palazzo pubblico siena interno

COMPANION TO CANTO LII

 

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. Canto LII, 24 October 2020.

Updated, 29 July 2023.

 

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

C

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

CON

Pound, Ezra. Confucius: The Great Digest / The Unwobbling Pivot/ The Analects. New York: New Directions, 1951.

EPEC

Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound’s Economic Correspondence 1933-1940. Ed. Roxana Preda. Gainesville: U of Florida P, 2007.

EPM

Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound and Music. Ed. Murray Schafer. New York: New Directions, 1977.

HRC

Harry Ransom Research Center, University of Texas at Austin.

L/LZ

Pound/Zukofsky: Selected Letters of Ezra Pound and Louis Zukofsky. Ed. Barry Ahearn. New York: New Directions, 1987.

L/TSE

Eliot, Thomas, Stearns. The Letters of T. S. Eliot. Vol. 9: 1938-1940. London: Faber, 2021.

OCCEP

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

P&P

Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound’s Poetry and Prose Contributions to Periodicals. Eds. Lea Baechler, A. Walton Litz and James Longenbach. 11 vols. New York: Garland, 1990.

RS

Pound, Ezra. “Ezra Pound Speaking”: Radio Speeches of WW II. Ed. Ed. Leonard Doob. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1978. Internet Archive.

SP

Pound, Ezra. The Selected Prose of Ezra Pound, 1909-1965. Ed. William Cookson. New York: New Directions, 1973.

 

  1. 614px Mengs Anton Raphael Pietro Leopoldo dAsburgo Lorena granduca di Toscana 1770 Prado

    Duke Leopold – Peter Leopold of Habsburg-Lorraine (1747-1792) was Grand Duke of Tuscany between 1765 and 1790. During this time, he implemented economic reforms that Pound approved of and listed in cantos 44 and 50 (XLIV: ll.1-13; L: ll.19-44). These reforms were agrarian and financial: The Duke stopped import/export of grain in Tuscany, to help local farmers sell their produce locally; he also established legal maximum of interest at 4%, reduced taxes and the state debt. Like the Monte dei Paschi bank, Peter Leopold’s reforms helped Siena’s agrarian economy and implicitly the welfare of its citizens.
    The Duke’s reforms also rhymed with the official Fascist policy of the Battle of the Grain (1925-1939). The measures included gaining arable land from the marshes in Tuscany and Lazio, putting high tariffs on grain imports and giving incentives to local farmers (improved seeds, machinery, fertilizers) with the objective of creating a self-sufficient wheat production in Italy. This approach reverberated in the development of industry (roads and railroads), urbanization, education and rise in population numbers (Carillo 2, 4).

    In early 1938, Pound recontextualized the Leopoldine reforms in the light of his now openly Fascist politics in the article “The Revolution Betrayed,” published in the British Union Quarterly. The article indicates that Pound understood them to be part of an anti-usury narrative, whose pillars he had already set in the Eleven New Cantos (1934), between Jefferson’s economic principles and Mussolini’s agricultural policy:

    “The revolution betrayed was the revolution born of the Leopoldine reforms in Tuscany, and quite manifest in the Jeffersonian process which culminated with the victories – all too ephemeral – of Andy Jackson and Martin van Buren [the Bank War, see canto 37].
        Before them the Leopoldine reform had evolved into the concept of autarchy, and into a belief that a nation’s GRAIN existed primarily in order that the nation (in the person of each and all of its citizens) should EAT.
        That revolution has been quite dearly betrayed by the generations of Dan Websters, Biddles, Morgans, Baruchs, camouflagers of all shades, Trotskys, Wallaces, Perkinses, the two shoals of Roosevelt’s advisers, organisms like Morgenthau, steeped from the cradle in usurious preconceptions, the pinch-penny aryio-kikes” (P&P VII: 279).

  2. true base of credit … nature – a reference to the Monte dei Paschi, a bank in Siena whose loans were guaranteed by tax revenue off pasture lands outside town. In his “Siena Cantos” (42-44), Pound emphasized that in order for credit (in the form of bank loans) to be plentiful, stable and efficient, it needs to be publicly owned and have a basis or collateral in a renewable natural resource.monte 2

  3. the whole folk behind it – The Monte dei Paschi was a public bank, created by the Siena municipality. In order for the Monte to get permission to make loans against an initial guarantee of 200,000 scudi from the Ducal family in Florence, the Sienese Council had to persuade it that no loss would incur to its members in any circumstance. The collateral of last resort that Siena offered to the Florentine authorities was that if the bank should fail, the income of the whole Sienese community would be proportionally taxed to reimburse the family (XLII: l.85; OCCEP XLII:n.32). As citizens were then in danger of losing their homes, failure was not an option. Pound believed that this foundational responsibility to every citizen, solemnly assumed by city representatives in the Sala del Mappamondo of the Siena town hall before Simone Martini’s image of the Virgin, made the bank a success over centuries. Founded in 1624, the Monte is the oldest, still operating bank in Europe. See cantos 42 and 43. See also Commentary to the Siena Cantos.

  4. 330px Hjalmar Schacht

    Schacht – Horace Greeley Hjalmar Schacht (1877-1970) German economist, banker and politician. During the Weimar Republic, Schacht stopped the post-war hyperinflation in Germany and was appointed President of the Reichsbank (1923-1930) as a result. He continued to serve under Hitler’s government as President of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economics in one, enabling a centralization of financial and economic power under the Nazi state in its boom pre-WWII years (1933-36). Schacht combined Hitler’s economic recovery plan (rearmament, roads and automobiles) with innovative financial instruments to grow state credit and gradually cease payment of the post-Versailles international debt. By 1936, with full employment achieved, Schacht worked for a policy shift and “resisted a further expansion of rearmament, fearing more unproductive investments would exacerbate inflationary pressures while eroding hard-won advantages in the international trade sphere” (Barbieri 157).

    Hitler’s rearmament policy did not slow down, on the contrary. In the course of the next three years, he dislocated Schacht as Minister of Economics and replaced him by Hermann Göring. Whereas Schacht’s policy aimed at “material well-being to be facilitated through a strong international position of power and economic imperialism through formal or informal colonies,” Göring held economics to be a matter of will: inflation could be held down by government pressure and absolute control of prices and wages, […] heavy industry could be kept growing by guaranteeing profits for businessmen, or failing that, outright coercion; and exports could be maximized, by force if necessary” (Barbieri 159-60).

    Schacht was finally dismissed in 1939 and interned at Ravensbrück in 1944. At the Nuremberg trials, he was acquitted (Ickstadt/Hesse 1268).

  5. anno sedici – Year XVI of the Fascist calendar, 28 October 1937 to 27 October 1938. The year covers Pound’s research and writing of the Chinese History Cantos (52-61).

  6. commerciabili beni – It. “marketable goods.” “Commerciabili beni” is in all likelihood Pound’s rather fuzzy translation of “Verbrauchsgüter” (“consumable goods”) referring to a remark that Schacht had made when Hitler visited Rome in May 1938.

    Pound referred to it again two years later, in two articles for The Japan Times:  
    “Hjalmar Schacht made history in 1938: ‘Geld, dem keine Verbrauchsgüter gegenüberstehen, ist ja nichts als bedrucktes Papier.’ Money that isn’t issued against commerciable goods is mere printed paper” (“Letter from Rapallo” Japan Times and Mail VII.2 (12 September 1940) in P&P VIII: 73. See also Sawyer “Neschek” 5-6
    The passage is a testimony of Schacht’s view to which Social Creditors also subscribed, that the issue of money should not be based on gold, but on new production of goods and services.       

  7. deliverable things that are wanted – Pound may have been aware of Schacht’s imaginative banking and creation of MEFO bills, or else have embroidered on what he heard Schacht say in 1938 without knowing details. The important element was that goods, not gold should be the monetary basis for an economy. Schacht’s position supported Pound’s own animus against the liberal view, on which the banking activities of the Rothschild family were based, namely that the monetary mass of an economy is a conglomerate of loans made against gold reserves.  See Sawyer “Neschek” 5-6.

    Schacht was overseeing the issue of state credit and channelling it into improving the material wellbeing of the nation without the borrowing from private banks, as it was being done in the United States by the New Deal. Schacht’s activity was thus in line with Pound’s own views on money-creation and made part of the poet’s anti-usury narrative:
    “Or to put it in formal terms. You can issue valid money against DELIVERABLE goods, and, or, services, UP TO THE AMOUNT that is WANTED. None of the words of this sentence can be omitted without destroying the sense. Note especially: deliverable and wanted. If you issue money against more goods than there is or can be delivered or against stuff that nobody wants, that is inflation. The goods must be deliverable AND wanted. Anything short of that is just fake inflation, or inadequate issue” (Pound “Inexcusable Darkness” P&P VII: 357).

  8. neschek is against this – Heb. “usury.” 
    “Neschek” was forbidden to the Jews in the Old Testament: see passages in Exodus 22: 25; Leviticus 25: 35-37; and Deuteronomy 23: 19-20. However, lending at interest to a foreigner was permitted (Issler 2017). See also Louis Zukofsky’s letter to Pound of 11 July 1936, in which he explains the concept and its correlation to “‘biting’ (like a snake’s bite)” L/LZ 182-4. See also Sawyer “Neschek,” for detail and reverberations of the concept in canto 52.

    Pound implies, as he did in canto 45, that usury harms the production of goods, because usurious lending (at an interest higher than 5.5-8%, as Pound specified in his letter to Henry Swabey (26 March 1936) is a tax on production without regard to its success. When a product is sold, the price contains payments on interest and loans; when it is not sold, or cannot be produced, the debtor still has to repay his creditor, who has a claim on his investment no matter what happens to the producer. See canto 45.

  9. Vivante – Leone Vivante (1887-1970), Italian philosopher and critic from Siena with whom Pound had a brief acquaintance. On one occasion, when he and Olga were at Vivante’s house for lunch, Pound witnessed the appeal of a farmer who asked for help as her son had been drafted to fight in the Spanish civil war.

    “Pound paints an ironic portrait of an Italian gentleman farmer out of touch with political reality, a romantic living in a timeless, scenic ‘paradise,’ but also living in the past, as ‘the tower half ruin’d’ suggests. Pound was entirely in favor of Mussolini's military adventures in both Abyssinia and Spain. For the poet, Leone the philosopher was, like Mauberley, clearly ‘out of key with his time’·[…]. The contrast between the astute Duke Leopold of the Sienese past (mentioned at the beginning of Canto 52) and the dreamer Vivante of the Sienese present is one of the more immediate reasons for the Vivante passage’s inclusion. In this context the irony of the name Vivante suggesting ‘alive,’ ‘living,’ could not have escaped Pound. His point is that Duke Leopold, though long dead, is more alive than the living Vivante whose mind inhabits the past” (Pearlman 313-4).

    Vivante was of Jewish descent, a fact known to Pound at the time (Ickstadt /Hesse 1268; Bacigalupo 11). He published a version of the Vivante passage as “Slice of Life (Fable)” in the Townsman (January 1939). The little poem clarifies that Pound blamed Vivante for turning a blind eye to usury and its connection to war by thinking that “Men are violent, / The conquests are conquests of a few, / The great plutocracies have not been violent” (P&P VII: 418).

  10. Stinkschuld’s sin – pejorative alteration of the Rothschild family name, a compound made of two-parts: the English “stink” and German “Schuld” (“guilt, blame, debt”). The move from Rothschild to Stinkschuld was Pound’s irritated response to Eliot’s request for change of name to avoid a libel suit. See their correspondence 15 July-21 September 1939 in Calendar.

    The “sin” of the Rothschilds is international finance, their familial business network that opened related banks in Frankfurt, London, Paris, Vienna and Naples, with several business interests in the United States. Pound followed the Rothschilds’ various roles in the economic lives and politics of Britain, France and America, mentioning ramifications of the family activity in cantos 40, 46, 48 and 50. He was particularly indignant at the Rothschild activity in French industry and its apparent involvement in the financial crises in the United States after the civil war. See OCCEP XL: nn.17, 19XLVI: nn.33-5XLVIII: nn.22-25L: n.43. See also the blame he assigned to the Rothschilds for the cultural decline of Austria, France and England in RS 114.

    All the lines around the name (13-14 and 29-33) were blacked out from the first Faber edition in 1940 till the New Directions edition of 1986. Whereas the lines have now been reinstated, the “Stinkschuld” has remained and should arguably be replaced by Rothschild’s name (Taylor 205).

  11. drawing vengeance – Pound interpreted Hitler’s persecution of the Jews in Germany as the vengeance of Christians on Jewish usury.

    “In a letter to Zukofsky of 2 December 1938, Pound suggested that the Rothschilds (rather than Hitler) were at fault for the persecution of the Jews in Germany” (Ahearn L/LZ 199n.1):
    “Why curse Adolphe/ why not git down to bedrock/
    NESCHEK and the buggering vendetta of the shitten Rothschild which has run for 150 years/ and is now flopping back on jewry at large/
    as always/ Jewish outlaw and crook leads the sheriff’s posse back to the ghetto/” (HRC. letter courtesy of Barry Ahearn)

  12. poor yitts paying – By the time he wrote the canto, Pound subscribed to the Nazi point of view that the Jews, rich and poor, were responsible for usury and blamed them collectively for their own persecution. 

    Pound wrote in the British Union Quarterly in the same year as the canto that:
           “If you believe that a whole race should be punished for the sin of some of its members, I admit that the expulsion of the two million Jews in New York would not be an excessive punishment for the harm done by Jewish finance to the English race in America. […]
            A race may possibly be held responsible for its worst individuals. The Jewish race has not for ages taken the responsibility for the enforcement of its own law. […] The Jew has brought anti-Semitism on himself by LACK OF ORGANISATION, by refusal to undertake responsibility.
           If the Jew wishes to live in a neighbourly world among ENLIGHTENED peoples, he must undertake the discipline of the less pleasing breakers of Jewish law” (Pound, “Revolution Betrayed” P&P VII: 280).

  13. vendetta on goyim – Heb. goy, plural goyim (“nation”). The word designates all ethnicities and races that are not Jewish. Merriam-Webster: goy.

    Pound had absorbed the propaganda of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion that international Jews were conspiring to take vengeance on the Gentiles and manipulate them into having wars with one another in order to consolidate their power in the world. Protocols.         
    Pound, however, did not approve of the Kristallnacht, as he stated on the Rome radio on April 30, 1942: 
    “Don’t start a pogrom. That is, not an old-style killing of small Jews. That system is no good, whatever. Of course, if some man had a stroke of genius, and could start a pogrom UP AT THE TOP ... there might be something to say for it. But on the whole, legal measures are preferable. The 60 kikes who started this war might be sent to St. Helena, as a measure of world prophylaxis, and some hyper-kikes or non-Jewish kikes along with them” (RS 115; also qtd. in Heymann 118).
  14. Gertrude BellMiss Bell – Gertrude Bell (1875-1927) British writer, historian, archaeologist, who travelled throughout the Middle East, especially in the region that is now Iraq.
    According to David Moody, Pound acquired Bell's letters to confirm a notice in the New York Times of 18 July 1926 which ran: “She had a profound sympathy for the national aspirations of the Arabs and was firmly convinced that, when it was not inimical to her own interests, Great Britain should endeavour to carry out her war-time pledges made to the Arabs” (Moody in L/HP 649).

    Bell wrote in one of her letters home, on 8 February 1918:
    “Several men I know fled to their tribe during the year before the Occupation, when the Ottoman hand was heavy on the Arabs of Bagdad. Most of these are now in our service and their tribal connection makes them all the more useful. We have a few really first-class Arab officials, just as we have found a few really first- class sheikhs who will assume responsibility and preserve order. There are not many of them, but such as there are, are invaluable. And we in our turn have an immense responsibility towards them...We are pledged here. It would be an unthinkable crime to abandon those who have loyally served us” (Bell Letters 2: 444).

    Pound implicitly suggests that these pledges were betrayed by the concurrent efforts of Zionists to displace the Arabs from Palestine so as to establish a Jewish state. These efforts culminated in the Balfour Declaration (1917) which was addressed to Lord Walter Rothschild, who at the time was head of the family in Britain and who used his political connections for the Zionist cause (Ferguson 977-81).

    In spite of Balfour’s view that Palestine would be a British protectorate in which an independent Jewish state would gradually develop, “Curzon’s fears about friction between Jews and Arabs proved all too well founded. Despite the hopes expressed in December 1918 when Walter gave a dinner for the emir Feisal (attended also by Weizmann, Milner, Cecil, Crewe and T.E. Lawrence) and the agreement between Weizmann and Feisal which was signed the following month, trouble was not slow in coming. Jews and Arabs clashed violently as early as 1921 (which led the British authorities to limit immigration) and again in 1929” (Ferguson 980-1).

  15. we shd/ keep our pledges to the Arabs – pledges made by the British government at the start of WWI and during the so-called Arab Revolt of 1916-1918. The revolt served British war interests by destabilizing the Ottoman Empire, who was an enemy of the Entente. However, after the war was over, the newly freed territories dislocated from the defeated Ottomans were placed under the mandates of Britain, France and Belgium, instead of being turned over to local Arab administration. Pound’s point, that the British government is mendacious and routinely reneges on its diplomatic promises, is here taken up again as an echo of canto XLVI: ll. 64-71.

    The ramifications of the British pledges to the Arabs are summarized by Major General Percy Cox:
    “As regards the Persian Gulf, our self-imposed task of maintaining Pax Britannica, had inevitably created for us in the course of several generations a series of treaties and obligations of responsibility towards the Arab rulers on its shores which there could now be no question of our disregarding. […]       
    These close connections of treaty and friendship were an invaluable asset to us when the time came to contemplate the lively probability of Turkey's entry into the War against us; but if an advantage was to be taken of them, it was clearly of primary importance that we should demonstrate to our friends at the outset the circumstances in which war had been forced upon us and should take such prompt action as would convince them that we were alive to the danger in which they would be placed, as friends of ours, and intended to take adequate steps to safe guard their interests as well as our own.” (Percy Cox in Letters of Gertrude Bell2: 506-7). 

  16. through sanctions – After Italy’s invasion of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in October 1935, the League of Nations condemned the aggression and imposed economic sanctions on Italy in order to prevent it from pursuing its war. The sanctions lasted from November 1935 to June 1936 and were universally considered a failure. Pound resented them, as Britain and France, which controlled the League, had large colonial empires themselves.

    “The failure of the League was largely due to the ambiguous policy followed by the two main powers within the League: Britain and France. The Italian invasion of Ethiopia, in open defiance of the League of Nations’ covenant, forced upon France and Britain a difficult choice between supporting the League and alienating Italy; or allowing the League to be flouted and depriving it of any future role in international politics in order to maintain Italian friendship. Until then both Italy and the League of Nations had constituted important factors in France and Britain’s policy of containment and intimidation of Nazi Germany: the League was a body potentially capable of imposing collective punishment on future German attempts to use force against her neighbours; and Italy was a significant opponent of Nazi expansionist plans over Austria and the Balkans. French and British diplomatic services failed to realise that they were facing a dilemma which only allowed them to choose which of these two instruments of international policy they had to sacrifice. They attempted to compromise in the effort to preserve both. This led to the worst of all possible outcomes: the League destroyed, and Italy on Germany’s side” (Ristuccia, n.d.; see also Strang 2008).

  17. through Stalin – Pound’s dim views of the Soviet revolution were sketched out in cantos 16, 27 and 33. See OCCEP XVI: nn.43-56XXVII nn.25-31 and XXXIII: nn.52-57.

    Pound expected the new revolutionary dictatorships of Europe to make clear statements on their monetary policy. His disappointment is recorded: 
    “The Russian revolution was the END of cycle. It continued the XIXth century betrayal of words, it used hoax verbiage, as in “dictatorship of the proletariat,” to mean dictatorship of a few people, etc. The Bolshies won’t even now define words. They do not want revolution. At least none whom I have encountered in print, or in days when they asked for replies, do. They won’t take up the fight for clear terms, for the clear definition of meanings, so that however much one may have disliked some things they were out to destroy, one simply cannot continue to stand still, anchored with them.” […] 
    We can’t, or at least I can’t, at the present moment, get any clear information from Russia as to what Stalin means monetarily. No one even claims that he, Stalin, knows. At least I have not seen any such claim, and his opponent, Mr. Bronstein, is no clearer. Hence the pink intelligentsia. They do NOT go in for defining words. They do NOT go in for collecting information” (Pound “Revolution Betrayed” P&P VII 282, 283).

  18. 450px Maxim Litvinov 1932

    Litvinof – Maxim Maximovich Litvinov (born Meir Henoch Wallach-Finkelstein) (1876–1951), Russian revolutionary and prominent Soviet politician of Jewish descent. In 1930, he was appointed Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs. Litvinov pursued a politics of rapprochement between the Soviet Union, Britain and France to promote peace through the League of Nations. He was instrumental in the recognition of the Soviet Union by the United States in 1933 and in the admission of his country to the League in 1934. 

    However, after the Munich agreement on 30 September 1938, the Western powers pursued a politics of appeasement towards Nazi Germany and Stalin began to reorient Soviet foreign policy towards it. Litvinov’s Jewish ancestry made him undesirable and Stalin replaced him with Vyacheslav Molotov on 3 May 1939. Molotov would proceed to purge the diplomatic corps of Jews and negotiate the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with the Nazis in August 1940. After being replaced by Molotov, Litvinov was Soviet ambassador to the US (1939-41). Wikipedia.

    In his radio broadcasts, Pound was vituperative against Litvinov, seeing him as a Soviet agent trying to align the United States to Jewish Bolshevik interests, alien to American values. See RS 50.

  19. entrefaits – Fr. “circumstances.”
  20. earlyadams2Johnnie Adams (the elder) – John Adams (1735-1826), American revolutionary, statesman, Founding Father, and second President of the United States. By the time Pound was writing canto 52, he had outlined a portrait of Adams’s political beliefs in canto 33, especially from the point of view of his late correspondence with Thomas Jefferson. See OCCEP XXXIII.

  21. ignorance – Quote from a letter by John Adams to Thomas Jefferson on 25 August 1787, when Adams was in London to negotiate loan for the American revolutionary war from the Dutch. Pound quoted the passage below in his “Introductory Textbook” (SP 159):
    “All the perplexities, confusion and distresses in America arise not from defects in the constitution or confederation, nor from want of honor or virtue, as much from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.” See full letter.

  22. Ben – Benjamin Franklin. Pound refers to the so-called “Franklin Prophesy,” an anti-Semitic warning about the calamity that would befall the United States if Jews are admitted into the country, which Franklin supposedly made in 1787. It was published in William D. Pelley’s weekly the Liberation (3 February 1934) that Pound subscribed. It was Pelley’s “research” and was widely distributed in Italian and German press. Wikipedia: Franklin ProphesyBeard 3
    After the publication of Cantos LII-LXXI, an American reader, J. V. Healy, sent Eliot a protest and rectification of this canard, which Eliot forwarded to Pound: see letter (document available courtesy of Richard Sawyer). Pound treated it with extreme contempt. See the correspondence between March-May 1940 in Calendar.

  23. jews, real jews, chazims – Hebr: “h’azir” – “swine.” 
    In his correspondence with Louis Zukofsky in the summer of 1938, Pound brought up the hypothesis that Jews do not have a Semitic ancestry but are really of Tatar origin, having along the centuries migrated to Eastern Europe from the Khazar Khanate beyond the Caspian Sea. The Khazar hypothesis was advanced by Ernest Renan among others, and was politically useful to anti-Zionists to contest the legitimacy of a Jewish state in Palestine.

    On 10 July 1938, Pound wrote Zukofsky:   
    “wotter you know about Khazars? Bloke has just writ me that ‘only a small percentage of jews are semites’. ‘Khazars converted between 200 and 1000 de notre ere.’” […] Do you pussnly favour being a sem/ or a Tartar?” (L/LZ 194).

    Zukofsky replied on 23 July: 
    “But how, why, shd. I know about Khazars, & why shd. they bother you? Are you sure your correspondent ain’t kiddin you and doesn’t mean the Hebrew word Chazir (=swine)? Basil [Bunting] is the authority on the Tartars, when I get in touch with him again, I’ll refer yr. query to him” (L/LZ 195).

  24. house in Paris – We do not know for certain which of the five mansions owned by the Rothschilds in Paris Pound is referring to but a good guess would be the “Hôtel de Talleyrand” at 2 rue Saint Florentin, which was the house of Edouard Alphonse James de Rothschild (1868-1949), the head of the family and Director of the Banque de France. From his father, Alphonse, Edouard had inherited a huge collection of paintings and objets d’art which he did his best to hide and protect from the Nazis. In July 1940, Edouard fled the city and took refuge in the United States. His collection, and that of other French family members (3,978 items) was discovered and transported to Germany (Ferguson 1004, 1006). Hotel de Talleyrand

    After the war, Edouard returned and tried to re-assemble the family interests and fortune in France, a task successfully continued after his death by his son, Guy de Rothschild (The Rothschild Archive). The Hôtel de Talleyrand was first rented from the Rothschilds by the American government (1947-1950) to serve as the headquarters of the Marshall Plan for European Recovery (1947-1952). In 1950, it was purchased by the State Department to be a part of the American Embassy in Paris, a role it still fulfils today. 

  25. Maurice Rothschild

    fat slug – Caricature of the family based on Henri James Nathaniel de Rothschild (1872-1947). Henri was a bon vivant rather than a businessman; he was a keen motorist and yachtsman. 

    “A qualified if misanthropic doctor, he had his own private laboratory, published extensively on the subject of infant nutrition and took an interest in the Curies’ work on the medical use of radium. He also dabbled in the theatre, as a sponsor of the famous 1909 tour by Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe, and as an amateur playwright using the nom de plume ‘André Pascal.’ With his Parisian château de la Muette, his mock-Tudor villa at Deauville and a yacht suggestively called Eros, Henri lived not to make money but to spend it. His various attempts at entrepreneurship (he tried at various times to manufacture cars, mustard, soap and canned pheasant) were commercial failures” (Ferguson 972).

    l incomprise ii yacht erosHenri’s large yacht, Eros II, was manufactured in Scotland in 1926. In 1939, after Henri fled to Lisbon from the Nazis, the vessel was transferred to the French navy (1940-42) and then to the German war fleet (1942-44). It was torpedoed by the Allies in 1944 and sank in the Gulf of La Spezia. Wrecksite.

    It has been established that Pound took these details from a dinner party conversation. The yacht was moored in the bay at Rapallo (Taylor 205).

  26. bankbuzzard – word coinage by Pound. A buzzard is a medium sized bird of prey, an “opportunistic predator” feeding on small mammals, such as rodents. Wikipedia: common buzzard.

  27. poppinjays– A popinjay is an old term for parrot. Applied to people, the word denotes a foppish person who bases his identity and sense of self-worth on fashion and appearances. Eliot drew Pound’s attention to the spelling of the word in a letter of 14 September 1939: “Or probably it would do to leave out from ‘specialité of the ...’ to ‘popinjays’ (why you spell popinjay with two pp I don’t know).”
    See CalendarL/TSE 9:261.

  28. did commit, that he did – In Pound’s opinion, Mussolini did commit to a control of usury in Italy by the Banking Reform of 1935, whereby Banca d’Italia was put under state control.

  29. of the two usuries the lesser is now put down – modulation of a quote from Shakespeare’s play Measure for MeasureAct III Scene II
    “Twas never merry world since, of two usuries, the merriest was put down, and the worser allowed by order of law a furred gown to keep him warm; and furred with fox and lamb-skins too, to signify, that craft, being richer than innocency, stands for the facing.” 
    The two usuries Shakespeare’s character means are prostitution and moneylending: whereas the former is prohibited, the latter is allowed by law and practiced by the rich. (Note by Massimo Bacigalupo)

  30. (“Pericles,” near the beginning) – Pound gives a faulty reference for the statement in the preceding line: It should be Measure for Measure not Pericles. It is also not “near the begining” of the play, but in Act 3. (Reference provided by Massimo Bacigalupo.)

    The line is now dropped from the current New Directions edition and present just in the discarded Faber one. The only still active edition where the line still exists is in the bilingual Mondadori edition, where the canto is translated into Italian by Mary de Rachewiltz. As cantos LII-LXXI were first published by Faber, the line was possibly dropped by negligence in the American edition and should be restored. See also n.31 below. 

  31. that he did in the kingdom of Britain – parallel construction with l.35 above, see n. 28.
    Who “he” is can be a matter of speculation, but a sensible hypothesis is that Pound is referring to Lord Palmerston and his position in relation to the Corn Laws in Britain. Pound read Palmerston’s biography while writing the Siena Cantos: he thus correlated the British agrarian policies to Siena and to the Leopoldine reforms as a prelude to Mussolini’s own. In Britain, an agrarian policy similar to Peter Leopold’s was implemented between 1815-1846: the so-called “Corn Laws” established an import tariff on corn, protecting the local grain production, but also raising the price of bread. The laws primarily benefitted the British aristocracy who were large landowners: Palmerston himself had a vast domain in Ireland. The Corn Laws were heavily disputed in Parliament and the country at large by free-trade politicians like Richard Cobden and Charles Villiers; they were finally repealed in 1846 in favour of a free trade policy, whereby countries to which Britain exported its industrial products would pay their balance in foodstuffs. The policy aimed at bringing down the price of food so that the wages in the industry could be kept low. In Pound’s terms, this was a victory of usury, since global exchange was to flow through the channels of international finance. The repeal of the protective tariff weakened Britain long term, as it corroded its agriculture and made the country largely depend on food imports. This vulnerability was especially visible during the two world wars, when food transports were impeded or sabotaged. Wikipedia: Corn Laws–Effects of repeal.

    Palmerston’s position in the matter of the Corn Laws was that Britain maintain a low fixed tariff, so as to strike a balance between the economic interests of the Tories and liberals. In 1846, he declared:
    “But by free trade… I mean trade free from duties laid on for the purpose of prevention or obstruction, but not trade free from duties laid on for the purpose of revenue… so moderate as not to cripple or impede commercial transactions…. I am for a moderate fixed duty… this opinion was … taken … as far back as 1839… I think that a duty of 4s. or 5s. would not sensibly raise the price of corn in this country… it would produce a revenue not underserving of consideration” Bell I: 341-2.
    The revival of British agriculture became an important article of policy for the economic nationalism of the British Union of Fascists: Pound’s correspondence with Jorian Jencks and Ronald Duncan (1938-1940) showed that he was informed on the weak state of British agriculture at the end of the 1930s and inspired by what he knew of the Italian policy of ammassi and Mencius’ nine-field system to suggest useful comparisons for soil cultivation in Britain (EPEC 223-54).

    As Pound read Bell’s biography of Palmerston, he wrote to his wife Dorothy on 26 August 1936: “A comfort to find something one can approve of […] damblast all British liberals from Cobden down.” See Calendar.

  32. between Kung and Eleusis – key line of the canto staging the meeting ground of agrarian rituals of natural fertility as the foundation of the social order in East and West. Pound had used the verbal signature of Eleusis before, notably in canto 45 (See OCCEP XLV: n.31.) The Li Ki (The Book of Rites) on which the second part of the present canto is based, lies at the heart of the Confucian canon, that Pound views as a corrective of the usurious West.

    “Between the Eleusinian Mysteries and the Chinese rites one can easily discover identical parallels, since both grew from agricultural societies; and inevitably these similarities reinforce Pound’s belief in the “contemporaneity of cultures.’’ The religious ceremonies in the Book of Rites are sacrifices to heaven and earth, mountains and rivers, and spirits; the hope is to secure the abundance of nature. The Eleusinian rites also have the same goal. Before the crucial problem of survival is solved, as Confucius once observed, things such as propriety and music (representing the arts) cannot be meaningful to the people. To live without violating the laws of nature then holds a central position in the two systems of rites” (Tay 43).

  33. Or – word that is only in the Faber edition of the canto and not in the current New Directions one. Even if it is now dropped, it is nevertheless important, as it creates a logical link between the spiritual dimension of the natural fertility rituals of Eleusis and the Book of Rites, and the secular ceremony that created the Monte dei Paschi and took place in the Sala del Mappamondo in the Siena town hall in 1624. Both spiritual and secular rituals are equally sacred and recreate natural abundance. The link explains why the material on La Dorata and the church are placed after the crucial line “Between Kung and Eleusis” and not before.

  34. La Dorata – I. “the golden.” Name of a church in Toulouse dedicated to the Virgin, Notre Dame de La Daurade, so-called because of the gold mosaic that decorated its interior. Pound references a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela made by Guido Cavalcanti in the 1290s. The poet did not complete the journey but stopped in Toulouse and fell in love with a lady he called Mandetta. Guido’s visit to La Daurade was an event of great spiritual significance to him and reverberated in his poetry. Pound references it and calls the Virgin as Guido did, in Italian:
    “Vanne a Tolosa, Ballatetta mia; /Ed entra quietamente a la dorata /Ed ivi chiama, che per cortesia /D’alcuna bella donna sia menata /Dinanzi a quella, di cui t’ho pregata” (“Speed Ballatet’ unto Tolosa city/ And go in softly neath the golden roof/And there cry out, ‘Will courtesy or pity/ Of any most fair lady, put to proof,/ Lead me to her with whom is my behoof?” (VII: Envoi to “Era in pensier,” Sonnets and Ballate 108-9).800px Basilique Notre Dame de la Daurade 7312

    In 1919, Pound tried to reconstruct what Cavalcanti had felt by visiting the cathedral himself, but found he was not looking at the same interior and Madonna figure as Guido. His disappointment is palpable in one of his articles for the New Age: “The private citizen who took down the cloister of La Daurade to put up a tobacco factory in the nineteenth and enlightened century is just as damned as any fanatical monarch. Anyone who wishes to reconstruct Guido’s encounter with Mandetta is at liberty to look at the collection of pillar-heads in the Toulouse Museum” (“A Regional” VII in P&P III: 323).

    In canto 52, Pound reconstructed again, at another point in time and in another place, by calling “La Dorata” a golden figure of the Madonna that had stayed the same from Cavalcanti’s time to the present. Pound’s reference to the “baldacchino” indicates that he is not in Toulouse and not in a church; he is in Siena, in front of Simone Martini’s 1315 painting, Maestà, in the so-called Sala del Mappamondo where the foundation of the Monte dei Paschi was discussed by the town council and solemnly ratified. Pound’s use of the Italian words to evoke his experience show his sense of reverence, that of a foreigner who in his travels enters a miraculous place: it is an analogous feeling to that evoked by Cavalcanti, contemplating a figure of the Madonna in La Daurade, so many centuries before.

  35. her baldacchino – It. “canopy.”

    The Virgin needs a canopy because she is not in her house. She is in a secular place where she is as on a journey, together with the saints – the Palazzo Pubblico of Siena, a town which is under her special protection. Simone Martini, a Sienese painter famous for his golden Madonnas, designed the back of her throne to look like the essential outline of a church, with a “golden roof” over her head. The “golden roof” is also Pound’s translation of “la Dorata” in 1912, see preceding note.780px Simone Martini Maestà Google Art Project

  36. Riccio … Montepulciano – reference to a Simone Martini fresco in the Sala del Mappamondo in Siena, that of condottiere Guidoriccio da Fogliano at the siege of Montemassi in 1328. It symbolizes the military and political strength of Siena before it was conquered by Cosimo de Medici in 1555 and incorporated into Tuscany. In the 16th century, the Medicis had long ceased to be a banking family, yet Pound saw Siena’s poverty at the time the city was struggling for its own bank (the Monte dei Paschi, 1624) to be a fight against usury and implicitly against its Medici conquerors. Siena’s glory, Pound implies, was in the time before 1555.   
    The Guidoriccio is on the Western wall of the Sala, whereas the Maestà is on the Eastern wall. Together, they are a compound figure of Siena’s past as an independent city, in both its spiritual and secular dimensions. The knight who “still” rides to the castle suggests Pound’s relief at experiencing the permanence of these works from the early 1300s (the time of Guido and Dante) to our day. Unlike the Church in Toulouse, which had lost its old artworks along its history, the Sala del Mappamondo was preserved in its initial secular setting. The Sala as the stage of a public effort to counteract usury (the creation of the public, not private Monte dei Paschi Bank) also suggests the reason Pound chose Siena as the figurative meeting place between East and West in the canto. GuidoriccioDaFogliano

  37. groggy church … no longer holds – Pound refers to the decline of the Catholic Church as safeguard and protector against usury. He associated this process with the deterioration of ecclesiastical art, which he associated with the rise of Protestantism and Calvinism in the 16thand 17th centuries. More specifically, Pound located the start of the decline during the papacies of the two members of the Medici family, Leo X (1475-1521) and Clement VII (1478-1534). Leo needed the commerce of indulgences to build St. Peter’s; Clement VII’s Rome was sacked in 1527 by Austrian troops; the politics he had to pursue after that crisis was dominated by the interests of the Holy Roman Empire in Italy and his own desire to re-establish the reign of the Medici in Florence. See OCCEP V: n.41 and XLVI: nn.58-61.

    Pound succinctly presented his ideas on the decline of the Catholic Church in his review of T. S. Eliot’s After Strange Gods in March 1934:
    “The fact is that ‘religion’ long since resigned.       
    Religion in the person of its greatest organized European institution resigned. The average man now thinks of religion either as a left-over or an irrelevance.    
    In the ‘Ages of Faith,’ meaning the Ages of Christian faith, religion in the person of the Church concerned itself with ethics. It concerned itself specifically with economic discrimination.
    It concerned itself with a root dissociation of two ideas which the last filthy centuries have, to their damnation, lost.
    […]        
    Creative investment, productive exchange, sharing the profits of shared risk, were considered good. Destructive parasitism was forbidden. I am not arguing, I am stating historic fact. I am not saying that the detailed regulations of medieval business can to advantage be resurrected in the identical forms. I am not making a plea for a return to the past.   
    I am asserting a known and established fact: when religion was real the church concerned itself with vital phenomena in ECONOMICS. 
    This is, perhaps, not the place to give the history of Protestant revolt, Leo X.’s desire for taxes, etc. […]   
    The battle was won by greed. The language of religion became imprecise, just as the language of all forms of modern flim flam, including popular and philological lectures, has become imprecise” (“Mr Eliot’s Mare Nest” NEW 8 March 1934 in P&P VI: 140-1).          
    See also Pound’s renewed indictment of the Church in his essay “Immediate Need for Confucius” (1937).

  38. Once only in Burgos once in Cortona – Pound is referring to church music, which he sees as having seldom achieved true excellence.“Only twice in my life have I heard church music achieve true intensity: once in Burgos, Spain, and again, in Cortona, Italy, but it would take too long to explain further what I mean in technical terms. […] Religion is not only depression, sorrow and suffering, it is eternal energy; sometimes even exuberance of energy. This quality is to be found in music, particularly great music, more than in any other art” (Pound “The Singer Lonny Mayer” (5 May 1934) in EPM 361).

  39. Gregory … obscurantist – enigmatic line to which we can only give a speculative hypothesis. Pound uses here the word “obscurantist,” which is defined as “a person who deliberately prevents the facts or full details of something from becoming known.” Taking the context into account, we may assume that Pound refers to Pope Gregory (540-604) in connection to his work of compiling and uniformizing liturgical music across the Western Church. This music, called “plainchant” or “Gregorian chant,” was sung in Latin, which obscured its origins in ancient Jewish music:
    “Singing has been part of the Christian liturgy since the earliest days of the Church. Until the mid-1990s, it was widely accepted that the psalmody of ancient Jewish worship significantly influenced and contributed to early Christian ritual and chant. This view is no longer generally accepted by scholars, due to analysis that shows that most early Christian hymns did not have Psalms for texts, and that the Psalms were not sung in synagogues for centuries after the Destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70. However, early Christian rites did incorporate elements of Jewish worship that survived in later chant tradition. Canonical hours have their roots in Jewish prayer hours. ‘Amen’ and ‘alleluia’ come from Hebrew, and the threefold ‘sanctus’ derives from the threefold ‘kadosh’ of the Kedushah. Wikipedia: Gregorian chant.

  40. Know then – boundary line to mark Pound’s departure from the world of usury and degradation to its corrective in another paradigm – the world of ancient China. The second part of the canto is devoted to a selection of quotes from chapter 4 of the Book of Rites, as transmitted in the French and Latin translations of Seraphin Couvreur. Chapter 4 (Zh. 月令; “IUE LING,” or “Monthly Ordinances”) delineates the specific administrative regulations of imperial ritual for every month of the year. See also Sawyer “Five Elements Theory.”            
    Each month is dominated by a position of the stars; a sacred number, a particular animal, sound, musical instrument, flavour, scent, sacrificial organs, activities, robes, chariot and horse of the sovereign. Chapter 4 of the Li Ki therefore presents us with a model of order in which the human and social are bound to the changes in nature along the months and seasons of the year. This order, in turn, is the expression of the philosophical idea of order emanating from the individual to society presented in the Ta Hio, [Da Xue] to which Pound refers at the end of the canto by the ideogram chih3 [zhi]. See also n. 68, below. 

    The admonitions in the Li Ki IV can be considered the Chinese counterpart of Hesiod’s calendar of agriculture that Pound had presented in canto 47. He punctuates the transition from a month to another by its reigning configuration of stars, starting with the first month of summer. Pound’s summary thus surveys the rites for nine months, not twelve.

  41. Hyades – star cluster in the constellation of Taurus. It was named after the daughters of Atlas, who weeping for the death of their brother, Hyas, were transformed into stars. 
    Pound devotes ll.62-65 to what in the Li Ki is the first month of summer. (Li Ki IV Art. III: 1)
    All the Western names of constellations are to be found in Couvreur’s French translation as parenthetical editorial additions.
  42. incarnadine – literary term for bright crimson.
  43. empress offers cocoons – a ritual symbolizing that all the women in the kingdom have to pay a tax in cocoons to create silk for the imperial ceremonial robes. 

  44. Son of Heaven – sacred title of the Emperor. 

  45. Gemini – The name of the constellation of the Gemini (the twins) refers to Castor and Pollux of Greek myth. It is the second month of summer, ll. 66-80 (Li Ki IV Art. III: 22-40).

  46. sun enters Hydra – Constellation resembling a snake, so-called after the monster killed by Greek hero Herakles. We have reached the third month of summer, ll.81-113 (Li Ki IV Art. IV: 1-21). 

  47. Antares – brightest star in the constellation of Scorpius. Its traditional name Antares derives from the Ancient Greek Ἀντάρης, meaning “rival to-Ares” (“opponent to-Mars”), due to the similarity of its reddish hue to the appearance of the planet Mars. Wikipedia.

  48. Andromeda – constellation named for a princess of Greek myth destined for sacrifice to the sea monster Cetus but saved by Perseus. Wikipedia.

  49. Ming T’ang – Zh. Ming Tang (“the bright hall”). General designation of the imperial palace in legendary times where the emperor performed his sacred duties as the Son of Heaven. The rituals performed renewed the world, determined the seasons and created the social order in accordance to the will of Heaven.    
    “The Ming Tang is described as a building with a basis as square as the earth and a roof as round as the sky. Thereby the Ming Tang was a representation of the world and a symbolic reproduction of the universe. 
        According to some ancient Chinese authors the Ming Tang was made up of five rooms, symbolizing the ‘Five Phases’ (wu xing), the ‘Five Emperors’ (wu huang) and in general all the quinary system on which the Chinese conception of the universe is founded. One room was in the center and the others at the four sides. Each of these four rooms was at its turn divided in three parts, with a main room in the center and two wings (“ge”) to the right and to left hand. The main room was called Tai Miao with the specification of the room of which it was part but, from the contexts of the literary evidences, it seems that for Miao in this case we must understand “big building,” while the actual Ancestral Shrine was the central room.   
        Thus twelve locations were obtained, that represented the months of the year, locations through which the Emperor moved every month, proclaiming the succession of the seasons” Corradini 181. 
    See also ChinaKnowledge.deSawyer "Five Elements Theory" 4-5.

    Corradini (1995) refined the understanding of the Ming Tang by pointing out that the ancient texts refer to the imperial compound as comprised of five palaces: one hall and altar in the centre (Tai Miao Taishi), with four others on the sides, oriented toward the four cardinal points: (Xuan Tang (the dark palace), to the North; Qing Yang to the East; Ming Tang (the bright hall) to the South; Zong Zhang to the West). The Ming Tang was called “bright” because being oriented towards the South, it was the palace of summer. Ming Tang layout

  50. west wing of that house – Each palace of the imperial compound had a central hall and two “wings” (ge). The emperor would proceed to the west wing of the Ming Tang in the last month of summer. See also Corradini and the diagram in the preceding note.

  51. sorrel horses – A sorrel is a horse whose coat is a lighter, coppery shade of brown with yellowish mane and tail.
  52. manes – In Roman mythology, the manes are the souls of dead ancestors venerated as benevolent spirits. Here they are assimilated with the Chinese cult of the ancestors.
  53. sweet savour ... girdle – the next three lines are devoted to the “earth” element, governing a mystical fifth season that has no time allocated to it. See Sawyer “Five Elements Theory”.
  54. Sagittarius in mid-course – The constellation of the Sagittarius (L. “the Archer”) is represented as a centaur spanning his bow. We are in the first month of autumn ll. 114-123 (Li Ki IV Art. IV: 22-37).

  55. Orion at sunrise – Constellation named after the Greek hunter Orion. We are in the second month of autumn, ll. 124-29 (Li Ki IV Art. V: 1-18).
  56. month of ramparts – In this month people need to build ramparts and walls, establish cities and forts, make subterranean passages and prepare the granaries (Li Ki IV Art. V: 12).
  57. now sparrows – we are now in the third month of autumn ll. 129-33. (Li Ki IV Art. V: 18-38).   
    “Les moineaux se précipitent dans la mer et se transforment en huîtres” (“sparrows rush to the sea and change into oysters”) and “Le loup offre aux esprits les plus grands des animaux qu’il prend, puis tue (et dévore) les plus petits” (“the wolf offers to the spirits the bigger animals it catches and then kills and devours the smaller ones”) (Li Ki IV Art. V: 23).

  58. Scorpio’s tail – It is now the first month of winter, ll. 134-42 (Li Ki IV Art. VI 1-22).
  59. Houai – French spelling of the river Hwai or Huai, a major tributary to the Yangtze. Along with the Qin mountains, the river forms an informal boundary between Southern and Northern China.
  60. archer’s shoulder – We are in the second month of winter with the sun in the shoulder of Sagittarius, ll.143-46 (Li Ki IV Art. VI: 23-42).
  61. third month – The third month of winter ll.147-53 (Li Ki IV Art. VI: 41-57).
  62. concert of winds – In Pound’s source, this is a concert of wind instruments offered by the emperor to close the music season (Li Ki IV Art. VI: 52).
  63. call things by their names – Pound’s Confucian mantra “cheng ming” (“right name,” Analects XIII) is his conclusion to the Chinese material and bridge to his ending of the canto in ll.156-59. The “right name” concludes canto 51, whereas the mention of the evil king’s taxes is the contrast of the invisible, “good” imperial power in canto 49: we find here a modulation of material already presented in the Fifth Decad as a transitional passage to the conclusion of the canto.

  64. Good sovereign ... imposts – Pound gives here a Social Credit spin to Da Xue X.20 (Fang I: 82). In his own version of the Chinese classic of 1951, Pound took a more general and faithful translation of  X.20 as “‘Good king is known by his spending, ill lord by his taking.’ The humane man uses his wealth as a means to distinction, the inhumane becomes a mere harness, an accessory to his takings” Con 83. See also Legge’s translation.
    Pound would come back to X.20 in canto 55, where he displays it in ideogram in its entirety (LV/290)

  65. Lord Palmerston 1855Lord Palmerston – Henry John Temple 3rd Viscount Lord Palmerston (1784-1865), British politician, prime minister to Queen Victoria (1855-65). He is first mentioned at the start of the Fifth Decad (canto 42). In the summer of 1936, while writing the Siena Cantos (42-43) and finishing the decad, Pound was reading Herbert C. F. Bell’s biography of Palmerston and correlating his politics with Siena and Peter Leopold:

    “Cobden, a crank, came down to Siena to lay a wreath on the tomb of Sallustio Bandini; but a less advertised investigation was set on foot by Palmerston, and has been conveniently or inconveniently forgotten” (Pound “Europe MXCXXXVI” (May 1937) in P&P VII: 190. See Calendar. See also n.29.

  66. draining swamps in Sligo – In his reference to Palmerston, Pound returns to the Peter Leopold material at the beginning of the canto, and implicitly to Mussolini’s Battle of the Grain policy, suggesting that agrarian measures such as draining the swamps were not simply restricted to tilling the soil, or returning to the myth of the hallowed life of farming, but reverberated into industry, transportation, education and urbanization, as this passage from Bell’s biography of Palmerston strongly indicates:
    “His great estate at Sligo engaged his attention most of all; and before he had left the War Office he had made great progress in realizing his early schemes. A harbour of ‘enough depth to admit vessels of 300 tons, and as much as any harbour on the west coast of Ireland’ had been built for the fishery and the coasting trade; and plans for getting other persons to lay down a railway connecting it with forty miles of interior navigation had been made. The bogs had been surveyed, and some parts actually drained, and brought under cultivation, by scientific methods which the owner was able to describe in great detail. […] Sandy areas were being reclaimed by the planting of bent; an ‘infant linen market’ and a limekiln had been established; and the people were building a village according to plans laid down by Palmerston and his engineer. Two schools had been erected; and a ‘concordat’ made with the Catholic bishop concerning the schoolmasters.” Bell I: 46

  67. Fought smoke nuisance – In Bell’s biography, Pound found Palmerston’s efforts to redress the social and health problems in Victorian society by a program going against the interests of government bureaucracy, unbridled industry, and even public mentality. A Prime Minister wanting to do good, yet fighting the windmills of his own time and place:
    “The preoccupation with sanitary measures, which came out so strongly in his dealings with prisons and Presbyterians, was equally evident in other affairs. He protested against having the ‘zeal and activity’ shown by the Board of Health replaced by ‘the jog trot routine of a government office.’ To check the smoke nuisance in London, he was ready to incur hostility from the owners of soft coal mines. To close burying-grounds in the interests of good health, he was ready to go in the face of public sentiment. And it is not difficult to imagine the opposition which would have arisen eighty years ago had he been able to carry out his wish that no unvaccinated child should be admitted to any school receiving public aid” (Bell II: 79).

  68. chih

    chih– W/G: chih3  (Matthews 939); pinyin: zhi3  (“to stop”; “to come to rest”). See also Wellen 69.      
    The sinograph (and translation below) are quoted from Pound’s revised version of thefirst thesis of the Da Xue (translated as  The Great Digest  or “Great Learning”).    

    Pound stressed the need of this text for the West in his article “Immediate need of Confucius (1937)”:     
    “The great learning [adult study, grinding the corn in the head’s mortar to fit it for use] takes root in clarifying the way wherein the intelligence increases through the process of looking straight into one’s own heart and acting on the results; it is rooted in watching with affection the way people grow; it is rooted in coming to rest, being at ease in perfect equity” CON 27-8.       

    Pound emphasized the importance of the zhi ideogram in his translation of the Analects: Commenting on Book IX. 20, he stated: “There is no more important technical term in the Confucian philosophy than this chih (3) the hitching post, position, place on is in, and works from” (CON 232). See LII n.48; LXXXV n.9.

    The ideogram was added in the New Directions edition of The Cantos in 1951 and was inspired by Pound’s translation of the Chinese classics (Confucius The Unwobbling Pivot; The Great Digest; The Analects) published by New Directions in the same year.       
    He may have been encouraged by the praise of the Chinese scholar Achilles Fang, who told him in a letter of 12 January 1951: “By the way, your interpretation of 止 seems to solve a number of knotty problems in Kung’s book. I’ve been looking through commentaries, but so far failed to come across any that lays emphasis on that term. Please accept my congratulations. I shall not fail to expand on this aspect of your Confucianism” (Qian Chinese Friends 52).

 

A Draft of XXX Cantos

Eleven New Cantos

rsz guido cavalcanti

The Fifth Decad

rsz toscana siena3 tango7174

Cantos LII-LXXI

confucius adams 2