Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)

Homage To Sextus Propertius - V

Ezra Pound 1885 (Hailey) – 1972 (Venice)



1
Now if ever it is time to cleanse Helicon;
to lead Emathian horses afield,
And to name over the census of my chiefs in the Roman camp.
If I have not the faculty, 'The bare attempt would be praise-worthy.'
'In the things of similar magnitude
the mere will to act is sufficient.'
The primitive ages sang Venus,
the last sings of a tumult,
And I also will sing war when this matter of a girl is exhausted.
I with my beak hauled ashore would proceed in a more stately manner,
My Muse is eager to instruct me in a new gamut, or gambetto,
Up, up my soul, from your lowly cantilation,
put on a timely vigour.
Oh august Pierides! Now for a large-mouthed product.
Thus:
'The Euphrates denies its protection to the Parthian and
apologizes for Crassus,'
And 'It is, I think, India which now gives necks to your triumph,'
And so forth, Augustus. 'Virgin Arabia shakes in her inmost dwelling.'
If any land shrink into a distant seacoast,
it is a mere postponement of your domination.
And I shall follow the camp, I shall be duly celebrated
for singing the affairs of your cavalry.
May the fates watch over my day.

2
Yet you ask on what account I write so many love-lyrics
And whence this soft book comes into my mouth.
Neither Calliope nor Apollo sung these things into my ear,
My genius is no more than a girl.

If she with ivory fingers drive a tune through the lyre,
We look at the process.
How easy the moving fingers; if hair is mussed on her forehead,
If she goes in a gleam of Cos, in a slither of dyed stuff,
There is a volume in the matter; if her eyelids sink into sleep,
There are new jobs for the author;
And if she plays with me with her shirt off,
We shall construct many Iliads.
And whatever she does or says
We shall spin long yarns out of nothing.

Thus much the fates have allotted me, and if, Maecenas,
I were able to lead heroes into armour, I would not,
Neither would I warble of Titans, nor of Ossa
spiked onto Olympus,
Nor of causeways over Pelion,
Nor of Thebes in its ancient respectability,
nor of Homer's reputation in Pergamus,
Nor of Xerxes' two-barreled kingdom, nor of Remus and his royal family,
Nor of dignified Carthaginian characters,
Nor of Welsh mines and the profit Marus had out of them,
I should remember Caesar's affairs . . .
for a background,
Although Callimachus did without them,
and without Theseus,
Without an inferno, without Achilles attended of gods,
Without Ixion, and without the sons of Menoetius and
the Argo and without Jove's grave and the Titans.

And my ventricles do not palpitate to Caesarial ore rotundas,
Nor to the tune of the Phrygian fathers.
Sailor, of winds; a plowman, concerning his oxen;
Soldier, the enumeration of wounds; the sheep-feeder, of ewes;
We, in our narrow bed, turning aside from battles:
Each man where he can, wearing out the day in his manner.
3
It is noble to die of love, and honourable to remain
uncuckolded for a season.
And she speaks ill of light women,
and will not praise Homer
Because Helen's conduct is 'unsuitable'.

Font size:
 

Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:45 min read
157 Views

Ezra Pound

Ezra Weston Loomis Pound was an American expatriate poet and critic of the early modernist movement. more…

All Ezra Pound poems | Ezra Pound Books

FAVORITE (19 fans)

Discuss this Ezra Pound poem with the community:

0 Comments

    Translation

    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "Homage To Sextus Propertius - V" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 25 Jan. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/13261/homage-to-sextus-propertius---v>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    More poems by

    Ezra Pound

    »

    January 2022

    Poetry Contest

    Enter our monthly contest for the chance to win cash prizes and gain recognition for your talent.
    6
    days
    12
    hours
    6
    minutes

    Browse Poetry.com

    Quiz

    Are you a poetry master?

    »
    "Lady, make a note of this: One of you is lying."
    • A. Dorothy Parker
    • B. Bill Collins
    • C. May Sarton
    • D. Ogden Nash