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Mesmerism
by Ezra Pound
from A Lume Spento (1908)


“And a cat’s in the water-butt”


                    —Robert Browning, “Mesmerism”




Aye you’re a man that! ye old mesmerizer,


Tyin’ your meanin’ in seventy swadelin’s,


One must of needs be a hang’d early riser


To catch you at worm turning, Holy Odd’s bodykins!



“Cat’s i’ the water butt!” Thought’s in your verse-barrel,


Tell us this thing rather, then we’ll believe you,


You, Master Bob Browning, spite your apparel


Jump to your sense and give praise as we’d lief do.



You wheeze as a head-cold long-tonsilled Calliope,


But God! what a sight you ha’ got o’ our in’ards,


Mad as a hatter but surely no Myope,


Broad as all ocean and leanin’ man-kin’ards.



Heart that was big as the bowels of Vesuvius,


Words that were wing’d as her sparks in eruption,


Eagled and thundered as Jupiter Pluvius,


Sound in your wind past all signs o’ corruption.



Here’s to you, Old Hippety-Hop o’ the accents,


True to the Truth’s sake and crafty dissector,


You grabbed at the gold sure; had no need to pack cents


Into your versicles.


                                   Clear sight’s elector!




 


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