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Hugh Selwyn Mauberly (Part I)

 "Vocat aestus in umbram" 
Nemesianus Es.
Ode pour l'élection de son sépulchre For three years, out of key with his time, He strove to resuscitate the dead art Of poetry; to maintain "the sublime" In the old sense.
Wrong from the start -- No, hardly, but, seeing he had been born In a half savage country, out of date; Bent resolutely on wringing lilies from the acorn; Capaneus; trout for factitious bait: "Idmen gar toi panth, os eni Troie Caught in the unstopped ear; Giving the rocks small lee-way The chopped seas held him, therefore, that year.
His true Penelope was Flaubert, He fished by obstinate isles; Observed the elegance of Circe's hair Rather than the mottoes on sun-dials.
Unaffected by "the march of events", He passed from men's memory in l'an trentiesme De son eage; the case presents No adjunct to the Muses' diadem.
The age demanded an image Of its accelerated grimace, Something for the modern stage, Not, at any rate, an Attic grace; Not, not certainly, the obscure reveries Of the inward gaze; Better mendacities Than the classics in paraphrase! The "age demanded" chiefly a mould in plaster, Made with no loss of time, A prose kinema, not, not assuredly, alabaster Or the "sculpture" of rhyme.
The tea-rose, tea-gown, etc.
Supplants the mousseline of Cos, The pianola "replaces" Sappho's barbitos.
Christ follows Dionysus, Phallic and ambrosial Made way for macerations; Caliban casts out Ariel.
All things are a flowing, Sage Heracleitus says; But a tawdry cheapness Shall reign throughout our days.
Even the Christian beauty Defects -- after Samothrace; We see to kalon Decreed in the market place.
Faun's flesh is not to us, Nor the saint's vision.
We have the press for wafer; Franchise for circumcision.
All men, in law, are equals.
Free of Peisistratus, We choose a knave or an eunuch To rule over us.
A bright Apollo, tin andra, tin eroa, tina theon, What god, man, or hero Shall I place a tin wreath upon? IV.
These fought, in any case, and some believing, pro domo, in any case .
Some quick to arm, some for adventure, some from fear of weakness, some from fear of censure, some for love of slaughter, in imagination, learning later .
some in fear, learning love of slaughter; Died some pro patria, non dulce non et decor" .
walked eye-deep in hell believing in old men's lies, then unbelieving came home, home to a lie, home to many deceits, home to old lies and new infamy; usury age-old and age-thick and liars in public places.
Daring as never before, wastage as never before.
Young blood and high blood, Fair cheeks, and fine bodies; fortitude as never before frankness as never before, disillusions as never told in the old days, hysterias, trench confessions, laughter out of dead bellies.
There died a myriad, And of the best, among them, For an old bitch gone in the teeth, For a botched civilization.
Charm, smiling at the good mouth, Quick eyes gone under earth's lid, For two gross of broken statues, For a few thousand battered books.
Yeux Glauques Gladstone was still respected, When John Ruskin produced "Kings Treasuries"; Swinburne And Rossetti still abused.
Fœtid Buchanan lifted up his voice When that faun's head of hers Became a pastime for Painters and adulterers.
The Burne-Jones cartons Have preserved her eyes; Still, at the Tate, they teach Cophetua to rhapsodize; Thin like brook-water, With a vacant gaze.
The English Rubaiyat was still-born In those days.
The thin, clear gaze, the same Still darts out faun-like from the half-ruin'd face, Questing and passive .
"Ah, poor Jenny's case" .
Bewildered that a world Shows no surprise At her last maquero's Adulteries.
"Siena Mi Fe', Disfecemi Maremma" Among the pickled fœtuses and bottled bones, Engaged in perfecting the catalogue, I found the last scion of the Senatorial families of Strasbourg, Monsieur Verog.
For two hours he talked of Gallifet; Of Dowson; of the Rhymers' Club; Told me how Johnson (Lionel) died By falling from a high stool in a pub .
But showed no trace of alcohol At the autopsy, privately performed -- Tissue preserved -- the pure mind Arose toward Newman as the whiskey warmed.
Dowson found harlots cheaper than hotels; Headlam for uplift; Image impartially imbued With raptures for Bacchus, Terpsichore and the Church.
So spoke the author of "The Dorian Mood", M.
Verog, out of step with the decade, Detached from his contemporaries, Neglected by the young, Because of these reveries.
The sky-like limpid eyes, The circular infant's face, The stiffness from spats to collar Never relaxing into grace; The heavy memories of Horeb, Sinai and the forty years, Showed only when the daylight fell Level across the face Of Brennbaum "The Impeccable".
Nixon In the cream gilded cabin of his steam yacht Mr.
Nixon advised me kindly, to advance with fewer Dangers of delay.
"Consider Carefully the reviewer.
"I was as poor as you are; "When I began I got, of course, "Advance on royalties, fifty at first", said Mr.
Nixon, "Follow me, and take a column, "Even if you have to work free.
"Butter reviewers.
From fifty to three hundred "I rose in eighteen months; "The hardest nut I had to crack "Was Dr.
"I never mentioned a man but with the view "Of selling my own works.
"The tip's a good one, as for literature "It gives no man a sinecure.
" And no one knows, at sight a masterpiece.
And give up verse, my boy, There's nothing in it.
" * * * Likewise a friend of Bloughram's once advised me: Don't kick against the pricks, Accept opinion.
The "Nineties" tried your game And died, there's nothing in it.
Beneath the sagging roof The stylist has taken shelter, Unpaid, uncelebrated, At last from the world's welter Nature receives him, With a placid and uneducated mistress He exercises his talents And the soil meets his distress.
The haven from sophistications and contentions Leaks through its thatch; He offers succulent cooking; The door has a creaking latch.
"Conservatrix of Milésien" Habits of mind and feeling, Possibly.
But in Ealing With the most bank-clerkly of Englishmen? No, "Milésian" is an exaggeration.
No instinct has survived in her Older than those her grandmother Told her would fit her station.
"Daphne with her thighs in bark Stretches toward me her leafy hands", -- Subjectively.
In the stuffed-satin drawing-room I await The Lady Valentine's commands, Knowing my coat has never been Of precisely the fashion To stimulate, in her, A durable passion; Doubtful, somewhat, of the value Of well-gowned approbation Of literary effort, But never of The Lady Valentine's vocation: Poetry, her border of ideas, The edge, uncertain, but a means of blending With other strata Where the lower and higher have ending; A hook to catch the Lady Jane's attention, A modulation toward the theatre, Also, in the case of revolution, A possible friend and comforter.
* * * Conduct, on the other hand, the soul "Which the highest cultures have nourished" To Fleet St.
where Dr.
Johnson flourished; Beside this thoroughfare The sale of half-hose has Long since superseded the cultivation Of Pierian roses.

Poem by Ezra Pound
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