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Short poem

Ezra Loomis Pound (1885-1972)

The Lake Isle

              1    O God, O Venus, O Mercury, patron of thieves,
              2Give me in due time, I beseech you, a little tobacco-shop,
              3With the little bright boxes
              4            piled up neatly upon the shelves
              5And the loose fragment cavendish
              6            and the shag,
              7And the bright Virginia
              8            loose under the bright glass cases,
              9And a pair of scales
            10            not too greasy,
            11And the votailles dropping in for a word or two in passing,
            12For a flip word, and to tidy their hair a bit.

            13    O God, O Venus, O Mercury, patron of thieves,
            14Lend me a little tobacco-shop,
            15            or install me in any profession
            16Save this damn'd profession of writing,
            17            where one needs one's brains all the time.


1] A mild parody of W. B. Yeats' "The Lake Isle of Innisfree."

5] cavendish: soft tobacco molded into cakes.

6] shag: strong finely-cut tobacco.

7] Virginia: tobacco grown in the state of Virginia in America.

11] votailles: "whores" in Lustra (1917).

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: Ezra Pound, "Poems Old and New," Poetry: A Magazine of Verse 8.6 (Sept. 1916): 276. See also Ezra Pound's Poetry and Prose: Contributions to Periodicals, prefaced and arranged by Lea Baechler, A. Walton Litz, and James Longenbach (New York and London: Garland, 1991), II (1915-1917): 170. PS 3531 O82A6 1991 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1916
Publication date note: See Gallup C234
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 4:2002/4/15

Form: Free Verse

Other poems by Ezra Loomis Pound