Ezra Pound Poem


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Ils, beasts, grasses, petrifaction, birds, incrustations,
Dr. Mitchell’s conversation was various. . . .
And a black manservant, to embark on a voyage to Russia….
Consistent with their peace and their separation from
          Europe. . . .
English pretensions, exclusive, auf dem Wasser…
                                    (a.d. 1809)
“En fait de commerce ce (Bonaparte) est un étourdi,” said
Freedom of admission for ships, freedom of departure,
freedom of purchase and sale . . .

Are the only members of the corps diplomatique who have
          any interest in literature, conversation. . . .
We talked of Shakespeare, Milton, Virgil and of the
                                  Abbé Delille…
“Monsieur Adams,” said the Emperor, “il y a cent ans que
                                  je ne vous ai vu.”
Jan. 4th, 1811:
          The idea occurred to me of a treaty of commerce.
Told him his government would probably make our peace.
“How?” said the ambassador (french).
          “By not keeping her word.”
And he, Bonaparte, said to Romanzoff:
          “After the peace of Tilsit, where could I go but Spain?”
For he must always be going.
It is reported that the two empresses will return to the city
As is said to be customary
At least in wars un peu intéressantes, which war Alexander
Has done all he can to prevent.
French army 500 thousand; the Russian 300 thousand,
But counting on space and time.

“The fifth element: mud,” said Napoleon.
A black, Claud Gabriel, in the emperor’s service
Was very ill used in America.    Aug. 14th to Oranienbaum.
Where was Lord Cathcart (that is, at Madame de Stael’s)
And she wanted to know how she could
Receive her interest from United States funds
While in England, and a war on, between them.
Here the nobility have given one man to the army
From every ten of their peasants.
                                   Zu’il fit la sottise de Moscou
and he, Bonaparte, had to borrow six shirts from
his minister, and four thousand louis. . . Mr. Gal-
Mr. Bayard… answer from Romanzoff… Mr. Gal- latin
did not think that “they could” (did not
think that our actions in Florida could be justified).
Against rights on the Mississippi. . . our
Rights to fish, dry fish and cure . . . off Newfoundland.

At the opera: Tamerlan, and the ballet of Télémaque.
1815, March 18th: Was expected (Bonaparte)
          last night at Auxerre;
Ney to be here (Paris) tomorrow, because it is the
King of Rome’s birthday. . . .
March twentieth: The King, Bourbon, left the Tuileries,
To take, they say, the road going toward Beauvais. . . .
At the Séance Royale last Thursday he had talked of
His death in defence of the country.
And when they wish to make the troops cheer, the
Soldiers say: Ah, voui, Vive le Roi.
Newspaper this morning headed Journal de l’Empire
. . . arrived last evening with the troops that had
          been sent out against him . . .
which is due to Bourbon misconduct.

I told him (Sir James Mackintosh) that I
Did not believe Dr. Franklin or Washington
Had wanted the revolution. . . . He asked if any leading
          man had.
I said, my father, perhaps Samuel Adams, James Otis . . .

(And on his return was received by Gouverneur Morris
          and Mr. Astor
with a public dinner at Tammany Hall.)

And one night a dead fowl was tied to Mr. Otis’s bell rope,
As (in his eyes) a great dishonor to Spain.
Mr. Jefferson remarked that fond as he was of agriculture
He knew nothing about it, though Mr. Madison did.
Mr. Madison was very efficient in the convention of ’87.
“Mr. Bagot has been a much better minister
“than a much abler man would have been; better
“for the interest of England, better
“for the tranquillity of this country.” De Witt Clinton
Never more low and discredited
Than just before being elected (comma)
Without opposition (comma) Governor of New York State.

“A misanthropist, an unsocial savage,” J.Q.A. on himself.
Banks breaking all over the country,
Some in a sneaking, some in an impertinent manner
prostate every principle of economy.
Jan. 18th, 1820: I (J.Q.A.) called at the President’s
And the President said: Colonel Johnson
might have been more worthily occupied than in acting as
medium for proposal of
furnishing ten thousand stand of arms to Venezuela
in order to make a job for Duane.

                               a.d. 1820
… is that moral considerations seldom
appear to have much weight in
                               the minds of statesmen
unless connected with popular feelings . . .
while professing neutrality
          (himself to hire men from our army
secretissime, on the quiet.) Monroe admits it.
No one else seems to mind.
          . . . but the vice-presidency is-
to call things by their proper names-in the market.
“Defective in elementary knowledge and with a very
undigested system of ethics, Mr. Clay (Henry)”.

After conversing with Mr. Calhoun, Adams reflected:
Paper currency. . . reductions of fictitious capital.
Accumulation of debts as long as credit can be strained . . .
Mr. Noah has a project for colonizing jews in this country
And would like a job in Vienna….

Xmas, 1820: read aloud after breakfast
From Pope’s Messiah. Not one of my family,
Except George,
          appeared to take the least interest,
Nor is there any one of them
          who has a relish for literature.
I have been a lawyer for bread,
          a statesman at the call of my country.
Plain, modest and tasteless monuments to George Clinton
and Elbridge Gerry . . . we have neither forefathers nor posterity,
          a few years will efface them.
. . . half educated, like almost all eminent men in this country. . . .
Calhoun thought we ought in no case
          attend a congress of the allies.
England more by her interest than
          from principle of general liberty. . . .
We should separate from all European concerns.
Who have followed (maiden ladies have followed)
General Lafayette from Europe to Lisses. Oct. 2, ’24.
So that when Washington left the senate chamber he said he
Would be damned if he ever went there again.

They (congress) would do nothing for
the education of boys but to make soldiers, they
would not endow a university (in 1826).
Black walnut, almond planted in spring
take two months precisely to vegetate to the surface.

This has been (May 26th) a harassing day
but I perceived a tamarind heaving up the earth
in tumbler number 2, and in tumbler number one, planted. . . .

Interfere with official duty? I said
I thought that it would as the U. S. was interested in
the Canal Company by their subscription of one million dollars.

Reading Evelyn’s Sylva and making
Trivial observations upon the vegetation of trees until dark.

Some sensibility at parting? Clay expressed a wish to
          hear from me now and again . . .
“There is something strange, and which would now be
          thought very affected, in the language of Shakespeare
Whose common thoughts are expressed in uncommon words.”
                                                                      (diary, March 1829)
But of late years have lost relish for fiction. . .
December 13th: Mrs. Eaton . . .
and accordingly she (Mrs. Calhoun) remains in the untainted
atmosphere of S. Carolina.
English Quarterly Review for November,
          two articles of vilification. . . .
Calhoun heads the moral party, Mr. Van Buren. . . .
President Jackson’s spittin’ box and a broken pipe on the
I called upon Nicholas Biddle… and received two dividends
of my bank stock. . . as I might be called to take part in
public measures. . . I wished to divest myself
of all personal interest . . . Nov. 9, ’31.

“I took seat Number 203.” J. Q. Adams.
. . . asked him (Mr. Webster) his views on
          the diminution in the tariff.
I said I had no desire that the interruption of social
intercourse between Gen. Jackson and me should
continue (March second) so far, so good . . . a
restitution of it could not fail to expose me to obloquy.

March the third: Dined with
          Mr. Webster upon salmon sent from New York.
Miss Martineau . . . author of Conversations upon Political Economy
. . . a young woman . . . deaf. . . and hearing only
          through an ear-trumpet.
Her conversation is lively and easy.
The reasoning of Mr. Clay, Mr. Calhoun, Mr. Webster
is shallow, they speak to popular prejudice.
The old states will so sacrifice
          all their rights to the public lands . . .
L’ami de tout le monde, Martin Van Buren . . .
Mr. Webster, a man of straw. . . in the yard of the
President’s house. It is said that their object
was to remonstrate against working more
than ten hours a day (April 13th, ’37).
At the President’s house and had with him conversation
respecting the climate, Queen Victoria and the weather. . . .

Legaré would retort upon them by preaching to the laborers
Insurrection against the capitalists of the North.

Senate Chamber where I found him (J. Calhoun)
discoursing to his own honour and glory and
vituperating Mr. Clay.
. . . after battling with each other on the atonement,
Christ and the Trinity, phrenology and animal magnetism. . . .
Tippecanoe clubs students of colleges, schoolboys. . . .

The world, the flesh, the devils in hell are
Against any man who now in the North American Union
shall dare to join the standard of Almighty God to
put down the African slave trade . . . what can I,
seventy-four, verge of my birthday, shaking hand
. . . for the suppression of the African slave trade. …
Van Buren . . . against more than ten hours a day.
Harrison on a mean-looking horse…
          was amiable and benevolent. . .
Administration will waddle along…
          haec sunt infamiae . . .
          wrongs of the Cherokee nation…
These are the sins of Georgia
These are the lies
These are the infamies
These are the broken contracts. . .
Buchanan the shade of a shade,
          Scott a daguerreotype of a likeness,
Mr. Dan Webster spouting, Tyler’s nose outreaching the
Gun barrels, black walnut. . . .
These words I read on a pyramid, written
                                        in English and Hebrew.
The firemen’s torchlight procession,
Firemen’s torchlight procession,
Science as a principle of political action

                                        Firemen’s torchlight procession!
Proportioned to free inhabitants (Dec. 21, ’43)
Electro-magnetic (Morse)
                          Constans proposito….
                          Justum et Tenacem.

Canto XVI


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