confucius statue



“Plato’s Republic notwithstanding, the greek philosophers did not feel communal responsibilities vide infra. The sense of coordination, of the individual in a milieu is not in them.

Any more than there is a sense of social order in the teachings of the irresponsible protagonist of the New Testament. The Anschauung of an individual of, or among, a dominated race, however admirable from some aspects, is not the Anschauung of man who has held responsible office.

Rome was the responsible ruler. The concentration and emphasis on eternity is not social. The sense of responsibility the need for coordination of individuals expressed in Kung’s teaching differs radically both from early Christian absolutism and from the maritime adventure morals of Odysseus or the loose talk of argumentative greeks.”

Ezra Pound. Guide to Kulchur 38.



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.

In–text references

(Contributor name, OCCEP IV:

Example: (Bressan, OCCEP IV: n.3). If no name is indicated, the gloss or translation 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(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 XIII, 16 April 2017.




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


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


Confucius. Doctrine de Confucius: Les Quatre livres de philosophie morale et politique de la Chine. Tr. M. G. Pauthier. Paris 1814.


Pound, Ezra. Selected Prose, 1909-1965. Ed. William Cookson. New York: New Directions, 1975.


[Confucius]. Ta Hio. The Great Learning. Newly rendered into the American Language by Ezra Pound. [1928] London: Stanley Nott, 1936.


Pound, Ezra. “Mr. Villerant’s Morning Outburst.” [3rd letter]. Little Review V.7 (November 1918): 7-12. P&P III: 221-223; Pavannes & Divagations 72-73.


Romanization of Chinese names

Pound followed the romanization of names and Chinese terms provided by his sources (Cheadle 7), whereas newer research on both Confucian works and Pound’s translations has followed the pinyin system (Cheadle, Lan, Chin). The Cantos Project will therefore follow the practice of including the Chinese word first in the romanization Pound used, and then in pinyin, in square brackets. For canto XIII, Pound uses the French romanization which he found in his source: Doctrine de Confucius: Les Quatre livres de philosophie morale et politique de la Chine. Traduite par M. G. Pauthier. Paris 1814. Pdf.

The information about Confucius’ disciples is taken from Annping Chin’s Appendix and Commentary to her translation of The Analects (Penguin 2014) and Robert Eno’s online translation of The Analects.


  1. Kung walked – Kong Qiu (551-479), L. Confucius - Chinese philosopher, also referred to as Kong Fu-Tzu (Master Kong). In this four-line preamble, Pound shows Kung’s teaching method to be similar to that of the Greek philosophsers also called the Peripatetics, from Socrates to Aristotle: his practice consists in dialogues with students while walking from the temple, to the grove and the river. Pound would later develop the comparison in Guide to Kulchur, which he starts with Kung’s Analects and ends with Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.

    Traditionally, it is assumed that Kung did not converse with his students while walking, but taught in an apricot orchard, or under an apricot tree, now commemorated by a pavilion in the Confucius Temple in Qufu. See also the end of the canto.

  2. Khieu, Tchi and Tian – three of Kung’s disciples. Their names are a source of uncertainty about what exactly is happening in the scene Pound presents. Pound does not mention a fourth disciple, Tseu-lou; then he introduces a mysterious Thseng-sie in line 27, making it unclear for the reader how many disciples were actually present. There seem to be four answers to five disciples, or at least one disciple who gives no answer.

    Kung’s disciples had at least two names: one personal name, made up of the family and first name; and a “courtesy” name, given at puberty and used in formal settings (Eno viii). Kung addresses his disciples by their first names: as their teacher, he has a paternal relationship to them. However, since The Analects were written by the disciples themselves after Kung’s death, they use both the first and the courtesy name of a person, often in the same paragraph.

    When Pauthier writes: “Tseu-lou, Tseng-sie, Yan-yeou, Kong-si-hoa, étaient assis aux côtés du Philosophe,” he uses the courtesy names for every disciple and Pound initially (1918) translated faithfully: “Tseu-lou, Thseng-sie, Yan-yeou, and Kong-si-hoa were seated beside the Philosopher” (V 222). However, Pound assigned the answers to the names incorrectly, since he assumed they were given in the same order. He did not know who Thseng-Sie was, commenting: “presumably the Rodyheaver, or potential Xtn convert of the company.” This might be the reason why in the canto, Pound cuts Pauthier’s introduction, sticking with the safe terrain of Khieu, Tchi and Tian and letting “Thseng-sie” appear mysteriously after the answers had been given. Thseng-Sie is Tian’s courtesy name.

  3. we are unknown – though Pound scholarship has viewed this canto as an early corner of paradise in the poem, it is important to point out that happiness is not what Confucius feels. Rather, the interaction with his students is the only relief from a life of frustrated idealism and thwarted ambition. Confucius lives in the period of the Warring states, a far cry from the order of the Chou [Zhou] dynasty, whose values he is trying to keep alive. He feels that his knowledge and skills are neglected and overlooked – the meaning of his life, as he perceives it, is to put his moral ideas to political use. The question he puts to his students expresses his own dream of a life where he would be in a position to change the world, a fulfilment that would elude him until his death.

    “Demeurant à l’écart et dans l’isolement, alors vous dites: Nous ne sommes pas connus. Si quelq'un vous connaissait, alors que feriez-vous?” (Entretiens 11.25; Pauthier 140) 
    [“we sit apart and in solitude, we are unrecognized, but if someone should recognize you, what would you do about it?”] (V 222)

  4. charioteering – charioteering and archery were two of the six arts forming the curriculum of the Chinese gentleman in Confucius’ time. The other four disciplines were the rites, music, calligraphy and mathematics. Pound interpolates here a passage from Analects 9.2 (Entretiens 9.2; Pauthier 121).

    “Un homme du village de Ta-hiang dit: Que KHOUNG-TSEU est grand! cependant ce n’est pas son vaste savoir qui a fait sa renommée.
    Le Philosophe ayant entendu ces paroles, interpella ses disciples en leur disant: Que dois-je entreprendre de faire? Prendrai-je l’état de voiturier? ou apprendrai je celui d’archer? Je serai voiturier.
    [“A man from the village of Ta-hiang said: ‘How great is Confucius! But it is not his vast knowledge that has made his reputation.’ Having heard these words, the philosopher interpellated his disciples by saying to them: ‘What am I supposed to do? Take up charioteering? Or learn to be an archer? I’ll be a charioteer.”

    Charioteering was considered the humblest of the six gentlemanly arts (Chin 130). 

  5. public speaking – detail introduced by Pound to bring a Western flavour to the canto: athletics and public speeches were ways in which a man could become a celebrity in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds.
  6. Tseu-lou – [Zilu], courtesy name of Zhong Yóu. The fourth disciple, whom Pound does not mention with the others, is the first to respond to Kung’s question. Though Tseu-Lou is not the disciple Kung admires most, he appears the most often in The Analects (Chin 354).

    “You, or Zilu was a disciple and political ally of Confucius before the latter was forced to leave Lu. Only nine years younger than his teacher, Zilu was known for his bravery and loyalty. But he was also quick to take offense and quick to act” (Chin 20).

  7. defences in order – This is Pound’s creative interpretation of Tseu-lou’s answer, based on other appearances of this disciple in The Analects, particularly in 5.8. Here Pound is interested in giving Tseu-lou a definite character, that of a military strategist.
    Pauthier’s text is more vague as to Tseu-lou’s solutions for a kingdom; in the canto, Pound also departs from his own earlier prose translation given below:
    “Supposé un royaume de dix mille chars de guerre, pressé entre d’autres grands royaumes, ajoutez même par des armées nombreuses, et avec cela il souffre de la disette et de la famine; que Yeou (Tseu-lou) soit préposé à son administration, en moins de trois années je pourrais faire en sorte que le peuple de ce royaume reprît un courage viril, et qu’il connût sa condition” (Entretiens 11.25, Pauthier 140-41).
    [“Let us imagine a kingdom of ten thousand war-chariots, stuffed in between other kingdoms, let them be full of levies, let the first kingdom suffer death and famine should your friend (Little Tseu-lou) be set in power, he would put things right in less than three years, the people would put on their courage”] (V 222). 

  8. Khieu – [personal name: Ran You, courtesy name: Ran Qiu]. In the same vein, Pound pinpoints Khieu as the administrator, by condensing and focusing his answer. See also Analects 5.8 for Confucius’ trust in Khieu’s administrative capabilities.
    “Supposé une province de soixante ou de soixante-dix li d’étendue, ou même de cinquante ou de soixante li, et que Khieou soit préposé à son administration, en moins de trois ans je pourrais faire en sorte que le peuple eût le suffisant. Quant aux rites et à la musique, j’en confierais l’enseignement à un homme supérieur” (Entretiens 11.25; P 141).
    [“Let us imagine a province of sixty or seventy li or even of fifty to sixty li, put me in charge of it and in less than three years the people will have enough, and I will put the instruction in rites and in music in charge of an exceptional man”] (V 222).
  9. Tchi – [Gongxi Chi; courtesy name Gongxi Hua]. Though in Analects 5.8, Tchi appears as the ideal religious bureaucrat in charge of court rituals, Pound shows him here rather as a hermit and a monk.   
    “Je ne dirai pas que je puis faire ces choses; je désire étudier. Lorsque se font les cérémonies du temple des ancêtres, et qu’ont lieu de grandes assemblées publiques, revêtu de ma robe d’azur et des autres vêtements propres à un tel lieu et à de telles cérémonies, je voudrais y prendre part en qualité d’humble fonctionnaire (Entretiens 11.25; P 141).
    [“I should much rather study. I should be happy in wearing the cobalt robes of an acolyte in the great ceremonies at the Temple of Ancestors, or in the public processions”] (V 222).
  10. Tian – [Zeng Dian; courtesy name, Zeng Xi] (546-?), is the dreamer and musician: Pound outlines here a portrait of the artist. The poet condenses Tian’s answer, making it more definite than his earlier literal translation:
    “Le printemps n’étant plus, ma robe de printemps mise de côté, mais coiffé du bonnet de virilité, accompagné de cinq ou six hommes, et de six ou sept jeunes gens, j’aimerais à aller me baigner dans les eaux de l’Y, à aller prendre le frais dans ces lieux touffus où l’on offre les sacrifices au ciel pour demander la pluie, moduler quelques airs, et retourner ensuite à ma demeure” (Entretiens 11.25; P 141).
    “The spring being passed over and my spring clothes put in the chest, and wearing the bonnet de virilité* with five or six men and a half dozen young chaps, I should like to go to the old swimming hole on the Y (near Kou village), and feel the wind in that country where they offer rain-sacrifice in the summer; and sing a little, and make a few tunes, and then go back to my homestead” (V 223).
  11. smiled upon all of them equally – In the original text, when Kung hears Tian’s answer, he sighs and says he agrees with him. In saying that Kung accepts all the students’ answers equally, Pound departs from The Analects, in keeping with his ideas expressed in “Provincialism the Enemy” (1917), where he emphasized the respect that Kung had for the students’ individuality and diversity. It also illustrates Pound’s own placing of the arts as equally important to society as government and spirituality. Provincialism.
  12. Thseng–Sie – [Zeng Xi] Tian’s courtesy name, see n. 10. Tian is important not only because of his answer in this instance, but also because he is the father of Thseng-tseu (Pauthier n.2 140). Thseng, (Zengzi, 505-435 BC), was the first editor of the Ta Hio and wrote a commentary to it. He was the tutor of Kung’s grandson, Kong Ji [Zisi] who in turn was the teacher of Mencius. Tian is a key disciple insuring the transmission of Kung’s teaching to posterity.
  13. each in his nature – Pound’s Emersonian spin on Kung’s statement as translated by Pauthier:
    “Le Philosophe dit: chacun a exprimé son opinion; et voilà tout” (Entretiens 11.25; P 142).
    Pound shifted from “opinion” to “temperament” in his prose version:
    [“Each one has expressed his own temperament. That is the end of the matter”] (V 223).
    This shift may be considered the transition to the excerpt from the Ta Hio, further below, where the discovery and disciplining of one’s nature is paramount.
  14. Yuan Jang… respect – In these lines, Pound conflates and comments on The Analects 14.43, which introduces Yuan Jang, and 9.23, with which 14.23 has a few elements in common, namely Confucius’s respect for a child’s faculties and contempt for the adult who fails to develop them. Pound introduces the vivid pragmatic injunctions, “pretending to be receiving wisdom” and “Get up and do something useful.”
    “Youan-jang (un ancien ami du Philosophe), plus âgé que lui, était assis sur le chemin les jambes croisées. Le Philosophe lui dit: ‘Etant enfant, n'avoir pas eu de déférence fraternelle; dans l'âge mûr, n'avoir rien fait de louable; parvenu à la vieillesse, ne pas mourir: c'est être un vaurien.’ Et il frappa les jambes avec son baton (pour le faire lever)” (Entretiens 14.46; Pauthier 169).
    [“Yuan Rang, (an old friend of the philosopher), who was older than he, sat cross-legged in the road. The Master said to him, ‘As a child not to have fraternal deference; as an adult not to have done anything praiseworthy; as an old man not to die: this is what I call worthless.’ He then rapped Yuan Rang’s legs with his stick (to make his stand up)”] (Analects 14.43).
  15. respect a child’s faculties – By quoting Confucius here, Pound suggests that the person worthy of respect is not an elder, or a person of authority and power, but rather someone whose nature is uncorrupted, who does something useful, and stands firm in the middle (Cheadle 21-22).
    “Le Philosophe dit: ‘Dès l'instant qu’un enfant est né, il faut respecter ses facultés; la science qui lui viendra par la suite, ne ressemble en rien à son état présent. S’il arrive à l'âge de quarante ou de cinquante ans sans avoir rien appris, il n’est plus digne d’aucun respect’” (Entretiens 9.22; Pauthier 125).
    [“The Master said: ‘From the time a child is born, we must respect his faculties; knowledge will come later, and will look like nothing as in the present state. If he arrives at the age of forty of fifty without having learned anything, he will not be worthy of any respect’”] (Analects 9.23).
  16. riches will be fully employed – this comment translated from Tchoung Young, (“Doctrine of the Mean”), rhymes with Malatesta’s patronage of humanists, architects and painters at his court (Kenner 446).
    “dès l'instant qu'il aura attiré près de lui tous les savants et les artistes, aussitôt ses richesses seront suffisamment mises en usage” (Tchoung Young 20.12; P 51)
  17. order within him – Inspired by the Ta Hio (“The Great Learning”) 1.4-5. We may notice that Pound leaves out I.4, which delineates the external movement starting from governing the state, to ordering the family, to wishing to order oneself. He relies of I.5, which starts from the individual sincere introspection back to ordering the family, and then the state on the basis of self-knowledge. Pound thus emphasizes individual introspection as the basis of order, stating that once sincere self-knowledge creates calm and order within oneself, it would irradiate outwards to family and state. He declared in his note “Prolegomena” (1927): “The principle of good is enunciated by Confucius; it consists in establishing order within oneself. This order or harmony spreads by a sort of contagion without specific effort” (SP 216). When T. S. Eliot asked in his review of Pound’s Personae: “What does Mr. Pound believe?” (Erkilla 169), Pound answered: “I believe the Ta Hio” (“Dateline” 1934 in LE) with specific reference to this passage.
    Zhaoming Qian points out that Pound uses the word “order” six times compared to his source which uses the word only twice (Modernist Response 61). The classic source uses analogous expressions which Pauthier translated as “corriger,” “diriger,” or “gouverner,” and which Pound adopts in his prose translation of the Ta Hio. By contrast, through overusing the term “order” in the canto, Pound emphasizes its importance both for Kung’s moral and political system and his own beliefs.

    “I.4 Les anciens princes qui désiraient développer et remettre en lumière, dans leurs Etats, le principe lumineux de la raison que nous recevons du ciel, s'attachaient auparavant à bien gouverner leurs royaumes; ceux qui désiraient bien gouverner leurs royaumes, s’attachaient auparavant à mettre le bon ordre dans leurs familles; ceux qui désiraient mettre le bon ordre dans leurs familles, s’attachaient auparavant à se corriger eux-mêmes;
    I.5 [...] l'âme étant pénétrée de probité et de droiture, la personne est ensuite corrigée et améliorée; la personne étant corrigée et améliorée, la famille est ensuite bien dirigée; la famille étant bien dirigée, le royaume est ensuite bien gouverné.” (Le Ta Hio ou La Grande Étude 1.4 P 2-3)
    [“The ancient princes who wished to develop and make apparent, in their states, the luminous principle of reason which we receive from the sky, set themselves first to govern well their kingdoms; those who wished to govern their kingdoms well, began by keeping their own families in order; those who wished good order in their families, began by correcting themselves; those who wished to correct themselves tried first to attain rectitude of spirit; those who desired this rectitude of spirit, tried first to make their intentions pure and sincere; those who desired to render their intentions pure and sincere, attempted first to perfect their moral intelligence; the making as perfect as possible, that is the giving fullest scope to the moral intelligence (or the acquaintance with morals), consists in penetrating and getting to the bottom of the principles (motivations) of actions” [...] the soul suffused with probity and rectitude, the person is then corrected and ameliorated; the (person) manners being corrected and bettered, one's family is then well directed; the family being well directed, the kingdom is then well governed] TH 8.
  18. brotherly deference – Key Confucian concept which Pound sees as a counterpoint to the Christian “love thy neighbour.” In “Prolegomena” he points out that the latter is noble, but gives no safeguards against intrusion into private affairs and fanaticism. “Deference” implies respect for the other’s private sphere (SP 216).
    “La piété filiale, la déférence fraternelle, dont nous avons parlé, ne sont-elles pas le principe fondamental de l'humanité, ou de la bienveillance universelle pour les hommes?” (Entretiens 1.2; P 75).
    “The filial piety and the fraternal deference which we have talked about, aren’t they the fundamental principle of humanness, or of the universal benevolence towards mankind?” (Analects 1.2).
  19. firm in the middle – “tchoung young” [zhongyong]. Confucius’s remark in The Analects about firmness in the middle was taken up and commented on by his grandson, Kong Ji, in a book bearing this title which was included in the canon of the four Confucian classics by Chu Hsi [Zhu Xi]. The principle was variously translated as Invariabilité dans le Milieu (G. M. Pauthier), Doctrine of the Mean (Burton Watson), The Constant Mean (James Legge), or The Middle Way (A. Waley). Pound’s translation of zhongyong is “L’Asse che non vacilla” (Italian, 1944) and “The Unwobbling Pivot” (1947). See also lines 42-43 for a passage from the book.

    “Le Philosophe dit: ‘L'invariabilité dans le milieu est ce qui constitue la vertu; n'en est-ce pas le faîte même? Les hommes rarement y persévèrent’” (Entretiens 6.27; P 108).
    [“The Master said: ‘Steadfastness in the middle is what constitutes virtue; isn’t that the topmost achievement itself? Men rarely persevere in it’”] (Analects 6.29)
  20. commit murder – Pound emphasizes Kung as a potential rebel against state authority by setting up personal and family loyalties above it. He also gives it an American nuance by saying “commit murder” as against a mere theft of a sheep.

    Ye-kong, s’entretenant avec KHOUNG-TSEU, dit: “Dans mon village, il y a un homme d’une droiture et d’une sincérité parfaites; son père ayant volé un mouton, le fils porta témoignage contre lui.”
    KHOUNG-TSEU dit: “Les hommes sincères et droits de mon lieu natal diffèrent beaucoup de celui-là: le père cache les fautes de son fils, le fils cache les fautes de son père. La droiture et la sincérité existent dans cette conduite” (Entretiens 13.18; P 156).
    [“In a conversation with Confucius Ye-Kong said: ‘In my village there is a man of perfect uprightness and sincerity; his father stole a sheep and the son bore witness against him.’
    Confucius said: ‘Sincere and upright men from my native land differ greatly from this man; the father hides the faults of his son, and the son hides the faults of his father. There is uprightness and sincerity in this behaviour’”] (Analects 13.18).
  21. Kong-Tchang – [Gongye Chang], one of Confucius’ disciples. According to early sources, his particular gift was understanding the language of birds. From them, he got sensitive information that landed him in prison (Chin 58-59).

    “Le Philosophe dit que Kong-tchi-tchang (un de ses disciples) pouvait se marier, quoiqu’il fût dans les prisons, parce qu’il n'était pas criminel; et il se maria avec la fille du Philosophe” (Entretiens 5.1; Pauthier 96).
    [“The Master said of Kong-tchi-tchang (one of his disciples) that he could marry even though he was in prison, because he was not criminal; and he married the philosopher’s daughter”] (Analects 5.1).
  22. Nan-Young – [Nan Rong], one of Confucius’s disciples. He also appears in Analects 11.6, where he is shown to recite Ode 256 about the white jade tablet: “A blemish in a white jade tablet/ Can be polished away; / A mistake in these words/ Can never be mended.” It is possible that Nan Young’s care for words made him suitable for civil service in a moral government and kept him safe from execution in an immoral one (Chin 59, 163-64).

    “Le Philosophe dit à Nan-young (un de ses disciples) que, si le royaume était gouverné selon les principes de la droite raison, il ne serait pas repoussé des emplois publics; que si, au contraire, il n'était pas gouverné par les principes de la droite raison, il ne subirait aucun châtiment : et il le maria avec la fille de son frère aîné” (Entretiens 5.1; P 96).
    [“The Master said to Nan-young (one of his disciples) that if the kingdom were governed according to the principles of right reason, he would not be refused public employment; but if by contrast, it was not ruled by the principle of right reason, he would not be subjected to any punishment: he gave him the daughter of his older brother for a wife”] (Analects 5.2).
  23. Wang – possible reference to the reign of Wu Wang (?-1063 BC), the first Emperor of the Chou [Zhou] dynasty. Wu Wang won the battle of Mou Ye against the previous dynasty, the corrupt Shang, in 1046 BC. He is referred to again in Canto LIII/267.

    “Ngaï-koung interrogea KHOUNG-TSEU sur les principes constitutifs d’un bon gouvernement. Le Philosophe dit: ‘Les lois gouvernementales des rois Wen et Wou sont consignées tout entières sur les tablettes de bambou. Si leurs ministres existaient encore, alors leurs lois administratives seraient en vigueur; leurs ministres ont cessé d'être, et leurs principes pour bien gouverner ne sont plus suivis’” (Tchoung Young 20.1-2; Pauthier 48).
    [“Ngai-koung asked Confucius about the constitutive principles of a good government. The philosopher said: ‘The government laws of the kings Wen and Wu are all written on bamboo tablets. If their ministers still existed, their administrative laws would still be valid; their ministers have ceased to exist, and their principles of good government are not followed anymore’”] (Zhongyong 20.1-2).
  24. blanks in their writings – leaving a blank for the things one does not know is a validation of Pound’s poetics of the historical fragment in the Cantos.
    “Le Philosophe dit: J’ai presque vu le jour où l’historien de l'empire laissait des lacunes dans ses récits (quand il n'était pas sûr des faits); où celui qui possédait un cheval, le prêtait aux autres pour le monter; maintenant ces moeurs sont perdues” (Entretiens 15.25; P 175).
    [“The philosopher said: ‘I am old enough to have seen the day when the historian of the empire left blanks in his story (when he was not sure of the facts); or when the man who had a horse lent it to others to mount it; now these customs are lost’”] (Analects 15.26).
  25. without character – This is Pound’s first translation of the fundamental Confucian principle of ren (“humaneness”). Pound thus assimilates it to his earlier terms, “virtú” and “nature.”
    “Le Philosophe dit: ‘Être homme, et ne pas pratiquer les vertus que comporte l'humanité, comment serait-ce se conformer aux rites? Être homme, et ne pas posséder les vertus que comportent l'humanité, comment jouerait-on dignement de la musique?’” (Entretiens 3.3; P 85)
    [“The master said: ‘Being human and yet not practising the virtues of humaneness, how can one conform to the rites? Being a man and not possessing the virtues of humaneness how can he play music with dignity?’”] (Analects 3.3;)
  26. rsz 1800px confuciustempleapricotplatformOdes – The Book of Odes [Shijing] contains the oldest collection of poetry in Chinese literature. It is also referred to as The Fifth Classic. The philosopher gave the odes great importance in the refinement of understanding and made them a pillar of education, in combination with the rites and music. As narrated in Analects 8.8, Confucius says “The Odes are to stimulate [our mind and spirit]. The rites are to steady us. Music is the final lesson” (Chin 121).

    Pound mentioned the Odes in his rendering of Analects 16.13 in Guide to Kulchur (1938; GK 232) and translated them at St. Elizabeths, publishing them under the title The Classic Anthology Defined by Confucius (1954). By 1923, when he finished the present canto, he already owned a Latin translation of the Odes made by Alexandre de Lacharme.

  27. blossoms of the apricot – The blossoms of the apricot are Kung’s teachings which Pound is trying to keep moving from east to west and not let “fall to the ground” i.e. be forgotten. Kung is believed to have taught under an apricot tree, or in an apricot orchard. The place is now commemorated by The Apricot Pavilion erected in the courtyard in front of the Hall of Perfection in the Confucius Temple in Qufu (C n.32; Lan 3; Palandri 301; see also n.1).

    Cheadle pointed out that Pound may have obliquely referred to The Analects 19.22, where we find: “The way of King Wen and King Wu has not yet fallen to the ground. It exists in all human beings. The worthy ones have grasped its essential points” (Analects 19.22; Chin 319; Cheadle 22).


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