by Ezra Pound
[from Canzoni, 1911]
Her grave, sweet haughtiness
Pleaseth me, and in like wise
Her quiet ironies.
Others are beautiful, none more, some less.
I suppose, when poetry comes down to facts,
When our souls are returned to the gods
and the spheres they belong in,
Here in the every-day where our acts
Rise up and judge us;
I suppose there are a few dozen verities
That no shift of mood can shake from us:
One place where we’d rather have tea
(Thus far hath modernity brought us)
“Tea” (Damn you!)
Have tea, damn the Caesars,
Talk of the latest success, give wing to some scandal,
Garble a name we detest, and for prejudice?
Set loose the whole consummate pack
to bay like Sir Roger de Coverley’s
This our reward for our works,
sic crescit gloria mundi:
Some circle of not more than three
that we prefer to play up to,
Some few whom we’d rather please
than hear the whole aegrum vulgus
Splitting its beery jowl
a-meaowling our praises.
Some certain peculiar things,
cari laresque, penates,
Some certain accustomed forms,
the absolute unimportant.