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rsz burgos cathedral 3332108 l


In Burgos there are other relics of the Campeador: some bones that do not belong to him and a chest - one of those, so the story runs, that he filled with sand and pawned to the Jews, Rachel and Vidas on pretense that it held booty which he should have turned over to the king, and which the Jews were to open as forfeit, if he did not redeem it at the year’s end. But the chest stayed unredeemed, at least until the end of the epic. We have here the record of the first successful deal of this bandit Cassie Chadwick, who never saw a barber through his long campaign, and who set all Spain a-rhyming - mostly of the deeds he did not do - not because he took Valencia, but because he embodied the Zeitgeist and all the strife against Islam.

From the “Puerta Santa Maria” I wandered about the town seeking breakfast, and to see that web of spun stone, the cathedral, from its divers sides and angles. It is a white cob-web, delicate as no picture seems to show it.

One never realizes the marvelous detail of these old cathedrals until one comes upon some sheltered corner where time has not eaten the lines into a haze, and finds there little six-inch gothic arches with columns a half-inch thick, in perfect miniature of the great arches that tower above them and in no wise detracting from the lines of the whole.

Victor Hugo has done “Notre Dame”: but the cathedral in Paris seems crude when one is in Burgos. 

The wonder that comes upon one entering the cathedral of Burgos, with the memory of dusky cathedrals of other towns upon him is the light. Here when they worship they will not hide themselves in midnight for the homage of noonday.

Ezra Pound. Burgos: “A Dream City of Old Castile.” (1906). P&P I: 11-14.



THREE CANTOS II [Mantua and the Gonzaga]

MALATESTA CANTOS (VIII-XI) [EL Cid and Sigismondo]








Pound old





Ezra Pound Reading at the Spoleto Festival, 1967.












Screenshot 2017 02 26 04.28.54

canto 3 tailpiece 2



Canto III title page and tailpiece in A Draft of XVI Cantos. Paris: Three Mountains Press, 1925.

Illustrations by Henry Strater.


canto 3 1930

Canto III in A Draft of XXX Cantos. Paris: Hours Press, 1930. Capitals by Dorothy Pound.

Note: The above images are not to scale. The 1925 edition is a folio, whereas the 1930 one is pocket-size.









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




“Annals.”Variorum Edition of Three Cantos. A Prototype. Ed. Richard Taylor. Bayreuth: Boomerang, 1991.


The Letters of Ezra Pound 1907-1941. Ed. D.D. Paige. London: Faber, 1951.



 To Dorothy Pound, 23 August 1922

Lilly Library, Pound mss. III, Box 1, TLS



Have ground out a couple of articles. also got vague idea for further Cantos.


Find Gabriele’s “Notturno” much less impossible than one wd. have thought.



To Kate Buss 12 May 1923

L 256


The three Mts. is following this prose series by a dee looks edtn of my Cantos (about 16 of ‘em, I think) of UNRIVALLED magnificence. Price 25 dollars per copy, and 50 and 100 bones for Vellum and illuminateds.
           It is to be one of the real bits of printing; modern book to be jacked up to somewhere near level of mediaeval mss. No Kelmscott mess of illegibility. Large clear type, but also large pages, and specially made capitals. Marse Henry [Strater] doing these; and the sketches already done are A-1. 
            Not for the Vulgus. There’ll only be about 60 copies for sale; and about 15 more for the producers.


To Dorothy Pound, [13 July 1923]

A 20

Am rewriting the first three cantos; trying to weed out and clarify; etc, a BHLoody JHobb.


To Dorothy Pound, [17 July 1923]

A 20

also have been trying to rewrite Cants I. II. III. so haven't been back to museum myself.


From Dorothy Pound, [21? July 1923]

A 21

Are you wise to be already revising the first Cantos? Don't kill them.


To Dorothy Pound, [23 July 1923]

A 21

Re Cantos, I shdnt, have started revising if it hadn't been for the edtn? de LOOKS; probably no harm, I have now a sense of form that I hadn't in 1914, (very annoying, in some ways). Also I shd have rested a few months before tackling it. May save time in the end. Anyhow, anything I leave out can be restored later from earlier edtns, if needed. With sense of form, very difficult to get it all in, hodge podge, etc,


To Dorothy Pound, [25 July 1923]

A 21

     Have started some sort of revision; cuts down the opening to two cantos instead of three, beginning with Odysseus descent into Nekuia, and doing the Browning item after that, with Bacchus ship as second canto. & then the miscelany. & then 4. 5 etc. Also various repetitions, even in later cantos, can go. Mostly its too cluttered.


From Dorothy Pound, 28th [July 1923]

A 21

     HE not entirely rewrite those early cantos: or HE'll lose the life in them: She's coming back soon to put a stop to it!


To Dorothy Pound, [1] Aug. [1923] 

A 21

     Ugh, have got draft of first three cantos done.



To Olga Rudge, 22 June 1931

YCAL 10/264

Ziao, maure//


Carnev/ has sent in shot at Canto III but haven’t had time to look at it.



From Pound’s correspondence with his Italian translator, Carlo Izzo. 

“Assai maggiore interesse suscito comunque nel Pound la traduzione dei pochi versi tratti dai Cantos (II e III), la quale dette origine a discussioni, equivoci, chiarimenti preziosi. Si comincio con lo Stretti al quarto verso del III Canto: avevo intuito che forse si tratava di un riferimento alla famosa canzone La spagnuola, molto popolare al principio del secolo, ma preferii [127] chiedere spiegazioni. In data 19 ottobre 1935, da Roma, il Pound mi scrisse questa cartolina:

Known to Italians as “La Spagnuola” this celebrated warble was known to the ignorant foreigner not by the title on the printed MUSIC, but by the more intelligible refrain, as sung:

Strr/ètti/Strééé … Ti

nel ezstasai’ damn or

Ya spaniolar sa ’mar cosi

wookah! wuukaaah, la nott Edi! (7)

ys E. P.

Segui la più complessa questione della frase “in the Morosini”. Per quanto mi scervellassi, non mi riusci di capire che cosa quella frase potesse significare: non mi constava, nè mi consta, che normalmente si possa indicare così, in inglese, un palazzo; se mai, una nave: e tradussi « nella Morosini », tanto più che una nave di quel nome faceva servizio a quel tempo tra Venezia e la costa dalmata. La risposta non si fece attendere:


44 Corso Umberto, Roma                           17 nov. 1935

Dear izz

VERY GOOD; much more satisfactory to translate my good poetry, than the early stuff (chiara indicazione del valore attribuito dal Pound alle sue varie opere: evidentemente The Return occupava nella sua stima un posto intermedio tra Night Litany e i primi Cantos).

“Morosini” means palazzo Morosini (?)

? ? ? nel

not female. I dare say her ossature might shine up; but haven’t made any direct observation.

worried by FLUTTUANO

sounds wavy/ viscous.

The FLOAT shd. imply calm. vol-plané, or stationary independence of material gravity,

no god damn spiritist seance wobble.

I suppose capezzoli, ate (sic, per “are”) the points of a laydy’z buzzum?

good word if that’s what it means. (Quest’ultima frase appare cancellata con due freghi, e, sotto, il commento O. K.: evidentemente il Pound s’era informato e aveva avuto conferma). [128]

Like the translation very much. great deal better than the others. (La lode non andava a me, ma, semmai, al miglior materiale che avevo scelto). 

Back before dew was shed/ means before ANY DEW existed, not merely early in the morning (8 ).

Ez. P.


Chiarii che l’espressione “in the Morosini” m’aveva fatto pensare a una nave, e spiegai quale. Risposta:


400 Corso Umberto,                                    Roma 19 nov. (1935)

Dear Izz

Thank God alll (sic!) chance of confusion with that damn tin steam boat is removed.

By all means Ca’ Morosini (mio suggerimento in chiave veneta) or even Palazzo to keep the eye of the imagination in order. (Conservai “Ca’ ”, in quanto tale forma contratta ha a Venezia un significato che “manteneva in ordine l’occhio della fantasia” secondo il desiderio del Pound).

librano bothers me. prob. I dont know what it means.

galleggiare is float like a cork. How a god floats I don’t know. even nuotare nell’aria gives frog like notion.

/ / Ca’ Morosini; when you were in knee breeches, one gondoled on the Grand Canal and the ceilings were LIT from lights in the Palazzi/ now none of the blighters can afford to live in and light up their houses.

Back (dovevo aver dato, in un primo tempo, un’interpretazione erronea) = way back in 1860 where the Eyetalyan purrfessors are/ “BACK in 1895 where the eyetalian licherchoor is … (lascio al Pound la responsabilità delle sue affermazioni).

Back refers to time past/ = in the past, “in the dark backward and abysm of time” etc.

If the idea of gondoled seems to contradict the statement of high price of gondolas/ then also from the vaporetti one saw the lit cross beams/.

cassetoni, perhaps better, but I think (segue un rudimentale disegno di quattro righe orizzontali e cinque verticali sovrapposte a grata) whereas the rafters are more general on Venetian ceilings (seguono altri due disegni di rettangoli striati da linee parallele, orizzontali in un disegno e verticali nell’altro).

any how (e questa era didattica: monito a me di scrivere [129] con gli occhi aperti sulla realtà) a ship. let alone a tin ship cant have real ones ( 9).

yrs. EZ. p.


Segui una cartolina sempre dallo stesso ind indirizzo di Roma, e con il timbro postale del 23 novemhre, la quale diceva: 

approve all suggestions

“aleggiano” good

and the mai, looks right to me

I misread librano as libErano/ but the hover wasn’t what I meant, I meant a calm unwavering.

in haste (10) Ez/P


Noterò che il Pound, come un mio amico danese anni dopo, prohabilmente non senti la derivazione di “aleggiare” da “ala” – altrimenti, io credo, avrebbe senz’altro rifiutato la parola – ma pensò a un “alleggiare”, con due “elle”, che è della lingua arcaica, e evidentemente, corrispondeva, a parer suo, alla sensazione di “indipendenza dalla forza di gravità” che egli aveva voluto rendere con “float” in inglese. Forse approfittai dell’equivoco per viltà: pigrizia, intendo dire, rassegnata certezza che non avrei saputo trovare di meglio” (126-9).



Izzo, Carlo. “23 Lettere e 9 cartoline inedite.” Nuova corrente 5-6 (Gennaio-giugno 1956): 123-154.









italy 1037265 640 lions



  1. Dodd, Elisabeth. “Metamorphosis and Vorticism in The Cantos: How to Read the Allusive Image.” Midwest Quarterly 29.4 (1988): 425-37. 
  2. Barnes, David. “‘Ct/Volpe's Neck’: Re-Approaching Pound’s Venice in the Fascist Context.” In Ezra Pound, Ends and Beginnings. Eds. John Gery and William Pratt. New York: AMS Press, 2011. 17-30.
  3. Foster, John L. “Pound’s Revision of Cantos I-III.” Modern Philology 63.3 (1966): 236-245. Go to article.
  4. Glenn, E. M. “A Guide to Ezra Pound’s Cantos (I-IV).” The Analyst I (March 1953): 1-7.
  5. Glenn, E. M. “A Guide to Canto III of Ezra Pound (Revised and Enlarged).” The Analyst 25 (April 1969): 1-18.
  6. Li, Victor. “The Rhetoric of Presence: Reading Pound’s Cantos I to III.” English Studies in Canada 14.3 (Sept. 1988): 296-309.
  7. Moody, David A. “Cantos I and III.” Agenda 21.1 (1979-1980): 65-79.
  8. Pryor, Sean. “‘How Will You Know?’: Paradise, Painting, and the Writing of Ezra Pound’s Canto 3.” Paideuma: Studies in American and British Modernist Poetry 37 (2010): 267-92.
  9. Scherman, Timothy H. “Towards a New Translation of Canto III.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 19.3 (1990): 123-7.



  1. Altieri Charles. “Modernist Abstraction and Pound’s First Cantos: The Ethos for a New Renaissance.” Painterly Abstraction in Modernist American Poetry.  Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009. 283-320.
  2. Bacigalupo, Massimo. “Annotazioni III.” Ezra Pound XXX Cantos. Parma: Ugo Guanda, 2012. 338.
  3. Bacigalupo, Massimo. The Forméd Trace. The Later Poetry of Ezra Pound.  New York: Columbia UP, 1980. 55-60.
  4. Brooker, Peter. “Canto III.” A Student's Guide to the Selected Poems of Ezra Pound. London: Faber 1979. 244-47.
  5. Cookson, William. “III: Venice – El Cid.” A Guide to the Cantos of Ezra Pound. London: Anvil, 2001. 9-10.
  6. Davenport, Guy. “Taishan.” In Cities on Hills. A Study of I-XXX of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. Epping: Bowker, 1983. 121-26.
  7. De Rachewiltz, Mary and Maria Ardizzone. “Commento: III.” Ezra Pound I Cantos. A cura di Mary de Rachewiltz. [Bilingual English-Italian edition]. Milano: Mondadori, 1985. 1505-06.
  8. Dennis, Helen. Canto Three. A New Approach to the Poetry of Ezra Pound Through the Medieval Provençal Aspect. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Pres, 1996. 347-50.
  9. Froula, Christine. A Guide to Ezra Pound’s Selected Poems. New York: New Directions, 1983. 136-39.
  10. Ickstadt, Heinz und Eva Hesse. “Anmerkungen und Kommentar: Canto III.” Ezra Pound. Die Cantos. Tr. by Eva Hesse and Manfred Pfister. Eds. Manfred Pfister and Heinz Ickstadt. Zurich: Arche Literatur Verlag, 2013. 1195-96.
  11. Kenner, Hugh. The Pound Era. London: Faber, 1972. 143.
  12. Makin, Peter. “Canto III.” Pound’s Cantos. Baltimore: JHUP, 1985. 132-36.
  13. Sicari, Stephen. Pound’s Epic Ambition. Dante and the Modern World. New York: SUNY Press, 1991. 25-27.
  14. Sieburth, Richard. “Notes. Canto III.” Ezra Pound. New Selected Poems and Translations. Ed. Richard Sieburth. New York: New Directions, 2010. 306-7.
  15. Terrell, Carroll F. Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: U of California Press, 1993. 7-10.



  1. bobherz. “Reality Intrudes: A Moment In The Cantos That Changes Everything.” Nine Mile Magazine: Talk about Poetry, 23 January 2019. Go to site.
  2. “Canto III.” A Canto a Day. Blog, 15 January 2009. Accessed 4 August 2018. Free online.
  3. Guidi, Paolo. “Canto III.” The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Etching series. 10 September 2012. Accessed 4 August 2018. Free online.
  4. Pound, Ezra. “Ezra Pound in Venice.” Kaplan Harris, Richard Sieburth, and Rachel Blau DuPlessis on Canto III. PoemTalk #41, 15 March 2011.  Jacket2. Podcast. 17 Oct. 2015. Free online.
  5. “Pound remembers Youth and Venice” [on the discussion of Canto III in PoemTalk #41, 15 March 2011].  Jacket2, December 3, 2016.  Free online.
  6. Sellar Gordon. Blogging Pound’s The Cantos: Canto III. Blog, 6 March, 2012. Free online.



The Fifth Decad

rsz toscana siena3 tango7174

Cantos LII - LXXI

confucius adams 2