For E. McC.
by Ezra Pound
from A Lume Spento (1908, A, Antonini)
That was my counter-blade under Leonardo Terrone, Master of Fence
Gone while your tastes were keen to you,
Gone where the grey winds call to you,
By that high fencer, even Death,
Struck of the blade that no man parrieth;
Such is your fence, one saith,
One that hath known you.
Drew you your sword most gallantly
Made you your pass most valiantly
‘Gainst that grey fencer, even Death.
Gone as a gust of breath
Faith! no man tarrieth,
“Se il cor ti manca,” but it failed thee not!
“Non ti fidar,” it is the sword that speaks
“In me.” *
Thou trusted’st in thyself and met the blade
‘Thout mask or gauntlet, and art laid
As memorable broken blades that be
Kept as bold trophies of old pageantry.
As old Toledos past their days of war
Are kept mnemonic of the strokes they bore,
So art thou with us, being good to keep
In our heart’s sword-rack, though thy sword-arm sleep.
Struck of the blade that no man parrieth
Pierced of the point that toucheth lastly all,
‘Gainst that grey fencer, even Death,
Behold the shield! He shall not take thee all.
*Sword-rune: “If thy heart fail thee trust not in me.”