1.1] H. S. Mauberley: the name of a fictitious poet of limited ability contemporary with Pound.
epigraph: from the 3rd-cent. B.C. Latin poet Nemesianus, eclogue IV.38 (Mopsus): "the heat calls [you] into the shade"(Némésien, uvres, ed. and trans. Pierre Volphilhac [Paris: Société d'édition, 1975]: 59). PA 6514 N4A38 Robarts Library.
E. P. Ode pour l'élection de son sépulchre: The initials identify Ezra Pound, and the rest associates him with Pierre de Ronsard, whose Ode IV of Book IV begins so (uvres complètes, ed. Gustave Cohen [Gallimard, 1950]: 535-38).
1.3] An allusion to Longinus' treatise "On the Sublime."
1.6] a half savage country: Pound was born in Hailey, Idaho.
1.8] Capaneus: one of the seven against Thebes (in Aeschylus's play of that name), he was struck down by Zeus on the walls of Thebes for impiety.
factitious: inclined to form parties or factions, seditious.
1.9] The Sirens in Homer's Odyssey (XII, 189) sing, "because we know all things [suffered] in Troy": a line heard by Odysseus (the "him" at 1.12) but not his companions, whose ears were plugged with wax to protect them from the Sirens' words (cf. 1.10).
1.13] Penelope: Odysseus' spouse, who waited for him throughout his travels and rejected suitors.
Flaubert: Gustave Flaubert (1821-80), whose novel Madame Bovary well illustrates his insistence on an author finding "le mot juste" (the right word).
1.15] Circe: enchantress who turned men into beasts and whose companion was Odysseus for a time.
1.18-19] An allusion to the first line of "Le Testament" by François Villon, "En l'an de mon trentièsme âge" (Poésies, ed. Jean Dufournet [Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1984]: 65).
2.4] Attic: of Athens.
2.7] mendacities: lies.
2.11] kinema: cinema.
3.2] mousseline of Cos: muslin cloth of Cos (the Greek island).
3.4] Sappho's barbitos: the lyre of this 7th-cent. B.C. Greek poet of (lesbian) love.
3.7] macerations: mortifications, actions intended to quell the flesh.
3.8] In Shakespeare's The Tempest, Prospero employs the services of a spirit, Ariel, whom he freed from imprisonment in a pine tree (where he was placed by the witch Sycorax), to recapture his kingdom and torment an earthy creature -- the son of this witch -- who sought to kill Prospero and rape his daughter Miranda.
3.10] Heracleitus: the philosopher of Ephesus who argued that flux and change dominated life.
3.14] Samothrace: Greek island associated with a cult of beauty; the Winged Victory was recovered here.
3.15] "the beautiful" (Greek).
3.19] the press: journalism, the printing press.
wafer: the communion bread.
3.20] Franchise: freedom and the vote.
3.22] Peisistratus: the 6th-cent. B.C. tyrant of Athens, and patron of the arts.
3.26-28] "what god, what hero, and what man [shall we celebrate]?" from Pindar's Olympian ode 2, for Theron of Akragas, winner of the chariot race in 476 B.C. (Pindar, Olympian Odes; Pythian Odes, ed. and trans. William H. Race [Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997]: 62-63; PA 4275 E5R33 Robarts Library).
tin: a pun on the Greek "what".
4.2] pro domo: "for the home" (Latin).
4.10] From Horace's ode III.ii.13 -- "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori," i.e., "Sweet and proper it is to die for your country" (The Odes of Horace, trans. and ed. David Ferry [New York: Farrar, Straus, 1997]: 160-61). Cf. Wilfrid Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est", composed before his death in 1918 but only published in 1921.
4.16] usury: charging interest on loans of money -- the very basis of modern banking and the stock market.
6.1] Gladstone: William Ewert Gladstone (1809-98), classical scholar, Liberal politician.
6.2-3] The first chapter in Ruskin's Sesame and Lilies (1865, 1871).
6.3] Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909).
6.4] Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882).
6.5] Ftid Buchanan: R. W. Buchanan (1841-1901), who attacked the so-called "fleshly" school of poets (e.g., Rossetti and Swinburne) in Contemporary Review (Oct. 1871).
6.6] that faun's head: perhaps an allusion to "Tête de Faune" by Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), a French "decadent" poet.
6.9] Cophetua and the Beggar Maid, a painting by Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1833-98), still hangs in the Tate Gallery in London.
6.15] The English Rubaiyat: published by Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1883) in 1859, and remaindered until Rossetti discovered and praised it.
6.20] Jenny: Dante Gabriel Rossetti's poem, "Jenny," on an English prostitute.
6.23] maquero: pimp.
7.1] The title, from the words of La Pia de' Tolomei in Dante's Purgatorio (V, 134): "Sienna gave me birth, Maremma death."
7.4] Monsieur Verog: Victor Gustav Plarr (1863-1929), poet and Librarian of the Royal College of Surgeons, whose catalogue (7.2) he compiled.
7.5] Gallifet: Gaston Alexandre Auguste de Gallifet (1830-1909), a French general in the Franco-Prussian war.
7.6] Ernest Dowson (1867-1900).
the Rhymers' Club: an informal group of late Victorian poets ca. 1890-91 who met regularly in the Cheshire Cheese pub in Fleet Street, London.
7.7] Johnson (Lionel): a member of the Rhymers' Club, Johnson (1867-1902) was a friend of W. B. Yeats, a Cathlic convert, and an alcoholic. The tale of his death at 7.8 is not true.
7.12] John Henry Newman, Cardinal, author of The Idea of a University and the Apologia.
7.14] Reverend Stewart Duckworth Headlam (1847-1924), a cleric-poet whom the Church forced to resign his curacy because of his professed interest in dance and drama.
Selwyn Image (1849-1930), another cleric-poet. See his Art, Morals, and the War, a lecture delivered in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Oxford University Press, 1914; Pamph HMod I Robarts Library).
7.15] Terpsichore: the muse of dance.
7.16] "The Dorian Mood": Plarr's book of poems was entitled In the Dorian Mood (1896).
8.1] Brennbaum is thought to refer to Max Beerbohm, humorist and man of letters (1872-1956).
8.3] spats: buttoned cloth or leather pieces worn by men to cover their ankles and the upper part of their shoes.
8.5] Horeb, Sinai: Moses witnessed the burning bush on Mount Horeb (Exodus 3.2) and obtained the ten commandments from God on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19.20).
9.1] Nixon is associated with Arnold Bennett (1867-1931), the English novelist.
9.21] Bloughram's: alluding to Gigadibs, the journalist in Robert Browning's poem "Bishop Blougram's Apology."
10.1] This poem is said to describe Ford Madox Ford, the English novelist.
11.1] A phrase from Remy de Gourmont's "Stratagèmes," in Histoires Magiques (1894), quoted by Poundin "De Gourmont: A Distinction," Little Review(Feb.-March 1919): 7. It refers to those who conserve knowledge of lost Greek erotic or "Milesian" tales of sexual biting.11.3.
Ealing: termed the "queen" of the London suburbsin the 1890s, much expanded by inexpensive housing developmentsearly in the 20th century.
11.3] Ealing: termed the "queen" of the London suburbsin the 1890s, much expanded by inexpensive housing developmentsearly in the 20th century.
12.1] Translated from "Le Château du Souvenir" by Théophile Gautier, "Daphné, les hanches dandsl'écorce, / Etend toujours ses doigts touffus" (Poésies,ed. René Jasinski [Paris: A. G. Nizet, 1970]: III, 103).
12.22] From "Complainte des Pianos" by Jules Laforgue (1860-87), quoted by Pound in Little Review [Feb. 1918]: 11-12): "Menez l'âme que les Lettresont bien nourrie."
12.24] Dr. Johnson: Samuel Johnson (1709-84), poet and lexicographer.
12.28] An allusion to Sappho's
When dead you will lie forever forgotten,See Sappho: Lyrics in the Original Greek with Translations by Willis Barnstone (New York University Press, 1965): 66-67. The muses were worshipped at Pieria.
for you have no claim to the Pierian roses,
Dim here, you will move more dimly in Hell,
flitting among the undistinguished dead.
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: E. P. [Ezra Pound], Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (London: The Ovid Press, April 23, 1920): 9028. del P685 H84 1920 Fisher Rare Book Library (no 42. of 200).
First publication date: 1920
Publication date note: Gallup A19
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 4:2002/4/15
Other poems by Ezra Loomis Pound