Ezra Pound – Laudantes Decem Pulchritudinis Johannae Templi

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I

When your beauty is grown old in all men's songs,
And my poor words are lost amid that throng,
Then you will know the truth of my poor words,
And mayhap dreaming of the wistful throng
That hopeless sigh your praises in their songs,
You will think kindly then of these mad words.

II

I am torn, torn with thy beauty,
O Rose of the sharpest thorn!
O Rose of the crimson beauty,
Why hast thou awakened the sleeper?
Why hast thou awakened the heart within me,
O Rose of the crimson thorn?

III

The unappeasable loveliness
                        is calling to me out of the wind,
And because your name
                        is written upon the ivory doors,
The wave in my heart is as a green wave, unconfined,
Tossing the white foam toward you;
And the lotus that pours
Her fragrance into the purple cup,
Is more to be gained with the foam
Than are you with these words of mine.

IV

He speaks to the moonlight concerning the Beloved.

Pale hair that the moon has shaken
Down over the dark breast of the sea,
O magic her beauty has shaken
About the heart of me;
Out of you have I woven a dream
That shall walk in the lonely vale
Betwixt the high hill and the low hill,
Until the pale stream
Of the souls of men quench and grow still.

V

Voices speaking to the sun.

Red leaf that art blown upward and out and over
The green sheaf of the world,
And through the dim forest and under
The shadowed arches and the aisles,
We, who are older than thou art,
Met and remembered when his eyes beheld her
In the garden of the peach-trees,
In the day of the blossoming.

VI

I stood on the hill of Yrma
                        when the winds were a-hurrying,
With the grasses a-bending
                        I followed them,
Through the brown grasses of Ahva
                        unto the green of Asedon.
I have rested with the voices
                        in the gardens of Ahthor,
I have lain beneath the peach-trees
                        in the hour of the purple:

Because I had awaited in
                        the garden of the peach-trees,
Because I had feared not
                        in the forest of my mind,
Mine eyes beheld the vision of the blossom
There in the peach-gardens past Asedon.

O winds of Yrma, let her again come unto me,
Whose hair ye held unbound in the gardens of Ahthor!

VII

Because of the beautiful white shoulders and the rounded breasts
I can in no wise forget my beloved of the peach-trees,
And the little winds that speak when the dawn is unfurled
And the rose-colour in the grey oak-leaf's fold

When it first comes, and the glamour that rests
On the little streams in the evening; all of these
Call me to her, and all the loveliness in the world
Binds me to my beloved with strong chains of gold.

VIII

If the rose-petals which have fallen upon my eyes
And if the perfect faces which I see at times
When my eyes are closed—
Faces fragile, pale, yet flushed a little, like petals of roses:
If these things have confused my memories of her
So that I could not draw her face
Even if I had skill and the colours,
Yet because her face is so like these things
They but draw me nearer unto her in my thought
And thoughts of her come upon my mind gently,
As dew upon the petals of roses.

IX

He speaks to the rain.

O pearls that hang on your little silver chains,
The innumerable voices that are whispering
Among you as you are drawn aside by the wind,
Have brought to my mind the soft and eager speech
Of one who hath great loveliness,

Which is subtle as the beauty of the rains
That hang low in the moonshine and bring
The May softly among us, and unbind
The streams and the crimson and white flowers and reach
Deep down into the secret places.

X

The glamour of the soul hath come upon me,
And as the twilight comes upon the roses,
Walking silently among them,
So have the thoughts of my heart
Gone out slowly in the twilight
Toward my beloved,
Toward the crimson rose, the fairest.

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