san zeno castle 1

COMPANION TO CANTO XXIX

 

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 XXIX, 9 September 2018.

 

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS


C

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

GK

Pound, Ezra. Guide to Kulchur. New York: New Directions, 1970. 

OCCEP

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

P

Pound, Ezra. Personae. The Collected Shorter Poems. Eds. Lea Baechler and A Walton Litz. New York: New Directions, 1990.

Par

Alighieri, Dante. Paradiso. Divina Commedia. Digital Dante

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.

PT

Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound. Poems and Translations. Eds. Richard Sieburth. New York: Library of America, 2003.

 

  1. mist over lake – this is no ordinary lake, but Pound’s holy place of beauty and visions – lake Garda. In his earlier poem The Flame (1911) he had exclaimed:

    Sapphire Benacus, in thy mists and thee    

    Nature herself's turned metaphysical,

    Who can look on that blue and not believe? (PT 168)

  2. Pernella concubina – Penelope, or Penella Orsini, the cousin and mistress of Aldobrandino Orsini, Count of Pitigliano (1420-1472). The events that Pound reproduces here happened in 1465 (Bruscalupi 252-54). See source.

  3. ainé – Fr. “older.” Niccolò II Orsini (1442-1510), Count of Pitigliano.

  4. puiné – Fr. “younger.” Lodovico Orsini (1444-1465).

  5. Bringing war – Aldobrandino Orsini, Count of Pitigliano, blamed the assassination of his son Lodovico on his ancient enemy, Siena. He proceeded to arrest without proof two Sienese citizens who happened to be in Pitigliano, thus initiating another armed conflict with the commune. Fortunately, the pope intervened and stalled the hostilities; the page that Penella used in the assassination was overcome by remorse and confessed to Niccolò, the Count’s other son. He in turn killed Penella and started a rebellion in Pitigliano to seize power. See source.

  6. Pitigliano – town in Tuscany near Grosseto, about 150 km from Siena. It is built on a high promontory of porous stone called tufa.rsz pitigliano veduta

  7. Niccolò di Pitigliano wikiNicolo – Niccolò II Orsini, Count of Pitigliano (1442-1510), Italian condottiero.      

    Pound’s source, Giuseppe Bruscalupi, designates him as the younger son of Aldobrandino Orsini. In his drafts, Pound followed Bruscalupi initially, then changed the ordering of the two brothers, which indicates he consulted another source as well. Pound’s reordering is corroborated by data posted on Geni.com, which puts Lodovico Orsini’s birth two years after Niccolò’s, in 1444. Geni.com

  8. That rock – I. “Rocca,” the castle defending the town of Pitigliano.

  9. his father – Aldobrandino Orsini, Count of Pitigliano (1420-1472).   

    Aldobrandino is a character in Pound’s cantos IX and X, dedicated to Sigismondo Malatesta. (See OCCEP IX: nn.40-42; X: nn.1-3.) In 1454, Aldobrandino was defending the Sorano castle from the Sienese troops that Sigismondo was leading against him. In canto IX, Pound dramatizes his narrator’s compassion for the count and the low opinion of the siege he was involved in:

    And what was it anyhow?

    Pitigliano, a man with a ten acre lot, 

    Two lumps of tufa,

    and they’d taken his pasture land from him,

    And Sidg had got back their horses, 

    and he had two big lumps of tufa

    with six hundred pigs in the basements. (IX: ll. 116-22)


    In Canto X, Pitigliano tries to sweet talk and corrupt Sigismondo, saying in a letter (which Pound translates parodying it in Nancy Cunard’s style):

    “Siggy, darlint, wd. you not stop making war on   

    “insensible objects, such as trees and domestic vines, that have 

    “no means to hit back… but if you will hire yourself out to a       

    “commune (Siena) which you ought rather to rule than  

    “serve…” (X: ll. 4-8). 

  10. Via Sacra – L. “Sacred Road,” the main street of ancient Rome, leading from the top of the Capitoline Hill, through the Forum, to the Colosseum. Wikipedia.

  11. fleeing what band of tritons – quote of a line in Canto II about the virgin sea-nymph Ileuthyeria, running for her freedom from lustful tritons as Daphne had run from Apollo’s sexual desire. Ileuthyeria is a deity invented by Pound and her name is a modification of the Greek word ελευθερία (“liberty”). Like Daphne, Artemis and Atalanta, she defends her right to virginity. Pound imagines the coral as a symbol of her resistance:

    And of a later year,

    pale in the wine-red algae,

    If you will lean over the rock,

    the coral face under wave tinge,

    Rose-paleness under water shift,

    Ileuthyeria, fair Daphne of sea-bords     

    The swimmer’s arms turned to branches,

    Who will say in what year,

    fleeing what band of tritons,

    The smooth brows, seen, and half seen,

    now ivory stillness. (Canto II: ll.119-129)

  12. mound of the hippodrome – probably an allusion to the Circus Maximus, a two minutes’ walk from the Colosseum. Pound may draw the analogy between Cunizza’s liberation of her slaves and a woman’s race (for freedom) on the same route that Roman emperors had their triumphs in Rome.      

    This analogy is supported by the way Pound wrote about Cunizza in Guide to Kulchur : she had “imperial bearing, grace that stopped not an instant in sweeping over the most violent authority of her time and, from the known fact, that vigour which is a grace in itself” (GK 107-8).    

    The route of general’s triumph in Rome can be reconstructed as follows:
    “The procession entered the city through a Porta Triumphalis (Triumphal Gate), and crossed the pomerium, where the general surrendered his command to the senate and magistrates. It continued through the site of the Circus Flaminius, skirting the southern base of the Capitoline Hill and the Velabrum, along a Via Triumphalis (Triumphal Way) towards the Circus Maximus, perhaps dropping off any prisoners destined for execution at the Tullianum. It entered the Via Sacra then the Forum. Finally, it ascended the Capitoline Hill to the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. Once the sacrifice and dedications were completed, the procession and spectators dispersed to banquets, games, and other entertainments sponsored by the triumphing general.” Roman triumph.

  13. Liberans et vinculo ab omni liberatos – L. “liberated and freed from every chain.” Sentence taken from the notarial act whereby Cunizza liberated her slaves (Verci III: 497). See source.

  14. with four hands at the crossroads – Formula in the act whereby Cunizza liberated her slaves: “in quadrivio, in quarta manu” (“at the crossroads, in four hands”).            
    According to Jacques Heers, the manumission process in the Middle Ages was a ritual whereby freedom was given to a slave “in the same way as those who by four roads have passed through four hands.” This formula referred to a custom in the Lombard Law whereby the master takes the slave to a free man, who in turn takes him to another, who leads him to a third and then a fourth who declares the slave is now is free to “go by four roads.” Heers concludes that “this double affirmation, in face of the citizens and the Church finds itself again centuries later, more or less complete and solemn, in the various regions of Italy” (Heers 251, quoted in Casella 82). See source.

  15. sacerdos – L. priest. Reference to the manumission act which contains the formula “per manum Regis, vel Sacerdotis” (by the hand of the King, or Priest.”)

  16. Castra San Zeno – The castle of San Zeno, Montagnana, in the mountains between Bassano and Asolo in NE Italy. Cunizza refers to a siege of this castle by an alliance formed of Verona, Vicenza, Padua and Mantua in 1260. The castle was defended by Alberico da Romano, one of Cunizza’s older brothers. Though Alberic organized his defences well, he was betrayed out of greed and the castle was taken. He had to watch his family massacred before he himself was executed (C XXIX: n.15). See also Verci II: Book XXIV, 404-5 and Casella 83.
    Cunizza’s wrath is reserved for the traitors – she does not want to liberate them at first, but then changes her mind, curses them and lets them go. See source.san zeno castle 1

  17. Cunizza – Cunizza da Romano (ca. 1198-1279) was the sixth child of Ezzelino II da Romano. Though Cunizza’s love life was disreputable by the standards of the age, Dante put her in paradise, in the sphere of Venus. Though Cunizza was married off by her father and brothers for political reasons on at least two occasions, she had the courage to follow her own affections: she eloped with a poet (Sordello) and lived in concubinage with a knight (Bonius).

  18. for God’s love – formula taken from the manumission act. Cunizza was freeing the slaves of her family “pro amore omnipotentis Dei & pro remissione anime patris” (“for the love of God Almighty and the salvation of her father’s soul”). See source.

  19. Alberic – Alberico da Romano (1197-1260) fifth child of Ezzelino II da Romano.

  20. house of the Cavalcanti – The act of liberating the slaves was notarized in the house of Cavalcante di Cavalcanti in Florence in 1265. Guido Cavalcanti was ten at the time, Dante Alighieri was born in that year. Pound liked to imagine that Dante may have heard of the manumission in “his father’s kitchen” or from childhood memories of his friend Guido. Manumission Act.

  21. manumission – act of liberating slaves.

  22. Eccelin my father – Ezzelino II da Romano, called The Monk (1150-1235). Lord of Romano and at various times podestà of Treviso, Verona and Vicenza.

  23. Richard St Boniface – Rizzardo di San Bonifacio (d. 1253) was an enemy of the Romano family and Cunizza was married to him as part of a peace treaty in 1222. The town San Bonifacio is halfway between Verona and Vicenza.roman and zan zeno

  24. Sordello – Italian poet and diplomat from Goito, near Mantua (active 1220s-1260s). Involved with the Romano family, he was tasked by Cunizza’s brother, Ezzelino III, to elope with Cunizza so as to restart the hostilities against Richard St. Boniface. The date is debated, but more likely 1226. Wikipedia.

  25. Tarviso – Treviso, town near Verona and Padua. See map at n. 23.

  26. Bonius – Enrico Bonio, knight, judge and procurator of Treviso, was already married at the time. According to Rolandino’s Chronicle, Bonius and Cunizza left Treviso on a long voyage and returned [after 1239], when the city was held by Alberic. Shortly afterward, Bonius died defending it. WikipediaRolandino.

  27. nimium amorata in eum – L. “too much in love with him.” In these lines, Pound is reproducing Cunizza’s biography from Rolandino’s chronicle (Chabaneau 108). See also OCCEP VI: nn.31-35.

  28. light of this star – I. “il lume d’esta stella” (Par 9: 33). Part of Cunizza’s reply to Dante when he meets her in paradise. She had followed the light of love in her lifetime and had no regrets, nor did she have any hope that the vulgar crowd would understand (would make the difference between love and the irresponsibility of mere lust). Like all figures that are placed in the orbit of Venus, Cunizza is herself bathed in light, the glow of happiness (Par 8: ll.52-55). However, like Sordello, she thinks of her country even in death and Dante presents her as a mirror of his (political and moral) thoughts. See by contrast Arnaut Daniel’s pain in Purgatory: as a punishment for lust, he is immersed in fire and overcome by suffering. See also nn. 17 and 39. Cunizza in Paradise.

  29. Juventus – L. “youth; young man.” Reference to Richard Wever’s 16th century play Lusty Juventus, an allegorical morality tale of the disorientation and temptations of youth.

    “Its protagonist, the eponymous Lusty Juventus (Youth), appears in a ‘fallen’ condition, given over entirely to play and pastime. An encounter with Good Counsel shows him the error of his ways, but as soon as he has declared his intention never to depart from Counsel’s company (nor, implicitly, from his teaching), the Devil appears and commands his son Hypocrisy to befriend and corrupt Juventus. Hypocrisy does so with relish, introducing Juventus to dicing, gaming, swearing, and to the whore Abominable Living—but despite Juventus’ delight in this new company, a second encounter with Good Counsel brings about his renewed repentance. The interlude ends with a sermon on God’s grace by the aptly named God’s Promises, and with a prayer for the King and his council” (Griffiths 262).

    The identification with the “lusty Juventus” of Wever’s play was made by Guy Davenport, who went on to comment:    
    “Pound has modernized the plight of wayward and confused youth, leaving him with all the medieval possibilities for moral deterioration but taking away from him any saving grace. […] He is diligent to be the replica of somebody and easily feels matter to be the lightest of things. This jauntiness, however, is futile. The youth’s imaginary Icarus-like flights are acted out in a world of funeral directors, senior elders, ‘the village wit’ and retired clergymen. Pound is manipulating a subject which Joyce, Wolfe, Samuel Butler, and many another twentieth-century novelist has exploited, the collision of youthful hopes and plans with social boundaries and rigidities” (Cities on Hills 244-45).

    Forrest Read advanced the hypothesis that Juventus is a pseudonym of W.B. Yeats with his “visionary Platonism” (Read 192). See also other identifications in Pestell 240.

  30. Passing into the… making the replica – In A Vision (version A published in 1925, and version B in 1937), Yeats divides history into 2000-year periods, which are symbolised by two interlocking cones. KD

  31. o-hon dit… vi’-a-ge  – Fr. “ce qu’on dit au village” (“what they say in the village.”)

  32. ephèbe – Fr. “handsome young man.”

  33. djassban – jazz band. KD

  34. nuvoletta – I. “little cloud.” Title of an early translation made by Pound of a ballad in Dante Alighieri’s Canzoniere. Its first line is “Deh nuvoletta, che’n ombra d’Amore” (“Ah, little cloud that in the shade of love”). See Pound’s translation (Canzoni (1911); PT 149). See poem in sources. Dante’s Canzoniere.

  35. Wein, Weib, – G. “wine, woman, [“und Gesang” (“and song”)].

  36. TAN AOIDAN – Gr. (Doric dialect) “song.”

  37. Ailas e que’m fau … vuelh – Pr. “Alas, what good are my eyes/ For they’re not seeing what I want” (XXX in Lollis 196). Refrain of Sordello’s poem “Er, quan renovella e gensa” (“Now when summer renews and gentles”). See Sordello: Ailas. “The medieval Provençal passage from Sordello, whom Dante placed in Purgatorio, captures the ethos of courtly love, with its emphasis, even reliance on absence. The male poet needs to be distanced from the female beloved in order to transform and refine erotic desire into poetic utterance” (Dennis 1999: 278).

  38. nel ventre tuo, o nella mente mia – I. “in your womb, or in my mind.”

  39. Faziamo tutte le due – I. “Let us do it together.”

  40. Des valeurs… valeurs – Fr. “values in God’s name, and again values.”

  41. Arnaut - pseudonym for T. S. Eliot who made this sudden confession to Pound while they were together in Excideuil Castle on a holiday in August 1919.

    Dante showed Arnaut Daniel, a poet he deeply admired, climbing up the mountain of Purgatory on the terrace of the lustful, burning in expiation for the fire of lust that he had felt and sung about in his poems during his lifetime. Some of Arnaut’s poems used to refer to sex in a coded manner: as a translator of Arnaut Daniel’s entire oeuvre, Pound, like Dante, knew them well. See the allusions to Arnaut’s poem “Lo ferm voler” in canto VI. See OCCEP VI: n.11.       

    The context of the whole canto suggests that Pound calls Eliot “Arnaut” because his friend’s fear of the afterlife has the same source. Around 1917-1919, Eliot may have felt that sexual desire was destroying his life and defiling him with a sin he was not able to purge: he had written about the connection between lust and death in “Whispers of Immortality,” just before coming to Excideuil (Schuchard 119-25). Like Arnaut, Eliot was writing bawdy verse, but instead of disguising it in allegorical code, he simply circulated it privately among friends. As Carol Seymour Jones wrote, sex became Eliot’s personal synonym for sin: “Sex attracts and repels, its urgency creating in the poet the same engulfing horror that he feels he, like Kurtz, deserves for breaking moral rules” (315). Between 1919, when he confessed his fear to Pound and the writing of the canto ten years later, Eliot took steps to purge sex out of his life, by taking an oath of chastity in 1928 (Query 357).     

    See also other notes on Arnaut Daniel in The CantosOCCEP TC I: n.12IV: n. 20VI: n.11VII: 34-35, XX: nn.9-14.

    arena di verona under the wall

  42. arena/ (les gradins) – allusion to the arena of Verona, a recurrent motif in the cantos. Pound met Eliot again in Verona in June 1922. They sat together “under the wall” in the arena and watched a comedy together. See OCCEP IV: n. 42;

  43. them – There is no agreement among scholars on what “them” might be referring to. For Kenner, “them” alludes to Eliot’s verses (Pound Era 337). For Barbara Will, “them” refers to Christians more generally. See Will 139.        

    By close juxtaposition, Pound’s outburst in Verona looks like a belated reply to Eliot’s confession and a profession of personal Confucian philosophy: “And Kung gave the words “order” / and “brotherly deference”/ And said nothing of the “life after death” (Canto XIII: ll. 52—4).

  44. nondum orto jubare – L. “light not yet risen.”             

    Fragment of the first line of what is considered to be the oldest Provençal alba (dawn song), written in Latin couplets and refrain in Provençal in the tenth century. Pound declared this poem was the beginning of Romance literature (SR 11). 

    The full line is “Phebi claro nondum orto jubare.” The missing words (“Phebi claro,” “Phoebus radiant”) are developed in the lines that follow.       A version of this poem in pre-Raphaelite style happens to be Pound’s oldest publication. His translation, called “Belangal Alba” (“bilingual dawn song”) was published in Hamilton Literary Magazine on 9 May 1905 (P&P I: 4). Pound republished it in Personae (1909) under the title Alba Belingalis (PT 94-5). See poem.

  45. tower, ivory, the clear sky – musical variation of lines in canto XXI:

    Phoibos, turris eburnea,

    ivory against cobalt,   

    And the boughs cut on the air,

    The leaves cut on the air,

    The hounds on the green slope by the hill, 

    water still black in the shadow. (XXI: ll.123-28)

  46. Phoibos – L. Phoebus; H. Apollo, the god of light, brother to Artemis.

  47. Helios – H. the god of the sun.

  48. 1550 Meister der Schule von Fontainebleau Diana the Huntresswhite hounds on the slope – image pertaining to the symbols of Artemis, the goddess of the hunt. See also cantos XVII, XXI and XXX.

    With the first pale-clear of the heaven

    And the cities set in their hills,

    And the goddess of the fair knees

    Moving there, with the oak-woods behind her,

    The green slope, with white hounds

    leaping about her;

    And thence down to the creek's mouth, until evening,

    Flat water before me, 

    and the trees growing in water,

    Marble trunks out of stillness (XVII: ll.9-16)

  49. prore – prow of a boat or ship.

    Similar to cantos XXI and XVII, the eye moves from the classical pastoral to Venice, which Pound compares to a forest of stone. 

Cantos in periodicals

A Draft of XXX Cantos

A Draft of the Cantos 17-27

Eleven New Cantos

rsz guido cavalcanti

The Fifth Decad

rsz toscana siena3 tango7174