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Title: Personae
Author: Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Personae" ***

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"_Make-strong old dreams lest this our world lose heart._"






   FOR E. Mc C


Grace before Song

     Lord God of heaven that with mercy dight
     Th' alternate prayer-wheel of the night and light
     Eternal hath to thee, and in whose sight
     Our days as rain drops in the sea surge fall,

     As bright white drops upon a leaden sea
     Grant so my songs to this grey folk may be:

     As drops that dream and gleam and falling catch the sun,
     Evan'scent mirrors every opal one
     Of such his splendour as their compass is,
     So, bold My Songs, seek ye such death as this.

La Fraisne[1]

                 SCENE: _The Ash Wood of Malvern._

     For I was a gaunt, grave councillor
     Being in all things wise, and very old,
     But I have put aside this folly and the cold
     That old age weareth for a cloak.

     I was quite strong--at least they said so--
     The young men at the sword-play;
     But I have put aside this folly, being gay
     In another fashion that more suiteth me.

     I have curled mid the boles of the ash wood,
     I have hidden my face where the oak
     Spread his leaves over me, and the yoke
     Of the old ways of men have I cast aside.

     By the still pool of Mar-nan-otha
     Have I found me a bride
     That was a dog-wood tree some syne.
     She hath called me from mine old ways
     She hath hushed my rancour of council,
     Bidding me praise

     Naught but the wind that flutters in the leaves.

     She hath drawn me from mine old ways,
     Till men say that I am mad;
     But I have seen the sorrow of men, and am glad,
     For I know that the wailing and bitterness are a folly.
     And I? I have put aside all folly and all grief.
     I wrapped my tears in an ellum leaf
     And left them under a stone
     And now men call me mad because I have thrown
     All folly from me, putting it aside
     To leave the old barren ways of men,
     Because my bride
     Is a pool of the wood, and
     Though all men say that I am mad
     It is only that I am glad,
     Very glad, for my bride hath toward me a great love
     That is sweeter than the love of women
     That plague and burn and drive one away.

     Aie-e! 'Tis true that I am gay
         Quite gay, for I have her alone here
         And no man troubleth us.

     Once when I was among the young men....
     And they said I was quite strong, among the young men.
     Once there was a woman....
     .... but I forget.... she was....
     .... I hope she will not come again.

     .... I do not remember....
     I think she hurt me once, but....
     That was very long ago.

     I do not like to remember things any more.

     I like one little band of winds that blow
     In the ash trees here:
     For we are quite alone
     Here mid the ash trees.

[Footnote 1: Prefatory note at end of volume.]


_Italian Campagna_ 1309, _the open road._

     Bah! I have sung women in three cities,
     But it is all the same;
     And I will sing of the sun.

     Lips, words, and you snare them,
     Dreams, words, and they are as jewels,
     Strange spells of old deity,
     Ravens, nights, allurement:
     And they are not;
     Having become the souls of song.

     Eyes, dreams, lips, and the night goes.
     Being upon the road once more,
     They are not.
     Forgetful in their towers of our tuneing
     Once for Wind-runeing
     They dream us-toward and
     Sighing, say, "Would Cino,
     Passionate Cino, of the wrinkling eyes,
     Gay Cino, of quick laughter,
     Cino, of the dare, the jibe,
     Frail Cino, strongest of his tribe
     That tramp old ways beneath the sun-light,
     Would Cino of the Luth were here!"

     Once, twice, a year--
     Vaguely thus word they:

         "Cino?" "Oh, eh, Cino Polnesi
         The singer is't you mean?"
         "Ah yes, passed once our way,
         A saucy fellow, but....
         (Oh they are all one these vagabonds),
         Peste! 'tis his own songs?
         Or some other's that he sings?
         But _you_, My Lord, how with your city?

     But you "My Lord," God's pity!
     And all I knew were out, My Lord, you
     Were Lack-land Cino, e'en as I am,
     O Sinistro.

     I have sung women in three cities.
     But it is all one.
     I will sing of the sun.

     .... eh?.... they mostly had grey eyes,
     But it is all one, I will sing of the sun.

         "'Pollo Phoibee, old tin pan, you
         Glory to Zeus' aegis-day,
         Shield o' steel-blue, th' heaven o'er us
         Hath for boss thy lustre gay!

         'Pollo Phoibee, to our way-fare
         Make thy laugh our wander-lied;
         Bid thy 'fulgence bear away care.
         Cloud and rain-tears pass they fleet!

         Seeking e'er the new-laid rast-way
         To the gardens of the sun....
                  *  *  *  *  *
                  *  *  *  *  *
         I have sung women in three cities
         But it is all one.

         I will sing of the white birds
         In the blue waters of heaven,
         The clouds that are spray to its sea.

Na Audiart

_Que be-m vols mal._

     NOTE: Any one who has read anything of the troubadours knows
     well the tale of Bertran of Born and My Lady Maent of
     Montaignac, and knows also the song he made when she would
     none of him, the song wherein he, seeking to find or make
     her equal, begs of each preeminent lady of Langue d'Oc some
     trait or some fair semblance: thus of Cembelins her "esgart
     amoros" to wit, her love-lit glance, of Aelis her speech
     free-running, of the Vicomptess of Chales her throat and her
     two hands, at Roacoart of Anhes her hair golden as Iseult's;
     and even in this fashion of Lady Audiart "although she would
     that ill come unto him" he sought and praised the lineaments
     of the torse. And all this to make "Una dompna soiseubuda" a
     borrowed lady or as the Italians translated it "Una donna

     Though thou well dost wish me ill
                                 Audiart, Audiart,
     Where thy bodice laces start
     As ivy fingers clutching through
     Its crevices,
                    Audiart, Audiart,
     Stately, tall and lovely tender
     Who shall render
                          Audiart, Audiart
     Praises meet unto thy fashion?
     Here a word kiss!
                        Pass I on
     Unto Lady "Miels-de-Ben,"
     Having praised thy girdle's scope
     How the stays ply back from it;
     I breathe no hope
     That thou shouldst....
                               Nay no whit
     Bespeak thyself for anything.
     Just a word in thy praise, girl,
     Just for the swirl
     Thy satins make upon the stair,
     'Cause never a flaw was there
     Where thy torse and limbs are met:
     Though thou hate me, read it set
     In rose and gold.[2]
     Or when the minstrel, tale half told,
     Shall burst to lilting at the phrase
                                 "Audiart, Audiart"....
     Bertrans, master of his lays,
     Bertrans of Aultaforte thy praise
     Sets forth, and though thou hate me well,
     Yea though thou wish me ill
                             Audiart, Audiart.
     Thy loveliness is here writ till,
     Oh, till thou come again.[3]
     And being bent and wrinkled, in a form
     That hath no perfect limning, when the warm
     Youth dew is cold
     Upon thy hands, and thy old soul
     Scorning a new, wry'd casement
     Churlish at seemed misplacement
     Finds the earth as bitter
     As now seems it sweet,
     Being so young and fair
     As then only in dreams,
     Being then young and wry'd,
     Broken of ancient pride,
     Thou shalt then soften,
     Knowing I know not how
     Thou wert once she
                         Audiart, Audiart
     For whose fairness one forgave
                                    Audiart, Audiart
     Que be-m vols mal.

[Footnote 2: _I.e. in illumed manuscript._]

[Footnote 3: Reincarnate.]

Villonaud for this Yule

     Towards the Noel that morte saison
     (_Christ make the shepherds' homage dear!_)
     Then when the grey wolves everychone
     Drink of the winds their chill small-beer
     And lap o' the snows food's gueredon
     Then makyth my heart his yule-tide cheer
     (Skoal! with the dregs if the clear be gone!)
     Wineing the ghosts of yester-year.

     Ask ye what ghosts I dream upon?
     (_What of the magians' scented gear?_)
     The ghosts of dead loves everyone
     That make the stark winds reek with fear
     Lest love return with the foison sun
     And slay the memories that me cheer
     (Such as I drink to mine fashion)
     Wineing the ghosts of yester-year.

     Where are the joys my heart had won?
     (_Saturn and Mars to Zeus drawn near!_)[4]
     Where are the lips mine lay upon,
     Aye! where are the glances feat and clear
     That bade my heart his valour don?
     I skoal to the eyes as grey-blown mere
     (Who knows whose was that paragon?)
     Wineing the ghosts of yester-year.

     Prince: ask me not what I have done
     Nor what God hath that can me cheer
     But ye ask first where the winds are gone
     Wineing the ghosts of yester-year.

[Footnote 4: _Signum Nativitatis._]

A Villonaud

Ballad of the Gibbet

Or the song of the sixth companion

           SCENE: "_En cest bourdel ou tenoms nostr estat._"

     It being remembered that there were six of us with Master
     Villon, when that expecting presently to be hanged he writ a
     ballad whereof ye know:

                     "_Frères humains qui après nous vivez_."

         Drink ye a skoal for the gallows tree!
     Francois and Margot and thee and me,
     Drink we the comrades merrily
     That said us, "Till then" for the gallows tree!

         Fat Pierre with the hook gauche-main,
     Thomas Larron "Ear-the-less,"
     Tybalde and that armouress
     Who gave this poignard its premier stain
     Pinning the Guise that had been fain
     To make him a mate of the "Haulte Noblesse"
     And bade her be out with ill address
     As a fool that mocketh his drue's disdeign.

         Drink we a skoal for the gallows tree!
     Francois and Margot and thee and me,
     Drink we to Marienne Ydole,
     That hell brenn not her o'er cruelly.

         Drink we the lusty robbers twain,
     Black is the pitch o' their wedding-dress,[5]
     Lips shrunk back for the wind's caress
     As lips shrink back when we feel the strain
     Of love that loveth in hell's disdeign
     And sense the teeth through the lips that press
     'Gainst our lips for the soul's distress
     That striveth to ours across the pain.
     Drink we skoal to the gallows tree!
     Francois and Margot and thee and me,
     For Jehan and Raoul de Vallerie
     Whose frames have the night and its winds in fee.

         Maturin, Guillaume, Jacques d'Allmain,
     Culdou lacking a coat to bless
     One lean moiety of his nakedness
     That plundered St. Hubert back o' the fane:
     Aie! the lean bare tree is widowed again
     For Michault le Borgne that would confess
     In "faith and troth" to a traitoress,
     "Which of his brothers had he slain?"

         But drink we skoal to the gallows tree!
     Francois and Margot and thee and me:

     These that we loved shall God love less
     And smite alway at their faibleness?

     Skoal!! to the Gallows! and then pray we:
     God damn his hell out speedily
     And bring their souls to his "Haulte Citee."

[Footnote 5: Certain gibbeted corpses used to be coated with tar as a
preservative; thus one scarecrow served as warning for considerable
time. See Hugo "L'Homme qui Rit."]


                 "_ And a cat's in the water-butt_."--ROBERT BROWNING.

     Aye you're a man that! ye old mesmerizer
     Tyin' your meanin' in seventy swadelin's,
     One must of needs be a hang'd early riser
     To catch you at worm turning. Holy Odd's bodykins!

     "Cat's i' the water butt!" Thought's in your verse-barrel,
     Tell us this thing rather, then we'll believe you,
     You, Master Bob Browning, spite your apparel
     Jump to your sense and give praise as we'd lief do.

     You wheeze as a head-cold long-tonsilled Calliope,
     But God! what a sight you ha' got o' our in'ards,
     Mad as a hatter but surely no Myope,
     Broad as all ocean and leanin' man-kin'ards.

     Heart that was big as the bowels of Vesuvius,
     Words that were wing'd as her sparks in eruption,
     Eagled and thundered as Jupiter Pluvius,
     Sound in your wind past all signs o' corruption.

     Here's to you, Old Hippety-hop o' the accents,
     True to the Truth's sake and crafty dissector,
     You grabbed at the gold sure; had no need to pack cents
     Into your versicles.
                          Clear sight's elector!

Fifine Answers

     "_Why is it that, disgraced they seem to relish life the more?_"
                                        --FIFINE AT THE FAIR, VII, 5.

     Sharing his exile that hath borne the flame,
     Joining his freedom that hath drunk the shame
     And known the torture of the Skull-place hours
     Free and so bound, that mingled with the powers
     Of air and sea and light his soul's far reach
     Yet strictured did the body-lips beseech
     "To drink" "I thirst." And then the sponge of gall.

     Wherefore we wastrels that the grey road's call
     Doth master and make slaves and yet make free,
     Drink all of life and quaffing lustily
     Take bitter with the sweet without complain
     And sharers in his drink defy the pain
     That makes you fearful to unfurl your souls.

     We claim no glory. If the tempest rolls
     About us we have fear, and then
     Having so small a stake grow bold again.
     We know not definitely even this
     But 'cause some vague half knowing half doth miss
     Our consciousness and leaves us feeling
     That somehow all is well, that sober, reeling
     From the last carouse, or in what measure
     Of so called right or so damned wrong our leisure
     Runs out uncounted sand beneath the sun,
     That, spite your carping, still the thing is done
     With some deep sanction, that, we know not how,
     Sans thought gives us this feeling; you allow
     That this not need we _know_ our every thought
     Or see the work shop where each mask is wrought
     Wherefrom we view the world of box and pit,
     Careless of wear, just so the mask shall fit
     And serve our jape's turn for a night or two.

     Call! eh bye! the little door at twelve!

     I meet you there myself.

In Tempore Senectutis

         "For we are old
     And the earth passion dieth;
     We have watched him die a thousand times,
     When he wanes an old wind crieth,
         For we are old
     And passion hath died for us a thousand times
         But we grew never weary.

     Memory faileth, as the lotus-loved chimes
         Sink into fluttering of wind,
         But we grow never weary
         For we are old.

     The strange night-wonder of your eyes
     Dies not, though passion flieth
         Along the star fields of Arcturus
     And is no more unto our hands;
         My lips are cold
     And yet we twain are never weary,
     And the strange night-wonder is upon us,
     The leaves hold our wonder in their flutterings,
     The wind fills our mouths with strange words
         For our wonder that grows not old.

     The moth-hour of our day is upon us
         Holding the dawn;
     There is strange Night-wonder in our eyes
     Because the Moth-Hour leadeth the dawn
     As a maiden, holding her fingers,
     The rosy, slender fingers of the dawn."

     He saith: "Red spears bore the warrior dawn
                             Of old
         Strange! Love, hast thou forgotten
               The red spears of the dawn,
               The pennants of the morning?"

     She saith: "Nay, I remember, but now
         Cometh the Dawn, and the Moth-Hour
           Together with him; softly
             For we are old."

Famam Librosque Cano

     Your songs?
                 Oh! The little mothers
     Will sing them in the twilight,
     And when the night
     Shrinketh the kiss of the dawn
     That loves and kills,
     What time the swallow fills
     Her note, the little rabbit folk
     That some call children,
     Such as are up and wide
     Will laugh your verses to each other,
     Pulling on their shoes for the day's business,
     Serious child business that the world
     Laughs at, and grows stale;
     Such is the tale
     --Part of it--of thy song-life


         A book is known by them that read
         That same. Thy public in my screed
         Is listed. Well! Some score years hence
         Behold mine audience,
         As we had seen him yesterday.

         Scrawny, be-spectacled, out at heels,
     Such an one as the world feels
     A sort of curse against its guzzling
     And its age-lasting wallow for red greed
     And yet; full speed
     Though it should run for its own getting,
     Will turn aside to sneer at
     'Cause he hath
     No coin, no will to snatch the aftermath
     Of Mammon.

     Such an one as women draw away from
     For the tobacco ashes scattered on his coat
     And sith his throat
     Show razor's unfamiliarity
     And three days' beard:

     Such an one picking a ragged
     Backless copy from the stall,
     Too cheap for cataloguing,

         "Ah-eh! the strange rare name....
     Ah-eh! He must be rare if even _I_ have not....
     And lost mid-page
     Such age
     As his pardons the habit,
     He analyzes form and thought to see
     How I 'scaped immortality.

Scriptor Ignotus

Ferrara 1715

To K.R.H.

         "When I see thee as some poor song-bird
         Battering its wings, against this cage we
     Then would I speak comfort unto thee,
     From out the heights I dwell in, when
     That great sense of power is upon me
     And I see my greater soul-self bending
     Sibylwise with that great forty year epic
     That you know of, yet unwrit
     But as some child's toy 'tween my fingers,
     And see the sculptors of new ages carve me thus,
     And model with the music of my couplets in their hearts:

     Surely if in the end the epic
     And the small kind deed are one;
     If to God the child's toy and the epic are the same,
     E'en so, did one make a child's toy,
     He might wright it well
     And cunningly, that the child might
     Keep it for his children's children
     And all have joy thereof.

     Dear, an this dream come true,
     Then shall all men say of thee
     "She 'twas that played him power at life's morn,
     And at the twilight Evensong,
     And God's peace dwelt in the mingled chords
     She drew from out the shadows of the past,
     And old world melodies that else
     He had known only in his dreams
     Of Iseult and of Beatrice.

     Dear, an this dream come true,
     I, who being poet only,
     Can give thee poor words only,
     Add this one poor other tribute,
     This thing men call immortality.
     A gift I give thee even as Ronsard gave it.
     Seeing before time, one sweet face grown old,
     And seeing the old eyes grow bright
     From out the border of Her fire-lit wrinkles,
     As she should make boast unto her maids
     "Ronsard hath sung the beauty, _my_ beauty,
               Of the days that I was fair."

     So hath the boon been given, by the poets of old time
     (Dante to Beatrice,--an I profane not--)
     Yet with my lesser power shall I not strive
                     To give it thee?

     All ends of things are with Him
     From whom are all things in their essence.
     If my power be lesser
     Shall my striving be less keen?
     But rather more! if I would reach the goal,
                   Take then the striving!
     "And if," for so the Florentine hath writ
     When having put all his heart
     Into his "Youth's Dear Book"
     He yet strove to do more honour
     To that lady dwelling in his inmost soul
     He would wax yet greater
     To make her earthly glory more.
     Though sight of hell and heaven were price thereof,
     If so it be His will, with whom
     Are all things and through whom
     Are all things good,
     Will I make for thee and for the beauty of thy music
     A new thing
     As hath not heretofore been writ.
                  Take then my promise!

Praise of Ysolt

     In vain have I striven
     to teach my heart to bow;
     In vain have I said to him
     "There be many singers greater than thou."

     But his answer cometh, as winds and as lutany.
     As a vague crying upon the night
     That leaveth me no rest, saying ever,
                         "Song, a song."

     Their echoes play upon each other in the twilight
     Seeking ever a song.
     Lo, I am worn with travail
     And the wandering of many roads hath made my eyes
     As dark red circles filled with dust.
     Yet there is a trembling upon me in the twilight,
           And little red elf words crying "A song,"
           Little grey elf words crying for a song,
           Little brown leaf words crying "A song,"
           Little green leaf words crying for a song.

     The words are as leaves, old brown leaves in the
           spring time
     Blowing they know not whither, seeking a song.

     White words as snow flakes but they are cold
     Moss words, lip words, words of slow streams.

     In vain have I striven
           to teach my soul to bow,
     In vain have I pled with him,
         "There be greater souls than thou."

     For in the morn of my years there came a woman
     As moon light calling
     As the moon calleth the tides,
                          "Song, a song."
     Wherefore I made her a song and she went from me
     As the moon doth from the sea,
     But still came the leaf words, little brown elf words
     Saying "The soul sendeth us."
                          "A song, a song!"
     And in vain I cried unto them "I have no song
     For she I sang of hath gone from me."

     But my soul sent a woman, a woman of the wonder folk,
     A woman as fire upon the pine woods
          crying "Song, a song."
     As the flame crieth unto the sap.
     My song was ablaze with her and she went from me
     As flame leaveth the embers so went she unto new
     And the words were with me
          crying ever "Song, a song."

     And I "I have no song,"
     Till my soul sent a woman as the sun:
     Yea as the sun calleth to the seed,
     As the spring upon the bough
     So is she that cometh the song-drawer
     She that holdeth the wonder words within her eyes
     The words little elf words
          that call ever unto me
                            "Song, a song."


     In vain have I striven with my soul
           to teach my soul to bow.
     What soul boweth
           while in his heart art thou?


           "_E tuttoque to fosse a la compagnia di molti, quanto
                                   alla vista_."

     Sometimes I feel thy cheek against my face
     Close-pressing, soft as is the South's first breath
     That all the subtle earth-things summoneth
     To spring in wood-land and in meadow space.

     Yea sometimes in a bustling man-filled place
     Me seemeth some-wise thy hair wandereth
     Across mine eyes, as mist that halloweth
     The air awhile and giveth all things grace.

     Or on still evenings when the rain falls close
     There comes a tremor in the drops, and fast
     My pulses run, knowing thy thought hath passed
     That beareth thee as doth the wind a rose.


     These tales of old disguisings, are they not
     Strange myths of souls that found themselves among
     Unwonted folk that spake a hostile tongue,
     Some soul from all the rest who'd not forgot
     The star-span acres of a former lot
     Where boundless mid the clouds his course he swung,
     Or carnate with his elder brothers sung
     E'er ballad makers lisped of Camelot?

     Old singers half-forgetful of their tunes,
     Old painters colour-blind come back once more,
     Old poets skilless in the wind-heart runes,
     Old wizards lacking in their wonder-lore:

     All they that with strange sadness in their eyes
     Ponder in silence o'er earth's queynt devyse?


     What ho! the wind is up and eloquent.
     Through all the Winter's halls he crieth Spring.
     Now will I get me up unto mine own forests
     And behold their bourgeoning.

Ballad for Gloom

     For God, our God, is a gallant foe
     That playeth behind the veil.

     I have loved my God as a child at heart
     That seeketh deep bosoms for rest,
     I have loved my God as maid to man
     But lo, this thing is best:

     To love your God as a gallant foe
                       that plays behind the veil,
     To meet your God as the night winds meet
                       beyond Arcturus' pale.

     I have played with God for a woman,
     I have staked with my God for truth,
     I have lost to my God as a man, clear eyed,
           His dice be not of ruth.

     For I am made as a naked blade
         But hear ye this thing in sooth:

     Who loseth to God as man to man
           Shall win at the turn of the game.
     I have drawn my blade where the lightnings meet
           But the ending is the same:
     Who loseth to God as the sword blades lose
           Shall win at the end of the game.

     For God, our God, is a gallant foe
                       that playeth behind the veil,
     Whom God deigns not to overthrow
                       Hath need of triple mail.

For E. Mc C

          _That was my counter-blade under Leonardo Terrone,_
                             _Master of Fence_.

     Gone while your tastes were keen to you,
     Gone where the grey winds call to you,
     By that high fencer, even Death,
     Struck of the blade that no man parrieth;
     Such is your fence, one saith,
           One that hath known you.
     Drew you your sword most gallantly
     Made you your pass most valiantly
           'Gainst that grey fencer, even Death.

     Gone as a gust of breath
     Faith! no man tarrieth,
     "_Se il cor ti manca_" but it failed thee not!
     "_Non ti fidar_" it is the sword that speaks
     "_In me_."[6]
     Thou trusted'st in thyself and met the blade
     'Thout mask or gauntlet, and art laid
     As memorable broken blades that be
     Kept as bold trophies of old pageantry.
     As old Toledos past their days of war
     Are kept mnemonic of the strokes they bore,
     So art thou with us, being good to keep
     In our heart's sword-rack, though thy sword-arm sleep.


     Struck of the blade that no man parrieth
     Pierced of the point that toucheth lastly all,
     'Gainst that grey fencer, even Death,
     Behold the shield! He shall not take thee all.

[Footnote 6: Sword-rune "If thy heart fail thee trust not in me."]

At the Heart o' Me

A.D. 751

     With ever one fear at the heart o' me
     Long by still sea-coasts
             coursed my Grey-Falcon,
     And the twin delights
             of shore and sea were mine,
     Sapphire and emerald with
             fine pearls between.

     Through the pale courses of
             the land-caressing in-streams
     Glided my barge and
             the kindly strange peoples
     Gave to me laugh for laugh,
           and wine for my tales of wandering.
     And the cities gave me welcome
           and the fields free passage,
     With ever one fear
           at the heart o' me.

     An thou should'st grow weary
           ere my returning,
     An "_they_" should call to thee
           from out the borderland,
     What should avail me
           booty of whale-ways?
     What should avail me
           gold rings or the chain-mail?
     What should avail me
           the many-twined bracelets?
     What should avail me,
           O my beloved,
     Here in this "Middan-gard"[7]
           what should avail me
     Out of the booty and
           gain of my goings?

[Footnote 7: Anglo Saxon "Earth".]


     Unto thine eyes my heart
     Sendeth old dreams of the spring-time,
     Yea of wood-ways my rime
     Found thee and flowers in and of all streams
     That sang low burthen, and of roses,
     That lost their dew-bowed petals for the dreams
     We scattered o'er them passing by.


     Autumnal breaks the flame upon the sun-set herds.
     The sheep on Gilead as tawn hair gleam
     Neath Mithra's dower and his slow departing,
     While in the sky a thousand fleece of gold
     Bear, each his tribute, to the waning god.

     Hung on the rafters of the effulgent west,
     Their tufted splendour shields his decadence,
     As in our southern lands brave tapestries
     Are hung king-greeting from the ponticells
     And drag the pageant from the earth to air,
     Wherein the storied figures live again,
     Wind-molden back unto their life's erst guise,
     All tremulous beneath the many-fingered breath
     That Aufidus[8] doth take to house his soul.

[Footnote 8: The West wind.]


I have heard a wee wind searching
Through still forests for me;
I have seen a wee wind searching
                    O'er still sea.

Through woodlands dim have I taken my way;
And o'er silent waters night and day
Have I sought the wee wind.

An Idyl for Glaucus

        _Nel suo aspetto tal dentro mifei_
        _Qual si fe' Glauco nel gustar dell' erba_
        _Che il fe' consorto in mar degli altri dei._
                                 PARADISO, I, 67-9.

        "_As Glaucus tasting the grass that made_
        _him sea-fellow with the other gods._"


     Whither he went I may not follow him. His eyes
     Were strange to-day. They always were,
     After their fashion, kindred of the sea.

     To-day I found him. It is very long
     That I had sought among the nets, and when I asked
     The fishermen, they laughed at me.
     I sought long days amid the cliffs thinking to find
     The body-house of him, and then
     There at the blue cave-mouth my joy
     Grew pain for suddenness, to see him 'live.
     Whither he went I may not come, it seems
     He is become estranged from all the rest,
     And all the sea is now his wonder-house.
     And he may sink unto strange depths, he tells me of,
     That have no light as we it deem.
     E'en now he speaks strange words. I did not know
     One half the substance of his speech with me.
     And then when I saw naught he sudden leaped
     And shot, a gleam of silver, down, away.
     And I have spent three days upon this rock
     And yet he comes no more.
     He did not even seem to know
     I watched him gliding through the vitreous deep.


     They chide me that the skein I used to spin
     Holds not my interest now,
     They mock me at the route, well, I have come again.
     Last night I saw three white forms move
     Out past the utmost wave that bears the white foam crest.
     I somehow knew that he was one of them.

     Oimè, Oimè. I think each time they come
     Up from the sea heart to the realm of air
     They are more far-removed from the shore.
     When first I found him here, he slept
     E'en as he might after a long night's taking on the deep.
     And when he woke some whit the old kind smile
     Dwelt round his lips and held him near to me.
     But then strange gleams shot through the grey-deep eyes
     As though he saw beyond and saw not me.
     And when he moved to speak it troubled him.
     And then he plucked at grass and bade me eat.
     And then forgot me for the sea its charm
     And leapt him in the wave and so was gone.


     I wonder why he mocked me with the grass.
     I know not any more how long it is
     Since I have dwelt not in my mother's house.
     I know they think me mad, for all night long
     I haunt the sea-marge, thinking I may find
     Some day the herb he offered unto me.
     Perhaps he did not jest; they say some simples have
     More wide-spanned power than old wives draw from them.

     Perhaps, found I this grass, he'd come again.
     Perhaps 'tis some strange charm to draw him here,
     'Thout which he may not leave his new-found crew
     That ride the two-foot coursers of the deep,
     And laugh in storms and break the fishers' nets.
     Oimè, Oimè!


        _Voices in the Wind._

     We have worn the blue and vair,
     And all the sea-caves
     Know us of old, and know our new-found mate.
     There's many a secret stair
     The sea-folk climb....

         _Out of the Wind._

          Oimè, Oimè!

     I wonder why the wind, even the wind doth seem
     To mock me now, all night, all night, and
     Have I strayed among the cliffs here
     They say, some day I'll fall
     Down through the sea-bit fissures, and no more
     Know the warm cloak of sun, or bathe
     The dew across my tired eyes to comfort them.
     They try to keep me hid within four walls.
     I will not stay!
     And the wind saith; Oimè!

     I am quite tired now. I know the grass
     Must grow somewhere along this Thracian coast,
     If only he would come some little while and find it me.


In Durance

     I am homesick after mine own kind,
     Oh I know that there are folk about me, friendly faces,
     But I am homesick after mine own kind.

     "These sell our pictures"! Oh well,
     They reach me not, touch me some edge or that,
     But reach me not and all my life's become
     One flame, that reacheth not beyond
     Mine heart's own hearth,
     Or hides among the ashes there for thee.
     "Thee"? Oh "thee" is who cometh first
     Out of mine own-soul-kin,
     For I am homesick after mine own kind
     And ordinary people touch me not.
                                   Yea, I am homesick
     After mine own kind that know, and feel
     And have some breath for beauty and the arts.

     Aye, I am wistful for my kin of the spirit
     And have none about me save in the shadows
     When come _they_, surging of power, "DAEMON,"
     "Quasi KALOUN" S.T. says, Beauty is most that a
           "calling to the soul."
     Well then, so call they; the swirlers out of the mist
           of my soul,
     They that come mewards bearing old magic.

     But for all that, I am home sick after mine own kind
     And would meet kindred e'en as I am,
     Flesh-shrouded bearing the secret.
     "All they that with strange sadness"
     Have the earth in mock'ry, and are kind to all,
     My fellows, aye I know the glory
     Of th' unbounded ones, but ye, that hide
     As I hide most the while
     And burst forth to the windows only whiles or whiles
     For love, or hope, or beauty or for power,
     Then smoulder, with the lids half closed
     And are untouched by echoes of the world.

     Oh ye, my fellows: with the seas between us some be,
     Purple and sapphire for the silver shafts
     Of sun and spray all shattered at the bows
     Of such a "Veltro" of the vasty deep
     As bore my tortoise house scant years agone:
     And some the hills hold off,
     The little hills to east us, though here we
     Have damp and plain to be our shutting in.

     And yet my soul sings "Up!" and we are one.
     Yea thou, and Thou, and THOU, and all my kin
     To whom my breast and arms are ever warm,
     For that I love ye as the wind the trees
     That holds their blossoms and their leaves in cure
     And calls the utmost singing from the boughs
     That 'thout him, save the aspen, were as dumb
     Still shade, and bade no whisper speak the birds of how
     "Beyond, beyond, beyond, there lies...."

Guillaume de Lorris Belated

A Vision of Italy

     Wisdom set apart from all desire,
     A hoary Nestor with youth's own glad eyes,
     Him met I at the style, and all benign
     He greeted me an equal and I knew,
     By this his lack of pomp, he was himself.

     Slow-Smiling is companion unto him,
     And Mellow-Laughter serves, his trencherman.
     And I a thousand beauties there beheld.
     And he and they made merry endlessly.
     And love was rayed between them as a mist,
     And yet so fine and delicate a haze
     It did impede the eyes no whit,
     Unless it were to make the halo round each one
     Appear more myriad-jewelled marvellous,
     Than any pearled and ruby diadem the courts o' earth
           ha' known.
     Slender as mist-wrought maids and hamadryads
     Did meseem these shapes that ministered,
     These formed harmonies with lake-deep eyes,
     And first the cities of north Italy
     I did behold,
     Each as a woman wonder-fair,
     And svelte Verona first I met at eve;
     And in the dark we kissed and then the way
     Bore us somewhile apart.
     And yet my heart keeps tryst with her,
     So every year our thoughts are interwove
     As fingers were, such times as eyes see much, and tell.
     And she that loved the master years agone,
     That bears his signet in her "Signor Square,"
     "Che lo glorifico."[9]
                           She spread her arms,
     And in that deep embrace
     All thoughts of woe were perished
     And of pain and weariness and all the wrack
     Of light-contending thoughts and battled-gleams,
     (That our intelligence doth gain by strife against itself)
     Of things we have not yet the earnèd right to clearly see.
     And all, yea all that dust doth symbolize
     Was there forgot, and my enfranchised soul
     Grew as the liquid elements, and was infused
     With joy that is not light, nor might nor harmony,
     And yet hath part and quality of all these three,
     Whereto is added calm past earthly peace.

     Thus with Verona's spirit, and all time
     Swept on beyond my ken, and as the sea
     Hath in no wise a form within itself,
     _Cioè_, as liquid hath no form save where it bounden is
     By some enshrouding chalice of hard things--
     As wine its graven goblet, and the sea
     Its wave-hewn basalt for a bordering,
     So had my thought and now my thought's remembrance
     No "_in_formation" of whatso there passed
     For this long space the dream-king's horny gate.

     And when that age was done and the transfusion
     Of all my self through her and she through me,
     I did perceive that she enthroned two things:
     Verona, and a maid I knew on earth;
     And dulled some while from dream, and then become
     That lower thing, deductive intellect, I saw
     How all things are but symbols of all things,[10]
     And each of many, do we know
     But the equation governing.
     And in my rapture at this vision's scope
     I saw no end or bourn to what things mean,
     So praised Pythagoras and once more raised
     By this said rapture to the house of Dream,
     Beheld Fenicè as a lotus-flower
     Drift through the purple of the wedded sea
     And grow a wraith and then a dark-eyed she,
     And knew her name was "All-forgetfulness,"
     And hailed her: "Princess of the Opiates,"
     And guessed her evil and her good thereby.

     And then a maid of nine "Pavia" hight,
     Passed with a laugh that was all mystery,
     And when I turned to her
     She reached me one clear chalice of white wine,
     Pressed from the recent grapes that yet were hung
     Adown her shoulders, and were bound
     Right cunningly about her elfish brows;
     So hale a draught, the life of every grape
     Lurked without ferment in the amber cloud.
     And memory, this wine was, of all good.

     And more I might have seen: Firenza, Goito,
     Or that proudest gate, Ligurian Genoa,
     Cornelia of Colombo of far sight,
     That, man and seer in one, had well been twain,
     And each a glory to his hills and sea;
     And past her a great band
     Bright garlanded or rich with purple skeins,
     And crimson mantles and queynt fineries
     That tarnished held but so the more
     Of dim allurement in their half-shown folds:
     So swept my vision o'er their filmy ranks,
     Then rose some opaque cloud,
     Whose name I have not yet discerned,
     And music as I heard it one clear night
     Within our earthly night's own mirroring,
     _Cioè_,--San Pietro by Adige,[11]
     Where altar candles blazed out as dim stars,
     And all the gloom was soft, and shadowy forms
     Made and sang God, within the far-off choir.
     And in a clear space high behind
     Them and the tabernacle of that place,
     Two tapers shew the master of the keys
     As some white power pouring forth itself.

     And all the church rang low and murmured
     Thus in my dream of forms the music swayed.
     And I was lost in it and only woke
     When something like a mass bell rang, and then
     That white-foot wind, pale Dawn's annunciatrice.
     Me bore to earth again, but some strange peace
     I had not known so well before this swevyn
     Clung round my head and made me hate earth less.

[Footnote 11: For notes on this poem see end of volume--A Vision of Italy.]

In the Old Age of the Soul

     I do not choose to dream; there cometh on me
     Some strange old lust for deeds.
     As to the nerveless hand of some old warrior
     The sword-hilt or the war-worn wonted helmet
     Brings momentary life and long-fled cunning,
     So to my soul grown old--
     Grown old with many a jousting, many a foray,
     Grown old with many a hither-coming and hence-going--
     Till now they send him dreams and no more deed;
     So doth he flame again with might for action,
     Forgetful of the council of the elders,
     Forgetful that who rules doth no more battle,
     Forgetful that such might no more cleaves to him
     So doth he flame again toward valiant doing.

Alba Belingalis

     Phoebus shineth ere his splendour flieth
     Aurora drives faint light athwart the land
     And the drowsy watcher crieth,


     O'er cliff and ocean the white dawn appeareth
     It passeth vigil and the shadows cleareth.

     They be careless of the gates, delaying,
     Whom the ambush glides to hinder,
     Whom I warn and cry to, praying,


     O'er cliff and ocean the white dawn appeareth
     It passeth vigil and the shadows cleareth.

     Forth from out Arcturus, North Wind bloweth
     The stars of heaven sheathe their glory
     And sun-driven forth-goeth


     O'er sea mist, and mountain is the dawn display'd
     It passeth watch and maketh night afraid.

                          From a tenth-century MS.

From Syria

     The song of Peire Bremon "Lo Tort" that he made for his Lady
     in Provença: he being in Syria a crusader.

     In April when I see all through
     Mead and garden new flowers blow,
     And streams with ice-bands broken flow,
     Eke hear the birds their singing do;
     When spring's grass-perfume floateth by
     Then 'tis sweet song and birdlet's cry
     Do make mine old joy come anew.

     Such time was wont my thought of old
     To wander in the ways of love.
     Burnishing arms and clang thereof,
     And honour-services manifold
     Be now my need. Whoso combine
     Such works, love is his bread and wine,
     Wherefore should his fight the more be bold.

     Song bear I, who tears should bring
     Sith ire of love mak'th me annoy,
     With song think I to make me joy.
     Yet ne'er have I heard said this thing:
     "He sings who sorrow's guise should wear."
     Natheless I will not despair
     That sometime I'll have cause to sing.

     I should not to despair give way
     That some while I'll my lady see.
     I trust well He that lowered me
     Hath power again to make me gay.
     But if e'er I come to my Love's land
     And turn again to Syrian strand,
     God keep me there for a fool, alway!

     God for a miracle well should
     Hold my coming from her away,
     And hold me in His grace alway
     That I left her, for holy-rood.
     An I lose her, no joy for me,
     Pardi, hath the wide world in fee.
     Nor could He mend it, if He would.

     Well did she know sweet wiles to take
     My heart, when thence I took my way.
     'Thout sighing, pass I ne'er a day
     For that sweet semblance she did make
     To me, saying all in sorrow:
     "Sweet friend, and what of me to-morrow?"
     "Love mine, why wilt me so forsake?"


     Beyond sea be thou sped, my song,
     And, by God, to my Lady say
     That in desirous, grief-filled way
     My nights and my days are full long.
     And command thou William the Long-Seer
     To tell thee to my Lady dear,
     That comfort be her thoughts among.

     The only bit of Peire Bremon's work that has come down to
     us, and through its being printed with the songs of Giraut
     of Bornelh he is like to lose credit for even this.--E.P.

From the Saddle


     Wearied by wind and wave death goes
     With gin and snare right near alway
     Unto my sight. Behind me bay
     As hounds the tempests of my foes.
     Ever on ward against such woes,
     Pistols my pillow's service pay,
     Yet Love makes me the poet play.
     Thou know'st the rime demands repose,
     So if my line disclose distress,
     The soldier and my restlessness
     And teen, Pardon, dear Lady mine,
     For since mid war I bear love's pain
     'Tis meet my verse, as I, show sign
     Of powder, gun-match and sulphur stain.


     A poor clerk I, "Arnaut the less" they call me,
     And because I have small mind to sit
     Day long, long day cooped on a stool
     A-jumbling o' figures for Maitre Jacques Polin,
     I ha' taken to rambling the South here.

     The Vicomte of Beziers's not such a bad lot.
     I made rimes to his lady this three year:
     Vers and canzone, till that damn'd son of Aragon,
     Alfonso the half-bald, took to hanging
     _His_ helmet at Beziers.
     Then came what might come, to wit: three men and one woman,
     Beziers off at Mont-Ausier, I and his lady
     Singing the stars in the turrets of Beziers,
     And one lean Aragonese cursing the seneschal
     To the end that you see, friends:

     Aragon cursing in Aragon, Beziers busy at Beziers--
     Bored to an inch of extinction,
     Tibors all tongue and temper at Mont-Ausier,
     Me! in this damn'd inn of Avignon,
     Stringing long verse for the Burlatz;
     All for one half-bald, knock-knee'd king of the Aragonese,
     Alfonso, Quatro, poke-nose.

     And if when I am dead
     They take the trouble to tear out this wall here,
     They'll know more of Arnaut of Marvoil
     Than half his canzoni say of him.
     As for will and testament I leave none,
     Save this: "Vers and canzone to the Countess of Beziers
     In return for the first kiss she gave me."
     May her eyes and her cheek be fair
     To all men except the King of Aragon,
     And may I come speedily to Beziers
     Whither my desire and my dream have preceded me.
     O hole in the wall here! be thou my jongleur
     As ne'er had I other, and when the wind blows,
     Sing thou the grace of the Lady of Beziers,
     For even as thou art hollow before I fill thee with
           this parchment,
     So is my heart hollow when she filleth not mine eyes,
     And so were my mind hollow, did she not fill utterly
           my thought.

     Wherefore, O hole in the wall here,
     When the wind blows sigh thou for my sorrow
     That I have not the Countess of Beziers
     Close in my arms here.
     Even as thou shalt soon have this parchment.

     O hole in the wall here, be thou my jongleur,
     And though thou sighest my sorrow in the wind,
     Keep yet my secret in thy breast here;
     Even as I keep her image in my heart here.

                   _Mihi pergamena deest._


Against the crepuscular spirit in

modern poetry

     I would shake off the lethargy of this our time,
       and give
     For shadows--shapes of power
     For dreams--men.

     "It is better to dream than do"?
                               Aye! and, No!

     Aye! if we dream great deeds, strong men,
     Hearts hot, thoughts mighty.

     No! if we dream pale flowers,
     Slow-moving pageantry of hours that languidly
     Drop as o'er-ripened fruit from sallow trees.
     If so we live and die not life but dreams,
     Great God, grant life in dreams,
     Not dalliance, but life!

     Let us be men that dream,
     Not cowards, dabblers, waiters
     For dead Time to reawaken and grant balm
     For ills unnamed.

     Great God, if we be damn'd to be not men but only dreams,
     Then let us be such dreams the world shall tremble at
     And know we be its rulers though but dreams!
     Then let us be such shadows as the world shall tremble at
     And know we be its masters though but shadow!

     Great God, if men are grown but pale sick phantoms
     That must live only in these mists and tempered lights
     And tremble for dim hours that knock o'er loud
     Or tread too violent in passing them;

     Great God, if these thy sons are grown such thin ephemera,
     I bid thee grapple chaos and beget
     Some new titanic spawn to pile the hills and stir
     This earth again.

And Thus in Nineveh

     "Aye! I am a poet and upon my tomb
     Shall maidens scatter rose leaves
     And men myrtles, ere the night
     Slays day with her dark sword.

     "Lo! this thing is not mine
     Nor thine to hinder,
     For the custom is full old,
     And here in Nineveh have I beheld
     Many a singer pass and take his place
     In those dim halls where no man troubleth
     His sleep or song.
     And many a one hath sung his songs

     More craftily, more subtle-souled than I;
     And many a one now doth surpass
     My wave-worn beauty with his wind of flowers,
     Yet am I poet, and upon my tomb
     Shall all men scatter rose leaves
     Ere the night slay light
     With her blue sword.

     "It is not, Raama, that my song rings highest
     Or more sweet in tone than any, but that I
     Am here a Poet, that doth drink of life
     As lesser men drink wine."

The White Stag

     I ha' seen them mid the clouds on the heather.
     Lo! they pause not for love nor for sorrow,
     Yet their eyes are as the eyes of a maid to her lover,
     When the white hart breaks his cover
     And the white wind breaks the morn.

          "_'Tis the white stagy Fame, we're a-hunting,
          Bid the world's hounds come to horn!_"


     _Beautiful, tragical faces,_
     _Ye that were whole, and are so sunken;_
     _And, O ye vile, ye that might have been loved,_
     _That are so sodden and drunken,_
                       _Who hath forgotten you?_

     _O wistful, fragile faces, few out of many!_

     _The gross, the coarse, the brazen,_
     _God knows I cannot pity them, perhaps, as I should do,_
     _But, oh, ye delicate, wistful faces,_
                       _Who hath forgotten you?_



"When the soul is exhausted of fire, then doth the spirit return unto
its primal nature and there is upon it a peace great and of the woodland

               "_magna pax et silvestris_."

Then becometh it kin to the faun and the dryad, a woodland-dweller amid
the rocks and streams

     "_consociis faunis dryadisque inter saxa sylvarum_."
                                             Janus of Basel.[1]

Also has Mr. Yeats in his "Celtic Twilight" treated of such, and I
because in such a mood, feeling myself divided between myself corporal
and a self aetherial "a dweller by streams and in woodland," eternal
because simple in elements

              "_ Aeternus quia simplex naturae_."

Being freed of the weight of a soul "capable of salvation or damnation,"
a grievous striving thing that after much straining was mercifully taken
from me; as had one passed saying as one in the Book of the Dead,

"I, lo I, am the assembler of souls," and had taken it with him leaving
me thus _simplex naturae_, even so at peace and transsentient as a wood
pool I made it.

The Legend thus: "Miraut de Garzelas, after the pains he bore a-loving
Riels of Calidorn and that to none avail, ran mad in the forest.

"Yea even as Peire Vidal ran as a wolf for her of Penautier though some
say that twas folly or as Garulf Bisclavret so ran truly, till the King
brought him respite (See 'Lais' Marie de France), so was he ever by the
Ash Tree."

Hear ye his speaking: (low, slowly he speaketh it, as one drawn apart,
reflecting) (égaré).

[Footnote 1: Referendum for contrast. "Daemonalitas" of the Rev. Father
Sinistrari of Ameno (1600 circ.) "A treatise wherein is shown that there
are in existence on earth rational creatures besides man, endowed like
him with a body and soul, that are born and die like him, redeemed by
our Lord Jesus Christ, and capable of receiving salvation or damnation."
Latin and English text, pub. Liseux, Paris, 1879.]



1. "_che lo glorifico_." In the Piazza dei Signori, you will find an
inscription which translates thus:

"It is here Can Grande della Scala gave welcome to Dante Alighieri, the
_same which glorified him_, dedicating to him that third his song

     "C.G. vi accolse D.A. che lo
     glorifico dedicandogli la terza,
     delle eterne sue cantiche."

2. Ref. Richard of St. Victor. "On the preparation of the soul for
contemplation," where he distinguishes between cogitation, meditation,
and contemplation.

In cogitation the thought or attention flits aimlessly about the

In meditation it circles round it, that is, it views it systematically,
from all sides, gaining perspective.

In contemplation it radiates from a centre, that is, as light from the
sun it reaches out in an infinite number of ways to things that are
related to or dependent on it.

The words above are my own, as I have not the Benjamin Minor by me.

Following St. Victor's figure of radiation: Poetry in its acme is
expression from contemplation.

3. San Pietro Incarnato. There are several rows of houses intervening
between it and the river.


MS. in Latin, with refrain,

     "L alba par umet mar atras el poy
     Pas abigil miraclar Tenebris."

It was and may still be the oldest fragment of Provençal known.


       The Personae are:

       Arnaut of Marvoil, a troubadour, date 1170-1200.
       The Countess (in her own right) of Burlatz, and of Beziers, being
     the wife of
       The Vicomte of Beziers.
       Alfonso IV of Aragon.
      Tibors of Mont-Ausier. For fuller mention of her see the
     "razos" on Bertran of Born. She is contemporary with the
     other persons, but I have no strict warrant for dragging her name
     into this particular affair.

Marco Londonio's Italian version of "Nel Biancheggiar":

     Nel biancheggiar di delicata rosa
     Risplendono i colori
     D' occidentali fiori
     Prima che l'alba, in esultanza ascosa

     Voglia baciarli. Ed aleggiar io sento
     Qual su dolce lïuto
     Nel lor linguaggio muto
     Fiorir di gioia e tocco di tormento

     Cosi un' arcano senso di languore,
     Le sue sognanti dita
     Fanno scordar la vita
     Spirando in verso tutto pien d'amore....

     Senza morir: chè sanno i suoni alati,
     Vedendo il nostro stato,
     Ch' è dal dolor turbato,
     Di lasciarci, morendo, desolati.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Personae" ***

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