CANTO LVII

 

 403px Anonymous Ming Chengzu

 

LVII.  Flight of Kien Ouen Ti

Ezra Pound The Cantos New York: New Directions, 1998. 255

 

Pound’s concern, like that of the Confucian historians, is with the increasing corruption of government under Ming. There is the key statement, ‘HONG VOU restored Imperial order/ yet now came again eunuchs, taozers and hochang.’ There was famine, and wasteful expenditure on armaments–a thousand primitive tanks that ‘were never brought into action’; there was ‘a rebellion of eunuchs’; there were heavy taxes, and a young emperor’s chief eunuch was found to have salted away ‘gold bars 240 thousand… / 15 million in money / 5 million bars silver’, and so forth. The next emperor ‘was a writer of verses/ in fact he said he wd/ like to resign; and in his time another court favourite was found to have hoarded up gold and silver […]. Private greed and luxury were at the heart of the later Ming government, and oppression and neglect of the people. 

Under the last Ming emperor, with decadence at court and disorder in the state, the hordes on the northern borders were uniting under the Manchu and driving back the Ming armies.

David Moody, Ezra Pound: Poet II: 280-1.

 

A Draft of XXX Cantos

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Eleven New Cantos

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