION FORMATS

Annotations in the List of Works Cited:

Author’s last name, first name. “Title of the Article or Individual Page.” Title of the Website, Name of the Publisher [if different from website name], Date of Publication in Day Month Year format, URL. [MLA 8 format].

Example: Preda, Roxana. “Companion to Canto IV.” The Cantos Project, 5 August 2016.
 thecantosproject.ed.ac.uk/index.php/a-draft-of-xvi-cantos-overview/canto-iv/companion-to-canto-iv

In–text references

Abbreviation

OCCEP – The Online Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound

(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, references to cantos already glossed will be by canto number and line number(s), as standard with classical works. Example: III: ll.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.

© Roxana Preda. Companion to Canto XXX, 5 October 2018

 

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

C

Terrell, Carroll F. A Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: U of California P, 1993.

OCCEP

Preda, Roxana. The Online Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. The Cantos Project.

Od

Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. A. T. Murray. 2 vols. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1919. Perseus.

P&P

Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound’s Poetry and Prose. Contributions to Periodicals. Eds. Lea Baechler, A. Walton Litz and James Longenbach. New York: Garland, 1991.

SR

Pound, Ezra. Spirit of Romance. New York: New Directions, 2005.

 

  1. Compleynt – Pastiche of and revisionary response to Geoffrey Chaucer’s Complaynte Unto Pite (ca. 1373).

  2. Artemis – Greek goddess of wild nature, the moon and hunt. 
    See also the evocation of Artemis in the finale of canto XXIX.

  3. slayeth my nymphs – the word “slayeth” is used in the sense of “overcome,” or “overwhelm” (Derdeyn and Redman 252).

  4. Paphos – Coastal city in the southwest of Cyprus where Aphrodite is said to have emerged from the waves. Homer mentioned Paphos with Aphrodite’s “grove and her altar fragrant with burnt offerings” (Od. 8.364).

  5. Mars – Roman name of Ares, the Greek god of war. Ares and Aphrodite were lovers, and the episode of how her husband Hephaistos (“the doddering fool”) caught them in the act, chained them naked to each other and embarrassed them in front of all the gods is told by Homer in the Odyssey (Od 8.265-370).

    Pound’s use of the Roman name of the god and his spelling suggests that the speaker is the same mediaeval voice imagining Artemis.

  6. doddering fool – Reference to Hephaistos, the divine smith and husband of Aphrodite. “Artemis” presents the first case of unnatural, “foul” situations: the marriage between the goddess of love and the old cripple.

    The story of how Zeus married Aphrodite to Hephaistos for political reasons, in spite of her own love for Ares, can be reconstructed from text fragments and ancient Greek vase paintings. Yet neither Homer nor any classical author presents Hephaistos as a “doddering fool,” but rather as a very powerful and cunning god, acting from a moral high ground that punishes his peers for their cruelty and indulgence. See Od 8.265-370.

    See also Theoi.com for a survey of myths and images around Hephaistos, summing up the classic perspective on the god.

  7. young Pedro – Pedro I (1320-1367) was the king of Portugal from 1357 till his death, succeeding his father, Alfonso IV. He secretly married Inês de Castro in 1354, nine years after the death of his first wife Constance and three years before acceding to the throne.

  8. Le Couronnement dInès de Castro en 1361 Pierre Charles Comte MBA Lyon 2014 détail 1After Ignez was murdered – Pound here presents the second case of unnatural, “foul” situation: the dead woman on the throne, receiving homage from the Portuguese knights as if she were alive. Pound narrated what he knew of Inês de Castro’s story in his chapter on Camões in The Spirit of Romance:

    “In brief: Constança, wife of Pedro, heir to the throne of Portugal, died in 1345. He then married in secret one of her maids of honor, Ignez da Castro, a Castillian of the highest rank. Her position was the cause of jealousy, and of conspiracy; she was stabbed in the act of begging clemency from the then reigning Alfonso IV. When Pedro succeeded to the throne, he had her body exhumed, and the court did homage, the grandees of Portugal passing before the double throne of the dead queen and her king, and kissing that hand which had been hers. A picture of the scene hangs in the new gallery at Madrid, in the series of canvasses which commemorate the splendid horrors of the Spanish past. 

    Camoens, for once unadorned, begins his allusion with four immortal lines:

    O caso triste, e digno da memoria
    Que do sepulchre os homes desenterra
    Aconteceo da miseria, e mesquinha
    Que despois de ser morta foi Rainha.

    A sad event and worthy of Memory,
    Who draws forth men from their closed sepulchres,
    Befell that piteous maid, and pitiful 
    Who, after she was dead was crowned queen.” (SR 218-9)

    Pound also mentions Inês in Three Cantos II and canto III (OCCEP TC II: nn.39-42III: n. 23The Lusiad)

  9. 455px Dosso DOSSI Battista DOSSI attributed to Lucrezia Borgia Duchess of Ferrara Google Art Project

    Came Madame ῾´ΥΛΗ – Gr. (pronounced hyle), “matter,” a term in original Greek which Pound may have found in Thomas Taylor and used as nickname for Lucrezia Borgia (Terrell 142, 163. See also Liebregts 141.) Pound presents here the third case of foulness and corruption: the illegitimate daughter of a pope is sold into the Italian aristocracy. Her beauty is praised most extravagantly as that of a Renaissance Venus, but her marriage is only made possible by the power of political influence, illegality and money. By his use of the nickname, Pound suggests her much-vaunted beauty is only that of a soulless body clothed in all the luxuries money can buy.

    “Greek ὕλη, matter supposed to contain all the principles the negative of life, order, and goodness (Wilder’s footnote to Taylor 39; See also Pai 163). Taylor follows closely Plotinus’ definition of beauty as purely spiritual, opposed to matter and the body, which are considered ugly and evil. Pound does not follow the whole Plotinian trajectory, but implies the ugliness by suggesting Lucrezia’s materialism.

    See also:

    Came this day Madame ὕλη, Madame la Porte Parure
    Adorned with the Romancero,
    foot like a flowery branch. (XXXV/175)

  10. Honour? Balls for yr. honour! – When Ercole D’Este was approached by Pope Alexander VI to propose that Ercole’s son, Alfonso, marry the pope’s illegitimate daughter Lucrezia Borgia, Ercole bargained the dowry hard, in the name of the honour of his family. Both his children, Alfonso and Isabella, were indignant at the prospect of such a marriage. Ercole’s demands were a sum of 200.000 ducats, control over Cento and Pieve, (cities belonging to the papacy), as well as the cancellation of the annual tribute Ferrara was paying to the Holy See for the vicariate of Ferrara (Gregorovius 182-3). Alexander acceded to these demands, although neither the cancellation of the tribute, nor control over the two cities was his own to give, but were infringements of the canon law and curtailment of the papal revenue to the benefit of his family.  

    “The duke [Ercole d’Este] had found it difficult to overcome his son’s objections, for nothing could offend the young prince so deeply as the determination to compel him to marry Lucretia; not because she was an illegitimate child, for this blot signified little in that age when bastards flourished in all Latin countries. Many of the ruling dynasties of Italy bore this stain—the Sforza, the Malatesta, the Bentivoglio, and the Aragonese of Naples; even the brilliant Borso, the first Duke of Ferrara, was the illegitimate brother of his successor, Ercole. Lucretia, however, was the daughter of a Pope, the child of a priest, and this, in the eyes of the Este, constituted her disgrace. Neither her father’s licentiousness nor Cæsar’s crimes could have greatly affected the moral sense of the court of Ferrara, but not one of the princely houses of that age was so depraved that it was indifferent to the reputation of a woman destined to become one of its prominent members” (Gregorovius 174).

  11. 800px Bemberg Fondation Toulouse Portrait dAlphonse dEste Titien Inv.1053Messire Alfonso – Alfonso II d’Este (1476-1534), Duke of Ferrara. He married Lucrezia Borgia in 1502.
    Alfonso was her third husband: the first one had been obliged to declare impotence and cancel the marriage contract; the second was murdered after a period just of a few months. Alfonso had all the right to hesitate, as the chances were high that he would be assassinated when Lucrezia’s father, Pope Alessandro VI would have deemed it useful to his interests. Yet, when he saw Lucrezia, he took the risk.
    His response emphasizes the analogy between Lucrezia and other femmes fatales of The Cantos, like Helen of Troy and Eleanor d’Aquitaine.     
    “Alfonso was the prospective husband of a young woman whose career, although she was only twenty-one years of age, had been most extraordinary. Twice had Lucretia been legally betrothed, twice had she been married, and twice had she been made a widow by the wickedness or crimes of others. Her reputation, consequently, was bad, therefore Alfonso, himself a man of the world, never could [p. 175] feel sure of this young woman’s virtue, even if he did not believe all the reports which were circulated regarding her” (Gregorovius 174-5).

  12. without saying “O” – As soon as the marriage contract details were finalised, Lucrezia was wedded to Alfonso by proxy in Rome and made the journey to Ferrara. She had not seen her bridegroom, nor had any communication with him. Alfonso wished to meet her before she arrived and visited her unannounced:

    “The same day—January 31st—towards evening [1502], Lucretia reached Castle Bentivoglio, which was but twenty miles from Ferrara. She had no sooner arrived at that place than her consort Alfonso suddenly appeared. She was greatly overcome, but promptly recovered herself and received him ‘with many professions of esteem and most graciously,’ to all of which he responded with great gallantry.  Hitherto the hereditary Prince of Ferrara had sullenly held aloof from the wife that had been forced upon him. Men of that age had not a trace of the tenderness or sentimentality of those of to-day, but, even admitting this, it is certainly strange that there is no evidence of any correspondence between Lucretia and Alfonso during the time the marriage was being arranged, although a great many letters then passed between the duchess and Ercole. Either owing to a desire to please his father or to his own curiosity or cunning, the rough and reticent Alfonso now threw off his reserve. He came in disguise, remained two hours, and then suddenly left for Ferrara.  
            During this short interview he was greatly impressed by his wife. Lucretia in those two hours had certainly brought Alfonso under the spell of her personality, even if she had not completely disarmed him” (Gregorovius 236-37).

  13. we carved it in metal – the speaker changes to Hieronymus (Gershom) Soncino, a Jewish printer who established himself in Fano in 1501. Pound is quoting from Soncino’s “Address to Cesare Borgia” and “Address to the Readers” in his edition of Opere volgari di Messer Francesco Petrarcha (1503). See sources. (See also Bacigalupo 2012, 2015.)

  14. In Caesar’s fane – Fano, town in Emilia Romagna, was established in Roman times. Its name derives from the Latin “fanum,” (sanctuary), as there was an ancient temple dedicated to Fortuna built on the site. Both Julius Caesar and Octavianus are connected to the city. 
    Fano was crucial to Sigismondo Malatesta, as it was the seat of his father, Pandolfo III. In spite of his efforts and those of his own son Roberto, he lost it to Pope Pius II in September 1463. Pound mentions Sigismondo’s last acts as a ruler of Fano in Canto XI:

    And he thought: 
    Old Zuliano is finished, 
    If he’s left anything we must see the kids get it, 
    Write that to Robert. 
    And Vanni must give that peasant a decent price for his horses, 
    Say that I will refund.   
    And the writs run in Fano, 
    For the long room over the arches 
    Sub annulo piscatoris, palatium seu curiam OLIM de Malatestis. (XI/50)

    In 1503, the town belonged to Cesare Borgia, who had taken it from Pandolfo Malatesta IV, Sigismondo’s grandson, in 1500. After Cesare’s fall from grace, the Malatesta were unable to regain the city, or indeed any of their former possessions.

  15. Cesare Borgia – Cesare Borgia (1475-1507). Son of Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI. His historical reputation is much similar to that of Sigismondo Malatesta, whose territories he appropriated in 1500, gathering them under the title of Duchy of Romagna. However, Cesare’s strength as lord over his own state was based on his father’s position as pope. When his father died in August 1503, Cesare quickly lost the lands he had “conquered.” The new pope, Julius II reneged on his promise to keep him general of the papal army and had him arrested instead. Cesare escaped to Spain where in 1507 he finally received a military commission, but died ignominiously in an ambush.

  16. Duke of Valent – On the 17th of August 1498, following the death of his brother Giovanni, Cesare Borgia became the first person in history to resign the cardinalate and become commander of the papal army. Louis XII of France named him Duke of Valentinois.

  17. Aemelia – Emilia, district in Northern Italy.

  18. in Fano Caesaris – L. “in Caesar’s temple,” name of the Fano. See note 15.

  19. Francesco da Bologna – Francesco Griffo, a font-type designer who is the inventor of the cursive type and who worked with Aldus Manutius in Venice before creating the fonts for Soncino’s edition of Petrarch in 1503.

  20. Aldus Manutius

    Aldous – Aldo Manuzio (1449-1515) humanist, scholar, educator, editor and printer, who devoted the later part of his life to publishing rare texts, especially in Greek and Latin.

    He commissioned the creation of typefaces resembling humanist handwriting of his time and Francesco Griffo cut these for him; as the Aldine Press grew in popularity, Manutius’s innovations were quickly copied across Italy. In 1501, Aldous persuaded the Venetian Senate to award him a ten-year monopoly for printing books in the new typefaces under his own name. This is the reason of his quarrel with Francesco and of the latter’s decision to work with Soncino in Fano (Marx 447-9).

  21. Hieronymous Soncinus – It. Gershom Soncino (1460-1534), Jewish “vagabond” printer who came to Fano in 1501.

    As Charles Bornstein has pointed out, the references to Soncino, Aldus Manutius and Francesco da Bologna, frame A Draft of XXX Cantos and respond to the brief mention of Wechel, the printer of Andreas Divus’ translation of Homer’s Odyssey that Pound includes in Canto I (Bornstein 162).

  22. as for the text – the text that Soncino chose to publish in Fano is Opere volgari di Messer Francesco Petrarcha, 1503.

    This new volume was conceived as an answer to Aldus Manutius’ own edition of Petrarch, printed in italic font and published in 1501. Soncino and Aldus’ font cutter, Francesco Griffo (called Francesco da Bologna) were thus responding to Aldus’ move to appropriate Francesco’s type fonts (which came to be called Aldine) and to impose a monopoly on printing them in Venice for ten years. Soncino thus determined to print in Fano an improved edition of Petrarch by having recourse to three local codices of the poems, so that his edition should trump that of Aldus. This move also protected him from accusations of copyright infringement and piracy.       
    Soncino also set the record straight, pointing out that it was Francesco and not Aldus who had designed and executed the fonts.    

    The copyright entanglements around Soncino’s career as a printer may well have been known to Pound, who in the latter part of the 1920s had been increasingly concerned with questions of copyright law; even more so against the background of 1927-1930 when the canto was conceived and written, since Pound was working on his own edition of Guido Cavalcanti, Rime, by comparing codices found in a number of local libraries in Italy.

  23. Messire Laurentius – Lorenzo Abstemio, a citizen of Fano who had a codex of Petrarch which contributed to the edition that Soncino created. Soncino mentions him in his “Address to the Reader” of his edition. See source.

  24. once of the Lords Malatesta – A formula Pound first introduced in Canto XI in Latin: “olim de Malatestis” and would repeat in The Cantos: LXXVI/462; LXXX/521; LXXXIII/549. Both Sigismondo and Domenico Malatesta established libraries, in Rimini and Cesena, respectively. Yet, whereas Sigismondo’s library was dispersed in the 17th century (d’Elia 37), the Biblioteca Malatestiana in Cesena still exists today. See also canto XXIII for Pound’s report of a failed effort of the Malatesta to bring Greek books into Italy after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 (“And Novvy’s ship went down in the tempest/ Or at least they chucked the books overboard” XXIII/107).

    Pound remarked in 1928:

    “The Malatesta spent money they could ill afford on manuscripts. But these manuscripts were not then in print and the manuscripts of the Malatesta served as copy for Aldus, and so let loose a flood of unknown matter upon contemporary buyers of Aldines.” (P&P V: 28-29).

  25. Alessandro Borgia – Rodrigo Borgia (1431-1503) was pope 1492-1503 under the name of Alexander VI.

  26. Pope Alexander Vi

    Il Papa mori – I. “The Pope died.”
    As fate would have it, the pope died in August 1503, just a month after the publication of Soncino's edition of Petrarch in Fano, which made the printer ever more vulnerable - he was losing a patron he had only just won. The death of Pope Alexander VI was disastrous to the political career of his son, Cesare Borgia. As soon as his father was dead, the duchy Cesare had conquered during the preceding two years crumbled. The new pope, Julius II was a strong enemy of the Borgias: Cesare was arrested in Ostia in December 1503 and his political life was over. See also n.16.

    Alexander VI’s death thus concludes the story of Sigismondo Malatesta, which Pound had started in canto VIII. Henceforth, his territories in Marche and Romagna would be directly administered by the papacy, not by a family or a prince. 

    The New Directions edition (1998) lacks an accent, which exists in other editions of The Cantos and should be added. The correct form is “Il Papa morì.”

  27. Explicit canto – L. “end of the canto.”

 

Cantos in periodicals

Three Cantos (Ur-Cantos)

A Draft of XXX Cantos

A Draft of XVI Cantos

A Draft of the Cantos 17-27

Cantos XXVIII-XXX

Eleven New Cantos

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The Fifth Decad

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Cantos LII - LXXI

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