On 7 September 1936, Pound wrote to his wife Dorothy in London that he “did frame for a fourth this a.m.” Canto 50 was a “fourth” because it continued from the Siena Cantos (42-43-44). Just five days earlier he had written to James Laughlin that he finished canto 44 leading to the battle of Marengo (1800). Pound spent August 1936 in Siena and went to Venice on 2 September to spend time with Olga Rudge and his daughter Mary. When he returned to Rapallo, presumably on 22 October when Dorothy herself returned from London (EPP 211), the canto was ready, since he left a copy of the typescript with Olga. These dates suggest that the canto was written between 2 September and 22 October 1936.



Correspondence by Ezra Pound: (c) Mary de Rachewiltz and the Estate of Omar S. Pound. Reproduced by permission.




Moody, A. David. Ezra Pound: Poet. Vol. II: The Epic Years, 1921-1939. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014.


Pound/Ford. The Story of a Literary Friendship. Ed. Brita Lindberg-Seyersted. London: Faber & Faber, 1982.


Pound/Laughlin. Selected Letters. Ed. David M. Gordon. New York: Norton, 1994.


Malm, Mike. Editing Economic History. Ezra Pound’s The Fifth Decad of Cantos. New York: Peter Lang, 2005.


Taylor, Richard. “Editing the Variorum Cantos: Process and Policy.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 31.1-3 (2002): 311-34. [References in square brackets by Taylor in text.]


Beinecke Library. Olga Rudge Papers YCAL MSS 54 Box no/Folder no



To Dorothy Pound, 20 August 1936, Siena

Var 314

for once a decent english politician [Palmerston] that don’t turn one’s stummuck

been twice a day on damn HARD Liberry seat: stuffing Tuscan hist 1765 - onward


To James Laughlin, 2 September 1936

J/JL 64; Var 315; Malm 279

I have done canto carrying on to Marengo.

Note. This should be canto 44.


To Dorothy Pound, [7 September 1936] 

Var 315; EPP 210

will put that copy of canto in shape soon – did frame for a fourth this a.m. but must let that one set/ don’t want it thinner than the other three.

Note fourth: Pound drafted canto 50 following the Siena cantos 42-44 in early September 1936. Since 2 September he had been in Venice with Mary and Olga (EPP 209).


To Ford Madox Ford, 11 September 1936

L/FMF 141

My dear ole Freiherr von Grumpus ZU und VON Bieberstein


Waaal I have just knocked off three more Cantos on a patch of hizzery wot the woild needz to be told and have a fourth nearly set up. and this time it is Siena. and to hell wiff the saboteurs, especially the bastids in licherary commerce.


To James Laughlin, 17 September 1936

L/JL 65; Var 316; Malm 279



my mind is on concrete things. Have shipped the three Sienese Cantos, and have a fourth pretty well set. but a few hunks of Orient and Adonis cult already drafted must intervene.


To Olga Rudge, 30 October 1936. Anno XIV, Rapallo

YCAL 54, 17/447

Ziao Amure

He has typed out some sort of a draft fer the rest of 42/51. That is he has typed new all except the four he did in Venez [42-44, 50] and the one printed in Nude Emocracy [46].

only he haint got the forza to read it thru YET; but if/when he gits it; he may send on a carbong. an thazatt. 

He izza sumin that with 42/44 and 46 and 50; the rest fit in and FLOW. only he don’t KNOW it yet.


waal he thinks hiz attempt at elucidatin the 42/51 iz about all than can be xxpected of him fer the momeng.


printed in Nude Emocracy – Pound published canto 46 in the American Social Credit journal New Democracy on March 1936.

Pound did send on all the carbons of the Fifth Decad, apart from 50 which he said she had already.


To Olga Rudge,1 November [1936]

Var 317

The carbon she had is simply L=5o I think. The Monte de’ Bue [Paschi] is 42/44 and the 46/ wez in Nude Emocracy [March 1936]· [...] I wrote to Bruce Rogers re/ a de Looks 1/51.



To Benito Mussolini, 12 February 1940 

Zapponi 53



Dieci anni fa ho ricevuto una consegna, non so se fu autentico o apocrifo. La forma era “Dite al Sig. Pound che le sue idee a proposito di Napoleone sono putridi” ovvero fu tradutto quando io l’ho ricevuto. Tell Mr P. his ideas on Napoleon are rotten. Ne ho meditato. E spero di fare amenda avendo fatto tradurre dal Com. U. degli Uberti questo saggio sulla lotta fra Napoleone e la finanza ebraica, appena visto sul British Union Quarterly. Se l’autore non è Gen Fuller no so chi può essere. Mi pare molto chiaro, e credo che la versione merita pubblicazione in Italia. 

[Ten years ago I received a message, I don’t know if authentic or apocryphal as it was translated when I received it. The form was ‘tell Mr Pound his ideas on Napoleon are rotten.’ I have thought about this. I hope to make amends by telling Coomander Uberto degli Uberti to translate an essay about Napoleon’s struggle with Jewish finance that I have just seen published in the British Union Quarterly. If the author is not Gen. Fuller, I don’t know who else it can be. The article seems to me to be very lucid and I think a translation deserves to be published in Italy. ]


A Draft of XXX Cantos

ship4 for c1