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“ART” which means for many people “painting” or “painting and sculpture” flourishes as a luxury-trade, in comparison with literature, or poetry, “the consolation of the poor,” which merely “exists.” Music flourishes in large cities when it provides a circus for the display of osprey plumage, etc.

This is no new thesis, and whatever virtue these notes on art may have had, they have always aimed at sorting out the art which is discovery, invention, clarification, analysis of perception, expression; from the “art” which is adjunct to the various luxury trades. 

It is, possibly, to the advantage, and certainly to the disadvantage, of the painter and painting, that “art” should be capable of this ambiguous blending and borderland;

Ezra Pound as B. H. Dias in the New Age XXVI.15 (12 February 1920). P&P IV: 14.


History taken as a lesson, and taking into account the difference between certainty and supposition, would be an exposition of the nature of events, rather than a chronicle of names.

Some events can be known only after centuries. We know, for example that Parisina d’Este incurred certain expenditures which were paid from the Ducal Treasury of Ferrara, and we also know the date of these payments. Other deeds are never explained and must remain enigmas of the participants. A signed letter proves what the writer wanted the recipient to believe on such and such a day. But the clarity of an idea remains among the ASCERTAINED facts. The definition of an idea, as observed by someone who understands the events of the day, may shed more light on the historical process than many volumes.

 Ezra Pound. (1944). “The Economic Nature of the United States.” Selected Prose 169.



CANTO I [the hero’s sea voyage]

MALATESTA: CANTOS 8-11 [lords of the quattrocento: Niccolò d’Este versus Sigismondo Malatesta]

CANTO XX [Ferrara at the time of Niccolò’s son, Borso d'Este; Schifanoia Palace]

CANTO XXI [Ferrara vs. Florence in the 15th century; politics of Niccolò d’Este compared to Lorenzo de Medici]

CANTO XL [voyage to Africa]

CANTO L [Napoleon in Italy]








canto 24 2

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

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

canto 24 1

Canto XXIV 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.








The letters below give a fair idea of the time of research and composition of canto XXIV, between October 1925 and April 1926. As a method of composition, this canto has a great deal in common with the Malatesta Cantos: research in the archives, trip to see the lay of the land in the Este domains, and combining information from books with documents found in the archive.

The canto was not published in periodicals and was printed in A Draft of the Cantos 17-27 for the first time in 1928.



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 Homer Pound, 1 October 1925

L/HP 577

Dear Dad,


Fortnight of excursions. The Sayres motored me down most of the way to Florence, where I looked into archivio. [...]

Mrs S[hakespear]. due on Thursday next, or rather she goes through and D[orothy Pound]. gets into same train, and they go to Perugia for fortnight while I go to Modena for a bit of a job. Stopping off in Milan.

Note: The archive of the Este family is housed in Modena. 


To Homer Pound, 17 October, 1925. Venice

L/HP 578

thanks for photos. etc.

waiting at Rapallo

going back in a week

Venice in Oct - something new


To Homer Pound, 23 October 1925. Rapallo

L/HP 578

Dear Dad:

Back to the keyboard. Venice rather different in Oct. Looked at Este, and the hills thurabats, dont think I shall shift to that side of Italy, though I like it very much, conveniences for habitation not so plentiful.


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

Have grub up some material on last trip, and have a case of book comin from Venice, etc.


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 section recd.


Ploughing thru mass of books collected on last trip. ETc.



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.”






Cariola Ritratto di Parisina Malatesta 


  1. Hugen, D. J. “‘… small birds of Cyprus.’” Paideuma 3.2 (Fall 1974): 229-38.



  1. Bacigalupo, Massimo. “Annotazioni XXIV.” Ezra Pound XXX Cantos. Parma: Ugo Guanda, 2012. 348-9.
  2. Cookson, William. “The Este Mandates.” A Guide to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. London: Anvil, 2001. 39-40.
  3. Davenport, Guy. “Niccolò d’Este.” In Cities on Hills. A Study of I-XXX of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. Epping: Bowker 1983. 223-24.
  4. De Rachewiltz, Mary and Maria Ardizzone. “Commento: XXIV [Este Mandates].” Ezra Pound I Cantos. A cura di Mary de Rachewiltz. [Bilingual English-Italian edition]. Milano: Mondadori, 1985. 1516-17.
  5. Furia, Philip. Pound’s Cantos Declassified. University Park: Pennsylvania State University, 1984. 42-47.
  6. Ickstadt, Heinz and Eva Hesse. “Anmerkungen und Kommentar: Canto XXIV.” Ezra Pound. Die Cantos. Tr. by Eva Hesse and Manfred Pfister. Eds. Manfred Pfister and Heinz Ickstadt. Zurich: Arche Literatur Verlag, 2013. 1230-31.
  7. Pearlman, Daniel. The Barb of Time: On the Unity of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1969.
  8. Ricciardi, Caterina. Eikones. Ezra Pound e il Rinascimento. Napoli: Liguori Editore, 1991.
  9. Tanner, Tony. Venice Desired. Cambridge Mass.: Harvard UP. 322-23.
  10. Terrell, Carroll F. “Canto XXIV.” A Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: California UP, 1993. 95-99.



  1. “Canto XXIV.” A Canto a Day. Blog, 10 February 2009. Accessed 24 January 2018. Free online.
  2. Guidi, Paolo. “Canto XXIV.” The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Etching series. 8 October 2012. Accessed 4 April 2018. Free online.
  3. Sellar, Gordon. “Blogging Pound’s The Cantos: Cantos XXIII-XXIV.”, 5 June 2012. Accessed 24 January 2018. Free online.


The Fifth Decad

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Cantos LII - LXXI

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