Z-siteA Companion to the Works of Louis Zukofsky
22 June – 19 Oct. 1951
126.1 Out of deep need: from a hymn by Martin Luther, “Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu Dir,” adapted from Psalm 130 and used by many composers, including several times by J.S. Bach. There are various translations but LZ appears to be using the following version: “Out of deep need I cry to Thee / O Lord God, hear my crying.” In the Latin version, the opening words are de profundis used as a tag phrase to indicate a cry or appeal from deep sorrow, suffering or humiliation and as the title for many poems, musical compositions and other texts, such as Oscar Wilde’s prison letter. LZ probably has in mind Bach’s Choral Cantata (BWV 38), whose instrumentation calls for four trombones and an organ, among others. In notes to Lorine Niedecker, LZ indicated he is referring to a 1942 performance of Bach’s “chorale” by the French singer Yves Tinayre (1891-1972), who LZ met in the early 1940s (HRC 25.1; see 127.4). Hatlen points out that the tune for J.S. Bach’s final composition, the Choral-Prelude (see 130.10), was based on the same melody he adopted for a much earlier chorale prelude for organ No. 42, Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein (When we are in deepest need), from the Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book, 1713-1716) (“From Modernism,” in Scroggins (1997): 225). The Choral-Prelude was originally published in 1751 with The Art of Fugue (see 127.23), although a separate work.
126.2 Four trombones and the organ in the nave: see 224.30-225.1.
126.4 Timed the theme Bach’s name…: see 127.23.
126.5 Dark, larch and ridge, night: Hatlen suggests that this line primarily represents sound values, possibly “notes” playing on Bach’s name (see 127.23) (“From Modernism,” in Scroggins (1997): 223). For “Dark . . . night” see the Shakespeare quotation at 126.17.
126.6 From my body to other bodies: see 207.30.
126.10 first, shape…: on the movement from shape to rhythm to style see “The Effacement of Philosophy” (1951), where LZ states that this charts the etymological evolution of the Greek word ruthmos and also offers “proportion” as an analogous term for “style” (Prep+ 55). Many other key elements in the first couple of pages of “A”-12 appear clustered together in three paragraphs of this essay: the Rig Veda, Bach’s The Art of Fugue and quote at 128.2, Aristotle and Spinoza. Also threading through the tripartite patterns in this opening segment would appear to be etymological suggestions on the word air or ayre as described in Bottom (139): “Ionian αήρ in the beginning mean mist, cloud; later, perhaps, air; had been allied to αήμι, blow, breathe, and in sound to ο έρος, love, desire, passion”; the larger passage is of interest.
126.11 The creation— / And breathed…: through 126.13 plus 126.15 and 126.18 from Genesis 2:6-7, specifically the beginning of the Yahwist or J narrative of creation: “But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Hatlen further suggests that 126.17 alludes to Adam on first seeing and naming the animals (“From Modernism,” in Scroggins (1997): 221).
126.17 That from the eye its function takes: from Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream III.ii (Hermia speaking):
Dark night, that from the eye his function takes,
The ear more quick of apprehension makes;
Wherein it doth impair the seeing sense,
It pays the hearing double recompense.
126.19 First, glyph; then syllabary, / Then letters: glyph = a symbol, such as a stylized human figure, that imparts information nonverbally; syllabary = a list or set of written characters for a language, each character representing a syllable.
126.21 First, dance. Then / Voice…: cf. “A Statement for Poetry” (1950) where LZ gives another version of his three phase progression from dance to the sung poetry of Homer to the philosophical verse of Lucretius, remarking that “the stages of culture are concretely delineated in these three examples” (Prep+ 19).
126.24 Before the void there was neither / Being nor non-being…: through 127.1 from the Creation Hymn of the Rig Veda (Book X, Hymn 129), the most ancient of the Hindu Vedas or scriptures; qtd. Prep+ 55, 242 and see Bottom 104, where LZ gives the date ca. 1000-800 B.C. for the Rig Veda (127.3):
Then was not non-existent nor existent:
There was no realm of air, no sky beyond it.
What covered in, and where? —and what gave shelter?—
Was water there, unfathomed depth of water?—
Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal:
No sign was there, the day’s and night’s divider.
That one thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature:
Apart from it was nothing whatsoever.
Darkness there was: at first concealed in darkness,
This All was indiscriminated chaos.
All that existed then was void and formless:
By the great power of warmth was born that unit.
Thereafter rose desire in the beginning,
Desire, the primal seed and germ of spirit.
Sages who searched with their heart’s thought discovered
The existent’s kinship in the non-existent.
Transversely was their severing line extended:
What was above it then, and what below it?—
There were begetters, there were mighty forces,
Free action here and energy up yonder.
Who verily knows and who can here declare it,
Whence it was born and whence comes this creation?—
The gods are later than this world’s production.
Who knows, then, whence it first came into being?—
He, the first origin of this creation,
Whether he formed it all or did not form it,
Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven,
He verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not.
(trans. Ralph T.H. Griffith; qtd. in Bouquet, Sacred Books of the World)
127.2 Or in the heart or in the head?: from Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice III.ii; this song is qtd. Bottom 60 and 286; see also “Poem beginning ‘The'” (CSP 18):
Tell me where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?
It is engend’red in the eyes,
With gazing fed; and fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies.
Let us all ring fancy’s knell;
I’ll begin it, —Ding, dong, bell.
127.3 Quire after over three millenia: quire = archaic form for choir, as either noun or verb; also a collection of leaves of parchment or paper, folded one within the other, in a manuscript or book; a set of 24 or sometimes 25 sheets of paper of the same size and stock, one twentieth of a ream (AHD). The Shakespeare First Folio was printed in quires of three sheets or 12 pages each. Hatlen suggests that the reference to three millennia takes us back to the beginning of literate culture in the West (“From Modernism,” in Scroggins (1997): 224); however, elsewhere LZ gives a period of 6000 years which would go back roughly to the invention of cuneiform writing, of which the Gilgamesh epic is a major surviving example. See 225.2, 239.2 and Prep+ 131.
127.4 A year, a month and 19 days before…: Hatlen plausibly suggests that this alludes to the death of LZ’s father, Pinchos, on 11 April 1950 (see 154.13), assuming “A”-12 was written during the summer of 1951 (“From Modernism,” in Scroggins (1997): 227). However, the reference is apparently even more oblique than that: in notes to Lorine Niedecker (HRC 25.1), LZ said he is referring to the birth of PZ on 22 Oct. 1943 in relation to Yves Tinayre’s performance of Bach in 1942 referred to in the opening lines of the movement (see note at 126.1).
Hamlet: Sense, sure, you have,
Else could you not have motion; but sure, that sense
Is apoplex’d; for madness would not err,
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thrall’d
But it reserved some quantity of choice,
To serve in such a difference. What devil was’t
That thus hath cozen’d you at hoodman-blind?
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope.
127.13 Who tells time on all fours…: presumably this foreshadows the important horse passages at 175.4f and 179.10f.
127.16 Blest / Ardent […] / Celia […] / Happy…: these “musical” themes or notes, which spell out Bach’s name, will form a major fugal structure in “A”-12; see also note at 127.23. Ahearn has identified these notes with Baruch Spinoza, Aristotle, Celia and Paracelsus respectively (125). Paracelsus is identified with H on the basis of his surname, von Hohenheim, although LZ does not seem to make this last identification within “A”-12 itself or elsewhere and the identification is doubtful.
127.21 things that bear harmony / certain in concord with reason: from Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), Ethics IV, Appendix 15 & 20, in which Spinoza summarizes his arguments on the best way to live and the advantages of living with others rather than alone:
“The things which give birth to harmony or peace are those which have reference to justice, equity, and honourable dealing. For men are ill pleased not only when a thing is unjust or iniquitous, but also when it is disgraceful or when any one despises the customs received among them. But for attracting love those things are especially necessary which relate to religion and piety. […] As for what concerns matrimony, it is certain that it is in concord with reason if the desire of uniting bodies is engendered not from beauty alone, but also from the love of bearing children and wisely educating them: and moreover, if the love of either of them, that is, of husband or wife, has for its cause not only beauty, but also freedom of mind.”
127.23 Art of Fugue: Die Kunst der Fuge is one of Bach’s late encyclopedic works left unfinished at his death in 1750 (see CF 162); Bach used the designation “contrapunctus” (see 8.104.23) for the individual parts, consisting of 14 fugues and four canons. The work was published the year after Bach’s death by his son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, but there has and continues to be considerable disagreement over the precise arrangement and ordering of the works. The 1751 published edition includes an alternative version of the 13th fugue, making 19 works in all, and the final fugue, Contrapuntus XIV, breaks off at the point Bach introduced the B-A-C-H motif, the sequence of notes B flat, A, C and B natural, with the latter designated in German by H; see 130.6.
127.24 The parts of a fugue should behave…: LZ attributes this remark to Bach (Prep+ 19-20) and seems to imply, and readers have often assumed, that the following metaphysical remarks on music at 128.2 and 130.1 are also attributable to him, although such does not appear to be the case; see note at 128.2. Terry includes a paraphrased remark that is similar to this quotation, but without indicating the source, and it seems likely LZ found a different rendition of the same anecdotal remark in an as yet unidentified source. In speaking of Bach’s practice in teaching counterpoint, Terry remarks that he told students “that each part must be regarded as an individual conversing with his fellows, who, when he speaks, must speak grammatically and complete his sentences, and if he has nothing to say, had better remain silent” (100).
128.1 How comes this gentle concord in the world: from Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream IV.ii:
Theseus: I know you two are rival enemies:
How comes this gentle concord in the world,
That hatred is so far from jealousy,
To sleep by hate, and fear no enmity?
128.2 The order that rules music, the same / controls…: LZ attributes this to Bach in “The Effacement of Philosophy” (Prep+ 55), although Bach’s meta-musical remarks, on his own work or in general, are surprisingly rare and conventionally pious; indeed, he was sometimes criticized in his day for lack of theoretical sophistication. The ultimate source for this remark is a short biography of Bach by Esther Meynell published in a volume of three biographies, Three Great Musicians: Bach, Handel, Mozart (1936), where Esther makes these impressionistic remarks about Die Kunst der Fuge (see 127.23). However, LZ apparently found this passage through 128.5 as well as 130.1 in an excerpt entitled “Happiness and Order” from the autobiography of Margaret Anderson, former co-editor of The Little Review (1914-1929), that was published in the New Mexico Quarterly 20.2 (Summer 1950): 141-151, in which also appeared LZ’s poem “Xenophanes.” This autobiography was a sequel to the better known My Thirty Years’ War (1930), entitled A Life for a Life in the New Mexico Quarterly publication but published as The Fiery Fountains (1950). LZ’s wording strongly suggests that his is using Anderson’s adaptation of Meynell, rather than Meynell herself, although only in the latter is there a specific connection with Die Kunst der Fuge and fugues generally, which would have appealed to LZ. I will give both passages, first from Anderson:
“Order is life to me. I could, if necessary, live in dirt but never in disorder. A place for everything and everything in its place—this is only the beginning of it. What places? Not arrangement in any or all ways, but arrangement in certain ways. Everything bears a relation to everything else, the eye travels from left to right, order may be defined as ‘objects vibrating in harmony,’ the laws are important and must be kept. Georgette [Leblanc], who revered disorder, said that to live as I did would make her feel she was living the life of a doll. ‘Curious,’ I said, ‘instead of a doll I feel like Bach. He said, “The order which rules music is the same order that controls the placing of the stars and the feathers in a bird’s wing—it is essential and eternal. Nothing was ever created in disorder—the chaotic and unfinished are against the laws of the spirit. I like to feel myself in the middle of harmony”’” (150-151). Thanks to David Latané for tracking down this source.
From Meynell: “[Bach] was also engaged on his great work Die Kunst der Fuge, whose importance and beauty is only now beginning to be realised. In it the ‘Old father of Fugues’ spoke his last word in that form so linked with his name. He loved fugues because he loved order—the chaotic and unfinished was against his grain. And the order that rules his music is the same order that controls the placing of the stars and the feathers in a bird’s beautiful wing—it is essential and eternal. And Bach had attained to such freedom and mastery within the form that he could step outside the laws without destroying the spirit which ruled them.”
128.11 “Speak to me in a different anguish: cf. remark by Little Baron Snorkie in Little: “If you want me to understand, you’d better speak in a different anguish” (CF 14).
129.19 Why do you flee our torches / Made out of the wood of trees…: from W.B. Yeats, “The Tables of the Law,” but quoted from James Joyce, Stephen Hero: “Stephen was fondest of repeating to himself this beautiful passage from The Tables of the Law: Why do you fly from our torches which were made out of the wood of the trees under which Christ wept in the gardens of Gethsemane? Why do you fly from our torches which were made of sweet wood after it had vanished from the world and come to us who made it of old tunes with our breath” (178). Earlier in the same paragraph Stephen Hero is described as walking “through the streets at night intoning phrases to himself. He repeated often the story of The Tables of the Law and the story of the Adoration of the Magi.” Joyce quotes from the original edition of The Tables of the Law, which Yeats lightly revised later. Stephen Hero is also qtd. 142.8-12.
129.22 I am different, let not a gloss embroil you: worked from Paracelsus (see note at 134.9), from a section entitle “Credo” in the volume of Selected Writings, ed. Jolande Jacobi that LZ drew on, which begins: “I am different, let this not upset you” (3).
130.1 Unfinished is against the laws of the spirit: see quotation at 128.2, also 23.563.19.
130.4 Well-tempered forces count: cf. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, an encyclopedic fugal work in two “books” (1722 & 1740); well-tempered = appropriately tuned.
130.6 countersubject of the fourfold 19th fugue / Signed on death…: LZ refers here to “Contrapunctus XIV,” the final unfinished piece of The Art of Fugue (see 127.23), which is a four-voice, triple or quadruple fugue. Bach’s son, C.P.E. Bach, who edited the original publication of The Art of Fugue (1751), claimed that Bach died at the point when he introduced the B-A-C-H motif, although modern scholarship rejects this claim. If “19th” is not a misprint that has crept in, then this may be due to the fact that there were several different early editions of The Art of Fugue that added extra compositions. In the authoritative version, there are 18 compositions in all, 14 fugues and 4 canons.
130.10 last Choral-Prelude: supposedly Bach’s last composition was the chorale prelude “Vor deinen Thron tret ’ich” (Before thy throne I stand), dictated on his deathbed to his son-in-law Alknikol (Terry 263-264).
130.11 Altnikol: Johann Christoph Altnikol (1719-1759), married Bach’s daughter Elizabeth in 1749 and assisted Bach with the composition of his final works including the chorale fantasias (Terry 257).
130.12 The violinist phrases—as Bach wished?— / From the thought of the somewhat slackened bow: this appears to be taken from Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), who wrote a large scholarly work on J.S. Bach which uses the latter phrase when speaking of Bach’s characteristic phrasing. A possible source is the biography by George Seaver, Albert Schweitzer: The Man and His Mind (1947), who quotes Schweitzer on this point: “‘Bach thinks as a violinist’: his phrasing ‘comes from the idea of the natural use of the somewhat slackened bow.’”
130.16 Only free (often wordless) / Men are grateful to one another: from Spinoza, Ethics IV, Prop. 71: “Only free men are truly grateful on to the other. Proof. —Only free men are truly useful one to the other, and are united by the closest bond of friendship (Prop. 35, and its first Coroll.), and endeavor to benefit each other with an equal impulse to love (Prop. 37, Part IV). And therefore (Def. Emo. 34) only free men are truly grateful to the other” (189).
130.18 Voice without scurf or gray matter: scurf means scaly or flaky skin, usually in reference either to plants or animals but also another term for dandruff.
130.19 For the eyes of the mind are proofs: from Spinoza, Ethics V, Prop. 23, Note (see 177.19; qtd. Bottom 26, 94, 297, 325): “This idea, as we have said, which expresses under a certain species of eternity the essence of the body, is a certain mode of thought which appertains to the essence of the mind, and which is necessarily eternal. It cannot happen, however, that we can remember that we existed before our bodies, since there are no traces of it in the body, neither can eternity be defined by time nor have any relation to time. But nevertheless we feel and know that we are eternal. For the mind no less feels those things which it conceives in understanding than those which it has in memory. For the eyes of the mind by which it sees things and observes them are proofs” (214).
130.22 To Celia: aside from the obvious reference, also the title of a famous lyric by Ben Jonson, “Drink to me only with thine eyes”; see “A”-18.390.31 and Anew 2 (CSP 77).
131.3 Chariots and horse: these images are picked up from Zechariah, see particularly 230.4-11.
131.8 Walsinghame: an anonymous 16th century ballad, although also attributed to Sir Walter Raleigh, included in TP 68-69, qtd. Bottom 13 and CF 147. The tune associated with the ballad was used by many Renaissance composers, including John Dowland and William Byrd. During the Middle Ages, the shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham, located in Norfolk, England, became a famous pilgrimage site commemorating a noblewoman’s visions of Mary in the 11th century.
131.15 The sixth layer is Troy: various excavations of the presumed site of ancient Troy beginning with Heinrich Schliemann in the 1870s revealed nine more or less distinct layers of habitation, with levels six and seven the primary candidates for Homer’s Troy.
131.16 Measure, tacit is: see 156.5; also 13.276.2.
131.32 A what-part invention: cf. Bach’s Two and Three Part Inventions. Bach’s “inventions” were intended as teaching exercises in contrapuntal music.
132.1 Mildew’d ear, have you eyes? / You cannot call it love…: from Shakespeare, Hamlet III.iv.63-71; from Hamlet’s tirade against his mother, Queen Gertrude (qtd. Bottom 301):
Hamlet: This was your husband. Look you now, what follows:
Here is your husband; like a mildew’d ear,
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
And batten on this moor? Ha! have you eyes?
You cannot call it love; for at your age
The hey-day in the blood is tame, it’s humble,
And waits upon the judgment: and what judgment
Would step from this to this?
Claudius: Not that I think you did not love your father;
But that I know love is begun by time,
And that I see, in passages of proof,
Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick or snuff that will abate it;
And nothing is at a like goodness still;
For goodness, growing to a plurisy,
Dies in his own too much: that we would do
We should do when we would; for this “would” changes
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;
And then this “should” is like a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing.
132.6 Holding no quantity / Love looks not with the eyes…: from Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream I.i (qtd. Bottom 9, 16, 19, 20):
Helena: Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity:
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind:
Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgement taste […]
132.9 Voice: first, body—: see 126.22.
132.10 Speak, of all loves!: from Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream II.ii:
Hermia: Lysander! what, removed? Lysander! lord!
What, out of hearing? gone? no sound, no word?
Alack, where are you speak, an if you hear;
Speak, of all loves! I swoon almost with fear.
132.11 You must name his name, / Half his face must be seen…: through 134.20 LZ gives an abbreviated version of Act III, scene i from Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Through 132.17, III.i.36-64 (partially qtd. Bottom 34):
Bottom: Nay, you must name his name, and half his face must be seen through the lion’s neck: and he himself must speak through, saying thus, or to the same defect,—‘Ladies,’—or ‘Fair-ladies—I would wish You,’—or ‘I would request you,’—or ‘I would entreat you,—not to fear, not to tremble: my life for yours. If you think I come hither as a lion, it were pity of my life: no I am no such thing; I am a man as other men are’; and there indeed let him name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner.
Quince: Ay; or else one must come in with a bush of thorns and a lanthorn, and say he comes to disfigure, or to present, the person of Moonshine. Then, there is another thing: we must have a wall in the great chamber; for Pyramus and Thisby says the story, did talk through the chink of a wall.
Snout: You can never bring in a wall. What say you, Bottom?
Bottom: Some man or other must present Wall: and let him have some plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast about him, to signify wall; and let him hold his fingers thus, and through that cranny shall Pyramus and Thisby whisper.
132.16 Some twelve years later with Birnam Wood: the climatic action of Shakespeare’s Macbeth takes place near Birnam Wood, and Malcolm’s ruse of hiding his men with cut branches from the woods helps him defeat Macbeth. In the “Definition” section of Bottom, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is dated 1595 and Macbeth 1606.
132.19 Reason: face of sky: LZ indicated to Lorine Niedecker (HRC 25.1) that this was his version of the opening of Confucius, Ta Hio (Great Learning); presumably he has in mind EP’s 1928 version which LZ quoted from in his 1929 essay “Ezra Pound” (Prep+ 69): “The law of the Great Learning, or of practicable philosophy, lies in developing and making visible that luminous principle of reason which we have received from the sky, to renew mankind and to place its ultimate destination in perfection, the sovereign good.” See following note. The image recurs a number of times in “A”-12; see 135.24, 138.17, 138.26, 161.26. Scoggins argues that “eyes of sky” and presumably its variant “face of sky” as well, alludes to CZ, whose name derives from the L. for heaven (Scroggins Bio 251).
132.22 He of the Gurre-Lieder…: Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951), whose Gurre-Lieder is a major early composition (completed 1911). LZ’s source is the New York Times for 8 Jan. 1950, an article by the composer Roger Sessions, “How Difficult Composer Gets That Way” (Scroggins Bio 247, 522): “As Arnold Schoenberg once wrote in a letter which I particularly treasure, “A Chinese philosopher, of course, speaks Chinese, but the important thing is, what does he say?” Schoenberg gave variations on this remark at other times.
Flute [playing Thisby]: Most radiant Pyramus, most lily-white of hue,
Of colour like the red rose on triumphant brier,
Most brisky juvenal and eke most lovely Jew,
As true as truest horse that yet would never tire,
I’ll meet thee, Pyramus, at Ninny’s tomb.
132.25 You see an ass-head / Of your own do you?…: through 134.8 from Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream III.i.114-161 (partial qtd. Bottom 9, 23, 371, 404):
Snout: O Bottom, thou art changed! What do I see on thee?
Bottom: What do you see? You see an asshead of your own, do you?
Bottom: I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me; to fright me, if they could. But I will not stir from this place, do what they can: I will walk up and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear I am not afraid.
The ousel cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill,
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill—
Titania: [Awaking] What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?
Titania: I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again:
Mine ear is much enamour’d of thy note;
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;
And thy fair virtue’s force perforce doth move me
On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.
Bottom: Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for that: and yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days; the more the pity that some honest neighbours will not make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon occasion.
Titania: Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
Bottom: Not so, neither: but if I had wit enough to get out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.
Titania: Out of this wood do not desire to go:
Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit of no common rate;
The summer still doth tend upon my state;
And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;
I’ll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep;
And I will purge thy mortal grossness so
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
134.9 Paracelsus’ Book of Bad and Good Fortune…: Auroleus Phillipus Theostratus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1593-1541), known as Paracelsus, was a Swiss doctor, alchemist and occult philosopher. Despite his itinerate and poverty-stricken life, as well as his own advice not to be overeager to write, he was an enormously prolific writer. This does not appear to be the title of a particular work by Paracelsus, although “Good and Bad Fortune” is the title of a section heading in the selection of Paracelsus writings LZ used, and this heading fits his own life and work, as the following quotation indicates. LZ’s source for all information about and quotations from Paracelsus is Paracelsus: Selected Writing, ed. Jolande Jacobi, trans. Norbert Guterman (1951); Jacobi selects from across the large and repetitive body of Paracelsus’ writings and organizes them under various headings, so unless bracketed, the ellipses are Jacobi’s. Note that the page numbers from this source given below are from the more readily available second edition (1958) whose introduction and selection from Paracelsus is unchanged but did make alterations in the illustrations and the appended glossary, as well as repaginating the entire text.
134.10 The sun shines upon all of us equally / With its luck…: from Paracelsus: “The sun shines upon all of us equally with its luck. The summer comes to all of us equally with it luck, and so does the stormy winter. But while the sun looks at all of us equally, we look at it unequally. God has redeemed all of us, the one as much as the other; but one does not look at Him in the same way as the other. He loves us all, without regard for person; but our love for Him is unequal” (205).
134.15 Good Master Mustardseed, I know your / patience well…: through 134.20 from Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream III.i.191-196; spoken by Bottom (qtd. Bottom 371).
134.24 Groin […] vault: a groin vault is formed by the intersection at right angles of two barrel vaults.
134.29 Most (mǔst)…: city in what is now Belarus, formerly part of the Russian Empire; see 151.10.
135.1 “Bechardi!” “Morgen!” / “Was machst du?”…: Ger. “Bechardi!“ “Morning” / “What are you doing?” / “I’m building an outhouse! / High up!”
135.5 “So / How does the Czar sleep nights?…: this stanza is a verse from a Yiddish folksong, “Vi Azoi Lebt der Keyser.”
135.11 The best man learns of himself…: through 136.4 adapted from various quotations in L. Cranmer-Byng, The Vision of Asia: An Interpretation of Chinese Art and Culture (1932). Although LZ once published this passage in a special Li Po issue of The Galley Sail Review (Winter 1960), edited by David Rafael Wang, this poet is not the source of the quotations. LZ also uses the phrase “best-man” to refer to Mao Zedong’s poem at 204.32.
135.11-12: The best man learns of himself / To bring rest to others: “But the true meaning and value of education in China may be traced to a pregnant saying of Confucius who, when asked how the superior man attained his position, replied, ‘He cultivates himself so as to bring rest unto the people’” (24).
135.13-25: He has perched over—why—valley. In the pines…: from a poem collected in The Odes of Confucius [Book of Songs] (On “—why—“ see next note below). This very free version by Cranmer-Byng using the translation of James Legge is poem 56 in the traditional numbering of the Book of Songs:
He has perched in the valley with pines overgrown,
This fellow so stout and so merry and free;
He sleeps and he talks and he wanders alone,
And none are so true to their pleasures as he.
He has builded his hut in the bend of the mound,
This fellow so fine with his affluent air;
He wakes and he sings with no neighbour around.
And whatever betide him his home will be there.
He dwells on a height amid cloudland and rain,
This fellow so grand whom the world blunders by;
He slumbers alone, wakes, and slumbers again,
And his secrets are safe in that valley of Wei. (118)
135.26-136.4: Reject no one / and / Debase nothing…: “Unity with the One may only be achieved by passing through the variety of the many. Through man to God, through life in its infinite aspects to the Source of life is the Way of Tao. It is at once a Way of approach and a Way of refection: ‘Among men, reject none; among things, reject nothing. This is called comprehensive intelligence’” (50). Quotation is from Lao Tsu’s Tao Te Ching as translated by Lionel Giles.
135.13 —why—: this is LZ’s guess at the pronunciation of the name of the valley, Wei, in the Confucian ode quoted above, as indicated by the rhyme in the translation—although more standard would be closer to “way.” It is possible that LZ is evoking Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey,” whose full title locates it in the valley of Wye and also mentions a hermit in the woods. Cranmer-Byng often draws parallels between Chinese poetry and the English Romantics, pointing out that he is not the first to observe the similarities between Wordsworth and Chinese nature poets, although arguing that the latter are more subtle (211, 220).
135.24 eyes, / A face of sky: see note at 132.19, and also 138.17, 138.26, 161.26.
136.5 The time would be too short— / Throw some part…: through 136.25 from Dante, Divine Comedy; the following translations from the Temple Classics edition: Inferno translated by J.A. Carlyle, Pugatorio by Thomas Okey and Paradiso by P.H. Wicksteed:
136.5: Inferno XV.103.105: “And [Brunetto] to me: ‘It is good to know of some; of the rest it will be laudable that we keep silence, as the time would be too short for so much talk.’”
136.6-7: Purgatorio XXIII.1-3: “While I was thus fixing mine eyes through the green leaves, even as he is wont to do who throws away his life after birds.”
136.8: Purgatorio XXIII.67-69: [Virgil explaining the nature of love:] “The scent which issues from the fruit, and from the spray is diffused over the green, kindles within us a desire to eat and to drink.”
136.9-10: possibly from Purgatorio XI.91-117: [Oderisi speaking] “‘O empty glory of human powers! How short the time its green endures upon the top, it if be not overtaken by rude ages! Cimabue thought to hold the field in painting, and now Giotto hath the cry, so that the fame of the other is obscured. Even so one Guido hath taken from the other the glory of our tongue; and perchance one is born who shall chase both from the nest. Earthly fame is naught but a breath of wing, which now cometh hence and how thence, and changes name because it change direction. What greater fame shalt thou have, if thou strip thee of thy flesh when old, than if thou hadst died ere thou wert done with pap and chink, before a thousand years are passed? Which is shorter space to eternity than the twinkling of an eye to the circle which slowest is turned in heaven. […] Your repute is as the hue of grass which cometh and goeth, and he discolours it through whom it springeth green from the ground.’”
136.12-16: Purgatorio XVIII.19-27: [Virgil on the nature of love] “‘The mind which is created quick to love, is responsive to everything that is pleasing, soon as by pleasure it is awakened into activity. Your apprehensive faculty draws an impression from a real object, and unfolds it within you, so that it makes the mind turn thereto. And if, being turned, it inclines towards it, that inclination is love; that is nature, which through pleasure is bound anew within you.’” Partially qtd. Bottom 135-136, where LZ gives his own translation.
136.18-19: Purgatorio XIX.40-42: “Following him, I was bearing my brow like one that hath it burdened with thought, who makes of himself half an arch of a bridge […]”
136.20-23: Purgatorio XXIV.67-69: “so all the people that were there, facing round, quickened their pace, fleet through leanness and desire.”
136.24-25: “desire” and “thirst” appear frequently throughout the Commedia, the latter term often to describe Dante’s desire for understanding; the following appears the most likely source, but there are other possibilities: Paradiso III.70-78: [Piccarda speaking] “‘Brother, the quality of love stilleth our will, and maketh us long only for what we have, and giveth us no other thirst. Did we desire to be more aloft, our longings were discordant from his will who here assorteth us, and for that, thou wilt see, there is no room within these circles, if of necessity we have our being here in love, and if thou think again what is love’s nature.’”
136.26 From Battle of / Discord and Harmony / Come home beloved: Ahearn suggests this is LZ’s version of the title of Antonio Vivaldi’s major work, usually translated as The Trial of Harmony and Invention (1725), a set of twelve concertos of which the first four are the famous Four Seasons (126-127). However, Ahearn points out that behind Vivaldi’s title stands Empedocles’ conception of the cosmos as the interplay of Strife and Love. Empedocles is quoted in Bottom: “fire and water and earth and climbing illimitable air, and Struggle as appears everywhere, and Love is also there. Weight it, don’t mope with stupid eyes, Loves moves in bodies of men who die, achieves lovers’ thoughts and the work enlaced in desire. Men call it Delight, Aphrodite (363; this is apparently LZ’s reworking of Fragment 17 from an uncertain source).
136.28 Come home beloved: from Shakespeare, Coriolanus III.ii:
Mother, I am going to the market-place;
Chide me no more. I’ll mountebank their loves,
Cog their hearts from them, and come home beloved
Of all the trades in Rome. Look, I am going:
Commend me to my wife. I’ll return consul […]
136.29 Light lights: see 7.40.17, 8.43.2, 8.48.22, 8.104.10 and 18.393.35.
137.1 “Glad they were there”: this is the first line of LZ’s “Anew 29” (composed in 1938), from which also the lines at 137.3-4 are quoted (CSP 93). In the book publication, LZ appended to this seemingly slight lyric, which “describes” dancing, quotations from Dante, Karl Marx, the physicist Henrik Lorentz and Guido Cavalcanti.
137.3 Flying not to / Lose sight of it: see 137.1.
137.7 red-head priest’s: i.e. Vivaldi; see 136.26, 158.10.
137.14 Pale gold like halos / Setting off faces: quoted with slight adaptation from Claude Debussy, Monsieur Croche, where this characterization refers to Alessandro Scarlatti; see quotation at 183.10.
137.18 “Then he put / His horse into / His pocketbook”: adapted from a sentence in a letter from Lorine Niedecker (see next note): “And then I put a horse into her pocketbook” (Penberthy 14).
138.6 an integral: LZ uses the mathematical symbol for integral to link music and speech immediately preceding, although it may not be irrelevant that the symbol also suggests the ƒ-hole of a violin. Apparently it was Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) who first used and advocated this symbol.
138.17 eye of sky: see note at 132.19, and also 135.24,138.26, 161.26.
138.19 Guano dressed: guano is the droppings particularly of seabirds, which was harvested and widely used as a fertilizer in the 19th century. Although it may sound a bit odd, to dress with guano was a common enough expression for treating fields with this fertilizer.
138.20 Not a swallow made that summer: proverbial, from Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics I.7 (1098a): “For one swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed or happy” (trans. W.D. Ross). See 13.295.9 and Bottom 112.
138.21 Time qualifies the fire and spark of it: from Shakespeare, Hamlet IV.vii (see 132.4).
138.26 eye of sky: see note at 132.19, and also 135.24, 138.17, 161.26.
138.28 My father died in the spring: Pinchos Zukofsky (c.1860-1950) died 11 April; at 155.1-3 LZ mentions that his father did not know his birthdate and was 91 or 95 when he died.
139.1 Half of a fence was built that summer…: cf. description of the Zukofskys’ summer cottage near Old Lyme, Connecticut in Little (CF 36-37), which suffered from swampy conditions. The cattails are mentioned again at 223.8.
139.10 della Robbia: family of Florentine sculptures and ceramists of the 15th and 16th centuries; particularly Luca della Robbia (d. 1482) who perfected glazed terracotta. Terracotta < It. earth + baked.
139.23 To live among ordinary men…: through 139.26 is slightly adapted from Gershom Scholem on the paradox at the heart of Hasidic thought: “To live among ordinary men and yet be alone with God, to speak profane language and yet draw the strength to live from the source of existence […] —that is a paradox which only the mystical devotee is able to realize in his life and which makes him the center of the community of men” (Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism. NY: Schocken, 1946): 343. LZ possibly found this quotation in a review of Scholem’s classic work: “The Mystics’ Contribution to Judah,” New York Times (8 June 1947).
139.27 the Baalshem— / […] as good as his name: Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), founder of modern Hasidism, who asserted the joyfulness of worship. Baal Shem Tov means in Heb. “master of the good name.”
139.28 Thaew: CZ’s maiden name, pronounced Tave (Scroggins Bio 142); see note to “H.T.” where LZ wrote to Niedecker that the name means good from the Heb. tov, thus the connection with Baal Shem Tov (preceding note).
140.23 Sephardim: descendents of the Jews who lived on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages and were expelled from Spain in 1492, or the designation can refer more generally to those who use the Sephardic liturgy. LZ’s family were certainly Ashkenazi Jews, who originating along the Rhine in Germany and generally designates those who inhabited western and central Europe and who developed Yiddish as their distinctive vernacular. Prayers would be said facing in the direction of Jerusalem, so Jews in Europe or North America generally faced east.
141.2 A voice out of the tabernacle…: from Leviticus 1:1: “And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation.” The tabernacle is the portable tent or sanctuary in which was placed the Ark of the Covenant during the time of the Exodus and subsequent wanderings of the Jewish people. Instructions for making the Ark and the Tabernacle were given to Moses; the most detailed description is Exodus 25-27.
141.11 The Sea ripples in Aphrodite’s drapery / Her peers are the Fates …: through 141.24, LZ describes the Parthenon viewed as one enters the temple from the east and exits west. On the east pediment are sculptures of what is believed to be Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love, depicted as a reclining draped figure (now headless) as part of a group of the three Fates.The Parthenon also served as Athens’ treasury, as alluded to at 141.14. Inside the main chamber stood a now lost huge chryselephantine statue of Athena; chryselephantine is a sculptural technique of using wood overlaid with ivory and gold. Aegis is the shield or breastplate of Zeus, which became associated with Athena. The west pediment, which survives in a broken condition, depicts the contest between Athena and Poseidon (god of earthquakes as well as of the sea) over who would become the patron deity of Athens, to be determined by who produced the most useful gift. Athena won by providing the olive tree.
141.25 Even Odysseus returned to the sea, / His oar…: from Homer, Odyssey XI, when Odysseus visits the land of the dead and Tiresius prophesizes his future after he returns home: “‘When you have killed them in your hall, whether by craft or open fight with the cold steel, you must take an oar with you, and journey until you find men who do not know the sea nor mix salt with their food; they have no crimson-cheeked ships, no handy oars, which are like so many wing-feathers to a ship. I will give you an unmistakable token which you cannot miss. When a wayfarer shall meet you and tell you that is a winnowing shovel on your shoulder, fix the oar in the ground, and make sacrifice to King Poseidon, a ram, a bull, and a boar-pig; then return home and make solemn sacrifice to the immortal gods who rule the broad heavens, every one in order’” (trans. W.H.D. Rouse).
141.27 Still fighting in northwest Greece / The 8th division…: from 1946 until late 1949, Communist rebels fought government forces in the Grammos Mountains in north Greece along the border with Macedonia; the Greek campaign to finally squelch the insurgency was largely led by the U.S. military in quasi-clandestine operations. In a review of events for the week, the New York Times for 21 Aug. 1949 discusses the fighting and remarks: “Homer described the wild, mountainous region in the northwestern part of present-day Greece as the gateway to Hades—the underworld.”
142.5 And from it draw the strength to live—: see 139.26.
142.6 D.P’s / O.M’s and M.A.’s: D.P. = displaced persons, which were frequently in the news in the aftermath of World War II. Usually O.M. and M.A would mean Order of Merit and Master of Arts respectively.
142.8 Stephen Hero: / “Let him Aristotle” (who fled Athens) / “Examine me…: through 142.12 from James Joyce, Stephen Hero (first publ. 1944), an early version of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; for the reference to Aristotle’s flight from Athens, see note at 236.15:
“[Stephen speaking to Cranly] —I would not say a word against Aristotle for the world but I think his spirit would hardly do itself justice in treating of the ‘inexact’ sciences.
—I wonder what Aristotle would have thought of you as a poet?
—I’m damned if I would apologise to him at all. Let him examine me if he is able. Can you imagine a handsome lady saying ‘O, excuse me, my dear Mr Aristotle, for being so beautiful’”? (Chap. 24).
142.14 Philo: (20 BC-40 AD) Alexandrian Jewish philosopher who attempted to synthesize Greek philosophy and Jewish scripture through allegory and was an important influence on the development of early Christian theology. See “Poem beginning ‘The’” (CSP 15) and Bottom 104.
142.14 Javan: in Genesis 10:2 the son of Japheth; however, in Biblical Heb. came to designate Greece (e.g. Zechariah 9:13). See Bottom 104.
142.16 So that Jesus after prayed in Gethsemane / O my Father: refers to the passage in Matthew 26:36-46 when Jesus realizes has been betrayed:
“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.”
The episode of Jesus finding his disciples sleeping is a key scene in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, which LZ alludes to several times in the early movements of “A”; see 1.4.24-26 and 7.40.9.
142.18 In Hebrew “In the beginning” / Means literally from the head?…: the first word of the Hebrew Bible, מּיִתּלּאּ (pronounced be-re-shiyt), which also designates the book itself, means in, on or at the beginning, start or head. See Bottom 104, where LZ gives a phonetic transcription of the first verse of Genesis in Hebrew plus commentary.
142.20 A source creating / The heaven and the earth…: from Genesis 2:4-5, the same passage that appears on the first page of the movement (see 126.11): “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.”
142.25 live forever: see 1.4.29; see next.
142.26 immortelle: Fr., fem. of immortel, undying. Any one of the flowers commonly called everlasting that retain their shape when dried, or a wreath made of such flowers (Leggott 153). See 18.391.16.
142.29 the sun later– / To get over even its chaos early: see 149.20. It is possible that LZ has in mind here Wallace Stevens’ well-known phrase, “an old chaos of the sun,” from “Sunday Morning” (The Collected Poems, 70); at least Stevens seems a plausible gloss here.
143.2 Pinchos: see 151.10.
143.3 Maishe Afroim: see 140.23.
143.21 Bach remembers his own name: see 127.23.
143.22 Kadish: Jewish prayer for the dead.
143.26 Everything should be as simple as it can be, / Says Einstein…: from the New York Times for 8 Jan. 1950, “How a ‘Difficult’ Composer Gets That Way” by Roger Sessions: “I also remember a remark of Albert Einstein, which certainly applies to music. He said, in effect, that everything should be as simple as it can be but not simpler” (source identified by Mark Scroggins); also qtd. Prep+ 51.
143.29 What can make the difficult disposition easier?…: these few lines may be suggested by the Roger Sessions article referred to in the preceding note.
144.7 Michtam of David: see 139.29. Most of this passage through 144.22 is adapted from Psalms 16, the first of the Psalms designated as “Michtam of David”; see “Michtam” in CSP 121, which has as its epigraph 16:6 quoted below:
16:1 Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.
16:2 O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;
16:3 But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.
16:4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.
16:5 The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.
16:6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.
16:7 I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.
16:8 I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
144.26 To have asked such a man…: in 1936 EP asked LZ to query his father about Leviticus 25, which states the Mosaic laws on usury or the charging of interest, specifically about the Heb. terms neschec and marbis, and whether a distinction between Jew and non-Jew applies to the ban against usury. In his detailed response, LZ confirmed that the former means to bite “like a snake’s bite,” while the latter means “increase (with the connotation of accretion, pathological?).” He also reported that his father did not think it proper to make a distinction between Jews and non-Jews on the application of usury laws (EP/LZ 181-186; EP remarks on these terms in Guide to Kulchur (1938): 42).
145.3 Shag Red:
145.4 Air-conditioned dialektiké: possibly echoing Henry Miller’s The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945); but see next. Dialektiké = Gk. root of dialectic, the art of debate.
145.5 A Sum (you say) / Post-mortemer: < Mortimer J. Adler (1902-2001) a fellow student when LZ attended Columbia, who became a philosopher and educator, best known as an editor and advocate of the “Great Books” and “Great Ideas” curriculum (Scroggins, “An Ernster Mensch” 35). Adler’s first book was Dialectic (1927).
145.12 Good Friday—that’s a pun: see 18.402.21. Although there are other possibilities, presumably LZ has in mind the fact that Good Friday commemorates the death of Christ, and so in Catholic pageantry is marked by funereal imagery and music, as opposed to the joyous celebrations of Easter Sunday.
145.13 Don’t learn for revenge, / Question and question…: from Paracelsus: “Therefore, man, learn and learn, question and question, and do not be ashamed of it; for only thus can you earn a name that will resound in all countries and never be forgotten” (105). Casting Avicenna into a bonfire, he told students, “so that all this misery may go in the air with the smoke” (lv).
145.18 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: from Psalm 68:2: “As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.”
145.20 Singers go before, / Players on instruments: from Psalm 68:25.
145.22 Chenaniah for song / (Grace) instructed in song…: from I Chronicles 15:22: “And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skillful.” Qtd. in “Other Comments” appended to original version of “A Statement for Poetry (1950)” (Prep+ 223) and “Thanks to the Dictionary” (CF 290). Chenaniah was PZ’s Hebrew name (Scroggins Bio 520).
145.25 Again, again / Despised / By the pack…: through 146.24 taken largely from the biographical introduction on Paracelsus by Jolande Jacobi (see note at 134.9), which includes the following quotations from Paracelsus. Paracelsus’ life was characterized on the one hand by an extreme intellectual arrogance that alienated him from anyone who might have supported his professional career and on the other a martyr-like dedication to serving the medical needs of the poorest:
145.25-146.1: “He bitterly complains that he is ‘again despised,’ ‘for the pack that attacks me is large, but their understanding and art are small’” (lvii).
146.2-3: “In 1538 […] ‘my father, who has never forsaken me,’ had ‘died and been buried’ four years earlier” (lviii).
146.4: “He lived like a beggar or a tramp, seldom sleeping two nights in the same bed, as he states in one of his writings” (lvii).
146.5-6: “His readiness to help his fellow man was still unabated—he never left unheeded the call of those in need, and often spent hours and days on horseback, hastening to the bedsides of his patients” (lix).
146.7-8: these two lines are interpolated and apparently refer to LZ’s thinness and propensity toward hypochondria.
146.9: “‘Whoever stands up against you and tells the truth must die,’ Paracelsus observes in bitter disillusionment” (lxiv).
146.10: see 146.1.
146.11-12: “I am resolved to pursue the noblest and highest philosophy and to let nothing divert me from it. . . . I shall not be concerned with the moral part of man, and I shall meditate only upon that within him which does not die; for that is what we hold to be the highest philosophy” (4).
146.13: “‘But I shall put forth leaves, while you will be dry fig trees […]’” (lxxi-lxxii).
146.14-16: “‘But because I am alone,’ he pleads, ‘because I am new, because I am a German, do not scorn my writings, do not let yourself be drawn away from them’” (lxiv).
146.17-20: “‘The main substance of the art lies in experience and also love, which is embodied in all the high arts. For we receive them from the love of God and we should give them with the same love’” (lviv).
146.21: “This is my vow: To perfect my medical art and never to swerve from it so long as God grants me my office, and to oppose all false medicine and teachings. Then, to love the sick, each and all of them, more than if my own body were at stake. Not to judge anything superficially, but by symptoms, nor to administer any medicine without understanding, nor to collect any money without earning it. Not to trust any apothecary, nor to do violence to any child. Not to guess, but to know. . . .” (5).
146.22-24: “‘The striving for wisdom is the second paradise of the world’” (lxiii); see 11.125.8, 23.538.10-11.
147.4 Paganini: Nicolò Paganini (1782-1840), Italian violinist, the greatest virtuoso of his time.
147.15 Lord Dexter: Lord Timothy Dexter (1747–1806), American merchant and eccentric, wrote A Pickle for the Knowing Ones (1802), completely eccentric in spelling and without punctuation (which he added altogether at the back), in part due to the fact that Dexter was virtually illiterate. LZ quotes from “Wonder of Wonders,” most probably found in Oliver Wendell Holmes, Over the Teacups (1891), volume of conversations which discusses Dexter and quotes this passage, apparently regularizing the punctuation. Holmes is making the argument that Dexter preceded Emerson and Whitman as the first Transcendentalist: “How great the soul is! Do not you all wonder and admire to see and behold and hear? Can you all believe half the truth, and admire to hear the wonders how great the soul is—only behold—past finding out! Only see how large the soul is! That if a man is drowned in the sea what a great bubble comes up out of the top of the water.… The bubble is the soul.”
147.20: Illiterate lord of a court of ships figureheads: refers to Lord Dexter’s house in Newburyport, Massachusetts, which he decorated inside and out with numerous wooden figureheads of famous people and which he intended to be a museum.
148.2 Where, my son, are my dead / breathing friends: see 145.9.
148.4 my growing sun: for the son/sun pun and its source in Aristotle, see note at 236.13.
148.21 My guest Henry (masculine)…: in a 29 July 1967 letter to Hugh Kenner (SL 314), LZ indicates that this episode is purely imaginary on his part, but suggested by Henry James’ The American Scene (1907). LZ remarks in his Autobiography (13) on the serendipitous fact that James returned to the U.S. in 1904 after a twenty year absence in the same year as his own birth, also mentioned at 18.397.18-19; see also 13.283.4-6. In Chapter 3 of The American Scene, James gives a highly impressionistic description of a visit to the heart of the Yiddish quarters in the Lower East Side and specifically to Rutgers Street (see 256.13), hosted by an unnamed local resident.
149.3 Chassid: Hasidic Jew.
149.8 Said the Chassid: / If you do not…: LZ probably found this remark in a review of Martin Buber, Israel and the World: “[…] Buber quotes the Hasidic rabbi of Konitz who used to pray: ‘If You do not yet wish to redeem Israel, at any rate redeem the goyim”; from “Twenty-Two Essays by a Hebrew Humanist,” New York Times (28 Nov. 1948).
149.13 Baltimore, “That cheerful little city of the / dead”: from Henry James, The American Scene: “The safety of Baltimore, I should indeed mention, consisted perhaps a little overmuch, during that first flush, in its apparently vacant condition: it affected me as a sort of perversely cheerful little city of the dead; and from the dead, naturally, comes no friction” (310).
149.17 Let me go, the dawn is on us…: through 149.21 adapted from Genesis 32:26-27, 31; the conclusion of the scene in which Jacob wrestles with the angel:
And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.
149.20 (chaos to come): see 142.28-29.
149.22 And once before, toward Haran / Lighted upon a certain place…: through 150.7 from Genesis 28:10-22, Jacob’s exile and dream. Haran is a city in northern Mesopotamia, from which Abraham came to settle in Canaan and to which Jacob fled from his brother Esau’s anger and where he worked for 14 years for the hand of Laban’s daughter Rachel.
28:10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
28:11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
28:12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
28:13 And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
28:14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
28:15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
28:16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.
28:17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
28:18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
28:19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.
28:20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
28:21 So that I come again to my father‘s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God:
28:22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
150.9 200-year spruce at least / For a fiddle…: this fact is also mentioned in Bottom 426.
151.10 “Little fish,” he grieved / For his wife…: the next few pages through 156.24 primarily concern LZ’s father, Pinchos Zukofsky (c.1860-1950). Pinchos emigrated in 1898 from Most (Masty) located on the Nieman River, in what is now Belarus (at the time subsumed by the Russian Empire). The reasons for Pinchos’ emigration are unclear, but there were massive emigrations of Jews from Russia in the years following the assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1881, which provoked numerous pogroms. Pinchos worked as a pantspresser and nightwatchman until he could afford to bring over his wife and three children (two daughters, one son) in 1903. LZ was the only child born in America. “Little fish” is Pinchos’ affectionate nickname for his wife, Chana Pruss Zukofsky (c.1862-1927). See Terrell 35-36.
151.29 Niemen: or Neman River flows through Lithuania and Belarus on which both Most and Kaunas (Kovno; see 152.5) are located.
152.1 Rabbi / Yizchok Elchonon…: Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor (1817-1896), chief rabbi of Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania from 1851-1896 and the most authoritative figure among Russian Jews. Elchanan was among the most respected Jewish leaders and rabbinical authorities of his time and widely revered as a sage.
152.28 Moses released the horse / For one day…: the Biblical authority for the Sabbath as a day of rest is Exodus 31:13-17 and 35:1-3, the latter reads: “And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the Lord hath commanded, that ye should do them. Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath day.” The work horse is LZ’s favorite image of the working person in general and of the poet in particular; see esp. 175.4f and 179.10f.
153.14 Prince Albert: although this can refer to a typical Victorian style of beard with moustache and goatee, such as that sported by Dickens, here it is a men’s long, double-breasted frock coat of the period worn as formal wear, which was popularized by Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria. See the photo of Pinchos in Scroggins, Bio (following page 284), where he is wearing such a frock coat and has, as one would expect, a full beard.
153.23 Reb Pinchos: reb or rebbe is Yiddish for rabbi, but often used as an honorific to refer to any very pious person, as is the case here with reference to LZ’s father; see 151.10.
154.5 father of Nichomachus: i.e. Aristotle.
154.10 The humming bird flies foreward: see 150.31-33.
154.13 eleventh of April / 1950: date of Pinchos Zukofsky’s death.
154.20 John Donne in his death-shroud: a few weeks before his death, Donne (1572-1631) posed for a painting of himself in his death shroud to be used as the model for his marble monument in St. Paul’s Cathedral. Among LZ’s papers there is an ink copy of this portrait taken from his copy of The Poems of John Donne, ed. Herbert J. C. Grierson (Oxford UP, 1912).
155.13 chiffonier: a tall elegant chest of drawers.
155.28 his namesake: i.e. Paul Zukofsky; see 143.6f.
156.5 Measure, tacit is: see 131.16.
156.9 A rich sitter: see 17.27, where this phrase refers to Lorine Niedecker.
156.16 acacia: see 141.4.
156.17 Division: wits so undivided: see 142.3.
157.5 billets-doux: Fr. love letters.
157.10 Stainer— / Jacob Stainer…: Jacobus Stainer (c.1617-1683), a great violin maker from Absam (near Innsbruck), Austria; see 13.306.1. The information on violin makers through 157.30 was evidently taken from notes supplied by Niedecker in a letter received by LZ on 30 Dec. 1950 (Penberthy 171-172).
157.23 Stradivarius brothers…: sons of Antonio Stadivari (1644-1737), Omobono (1679-1742) and Francesco (1671-1743), the great Cremonese violin makers from Italy; there has been a good deal of speculation and research concerning the “secret” that makes the Stradivarius violins such superior instruments.
157.31 Joseph Slavik / Of Chopin’s Vienna…: Joseph Slavik (1806-1833), Czech composer and violinist often compared to Paganini. Frederic Chopin (1810-1849), Polish composer and pianist, made these remarks in a letter dated 25 Dec. 1830. LZ’s source is notes sent by Niedecker in the letter received 30 Dec. 1950 (see 157.10), who mentions her source as Wdoszynski’s The Life and Death of Chopin (1849), which should be Kazimierz Wierzyński (English translation 1949)—the mistranscription here may be by LZ, since apparently what we have is Niedecker’s notes copied out by LZ onto the margins of her letter (Penberthy 173). See also 191.22-30, 192.34-193.6 and 196.28-197.2.
158.7 Old Black Joe: folk song by Stephen Foster (1826-1864).
158.8 Largo: It., in music, very slow; but here “Händel’s Largo,” the opening aria in praise of a plane tree, “Ombra mai fù,” from the opera Xerxes (1738); see CSP 126.
158.20 Rabbi Pinhas: / From true prayers…: Pinhas of Koretz (d. 1791), an early Hasidic master. This and most of the passages through 161.2 have been identified by Taggart (Songs of Degrees 199-201) as from Martin Buber, Ten Rungs: Hasidic Sayings (1947). Buber’s particular take on Hasidism, as well as his versions of Hasidic sayings and tales, appeared in many overlapping works over the course of his career, a number of which were translated into English in the years immediately preceding the composition of “A”-12. In Ten Rungs, Buber offers a selection of brief sayings or anecdotes from numerous Hasidic sources, to which he gives each a title: “The Pupil”: “Rabbi Pinhas said: ‘Ever since I began giving true service to my Maker, I have not tried to gain anything, but only taken what God gave me. It is because the pupil is dark that it absorbs every ray of light’” (19).
158.25 Bread and a coat…: echoes Genesis 28:20-21, see 150.5-6.
158.29 and sense sure, / Else not motion: from Hamlet III.iv; qtd. 127.6.
158.31 Rabbi Leib: / What is the worth of their / Expounding the Torah…: through 161.2 mostly from Martin Buber, Ten Rungs (see 158.20). Rabbi Leib, son of Sarah (1730?-1796), Hasidic disciple of Baal Shem Tov (see 139.27). Only lines 159.1-6 are specifically attributed to Rabbi Leib, with the subsequent lines coming from elsewhere in Buber, Ten Rungs: “To Say Torah and Be Torah”: “This is what Rabbi Leib, son of Sarah, used to say about those rabbis who expound the Torah: ‘What does it amount to—their expounding the Torah! A man should see to it that all his actions are a Torah and that he himself becomes so entirely a Torah that one can learn from his habits and his motions and his motionless clinging to God’” (66).
159.7-8: Given a share, the body / Comports the soul…: “Body and Soul”: “Everyone should have pity upon his body and allow it to share in all that illumines the soul. […] But if the body is given a share, it can also be of use to the soul. […]” (71).
159.9-10: “In Water”: “[…] Man can see his reflection in water only when he bends close to it, and the heart of man too must lean down to the heart of his fellow; then it will see itself within his heart” (79).
159.11-12: “He Is Your Psalm”: “The prayer a man says, that prayer, of itself, is God. It is not as if you were asking something of a friend. Your friend is different from you and our words are different. It is not so in prayer, for prayer unites the principles. […]” (33).
159.14-15: “The Mouth and the Heart”: “[…] ‘to walk humbly with thy God’—that is the central pillar, the order of truth: that your heart and mouth be one and not directed to devious purposes, nor to any of the evil powers which are called ‘the dead.’ […] For he who joins his mouth and his heart, joins the bridegroom and the bride—God who is holy, with his Presence” (73).
159.16, 21-22: “All the Melodies”: “Every people has its own melody, and no people sings the melody of another. But Israel sings all the melodies, in order to bring them to God. So, in the ‘Section of Praise,’ all the creatures that live on the earth, and all the birds, utter each his own song. But Israel makes a song out of all of their songs, in order to bring them to God” (31). Although one might expect the “Section of Praise” to be the Hallel (Psalms 113-118), Buber’s note identifies this as the midrashic Perek Shirab (literally, “A Chapter of Song”): “a compilation of scriptural verses in praise of God, which all living things recite, each chanting its own special verse” (120). However the phrase, “Uniting the degrees,” is repeated at 171.13 in a context that specifically refers to Psalms and thus to the Songs of Degrees (Psalms 120-134); cf. 14.316.11. Taggart discusses at length the significant of the term “degrees” in LZ’s work (197-202).
159.19-20: “Great Holiness”: “[…] Because of the great power of [the Song of Song’s] holiness, it does not appear to be holy at all” (98).
159.21-22: “Section of Praise” / Uniting the degrees:
159.23-24: “Two Pockets”: “Everyone must have two pockets, so that he can reach into the one or the other, according to his needs. In his right pocket are to be the words: ‘For my sake was the world created,’ and in his left: ‘I am dust and ashes’” (106).
159.25-26: “How to Say Torah”: “I shall teach you the best way to say Torah. You must cease to be aware of yourselves. You must be nothing but an ear that hears what the universe of the word is constantly saying within you. The moment you start hearing what you yourself are saying, you must stop” (65).
159.27-160.1: “The Soul’s Teaching”: “Rabbi Pinhas often cited the words: ‘A man’s soul will teach him,’ and emphasized them by adding: ‘There is no man who is not constantly being taught by his soul.’ One of his disciples asked: ‘If this is so, why don’t men obey their souls?’ ‘The soul teaches constantly,’ Rabbi Pinhas explained, ‘but it never repeats’” (65).
160.2-6: “How We Should Learn”: That is what is meant in the Talmund when we read: “‘When a word is spoken in the name of its speaker, his lips move in the grave.’ And the lips of him who utters the word move like those of the master who is dead” (62).
160.7-8: “Between Men”: “There are those who suffer greatly and cannot tell what is in their hearts, and they go their way full of suffering. But if they meet someone whose face is bright with laughter, he can quicken them with his gladness. And it is no small thing to quicken a human being!” (45).
160.9-10: “The zaddik cannot speak words or teaching unless he first links his soul to the soul of his dead teacher or to that of his teacher’s teacher. Only then is link welded to link, and the teachings flow from Moses to Joshua, form Joshua to the Elders, and so on to the zaddik’s own teacher, and from his teacher to him” (61).
160.11-12: “We must purify the body very greatly so that is may share in everything the soul receives, so that there may be a change in the present state where the soul attains to lofty matters and the body knows nothing about them. But if the body is given a share, it can also be of use to the soul” (71).
160.13-14: “For Light”: “It is written: ‘Pure olive oil beaten for the light’ [Exodus 27:20]. We shall be beaten and bruised, but in order to glow—not to grovel!” (105).
160.19-161.2: Rabbi S said: / —You can learn from everything…: “Of Modern Inventions”: “‘You can learn from everything,’ the rabbi of Sadagora once said to his Hasidim. ‘Everything can teach us something, and not only everything God has created. What man has made has also something to teach us.’ ‘What can we learn from a train?’ one hasid asked dubiously. ‘That because of one second one can miss everything.’ ‘And from the telegraph?’ ‘That every word is counted and charged.’ ‘And the telephone?’ ‘That what we say here is heard there’” (49).
161.3 the Preacher: i.e. Ecclesiastes.
161.6 There was H– playing / The Turkish Concerto / By Mozart …: H– = the great violinist Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987), who often performed and made several recordings of Mozart’s Concerto No. 5 in A Major; see 147.5. In Little, the young Little declares Heifetz to be his favorite violinist (CF 61).
161.23 economy of force: a phrase often attributed to Carl von Clausewitz (see 202.14) as a principle of military tactics, but LZ almost certainly has Henry Adams in mind: “A dynamic theory [of history], like most theories, begins by begging the question: it defines Progress as the development and economy of Forces. Further, it defines force as anything that does, or helps to do work. Man is a force; so is the sun; so is a mathematical point, though without dimensions or known existence” (The Education of Henry Adams, Chap. XXXIII).
161.26 eye of sky: see note at 132.19, and also 135.24, 138.17, 138.26.
162.4 lese majesté: Fr. violating majesty; an offense violating the dignity of a ruler, a detraction from or affront to dignity or importance.
162.6 Archibald…: in notes for Lorine Niedecker (HRC 25.1), LZ indicated this represents a real estate agent in Old Lyme, Connecticut where the Zukofskys spent summers from 1948 so that PZ could attend a music camp nearby (see 139.1, 239.12).
162.19 Phaedo: / The lover of wisdom…: from Plato, Phaedo (84); see 237.29-238.4: “For not in that way does the soul of a philosopher reason; she will not ask philosophy to release her in order that when released she may deliver herself up again to the thralldom of pleasures and pains, doing a work only to be undone again, weaving instead of unweaving her Penelope’s web. But she will make herself a calm of passion and follow Reason, and dwell in her, beholding the true and divine (which is not a matter of opinion), and thence derive nourishment. Thus she seeks to live while she lives, and after death she hopes to go to her own kindred and to be freed from human ills” (trans. Benjamin Jowett).
162.29 Who serves the public, / A heavenly singer at a feast: the quotations through 163.5 all appear in the “Comments” appended to “A Statement for Poetry (1950),” which gives a historical catalog of thumbnail definitions of poetry or the poet (Prep+ 223-224). These lines refer to Homer, Odyssey XVII, when Odysseus first returns home in disguise; also mentioned at Prep+ 19 and “Chloride of Lime and Charcoal” III (CSP 127): “Who ever goes himself and invites a stranger from abroad? Unless it be one who serves the public, such as a prophet or a physician or a clever craftsman, or it may be a heavenly singer to give pleasure at a feast. Men like these are invited all the world over; but no one would invite a beggar to burden hissen with” (trans. W.H.D. Rouse).
LZ may also have been aware that this line from Homer appears in Aristotle, Politics VIII.3 (1338a): “And therefore our fathers admitted music into education, not on the ground either of its necessity or utility, for it is not necessary, nor indeed useful in the same manner as reading and writing, which are useful in money-making, in the management of a household, in the acquisition of knowledge and in political life, nor like drawing, useful for a more correct judgment of the works of artists, nor again like gymnastic, which gives health and strength; for neither of these is to be gained from music. There remains, then, the use of music for intellectual enjoyment in leisure; which is in fact evidently the reason of its introduction, this being one of the ways in which it is thought that a freeman should pass his leisure; as Homer says, ‘But he who alone should be called to the pleasant feast,’ and afterwards he speaks of others whom he describes as inviting ‘The bard who would delight them all.’ And in another place Odysseus says there is no better way of passing life than when men’s hearts are merry and ‘The banqueters in the hall, sitting in order, hear the voice of the minstrel.’ It is evident, then, that there is a sort of education in which parents should train their sons, not as being useful or necessary, but because it is liberal or noble” (trans. Benjamin Jowett).
162.31 the noblest embraces the whole art / Involving…: from Dante, De Vulgari Eloquentia as quoted in the original version of the contemporaneous “A Statement for Poetry (1950)” (Prep + 224): “…in works of art, that is noblest which embraces the whole art (Bk. 2, iii) […] …the exercise of discernment as to words involves by no means the smallest labour of our reason (Bk. 2, vii)” (trans. A.G. Ferrers Howell). LZ was particularly fond of the former remark, which is also quoted or paraphrased in The Writing of Guillaume Apollinaire 184/185, “Poetry / For My Son When He Can Read” and “A Statement for Poetry” (Prep+ 9, 224), Bottom 392, as well as in the Contributors Note when he published the first half of “A”-9 in Poetry 58.3 (June 1941): 172.
163.2 that cannot be praiseless / Which considers each word: from Sir Philip Sidney, An Apology for Poetry (1595): “… that cannot be praiseless which doth most polish that blessing of speech; which considereth each word…by his measured quantity; carrying even in themselves a harmony (without, perchance, number, measure, order, proportion be in our time grown odious)” (as qtd. Prep+ 224).
163.4 the lady shall say her mind…: from Shakespeare, Hamlet II.ii: “Hamlet: He that plays the king shall be welcome; his majesty shall have tribute of me; the adventurous knight shall use his foil and target; the lover shall not sigh gratis; the humourous man shall end his part in peace; the clown shall make those laugh whose lungs are tickled o’ the sere; and the lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt for’t. What players are they?” This quotation appears repeatedly in Bottom 19, 145, 327, 333, and in the original version of “A Statement for Poetry (1950)” (Prep+ 224).
163.7 With flowers of odious savours sweet: from Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream III.i (qtd. Bottom 58, 326):
Bottom: Thisby, the flowers of odious savours sweet,—
Quince: Odours, odours.
Bottom: —odours savours sweet:
So hath thy breath, my dearest Thisby dear.
But hark, a voice! Stay thou but here awhile,
And by and by I will to thee appear.
163.22 a-this’s—…: see 17.381.33, which quotes from “An Old Note on WCW” on “his Stein-ish definition of substance ‘a this’” (Prep+ 51). In Bottom LZ indexes “this, a”; in four cases the use is attributed to Aristotle, although without indicating the source; the final instance actually refers to the phrase “earthy persistence.” Aristotle uses “a this” in Physics, De Anima and Metaphysics to designate the quality of existence of something. Most likely LZ is thinking of De Anima:
De Anima I.1 (402a): “First, no doubt, it is necessary to determine in which of the summa genera soul lies, what it is; is it ‘a this-somewhat,’ a substance, or is it a quale or a quantum, or some other of the remaining kinds of predicates which we have distinguished? Further, does soul belong to the class of potential existents, or is it not rather an actuality? Our answer to this question is of the greatest importance.”
De Anima II.1 (412a): “We are in the habit of recognizing, as one determinate kind of what is, substance, and that in several senses, (a) in the sense of matter or that which in itself is not ‘a this’, and (b) in the sense of form or essence, which is that precisely in virtue of which a thing is called ‘a this’, and thirdly (c) in the sense of that which is compounded of both (a) and (b). Now matter is potentiality, form actuality; of the latter there are two grades related to one another as e.g. knowledge to the exercise of knowledge” (trans. J.A. Smith).
163.23 inanimate / or / heady / and souled: probably refers to Aristotle who distinguishes between the inanimate and those things with soul or that are alive—soul for Aristotle having the sense of a life principal rather than the more familiar theological sense.
163.24 I AM THAT I AM…: God’s response to Moses’ query as to God’s name: “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14). See note at 7.37.8.
163.26 Euhius Euan: Bacchus in Lucretius; see 165.11.
164.6 being / non-being: in undated notes to Lorine Niedecker, LZ pointed out that these figures represent the metaphysics of Plato and Spinoza respectively (HRC 25.1).
164.17 Just as if what each of them fights for / may not be the truth: from Lucretius, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) V.729-30, translated by Cyril Bailey (Oxford UP, 1910); qtd. Bottom 138. This remark refers to various and rationally indeterminable theories on the phases of the moon and continues: “or there were any cause why you should venture to adopt the one less than the other.” This appears just a few lines before the allegorical procession of the seasons that LZ paraphrases at 165.1-19, which in this context Lucretius introduces to make the point that although we may not be able to prove why, we nonetheless should not be surprised at the regularity of natural cycles.
164.19 Lucretius: Titus Lucretius Carus (1st century BC), Roman poet of On the Nature of Things expounding the materialist philosophy of Epicurus.
164.22 Macedonia: Aristotle was tutor to the young Alexander the Great, whose father Phillip was King of Macedonia to the north of Greece.
164.30 Carus: Lucretius; see 164.19.
165.1 Dear Spring goes her way with Venus…: through 165.19 from Lucretius, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things). I presume LZ is adapting from the translation of Cyril Bailey, although he also owned the Loeb Classical Library version by W.H.D. Rouse (1924): “Spring goes on her way and Venus, and before them treads Venus’s winged harbinger; and following close on the steps of Zephyrus, mother Flora strews and fills all the way before them with glorious colours and scents. Next after follows parching heat, and as companion at her side dusty Ceres and the etesian blasts of the north winds. Then autumn advances, and step by step with her Euhius Euan. Then follow the other seasons and their winds, Volturnus, thundering on high, and the south wind, whose strength is the lightning. Last of all the year’s end brings snow, and winter renews numbing frost; it is followed by cold, with chattering teeth. Wherefore it is less wonderful if the moon is born at a fixed time, and again at a fixed time is blotted out, since so many things can come to pass at fixed times” (V.737-750). LZ refers to this passage in Prep+ 50 and Bottom 86 and 401.
165.20 Like hell of flames / shooting out of the tops of your heads…: from a Lorine Niedecker (L.N. of 165.23) letter received by LZ on 30 Dec. 1950 (see 157.10): “My picture of you three there creatn like hell is of flames shooting out of the tops of your heads while your feet freeze. Blake would probably paint chuh that way” (Penberthy 173).
165.24 Quire of will / And fated, / Had Shakespeare read him— / Cribbed this?: see 127.3. Shakespeare uses the word “quire” or variant spellings in the first sense (= choir) seven times: e.g. Sonnet 73, Henry VI Part 2 I.iii.87, A Midsummer Night’s Dream II.i.55, Cymbeline III.iii.43, Henry VIII IV.i.64. LZ may also have in mind, following on the above paraphrase from Lucretius, Shakespeare’s “Winter’s Song” (“When icicles hang”) from Love’s Labour’s Lost. See Bottom 398-401 for LZ’s speculative identifications of Lucretius in various Shakespeare texts.
165.28 Since in our body / Riches do not increase…: through 167.31 from Lucretius, De Rerum Natura (see 165.1), trans. Cyril Bailey:
165.28-166.8: “Wherefore since in our body riches are of no profit, nor high birth nor the glories of kingship, for the rest, we must believe that they avail nothing for the mind as well […]. But if we see these thoughts are mere mirth and mockery, and in very truth the fears of men and the cares that dog them fear not the clash of arms nor the weapons of war, but pass boldly among kings and lords of the world, nor dread the glitter that comes from gold nor the bright sheen of the purple robe, can you doubt that all such power belongs to reason alone, above all when the whole of life is but a struggle in darkness?” (II.37-54).
166.9-16: “Some of them come to ruin to win statues and a name; and often through fear of death so deeply does the hatred of life and the sight of light possess men, that with sorrowing heart they compass their own death, forgetting that it is this fear which is the source of their woes, which assails their honour, which bursts the bonds of friendship, and overturns affection from its lofty throne. […] This terror, then, this darkness of the mind, must needs be scattered, not by the rays of the sun and the gleaming shafts of day, but by the outer view and the inner law of nature” (III.78-93).
166.17-19: “Afterward, when now the body is shattered by the stern strength of time, and the frame has sunk with its force dulled, then the reason is maimed, the tongue raves, the mind stumbles, all things give way and fail at once” (III.451-454).
166.20-21: “For never does any man long for himself and life, when mind and body alike rest in slumber. For all we care sleep may then be never-ending, nor does any yearning for ourselves then beset us. […] Much less then should we think that death is to us, if there can be less than what we see to be nothing […]” (III.919-927).
166.22-24: “And from certain things scents stream off unceasingly; just as cold streams off from rivers, heat from the sun, spray from the waves of the sea, which gnaws away walls all around the shores. Nor do diverse voices cease to fly abroad through the air. Again, often moisture of a salt savour comes into our mouth, when we walk by the sea, and on the other hand, when we watch wormwood being diluted and mixed, a bitter taste touches it” (IV.218-223).
166.24-30: “And yet we do not grant that in this the eyes are a whit deceived. For it is theirs to see in what several spots there is light and shade: but whether it is the same light or not, whether it is the same shadow which was here, that now passes there, or whether that rather comes to pass which I said a little before, this the reasoning of the mind alone must needs determine, nor can the eyes know the nature of things. Do not then be prone to fasten on the eyes this fault in the mind. The ship, in which we journey, is borne along, when it seems to be standing still; another, which remains at anchor, is thought to be passing by” (IV.379-386). LZ refers to this passage in Bottom 401. LZ’s rendition of Lucretius from 166.25-167.12 is also quoted in Bottom 138 and paraphrased at 88-89.
166.31-167.7: “You will find that the concept of the true is begotten first from the senses, and that the senses cannot be gainsaid. For something must be found with a greater surety, which can of its own authority refute the false by the true. Next then, what must be held to be of greater surety than sense? Will reason, sprung from false sensation, avail to speak against the senses, when it is wholly sprung from the senses? For unless they are true, all reason too becomes false. Or will the ears be able to pass judgement on the eyes, or touch on the ears? Or again will the taste in the mouth refute this touch; will the nostrils disprove it, or the eyes show it false? It is not so, I trow. […] And so it must needs be that one sense cannot prove another false” (IV.478-496). Cf. Bottom’s remarks on waking up from his “dream” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream IV.i.207-225, which LZ quotes to open the Preface to Bottom (9).
167.8-9: “Moreover, a voice is severed in every direction, since voices are begotten one from another, when once one voice has issued forth and sprung apart into many, even as a spark of fire is often wont to scatter itself into its several fires. And so places hidden far from sight are filled with voices; they are in a ferment all around, alive with sound” (IV.603-608).
167.10-12: “Inasmuch as the one is like the other, what we see with the mind, and what we see with the eyes, they must needs be created in like manner” (IV.750-751).
167.12: Shape of their ground, the same: see 126.10-13 and 175.22.
167.13-15: “Moreover, the minds of men, which with mighty movement perform mighty tasks, often in sleep do and dare just the same; kings storm towns, are captured, join battle, raise a loud cry, as though being murdered—all without moving” (IV.1011-1014).
167.16-18: “This pleasure is Venus for us; from it comes Cupid, our name for love, from it first of all that drop of Venus’s sweetness has trickled into our heart and chilly care has followed after. For it the object of your love is away, yet images of her are at hand, her loved name is present to your ears” (IV.1058-1062).
167.19-22: “For the rest, that I may delay you no more with promises, first of all look upon seas, and lands, and sky; their threefold nature, their three bodies, Memmius, their three forms so diverse, their three textures so vast, one single day shall hurl to ruin; and the massive form and fabric of the world, held up for many years, shall fall headlong.” (V.91-109).
167.23-24: “And so, bursting out from the quarter of the earth through its loose-knit openings, first of all the fiery ether rose up and, being so light, carried off with it many fires, in not far different wise than often we see now, when first the golden morning light of the radiant sun reddens over the grass bejeweled with dew, and the pools and ever-running streams give off a mist, yea, even as the earth from time to time is seen to steam: and when all these are gathered together as they move upwards, clouds with body now formed weave a web beneath the sky on high” (V.457-466).
167.25-31: “For we see many events, which come to pass at a fixed time in all things. Trees blossom at a fixed time, and at a fixed time lose their flower. Even so at a fixed time age bids the teeth fall, and the hairless youth grow hairy with soft down and let a soft beard flow alike from either cheek” (V.666-674).
168.3 one emendator said: / —If a dog hunted fleas…: from A.E. Housman (1859-1936), “The Application of Thought to Textual Criticism” (1921): “[…] textual criticism is not a branch of mathematics, nor indeed an exact science at all. It deals with a matter not rigid and constant, like lines and numbers, but fluid and variable; namely the frailties and aberrations of the human mind, and of its insubordinate servants, the human fingers. It therefore is not susceptible of hard-and-fast rules. […] A textual critic engaged upon his business is not at all like Newton investigating the motions of the planets: he is much more like a dog hunting for fleas. If a dog hunted for fleas on mathematical principles, basing his researches on statistics of area and population, he would never catch a flea except by accident. They require to be treated as individuals; and every problem which presents itself to the textual critic must be regarded as possibly unique.”
168.9 In Shakespeare is militarist— / Not recorded again until 1860: see All’s Well That Ends Well IV.iii:
“First Lord: You’re deceived, my lord: this is Monsieur Parolles, the gallant militarist,—that was his own phrase,—that had the whole theoric of war in the knot of his scarf, and the practice in the chape of his dagger.”
168.17 Infinite things in / Infinite modes / Follow…: from Spinoza, Ethics II, Prop. IV: “The idea of God from which infinite things in infinite modes follow can only be one” (trans. Andrew Boyle).
168.21 G.S. begins / “Making of Americans”…: Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) begins The Making of Americans (1925) by quoting (unacknowledged) Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (see quotation at 236.20): “Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. ‘Stop!’ cried the groaning old man at last, ‘Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree.’ It is hard living down the tempers we are born with.” This quotation also appears in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933), which appears complete along with the opening section of The Making of Americans in Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein, ed. Carl Van Vechten (1946), which was in the LZ library.
168.26 That she said, / “How can you know…: from Gertrude Stein, “What Is English Literature?” in Lectures in America (1935): “Knowledge is the thing you know and how can you know more than you do know” (11). “Before that [the nineteenth century] in all the periods before things had been said been known been described been sung about, been fought about been destroyed been denied been imprisoned been lost but never been explained. So then they began to explain. And we may say that they have been explaining ever since. And as I say we are still in the shadow of it” (38). Qtd. Prep+ 50.
169.9 Beyond Physics: that is, Metaphysics; the editors of Aristotle decided to simply call the work we know under this title as “after Physics,” since it followed the latter work in their compilation.
169.10 All men by nature desire…: through 169.17 from the opening paragraph of Aristotle, Metaphysics I.1 (980a) with LZ’s parenthetical addition (qtd. Bottom 39): “All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer seeing (one might say) to everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things” (trans. W.D. Ross).
169.18 Ethics or Character: etymologically ethics is from the Gr. ηθικός (ēthikos), of or for morals, moral, expressing character; from ēthos, character, moral nature (CD). Here referring to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.
169.19 Seeing seems at any moment complete…: through 169.26 from Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics X.4 (1174a): “What pleasure is, or what kind of thing it is, will become plainer if we take up the question again from the beginning. Seeing seems to be at any moment complete, for it does not lack anything which coming into being later will complete its form; and pleasure also seems to be of this nature. For it is a whole, and at no time can one find a pleasure whose form will be completed if the pleasure lasts longer. For this reason, too, it is not a movement. For every movement (e.g. that of building) takes time and is for the sake of an end, and is complete when it has made what it aims at. It is complete, therefore, only in the whole time or at that final moment” (trans. W.D. Ross). Qtd. Bottom 62.
169.27 Said Nicomachus’ father…: i.e. Aristotle.
169.29 In his teacher’s Republic: Plato’s Republic. In his introduction to the Republic, Jowett makes the point that Plato and Aristotle have more points of agreement than is usually acknowledged, and in Part Two of Bottom, LZ is very interested in the similarities and differences between the two philosophers.
169.30 Eyes, their excellence, that is, sight: from Plato, Republic Book I (353):
“[Socrates] ‘Then now I think you will have no difficulty in understanding my meaning when I asked the question whether the end of anything would be that which could not be accomplished, or not so well accomplished, by any other thing?’ ‘I understand your meaning,’ [Thrasymachus] said, ‘and assent.’ ‘And that to which an end is appointed has also an excellence? Need I ask again whether the eye has an end?’ ‘It has.’ ‘And has not the eye an excellence?’ ‘Yes.’ […] ‘Well, and can the eyes fulfill their end if they are wanting in their own proper excellence and have a defect instead?’ ‘How can they,’ he said, ‘if they are blind and cannot see?’ ‘You mean to say, if they have lost their proper excellence, which is sight […]’ (trans. Benjamin Jowett). On Plato and the “excellence of the eyes,” see Bottom 101, 105.
Cf. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics II.6 (1106a): “We may remark, then, that every virtue or excellence both brings into good condition the thing of which it is the excellence and makes the work of that thing be done well; e.g. the excellence of the eye makes both the eye and its work good; for it is by the excellence of the eye that we see well. Similarly the excellence of the horse makes a horse both good in itself and good at running and at carrying its rider and at awaiting the attack of the enemy. Therefore, if this is true in every case, the virtue of man also will be the state of character which makes a man good and which makes him do his own work well” (trans. W.D. Ross; key parts of this passage are qtd. in Bottom 59, 307-308 (quoting from the Loeb Classical Library edition, trans. H. Rackham) and mentioned at 105.
170.1 Justice like sight, hearing…: through 170.3 from Plato, Republic Book II (367): “Now as you have admitted that justice is one of that highest class of goods which are desired indeed for their results, but in a far greater degree for their own sakes—like sight or hearing or knowledge or health, or any other real and natural and not merely conventional good—I would ask you in your praise of justice to regard one point only: I mean the essential good and evil which justice and injustice work in the possessors of them” (trans. Benjamin Jowett).
170.6 How can we know the object of sense…: through 170.16 from Aristotle, Metaphysics I.9, critiquing Plato: “Further, how could we know the objects of sense without having the sense in question? Yet we ought to, if the elements of which all things consist, as complex sounds consist of the elements proper to sound, are the same (993a). […] And in general the arguments for the Forms destroy the things for whose existence we are more zealous than for the existence of the Idea (990b). […] Nor have the Forms any connexion with what we see to be the cause in the case of the arts, that for whose sake both all mind and the whole of nature are operative,—with this cause which we assert to be one of the first principles; but mathematics has come to be identical with philosophy for modern thinkers, though they say that it should be studied for the sake of other things. Further, one might suppose that the substance which according to them underlies as matter is too mathematical, and is a predicate and differentia of the substance, i.e. of the matter, rather than matter itself; i.e. the great and the small are like the rare and the dense which the physical philosophers speak of, calling these the primary differentiae of the substratum; for these are a kind of excess and defect. And regarding movement, if the great and the small are to be movement, evidently the Forms will be moved; but if they are not to be movement, whence did movement come? The whole study of nature has been annihilated” (992a-992b). Cf. quotations at Bottom 54-55.
170.17 double palimpsest: a palimpsest is an ancient parchment that has been erased and written over again, although often the original writing can be more or less discerned, so a double palimpsest is a manuscript twice erased and overwritten. See discussion of Aristotle’s critique of Plato and the latter’s Timaeus in Bottom 42-43, 74-75.
170.22 some Northwest Coast Indian / To re-collect Be…: the apparent source of this passage through 170.25 is an essay, “Paper” (dated 1922-1923), by Roger Kaigh, the pseudonym of LZ’s Columbia classmate and close friend, Irving Kaplan, from which LZ quotes in “American Poetry 1920-1930” (Prep+ 147):
“There is a language spoken on the northwest coast of this continent in which the nominal and verbal forms are not distinct. Tense is there as frequently expressed by, what we should call, the noun as the verb. Modifying forms are quite limited and the nominal and verbal stems never stand alone. The distinction of ‘substance’ and ‘attribute’ is thus quite limited and subordinate. Furthermore, Kant’s transcendental categories of Quality would be considerably disturbed by the negative form in this language, for the idea of negation is expressed by a verbal form ‘to not.’ Aristotle’s principle of contradiction which is, in our language, an apparent truism, would involve for these indians, considerable speculation and an involved form of expression. For in our linguistic forms, the negative is expressed as a contradiction of the affirmative. But in their language, the negative is only one type of affirmation. […] Thus the categories involved in their everyday speech and habitual thought are quite different from ours.” See Basil Bunting, Three Essays (Durham: Basil Bunting Poetry Centre, 1994): 17. On this essay, see Andrew Crozier, “Paper Bunting,” Sagetrieb 14.3 (1995): 45-74.
The anthropological background of this essay is probably indebted to Franz Boas (1858-1942), who for decades was a major intellectual figure at Columbia University, including during the time LZ and Kaplan studied there (he is quoted and footnoted in The Writing of Guillaume Apollinaire). Boas was the most prominent exponent of cultural relativism in anthropology. However, Crozier argues for the influence of Lucien Lévy-Bruhl (71-73).
170.26 for an / ancient Hindu: see 126.25 and quotation from the Creation Hymn of the Rig Veda above at 126.24.
170.31 Number slain. / Hearts remote…: from Shakespeare, “The Phoenix and Turtle,” lines 28-30, 41, 44. This poem is treated in some detail in Bottom, where it is described as “probably the greatest English metaphysical poem,” and is a key statement of LZ’s overall thesis (see esp. 25-26 and index for numerous other mentions).
So they loved, as love in twain
Had the essence but in one;
Two distincts, division none:
Number there in love was slain.
Hearts remote, yet not asunder;
Distance, and no space was seen
’Twixt the turtle and his queen:
But in them it were a wonder.
So between them love did shine,
That the turtle saw his right
Flaming in the phoenix’ sight;
Either was the other’s mine.
Property was thus appalled,
That the self was not the same;
Single nature’s double name
Neither two nor one was called.
Reason, in itself confounded,
Saw division grow together,
To themselves yet either neither,
Simple were so well compounded,
That it cried, How true a twain
Seemeth this concordant one!
Love hath reason, reason none,
If what parts can so remain.
171.9 Simple the certain nature—: from Aristotle, Metaphysics XII.7 (1072a): “The one and the simple are not the same; for ‘one’ means a measure, but ‘simple’ means the thing itself has a certain nature.” Qtd. Bottom 55.
171.10 Those who sing Psalms, / Odes of bright principles / Come for the sky…: in all likelihood the Psalms of the Old Testament are here conflated with the Confucian Odes. In his 1929 essay on EP, LZ quotes the phrase “the bright principal of our reason” from the former’s original rendition of the Confucian Ta Hio: The Great Learning (Prep+ 69). For the mention of sky or the heavens, see note at 132.19 and an explicit conjunction of the sky with a Confucian Ode at 135.4.
171.13 Uniting the degrees: see 159.22.
171.15 We speak of heavenly songs. They / Are intoned…: through 172.32 from Paracelsus (see 134.9):
171.15-24: “What we can do must come to us from another who can do it; for nothing can be learned from someone who knows nothing. And although we speak of heavenly songs and symphonies, they are produced neither by harps nor lutes, but are a noise in the clouds, an echo from the earth. Thus all things come from God, and God plants all things in us according to His will. In the stars all skills are arts, all crafts are hidden, and also all wisdom, all reason, as well as foolishness and what belongs to it; for there is nothing in man that does not flow into him from the light of nature. But what is in the light of nature is subject to the influence of the stars. The stars are our school in which everything must be learned. If there had been no Venus, music would never have been invented, and if there had been no Mars, neither would the crafts ever have been invented. Thus the stars teach us all the arts that exist on earth; and if the stars were not active in us, and if we had been compelled to discover everything in ourselves, no art would ever have come into being” (128-129).
171.26-29: “Man was not born out of a nothingness, but was made from a substance. . . . The Scriptures state that God took the limus terrae, the primordial stuff of the earth, and formed man out of this mass. […] But limus terrae is also the Great World, and thus man was created from heaven and earth. Limus terrae is an extract of the firmament, of the universe of stars, and at the same time of all the elements. . . .” (16).
171.30-172.6: “Heaven encompasses both spheres—the upper and the lower—to the end that nothing mortal and nothing transient may reach beyond them into that realm which lies outside the heaven that we see. . . . For mortal and immortal things must not touch each other, and must not dwell together. Therefore, the Great World, the macrocosm, is closed in itself in such a way that nothing can leave it, but that everything that is of it and within it remains complete and undivided. Such is the Great World. Next to it subsists the Little World, that is to say, man. He is enclosed in a skin, to the end that his blood, his flesh, and everything he is as a man may not become mixed with that Great World. . . . For one would destroy the other. Therefore man has a skin; it delimits the shape of the human body, and through it he can distinguish the two worlds from each other—the Great World and the Little World, the macrocosm and man—and can keep separate that which must not mingle. Thus the Great World remains completely undisturbed in its husk. . . .” (17).
172.7-10: “The inner stars of man are, in their properties, kind, and nature, by their course and position, like his outer stars, and different only in form and in material. For as regards their nature, it is the same in the ether and in the microcosm, man. . . . Just as the sun shines through a glass—as though divested of body and substance—so the stars penetrate one another in the body. . . . For the sun and the moon and all planets, as well as all the stars and the whole chaos, are in man. . . . The body attracts heaven . . . and this takes place in accordance with the great divine order” (21). “The sun can shine through a glass, and fire can radiate warmth through the walls of the stove, although the sun does not pass through the glass and the fire does not go through the stove; in the same way, the human body can act at a distance while remaining at rest in one place, like the sun, which shines through the glass and yet does not pass through it. Hence nothing must be attributed to the body itself but only to the forces that flow from it […]” (43).
172.11-13: “The world edifice is made of two parts—one tangible and perceptible, and one invisible and imperceptible. The tangible part is the body, the invisible is the Stars. […] The two parts together constitute life” (18-19).
172.14-18 paraphrases from the chapter “On True Government” (184-189), which speaks of sages and other leaders as guides and shepherds, as well as the following: “Any attempt to establish injunctions for all eternity is folly. For what can man build on earth that will be eternal? […] All things are the product of time, and no one can raise himself above time; everyone is subject to time” (186).
172.19-23: see quotation at 172.7-10, and: “Heaven imprints nothing upon us; it is the hand of God that has created us in His likeness. Regardless how we are made—in all our members the hand of God has been directly at work. God endowed us with our complexions, qualities, and habits when He endowed us with life” (21-22).
172.24: “Thus the child [in the womb] requires no stars or planets: its mother is its star and its planet” (32).
172.25-27: “Man is the Little World, but woman . . . is the Littlest World, and hence she is different from man. […] Thus the cosmos is the greatest world, the world of man the next greatest, and that of woman the smallest and least. […] Also what they bring forth is transitory, and therein they do not differ. But the manner in which they bring it forth is different in the cosmos, in man, and in woman. And because the ways and means are different, the result is different in form. . . . But even though these three empires are separated from one another, they are borne by the same spirit . . . for this spirit encompasses them all” (36-37).
172.28-32: “There is one single number that should determine our life on earth, and this number is One. Let us not count further. It is true that the godhead is Three, but the Three is again comprised in the One. […] In this number is rest and peace, and in no other. What goes beyond it is unrest and conflict, struggle of one against another. For if a calculator sets down a number and counts further than one, who can say at what number he will stop? But this question is the difficulty that gnaws at us and worries us. How much more pleasant and better it would be if we always walked in the path of the One” (230).
173.11 Mystic…: Mystic, Connecticut was a whaling and shipbuilding port in early American history. In 1929 the port was turned into a large maritime museum.
173.16 scrimshanting / In 1820ies. “All these 24 hours…: scrimshant is an alternative spelling of scrimshaw (see 173.10). The origins of the word are uncertain but the first written reference is quoted by LZ from the log for 20 May 1826 of the whaler By Chance.
173.26 Courses tide: see 4.15.11, 5.17.19.
174.5 but an assemblage / of all possible positions— / The locus: this is a geometrical definition: “The locus of a point or line is the assemblage of all possible positions of the point or line that satisfy a given set of geometric conditions,” and anticipates the passages that follow immediately from Spinoza, Ethics, whose argument is presented as a “geometrical demonstration.”
174.8 As Baruch said accursed, nevermind blest…: Baruch (or Benedict) Spinoza (1632-1677), Jewish Dutch philosopher. For the numerous quotations and paraphrases from Spinoza that appear throughout much of “A”-12 as well as Bottom, LZ used the Everyman’s Library edition of the Ethics (including Treatise on the Correction of the Understanding), trans. Andrew Boyle (1910), with an introduction by George Santayana (page references refer to this edition). The first line of this passage refers to the fact that Spinoza’s given name means “blest,” which is how LZ often refers to him. Although LZ generally prefers the Hebrew version of his name, Spinoza adopted the Latin form as a young man after he was excommunicated from Amsterdam Jewish community for his views, which may explain why he might be considered “accursed”; in addition, due to the negative reception of his Tractatus Theologico-Political (1670) he put off publishing the Ethics during his lifetime and posthumously he was for more than a century damned as an arch-atheist.
174.9: Since men would rather imagine than understand: from Spinoza, Ethics I, Appendix (35): “For it is in every one’s mouth: ‘As many minds as men,’ ‘Each is wise in his own manner,’ ‘As tastes differ, so do minds’—all of which proverbs show clearly enough that men judge things according to the disposition of their minds, and had rather imagine things than understand them. For if they understood things, my arguments would convince them at least, just as mathematics, although they might not attract them” (35).
174.10: And chance is imperfect knowledge: from Spinoza, Ethics I, Prop. 33, Note 1: “Anything is said to be necessary either by reason of its essence or its cause. For the existence of anything necessarily follows either from its very essence or definition, or from a given effecting cause. A thing is said to be impossible by reason of these same causes: clearly for that its essence or definition involves a contradiction, or that no external cause can be given determined for the production of such a thing. But anything can in no wise be said to be contingent save in respect to the imperfection of our knowledge” (26). See also Part II, Prop. 31, Corollary.
174.11: And body exists as we feel it: from Spinoza, Ethics II, Prop. 13, Corollary: “Hence it follows that man consists of mind and body, and that the human body exists according as we feel it” (47).
174.12-13: And essence is that remove, that degree, / without which a thing is no thing: from Spinoza, Ethics II, Def. 2: “I say that appertains to the essence of a thing which, when granted, necessarily involves the granting of the thing, and which, when removed, necessarily involves the removal of the thing; or that without which the thing, or on the other hand, which without the thing can neither exist nor be conceived” (37).
174.15-16: And nothing happens in the body / That is not perceived by the mind: from Spinoza, Ethics II, Prop. 12: “Whatever happens in the object of the idea constituting the human mind must be perceived by the human mind, or the idea of that thing must necessarily be found in the human mind: that is, if the object of the idea constituting the human mind be the body, nothing can happen in that body which is not perceived by the mind” (46).
174.17: The mind also conceives by its power: from Spinoza, Ethics III, Prop. 11 and Note (“its” here refers to the body): “Whatever increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of action of our body, the idea thereof increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of thinking of our mind. […] we showed that the idea which constitutes the essence of the mind involves the existence of the body as long as the body exists. Again, it follows from what we showed in Coroll., Prop. 8, Part II., and its Note, that the present existence of our mind depends on this alone, that the mind involves the actual existence of the body. Then we showed that the power of the mind by which it imagines and remembers things depends (Prop. 17 and 18, Part II., and its Note) on this, that the mind involves the actual existence of the body. Then it follows that the present existence of the mind and its power of imagining is taken away as soon as the mind ceases to affirm the present existence of the body” (93).
174.18: A contents that is as in the song “sweet content”: perhaps song by Thomas Dekker (1570?-1614) with this title from the play, The Pleasant Comedy of Patient Grissill (1603), although the phrase appears commonly in Renaissance poetry, especially on pastoral themes. A number of composers have set Dekkers song; the first stanza follows:
Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers?
O sweet content!
Art thou rich, yet is thy mind perplex’d?
Dost thou laugh to see how fools are vex’d
To add to golden numbers, golden numbers?
O sweet content! O sweet, O sweet content!
Work apace, apace, apace, apace;
Honest labour bears a lovely face;
Then hey nonny nonny, hey nonny nonny!
174.19 Since no one cares about anything…: through 175.3 from Spinoza:
174.19: Since no one cares about anything he does not love: from Ethics V, Prop. 20, Note (qtd. Bottom 16): “Again, it is to be noted that these unhealthy states of mind and misfortunes owe their origin for the most part to excessive love for a thing that is liable to many variations, and of which we may never seize the mastery. For no one is anxious or cares about anything that he does not love, nor do injuries, suspicions, enmities arise from anything else than love towards a thing of which no one is truly master. From this we can easily conceive what a clear and distinct knowledge, and principally that third kind of knowledge (concerning which see Note, Prop. 47, Part II.), whose basis is the knowledge of God, can do with the emotions, namely, that if it does not remove them entirely in so far as they are passions (Prop. 3, with Note, Prop. 4, Part V.), at least it brings it about that they constitute the least possible part of the mind (see Prop. 14, Part V.). Moreover, it gives rise to a love towards a thing immutable and eternal (Prop. 15, Part V.), and of which we are in truth masters (Prop. 45, Part II.), and which cannot be polluted by any evils which are in common love, but which can become more and more powerful (Prop. 15, Part V.) and occupy the greatest part of the mind (Prop. 16, Part V.) and deeply affect it” (212-213). See also V, Prop. 37: “There is nothing in nature which is contrary to this intellectual love or which can remove it” (220).
174.20-21: And love is pleasure that dwells on its cause / He who loves keeps what he loves: from Ethics III, Prop. 13, Note: “From this we clearly understand what is love (amor) and what hatred (odium), namely, that love is nothing else than pleasure accompanied by the idea of an external cause; and hate pain accompanied by the idea of an external cause. We see again that he who loves necessarily endeavours to keep present and preserve that which he loves […]” (95).
174.22-24: An image inwreathed with many things…: from Spinoza, Ethics V, Prop. 13 & Proof (qtd. Bottom 29, 89): “The more an image is associated with many other things, the more often it flourishes. Proof.—The more an image is associated with many other things, the more causes there are by which it can be excited. Q.e.d.” Also see Part V, Prop. 11: “The more any image has reference to many things, the more frequent it is, the more often it flourishes, and the more it occupies the mind” (209). See also 11.124.22. The word “inwreathed” that LZ substitutes for Spinoza’s “associated” will recur a number of times in the following pages (175.30, 176.2, 182.20, 187.2), as well as at the end of “A”-23.562.36. The related “wreathe(ing)” appears now and then throughout “A”, see esp. 11.104.11 and 12.197.2.
174.25-175.3: If the understanding perceives the idea…: from Spinoza, On the Correction of the Understanding 108.III (qtd. Bottom 29): “The ideas [understanding] forms absolutely express infinity; but determinate ideas are formed from others. For the idea of quantity, if the understanding perceives it by means of a cause, then it determines the quantity, as when it perceives a body to be formed from the motion of a plane, a plane from the motion of a line, as line from the motion of a point: these perceptions do not serve for the understanding but only for the determination of a quantity. This is clear from the fact that we conceive them to be formed, so to speak, from motion, yet this motion is not perceived unless quantity is perceived; and we can prolong the motion in order to form a line of infinite length, which we could do in no wise if we did not have the idea of infinite quantity” (262).
175.19 Hunting so to speak […] / Sowing […] / Composing always: see 164.12-13.
175.13 The hose sees he is repeating / All known cultures…: on this image of the horse in relation to cultural tradition, see Prep+ 49-50.
175.22 The shape of his ground: see 126.10-14 and 167.12.
176.3 Rig-Veda: see 126.24.
176.10 gigue: Fr. a lively old dance or jig.
176.12 (Teuton geige—a fiddle): see 172.33.
176.14 Like his contemporary hopping Chassid…: Baal Shem Tov (see 139.27) who advocated praying through singing and dancing.
176.16 Prelude of the Third Partita: see 130.5.
176.17 Theocritus: 3rd century BC Greek Hellenistic pastoral poet. LZ may have WCW in mind here, who was interested in Theocritus and worked on translations in the early 1950s, which were included in The Desert Music (1954); however, a parodic version of Theocritus appears as the first section of Part IV of Paterson (1951). See LZ’s enthusiastic response to WCW’s “Theocritus: Idyl I” (Collected Poems II 268-273) on the publication of The Desert Music (WCW/LZ 456).
176.23 Take that of Lear, my friend…: from Shakespeare, King Lear IV.vi:
Lear: None does offend, none, I say, none; I’ll able ’em:
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal the accuser’s lips. Get thee glass eyes;
And like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not.
176.26 Bottom W., Polonius T., / Hamlet H. (for Hamlet) Adams: LZ identifies these initials as W = Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), English philosopher and T = Arnold J. Toynbee (1889-1975), English historian (SL 276). H. Adams is Henry Adams, see 192.3. The point presumably is that all offered large-scale theories of historical change. The one work by Whitehead that LZ quotes elsewhere is Science and the Modern World (1925), see Bottom 163. On Adams see esp. Prep+ 86-130.
176.28 M. Croche: an alter-ego pseudonym used by the French composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918) in his journalistic music criticism; see 183.17.
176.30 Seti First…: Egyptian pharaoh, 14th century BC. Possibly referring to the Temple of Seti I and the Osireion at Abydos, which has wall carvings depicting Seti I making libations and offerings to Osiris.
176.32 Hurries to Socrates / Whose words are real…: through 177.8 from two passages in Plato, Phaedo, which recounts the final moments of Socrates life before he dies from taking hemlock. In arguing for the immortality of the soul, Socrates asserts that opposites always imply and are generated out of each other:
[Socrates speaking with Cebes]. “’Then, suppose that you analyze life and death to me in the same manner. Is not death opposed to life?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘And they are generated one from the other?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘What is generated from the living?’ ‘The dead.’ ‘And what from the dead?’ ‘I can only say in answer—the living.’ ‘Then the living, whether things or persons, Cebes, are generated from the dead?’ ‘That is clear,’ he replied. ‘Then the inference is that our souls are in the world below?’ ‘That is true.’ ‘And one of the two processes or generations is visible—for surely the act of dying is visible?’ ‘Surely,’ he said. ‘What then is to be the result? Shall we suppose nature to walk on one leg only? Must we not rather assign to death some corresponding process of generation?’” (71).
“And when she [Socrates’ wife Xanthippe] was gone, Socrates, sitting up on the couch, began to bend and rub his leg, saying, as he rubbed: ‘How singular is the thing called pleasure, and how curiously related to pain, which might be thought to be the opposite of it; for they never come to a man together, and yet he who pursues either of them is generally compelled to take the other. They are two, and yet they grow together out of one head or stem; and I cannot help thinking that if Aesop had noticed them, he would have made a fable about God trying to reconcile their strife, and when he could not, he fastened their heads together; and this is the reason why when one comes the other follows, as I find in my own case pleasure comes following after the pain in my leg, which was caused by the chain.’
Upon this Cebes said: ‘I am very glad indeed, Socrates, that you mentioned the name of Aesop. For that reminds me of a question which has been asked by others, and was asked of me only the day before yesterday by Evenus the poet, and as he will be sure to ask again, you may as well tell me what I should say to him, if you would like him to have an answer. He wanted to know why you who never before wrote a line of poetry, now that you are in prison are putting Aesop [ancient Greek fabulist] into verse, and also composing that hymn in honor of Apollo.’
‘Tell him, Cebes,’ he replied, ‘that I had no idea of rivalling him or his poems; which is the truth, for I knew that I could not do that. But I wanted to see whether I could purge away a scruple which I felt about certain dreams. In the course of my life I have often had intimations in dreams “that I should make music.” The same dream came to me sometimes in one form, and sometimes in another, but always saying the same or nearly the same words: Make and cultivate music, said the dream. And hitherto I had imagined that this was only intended to exhort and encourage me in the study of philosophy, which has always been the pursuit of my life, and is the noblest and best of music. The dream was bidding me to do what I was already doing, in the same way that the competitor in a race is bidden by the spectators to run when he is already running. But I was not certain of this, as the dream might have meant music in the popular sense of the word, and being under sentence of death, and the festival giving me a respite, I thought that I should be safer if I satisfied the scruple, and, in obedience to the dream, composed a few verses before I departed. And first I made a hymn in honor of the god of the festival, and then considering that a poet, if he is really to be a poet or maker, should not only put words together but make stories, and as I have no invention, I took some fables of Aesop, which I had ready at hand and knew, and turned them into verse. Tell Evenus this, and bid him be of good cheer; that I would have him come after me if he be a wise man, and not tarry; and that to-day I am likely to be going, for the Athenians say that I must’” (60-61; trans. Benjamin Jowett). LZ alludes to this Aesop passage in Bottom 392.
177.9 Just as the eye that sticks with rime cannot move / When faced to the wall of a cavern…: through 177.16 and 177.21-22 from Plato’s allegory of the cave in Book VII of The Republic: [Socrates to Glaucon] “Whereas, our argument shows that the power and capacity of learning exists in the soul already; and that just as the eye was unable to turn from darkness to light without the whole body, so too the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of being, and learn by degrees to endure the sight of being, and of the brightest and best of being, or, in other words, of the good” (518).
177.19 “The eyes of the mind are proofs”: from Spinoza, Ethics; see quotation at 130.19.
177.21 What is this Sight of Being? / Plato: “its brightest and best—good”: see quotation at 177.9.
177.24 “A man can neither be nor be conceived…: from Spinoza, Ethics IV, Prop. 36, Note: “But if any one ask, What if the greatest good of those who follow virtue were not common to all? Would it not then follow as above (see Prop. 34, Part IV.), that men who live according to the mandate of reason, that is (Prop. 35, Part IV.), men, in so far as they agree in nature, would be contrary one to the other? He has this answer for himself, that it arises not accidentally but from the very nature or reason that the greatest good of man should be common to all, clearly because it is deduced from human essence itself in so far as it is defined by reason, and inasmuch as a man can neither be nor be conceived without the power of enjoying the greatest good. It appertains (Prop. 47, Part II.) to the essence of the human mind to have an adequate knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence of God” (165).
177.26 Sane, vain and mad enough / To call himself Paracelsus: Paracelsus literally means “above or beyond Celsus”; Aulus Cornelius Celsus 25 BC-50AD) was reputedly a renown Roman doctor whose work was rediscovered and published in the 15th century. L. celsus itself means high, lofty, prominent, proud, haughty. In the introduction to his selection of Paracelsus’ works, Jacobi remarks that his adoption of the name Paracelsus “contributed a great deal to his reputation for pride and conceit” (xliii).
177.28 In each (of Three Worlds) an urge to exceed…: through 179.9 from Paracelsus (see note at 134.9):
177.28-32: “Therefore there dwells in each of these bodies an urge to exceed that which is given to it, and neither wants to follow a middle course and act with measure. Both strive to exceed their bounds, and each wants to expel the other; thus enmity arises between them. For everything that exceeds its measure brings destruction in its train. Everything that man accomplishes or does, that he teaches or wants to learn, must have its right proportion; it must follow its own line and remain within its circle, to the end that a balance be preserved, that there be no crooked thing, that nothing exceed the circle” (41-42).
177.33-178.17: “And so philosophy is nothing other than the knowledge and discovery of that which has its reflection in the mirror. And just as the image in the mirror gives no one any idea about his nature, and cannot be the object of cognition, but is only a dead image, so is man, considered in himself: nothing can be learned from him alone. For knowledge comes only from that outside being whose mirrored image he is. Heaven is man, and man is heaven, and all men together are the one heaven, and heaven is nothing but one man. You must know this to understand why one place is this way and the other that way, why this is new and that is old, and why there are everywhere so many diverse things. But all this cannot be discovered by studying the heavens. . . . All that can be discovered is the distribution of their active influences…. We, men, have a heaven, and it lies in each of us in its entire plenitude, undivided and corresponding to each man’s specificity. Thus each human life takes its own course, thus dying, death, and disease are unequally distributed, in each case according to the action of the heavens. For if the same heaven were in all of us, all men would have to be equally sick and equally healthy. But this is not so; the unity of the Great Heaven is split into our diversities by the various moments at which we are born. As soon as a child is conceived, it receives its own heaven. If all children had been born at the same moment, all of them would have had the same heaven in them, and their lives would have followed the same course. Therefore, the starry vault imprints itself on the inner heaven of a man. A miracle without equal!” (39-40).
178.18-20: “The sun can shine through a glass, and fire can radiate warmth through the walls of the stove, although the sun does not pass through the glass and the fire does not go through the stove; in the same way, the human body can act at a distance while remaining at rest in one place, like the sun, which shines through the glass and yet does not pass through it. Hence nothing must be attributed to the body itself but only to the forces that flow from it […]” (43).
178.21-23: “For thought gives birth to a creative force that is neither elemental nor sidereal. . . . Thoughts create a new heaven, a new firmament, a new source of energy, from which new arts flow. . . . When a man undertakes to create something, he establishes a new heaven, as it were, and from it the work that he desires to create flows into him” (45).
178.24-30: “The physician does not learn everything he must know and master at high colleges alone; from time to time he must consult old women, gypsies, magicians, wayfarers, and all manner of peasant folk and random people, and learn from them; for they have more knowledge about such things than all the high colleges. The arts are not all confined within one man’s country; they are distributed over the whole world. They are not found in one man alone or in one place, but must be gathered together, sought out, and taken where they happen to be. . . . Or is it not so? Art pursues no one, it must rather be pursued” (57-58).
178.31: “Man’s frivolity is the cause of much disappointment, and we have no right to accuse anyone but ourselves. No one wants to learn his trade to perfection; everyone wants to fly before he has grown wings” (70)
178.32-33: from Spinoza, see note below.
178.34: “Every cure should proceed from the power of the heart; for only thereby can all diseases be expelled. Therefore, and take good note of this, it is particularly absurd to act in opposition to the heart” (96).
179.1-3: “The practice of medicine is a work of art. And because it is a work of art it must prove its master. But how each part is to be judged can be seen only from the work as a whole. It is the art that imparts its wisdom to the work. For through this wisdom the art creates the work” (94-95).
179.4-5: “In all things there is a poison, and there is nothing without a poison. It depends only upon the dose whether a poison is poison or not” (95).
179.6-9: “Man should study in three schools. . . . He should send the elemental or material body to the elemental school, the sidereal or ethereal body to the sidereal school, and the eternal or luminous body to the school of eternity. For three lights burn in man, and accordingly three doctrines are prescribed to him. Only all three together make man perfect. Although the first two light shine but dimly in comparison with the brilliant third light, they too are lights of the world, and man must walk his earthly path in their radiance” (103).
178.32 (Some hundred years later the blest: / A timid child thinks he can fight): from Spinoza, Ethics III, Prop. 2, Note: “Whence it comes about that many believe that we are free in respect only of those things which we desire only moderately, for then we can restrain our desire for those things by the recollection of something else which we frequently recollect: but with respect to those things which we seek with great emotion, and that nothing can obliterate from the mind, we are by no means free. But in truth, if they did not experience that we do many things for which we are sorry afterwards, and that very often when we are harassed by contrary emotions we ‘see the better, yet follow the worse,’ there would be nothing to prevent them from believing that we do all things freely. Thus an infant thinks that it freely seeks milk, an angry child thinks that it freely desires vengeance, or a timid child thinks it freely chooses flight” (88).
179.10 The horse—between his hoofs / And ground sparks rise…: cf. 175.4f. Through 182.12 is predominately taken from Paracelsus, but LZ freely mixes in his horse motif picked up from 175.4f.
179.15 Wears the light of nature— / (Nothing but reason—love—)…: through 180.21 primarily from Paracelsus (see 134.9):
179.15-16: “Everything that man does and has to do, he should do by the light of nature. For the light of nature is nothing other than reason itself” (104).
179.17-18: “We desire to explore the same things as our forefathers desired to explore. However, we should not blindly accept everything they taught, but only that knowledge which is needed in our own time. For what is gone is gone, and the new time confronts us with new tasks!” (105-106).
179.19-20: “But the day of rest was not ordained for the spirit, which must not stand still and idle; it is established only for the rest of the body, as of the beast of the field, and for whatever pertains to it. The sprit must always be at work; neither sleep nor Sabbath can make it still and quite. The same goes for all creatures; even though the body rests, their spirit never stands still and continues to work each day” (115).
179.21-30: “If you are called to write a book, you will not fail to do so, even if it is delayed for sixty or seventy years, or even longer. If you carry it within you and turn it over in your mind, you need to rush at it at once. It will not always remain within, it will have to come out, like a child from the womb of its mother. For only what is born in this way is fertile and good, and then it never comes too late. . . . […] What must be born of you, and what is in you, that comes out, and you know not how or whence it comes, or whither it strives to go. And in the end you find it in that which you have never learned or seen” (115-116).
179.31-180.10: “Behold the Satyrion root, is it not formed like the male privy parts? […] The chicory stands under a special influence of the sun; this is seen in its leaves, which always bend toward the sun as through they wanted to show it gratitude. Hence it is most effective while the sun is shining, while the sun is in the sky. […] Why, do you think, does its root assume the shape of a bird after seven years? What has the art of magic to say about this? If you know the answer, keep silent and say nothing [to] the scoffers; if you do not know it, try to find out, and do not be ashamed to ask questions. When a carpenter builds a house, it first lives in him as an idea; and the house is built according to this idea. […] Now note well that virtue forms the shape of a man, just as the carpenter’s ideas become visible in his house; and a man’s body takes shape in accordance with the nature of his soul” (122-123).
180.11-12: “And in the same way the cosmographer should study the chiromancy [palm reading] of landscapes, countries, and streams” (126).
180.21: “How many books were written before at last a few immortal ones came into being; these are the fruitful boughs that grace the tree” (107).
180.16 To plod is not hobble: cf. Prep+ 63: “There exists in the labors of any valid artist the sadness of the horse plodding with blinkers and his direction filled with the difficulty of keeping a pace.”
180.27 So year to year— / Not do the arts / Ever end…: through 182.12 mostly from Paracelsus intertwined with the continuing horse motif (see note at 134.9):
180.27-29: “Just as the aspect of the heavens has been constantly renewed from the days of Adam down to our own time, so new arts arise from year to year. And not the arts alone, but every new thing, all wars, all governments, and everything that our brain produces, receive their guidance from the stars now and at all times” (129).
180.30-181.3: “How can a man say, ‘I am certain,’ when he is so far from any certainty? The truth is rather that he knows nothing—he does not know the hour of his death, nor any hour of his life and his health. […] As long as the world stands, all things will be uncertain. For a mixture of certainty and uncertainty does not yet produce certainty. Only divine things are certain, but not earthly things” (206).
181.7-8: “Nothing has been created as ultima materia—in its final state. Everything is at first created in its prima materia, its original stuff; whereupon Vulcan comes, and by the art of alchemy develops it into is final substance. . . . For alchemy means: to carry to its end something that has not yet been completed” (141).
181.9-10: “The soul endures while the body decays, and you may recall that correspondingly a seed must rot away if it is to bear fruit. But what does it mean, to rot? It means only this—that the body decays while its essence, the good, the soul, subsists. […] Decay is the midwife of very great things! It causes many things to rot, that a noble fruit may be born; for it is the reversal, the death and destruction of the original essence of al natural things. It brings about the birth and rebirth of forms a thousand times improved” (143-144).
181.10-12: “The great virtues that lie hidden in nature would never have been revealed if alchemy had not uncovered them and made them visible. Take a tree, for example; a man sees it in the winter, but he does not know what it is, he does not know what it conceals within itself, until summer comes and discloses the buds, the flowers, the fruit. . . .” (144).
181.13-14: “Become poor, indeed, and become poor as a beggar, than the pope will desert you and the emperor will desert you, and henceforth you will be considered only a fool. But then you will have peace, and your folly will be great wisdom in the eyes of God” (178).
181.17-18: “And since all things have been created in an unfinished state, nothing is finished, but Vulcan must bring all things to their completion” (145).
181.19: “No animal thing endures after death. Death is only the death of the animal part, not of the eternal part of man. . . .” (161).
181.20-22: “The light of nature says: wisdom has no other enemy than the man who is not wise. Therefore wisdom has no other enemy but lies, and thus he who teaches and writes in God has no other enemy but him who is not in God” (162-163).
181.25-31: “He who knows nothing loves nothing. He who can do nothing understands nothing. He who understands nothing is worthless. But he who understands also loves, notices, sees. . . . The more knowledge is inherent in a thing, the greater the love. . . . Everything lies in knowledge. From it comes every fruit. Knowledge bestows faith; for he who knows God believes in Him. He who does not know Him does not believe in Him. Everyone believes in what he knows” (163).
181.33-34: “The nature of a man’s virtue is like that of his feelings. His treasure lies where his heart is” (164).
181.34-182.1: “Speech is not of the tongue but of the heart. The tongue is merely the instrument with which one speaks. […] Therefore the words of the tongue should come from the heart, for it is the heart that holds truth, loyalty, and love. He who speaks should draw them thence, and speak from the heart, then his yes will be a yes, and his no a no” (167).
182.3-4: “The lie makes false storekeepers, false traders, false brothers; all deceit springs from the lie” (166).
182.2, 5-12: “What then is happiness but compliance with the order of nature through knowledge of nature? What is unhappiness but opposition to the order of nature? If nature takes its proper course, we are happy, if nature follows the wrong course, we are unhappy. . . . He who walks in light is not unhappy, nor is he who walks in darkness unhappy. Both are right. Both do well, each in his own way. He who does not fall complies with the order. But he who falls has transgressed against it” (203).
182.5 (The body’s exists as we feel it.): from Spinoza, Ethics; see quotation at 174.11.
182.19 Levitical sacrifices: Leviticus is the primary Biblical text of ritual law; the opening chapters in particular cover sacrificial laws.
182.32 his little fish: see 151.10.
183.2 with the winds / Say what their wonders with cities are / With seas in arms of landscape: see 187.8, 213.26.
183.6 When an air seems too much in the air: cf. 148.13.
183.10 M. Croche: pseudonym used by Claude Debussy (1862-1918) for his music criticism; see 176.28. Through 184.9 is taken, except for the parenthetical addition, from Monsieur Croche, Anti-Dilettante, which collects articles written 1901-1905 (see 183.17) but assembled by Debussy years later and published posthumously in 1921. The English version used by LZ is Monsieur Croche: The Dilettante Hater, translated by B.N. Langdon Davies (1928):
183.10: Alessandro Scarlatti…: through 183.24 from the chapter, “Neglect”:
“Another master now quite forgotten is Alessandro Scarlatti, the founder of the Neapolitan school, who composed a positively amazing number and variety of works. The statement seems incredible that Scarlatti, born in 1659, had written by 1715 more than 106 operas—not to mention all kinds of other musical compositions. Good heavens! How gifted the man must have been; and how could he find time to live? We know a Passion According to St. John by him, a little masterpiece of primitive grace, in which the choruses seem to be written in pale gold like the halos which set off so delicately the virgin faces seen in the frescoes of his period. […] I cannot imagine how he found time to have a son and to make a distinguished harpsichord player of him. He is still appreciated to-day under the name of Domenico Scarlatti” (147-148).
183.17: M. Croche Antidilettante: the original Fr. title of Debussy’s music criticism.
183.25: With primitives’ / Divine arabesque…: through 184.8 remarks on Bach:
“Yet the beauty of this concerto stands out from among the others which appear in Bach’s manuscripts; it contain, almost intact, that musical arabesque, or rather that principle of ornament, which is the basis of all forms of art. The word ‘ornament’ has here nothing whatever to do with the meaning attached to it in the musical grammars.
The primitives, Palestrina, Vittoria, Orlando di Lasso [Renaissance composers] and others, made use of the divine arabesque. They discovered the principle in the Gregorian chant; and they strengthened the delicate traceries by strong counterpoint. When Bach went back to the arabesque he made it more pliant and more fluid, and, in spite of the stern discipline which the great composer imposed on beauty, there was a freshness and freedom in his imaginative development of it which astonishes us to this day.
In Bach’s music it is not the character of the melody that stirs us, but rather the tracing of a particular line, often indeed of several lines, whose meeting, whether by chance or design, makes the appeal. Through this conception of ornament the music acquires an almost mechanical precision of appeal to which the audience reacts. Let no one think that there is anything unnatural or artificial in this. It is infinitely more ‘true’ than the wretched whimperings and the tentative wailings of lyric drama. Above all, the music keeps all its dignity; it never lowers itself by truckling to the desire for sentimentality of those of whom it is said that ‘they do so love music’; with greater pride it compels their respect, if not their worship” (55-56).
183.18 Third Ave. “L” / Where we lived looking into a dance-hall: the “L” or more commonly the “El” was elevated railway of NYC, of which the Third Avenue Line ran by where LZ grew up on Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side. In Arise (51) the Son describes a walkup apartment that looks into a dancehall.
183.24 My time runs me: see 238.21 and 183.7.
184.11 If they understood things…: through 185.15 from Spinoza, Ethics:
184.11-14: from Spinoza, Ethics; qtd. 174.9.
184.15-16: There cannot be too much merriment / It is always good: from Spinoza, Ethics IV, Prop. 42 (qtd. Bottom 78, 192; see also Prep+ 54 and “A”-9.109.18): “There cannot be too much merriment, but it is always good; but, on the other hand, melancholy is always bad. Proof.—Merriment (see its def. in Note, Prop. 11, Part III.) is pleasure which, in so far as it has reference to the body, consists of this, that all the parts of the body are equally affected, that is (Prop. 11, Part III.), that the body’s power of acting is increased or aided in such a way as all the parts preserve the same proportions of motion and rest one with the other; and therefore (Prop. 39, Part IV.) merriment is always good, and can have no excess” (171).
184.16-185.7: To make use of things, to take / Delight…: from Spinoza, Ethics IV, Prop. 45, Note 2 (qtd. Bottom 79, 192): “[…] No deity, nor any one save the envious, is pleased with my want of power or inconvenience, nor imputes to our virtue, tears, sobs, fear, and other things of this kind which are significant of a weak man; but, on the contrary, the more we are affected with pleasure, thus we pass to a greater perfection, that is, we necessarily participate of the divine nature. To make use of things and take delight in them as much as possible (not indeed to satiety, for that is not to take delight) is the part of a wise man. It is, I say, the part of a wise man to feed himself with moderate pleasant food and drink, and to take pleasure with perfumes, with the beauty of growing plants, dress, music, sports, and theatres, and other places of this kind which man may use without any hurt to his fellows. For the human body is composed of many parts of different nature which continuously stand in need of new and varied nourishment, so that the body as a whole may be equally apt for performing those things which can follow from its nature, and consequently so that the mind also may be equally apt for understanding many things at the same time. This manner of living agrees best with our principles and the general manner of life: wherefore if there be any other, this manner of life is the best, and in all ways to be commended, nor is there any need for us to be more clear or more detailed on this subject” (173-174).
185.8-12: The human body needs many bodies / to be…: from Spinoza, Ethics II, Postulates IV and VI: “The human body needs for its preservation many other bodies from which it is, so to speak, regenerated. […] The human body can move external bodies in many ways, and dispose them in many ways” (52).
185.13-15: It is apt to perceive many things…: from Spinoza, Ethics II, Prop. 14 (immediately following preceding quotation): “The human mind is apt to perceive many things, and more so according as its body can be disposed in more ways” (52).
185.20 Empress Theodora and court ladies: these lines beginning at 185.16 refer to a famous Byzantine mosaic in the cathedral of St. Vitale in Ravenna, Italy depicting Empress Theodora (c.500-548), wife of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, with her attendants (see image). Cf. Bottom 182, 184; the Ravenna mosaics were an abiding interest of EP and are referred to often in The Cantos.
185.23 Unearthed catacombs…: early Christian catacombs often had depictions of the Good Shepherd either carved or painted. A specific possibility here is the catacombs at St. Callixtus (San Callisto) in Rome, which include a fresco of the Good Shepherd surrounded by his flock and were systematically explored in the 19th century. LZ mentions the Roman catacombs and depictions of the good shepherd in “4 Other Countries,” recounting his European trip in the summer of 1957 (CSP 188). Another possibility, given the preceding note, is the Byzantine mausoleum of Galla Placidia (see note at 17.386.1) in Ravenna, where there is a mosaic of the Good Shepherd with sheep.
185.28 Saul struck: “Whose son?”…: from 1 Samuel 17:58: “And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell. And the king said, Enquire thou whose son the stripling is. And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”
186.2 Disposed in many ways: from Spinoza, Ethics; see 185.12.
186.4 1313, Rabbi Hacen Ben Salomo—…: through 186.14 mostly from Peter Gradenwitz, The Music of Israel: Its Rise and Growth through 5000 Years (1949). However, it seems likely that LZ found this material in a pre-publication review of Gradenwitz by Olin Downes in the Sunday New York Times for 5 Sept. 1948, in which the relevant passage is closely paraphrased: “Vast Subject; Examination of Jewish Music From Biblical Epoch to Our Own Time”: “One reads with more than ordinary curiosity manuscript chapters of the forthcoming book, ‘The Music of Israel,’ by Dr. Peter Gradenwitz, the composer and musicologist of Palestine […]. Driven out of Spain, the Jewish musicians, including their own minstrels and troubadours of the end of the medieval period, made themselves felt in the cultures of late middle Europe and again emerged, in the time of Italy of the Renaissance, as an important creative element in the evolution of its musical expression. […] Curious: in 1313, the Rabbi Hacen ben Salerno was engaged to teach Christians to dance in a Spanish church. In 1575, a special license was given to the Jews Ambrosio and Guglielmo—said by contemporaries to ‘dance above all human measure’—by the Pope, and Guglielmo’s pupil continued in his footsteps, meanwhile that ‘the high perfection’ reached by the Jews in the art of the dance and music also improved their position with the secular and clerical authorities.” In Gradenwitz’s text the Pope grants a license to two Jews who are apparently different from Ambrosio and Guglielmo Ebreo, although the confusion is easy to make.
186.5 (Great One Singer Son of Peace): this translates literally the Heb. name of Rabbi Hacen Ben Salomo (see preceding).
186.15 that Sea literally in the Middle of Land: the Mediterranean < L. medius, middle + terra, land; see “4 Other Countries” (CSP 179.26).
186.30 “Beauty and the Beast”…: 1945 film by Jean Cocteau (1855-1963); see Bottom 20.
187.4 Traces the particular line / Of lines meeting / by chance or design: see 184.2-4.
187.8 With the winds / Says what their wonder with cities are…: see 183.2-4 and 213.26-28.
187.16 The hidden so disposes imagination…: through 187.32, from Spinoza, Ethics IV, Prop. 20, Note: “No one, therefore, unless he is overcome by external causes and those contrary to his nature, neglects to desire what is useful to himself and to preserve his being. No one, I say, from the necessity of his nature, but driven by external causes, turns away from taking food, or commits suicide, which can take place in many manners. Namely, any one can kill himself by compulsion of some other who twists back his right hand, in which he holds by chance his sword, and forces him to direct the sword against his own heart; or, like Seneca by the command of a tyrant, he may be forced to open his veins, that is, to avoid a greater evil by encountering a less; or again, latent external causes may so dispose his imagination and so affect his body, that it may assume a nature contrary to its former one, and of which an idea cannot be given in the mind (Prop. 10, Part III). But that a man, from the necessity of his nature, should endeavour to become non-existent, or change himself into another form, is as impossible as it is for anything to be made from nothing, as every one with a little reflection can easily see” (156-157). Seneca was a first century Stoic philosopher and tutor to Emperor Nero who was compelled to commit suicide after being accused of conspiracy.
188.1 Many things sleepwalkers do…: through 188.32, from Spinoza, Ethics III, Prop. 2, Note (from a long note in which Spinoza denies free will, specifically that the mind has the power to will the body to act): “No one has thus far determined what the body can do, or no one has yet been taught by experience what the body can do merely by the laws of nature, in so far as nature is considered merely as corporeal or extended, and what it cannot do, save when determined by the mind. For no one has yet had a sufficiently accurate knowledge of the construction of the human body as to be able to explain all its functions: nor need I be silent concerning many things which are observed in brutes which far surpass human sagacity, and many things which sleep-walkers do which they would not dare, were they awake: all of which sufficiently shows that the body can do many things by the laws of its nature alone at which the mind is amazed. Again, no one knows in what manner, or by what means, the mind moves the body, nor how many degrees of motion it can give to the body, nor with what speed it can move it. Whence it follows when men say that this or that action arises from the mind which has power over the body, they know not what they say, or confess with specious words that they are ignorant of the cause of the said action, and have no wonderment at it. But they will say whether they know or not by what means the mind moves the body, that they have discovered by experience that, unless the mind is apt for thinking, the body remains inert: again, that it is in the power of the mind alone to speak or be silent, and many other things which are dependent solely on the will of the mind. But as for the first point, I ask them whether experience has not also taught them that when the body is inert the mind likewise is inept for thinking? For when the body is asleep, the mind, at the same time, remains unconscious, and has not the power of thinking that it has when awake. Again, I think all have found by experience that the mind is not always equally apt for thinking out its subject: but according as the body is more apt, so that the image of this or that object may cause more excitement in it, so the mind is more apt for regarding the object” (87).
188.10 poetry / Not surprised in the least / By new science): see 186.28.
188.23 (Spinoza very early on / that): LZ is claiming Spinoza anticipates Freud here.
189.1 When we dream that we speak…: through 189.19 from Spinoza, Ethics:
189.1-8: from Spinoza, Ethics III. Prop. 2, Note (continuing from later in the same note quoted at 188.1): “Again, it is not within the free power of the mind to remember or forget anything. Wherefore it must only be thought within the free power of the mind in so far as we can keep to ourselves or speak according to the decision of the mind the thing we recollect. For when we dream that we speak, we think that we speak from the free decision of the mind, yet we do not speak, or if we do, it is due to a spontaneous motion of the body. […] But if our folly is not so great as that, we must necessarily admit that this decision of the mind, which is thought to be free, cannot be distinguished from imagination or memory, nor is it anything else than the affirmation which an idea, in so far as it is an idea, necessarily involves (Prop. 49, Part II). And therefore these decrees of the mind arise in the mind from the same necessity as the ideas of things actually existing” (89).
189.9-19: A suspension of judgment…: from Spinoza, Ethics II, Prop. 49, Note (qtd. Bottom 76): “For when we say that any one suspends his judgment, we say nothing else than that he sees that he does not perceive the thing adequately. Therefore a suspension of the judgment is in truth a perception and not free will. […] We have daily experience of this in dreams, and I do not think there is any one who thinks that while he sleeps he has the free power of suspending his judgment concerning what he dreams, and of bringing it to pass that he should not dream what he dreams he sees; and yet it happens in dreams also that we can suspend our judgments, namely, when we dream that we dream. Further, I grant that no one is deceived in so far as he perceives, that is, I grant that the imaginations of the mind considered in themselves involve no error (Note, Prop. 17, Part II): but I deny that a man affirms nothing in so far as he perceives. For what else is it to perceive a winged horse than to affirm wings on a horse?” (79-80).
189.22 South Ferry: near the southern end of Manhattan, from where originally ferries departed for Brooklyn until 1924, when the Brooklyn Bridge rendered them obsolete. However, South Ferry continues to be the departure point for ferries to Staten Island; see 223.30. At the time “A”-12 was composed the Zukofskys lived on Willow Street in Brooklyn Heights, which was directly across the East River from South Ferry.
189.23 Castle Garden: or Castle Clinton, originally a circular fort at the very southern tip of Manhattan in what is now Battery Park, from 1824 it became an entertainment area and from the 1840s to 1854 included an opera house. From 1855-1890 Castle Garden served as NYC’s immigration processing center, and then from 1896-1941 was the NYC Aquarium.
189.24 Jenny Lind: (1820-1887), famous soprano, known as the “Swedish Nightingale,” held her first U.S. performance at Castle Garden in 1850; see 19.418.2.
190.3 C’s face: C = Celia Zukofsky, whose face is seen in the reflection of the full moon on the sea (again “C”), but also the letter is an image of the crescent moon.
190.4 Haran / Lighted…: see 149.22-23 and 149.32.
190.10 crazed Randolph…: John Randolph of Roanoke (1773-1833), a Congressman from Virginia well-known for his eccentricities and even mental unbalance. Although Henry Adams’ biography, John Randolph (1882) includes an entire chapter on “John Randolph’s Eccentricities,” it does not include these details, but other sources do relate that in a rather demented state as he was dying, Randolph would ring a bell and repeat these words.
190.13 The New Jersey farmer’s / improved wagon-wheel…: from 15 Jan. 1787 letter by Thomas Jefferson to Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur (1735-1813): “—I see by the Journal of this morning, that they are robbing us of another of our inventions to give it to the English. The writer, indeed, only admits them to have revived what he thinks was known to the Greeks, that is, the making the circumference of a wheel of one single piece. The farmers in New Jersey were the first who perceived it, and they perceived it commonly. […] The Jersey farmers do it by cutting a young sapling, and bending it, while green and juicy, into a circle; and leaving it so until it becomes perfectly seasoned. […] The writer in the paper supposes the English workman got his idea from Homer. But it is more likely the Jersey farmer got his idea from thence, because ours are the only farmers who can read Homer; because, too, the Jersey practice is precisely that stated by Homer: the English practice very different. Homer’s words are (comparing a young hero killed by Ajax to a poplar felled by a workman) literally thus: ‘He fell on the ground, like a poplar, which has grown smooth, in the west part of a great meadow; with its branches shooting from its summit. But the chariot maker, with his sharp axe, has felled it, that he may bend a wheel for a beautiful chariot. It lies drying on the banks of the river.’ Observe the circumstances which coincide with the Jersey practice. 1. It is a tree growing in a moist place, full of juices and easily bent. 2. It is cut while green. 3. It is bent into the circumference of a wheel. 4. It is left to dry in that form.”
190.16 John Jacob Astor…: (1763-1848) originally from Germany, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1783 with the resources LZ mentions, landing first in Baltimore, but soon moved to NYC where he set up a musical instrument shop that also traded in furs, from which he made his immense fortune.
190.24 Scollay Square: an entertainment and theater area of Boston.
190.32 Massachusetts Hall: the oldest surviving building on the Harvard University campus, built 1718-1720. Perhaps the association with Christmas candy is because its style is reminiscent of gingerbread houses.
191.3 Old North Church: Boston’s oldest church, famous for warning of approaching British troops by hanging lanterns, “one if by land, two if by sea,” that sent Paul Revere off on his famous ride in 1775.
191.5 Mather’s grave: Cotton Mather (1663-1728) was pastor of North Church and is buried in the family vault on Copp’s Hill immediately behind the church.
191.6 North Station to Back Bay to Commonwealth: tracing a rough development of Boston that also reflects economic status: the North train station is near the crowded center of the original Boston, Back Bay was created from 19th century landfill along the Charles River and Commonwealth Avenue is a broad thoroughfare running through Back Bay.
191.8 Lower East Side to Village to Riverside Drive…: similarly in NYC moving west from the old southeast area of Manhattan where LZ grew up to Greenwich Village, roughly lower central Manhattan and famous as an artistic area, to Riverside Drive running along the west length of Manhattan facing the Hudson River.
191.17 Fred Allen chid “for the Moses model human body”…: Fred Allen (1894-1956) American radio comedian known for his sharp satiric comments on contemporary society. Through 191.21 and continuing at 195.15-21 record several of his remarks, and the probable source is an article in Life magazine for 4 July 1949, “What Do You think of Television, Mr. Allen?” by Joe McCarthy (69-72). It may be LZ’s own play with variants here and in the subsequent passage on Allen’s name and the words “chid” and “rock” -bottom:
“‘This insane modern civilization is too much for the Moses Model human body,’ Allen said. ‘Here we have an organism that was designed for biblical times. Yet we expect it to cope with artificial lighting, executive board meetings, the din of automobile horns and soap operas, carbon monoxide, cigar smoke and bubble gum. No wonder we’ve all got ulcers and high blood pressure. To get along nowadays, man should be equipped with a tin head and three eyes. The extra eye could be used for watching television so the other two won’t get red.’”
“All eyes” echoes the line from Shakespeare, The Tempest IV.i.59, “No tongue! All eyes! Be silent,” that acts as something of a leitmotif throughout Bottom, qtd. 38, 39, 77, 81, 85, 86, 91, 99, 155, 232, 341, 362 and echoed elsewhere; also Prep+ 170.
191.21: Equal to one flyspeck: see quote at 195.15.
191.22 From soap to razors / Everything…: through 191.30 from Kazimierz Wierzyński, The Life and Death of Chopin, presumably using the notes of Lorine Niedecker (see 157.31-158.3, 192.39-193.6 and 196.28-197.2). In a letter reporting on his trip to England in 1837, Chopin exclaimed: “There are tremendous things here! Grand urinals, and yet there isn’t a place to piddle. But the Englishwomen! And the horses! And the palaces! And the carriages! And the riches! And the splendor! And the squares! And the trees! Everything, from the soap to the razors—everything is extraordinary, everything is of a pattern, everything is well-behaved, everything is washed clean and nevertheless is black as a nobleman’s posterior! ! ! . . . . . Now go and praise London!” Chopin’s lover, George Sand, wrote to a friend in April 1839: “This Chopin is an angel. His kindness, tenderness, and patience worry me sometimes—I imagine that he is too delicate, too refined, and too perfect by nature to live for a long time our course and heavy earthly life. In Majorca, while he was mortally ill, he composed music that was full of the perfumes of paradise. But I have become accustomed to seeing him in heaven, and I have come to think that in his case being alive or being dead does not matter. He does not quite know himself in which planet he exists; he has no idea of life.”
191.31 The attraction that led instinct to pursue…: through 192.2 from Henry Adams, “The Rule of Phase Applied to History” in The Degradation of the Democratic Dogma (1920):
”As an immaterial force, Instinct was so strong as to overcome obstacles that Intellect has been helpless to affect. The bird, the beetle, the butterfly accomplished feats that still defy all the resources of human reason. The attractions that led instinct to pursue so many and varied lines to such great distances, must have been intensely strong and indefinitely lasting. The quality that developed the eye and the wing of the bee and the condor has no known equivalent in man. The vast perspective of time opened by the most superficial study of this phase has always staggered belief; but geology itself breaks off abruptly in the middle of the story, when already the fishes and crustaceans astonish by their modern airs” (297). Cf. the statement attributed to Bach at 128.2-7.
192.3 Hamlet Adams: Henry Adams, as he depicts himself in The Education of Henry Adams, is Hamlet-like in his compulsive self-reflection that tends to paralyze action and result in rather pessimistic views of human-kind (see 176.26). More specifically, Adams compares himself with Hamlet at least twice in The Education, and LZ may particularly have in mind in the book’s final paragraph (see quotation at 8.51.3).
192.5 Westchester: a short distance to the east of Bronx; as at 191.8, a movement of suburbanization and economic class.
192.8 General Blacksmith Work…: although LZ lived in the Bronx at times, particularly from 1939-1942, this catalogue of places and objects almost certainly recalls LZ’s work for the WPA in the 1930s researching traditional crafts. For general blacksmith, see 8.96.12.
192.10 Coliseum (that was) / Starlight Pool…: the Bronx Coliseum was adjacent to the Starlight Amusement Park, which had a large public swimming pool, in the West Farms area of the Bronx.
192.24 Gloucester that does not fish for the air / of Brittany:
192.26 Nantucket Whaling Club…: ironically alluding to Nantucket island’s past glory days as a major whaling port (as depicted, for example, in Moby Dick). Selectmen are members of a board of town officers chosen annually in New England communities to manage local affairs (AHD).
192.28 New Battery Tunnel: tunnel connecting lower Manhattan with Brooklyn built between 1940-1950.
192.34 I correct the Paris edition of Bach…: through 193.6 is quoted is from an 8 Aug. 1839 letter by Frédéric Chopin to Julian Fontana found in Kazimierz Wierzyński, The Life and Death of Chopin (1949), apparently using Lorine Niedecker’s notes; see 157.31-158.2, 191.22-30 and 196.28-197.2.
193.19 Where are your fathers? / And do the prophets live for ever?: from Zechariah 1:5: “Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?”; through 231.2 are many italicized quotations from Zechariah.
193.21 A friend, a Z the 3rd letter of his (the first / of my) last name…: Charles Reznikoff (1894-1976), fellow “Objectivist” poet and New Yorker; see 208.25.
193.26 —Of making many books…: through 193.31 adapted from Ecclesiastes 12:12: “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” LZ’s normal practice was to jot down in a small loose-leaf notebook that he carried around with him potential materials for his poems.
193.32 Let us hear the conclusion: from Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”
193.33 read the conclusion then: from Shakespeare, Pericles I.i:
Antiochus: Scorning advice—Read the conclusion then:
Which read and not expounded, ’tis decreed,
As these before thee thou thyself shalt bleed.
193.34 Koheleth: Heb. Ecclesiastes.
193.34 Celia, read “Pericles”: at the time of writing, CZ had begun work on her musical setting for Shakespeare’s Pericles, which would eventually be published as the second volume of Bottom: on Shakespeare (1963); see 257.24.
194.22 Chanukah: or Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights that recalls the victory of Judas Maccabees and the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem.
194.22 Xmacy: perhaps a conflation of Xmas and Macy’s, the NYC department store.
194.24 Every family apart, / He shall bring forth…: through 195.14 a sequence of passages from Zechariah:
12:12: And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart.
4:7: Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.
3:4: And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.
2:11: And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee.
4:6: Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
4:10-12: For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth. Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?
9:13: When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man.
8:23: Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
5:3: Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it.
5:6: And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth.
195.15 (TV? “The screen is,” rocked Chidbottom, / “A problem…: Fred Allen (see 191.17), a radio comedian who here makes some sarcastic remarks about the new medium of television; this passage continues from that at 191.17-25: “‘The screen isn’t the only small thing in television,’ Smallness seems to be the outstanding characteristic of the whole medium right now. It has small minds, small talents, small budgets. In fact you can take anything connected with television, and you’ll find it so small that you can hide it in a flea’s navel and still have enough room beside it for the heart of a network vice president. But the screen is a problem. How can you show a glint in somebody’s eye? The eye itself is as big as a fly speck. […] And there’s something about the television screen that prevents the close, personal contact between the actor and the audience that you had in radio […].’”
195.29 Light not clear nor dark / Not day nor night…: through 196.12 a further sequence of passages from Zechariah:
14:6-7: And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
1:6: But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the Lord of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.
7:3: And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?
1:15: And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.
8:4-5: Thus saith the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.
196.13 A painter’s thoughts / Of children singing without notes…: through 196.27 mostly from Eugène Delacroix (1784-1863), The Journal of Eugene Delacroix, trans. Walter Pach:
196.14-15: 7 Sept. 1854 entry: “It was a very touching spectacle for a simple man like myself to see, those young people and those children in their poor and uniform clothes forming a circle and singing without written music while they looked at each other.”
196.16-17: 29 June 1854 entry: “I was asking Barbereau whether he had quite gotten to the core of [Beethoven’s] last quartets: he tells me that a magnifying glass is still needed to get everything, and perhaps it will always be needed. The first violinist told me that it was magnificent, and that there were always obscure passages. I had the boldness to tell him that what remained obscure for everybody, and especially for the violinist, had doubtless been obscure in the mind of its author. However, let us not pronounce judgment yet; the thing on which we should always lay our wagers is genius.”
196.21-22: 5 March 1855 entry: “The short fragments of a Haydn symphony that I heard yesterday enchanted me as much as the rest repelled me. I have come to the point where I can no longer lend my ears or my attention save to what is excellent.”
196.23-24: Delacroix’s sight / sketching horses…: Delacroix was renowned for his sketches and paintings of horses in dramatic circumstances.
196.25-27: 18 Sept. 1847 entry: from: “Painting is the trade that takes longest to learn and is the most difficult. It demands erudition like that of the composer, but it also demands execution like that of the violinist.”
196.18 Singers and poets: this is the title of a Walt Whitman poem.
196.28 Works that practices / Strengthen twisted fingers…: through 197.2 from Kazimierz Wierzyński, The Life and Death of Chopin (see 157.31, 191.22-30, 192.34-193.6), quoting letters of Chopin as transcribed from Lorine Niedecker’s notes in a 30 Dec. 1950 letter: “Chopin to Delphine: If you have plenty of time, memorize Bach; only by memorizing a work does one become able to play it perfectly. Without Bach you cannot have freedom in the fingers, nor a clear and beautiful tone. Without Bach there is no true pianist. A pianist who doesn’t recognize Bach is a bungler. […] Few geniuses capable of understanding all instruments bringing out the potential of each one. I heard of only Bach and Mozart on playing Chopin Etudes—those whose fingers are twisted can strengthen them by practicing these etudes but others should not play them unless they see a surgeon” (Penberthy 173).
197.6 Wonder . . / Said the impalpable-palpable novelist…: the novelist is Henry James, and the sentence through 197.13 is from his autobiography, A Small Boy and Others (1913): “I lose myself in wonder at the loose ways, the strange process of waste, through which nature and fortune may deal on occasion with those whose faculty for application is all and only in their imagination and their sensibility” (10).
197.14 Never fearing one / Who sees faster / Into a generalization…: from William James, 12-15 Sept. 1865 letter to his father: “No one sees farther into a generalization than his own knowledge of details extends, and you have a greater feeling of weight and solidity about the movement of [Louis] Agassiz’s mind, owing to the continual presence of this great background of special facts, than about the mind of any other man I know.”
197.19 Laying a plane under all formulas / And enmities, where me / Meet: from William James, 5 Feb. 1885 letter to G.H. Howison: “There is, thank Heaven! A plane below all formulas and below enmities due to formulas, where men occasionally meet each other moving, and recognize each other as brothers inhabiting the same depths. Such is this depth of the problem of determinism—howe’er we solve it, we are brothers if we know it to be a problem.”
197.21 not paid to talk. / I grow sick hearing myself / Unable to stop: from William James, 28 Dec. 1892 letter to Grace Norton: “The professor is an oppressor to the artist, I fear […] What an awful trade that of professor is—paid to talk, talk, talk! I have seen artists growing pale and sick whilst I talked to them without being able to stop. And I loved them for not being able to love me any better. It would be an awful universe if everything could be converted into words, words, words.”
197.24 False words helped the affliction: see Zechariah 1:15; see quotations at 195.29 (see also 197.24, 198.21).
197.26 That men out / Of the need of their nature / Should not exist: from Spinoza, qtd. 187.19-20.
197.29 By blowing up ruins / Of the Warsaw ghetto…: the Warsaw ghetto was inhabited by close to half a million Jews prior to World War II, but most were sent off to concentration camps. When the Nazis determined to clear out the rest and destroy the ghetto, they met with fierce resistance known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which lasted for about 20 days in April and May 1943. However, the troops systematically destroyed the ghetto and brutally suppressed the resistance. The New York Times for 19 April 1944: “Pole Tells Story of Ghetto Battle; Nine-Day Conflict in Warsaw Began Spontaneously, Says Underground Courier Germans’ Losses Heavy 3,000 Jews Used Smuggled and Home-Made Arms Against Big Force”: “London, April 18—The battle of the Warsaw ghetto began a year ago tomorrow. Tonight, at the headquarters of the Polish Government in exile, a courier from the Polish underground forces gave the first detailed, connected account of those six weeks of desperate fighting. […] Fearing that Jews still survived in the cellars, the Germans were blowing up even the ruins. Outside the walls, Poles heard daily blasts of dynamite and and machine guns killing prisoners nine months after the battle of the ghetto had begun. […] ‘They were ashamed—they, the master race, had to send their best troops against “sub-humans.”’”
197.34 ship Exodus…: in 1947 about 4500 European Jewish refugees attempted to immigrate illegally to Palestine aboard the ship Exodus but were forcibly turned back by the British. The refugees refused to disembark in France and suffered considerably on board during a lengthy standoff. Eventually they were returned to Germany, but not before the situation became an international incident and symbol of the Jewish right to immigrate to Palestine.
198.1 DDT DP’s: may allude to the spraying of Jewish immigrants (displaced persons) to Palestine with the insecticide DDT, as a disinfectant.
198.4 To become stiff as boards…: several of the following lines are worked from the New York Times for 9 Dec. 1940: “Man Frozen Stiff in Lake Michigan 17 Hours Is Saved, Thawed Out and Sent on His Way”: “Chicago, Dec. 8—Three policemen said today that they had rescued a ‘human icicle’ from Lake Michigan. […] ‘It was frozen stiff as a board, and there were icicles—I’m not exaggerating now—icicles two inches long hanging from its spectacles.’ Then they dashed for the Chicago Hospital, where ‘it’ was thawed out. ‘It’ turned out to be Otto Kreiget, an unemployed sausage stuffer.”
198.7 To lie with frozen snow-spattered / Horses: probably from the New York Times for 19 Dec. 1941: “Soviet Columns Chasing Foe Wind Over Snowy Wasteland; Troops on Skies and Furred Horses Join Trek through Desolate Route of Nazi Retreat—Huge Russian Offensive Widens”: the article gives vivid descriptive details, including: “Frozen German bodies sprawl stiffly in the snow by crippled enemy tanks and trucks. […] Snow-spattered horses munch hay by an abandoned German antitank gun of the Read Army. A horse stands shivering in a field; field guns thud across the hillside.”
198.13 Like death warmed over, / To wolf crumbs / From a flying roll / Eat raw cabbages / Whole: from the New York Times for 4 April 1945: “Yanks Bare Prison Horror; ‘Ghosts’ Fight Over Food, Yanks Describe Prison Horrors; Slowly Starved in Filthy Camp Men’s Stories Defy Belief Bitter Memories Stand Out A Losing Fight for Life,” which give accounts from a recently liberated Nazi POW camp: “When you see a man eating raw cabbages whole, as if they were watermelons—a man who looks like death warmed over—I guess you don’t feel very comfortable. […] One man would grab a loaf of bread and try to wolf it down. Others would fight him for it until finally there would be nothing but crumbs on the ground. The German guards in their towers were afraid to come down.”
198.20 —Whoever speaks / Is ready / To help forward the affliction: from Zechariah 1:15; see 196.8, 197.24.
198.27 For all actions / Which passions determine…: these four lines essentially summarize Spinoza’s argument in Ethics; see following quotation at 198.31.
198.31 To raise the arm…: through 199.8, from Spinoza, Ethics IV, Prop. 59, Note: “But no action considered in itself is good or evil (as we showed in the preface of this part), but one and the same action is now good and now bad. […] These points will be explained more clearly by an example—namely, the action of striking, in so far as it is considered physically, and in so far as we pay attention to this alone, that a man raises his arm, clenches his fist and brings it down with all the force of his arm, is a virtue which is conceived from the construction of the human body. If, therefore, a man moved by hatred or rage is determined to clench his fist and move his arm, this comes about, as we showed in the second part, because one and the same action can be united to certain images of things; and therefore both from those images of things which we conceive confusedly and from those which we conceive clearly and distinctly, we can be determined for one and the same action. It is therefore apparent that every desire which arises from an emotion which is a passion would be of no use if men were guided by reason. Let us see now why desire which arises from an emotion which is a passion is called blind by us” (182-183).
199.9 Things that bear harmony—: from Spinoza, Ethics, qtd. 127.21.
199.17 Reflect no yes / That means no: from Paracelsus, qtd. 182.1.
199.34 To say therefore I am…: play on René Descartes’ “I think therefore I am.”
200.18 As thought, extended, / As body, minded…: through 200.32 from Spinoza; the first two lines state that mind or thought and body or extension are merely different modes of the same substance; in other words, in contrast to Descartes, there is no mind-body distinction for Spinoza. The following passage is adapted from several passages. See Ethics I, Prop. 28: “Every individual thing, or whatever thing that is finite and has a determined existence, cannot exist nor be determined for action unless it is determined for action and existence by another cause which is also finite and has a determined existence; and again, this cause also cannot exist nor be determined for action unless it be determined for existence and action by another cause which also is finite and has a determined existence: and so on to infinity. Proof.—Whatever is determined for existence or action is so determined by God (Prop. 26, and Coroll., Prop. 24). But that which is finite and has a determined existence cannot be produced from the absolute nature of any attribute of God: for anything that follows from the absolute nature of any attribute of God must be infinite and eternal (Prop. 21). […] It follows, then, that it must have been determined for existence or action by God or some attribute of his, in so far as it is modified by a modification which is finite and has a determined existence: which was the first point. Then again, this cause or mode (by the same reason by which we have proved the first part) must also have been determined by another cause which also is finite and has a determined existence; and again, the latter (by the same reason) must have been determined by another: and so on to infinity” (22-23). For the analogous statement on mind, see Ethics II, Prop. 48: “There is in no mind absolute or free will, but the mind is determined for willing this or that by a cause which is determined in its turn by another cause, and this one again by another, and so on to infinity” (74).
201.26 At a command / Over the radio / At zero minus one minute…: through 202.2 from the New York Times for 26 Sept. 1945: “Drama of the Atomic Bomb Found Climax in July 16 Test; Caravan of Scientists by Night Directions for Observers’ Safety Roar Reverberations Over Desert”: “The Atomic Age began at exactly 5:30 Mountain War Time on the morning of July 16, 1945, on a stretch of semi-desert land about fifty airline miles from Alamagordo, N.M., just a few minutes before the dawn of a new day on this earth. […] At a command over the radio at zero minus one minute all observers at Base Camp, about 150 of the ‘Who’s Who’ in science and the armed forces, lay down ‘prone on the ground in their pre-assigned trenches, the face and eyes directed toward the ground and with the head away from Zero.’ […] To another observer, George B. Kistiakowsky of Harvard, the spectacle was ‘the nearest thing to Doomsday that one could possibly imagine. I am sure,’ he said, ‘that at the end of the world—in the last milli-second of the earth s existence—the last man will see what we saw!’”
202.10 The Discus Thrower: the classical Greek statue Discobolus by Myron from the 5th century BC; represents an ideal of athletic form.
202.14 ‘Murder can be comic,’ / Charles Chaplin…: this quotation through 202.18 was made by Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) in defense of his film Monsieur Verdoux (1947) as reported in the New York Times for 26 Jan. 1947: “Charles Chaplin Talks About His New Comedy”: “I saw a great chance to take a tragedy and satirize it, as I did with Nazi Germany in The Great Dictator. Crime becomes an absurdity when it is shown incongruously, out of proportion. Under the proper circumstances, murder can be comic. Von Clausewitz said that war is the logical extension of diplomacy; M. Verdoux feels that murder is the logical extension of business. But he is never morbid, and the picture is by no means morbid in treatment.” On LZ’s interest in Chaplin, see his essay on Modern Times, Prep+ 57-64. Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) Prussian general and military theorist made this well-known remark in On War (1832).
202.23 transcendental. / Said the blest…: through 203.5 from Spinoza, Ethics II, Prop. 40, Note 1: “Nevertheless, lest I should omit anything that is necessary to be known, I shall briefly add the causes from which the terms called transcendental have taken their origin, such as being, thing, something. These terms have arisen from the fact that the human body, since it is limited, is only capable of distinctly forming in itself a certain number of images (I have explained what is an image in the Note of Prop. 17, Part II.): and if more than this number are formed, the images begin to be confused; and if this number of images of which the body is capable of forming in itself be much exceeded, all will become entirely confused one with the other. Since this is so, it is clear from Coroll., Prop. 17, and Prop. 18, Part II., that the mind can imagine distinctly as many bodies as images can be formed in its body at the same time. But when the images become quite confused in the body, the mind also imagines the body in all its parts confusedly without any distinction, and, so to speak, comprehends all under one attribute, that is, under the attribute of being, of thing, etc. This also can be deduced from the fact that images are not always equally clear, and from other causes analogous to this which it is not necessary to explain here; and for the purpose which we wish to attain it suffices to consider one only. For all may be reduced to this, that these terms signify ideas extremely confused. And from similar causes have arisen those notions which are called universal or general, such as man, dog, horse, etc. I mean so many images arise in the human body, e.g., so many images of men are formed at the same time, that they overcome the power of imagining, not altogether indeed, but to such an extent that the mind cannot imagine the small differences between individuals (e.g., colour, size, etc.) and their fixed number, and only that in which all agree in so far as the body is affected by them is distinctly imagined: for in that was the body most affected by each individual, and this the mind expresses by the name of man, and predicates concerning an infinite number of individuals. But it must be noted that these notions are not formed by all in the same manner, but vary with each individual according to the variation of the thing by which the body was most often affected, and which the mind imagines or remembers the most easily” (67-68).
203.7 author of Great Expectations…: Charles Dickens in American Notes (1842) makes the following observation on his travels to Hartford aboard a boat on the Connecticut River: “It certainly was not called a small steamboat without reason. I omitted to ask the question, but I should think it must have been of about half a pony power. Mr. Paap, the celebrated Dwarf, might have lived and died happily in the cabin, which was fitted with common sash-windows like an ordinary dwelling-house. These windows had bright-red curtains, too, hung on slack strings across the lower panes; so that it looked like the parlour of a Lilliputian public-house, which had got afloat in a flood or some other water accident, and was drifting nobody knew where. But even in this chamber there was a rocking-chair. It would be impossible to get on anywhere, in America, without a rocking-chair. I am afraid to tell how many feet short this vessel was, or how many feet narrow: to apply the words length and width to such measurement would be a contradiction in terms. But I may state that we all kept the middle of the deck, lest the boat should unexpectedly tip over; and that the machinery, by some surprising process of condensation, worked between it and the keel: the whole forming a warm sandwich, about three feet thick.”
203.11 Pompeian who relished fruit…: various of the frescos and mosaics uncovered at Pompeii depict fruit and fruit trees.
203.13 Delegate Thunder…:
203.16: can the man / Who said— / What did we gain by a pact?…: through 204.27 is a catalog of remarks by Joseph Stalin (1878-1953); it is probable, but not certain, that LZ’s primary source is the New York Times:
203.18: What did we gain by a pact?…: from a radio broadcast to the people of the Soviet Union on 3 July 1941 and reported the same day in the New York Times: “What did we gain by concluding the [Hitler-Stalin] Non-Aggression Pact with Germany? We secured our country peace for a year and a half, and the opportunity of preparing its forces to repulse fascist Germany should she risk an attack on our country despite the Pact. This was a definite advantage for us and a disadvantage for fascist Germany.” Also called the Molotov-Rippentrop Pact signed in Aug. 1939, it is alluded to at 10.121.7 and in Ferdinand (CF 249).
203.24: May God help him…: the New York Times reported on 19 Nov. 1941: “Stalin Invoked God’s Aid for U.S. at Kremlin Dinner for Officials; Struck Religious Note in Toast to Roosevelt—British-American Delegates Impressed by Soviet Leader’s Human Side.” The dinner was to mark the signing of U.S. aid to the Soviet Union.
203.26 Chief Fallen Trees / of the Mohawk Nation…: the New York Times reported on 21 Feb. 1942: “Indian War Bonnet Awarded to Stalin”: “Chief Fallen Trees of the Mohawk Nation, who toils by day for our war program under the prosaic name of Paul Horn as an ironworker on the super-drydock at the Navy Yard in Brooklyn, last night started a chieftain’s war bonnet on its way to Joseph Stalin, recently voted by the chiefs of the Indian Confederation of America as the outstanding warrior of 1941.”
203.28: and told Mr. Wilkie—That’s a very / good phrase…: the New York Times reported on 28 Sept. 1942 that Stalin made this remark to Wendell Willkie (1892-1944) at an official dinner in response to the latter’s explanation “using golf terms” of the American idiom, “keep your eye on the ball.” Willkie was a Republican presidential candidate who lost against FDR in the 1940 election and subsequently became a political ally; in 1942 he visited the USSR as part of an around the world tour as FDR’s personal representative.
203.31: The German wolf is not bad…: the text of “Premier Stalin’s Address in Moscow on Eve of 27th Anniversary of the Revolution” appeared in the New York Times for 7 Nov. 1944: “The Soviet people hate the German invaders not because they are people of a foreign nation, but because they have brought our people and all freedom-loving peoples misery and suffering. It is an old saying of our people: ‘The wolf is not bad because he is gray, but because he ate the sheep.’”
203.34: I drink to the health / Of the people…: from toast Stalin made at a victory banquet in the Kremlin in June/July 1945: “I should like to drink the health of the people of whom few hold ranks and whose titles are not envied, people who are considered to be cogs in the wheels of the great State apparatus, but without whom all of us—marshals, front and army commanders—are, to put it crudely, not worth a tinker’s damn. One of the cogs goes out of commission—and the whole thing is done for. I propose a toast for simple, ordinary, modest people—for those cogs who keep our great State machine going in all braches of science, national economy and military affairs.”
204.8: I do not know whether / Mr. Churchill…: Stalin made this remark in an interview published in Pravda 13 March 1946 in response to Churchill’s famous “iron curtain” speech the previous week; the interview appeared in the New York Times for 14 March 1946: “Of course, Mr. Churchill does not like such a development of events. But he also did not like the appearance of the Soviet regime in Russia after the First World War. Then, too, he raised the alarm and organized an armed expedition of fourteen states against Russia with the aim of turning back the wheel of history. But history turned out to be stronger than Churchill’s intervention; and the quixotic antics of Churchill resulted in his complete defeat. I do not know if Mr. Churchill and his friends will succeed in organizing after the Second World War a new military expedition against Eastern Europe. But if they succeed in this, which is not very probable, since millions of common people stand on their guard for peace, then one man confidently says that they will be beaten just as they were beaten 26 years ago.”
204.10: At Teheran, Churchill presented / the Marshal…: at the Teheran Conference 28 Nov.-1 Dec. 1943, Churchill, Stalin and President Roosevelt agreed on plans to pursue war against Germany and to cooperate on setting up the U.N. in the postwar period. The incident of Churchill’s presentation of a sword from King George VI to Marshal Stalin for “the steel-hearted citizens of Stalingrad” was described in detail in the media at the time. Stalin was the son of a cobbler; and Stalingrad was the scene of a desperate siege from Sept. 1942-Feb. 1943 in which the Soviet forces decisively halted the German advance into the USSR.
204.22: Things not bad in the U.S.…: this and the following remark are from an interview with Stalin held by Harold Stassen (1907-2001), a former governor of Minnesota and at the time a Republican candidate for president. The transcript of the interview appeared in the New York Times for 4 May 1947: “Things are not bad in the United States. America is protected by two oceans…”; […] ”Warlords [referring to fascist leaders] guided the economy and they didn’t understand anything about the economy. Tojo, the war leader in Japan, only knew how to wage war.”
204.26: Language serves all classes…: from Stalin, Marxism and the Problems of Linguistics (1950).
204.32 Mao’s best-man poem…: the following lines through 205.12 are a version of the second stanza of Mao Zedong’s poem “Snow,” which is dated Feb. 1936. The catalog of emperors mentioned are all founders of various dynasties—the Emperor of Ching is Ch’in Shih Huang Ti, 3rd century BC emperor who first united China and built the Great Wall—and so represent the greatness of the Chinese past. On “best-man” see 135.11.
LZ’s source is the New York Times Magazine for 19 Dec. 1948, “The Man Who Would Be China’s Lenin” by Henry R. Lieberman, which includes the translation below in a boxed text. Lieberman’s article opens: “On the basis of concrete accomplishments and modifications of the traditional Marxist-proletarian approach to conditions existing in China, Mao Tze-tung, 55-year-old founder and leader of the Chinese Communist movement, seems to merit the title of the ‘Chinese Lenin.’” At the time the Chinese Communists were rapidly defeating the Nationalist forces: they would enter Beijing on 31 Jan. 1949 and Mao would official declare the establishment of the People’s Republic of China on 1 Oct. 1949.
Booth reproduces two pages of the working draft of “A”-12 that include the Mao poem, as well as the attached clipping of the boxed text; see “The Zukofsky Papers” (1970): 50. The clipping has the following heading: “Mao as Poet, The riddle of what happens next in China and what role Mao will play is touched on by Mao himself in one of his classical poems:
The bewitching beauty of
mountain and river
Has made numerous heroes
Pitiful are the great Emperor
of Chin and Emperor
Wu Ti of Han
Who lacked sufficient wisdom;
And so with Emperor Tai Tsung
of Tang and Emperor Kao
Tsu of Sung.
Even Genghis Khan knew only
to shoot vultures with his
arrows and bow.
These men are gone.
To choose the truly brilliant
We must wait and see the
[The above reproduces the line breaks of the clipping, although these are largely determined by the narrow column in which the poem is printed].
205.19 Lars: probably Lars Florell (1882-1971), Finnish-born architect and political activist, who immigrated to the US in 1907 and eventually settled in Detroit where he was involved in designing major auto plants. His relation to LZ is uncertain, but there exists a copy of AT (1948) with an inscription “For Ollie and Lars Florell” from the Zukofsky family dated Sept. 1954.
205.23 Flaherty took it hard…: Robert Flaherty (1884-1951), American documentary-style filmmaker, best know for Nanook of the North (1922) and Man of Aran (1934), depicting the harsh life on the Irish islands of Aran. LZ’s main source is an appreciation of Flaherty by John Grierson, himself a major documentary filmmaker, in the New York Times for 29 July 1951: “When he was criticized for not making clear the social burden of the Aran Islanders one remembers how hard he took it and how plaintively he tried to explain that perhaps the ‘burden of the horizon’ could be as heavy as any. Who will deny that it is? It was that ‘burden of horizon’ that haunts all of Flaherty’s films, whether it be in the hard north or the halcyon seas of the south. And that has its own poignancy—never more so than when he is looking, as latterly he more constantly looked, through the eyes of children.” However the added detail at 205.32 would suggest LZ saw this film himself: Man of Aran centers on a husband, wife and their young son, who at one point pleads unsuccessfully to be allowed to join the men in hunting sharks, and shots of the cloudy skyline do feature prominently in the film. When LZ was corresponding with James Joyce in 1935 via his secretary, Paul Léon, concerning the Ulysses screenplay that Jerry Reisman and LZ had worked on, Léon at one point recommended Flaherty as a possible director (Slate 119).
206.4 the Igorots / hoisted on top of tanks…: LZ’s probable source is the New York Time for 23 Feb. 1942 in a report which includes a communiqué from General MacArthur on the campaign to retake the Philippines, in which he singles out for special mention the role of the Igorots, “a non-Christian tribe living in the Bontoo mountains” of Luzon. LZ is more or less quoting from the communiqué:
“The bamboo jungle and the heavy, irregular terrain of the section of the front were almost impenetrable and apparently made it impossible for the tanks to operate. Without a word, the Igorot commander hoisted his men to the tops of the tanks in order that they might guide the machines through the matted morass of underbrush, the thickets and trees. The exposed Igorot soldier on the top of the tank served as the eyes of the American driver. The guide signaled the driver with a stick, and with an automatic pistol fired continuously as the unit closed with the enemy. Bataan has seen many wild mornings, but nothing to equal this. No quarter was asked. Always above the din of the battle rose the fierce shouts of the Igorots, as they rode the tanks and fired their pistols. When the attack was over, the remnants of the tanks and the Igorots were still there but the Twentieth Japanese Infantry was completely annihilated. In recounting the story of the battle to an assembly of his officers, General MacArthur said: ‘Many desperate acts of courage and heroism have fallen under my observation on many fields of battle in many parts of the world. I have seen last-ditch stands and innumerable acts of personal heroism that defy description, but for sheer breathtaking and heart-stopping desperation, I have never known the equal of those Igorots. Gentlemen,’ continued the general, his voice softening, ‘when you tell that story, stand in tribute to those gallant Igorots.’”
206.12 Gracie Allen…: (1902-1964) American comedian; see 14.349.17.
206.14 The burden of the horizon: see 205.28.
206.15 In the Altai Mountains / Of Siberia…: apparently from Time magazine for 18 Jan. 1943, “Dug from the Earth,” which briefly notes various archaeological discoveries during 1942: “A Russian scientist chopped through 50 feet of ice in the Altai mountains of Siberia, uncovered a log stable hewn by Bronze Age axes. In the stable were the well-preserved bodies of ten horses, saddled and bridled.” Several Bronze Age burial sites were found 1925-1949 and opened up by the Russian archeologist, Sergei Rudenko; the most important persons were buried with sacrificial horses.
207.25 —Marx’s presumption? / —He wrote fugues / On a theme of Aristotle…: there are various significant mentions of Aristotle in the first volume of Capital, particularly concerning value and money. Marx credits Aristotle as “the great thinker who was the first to analyse so many of the forms of thought, society, and nature. First of all, Aristotle tells us in so many words that the money form of commodities is but a further development of the simple form of value—this simple form being the expression of the value of a commodity in terms of any other commodity you please” (30). Marx famously goes on to explain the limitation of Aristotle’s analysis of exchange value as due to the fact that he lived in a society based on slave labor and so without a concept of human equality could not recognize the equivalency of all human labor. LZ no doubt also has in mind a footnote giving the following quotation from Aristotle: “For twofold is the use of every object. . . . The one is peculiar to the object as such, the other is not, as a sandal which may be worn, and is also exchangeable. Both are uses of the sandal, for even he who exchanges the sandal for the money or food he is in want of, makes use of the sandal as a sandal. But not in its natural way. For it has not been made for the sake of being exchanged. De republica I, I, cap.9” (60). These quotations and references are from the Everyman’s Library edition of Capital trans. by Eden and Cedar Paul. LZ mentions that Marx is out of Aristotle in an 18 Jan. 1936 letter to EP (EP/LZ 198-199).
207.30 From his body to other bodies: see 126.6. Michael Fournier suggests a possible source for this passage in Henri Bergson, Matter and Memory (1911): “Why insist, in spite of appearances, that I should go from my conscious self to my body, then from my body to other bodies, whereas in fact I place myself at once in the material world in general, and then gradually cut out within it the centre of action which I shall come to call my body and to distinguish from all others?” (44-45). “My perception, in its pure state, isolated from memory, does not go on from my body to other bodies; it is, to begin with, in the aggregate of bodies, then gradually limits itself and adopts my body as a centre” (64).
208.1 Consider the man / On the West Coast…: the source of this anecdote is uncertain, although it could be from Charles Reznikoff (see 208.25), who as a lawyer might very well have made the remarks at 208.19-23. The anecdote refers probably to the McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950, the key piece of legislation of McCarthyism requiring all communist organizations to register with the Attorney General and enhancing government powers to investigate suspected communists.
208.25 On one of my long walks / Out of Los Angeles…: this incident with the dog through 210.2 is from Charles Reznikoff (1894-1976), fellow “Objectivist” poet and friend, who includes the dog anecdote in his autobiographical novel The Manner MUSIC, written in the early 1950s but not published until 1977 (60-62); Reznikoff later trimmed and lineated this account as Poem #7 in the 1973 version of By the Well of Living and Seeing. LZ may have read the manuscript of the novel, but there are few specific verbal overlaps between Reznikoff’s novel version and LZ’s. It is more likely LZ heard the story directly from Reznikoff, either orally or in a letter since much of The Manner MUSIC was drafted in Reznikoff’s correspondence during the period he spent in Hollywood in the late 1940s (see 210.11). For a comparison of the novel and “A”-12 versions, see Cid Corman, “The Transfigured Prose.”
210.3 —Reincarnated? / An old friend, maybe: refers to an anecdote about Pythagoras recorded by Diogenes Laertius: “Once they say that [Pythagoras] was passing by when a dog was being beaten and spoke this word: “‘Stop! Don’t beat it! For it is the soul of a friend that I recognized when I heard its voice.’” This anecdote is alluded to in both the poem “Xenophanes” (CSP 123) and Bottom 103, 356.
210.11 Shall we have some coffee? / Dutch, if you insist: this probably refers to a meeting with Reznikoff (see 193.21 and 208.25), who was an avid walker around NYC and often met friends in cafeterias, frugally preferred to pay dutch, that is, each paying for themselves.
210.13 I will hiss for them…: from Zechariah 10:8.
210.18 Sheridan sat / In a tavern watching…: Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751–1816), English dramatist and politician, best known for the Restoration comedy of manner plays The Rivals (1775) and The School for Scandal (1777). Sheridan was owner and manager of Drury Lane Theatre which burned down in 1809, contributing to his financial ruin.
210.26 Consume, consume it…: from Zechariah 5:4: “I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.”
211.3 When we dream that we speak / We think that we speak: from Spinoza, Ethics; qtd. 189.1.
211.5 Bowling Green…: oldest park in New York City, the original bowling green was made in 1733, at the foot of Broadway near Battery Park and across from the old Customs House to the south.
211.11 The bridge going up: probably Manhattan Bridge; see 147.26.
211.14 Wolfe and Montcalm: British General James Wolfe (1727-1759) defeated French General Louis Montcalm (1712-1759) in the decisive battle outside Quebec during the French and Indian Wars. Both generals were mortally wounded in the engagement, but as a result England claimed control of Canada.
211.16 The Baroque building / That curves with Broadway…: probably a large red building at 2 Broadway built in 1882, but replaced in 1958.
211.22 From the Battery to 14th…: crowded lower Manhattan as LZ remembers it as a boy. The Metropolitan Life Tower building is at 23rd Street between Madison and Park Avenues.
211.27 Orient Life: insurance company, but here apparently young PZ’s response to LZ’s reminiscences about his youth in NYC.
212.4 Akhnaton…: or Akhenaton, Egyptian pharaoh, reigned c.1372-1354 BC, who instituted a monotheistic worship of the sun; LZ may be alluding here to the “Hymn to Aton” attributed to Akhenaton. See the translation by Robert Hillyer, “Adoration of the Disk by King Akhnaten and Princess Nefer Neferiu Aten,” in An Anthology of World Poetry, ed. Mark Van Doren (1928), a large collection of translations that LZ may have owned.
212.11 Little soul / Hadrian’s / Hailing itself…: LZ’s variation on a famous short lyric by the Roman Emperor Hadrian (76-138), “Animula, vagula, blandula,” supposed written on his deathbed:
O blithe little soul, thou, flitting away,
Guest and comrade of this my clay,
Whither now goest thou, to what place
Bare and ghastly and without grace?
Nor, as thy wont was, joke and play. (trans. A. O’Brien-Moore)
212.17 Abroad / As the four / Winds…: from Zechariah 2:6: “Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the Lord: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord.”
212.22 A sleep / Coming on / As over Odysseus / And Penelope…: from Homer, Odyssey, end of Book XIX and beginning of Book XX.
213.19 As the sea / The “Artemis”…:
213.23 I will engrave / The graving / Thereof: from Zechariah 3:9: “For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.”
213.26 In winds, / With seas…: see 183.2 and 187.8.
213.29 You’ve got to be careful in woods…: cf. description of a hike by LZ and PZ through the woods up a hill in Little (CF 130).
214.18 L.N.: Lorine Niedecker; see 137.25. Niedecker’s mother Theresa (Daisy) Niedecker (b. 1878) died in July 1951. Niedecker’s letter to LZ describing her mother’s death and funeral is dated 31 July 1951 (see Penberthy 181-183).
215.12 Like the sea fishing…:
215.22 So no man / Lifted up his head: from Zechariah 1:21: “Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.”
215.24 For hell we launched / And trimmed the gear…: this passage through 216.2, with additional brief fragments at 218.6-8, 221.22-23 and 223.11-15, is from the opening of Homer, Odyssey XI, the account of Odysseus’ journey down to the realm of the dead, which EP had rendered in Canto I. The version here is LZ’s own adaptation included in TP 4-5 (exhibits 1c and 2a; see also 261.13-20), which apparently he did because EP refused permission to use any of his work in TP (see WCW/LZ 397-398). LZ’s version condenses Homer, and here he has further abridged his own version as it appears in TP:
“When we reached our ship lying on the beach, the first thing we did was to launch her into the sea; then we set up mast and sail, and taking the ram and ewe we embarked in no happy mind. The radiant goddess Circe sent a sail-filling wind behind us, a good companion for a voyage. We made all shipshape aboard, and sat tight: wind and helmsman kept her on her course. All day long we ran before the wind, with never a quiver on the sail; then the sun set, and all the ways grew dark. We came at last to the deep stream of Oceanos which is the world’s boundary. There is the city of the Cimmerian people, wrapt in mist and cloud. Blazing Helios never looks down on them with his rays, not when he mounts into the starry sky nor when he returns from sky to earth; but abominable night is for ever spread over those unhappy mortals. There we beached our ship and put the animals ashore, and we walked along the shore until we came to the place which Circe had described. Perimedes and Eurylochos held fast the victims, while I drew my sword and dug the pit, a cubit’s length along and across. I poured out the drink-offering for All Souls, first with water, and I sprinkled white barley-meal over it. Earnestly I prayed to the empty shells of the dead, and promised that when I came to Ithaca, I would sacrifice to them in my own house a farrow cow, the best I had, and heap fine things on the blazing pile; to Teiresias alone in a different place I would dedicate the best black ram among my flocks. When I had made prayer and supplication to the company of the dead, I cut the victims’ throats over the pit, and the red blood poured out. Then the souls of the dead who had passed away came up in a crowd from Erebos […]” (trans. W.H.D. Rouse).
216.3 Camp Cooke, Calif….: these letters from Jackie through 223.5 are from John H. Appleby Jr. (1928-2003), a young Old Lyme, Connecticut acquaintance of the Zukofskys, describing his army experiences during the Korean War (1950-1953). See part 3 of “Chloride of Lime and Charcoal” (CSP 125). Regarding Jackie’s mention that he is taking army courses in plumbing (217), he would later make his living as a plumbing and heating contractor.
217.5 K.P.: military argot for Kitchen Police or Patrol, i.e. soldiers assigned duty to work in the kitchen.
217.25 Paul: / —With snowman falling down: this latter line appears in the Lorine Niedecker poem, “Letter from Paul” (Collected Works 132), dated 27 Sept. 1951.
218.2 L.: Lorine Niedecker; see 214.18.
218.6 —where the Cimmerii live: / In cloud and fog…: from Homer, Odyssey XI, see 215.24. The Cimmerii are a distant, primitive people mentioned in the Odyssey.
221.21 Pfc.: private first class, the lowest rank in the army.
221.22 followed / The shore to wet hell: from Homer, Odyssey XI, see 215.24.
223.8 First seen in marsh thru cattails…: this alludes to the swampy environment of the Zukofsky’s summer cottage at Old Lyme; see description at 139.13f and in Little (CF 36-37).
223.11 And paid our respects in hell: / Forgetting none…: through 223.15 from Homer, Odyssey XI, see 215.24.
223.16 G.S. as an old woman spoke to GI’s…: Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) in a piece of reportage for the Life Magazine, “Off We All Went to See Germany” (6 August 1945), in which she describes her trip with U.S. troops into recently defeated Germany. The article is accompanied by photos of Stein with US soldiers among the wreckage. The piece is reprinted in How Writing Is Written, ed. Robert Barlett Haas (Black Sparrow Press, 1977):
“Well we took off and went up the Rhine to Cologne, we flew low over and over Cologne and then we found that the airports there were not functioning so we went on to Coblenz where they were not functioning either and so back to Frankfort. Cologne was the most destroyed city we had seen yet, it is natural, of course it is natural to speak of one’s roof, roofs are in a way the most important thing in a house, between four walls, under a roof, and here was a whole spread out city without a roof” (57).
Speaking with GIs in Heidelberg: “That evening I went over to talk to the soldiers, and to hear what they had to say, we all got very excited, Sergeant Santiani who had asked me to come complained that I confused the minds of his men, but why shouldn’t their minds be confused, gracious goodness, are we going to be like the Germans, only believe in the Aryans that is our own race, a mixed race if you like but all having the same point of view. I got very angry with them, they admitted they liked the Germans better than the other Europeans. Of course you do, I said, they flatter you and they obey you, when the other countries don’t like and and say so, and personally you have not been awfully ready to meet them halfway, well naturally if they don’t like you they show it, the Germans don’t like you but they flatter you, dog gone it, I said I bet you Fourth of July they will all be putting up our flag, and all you big babies will just be flattered to death, literally to death, I said bitterly because you will have to fight again. Well said one of them after all we are on top. Yes I said and is there any spot on earth more dangerous than on top. You don’t like the Latins, or the Arabs or the Wops, or the British, well don’t you forget a country can’t live without friends, I want you all to get to know other countries so that you can be friends, make a little effort, try to find out what it is all about. We all got very excited, they passed me cognac, but I don’t drink so they found me some grapefruit juice, and they patted me and sat me down, and there it all was” (58).
223.30 South Ferry: see 189.22.
224.25 Things sleepwalkers do: more or less continuing from 224.14-15, from Spinoza, Ethics, qtd. 188.1.
224.26 A bastard in Ashdod…: from Zechariah 9:6: “And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.” And 12:8: “In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.”
224.30 Four trombones and the organ / in the nave…: see 126.2.
225.2 Will quire after six thousand years: see 127.3, 239.2 and the Preface to Little in which LZ remarks that the novel begins with the birth of the hero “into universal society—only about 6000 years old” (Prep+ 131).
225.7 Two women / Wind in their wings: from Zechariah 5:9: “Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.”
225.9 Love no false oath: from Zechariah 8:17: “And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord.”
225.11 Thought cannot will to hold on to / a hand…: through 225.22 from Spinoza, Ethics III, Prop. 2 and Note; the first four lines of this passage and the example of the hand throughout is adapted by LZ from this long famous passage arguing against the possibility of conscious will. Cf. the parable of the hand and thought in Bottom 53:
“The body cannot determine the mind to think, nor the mind the body to remain in motion, or at rest, or in any other state (if there be any other). […] Note.— […] the mind and body are one and the same thing, which now under the attribute of thought, now under the attribute of extension, is conceived. […] Thus […] just as experience teaches as clearly as reason that men think themselves free on account of this alone, that they are conscious of their actions and ignorant of the causes of them; and moreover that the decisions of the mind are nothing save their desires, which are accordingly various according to various dispositions. For each one moderates all his actions according to his emotion, the thus those who are assailed by conflicting emotions know not what they want: those who are assailed by none are easily driven to one of the other. […] For there is another point which I wish to be noted specially here, namely, that we can do nothing by a decision of the mind unless we recollect having done so before, e.g. we cannot speak a word unless we recollect having done so. Again, it is not within the free power of the mind to remember or forget anything” (86, 89).
225.24 Talked with me: from Zechariah 4:1: “And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep.”
225.25 Truth and peace: from Zechariah 8:19: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace.”
225.26 Sun shines upon all equally: from Paracelsus; qtd. 134.9, see 225.32.
225.32 Luck equal: from Paracelsus, see 225.26.
225.33 The simple is uncompounded / or well compounded: cf. line from Shakespeare, “The Phoenix and the Turtle” (qtd. 171.3): “Simple were so well compounded.” LZ quotes and refers to this line repeatedly in Bottom (26, 45, 49, 64, 372), where he also identifies simple with uncompounded on several occasions, including in quotations from Bacon and Plato (Bottom 113, 344, 372). The antithesis simple-compound figures prominently in Part Two of Bottom.
226.1 what the mind sees / the eyes see: from Lucretius, see 167.10-11.
226.6 Nay, you must name his name: from Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream III.1, qtd. 132.11.
226.16 fruit dot—sorus: cluster of spore cases on the underside of fern fronds, also known as “fruit dots.”
226.17 Sora: a North American rail (marsh bird) having grayish-brown plumage and a short stout bill, commonly found in freshwater bogs or swamps.
226.21 Midsummer’s thorns and a lantern: from Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream III.1, qtd. 132.15.
226.24 Wind carried larch to ridge: cf. 126.5.
226.26 Truest horse: from Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream III.1, qtd. 132.24, also 14.352.6 and Bottom 388.
226.28 May I read your letter?…: from Lorine Niedecker, see 214.18f.
227.4 voiced look gone: see 9.107.21, 9.110.7.
227.6 If a man sees a thing / when alone…: through 227.12 from Plato, Protagoras (348; qtd. Bottom 372): “So I [Socrates] said: Do not imagine, Protagoras, that I have any other interest in asking questions of you but that of clearing up my own difficulties. For I think that Homer was very right in saying that ‘When two go together, one sees before the other,’ for all men who have a companion are readier in deed, word, or thought; but if a man ‘Sees a thing when he is alone,’ he goes about straightway seeking until he finds some one to whom he may show his discoveries, and who may confirm him in them” (trans. Benjamin Jowett).
227.17 When I was angry I / Knew a green leaf…: from the Persian poet Firdosi or Ferdowsi (935-1020), the enormous epic Shahnamah (Book of Kings): “Now for the space of an hundred years did Kai Kobad rule over Iran, and he administered his realm with clemency, and the earth was quiet before him, and he gat his people great honour, and I ask of you what king can be likened unto him? But when this time had passed, his strength waned, and he knew that a green leaf was about to fade. So he called before him Kai Kaous his son, and gave unto him counsels many and wise. And when he had done speaking he bade them make ready his grave, and he exchanged the palace for the tomb. And thus endeth the history of Kai Kobad the glorious. It behoveth us now to speak of his son” (trans. Helen Zimmern). LZ’s interest in the Shahnamah (also mentioned at 18.394.6 and in Bottom 121) and classical Persian poetry in general is due to Basil Bunting, who for many years had the ambition to translate much of the Shahnamah, although in the end only a couple short episodes were published. Bunting spent much of the 1940s and early 1950s in Iran and Iraq and wrote extensively to LZ about Persian poetry as well as sending many of his translations. In the early months of 1951, just shortly before beginning “A”-12, Bunting was sending draft versions of “The Spoils” to LZ for feedback; this poem incorporates a good deal of Bunting’s experiences of and thinking about Persia, although not directly about Persian poetry. Bunting’s letters are held at the HRC; for excerpts, see Sister Victoria Maria Forde, S.C., “The Translations and Adaptations of Basil Bunting” in Basil Bunting: Man and Poet, ed. Carroll F. Terrell (1981): 301-342.
227.27 You shed tears / Of Zal before the Simurgh: from Firdosi, Shahnamah (see 227.17). The only son of a great king, Zal is born with white hair and therefore is rejected by his father and left out in the wilderness to die, but is saved and raised by the marvelous bird, Simurgh. Years later, the father has a dream that makes him realize his mistake, and he goes out to reclaim his son. LZ refers to the moment when Simurgh tells Zal, now a young man, that he should go with his father and Zal asks tearfully why she is rejecting him.
228.12 In the eighth month / In the second year of Darius: from Zechariah 1:1: “In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, […].”
228.14 I saw by night–: from Zechariah 1:8 (see 228.28 below).
228.15 Leaves of Grass / In their first printer’s shop…: the site of the print shop where Whitman set the type for the first edition of Leaves of Grass in 1855 is at 98 Cranberry Street in Brooklyn Heights, just around the corner from where the Zukofskys lived. A plaque used to mark the address until the original building was replaced in the 1970s. Whitman edited the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper from 1846-1848, until forced out over his anti-slavery views. The building where he edited the paper still exists embedded in a much larger building at 28 Old Fulton Street, called the Eagle Warehouse, virtually in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge.
228.24 The mind acts certain / Things and suffers others…: these four line splice together two statements by Spinoza and Brooks Adams. From Spinoza, Ethics III, Prop 1: “Our mind acts certain things and suffers others: namely, in so far as it has adequate ideas, thus far it necessarily acts certain things, and in so far as it has inadequate ideas, thus far it necessarily suffers certain things” (85). For Brooks Adams, see quotation at 8.81.1.
228.28 A red horse / Among myrtle…: through 231.2 sequence of passages from Zechariah:
1:8-11: I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white. Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. And they answered the angel of the Lord that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.
2:13: Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.
3:2-4:1: And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by. And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree. And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep.
6:1-8: And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses. Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country. And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth. Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.
9:1: The burden of the word of the Lord in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the Lord.
10:1: Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.
11:10: And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people.
13:5: But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.
14:20: In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar.
231.9 Blest / Infinite things…: through 231.23 from Spinoza, Ethics I, Appendix: “Now forasmuch as those things, above all others, are pleasing to us which we can easily imagine, men accordingly prefer order to confusion, as if order were anything in nature save in respect to our imagination; and they say that God has created all things in order, and thus unwittingly they attribute imagination to God, unless indeed they would have that God providing for human imagination disposed all things in such a manner as would be most easy for our imagination; nor would they then find it perhaps a stumbling-block to their theory that infinite things are found which are far beyond the reach of our imagination, and many which confuse it through its weakness. […] And such things as affect the ear are called noises, and form discord or harmony, the last of which has delighted men to madness, so that they have believed that harmony delights God. Nor have there been wanting philosophers who assert that the movements of the heavenly spheres compose harmony. All of which sufficiently show that each one judges concerning things according to the disposition of his own mind, or rather takes for things that which is really the modifications of his imagination” (34-35). Cf. Spinoza passage on abstraction at 202.23-203.5.
231.24 Where before, / If all things passed / From the world / Time and space…: an almost identically worded passage appears in Bottom, where the source is identified as Einstein (163). From Philipp Frank, Einstein: His Life and Times (1947): “[Some journalists] wanted the theory of relatively explained very, very simply. [Einstein] obliged, saying: ‘If you will not take the answer too seriously and consider it only as a kind of joke, then I can explain it as follows. It was formerly believed that if all material things disappeared out of the universe, time and space would be left. According to the relativity theory, however, time and space disappear together with the things.’” This and another Einstein passage at 249.7 appear in a review by Charles Poore in the New York Times for 20 Feb. 1947, which seems a likely source. However, Lorine Niedecker read and took notes on Frank’s book (Penberthy 166) and also used the same idea in the poem, “How bright you’ll find young people” (Collected Works 139-140), so LZ’s source could be Niedecker’s notes.
232.7 all but a fiddler / Have said “enough”: although presumably the fiddler here would be the young PZ, Einstein (see 231.24) was also an accomplished violinist.
232.9 The mind turns to the body…: through 232.12 from Spinoza, Ethics II, Prop. 13 (qtd. Bottom 94): “The object of the idea constituting the human mind is the body, or a certain mode of extension actually existing and nothing else” (47).
232.13 There then / Are simple bodies…: through 232.17 from Spinoza, Ethics II, Prop. 13, Axiom 2: “Thus far we have been speaking of the most simple bodies (corpora simplicissima), which are distinguished reciprocally merely by motion or rest, by swiftness or slowness […]” (50).
232.18 No one / So far / Knows / What a body / Can do: from Spinoza, Ethics III, Prop. 2, Note: see quotation at 188.1.
232.27 Tick-tack uhr: see 228.4.
232.28 From a body’s nature / From nature…: through 235.27 from Spinoza:
232.28-233.6: from Spinoza, Ethics III, Prop. 2, Note: “But they will say that it cannot come to pass that from the laws of nature alone, in so far as nature is regarded as extended, that the causes of buildings, pictures, and things of this kind, which are made by human skill alone, can be deduced, nor can the human body, save if it be determined and led thereto by the mind, build a temple, for example. But I have already shown that they know not what a body is, or what can be deduced from mere contemplation, and that they themselves have experienced many things which happen merely by reason of the laws of nature, which they would never have believed to happen save by the direction of the mind, as those things which sleep-walkers do at which they would be surprised were they awake; and I may here draw attention to the fabric of the human body, which far surpasses any piece of work made by human art, to say nothing of what I have already shown, namely, that from nature, considered under whatsoever attribute, infinite things follow” (87-88).
233.5-7: Thought / Not image / Or word: from Spinoza, Ethics II, Prop. 49, Note (see Bottom 215): “I begin then with the first point, and warn the readers to make an accurate distinction between idea, or a conception of the mind, and the images of things which we imagine. Then it is necessary to distinguish between ideas and words by which we point out things. For these three, namely, images, words, and ideas, are by most people either entirely confused or not distinguished with sufficient accuracy or care, and hence they are entirely ignorant of the fact that to know this doctrine of the will is highly necessary both for philosophic speculation and for the wise ordering of life […] The essence of words and images is constituted solely by bodily motions which lest involve the conceptions of thought” (77); this last sentence qtd. Bottom 421.
233.8-9: Tongues / That fail quiet: from Spinoza, Ethics III, Prop. 2, Note (qtd. Bottom 80-81): “As for their second point, surely human affairs would be far happier if the power in men to be silent were the same as that to speak. But experience more than sufficiently teaches that men govern nothing with more difficulty than their tongues, and can moderate their desires more easily than their words” (88).
233.12-17: And what / Men desire / With such love…: from Spinoza, Ethics; see quotation at 174.19.
233.18: None then is free: from Spinoza, Ethics II, Prop. 35, Note: “[…] men are mistaken in thinking themselves free; and this opinion consists of this alone, that they are conscious of their actions and ignorant of the causes by which they are determined. This, therefore, is their idea of liberty, that they should know no cause of their action. For that which they say, that human actions depend on the will, are words which have no idea” (64).
233.19-25: We say / With Ovid…: from Spinoza, Ethics III, Prop. 31, Corollary: “Hence, and from Prop. 28, Part III., it follows that every one endeavours as much as he can to cause every one to love what he himself loves, and to hate what he himself hates: as in the words of the poet, ‘As lovers let us hope and fear alike: of iron is he who loves what the other leaves.’ (Ovidii Amores, lib. 2, eleg. 19, vv. 4 and 5)” (106).
233.26-234.6: Hate / When loved / Becomes / love…: from Spinoza, Ethics III, Prop. 44 and Note: “Hatred which is entirely conquered by love passes into love, and love on that account is greater than if it had not been preceded by hatred. […] Though this is so, no one will endeavour to hate anything or to be affected with pain in order to enjoy this increased pleasure, that is, no one desires to work evil to himself with the hope of recovering from this evil, nor desires to be ill for the sake of recovering. […] For the greater the hatred may be, the greater will be the subsequent love, and therefore he will always desire that his hatred for him should become more and more; and by the same system of reasoning, a man would wish to become more and more ill in order to enjoy more pleasure from the subsequent convalescence and therefore he would always desire to be ill, which is absurd (Prop. 6, Part III.)” (114-115). Cf. Spinoza quotation at Bottom 334.
234.7-11: The way / things are, / Quiet / Is happier / than most words: cf. Spinoza, Ethics III, Prop. 2, Note: “[…] surely human affairs would be happier if the power in men to be silent were the same as that to speak” (88).
234.12-26: Let the caustic / Say, “Ass”…: from Spinoza, Ethics IV, Prop. 35, Note: “Let satirists therefore laugh to their hearts’ content at human affairs, let theologians revile them, and let the melancholy praise as much as they can the rude and barbarous isolated life: let them despise men and admire the brutes—despite all this, men will find that they can prepare with mutual aid far more easily what they need, and avoid far more easily the perils which beset them on all sides, by united forces: to say nothing of how much better it is, and more worthy of our knowledge, to regard the deeds of men rather than those of brutes” (164-165).
234.27-31: The idea / Is not / In the mind / That can cut off / Our bodies: from Spinoza, Ethics III, Prop. 10: “The idea which cuts off the existence of our body cannot be given in our mind, but is contrary thereto” (92).
234.32-235.6: To perceive a winged horse / Affirms wings on a horse…: from Spinoza, Ethics II, Prop. 49, Note (qtd. Bottom 76); the following continues from the passage quoted at 189.9-19: “Further, I grant that no one is deceived in so far as he perceives, that is, I grant that the imagination of the mind considered in themselves involve no error (Note, Prop. 17, Part II.); but I deny that a man affirms nothing in so far as he perceives. For what else is it to perceive a winged horse than to affirm wings on a horse? For if the mind perceives nothing else save a winged horse, it will regard it as present to itself; nor will it have any reason for doubting its existence, nor any faculty of dissenting, unless the imagination of a winged horse be joined to an idea which removes existence from the horse, or unless he perceives that the idea of a winged horse that he has is inadequate, and then he will either necessarily deny the existence of the said horse or necessarily doubt it” (79-80).
235.7-9: When men count / They do not err / In their minds: from Spinoza, Ethics II, Prop. 47, Note (qtd. Bottom 287): “Now many errors consist of this alone, that we do not apply names rightly to things. For when any one says that lines which are drawn from the centre of a circle to the circumference are unequal, he assuredly understands something far different by circle than mathematicians. Thus when men make mistakes in calculation they have different numbers in their heads than those on the paper. Wherefore if you could see their minds they do not err; they seem to err, however, because we think they have the same numbers in their minds as on the paper” (74).
235.10-16: No one desires / To be blest…: from Spinoza, Ethics IV, Prop. 21: “No one can desire to be blessed, to act well, or live well, who at the same time does not desire to be, to act, and to live, that is, actually to exist” (157).
235.17-19: This is virtue / The more so / All have it: from Spinoza, Ethics IV, Prop. 36 and Proof, and Prop. 37: “Prop. 36. The greatest good of those who follow virtue is common to all, and all can equally enjoy it. Proof.—To act from virtue is to act from the instruction of reason (Prop. 24, Part IV.), and whatever we endeavour to do from reason is understanding (Prop. 26, Part IV.). And therefore (Prop. 28, Part IV.) the greatest good of those who follow virtue is to know God, that is (Prop. 47, Part II., and its Note), the good which is common to all men, and which can be possessed equally by all men, in so far as they are of the same nature. Q.e.d. Prop. 37. The good which each one who follows virtue desires for himself, he also desires for other men, and the more so the more knowledge he has of God” (165).
235.20-21: Repentance / Twice unhappy…: from Spinoza, Ethics IV, Prop. 54: “Repentance is not a virtue, or, in other words, it does not arise from reason, but he who repents of an action is twice as unhappy or as weak as before” (178); see definition of repentance in the Appendix to Part III, def. 27.
235.22-27: Pitiable, / Pitiful / But for / The wish / To show / A hurt: from Spinoza, Ethics IV, Prop. 50 and Note: “Pity in a man who lives under the guidance of reason is in itself bad and useless. […] I am speaking here expressly of a man who lives under the guidance of reason. For he who is moved neither by reason nor pity to help others is rightly called inhuman, for (Prop. 27, Part III.) he seems to be dissimilar to man” (175-176).
236.9 Ardent / good / Nicomachus, the physician, had a son / Aristotle who had a son Nicomachus…: through 237.27 from and about Aristotle, with “Ardent” here sounding the A note of the B-A-C-H theme (see 127.16-19). In a quotation from Aristotle at 170.9, LZ changes the original translator’s “zealous” to “ardent,” specifically ardent for things rather than ideas. Both Aristotle’s father and son were named Nicomachus; the title of Aristotle’s main work on ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, which was not given by Aristotle himself, indicates it was either addressed to or edited by his son (see 236.19). Scroggins notes (218) the parallel here with LZ naming his own son after his father, Paul being an acceptable English version of Pinchos, as noted at 143.6f, 155.28.
236.13 Aristotle’s sun?: for the source of the son/sun pun in Aristotle, Physics II.2 see quotation at 13.290.24 (qtd. Bottom 76, 86). LZ uses the same pun in “Poem beginning ‘The’” (lines 313-314), where he adapts II Samuel 8:33.
236.13 Mean / Golden: Aristotle’s “golden mean” is the desirable middle ground between two extremes, which is a fundamental principle expounded in Nicomachean Ethics.
236.15 He’d heard Wisdom say foolish things…: this sentence through 236.19 conflates various details of Aristotle’s biography: “Wisdom” might refer to Plato under whom he studied but grew to disagree with, but Aristotle personifies the tradition of philosophy as Wisdom in the early sections of Metaphysics, where he also critiques earlier metaphysical theories; in early life he particularly concentrated on naturalistic studies; late in life he left Athens when anti-Macedonian elements took power, famously remarking that he would not allow the city to sin a second time against philosophy as they had previously in condemning Socrates to death; as a teacher he was in the habit of discoursing while walking, on account of which his followers were known as the Peripatetics.
236.20-29: Nicomachean Ethics, VII.6 (1149b): “Further, we pardon people more easily for following natural desires, since we pardon them more easily for following such appetites as are common to all men, and in so far as they are common; now anger and bad temper are more natural than the appetites for excess, i.e. for unnecessary objects. Take for instance the man who defended himself on the charge of striking his father by saying ‘yes, but he struck his father, and he struck his, and’ (pointing to his child) ‘this boy will strike me when he is a man; it runs in the family’; or the man who when he was being dragged along by his son bade him stop at the doorway, since he himself had dragged his father only as far as that ” (trans. W.D. Ross). Cf. this last remark with the opening of Gertrude Stein’s Making of Americans referred to at 168.21-25 and 174.2.
236.31 Authority has a nose of wax: this specific phrase is attributed to the 13th century Scholastic philosopher Alan of Lille: “Authority has a nose of wax; it can be twisted either way,” referring to something that can be interpreted any way one likes. Although Aristotle would have been one such authority at the time, the phrase was often used against too liberal interpretations of the Bible, such as Erasmus in The Praise of Folly (1511): “And how great a happiness is this, think you? while, as if Holy Writ were a nose of wax, they fashion and refashion it according to their pleasure.” LZ also may have in mind Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale IV.4: [Clown speaking:] “[…] and though authority be a stubborn bear, yet he is oft led by the nose with gold.”
237.1 The lover of myth loves wisdom: both wonder: from Aristotle, Metaphysics I.2 (982b): “For it is owing to their wonder that men both now begin and at first began to philosophize; they wondered originally at the obvious difficulties, then advanced little by little and stated difficulties about the greater matters, e.g. about the phenomena of the moon and those of the sun and of the stars, and about the genesis of the universe. And a man who is puzzled and wonders thinks himself ignorant (whence even the lover of myth is in a sense a lover of Wisdom, for the myth is composed of wonders); therefore since they philosophized order to escape from ignorance, evidently they were pursuing science in order to know, and not for any utilitarian end” (trans. W.D. Ross).
237.2 Tents pick up, hoplites charge, Horae dispose: hoplites are heavily armed foot soldiers of ancient Greece who often adopted phalanx formations, and the Horae (L. = hours) are the Greek goddesses of the seasons. This line may be adapted from an Aristotle passage that plays a particularly key role in Bottom (qtd. 40 and repeatedly alluded to thereafter) from Posterior Analytics II.19 (100a): “We conclude that these states of knowledge are neither innate in a determinate form, nor developed from the other higher states of knowledge, but from sense-perception. It is like a rout in battle stopped by first one making a stand and then another, until the original formation has been restored. The soul is so constituted as to be capable of process” (trans. G.R.G. Mure).
237.3 The wise man lacking detail knows at that…: through 237.9 from Aristotle:
237.3: Metaphysics I.2 (982a): “We suppose first, then, that the wise man knows all things, as far as possible, although he has not knowledge of each of them in detail […].”
237.4-6: Nicomachean Ethics I.4 (1095b): “For, while we must begin with what is known, things are objects of knowledge in two senses—some to us, some without qualification. Presumably, then, we must begin with things known to us.”
237.7-8: Metaphysics XII.7 (1072b): “The primary objects of desire and of thought are the same. For the apparent good is the object of appetite, and the real good is the primary object of rational wish. But desire is consequent on opinion rather than opinion on desire; for the thinking is the starting-point. And thought is moved by the object of thought, and one of the two columns of opposites is in itself the object of thought; and in this, substance is first, and in substance, that which is simple and exists actually. (The one and the simple are not the same; for ‘one’ means a measure, but ‘simple’ means that the thing itself has a certain nature.) But the beautiful, also, and that which is in itself desirable are in the same column; and the first in any class is always best, or analogous to the best (qtd. Bottom 53-54).
That a final cause may exist among unchangeable entities is shown by the distinction of its meanings. For the final cause is (a) some being for whose good an action is done, and (b) something at which the action aims; and of these the latter exists among unchangeable entities though the former does not. The final cause, then, produces motion as being loved, but all other things move by being moved” (qtd. Bottom 53).
237.9: Nicomachean Ethics II.6 (1106b): “If it is thus, then, that every art does its work well—by looking to the intermediate and judging its works by this standard (so that we often say of good works of art that it is not possible either to take away or to add anything, implying that excess and defect destroy the goodness of works of art, while the mean preserves it; and good artists, as we say, look to this in their work), and if, further, virtue is more exact and better than any art, as nature also is, then virtue must have the quality of aiming at the intermediate. I mean moral virtue; for it is this that is concerned with passions and actions, and in these there is excess, defect, and the intermediate.”
237.10 As a house loves the ground, is like the man / Who owns it…: through 237.15 is undoubtedly inspired by Aristotle, who frequently uses a house as a key example in his discussions, although paraphrased by LZ. One relevant passage from Aristotle, Physics II.9 (200a-b); partially qtd. Bottom 62:
“As regards what is ‘of necessity’, we must ask whether the necessity is ‘hypothetical’, or ‘simple’ as well. The current view places what is of necessity in the process of production, just as if one were to suppose that the wall of a house necessarily comes to be because what is heavy is naturally carried downwards and what is light to the top, wherefore the stones and foundations take the lowest place, with earth above because it is lighter, and wood at the top of all as being the lightest. Whereas, though the wall does not come to be without these, it is not due to these, except as its material cause: it comes to be for the sake of sheltering and guarding certain things. Similarly in all other things which involve production for an end; the product cannot come to be without things which have a necessary nature, but it is not due to these (except as its material); it comes to be for an end. For instance, why is a saw such as it is? To effect so-and-so and for the sake of so-and-so. This end, however, cannot be realized unless the saw is made of iron. It is, therefore, necessary for it to be of iron, it we are to have a saw and perform the operation of sawing. What is necessary then, is necessary on a hypothesis; it is not a result necessarily determined by antecedents. Necessity is in the matter, while ‘that for the sake of which’ is in the definition. […]
The necessary in nature, then, is plainly what we call by the name of matter, and the changes in it. Both causes must be stated by the physicist, but especially the end; for that is the cause of the matter, not vice versa; and the end is ‘that for the sake of which’, and the beginning starts from the definition or essence; as in artificial products, since a house is of such-and-such a kind, certain things must necessarily come to be or be there already, or since health is this, these things must necessarily come to be or be there already. Similarly if man is this, then these; if these, then those. Perhaps the necessary is present also in the definition. For if one defines the operation of sawing as being a certain kind of dividing, then this cannot come about unless the saw has teeth of a certain kind; and these cannot be unless it is of iron. For in the definition too there are some parts that are, as it were, its matter” (trans. R.P. Hardie & R.K. Gaye).
237.16 Making friends from self-probing, quite lonely / Until we know love…: through 237.26 from Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics and Politics; the nature of friendship and love is examined in detail in Books VIII & IX of the Nicomachean Ethics:
237.16-17: Nicomachean Ethics IX.10 (1171a): “Presumably, then, it is well not to seek to have as many friends as possible, but as many as are enough for the purpose of living together; for it would seem actually impossible to be a great friend to many people. This is why one cannot love several people; love is ideally a sort of excess of friendship, and that can only be felt towards one person; therefore great friendship too can only be felt towards a few people” (see Bottom 348).
237.18-19: Nicomachean Ethics IX.9 (1169b): “For we have said at the outset that happiness is an activity; and activity plainly comes into being and is not present at the start like a piece of property. If (1) happiness lies in living and being active, and the good man’s activity is virtuous and pleasant in itself, as we have said at the outset, and (2) a thing’s being one’s own is one of the attributes that make it pleasant, and (3) we can contemplate our neighbours better than ourselves and their actions better than our own, and if the actions of virtuous men who are their friends are pleasant to good men (since these have both the attributes that are naturally pleasant),—if this be so, the supremely happy man will need friends of this sort, since his purpose is to contemplate worthy actions and actions that are his own, and the actions of a good man who is his friend have both these qualities.”
237.20-21: Politics III.6 (1278b-1279a): “On the other hand, the government of a wife and children and of a household, which we have called household management, is exercised in the first instance for the good of the governed or for the common good of both parties, but essentially for the good of the governed, as we see to be the case in medicine, gymnastic, and the arts in general, which are only accidentally concerned with the good of the artists themselves.”
237.21: Nicomachean Ethics IX.3 (1165b): “For, as we said at the outset, most differences arise between friends when they are not friends in the spirit in which they think they are. So when a man has deceived himself and has thought he was being loved for his character, when the other person was doing nothing of the kind, he must blame himself; when he has been deceived by the pretences of the other person, it is just that he should complain against his deceiver; he will complain with more justice than one does against people who counterfeit the currency, inasmuch as the wrongdoing is concerned with something more valuable.”
237.22: Nicomachean Ethics III.2 (1111b): “But neither is it wish, though it seems near to it; for choice cannot relate to impossibles, and if any one said he chose them he would be thought silly; but there may be a wish even for impossibles, e.g. for immortality” (qtd. Bottom 64-65).
237.23: Politics III.9 (1280a): “And whereas justice implies a relation to persons as well as to things, and a just distribution, as I have already said in the Ethics, implies the same ratio between the persons and between the things, they agree about the equality of the things, but dispute about the equality of the persons, chiefly for the reason which I have just given, —because they are bad judges in their own affairs; and secondly, because both the parties to the argument are speaking of a limited and partial justice, but imagine themselves to be speaking of absolute justice.”
237.24-25: Nicomachean Ethics I.6 (1096a-b): “And one might ask the question, what in the world they mean by ‘a thing itself’, if (as is the case) in ‘man himself’ and in a particular man the account of man is one and the same. For in so far as they are man, they will in no respect differ; and if this is so, neither will ‘good itself’ and particular goods, in so far as they are good. But again it will not be good any the more for being eternal, since that which lasts long is no whiter than that which perishes in a day” (trans. W.D. Ross) (qtd. Bottom 61 and mentioned 335; also “4 Other Countries,” CSP 177).
237.26-27: To be is better than not to be. To / Live—: evidently this is taken from the introductory material by W. Ogle to Aristotle, On the Parts of Animals, a volume LZ would later draw on extensively in “A”-13.268-271: “The basis of all excellence is the presence of a soul, that is, the possession of life. ‘Anything nobler or better than the soul cannot possibly exist’ [De Anima I.5]; and again, ‘to be is better than not to be; to live than not to live; things with a soul than things without; the soul itself than the body’ [On the Generation of Animals II.1].”
237.22 liveforever: see 1.4.29.
237.28 Celia/ Over coffee. / The lover of wisdom / Does not ask her love…: through 238.5 echoes the stanza at 162.17-27, including quotation from Plato, Phaedo, see quotation at 162.19.
238.21 My time runs me: see 183.24.
238.32 My poetics has old ochre in it…: LZ alludes to cave paintings and specifically to the use of ochre several times, see Prep+ 50 and Bottom 184. During the Zukofskys’ 1957 trip to Europe, LZ would visit some of the most famous caves with Paleolithic paintings at Lascaux and Eyzies in southern France; see “4 Other Countries” (CSP 174).
239.2 All of a style, surge / Over six thousand years: see 127.3 and 225.2.
239.12 Three hours away / In the country: Old Lyme, Connecticut where the Zukofskys had a summer cottage while PZ attended summer music school.
239.14 Our American blue block-print…: cf. “It Was”: “I watered the plants, then covered the couch with the white cotton print hand-blacked in blue with early American scenes of a naval battle, Indians, date palms, mules and elephants. Why elephants happened to be drawn into scenes on authority depicting the history of St. Augustine, Florida, I have never been able to answer with the knowledge of history I have” (CF 184). LZ did research on “Cotton Historical Prints” for the Index of American Design (see A Useful Art 211-224).
239.29 On the third floor / Of our Brooklyn brownstone: at the time of writing, LZ lived at 30 Willow Street, Brooklyn.
239.33 “Duncan Phyfe’s house, workshop and store”…: Duncan Phyfe (1768-1854) was an important American furniture maker who ran a large shop on Partition (later Fulton) Street in NYC. There is a c. 1816 watercolor of Phyfe’s shop and warehouse, formerly attributed to John Rubens although apparently that is now questionable, which undoubtedly is the image LZ mentions. It includes a high brick building on the right hand side with someone leaning out of a side window as LZ mentions at 240.11-14. The original watercolor is in the Metropolitan Museum (see here). LZ produced a radio script for his WPA work on the Index of American Design that discusses in some detail Phyfe’s life and work (see A Useful Art 179-184).
240.3 Chardin’s House of Cards…: painting of a boy making a house of cards by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin (1699-1779). There are several different versions of this painting.
240.34 preludio / of the Third Partita: see 130.5.
241.24 I am approaching fifty…: LZ would have been 46-47 at the time of writing “A”-12, and CZ (b. Jan. 1913) would have been 37-38.
242.12 Li Po: (701-762), Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty. The lines 242.9-12 are adapted from the translation of a Li Po poem addressed to another great Chinese poet, Du Fu or Tu Fu (712-770), who was a contemporary and friend of Li Po’s:
Here! is this you on the top of Fan-kuo Mountain,
Wearing a huge hat in the noon-day sun?
How thin, how wretchedly thin, you have grown!
You must have been suffering from poetry again. (trans. Shigeyoshi Obata)
242.14 the alchemist and His Little World…: Paracelsus; see 172.1 and 172.25.
242.18 The water private bee, says Ovid: from the translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses by Arthur Golding (1536-1606), published complete in 1567, and used by Shakespeare; see 254.10-11. Through 250.8 quotations in italics from this translation are scattered throughout. From Book VI.446:
Then gently said the Goddesse: Sirs, why doe you me forfend
The water? Nature doth to all in common water send.
For neither Sunne, nor Ayre, nor yet the Water private bee,
I seeke but that which natures gift hath made to all things free.
And yet I humbly crave of you to graunt it unto mee.
242.20 as when a conduite pipe is crackt: from Golding’s Ovid’s Metamorphoses IV.148 (in Bottom 409 LZ quotes the original Latin passage that contains this image):
From Thisbe up he [Pyramus] takes, and streight doth beare it to the tree,
Which was appointed erst the place of meeting for to bee.
And when he had bewept and kist the garment which he knew,
Receyve thou my bloud too (quoth he) and therewithall he drew
His sworde, the which among his guttes he thrust, and by and by
Did draw it from the bleeding wound beginning for to die,
And cast himselfe upon his backe, the bloud did spin on hie
As when a Conduite pipe is crackt, the water bursting out
Doth shote it selfe a great way off and pierce the Ayre about.
243.1 Ben Franklin / Who foresaw a chutists invation: when Franklin was in Paris helping to negotiate the Treaty of Paris (1783) that formally concluded the American Revolutionary War, he was an enthusiastic witness to the Montgolfier brothers’ successful experiments with hot air balloons. In a 16 Jan. 1784 letter to Jan Ingenhausz, he remarked: “It appears, as you observe, to be a discovery of great importance, and what may possibly give a new turn to human affairs. Convincing sovereigns of the folly of wars may perhaps be one effect of it; since it will be impracticable for the most potent of them to guard his dominions. Five thousand balloons, capable of raising two men each, could not cost more than have ships of the line; and where is the prince who can afford so to cover his country with troops for its defence, as that ten thousand men descending from the clouds might not in many places do an infinite deal of mischief, before a force could be brought together to repel them?”
243.12 I am he that meets the year – Ovid: from Golding’s Ovid’s Metamorphoses IV.274:
[the Sun disguised] Saide: Maydes, withdraw your selves a while and sit not listning here.
I have a secret thing to talke. The Maides avoyde eche one,
The God then being with his love [Leucothoe] in chamber all alone,
Said: I am he that metes the yeare, that all things doe beholde,
By whome the Earth doth all things see, the Eye of all the worlde.
Trust me I am in love with thee.
244.8 When the Reverend / Left his notebook…: see episode described in Little (CF 42-43). Merditations < Fr. merd = shit.
244.19 Rocks and robbers, / Said Byron’s valet of Greece: from the unreliable Edward John Trelawny, Records of Shelley, Byron, and the Author (1878); on their way to Greece, Byron’s valet, William Fletcher, responds to the ship captain’s query about that country, which they had previously visited: “Bless you! There is very little country; it’s all rocks and robbers. They live in holes in rocks, and come out like foxes; they have long guns, pistols, and knives. We were obliged to have a guard of soldiers to go from one place to another.”
244.22 Madam Geschwind / At the marine spittoon: Geschwind = Ger. speed, quick, swift; referring to CZ as a typist.
245.4 Whatever happens we have got / The Maxim gun and they have not: from a poem “The Modern Traveller” by Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953).
246.4 The author’s purpose…: from Arthur Golding’s Preface, lines 151-152, to his Ovid’s Metamorphoses (see 242.18).
246.9 broken ribbes of / ships upon the shore: from Golding’s Ovid’s Metamorphoses XI.493:
The sea mee sore afrayd dooth make.
To think uppon the sea dooth cause my flesh for feare to quake.
I sawe the broken ribbes of shippes alate uppon the shore.
And oft on Tumbes I reade theyr names whose bodyes long before
The sea had swallowed.
246.11 What now avayles: from Golding’s Ovid’s Metamorphoses IV.233:
And like as he hir secret loves and meetings had bewrayd,
So she with wound of raging love his guerdon to him payd.
What now avayles (Hyperions sonne) thy forme and beautie bright?
What now avayle thy glistering eyes with cleare and piercing sight?
246.15 A descant on the Shakespeare: alludes to LZ’s on-going work Bottom: on Shakespeare (1963), begun in 1947, in which Spinoza is used to flesh out LZ’s Shakespeare theme, especially in Part I. A descant is an ornamental melody or counterpoint sung or played above a theme; to comment at length, discourse (AHD).
246.16 Both extolled Ovid / “The Poet”: Shakespeare’s interest in Ovid, particularly via Arthur Golding’s translation (see 242.18), is well known. Spinoza, who in Ethics directly alludes to or names other authors very infrequently, explicitly refers to and quotes Ovid three times, more than anyone else. He refers to him as “the poet” at Part IV, Prop. 17, Note. LZ also refers to Shakespeare’s and Spinoza’s mutual interest in Ovid in Bottom 27.
246.18 A poet is never idle: cf. remark in “Poetry / For My Son When He Can Read” (1946): “People who do this [i.e. poets] are always working. They are not ashamed to appear idle” (Prep+ 3).
246.19 My one reader: i.e. CZ.
246.22 Poe to his printer: / You receive all / the profits…: Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) attempted to have a second edition of Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840) published, but despite the terms LZ quotes in a letter dated 13 August 1841, the publishers, Lea & Blanchard of Philadelphia, turned him down.
247.1 owing account to myself along / of my hours: Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 19 May 1793: “The motion of my blood no longer keeps time with the tumult of the world. It leads me to seek for happiness in the lap and love of my family, in the society of my neighbors & my books, in the wholesome occupations of my farm & my affairs, in an interest or affection in every bud that opens, in every breath that blows around me, in an entire freedom of rest or motion, of thought or incogitancy, owing account to myself alone of my hours & actions.”
247.9 River, since a song does not turn back / to speak…: this stanza and perhaps the preceding as well are evidently an early draft for “A”-11.
247.19 Since the past is a wall / between two windows: cf. 5.18.25-28.
247.23 A redness mixed with white: from Golding’s Ovid’s Metamorphoses X.693:
A rednesse mixt with whight uppon her tender bodye cam,
As when a scarlet curtaine streynd ageinst a playstred wall
Dooth cast like a shadowe, making it seeme ruddye therwithall.
247.24 But if no one be there to present wall: see 132.11.
247.25 Of these same flowers to please her boy…: from Golding’s Ovid’s Metamorphoses IX.413-414:
Of theis same flowres to please her boy my suster gathered sum,
And I had thought to doo so too, for I was thither cum.
I saw how from the slivered flowres red drops of blood did fall,
And how that shuddring horribly the braunches quaakt withall.
You must perceyve that (as too late the Countryfolk declare)
A Nymph cald Lotos flying from fowle Pryaps filthy ware,
Was turned into this same tree reserving still her name.
248.2 Roger Bacon’s Six Causes of Teaching Ignorance…: Roger Bacon (c.1219-1268), English philosopher and scientist. The source of LZ’s list is apparently the New York Times for 3 Nov. 1948, “Books of the Times” by Orville Prescott reviewing Robert Gordon Anderson’s The City and the Cathedral. LZ copied out the list and condensed it in his working notebook (HRC 3.7): “Reliance on Unsound Authority, The Over-Academic or Reactionary Attitude, Lack of Willingness to say ‘I do not know,’ Saying ‘I know’ when one does not, Pretense to wisdom not Possessed, Fear of, and Catering to, the Crowd.”
248.9 “Adversaries have / called me a constructor…: through 248.30 from Arnold Schoenberg, “New Music, Outmoded Music, Style and Idea” (1946); LZ may have found this quotation in a review of Schoenberg’s Style and Idea (published in English in 1950) in the New York Times for 6 May 1951: “Problems of Style,” in which the entire following passage is quoted:
“Adversaries have called me a constructor, an engineer, an architect, even a mathematician—not to flatter me—because of my method of composing with twelve tones. In spite of knowing my Verklärte Nacht and Gurrelieder [Schoenberg’s two earliest major compositions] though some people like these works because of the emotionality, they called my music dry and denied me spontaneity. They pretended that I offered the products of a brain, not of a heart. I have often wondered whether people who possess a brain would prefer to hide this fact. I have been supported in my own attitude by the example of Beethoven who, having received a letter from his brother Johann signed ‘land owner,’ signed his reply ‘brain owner.’ One might question why Beethoven just stressed the point of owning a brain. He had so many other merits to be proud of, for instance, being able to compose music which some people considered outstanding, being an accomplished pianist—and, as such, even recognized by the nobility—and being able to satisfy his publishers by giving them something of value for their money. Why did he call himself just ‘brain owner,’ when the possession of a brain is considered a danger to the naiveté of an artist by many pseudo-historians?”
249.4 Bartok of another mind…: Bela Bartók (1881-1945), Hungarian composer, who like Schoenberg left Europe for the U.S. with the rise of the Nazis. LZ’s friend Tibor Serly was a close associate of Bartók and was active in promoting his work.
249.7 Nor that other naïf— / No clock in his room…: Albert Einstein (1879-1955), who also left Berlin for the U.S. in 1933 because of the Nazis’ rise to power. LZ is quoting from the New York Times for 20 Feb. 1947 (see 231.24): “Albert Einstein was once asked: ‘What is the speed of sound?’ Without batting an eye he answered cheerfully: ‘I don’t know. I don’t burden my memory with such facts that I can easily find in any textbook.’” […] “At Zurich [Einstein’s] income was in fact so modest that he remarked ruefully: ‘In my relativity theory I set up a clock at every point in space, but in reality it is difficult to provide even one clock in my room.’” The clocks remark refers to the concept or thought experiment of simultaneity, in which it is possible to establish a theoretical network of synchronous clocks.
249.16 Muss: Benito Mussolini (1882-1945), Italian Fascist dictator who ruled Italy from 1922-1943.
249.18 The camera / Shows the reaction / Of a hand…: from the New York Times for 19 April 1933: “Camera Pictures Wink of an Eye”: “An ultra-high-speed motion-picture timing camera that can take up to 3,000 pictures per second, enabling man to see what hitherto has belonged to the realm of the invisible, was demonstrated yesterday by Electrical Research Products, Inc., at it projection room, 250 West Fifty-seventh Street.” […] “A blindfolded person whose hand was burned with a lighted cigarette did not begin pulling it away until 26/100th of a second had elapsed.”
249.25 The last and highest triumph of history…: through 250.6 from Chap. 30 of The Education of Henry Adams (1918).
250.7 And nothing may compare with years…: from Golding’s Ovid’s Metamorphoses X.597: “Away slippes fleeting tyme unspyde and mocks us to our face, / And nothing may compare with yeares in swiftnesse of theyr pace.”
250.11 Klee, I guess, 1924: / His objects of line, tone, color…: Paul Klee (1879-1940), through 250.24 from a 1924 lecture “On Modern Art,” explaining and defending modernist art. LZ’s source is apparently a review of Paul Klee: On Modern Art, which consists of the lecture with illustrations, from the New York Times for 13 Feb. 1949 by Alice Louchheim, who paraphrases and extensively quotes from Klee:
“There are the artist’s materials: line (which is measure), tonal value (which is weight) and color (which is quality), all of them interrelated in the process of constructing pictures with these elements, associative ideas work them into objects or images. […] The special character which is given to each determines style. [… ‘The modern artist] arrives at what appears to be such an arbitrary “deformation” of natural forms.’ […] the modern artist ‘places more value on the powers which do the forming than on the final forms [of nature] themselves’ […] He asserts that the artist is interested in penetrating behind appearances into the ‘secret place,’ that ‘power-house of all time and space—call it brain or heart of creation—[which] activates every function.’”
250.26 (Sam Butler) he did not see that the education…: from Chapter 6 of The Way of All Flesh (1903) by Samuel Butler (1835-1902): “He pitied himself for the expensive education which he was giving his children; he did not see that the education cost the children far more than it cost him, inasmuch as it cost them the power of earning their living easily rather than helped them towards it, and ensured their being at the mercy of their father for years after they had come to an age when they should be independent. A public school education cuts off a boy’s retreat; he can no longer become a labourer or a mechanic, and these are the only people whose tenure of independence is not precarious—with the exception of course of those who are born inheritors of money or who are placed young in some safe and deep groove.”
251.1 Weston’s joy / Of finding things / Already composed…: Edward Weston (1886-1958), American photographer; an early advocate of “straight photography.” LZ is taking several remarks from Weston’s journals found in a review of My Camara on Point Lobos in the New York Times for 4 June 1950: “‘I get a greater joy from finding things in nature, already composed, than I do from my finest personal arrangements.’ […] ‘Once the first print is made, the thrill is over.’ […] ‘When making a portrait, my approach is quite the same as when I am portraying a rock. I do not wish to impose my personality upon the sitter, but, keeping myself open to receive reactions from his own special ego, record this with nothing added’” LZ mentions Weston in 13 Aug. 1960 letter to Cid Corman, The Gist of Origin (NY: Grossman, 1975): 160.
251.22 You don’t have to type…: LZ never typed his work and relied on others, particularly CZ, to do so.
252.8 John Soowthern or Soothern…: presumably the pseudonymous author of a small volume of verse, Pandora (1584), which includes one the earliest English sonnet sequences. LZ quotes Sonnet 9; his “arrangement,” aside from modernizing the spelling and punctuation, consists of dropping a “that” after the second word of the 7th line and the deletion of four commas.
253.13 Toonerville trolley: a popular comic strip that ran in newspapers from 1908-1955 featuring a trolley with a temperamental personality. A number of films based on the trolley were also made, and various amusement trains are also named after the comic strip.
253.14 true-life Italian film: presumably refers to the Italian Neo-Realism of Roberto Rossolini, Vittoria De Sica and Luchino Visconti in the immediate post-World War II period.
254.6 Queensboro Bridge: links mid-town Manhattan with Queens, opened in 1909; also called the 59th Street Bridge.
254.9 The Ghost Dance (Wovoka): Wovoka (c.1858-1932) was the Native American Paiute prophet of the messianic movement known as Ghost Dance.
254.10 Ovid’s Metamorphoses / That would sing Golding: see 242.18. Golding’s Metamorphoses was a favorite work of EP, who on many occasions suggested it was perhaps the most beautiful book in the English language. The editor of EP’s music criticism, R. Murray Schafer, mentions that Pound once gave the composer Tibor Serly a copy of Golding saying it contained material for a dozen operas (Ezra Pound and Music, 355). LZ met Serly in the late 1920s and introduced him to both EP and WCW. Serly would work with WCW on an opera about George Washington with which LZ also helped. Although this project fell through, WCW’s libretto was published as The First President and at least a couple short lyrics by LZ intended for it survive (see note to “Alba”).
254.12 Edward VIII / (the radio address of Edward and George…: Edward VIII of England scandalously abdicated the throne in Dec. 1936 in order to marry the American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. On 11 Dec. Edward made a radio address to the nation to explain his decision. His younger brother, Prince Albert became King George VI. Their younger brother, Prince George Duke of Kent (1902-1942), married Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark in 1934.
254.17 Shakespeare’s Cranmer…: from Shakespeare, Henry VIII V.v; this is the final scene of the play in which Cranmer offers the following prophecy for the baby Elizabeth who is being baptized (the latter phrase is qtd. twice in Bottom 341, 386):
Cranmer: She shall be loved and fear’d: her own shall bless her;
Her foes shake like a field of beaten corn,
And hang their heads with sorrow: good grows with her:
In her days every man shall eat in safety,
Under his own vine, what he plants; and sing
The merry songs of peace to all his neighbours:
God shall be truly known; and those about her
From her shall read the perfect ways of honour,
And by those claim their greatness, not by blood.
Nor shall this peace sleep with her: but as when
The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phoenix,
Her ashes new create another heir,
As great in admiration as herself;
So shall she leave her blessedness to one,
When heaven shall call her from this cloud of darkness,
Who from the sacred ashes of her honour
Shall star-like rise, as great in fame as she was,
And so stand fix’d: peace, plenty, love, truth, terror,
That were the servants to this chosen infant,
Shall then be his, and like a vine grow to him:
Wherever the bright sun of heaven shall shine,
His honour and the greatness of his name
Shall be, and make new nations: he shall flourish,
And, like a mountain cedar, reach his branches
To all the plains about him: our children’s children
Shall see this, and bless heaven.
254.28 The Little Girl…: much of this quotation through 255.10 survives on a single small sheet of draft notes among LZ’s papers (HRC 3.13), which indicates that further bits of probably the same work appear at 13.291.30-36 and 292.6-11.
255.1: Fleur, lys, baume: Fr. flower, lily, balsam. These words are from the lyrics to a famous rondeau by Guillaume de Machault (c.1300-1377), French poet and composer. The first two recurring lines are: “Rose, liz, printemps, verdure, / Fleur, baume et tres douce odour.” LZ translated part of another poem by Machault in 1941 and included in Anew (CSP 86-87).
255.5: Slaughter…: Enos Slaughter (1916-2002), American baseball player. LZ is quoting a 20 July 1942 New York Times report on a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Brooklyn Dodgers, in which Slaughter hit a long ball that was dropped by the outfielder, allowing Slaughter to make an inside the park homerun to win the game for the Cardinals.
255.11 That People the Sunbeams: LZ mentions this proposed novel in a 19 Nov. 1932 letter to EP (SL 88); a few outline notes as well as a typed “plan” for the novel survive among LZ’s papers and include some of the phrases used here (HRC 16.6, 34.1). The “plan” is retrospectively dated ca. 1930. Further details appear in notes that mostly went into “A”-8 (HRC 4.13-15).
The title is taken from the opening stanza (line 8) of John Milton, “Il Penseroso” (see also 256.10-11):
Dwell in some idle brain,
And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess
As thick and numberless
As the gay motes that people the sunbeams,
Or likest hovering dreams,
The fickle pensioners of Morpheus’ train.
255.12: William S. Hart’s Tumbleweeds: (1864-1946), Hart was one of the first big cowboy movie stars of the silent era; Tumbleweeds was his last movie in 1925 and often considered his best. LZ mentions Hart and one of his earlier films, The Fugitive, in “Modern Times” (Prep+ 58).
255.27: A struggle is a dense point…: cf. Ludwig Wittgenstein’s “A point in space is a place for an argument,” from the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922), which LZ quotes at 13.287.37-40 and Bottom 46.
256.1: lettre de cachet: Fr. sealed letter, particularly of a warrant of arrest or death.
256.12 It Was— “the country of Watteau”: the very short story “It Was” is one of the few projects listed in “A”-12 the LZ actually completed; see CF 179-184. However, the phase concerning Watteau neither appears in nor seems particularly relevant to the work we now have (but see Bottom 282). Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), French painter.
256.13 Rutgers St. (near Cherry St., / Geo. Washington days): both streets on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Presumably LZ is connecting Cherry Street or the cherry trees that presumably were once there with not only the Washington era but the legendary tale of the young Washington cutting down the cherry tree; for LZ’s interest in this legend see 8.71.1013 and CSP 130-131. On Rutgers Street see 148.24.
256.20 The Hounds: Colebrook furnace, 17c.: Ahearn identifies this as a short story project growing out of LZ’s work on the Index of American Design based on a 18th century verse narrative “The Legend of the Hounds” (1869) by George H. Boker (1823-1890); see Ahearn, “Marxism and American Handicraft” 82-83. This poem is about Robert Coleman (1748-1825), who first achieved success as a manufacturer of iron munitions during the American Revolution and reputably became Pennsylvania’s first millionaire; he built the Colebrook Furnace in 1791. According to LZ’s essay on “American Ironwork,” Coleman “returns from a fox hunt, enraged by the falseness of his hounds, and with whip in hand, drives the whole pack of them into the blazing tunnelhead” (A Useful Art 52, 156). Although he seems to have consulted Boker’s poem, LZ’s primary source is an article by Arthur Cecil Bining, “Iron Plantations of Early Pennsylvania,” Lebanon County Historical Society, Publications III, no. 1 (1905-1906, from which he copied out, somewhat abbreviated, a paraphrase of the narrative.
256.23 A Life of William Byrd: this could be the great English Renaissance composer (1543-1623), who LZ quotes in Bottom 420, but in context is more likely the American colonial writer and planter (1674-1744), author of History of the Dividing Line.
256.24 “more Colden”: Cadwallader Colden (1688-1776), New York governor and scientist; see 8.102.19.
256.24 Clarence / King: (1842-1901), American geologist and explorer who led the U.S. Geological Survey of the 40th parallel in 1879. A close friend of Henry Adams, King appears significantly in The Education of Henry Adams.
256.26 Judge B. Stallo: John Bernhard Stallo (1823-1900), diplomat; Henry Adams thought highly of his “Concepts and Theories of Modern Physics” (1882), which is mentioned in The Education of Henry Adams.
256.26 J. K. Ingalls (Work and Wealth, 1878 / also Social Wealth, 1885: Joshua King Ingalls (1816-1879), radical land reformer and Unitarian preacher. Through 257.3 quotes or paraphrases from LZ’s notes on both books (HRC 3.13). In his research notes for the radio broadcasts related to the Index of American Design, LZ quotes basic biographical information on Ingalls, as well as short quotations from the works mentioned against private property and “artificial capital,” including lines at 257.1-3 (A Useful Art 208-209). Apparently LZ ran across Ingalls while doing research on friendship quilts for the Index of American Design. LZ would later reuse some of his Ingalls notes at 13.301.9-10.
257.3 How Jefferson Used Words: LZ proposed and worked intermittently on a project with this title for many years during the 1930s beginning the year he spent teaching at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1930-1931, when apparently it was intended to be a doctoral thesis; there are many passing references to this project in the correspondence with EP. A proposal describing the project dated 4 Jan. 1940 is reproduced as an appendix in SL 332-333.
257.3 A History of / American Design: this project presumably related to LZ’s work with the WPA during the 1930s on the Index of American Design, a huge collection of illustrations and compendium of research on American crafts and early industries (see A Useful Art). It has sometimes been assumed that LZ had in mind his own project on American design, which is possible although there is no definite evidence about this. LZ prepared a historical outline with explanatory notes within the context of his WPA work, reproduced without the notes in Jennison (62, 204; HRC 14.9).
257.4 Graph: Of Culture: cf. the title of Part Two of Bottom: “Music’s master: notes for Her music to Pericles and for a graph of culture.”
257.7 “there always along by the side these dramaturgic…: from Thorstein Veblen, “The Evolution of the Scientific Point of View” (1908) in The Place of Science in Modern Civilization and Other Essays (1919); LZ quotes from the same essay at 8.56.13-57.5. Speaking of the origins of scientific thought in primitive cultures: “Their theories are not all of the nature of dramatic legend, myth, or animistic life-history, although the broader and more picturesque generalizations may take that form. There always runs along by the side of these dramaturgic life-histories, and underlying them, an obscure system of generalizations in terms of matter-of-fact. The system of matter-of-fact generalizations, or theories, is obscurer than the dramatic generalizations only in the sense that it is left in the background as being less picturesque and of less vital interest, not in the sense of being less familiar, less adequately apprehended, or less secure” (41). In this essay, Veblen sketches a three-stage evolution of scientific thought that traces the dynamic between immediate, practical thought and more abstract generalizations, which are active at all stages of human thought from mythic to scientific thinking, but with the latter becoming proportionally more dominant as it evolves. Therefore, Veblen’s historical scheme can be seen as analogous to that of Vico; see next.
257.12 Vico: / An age of gods…: in the New Science (1725-1730), the Italian philosopher and historian Giambattista Vico (1668-1744) proposed his cyclical theory of an “ideal eternal history” that progressed through three stages: the age of gods in which the imagination was preeminent and knowledge manifested itself in mythology and poetry, the age of heroes in which there was the creation of institutions and moral virtues, and finally the age of men in which self-reflective rationality dominates. If this latter stage inaugurated ideas of human equality, for Vico it also led to inevitable skepticism and a decline into the “barbarism of reflection.”
257.23 performance / Of your Pericles, Celia: the second volume of Bottom is CZ’s musical score for Shakespeare’s Pericles, although at the time of writing “A”-12, the Pericles project was not conceived of as part of Bottom; see 193.34.
258.1 The Changes sing, / The men of Phrygia…: Ovid’s Metamorphoses (= Changes) in Book XI Neptune and Apollo take on human form to help the Phrygian King Laomedon build the walls of Troy, but he then reneges on the promised payment, which results in his daughter Hesione being chained to a rock for the delectation of a sea monster until she is rescued by Hercules.
258.28 Aristarchus didn’t / punctuate Homer: Aristarchus of Samothrace (c.217-c.145 BC), librarian at Alexandria and innovative textual scholar who is credited with the authoritative texts of Homer that have come down to us.
258.30 Gerhardi we read young…: William Gerhardi (1895-1977), also Gerhardie, English novelist born in Russia. Although now largely forgotten, Gerhardi was a widely admired novelist in the years between the world wars. The following quotation through 259.14 is from probably his best-known novel, The Polyglots (1925), a copy of which was in LZ’s library (Henderson 173), describing the autobiographically based experiences of working for the British Military Mission in Vladivostok, Russia’s major port on the Sea of Japan:
“I had to work under Sir Hugo (of Vladivostok fame), of whom you may have heard. My chief was a lover of ‘staff work,’ and besides the many ordinary files he had some special files—a file called ‘The Religious File,’ in which he kept documents supplied by metropolitans and archimandrites and other holy fathers, and another file in which he kept correspondence relative to some gramophone records which had been taken from the Mess by a Canadian officer. And much of our work consisted of sending these files backwards and forwards. And sometimes the gramophone file would be lost, and sometimes the religious file, and then Sir Hugo would be very upset. Or he would write a report, and the report—so intricate was our organization—would also be lost. Once he wrote a very exhaustive report on the local situation. He had corrected it very carefully, had, after much thought, inserted a number of additional commas, had erased some of the commas on secondary consideration, had had the report typed, and had corrected it again when it was typed, inserting long sub-paragraphs in the margins which he enclosed in large circles, and so attached them to wherever they belonged by means of long pointed arrows trespassing on each other’s ground, thus giving the script the appearance of a spider’s web. Then he had read through once again, now solely from the point of view of punctuation. He inserted seven more commas and a full stop which he had previously omitted. Sir Hugo was most particular about full stops, commas and semicolons, and he was very fond of colons, which he preferred to semicolons, by way of being more pointed and incisive, by way of proving that the universe was one chain of causes and effects. In order to avoid any possible mistakes in the typing of his manuscript, Sir Hugo surrounded his full stops with little circles, and in producing commas he would turn his pen so as almost to cause a hole in the paper and then slash it down like a sabre. The colons were two dots, each surrounded by the circle; and a semicolon was a combination of an encircled full stop and a sabre slash of a comma. There could be no possible mistake about Sir Hugo’s punctuation. And would you believe it? After he had dispatched the report, marking the inner envelope in red ink ‘Very secret and Personal,’ and placing the inner envelope in an outer envelope and sealing carefully both envelopes—the report was lost” (45-46).
259.16 Elizabeth’s Princess of Espinoy…: this sonnet, “Epitaph made by the Queen’s Majesty at the Death of the Princess of Espinoy,” appears in John Soothern’s Pandora (see 252.8), but the attribution to Elizabeth I is doubtful. In 1581, the Spanish recaptured the town of Tournai in what is today Flemish Belgium after a long siege and valiant defense led by the Princess of Espinoy, Philippine-Christine de Lalang.
259.25 Adrian crown:
259.27 Atropos: one of the three Moirae or Fates, who cuts the thread of life.
260.1 Bucks County: in southeast Pennsylvania; see next note.
260.2 pulls on her glove to show her gold ring…: from a children’s song, of which there are many variations. The following is an example of a singing game from a paper by Mrs. Ellsworth Kochersperger, “Songs and Games of Children in Bucks County,” A Collection of Papers read before the Bucks County Historical Society, vol. IV (1917): 398-405. LZ may have come across this source during his work as a researcher for the Work Projects Administration (WPA) during the 1930s (see also 260.9):
Johnie Jones is a nice young man,
He comes to the door with his hat in his hand,
Down comes she dressed in white,
A rose in her bosom as soft as silk.
She pulls on her glove to show her gold ring,
Tomorrow, tomorrow the wedding will begin.
260.4 —Still awake, still pothering? / — What, goddess?…: the final two pages of “A”-12 modulate into a domestic scene with CZ partially based on an episode from Homer, Odyssey. Book XX opens with Odysseus having returned in disguise to Ithaca but not yet having revealed himself to Penelope. Because of his anger and impatience for revenge on the suitors, Odysseus is unable to sleep until Athena appears to him, saying: “‘Why are you wakeful, poor fellow? This is your house, your wife is here in the house, and your boy, such as any one might be proud to have for a son.’ Odysseus answered the vision: ‘Yes, that is true, my goddess, that is quite right. But what puzzles me is this, How can I get my hands on this shameless crew, alone by myself?’” Athena reassures Odysseus and then puts him to sleep. The scene switches to Penelope who wakes and prays to Artemis to die to escape her misery: “‘Sorrow can be endured even when the days are passed in tears with a broken heart, so long as sleep comes in the night: for sleep brings forgetfulness of all things both good and evil as soon as the eyelids close; but I am haunted by cruel dreams’” As Penelope speaks these words, dawn breaks and Odysseus hears her voice as if in a half-dream. He rises and prays to Zeus for a sign: “Zeus Allwise heard his prayer. At once came a thunderclap from radiant Olympos out of the clouds on high, and brought joy to his heart. The word of portent came from a woman grinding corn in the mill-house close by. Twelve women used to keep the millstones rolling, to grind wheat-meal and barley-meal, the marrow of men’s bodies. The others had ground their portion and gone to sleep; but one was still at it, the weakest of them all. Now she stopt her millstone and gave the sign which her master prayed for […].” The woman then interprets the thunderclap as an omen of the imminent demise of the suitors, which Odysseus overhears, renewing his confidence (trans. W.H.D. Rouse).
260.9 water, water, white flower growing up so high…: a children’s song from the same source as at 260.2:
Water, water, white flower, growing up so high,
We are all young ladies, and we are sure to die,
Excepting Kitty Brown, she is the finest flower,
White white flower, white white flower she.
260.11 —So long as sleep comes in the night, Penelope said: from Homer, Odyssey XX, see quotation at 260.4-8.
260.14 Ancient thunder at the mill / Millstones grinding / Barley and wheat / the marrow of men’s bodies: from Homer, Odyssey XX, see quotation at 260.4.
260.18 Thinking’s the lowest rung: see Prep+ 169.
261.13 Tell me of that man who got around / After sacred Troy fell…: through 261.20 from the opening invocation of Homer, Odyssey in LZ’s own adaptation as included in TP 117, slightly abridged.
261.22 Telemachos rose from his bed / And dressed: from Homer, Odyssey Book XX as translated by W.H.D. Rouse. These lines begin a new scene immediately following the opening scenes of Book XX as described and quoted at 260.4. They also echo the opening lines of Book II as Telemachos wakes up determined to assert his birth right against the suitors and to go in search for his father. Here imagined as spoken by CZ and therefore suggests an allusion to PZ.