I wonder if these folks ever figured out what it would actually
be like if they did ravish the still bride of quietness, and would
it have been worth it, afterall, if one, settling a pillow by her
head should say "ouch".


-----Original Message-----
From: Carrol Cox [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 6:30 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Three white leopards

Richard Seddon wrote:
> Carrol
> Please elaborate on how you think Eliot's note on what Tiresias sees
> an oblique light" on "Lustra", an early collection of poems, and "Homage
> Sextus Propertius" a long poem.  Both "Lustra" and "Propertius" were
> published well before TWL.  "Lustra" was prior to Pound conceiving of
> as masks or "Persona"  to be cast off.  Can you include "Mauberley",
> published just prior to TWL, in this oblique light?

It was around 1912 or so I believe that Pound pointed out in a letter or
a review or something (this is not my field of specialization, which is
Milton & Pope, and I haven't tried to remember or research anything
systematically) that Yeats wrote books not collections of disparate
poems. (I hope I've got my dates right, because any date later than 1915
fucks up my argument here.) That is, by 1915 Pound definitely had in his
head the idea of a book of poems which, though separately written,
nevertheless constituted a _book_, not merely a collection. I've got an
old typescript tucked away in my files someplace, written back in 1967
or so, arguing that _Lustra_ (as republished in _Personae_ 1926) was
also such a book, and one with a 'plot' often found in various shapes in
19th century works, of a quest for a never-quite grasped object (Beauty,
The Loved One, Truth, The Past). ("Who will, may hear Sordello's story
told . . . .Who would has heard Sordello's story told." Oh, really? It's
also perhaps the plot of _Portrait of a Lady_ and of _The Sacred Fount_,
and numerous of James's short stories or novellas. I doubt the paper is
worth digging up, but scribbled at the end of Lustra in my copy of
Personae, The Collected Poems, is  the following note, which I probably
wrote about then: "Lustra tells the story of a poet's attempt -- guided
by a not quite seen Lady -- to discover in the _past_ the principle
which will _renew_ the present. He gets no further than seeng that
merely to _record_ & to _ask_ is in itself an act of renewal." I've
never done any of the careful bibliographical work that would be
required to develop this perspective. But certainly "'Dompna Pois De Me
No'us Cal'" shows a fairly full development of a poem conceived as a

Such a book (like the _Cantos_?!) is unified by the gaze of a central
(but shifting) consciousness. Doesn't that describe TWL (or the at least
the view of TWL expressed by a number of commentators, whether it is
correct or not). As to _Mauberley_, though well aware that everyone, her
sisters & brothers, and their aunts, go ga-ga over the poem, it has
never clicked for me personally. I much prefer _Propertius_ and "Near
Perigord." (This is a statment of personal preference, not a considered
critical judgment.)


        Shop Girl
For a moment she rested against me
Like a swallow half blown to the wall,
And they talk of Swinburne's women,
And the shepherdess meeting with Guido.
And the harlots of Baudelaire.

        [To Kalon]*
Even in my dreams you have denied yourself to me
And sent me only your handmaids.

*Greek letters in text

She passed and left no quiver in the veins, who now
Moving among the trees, and clinging
                        in the air she severed
Fanning the grass she walked on then, endures:

Grey olive leaves beneath a rain-cold sky.