Visualizing Ezra Pound's Early Poetry: by Amardeep Singh

Scriptor Ignotus

Ferrara 1715

To K.R.H.

"When I see thee as some poor song-bird
Battering its wings, against this cage we
Then would I speak comfort unto thee,
From out the heights I dwell in, when
That great sense of power is upon me
And I see my greater soul-self bending
Sibylwise with that great forty year epic
That you know of, yet unwrit
But as some child's toy 'tween my fingers,
And see the sculptors of new ages carve me thus,
And model with the music of my couplets in their hearts:

Surely if in the end the epic
And the small kind deed are one;
If to God the child's toy and the epic are the same,
E'en so, did one make a child's toy,
He might wright it well
And cunningly, that the child might
Keep it for his children's children
And all have joy thereof.

Dear, an this dream come true,
Then shall all men say of thee
"She 'twas that played him power at life's morn,
And at the twilight Evensong,
And God's peace dwelt in the mingled chords
She drew from out the shadows of the past,
And old world melodies that else
He had known only in his dreams
Of Iseult and of Beatrice.

Dear, an this dream come true,
I, who being poet only,
Can give thee poor words only,
Add this one poor other tribute,
This thing men call immortality.
A gift I give thee even as Ronsard gave it.
Seeing before time, one sweet face grown old,
And seeing the old eyes grow bright
From out the border of Her fire-lit wrinkles,
As she should make boast unto her maids
"Ronsard hath sung the beauty, my beauty,
Of the days that I was fair."

So hath the boon been given, by the poets of old time
(Dante to Beatrice,—an I profane not—)
Yet with my lesser power shall I not strive
To give it thee?

All ends of things are with Him
From whom are all things in their essence.
If my power be lesser
Shall my striving be less keen?
But rather more! if I would reach the goal,
Take then the striving!
"And if," for so the Florentine hath writ
When having put all his heart
Into his "Youth's Dear Book"
He yet strove to do more honour
To that lady dwelling in his inmost soul
He would wax yet greater
To make her earthly glory more.
Though sight of hell and heaven were price thereof,
If so it be His will, with whom
Are all things and through whom
Are all things good,
Will I make for thee and for the beauty of thy music
A new thing
As hath not heretofore been writ.
Take then my promise!

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