Article Index






Anchises and A

 "King Otreus, of Phrygia/ That king is my father."


I mean or imply that certain truth exists. Certain colours exist in nature though great painters have striven vainly, and though the colour film is not yet perfected. Truth is not un­true’d by reason of our failing to fix it on paper. Certain objects are communicable to a man or woman only “with proper lighting”, they are perceptible in our own minds only with proper “lighting”, fitfully and by instants.

(Ezra Pound. Guide to Kulchur 295)



CANTO XVII [Greek pastoral]

CANTO XXI [gods and human life in nature]

CANTO XXXIX [Greek language as secretum; sacramental sex] 

CANTO XLVII [Aphrodite’s lovers: Anchises versus Adonis]

CANTO XLVIII [Provençal troubadours and Montségur]








 rsz 1930canto 23 Hynes



Canto XXIII in A Draft of the Cantos 17-27
London: John Rodker, 1928.
Illumination by Gladys Hynes.

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

Note: The above images are not to scale. The 1928 edition is a folio, whereas the 1930 one is pocket-size.








Pound indicated in a letter to his mother in October 1924 that he had been studying some Greek, which points to the presence of the Greek poet Stesichorus in the canto. In March 1925, Pound wrote to his father that he had completed seven cantos (17-23). The drafts show that Pound remodelled the end of the canto, probably from March to October 1925.

Pound published a part of canto XXIII in his own magazine Exile (no.3 Spring 1928). Assuming that the beginning of the poem is too obscure, he started his excerpt from line 12: “precisely: the selv’ oscura.”



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




Moody, David. Ezra Pound: Poet. A Portrait of the Man and His Work. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007-2015. Volume II: The Epic Years 1921-1939. 2014.


Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound to His Parents. Letters 1895-1929. Eds. Mary de Rachewiltz, A David Moody and Joanna Moody. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2010.



To IWP, 30 October 1924, Rapallo

L/HP 546

Dear Mother


Have been through the last part of Dante’s hell; and acquired a little more greek during the past fortnight; real comforts of idleness, after the hurley-burley or hurloo-boorloo of Paris.



To Homer Pound, 25 March 1925, Rapallo

L/HP 561

Dear Dad:


Wot ells. Have typed out most of seven cantos, taking it up to XXIII.


To Homer Pound, 23 October 1925. Rapallo

L/HP 578

Dear Dad:


Have now four more canti on the way, (beyond the three that are supposed to be in press for T. Quart.)

Note: The cantos in press for This Quarter were numbers XVII-XIX.


To IWP, 24 October 1925, Rapallo

L/HP 579

Dear Mother:

Have got new raccogliatore for notes, as canti XXII to XXIII are about finished and need holder to themselves. Am going on to XXIV etc.

Proofs of the T. Quarter recd.


To Natalie Barney, 19 November 1925, Hotel Mignon Rapallo

Richard Sieburth, ed. “Letters to Natalie Barney.” Paideuma 5.2-3 (Fall Winter 1976): 288.

Dear Natalie


I am plugging along about Canto XXIII; XVII-XIX are about to appear in a quarterly; Bird hopes to start printing something next winter, but hardly another vol. of Cantos.

Pussn’ly I think my opera nearly as good as the Cantos, though NOT fer anyone’s pyanny. Also my opinion on litterchure is more valuable than my opinion on moosik.



To Olga Rudge, April 1926

EPP 68

“In April he wrote that he had nine cantos more or less finished–they would have been 17-to 25–‘but they don’t make a vollum’. He went on, ‘She suggest a nice simple and continuous subjeck of UNIVERSAL INTEREST, to run from 26 to 33’ which would imply he had it in mind to match the first major division of Dante’s one hundred cantos.”



To Homer Pound, 3 April, 1927

L/HP 623

Dear Dad:


Rodker is preparing to print Canti XVII-XXVI; and has the mss. for nine of them in hand. I suppose I get another one done by August, or sometime. [17-25]


To Homer Pound, 27 December 1927, Rapallo

L/HP 645

Dear Dad:


Have had 3 canti to correct in proofs.

Note: the 3 canti in proofs would have been ‘Part of Canto XXVII’ and ‘Canto XXII’ for The Dial and ‘Part of Canto XXIII for Exile no.3 (Moody 646).











  1. Bacigalupo, Massimo. “Pound’s Tigullio.” Paideuma 14.2-3 (Fall and Winter 1985): 179-209. Go to article.
  2. Bornstein, George. Yeats’s “Those Dancing Days are Gone” and Pound’s “Canto 23.”  Yeats Annual. No. 2. Ed. R. J. Finneran. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1983.
  3. Dembo, L. S. “Fac Deum.” In Conceptions of Reality in Modern American Poetry. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966. 151-82.
  4. Hatlen, Burton. “Pound and Nature: A Reading of Canto XXIII.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 25.1-2 (Spring and Fall 1996): 161-88.
  5. Libera, Sharon Mayer. “Casting His Gods Back into the NOUS: Two Neoplatonists and The Cantos of Ezra Pound.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 2.3 (1973): 368-77. 
  6. Peter Liebregts, “‘Damned to you Midas, Midas lacking a Pan’: Ezra Pound and the Use of Pan.” Ezra Pound’s Green World: Nature, Landscape and Language. Eds. Walter Baumann and Caterina Ricciardi. Brighton: Everett Root Publishers, 2019. 123-136.
  7. Liebregts, Peter. “‘With the Sun in a Golden Cup’: Pound and Stesichorus in Canto 23.” Ezra Pound and Modernism: The Irish Factor. Brighton: Edward Everett Root Publishers, 2017. 59-70.
  8. Peck, John. “Arras and Painted Arras.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 3.1 (1974): 61-6. Print.
  9. Peck, John. “Pound’s Lexical Mythography: King’s Journey and Queen’s Eye.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 1.1 (1972): 3-36. Print.
  10. Roessel, David. “The ‘Repeat in History’: Canto XXVI and Greece’s Asia Minor Disaster.” Twentieth Century Literature 34.2 (1988): 180–190. JSTOR.
  11. Surette, Leon. “‘A Light from Eleusis’: Some Thoughts on Pound’s Nekuia.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 3.2 (1974): 191-216.
  12. Surette, Leon. “The Troubadours: A Romance of Scholarship.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 30.1-2 (2001): 3-20.
  13. Terrell, Carrol F. “A Couple of Documents.” Paideuma 6.3 (1977): 359-61. [Extract from Porphyry, On Chances with Ficino’s title: “Omnis intellectus est omniformis”]



  1. Bacigalupo, Massimo. The Forméd Trace. The Later Poetry of Ezra Pound. New York: Columbia UP, 1980. 30-32; 46; 178.
  2. Bacigalupo, Massimo. “Ezra Pound’s Tigullio.” Paideuma 14.2-3 (Fall-Winter 1985): 179-209.
  3. Bacigalupo, Massimo. “Annotazioni XXIII.” Ezra Pound XXX Cantos. Parma: Ugo Guanda, 2012. 348.
  4. Cookson, William. “Et omniformis… .” A Guide to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. London: Anvil, 2001. 37-39.
  5. Davenport, Guy. “Helios Navigating the Dark.” In Cities on Hills. A Study of I-XXX of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. Epping: Bowker 1983. 217-222.
  6. De Rachewiltz, Mary and Maria Ardizzone. “Commento: XXIII.” Ezra Pound I Cantos. A cura di Mary de Rachewiltz. [Bilingual English-Italian edition]. Milano: Mondadori, 1985. 1515-16.
  7. Dennis, Helen. A New Approach to the Poetry of Ezra Pound Through the Medieval Provençal Aspect. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Pres, 1996. 304-313. 
  8. Fang, Achilles. “Materials for the Study of Pound’s Cantos.” 4 vols. Diss. Harvard U, 1958. Vol I: 41-44.
  9. Flory, Wendy. Ezra Pound and The Cantos: A Record of Struggle. New Haven: Yale UP, 1980. 14-15.
  10. Ickstadt, Heinz and Eva Hesse. “Anmerkungen und Kommentar: Canto XXIII.” Ezra Pound. Die Cantos. Tr. by Eva Hesse and Manfred Pfister. Eds. Manfred Pfister and Heinz Ickstadt. Zurich: Arche Literatur Verlag, 2013. 1229-30.
  11. Liebregts, Peter. “Canto XXIII and the Power of Love.” Ezra Pound and Neoplatonism. Madison: Farleigh Dickinson, 2004. 87-91.
  12. Makin, Peter. “The Heretics of Provence.” Provence and Pound. Berkeley: U of California P, 1978. 217-221.
  13. Miyake, Akiko. “The Sun’s Marriage in the Rose Garden.” In Ezra Pound and the Mysteries of Love. A Plan for The Cantos. Durham NC: Duke UP, 1991. 120-22.
  14. Nicholls, Peter. Ezra Pound: Politics, Economics and Writing; A Study of ‘The Cantos’. London, 1984. 16.
  15. Pearlman, Daniel D. The Barb of Time. On the Unity of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. New York: Oxford UP, 1969. 104-7.
  16. Ricciardi, Caterina. Eikones. Ezra Pound e il Rinascimento. Napoli: Liguori Editore, 1991. 215-7.
  17. Surette, Leon. A Light from Eleusis. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1979. 59-60.
  18. Surette, Leon. The Birth of Modernism. Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, W. B. Yeats and the Occult. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queens UP, 1993. 151-56.
  19. Terrell, Carroll F. “Canto XXIII.” A Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: California UP, 1993. 92-95.
  20. Tryphonopoulos, Demetres. “Never with this religion/ Will you make men of the Greeks. Canto 23.” The Celestial Tradition: A Study of Ezra Pound’s The Cantos. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfred Laurier UP, 1992. 127-41.



  1. “Canto XXIII.” A Canto a Day. Blog, 10 February 2009. Accessed 24 January 2018. Free online.
  2. “Ezra Pound: Canto XXIII.” Coffee philosopher. Blog. 16 May 2011. Accessed 24 January 2018. Free online.
  3. Gilbert, W. Stephen. “Pound and Provence: The Sense of Place in The Cantos.” Sincronia. A Journal for the Humanities and Social Sciences (Winter 2009). Web. Accessed 24 January 2018. Free online.
  4. Guidi, Paolo. “Canto XXIII.” The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Etching series. 4 October 2012. Accessed 24 January 2018.
  5. Prynne, J.H.  “Reading Pound: Seven.”  [On Canto XVII and Canto XXIII].  April 2006. Free online.
  6. Sellar, Gordon. “Blogging Pound’s The Cantos: Cantos XXIII-XXIV.”, 5 June 2012. Web. 30 Oct. 2015. Accessed 24 January 2018. Free online.

The Fifth Decad

rsz toscana siena3 tango7174

Cantos LII - LXXI

confucius adams 2