rsz mantua1 




Annotations in the List of Works Cited:

Contributor name. The Online Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound, IV: n.gloss number. The Cantos Project. Web. Date of access.

Example: Preda, Roxana. The Online Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound, IV: n.13. The Cantos Project. Web. 5 September 2016.

In–text references

(Contributor name, OCCEP IV:

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(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. Three Cantos II, 1 November 2015




Ezra Pound. Literary Essays. Ed. T. S. Eliot. New York: New Directions, 1968.


The New Age


New Directions


Ezra Pound’s Poetry and Prose. Contributions to Periodicals. Eds. Lea Baechler, A. Walton Litz and James Longenbach. New York: Garland, 1991.


Ezra Pound. Spirit of Romance. 1912. New York: New Directions, 2005.


“Troubadours: Their Sorts and Conditions.” In LE 94-108.


A Walking Tour in Southern France. Ed. Richard Sieburth. New York: New Directions, 1992.



(Contributor names are initialled at the end of the glosses they authored. Translations are acknowledged in the Sources.)

Peter Liebregts; Orla Polten; David Ewick; Eloisa Bressan; Walter Baumann


  1. Leave Casella – See reference to Casella in Companion to Three Cantos I, n. 68.
  2. Mantuan palace – The Ducal Palace of the Gonzaga family, who ruled Mantua from the 14th to the 18th century. The palace consists of a rsz mantova palazzo ducale foto roberto merlocomplex of buildings including some 500 rooms, courtyards and gardens, occupying an area of 34,000 m2. The Gonzaga dynasty lived in the palace from 1328 to 1707, when the last duke was forced into exile. After the Austrian occupation of 1708, some apartments were used for representation, but during the 19th century, the palace was abandoned. The buildings saw a sharp decline, which Pound must have witnessed and which he evokes here. Restoration work began at the end of the 19th century and continued until the 1940s. The Ducal Palace is in Piazza Sordello.
  3. Gonzaga’s splendour – The splendor period of the Gonzaga family can be located between 1460 and 1506, the time in rsz mantegna the court of mantua 1471 1474 walnut oil on plaster 805 x 807 cm camera degli sposi palazzo ducale mantua 2which they were Andrea Mantegna’s patrons: Lodovico III (1412-1478), his son Federico I (1441-1484) and grandson Francesco II (1466-1519).
  4. “All that I know is that a certain star” – First two lines of Robert Browning’s poem My Star. Robert Browning My star.
  5. Joios - Joyeux de Toulouse (probably late 13th century). He left behind only one poem, “L’autr’ ier el dous temps de Pascor” [The other day in the sweet time of Easter]. Pound found it in Ms Fr 856 which he consulted at the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris. RP, EB.
  6. Y a la primera flor,” – “at the first flower I found, I burst into tears.” Pound mentions Joios in TTSC and provides a crib for the first two stanzas. Joios of Tolosa.
  7. gilded manuscript – MS Fr 844, most likely what Pound elsewhere refers to as “the courtly book,” siglum M, also called “Manuscrit du roi.” Pound describes it in more detail in his notes for “The Normal Opportunity of the Provençal Troubadour,” a fragment for the unfinished project Gironde. Sieburth notes that the illuminations of this volume resemble the designs that Henry Strater made for the de-luxe edition of A Draft of XVI Cantos in 1925. (WTSF 123). Troubadour manuscripts Ms. Fr. 844.
  8.  CoucyCoucy’s rabbits - Coucy’s rabbits refer to an episode at the Chateau de Coucy, north of Soissons in Picardy. During the time of Enguerrand IV coucy(1236-1311) three boys of good families spent their time at an abbey nearby and hunted rabbits. They were caught, imprisoned and hanged without trial or any allowance for the weight of the offence, age or rank. Enguerrand was called to the king and almost executed for the deed. Instead, E. had to pay a fine which the king used to build chapels and hospitals. (Chalons 277-79). Coucy’s rabbits.
    Pound may have referred primarily to the coat of arms of the Coucy family, which is in a vair pattern. The vair, usually blue and white, was derived from the models furriers used to make mantle linings out of the back of the animal (blue) alternating with the underside (white).
  9. margent stream – a margent is the white border of the page, surrounding the printed matter.
  10. When Coeur de Lion was before Chalus – Richard Lionheart besieged Chalus at the end of March 1199. He was wounded by an arrow and died there on the 6th of April. Pound therefore assumes Joios lived and wrote at about this time, which for him coincided with the flowering of troubadour poetry (LE 101). See also Bush (Genesis 118) for alternative interpretation.
  11. two tunes – In 1911 Pound visited The Ambrosian Library in Milan and discovered there in a manuscript (F71 Superiores) the two still Arnaut Daniel 2extant tunes of Arnaut Daniel, for his sestina, “Lo ferm voler” and “Chançon do – il mot son plan e prim.” Delighted by his discovery, he made copies of the pages and travelled to Freiburg to seek the advice of the eminent specialist in Provençal, Emile Lévy. See Canto XX for an account of the visit. (Wilhelm 72).
    Music: Lo ferm voler. Scores in Hesternae Rosae.
  12. Dolmetsch – Arnold Dolmetsch (1858-1940) – French-born musician active in England and America. He was a rsz dolmetschcentral figure in the revival of interest in the music of the 17th and 18th centuries played on original instruments. D. built copies of viols, lutes, recorders and keyboard instruments, like the clavichord and the harpsichord. He and his family played them in London concerts wearing costume. D. also rediscovered the work of early English composers like Henry Purcell, John Jenkins and William Lawes. D. was much appreciated by William Morris, W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, Roger Fry and Gabrielle D’Annunzio.rsz d clavichord at b

    One of Pound’s acquaintances, Selwyn Image, had a studio at 20 Fitzroy Street, where D. used to give clavichord recitals. Pound must have attended these, as he used money received at his wedding to Dorothy in spring 1914 to buy a D. clavichord, which is now kept at Brunnenburg castle. (Wilhelm 6, 154). Pound also read D.’s book The Interpretation of the Music of the XVIIth and XVIIIth Centuries (1915) and published three essays on D.: “Affirmations I: Arnold Dolmetsch” (NA January 1915); “Vers libre and Arnold Dolmetsch” (Egoist  IV.6 (July 1917), which is a review of D's book, and “Arnold Dolmetsch” (Egoist IV.7 (August 1917). (P&P II: 2-3; 222-23; 235-36. The first two essays were collected in LE 431-440.
  13.  rsz helenedolmetschViols da gamba, tabors, tympanons – In all probability a recollection of a Dolmetch concert. D’s daughter Hélène was especially skilled in the viola da gamba and played with her father in public performances. ( Pound recollects a concert in his essay “Affirmations I: Arnold Dolmetsch” (1915. P&P II: 2-3; LE 433):  

    “I found myself in a reconstructed century – in a century of music, back before Mozart or Purcell, listening to clear music, to tones clear as brown amber. And this music came indifferently out of the harpsichord or the clavichords or out of virginals or out of odd-shaped viols, or whatever they may be. There were two small girls playing upon them with an exquisite precision; with a precision quite unlike anything I have ever heard from an orchestra. […] The clavichord has the beauty of three or four lutes played together.”
  14. Yin-Yo laps in the reeds – EP’s distillation and abridgement of an eighth-century poem “Song of the Lute” (琵琶行, pinyin Pípá xíng) by the T’ang poet Po Chū-i, (白居易, pinyin Bó Jūyì or Bái Jūyì). Po Chu-I Song of the Lute.

    The fragment appears independently in Eliot Weinberger's New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry (128). In his notes, Weinberger mentions the Fenollosa papers as Pound’s source and points out that he is the first to identify the poem as a translation of Po Chü-I (217). A prose version of the poem, “The story of a poor lute-girl’s sorrows,” appeared in Giles, History of Chinese Literature 164-67. DE.
  15. Venus’ sparrows, and Catullus / Hung on the phrase – A reference to a group of poems by Sappho and Catullus. Sappho’s Poikilothron [Hymn to Aphrodite] is her only surviving complete poem. Lines 9-12 describe the ‘beautiful swift sparrows’ that pull Aphrodite’s chariot. Catullus 2 with its ambiguities and overtones and 3 allude humorously to Sappho’s Hymn by narrating the life and death of a pet sparrow beloved of Lesbia, the poet’s lover. Sappho PoikilothronCatullus Carmina 2 and 3. OP.
  16. Réveuse pour que je plonge – first line of Mallarmé’s poem Autre Éventail de Mademoiselle Mallarmé [Another Fan]. It is the “wing” of the fan, the arrested flight and its captivity to the lady’s wrist that bring to mind Lesbia’s sparrow. Stéphane Mallarmé, Another Fan.
  17. Sappho (ca. 630-570 BCE) Greek lyrical poet from the isle of Lesbos. Through Catullus' adaptations, Pound sends back to the two most renowned fragments of S.'s poems: “The Hymn to Aphrodite” and “On Jealousy.” Sappho Fragment 31 On JealousySappho Poikilothron.
  18. God’s peer: Pound’s translation of Catullus 51, itself a translation of Sappho’s famous fragment 31 [On Jealousy]. Both Catullus 51 and Sappho 31 are written in the metrical form of the sapphic strophe, a form which originates with the Lesbian poets Sappho and Alcaeus, and is heavily associated with Sappho—but Pound’s translation here is not written in sapphics. Pound’s earlier short poem ‘Apparuit’ is written in an English version of sapphics, a form which in English broadly speaking works as a stanza of three eleven-syllable lines in a duple falling rhythm followed by a five-syllable line in a triple falling rhythm. OP. Catullus 51.
  19. Lesbia - Catullus’ pseudonym for an aristocratic Roman woman of the 1st century BC, traditionally identified as Clodia, a woman mentioned in Cicero’s Pro Caelio (section 13). Lesbia’s name is a reference to Sappho, derived from the island of Lesbos which was Sappho’s birthplace. OP.
  20. Flamma dimanat – A misprint of “flamma demanat,” meaning “flame sinks down through my limbs,” from Catullus 51: “dimanat” like “locus” in Three Cantos I was another printing error in Poetry which was corrected in Lustra as well as in the “Images from the Second Canto of a Long Poem” in Future. The ND edition of Personae reproduced the Poetry version, misprints included. Catullus 51.
  21.  “I love her as a father” – line from Catullus 72. Catullus 70 and 72.
  22. Your words are written in water” – line from Catullus 70. Catullus 70 and 72.
  23. Caelius, Lesbia illa […] every lousy Roman - Pound’s loose translation of Catullus 58: ‘Caelius, Lesbia illa’ is a paraphrase of the first line: ‘Caeli, Lesbia nostra, Lesbia illa’ [Caelius, our Lesbia, that Lesbia] which Pound then quotes in the next line. OP.
  24. Dordoigne – Provençal spelling of the Dordogne region, which Pound explored in his walking tour of Southern France in 1912. The highlight of the Dordoigne was the small town of Gourdon which Pound visited on St John’s Eve.
  25. centaur – In Sirmione Pound had “seen” spirits, lemures, which he mentions in Three Cantos I. The landscape of Dordogne may have had a similar effect on his imagination. He would remark that: “Poetry is a centaur. The thinking, word-arranging, clarifying faculty must move and leap with the energizing, sentient, musical faculties.” (The Serious Artist (1913) LE 52).
  26. rsz stonehenge heel stone 2On the road by Salisbury - a possible reference to watching the sunrise at Stonehenge on the summer solstice.
  27. In “Statues of Gods,” a note published in the Townsman in August 1939, Pound sums up his beliefs about the significance of these festivals by bringing together the festivities of the Corpus Domini mentioned in Three Cantos I with the procession by “Salisbury” and the Eve of St John:

    “What we really believe is the pre-Christian element which Christianity has not stamped out. The only Christian festivals having any vitality are welded to sun festivals, the spring solstice, the Corpus and St. John’s Eve, registering the turn of the sun, the crying of “Ligo” in Lithuania, the people ruhing down to the sea on Easter morning, the gardens of Adonis carried to Church on the Thursday” (quoted in Moody III: 8).
  28. Viscount St. Antoni – Raimon Jordan, viscount of Saint-Antonin (ca. 1150-1195). Troubadour from Cahors and author of eleven songs, one rsz raimon jordan wiki cimmonssirvente and one tenson (Kjellman 27). Pound does not mention Jordan in SR, which suggests that he discovered the troubadour either while doing his research of Arnaut Daniel at the Bibliothèque Nationale in spring 1911, or a year later in the spring of 1912. His source may then have been Ms Fr 854 which he mentions in his notes for Gironde (WTSF 84). He retells Jordan’s razo in TTSC, published in 1913 (LE 99-100). Viscount St. Antoni - vida. RP, EB.
  29. Uc de Saint Circ – See Three Cantos I:32.
  30. rose in trellis - This poem started as a fragment in Provençal, inspired by Pound's visit to Poitiers in 1912. It is not a translation, or imitation of Raimon Jordan but a poetic composition in troubadour style (Sieburth 111). In this canto Pound brings together his lines (WTSF 5) with Chaucer’s vision of Venus in his House of Fame (1379-80): “So lay Queen Venus in her house of glass,/ the pool of worth thou art/ floodland of pleasure.” Chaucer’s profusion of allusions to the ancient world show him as an early Renaissance rather than late medieval poet. His vision of Venus crowned with roses is similar to that of “Flora” in Botticelli’s Primavera, but created more than hundred years earlier. 

    In his essay on Arnaut Daniel, Pound remarks just after a quotation from Raimon Jordan’s poem Lo clar temps vi brunezir:
 “Nor do we enough notice how with his drollery he [Arnaut] is in places nearer to Chaucer than to the Italians, and indeed the Provençal is usually nearer the English in sound and in feeling, than it is to the Italian, having a softer humour, not a bitter tongue, as have the Italians in ridicule” (LE 114). The rose in trellis.
  31. Gourdon - village in the Dordogne, near Cahors which Pound visited in the summer of 1912. He noted that “the sky was for once like a tent really, & not the plainsman basin” (WTSF 40).
  32. La noche de san Juan – Pound was in Gourdon on the night of St John Eve 23 June 1912. The festival celebrates the birth of St John, six months before that of Christ. The masquerade of players carrying pikes and paper helmets brought to mind Lope de Vega’s masque La noche de san Juan (WTSF 40, 117).
  33. el cid 1My cid rode up to Burgos – Pound’s favourite episode of the Cantar de mio Cid, which he also recounts in SR (66-73). This is the beginning of the poem, the lowest ebb in Ruy Diaz’s life. The King Alfonso VI of Castille had put a ban on Diaz following a false accusation that he had kept a part of the plunder at a siege. Finding himself penniless in Bivar, Diaz rode to Burgos where he had a house, yet the king’s letters had arrived before him and no one would open to him, no citizen could speak to him on pain of death. He had to leave town with only a handful of loyal followers. The geste relates Diaz’s fighting the Moors and sending the booty to Alfonso in a sublime effort to clear his name.

    Pound had a very high regard for El Cid: “Numerous authorities disagree with my preference of the Cid and consider the Chançon de Roland the finer poem; but in its swift narration, its vigor, the humanness of its characters, for its inability to grow old, the Spanish ‘geste’ seems to me to surpass its French predecessor, and to merit first place in our attention” (SR 66).
  34.  “Afe Minaya!” – Pound’s quotation shows that he read El Cid in the original Old Spanish. “Afe” means "Hay aqui" [Here is]. Álvar Fáñez de Minaya, one of Diaz’s true companions and friends encourages the hero by saying: “Cid! Where is now thy courage? Upon a happy day/ Wast thou born. Let us bethink us of the road and haste away. /A truce to this. Rejoicing out of these griefs shall grow. /The God who gave us spirits shall give us aid also” (The Lay of the Cid I: XVIII at Sacred Texts). Minaya’s encouragement sends Diaz to fighting the Moors to regain his honor, the favor of the king and his wealth.
  35. Muy velida – (Old Spanish, velida, bellida) “very beautiful.” Refers to Ruy Diaz’s beard. El Cid is called “fair-bearded” or “nobly-bearded.” The Cantar refers to Diaz as “The cid whose beard is mighty.” The beard is “long and fair” and grows longer with El Cid’s victories along the poem.
  36. Y dar neuva lumbre las armas y hierros” – “somber light upon reflecting armor.” Pound referred to the line in SR, in which gave a much less felicitous first translations for it: “And the arms and irons give forth new (or strange) reflections” (SR 34).
  37. De las Nieblas – The story of Conde de Niebla’s death when attempting to conquer Gibraltar (1436) is told in Juan de Mena’s epic poem Laberinto de Fortuna (1444). Pound refers to it in SR n.34: “Mena, in enumerating the evil omens which attend the Count’s embarcation, does not mention the appearance of the water, but suggests it in speaking of the sullen glow in the armor.” De Niebla chooses to disregard the omens and goes on to disaster.
  38. 36. Kumasaka – Main character of the Noh play bearing his name. K. was a robber who by commanding a group of skilled fighters attacked rich rsz minamoto no ushiwakamaru battling with the brigand kumasaka chohan lacma m843195merchants in their travels. However, when planning an attack in the village of Akasaga, a “boy” of sixteen attacked and killed thirteen of his men. Initially K. thought he should slip away, but changed his mind in the belief he would be able to overcome a fighter so young. He fought with his spear against Ushiwaka’s sword and lost. The turning point of the play is K.’s decision to fight and the description of combat, similar to moments of tragic decision in the Spanish epics Pound mentions: Cantar de mio Cid and Laberinto de Fortuna and later in Lope de Vega’s play Las Almenas de Toro.

    Pound comments on the apparition of K’s ghost in the play: “He is the spirit of Kumasaka, remembering the glory of his days, meditating upon them, upon his bowmen and deeds of arms. The final passage is the Homeric presentation of combat between him and the young boy Ushiwaka. But note here the punctilio. Kumasaka’s spirit returns to do justice to the glory of Ushiwaka and to tell of his own defeat. All this is symbolized in the dance climax of the play and is told out by the chorus.” (P&P II: 67). Kumasaka - the battle scene.
  39. kernelled walls of Toro, las almenas – Reference to Lope de Vega’s play, Las Almenas de Toro [the battlements of Toro] (1620). Pound recounted the plot in SR (191-93). The story of King Sancho and his sister will re-appear in Canto XX. Lope de Vega Las almenas de Toro.
  40. “Mal fuego s’enciende!” – “An ill flame be kindled in her!” is Pound’s translation in SR 192. King Sancho’s decision to take Toro from his sister Elvira and his passion for her will lead to his own death.
  41. Ignez [da Castro] – The story of Inez da Castro is told in the 3rd chapter of Luís Camões’s epic poem Os Lusiadas (1576). Pound retells it in SR (218-19).
  42. “Que depois de ser morta foy Rainha” – “Who after she was dead was crowned queen” – Referring to Ignez da Castro and one of the few lines in the Lusiad that impressed Pound. (SR 219).
  43. Dig up Camoens – Luís Vas de Camões (1524-1580) Portuguese poet, author of the Lusiads, an epic poem in ottava rima recounting the voyage of Vasco da Gama to India (1572). Though dedicating a whole chapter to Camões in SR, Pound thought him to be excessively rhetorical and attentive only to externals, comparing him to Longfellow: “The Lusiads is remarkable as the sustained retention of an assumed grand manner. Camões was a master of sound and language, a man of vigor and a splendid rhetorician; that part of the art of poetry which can be taught, be learned. Longfellow had the same type of mind. Marooned on a stern rock-bound coast, planted in an uninteresting milieu and in a dreary age, Camões would have shown a corresponding mediocrity” (SR 220).
  44. Thy Enna – Pound’s versified retelling of elements out of The Lusiad, Canto III, stanzas 120 and 135. It is Pound who compares Ignez to Persephone: Hades had abducted the goddess on a flowery meadow on the shores of a lake near Enna, a town in Sicily. In the Lusiad, the murderers kill Ignez in a meadow by the Mondego river. Camões The Lusiads.
  45. Houtmans – Cornelius de Houtman (1565-1599) Dutch sailor, trader and spy. For Pound he is a luminous detail in his contention that literary rhetoric and bombast are symptoms of a general cultural and political decline. His example here is the relation of letters to the empire: while Camões, through expansive rhetoric was seeking to raise Portuguese commercial exploration onto the level of the ancient epic, Portuguese Oriental trading was already on the brink. H’s expeditions to the East in 1595 and 1599 were the beginning of the Dutch colonization of Indonesia and eventual Dutch victory in the spice wars with the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean.

    “If one were seeking to prove that all that part of art which is not the inevitable expression of genius is a by-product of trade or a secretion of commercial prosperity, the following facts would seem significant. Shortly after the decline of Portuguese prestige, Houtmans lying in jail for debt at Lisbon, planned the Dutch East India Company. When Portugal fell, Holland seized the Oriental trade, and soon after Roemer Vischer was holding a salon with which are connected the names of Rembrandt, Grotius, Spinoza, Vondel (born 1587) “the one articulate voice of Holland,” Coornhert, Spieghel, Coster, Hooft, Raeel, Vossius, Erasmus, and Thomas-a-Kempis” (SR 221).
  46. Roemer Visscher – Roemer Pieterszoon Visscher (1547-1620) Dutch merchant and poet, whose house was a literary salon frequented by rsz engraved rummer sic soleo amicos attributed to maria tesselschade roemers visscher rijksmuseum bk nm 10754 50artists. He had three daughters Anna, Gertruid and Maria Tesselschade. Maria was attractive, musically talented, translator and commentator from Latin, Greek and Italian.‪ She was skilled at singing, painting, carving, and etching on glass. (Noppen n.p.) The Rijksmuseum has an example of her engraving work, a drinking glass, (roemer), engraved with the motto Sic Soleo Amicos (“this is how I treat my friends”).
  47. 45. Vondel – Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679), Dutch poet and playwright. Pound was interested in his play Lucifer and referred to it in SR. “Our interest centers in the work of Vondel, whose plays and whose non-dramatic work reflect not only these forces of the Renaissance which we have already noted, but also the forces of the religious struggle then in progress. The one play which I know to be available for those who do not read Dutch is the Lucifer translated by Leonard van Noppen. Van Noppen’s introductory essay on Vondel’s Life and Times repays the reading” (SR 221).
  48. Eglantine – The “Chamber of the Eglantine” was a Dutch literary society to which all the most prominent writers and artists belonged. Vondel became a member after the publication of his play Passover in 1612. (Noppen n.p.)
  49. Gaby wears Braganza on her throat – allusion at the love affair the last king of Portugal, Manuel II Braganza had with Gaby Deslys (1881-1920), a dancer and actress he had met in Paris in 1909. She famously received from him a necklace with diamonds and pearls estimated at $70,000. The affair ended after Manuel’s abdication and exile in 1910 and her own move to New York in 1911.
  50. I knew a man – Pound is referring to Frederick Nelson Vance (1880-1926), a painter he met while teaching at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana in 1907.
  51. Julian’s - Académie Julian - famous art school in Paris founded in 1868 by Rodolphe Julian (1938-1907). Due to its more progressive and liberal approach, the school attracted students interested in latest developments in painting, women and foreign artists. American students included John Singer Sargent, Charles Demuth and Robert Henry. In 1953 the school was merged with the ceramics studio founded by Met de Penningen to form ESAG: École Supérieure d’Arts Graphiques.
  52. Puvis – see Companion to Three Cantos I: n.44.


Cantos in periodicals

A Draft of XXX Cantos

Eleven New Cantos

rsz guido cavalcanti

The Fifth Decad

rsz toscana siena3 tango7174


confucius adams 2