Z-siteA Companion to the Works of Louis Zukofsky
Completed 23 Sept. 1960. Partita i: July 1960; ii: 18 August 1960; iii: 12-13 Sept. 1960; iv: 17 Sept. 1960; v: 23 Sept. 1960.
Partita i & ii, Origin 1, second series (April 1961; Partita ii, Origin 3, second series (Oct. 1961); Partita iv & v, Origin 4, second series (Jan. 1962).
262.1 partita: a suite or series of instrumental dances in the same or related keys. In a 25 Aug. 1960 letter to Cid Corman, LZ indicates that he thinks of the five parts of “A”-13 in terms of a classical suite, a set of pieces usually based on dance music, in the traditional order: allemande, courante, sarabande, gigue (jig) and chaconne (Gist of Origin 160). These dance movements are respectively in 4/4 time, triple time, slow 3/2 time, 6/8 or 12/8 time and slow 3-beat time. CZ denied that LZ had a particular partita in mind, only suggesting that Bach’s Partitias for Solo Violin (see 297.28) would have been the general model for LZ’s conception of the partita (Ahearn, “Two Conversations” 114-115). However the second of Bach’s partitias in D minor, mentioned at 297.28, would be the most obvious model since it is the one in five parts and PZ was practicing this piece during the time of composition in preparation for his third Carnegie Hall performance in Feb. 1961 (Scroggins Bio 321).
262.3 What do you want to know / What do you want to do…: see note at 262.6.
262.5 trice me the gist us: < Trismegistus; Hermes Trismegistus or the thrice-greatest is the Greek version of Thoth (267.9). Numerous hermetic philosophical, magical and alchemical texts were ascribed to him during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, there the “mysteries” at 262.11. The Book of Fate (see note at 262.3) gives the following note: “To Hermes Trismegistus, a sage as highly revered among them, as Zoroaster was among the Persians, the Egyptians ascribed the inventions of chief use to human life; and like every people who are unable to settle the antiquity of their origin, they represented his works to have outstood the shock even of the universal deluge. They otherwise called him Thoth; and their priests constantly maintained that from the hieroglyphical characters upon the pillars he erected, and the sacred books, all the philosophy and learning of the world has been derived, and all the oracular intelligence has been drawn.” Quartermain points out (Disjunctive Poetics 98) that “in a trice” means “in an instant” and that “trice” suggests, although does not strictly speaking mean, three (however, “tris-” in Trismegistus does mean three), which might allude to the stanza form of this partita and throughout the rest of “A” three will suggest the Zukofsky family.
262.6 Don’t believe things turn untrue…: throughout the first section or partita of “A”-13 there are numerous proverbial-like sayings, presumably addressed by a father to his son (LZ to PZ). The major source for the long passages 262.1-263.22 and 266.27-268.18 (plus further lines at 266.17-18, 268.22) is a curious divination text, Napoleon’s Book of Fate, which appeared in many editions during the 19th century. The one LZ apparently used has a preface dated 1822, with the full title as follows: The Book of Fate formerly in the possession of Napoleon, Late Emperor of France and now first rendered into English from a German Translation of an Ancient Egyptian Manuscript, found in the year 1801, by M. Sonnini, in one of the Royal Tombs, near Mount Libycus, in Upper Egypt. By H. Kirchenhoffer. This is a forged oracular work, whose main text consists of lists of hundreds of proverbial remarks organized into oracle tables, none of which have any specifically Egyptian character. However, the preface and introduction give a detailed account of where the manuscript was found, background on the major ancient Greek and Roman oracles and finally “The Writings of Balaspis by Command of Hermes Trismegistus [see 262.5] Unto the Priests of the Great Temple,” which gives specific instructions on how to use the oracle tables in response to a set of questions of a practical nature on marriage, wealth, travel, health, etc. The proverbial sayings, which are in fact the oracular answers, are repetitious and many are very similar to each other. In composing these sections, LZ made a long list freely rewriting a large number of the oracle answers, condensing each into a few words, and then worked his own passage from this list, which survives on loose sheets in HRC 3.13:
262.6: Give not credit to the insinuation that thy beloved will prove untrue.
262.7: The Islanders who have long swayed the scepter of the ocean, shall cease to conquer, but they will become the instructors of mankind. (Quartermain notes the probable pun on sea = Celia).
262.8: As the glorious sun eclipseth the light of the stars, so will the partner of thy bed be accounted the fairest among woman.
262.9: Choose that for which thy genius is best adapted.
262.10-11: Set not thy mind on searching after that which hath been hidden; but attend diligently to the duties of thy calling.
262.12: Thy husband will follow arms.
262.13: Take not the advice of ignorant pretenders to the art of healing, but apply, at once, to the fountain head of knowledge.
262.14: O man! be prepared for any change of fortune, and heed not the evil report of the wicked.
262.15: It signifieth a speedy marriage.
262.15-16: Though fortune now turn her back upon thee; thine own exertions will soon enable thee to triumph over her capricious humour.
262.17: Consult thy present condition, whether it be right in thee to marry!
Let not busy and meddling persons, who call themselves friends, disturb the happiness of the married pair.
262.18-19: She shall have a son, who will gain much wealth and honour.
262.19: The heart of thy beloved yearneth toward thee.
262.20-21: Thy husband will have many virtues, but also some faults; teach him to correct the latter, and fortune will attend you both.
262.22: Thou hast no enemies, who can in any degree injure thee.
262.23: Spend not thy substance in seeking after that which is not.
263.1: Recovery from thy misfortune will be gradual, but neglect no opportunity of honestly advancing thine own interests.
263.2-3: Matters which concern the absentee’s future happiness, prevent his immediate return.
263.4: She shall have a daughter, who will inherit all her mother’s virtues.
263.5: Thou hast an enemy who will attempt to injure you.
263.6: Sickness is not entirely absent from the mansion of those whom thou enquirest after; they say that thy presence would be agreeable.
263.7: Be not buoyed up by hopes of inheriting property which thou hast not earned.
The money which will be left thee, will not remunerate thy anxiety.
263.8: The recovery of thy goods will be unexpected.
263.9: The scepter of power will be wrested from the conqueror.
263.10: Bet nothing on the result of a game played by others.
263.11: When thou hast proved thy friend, thou mayest truly trust and value him.
263.12: Let not caprice mar thy happiness.
263.13-14: Thou shalt have to travel both by sea and land.
263.15-16: Justice is blind, but not always deaf: for in many parts, she loveth to listen to the sweet ringing of gold and silver.
263.17-18: The captive will speedily cease to breathe the foul air of a dungeon; let him use his freedom wisely [many similar sayings].
263.19-20: Implore the aid of Providence, ere thou settest thy foot without the threshold of thy house.
263.21-22: Ere thou stirrest abroad, put thine affairs in order, and when thou returnest from thy journey, thou shalt find thy goods secure.
263.29 Red pipecleaner velvet wired to / Valentine head…: see 18.404.8.
264.10 the Egyptian / Hippopotamus: this object was given to LZ by Charles Reznikoff (HRC 25.2).
264.23 fleeing the Fire in silk white / Bonaparte’s grenadier wishing plunder…: this apparently refers to the fact that in the 1812 invasion of Russia, Napoleon’s army both on its way to and retreating from Moscow passed through Kaunas in what is now Lithuania causing considerably devastation. Kaunas (or Kovno) was the area from which LZ’s family came.
264.28 The grace of a madhouse—courtesy, Thanks / for Passover delicacies / specially the black bambino…: a thank you note from EP who at the time was incarcerated at the prison asylum St. Elizabeths in Washington, D.C.. As indicated at 264.4, the Zukofskys sent EP a gift of molded fudge candies (see 288.35-289.4). The note is dated 30 March 1956 in LZ’s notebook (HRC 3.13), but on the surviving note itself the date added is 20 March (HRC 26.9).
265.4 Apartheider…: apartheid, the systematic policy of racial segregation established in South Africa. A major resource in South Africa was gold mined by black workers under slave-like conditions. The phrase “free root’s old pest,” presumably refers to the historical role of slavery in the development of Western capitalism. At the time “A”-13 was written, the Prime Minister of South Africa was Hendrik Verwoerd (1901-1966), generally considered the primary architect of apartheid and who intensified the system during his period in office (1958-1966). The Sharpeville Massacre took place in March 1960, immediately followed by the declaration of a state of emergency and the banning of both main resistance groups, the African National Congress and the Pan Africanist Congress.
265.7 Not Nick in Ike nor Ike in Niké: Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971) (see index 815), Soviet Premier from 1958-1964. Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower (1890-1969), US President from 1953-1961. Niké the Greek god of victory, but also the name of a defense missile widely deployed around many U.S. cities during the Cold War (Ahearn 225-226). Also Nick is colloquial for the Devil.
265.7 dove: symbol of peace. The Big Four summit in Paris on 16 May 1960 ended in failure when Khrushchev demanded an apology from Eisenhower over the U-2 spy plane incident of 1 May 1960.
265.9 Stall in crew’s chief: < Stalin, Khrushchev. Nikita Khrushchev succeeded Joseph Stalin (1879-1953) as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR (see 265.7).
265.10 Daughter, please tell the clergyman…: from Alice James: Her Brothers—Her Journal, ed. Anna Robeson Burr (1934). LZ is using old notes supplied by Lorine Niedecker, who was gathering materials for her play on the James family, Taste and Tenderness (see Collected Works 361-362). A typescript of the notes survive among LZ’s papers (HRC 33.6); see Jenny Penberthy, Niedecker and the Correspondence with Zukofsky, 1931-1970 (1993): 191-192 (see also 13.296.15-21 below): “Instructions H[enry James] Sr. gave to Alice [when he was dying] to tell the clergyman: Mr. James doesn’t want any prayer; he has nothing to ask of God.”
265.13 I won’t say that ‘the world’ / Grows more attaching…: through 265.21 from Henry James, the essay “Is There Life After Death?” (1910); LZ also quotes from this essay at 22.534.13-15:
“It is not that I have found in growing older any one marked or momentous line in the life of the mind or in the play and the freedom of the imagination to be stepped over; but that a process takes place which I can only describe as the accumulation of the very treasure itself of consciousness. I won’t say that ‘the world,’ as we commonly refer to it, grows more attaching, but will say that the universe increasingly does, and that this makes us present at the enormous multiplication of our possible relations with it; relations still vague, no doubt, as undefined as they are uplifting, as they are inspiring, to think of, and on a scale beyond our actual use of application, yet filling us (through the ‘law’ in question, the law that consciousness gives us immensities and imaginabilities wherever we direct it) with the unlimited vision of being. This mere fact that so small a part of one’s visionary and speculative and emotional activity has even a traceably indirect bearing on one’s doings or purposes or particular desires contributes strangely to the luxury—which is the magnificent waste—of thought, and strongly reminds one that even should one cease to be in love with life it would be difficult, on such terms, not to be in love with living.
Living, or feeling one’s exquisite curiosity about the universe fed and fed, rewarded and rewarded—though I of course don’t say definitely answered and answered—becomes thus the highest good I can conceive of, a million times better than not living (however that comfort may at bad moments have solicited us); all of which illustrates what I mean by the consecrated ‘interest’ of consciousness. It so peoples and animates and extends and transforms itself; it so gives me the chance to take, on behalf of my personality, these inordinate intellectual and irresponsible liberties with the idea of things. And, once more—speaking for myself only and keeping to the facts of my experience—it is above all as an artist that I appreciate this beautiful and enjoyable independence of thought and more especially this assault of the boundlessly multiplied personal relation (my own), which carries me beyond even any ‘profoundest’ observation of this world whatever, and any mortal adventure, and refers me to realizations I am condemned as yet but to dream of. For the artist the sense of our luxurious ‘waste’ of postulation and supposition is of the strongest; of him is it superlatively true that he knows the aggression as of infinite numbers of modes of being.”
“What it comes to is then that our faith or our hope may to some degree resist the fact, once accomplished, of watched and deplored death, but that they may well break down before the avidity and consistency with which everything insufferably continues to die.”
265.25 Four thousand eight hundred solar cells / Of four paddle wheels orbiting…: through 265.30 describes the space probe Pioneer V launched 11 March 1960. From the New York Times for 12 March 1960: “Takes a New Path; Course of the Vehicle Is Between Orbits of Earth and Venus 94.8-LB. Vehicle Conducts 5 Tests Experts Hope It Will Send Signals 50 Million Miles—Radiation Measured”: “The United States today shot a 94.8-pound sphere, packed with scientific instruments, into in unending orbit around the sun between the planetary paths of Earth and Venus. The artificial planetoid, named Pioneer V, will explore realms at interplanetary space not yet traversed by space vehicles. […] 4,800 solar cells, on four paddle wheels mounted on the exterior of the sphere, will recharge the payload’s nickel-cadmium batteries. […] The closest that Pioneer V could come to the earth in the next decade would probably be several hundred thousand miles. And the best guess of space agency scientists was that it might be 160000 years before the planetoid approached close enough to earth to burn up in the earth’s atmosphere.”
266.3 Wandering jew: any of various trailing or creeping plants of the spiderwort family. Mentioned significantly in Ferdinand, see CF 244 and 267.
266.6 Bach’s partita: see 262.1.
266.10 And night is night / Day is day: from Shakespeare, Hamlet II.ii: “Polonius: What majesty should be, what duty is, / Why day is day, night is night, and time is time. / Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time.”
266.12 fissile: capable of being split, cleft, or divided; e.g. capable of undergoing nuclear fission (= fissionable).
266.16 Offer as instrument…: see note at 266.19.
266.17 Avoid their rules like a disease / Don’t bring on the judges: from The Book of Fate (see note at 262.6):
“Avoid the law as thou wouldst the pestilence.”
“Do wisely, act justly, and trouble not the judges of the land.”
266.19 Lame God’s tripods / Themselves run to the Gods…: through 266.26 from Aristotle, Politics I.4 (1253b): “And as in the arts which have a definite sphere the workers must have their own proper instruments for the accomplishment of their work, so it is in the management of a household. […] And so, in the arrangement of the family, a slave is a living possession, and property a number of such instruments; and the servant is himself an instrument which takes precedence of all other instruments. For if every instrument could accomplish its own work, obeying or anticipating the will of others, like the statues of Daedalus, or the tripods of Hephaestus [see 266.19], which, says the poet [Homer], ‘of their own accord entered the assembly of the Gods’ [Iliad XVIII.376]; if, in like manner, the shuttle would weave and the plectrum touch the lyre without a hand to guide them, chief workmen would not want servants, nor masters slaves” (trans. Benjamin Jowett).
Hephaestus or Vulcan, god of fire and crafts, is usually depicted as lame. In the Iliad Book XVIII, Achilles’ mother Thetis goes to Hephaestus to request that he make armor and a shield for her son, and she finds the god making tripods, which are fitted with wheels so that they can be easily brought before the gods.
266.23: pinks: to pierce, puncture, stab with a rapier or some similar weapon, make a hole or holes in; to decorate with punctures or holes, tattoo (CD).
266.27 Not old at thirty / To rear the monument / Of your own fame…: through 268.18 continuing from The Book of Fate (see note at 262.6).
266.27: Some men are old even at thirty: take care of thy health, and thou wilt see three-score and ten.
266.28-29: Be not eager to raise the monument of thine own fame.
266.30: Do good, and if mankind should fail to remember three, thou art still their benefactor.
267.1: Thy love is not disregarded.
267.2: When thou art cold in thy grave, thy name will be greatly honoured in thy children.
267.3: Sad is his fate who relies solely on the friendship and goodwill of others.
267.4: Avoid laying too great a tax on the patience of thy friends: —this is the way to preserve them.
267.5-6: If thou settest forth from the land of thy fathers, expect great changes.
267.7: As instruction is diffused throughout the world, men of all conditions, of every colour, and in every clime, will become free.
267.8: Be content:—let to-morrow provide for itself.
267.9: Thou mayest write up, shave for a penny; cut hair for two-pence.
267.10-11: Political changes, will change thy fortune.
267.12: Give not the thief the chance of again robbing thee.
267.13: Health will be to thee the richest treasure thou canst ever possess.
Whilst thou waitest for dead men’s old shoes, thine own exertions might procure thee new ones.
267.14: Parsimony is hateful; yet, a groat saved each day, amounts to more than six pounds a year.
267.15: Be a miller, but grind not the faces of the poor.
267.15-18: Prosperity will surely attend thee.
Thou art cut out for a rope-dancer.
Thy fame will resound to the furthest corners of the earth.
267.19: In ten years from this time, (unless by too little dependance on thyself, thou drive fortune from thy door,) thou shalt be called a rich man.
267.20: When thou art wed, insist not too much on perogative, but let each yield a little (see 268.11-12).
267.21: Though the present generation may flatter thee, the succeeding ones may not be so courteous.
267.22-23: In thy journey, fancy not that from each brake a robber or a tyger will spring upon thee, but pursue thy way steadily.
267.23-24: Write on thy door-posts,—Mangling done here! (see note below).
267.25-27: If thou art cozened out of thy upper garment, throw not thy under one away, to recover it.
267.27-28: Kick not down the ladder which raises thee.
267.29: Thy image is ever before the eyes of thy beloved
267.30-268.1: When thou askest advice of thy friend, relate not to him thy story by halves, lest in concealing the matter from him, thou suffer in the end.
268.2-3: If thou likest cabbage, use the needle.
Deal in books and be prosperous.
268.4: Take a partner, but be not thyself a sleeping one.
268.5-6: If it will afford thee pleasure to behold thyself and family reduced from comfort to beggary,—play!
268.6-7: Art thou certain that it hath been stolen?
268.7-9: A clean corner is not the worse of being twice searched.
268.10: She will have a son who will live to a great age.
Thou shalt live long; let not they years be passed ingloriously.
268.11-13: When thou art wed, insist not too much on prerogative, but let each yield a little (see 267.20).
268.16: Thou shalt meet with few vicissitudes. Few vicissitudes await thee.
268.17-18: As the parent trunk giveth up a part of its nourishment to the tender shoots which spring from its sides, so will sons and daughters require thy succour and protection. Thou shalt be blessed with sons and daughters; but forget not that the tree preserveth the fashion which hath been given to it when a sapling.
267.9 Shave for a penny—THOTH: see note at 262.6. Thoth is the Egyptian god of wisdom, writing and magic—depicted as a man with the head of an ibis (see 308.9).
267.24 Mangling done here: see note at 262.6; a mangle is a machine for smoothing fabrics or household articles of linen or cotton, as sheets, tablecloths, napkins, and towels (CD). Cf. 7.39.17 and 41.29.
268.22 The stranger yourself comes unexpected: from The Book of Fate (see note at 262.6): “The stranger will return unexpectedly.”
268.26 Heraclitus over the kitchen fire— / “Come in, there are Gods here too…: through 271.18 from Aristotle, On the Parts of Animal, one of the zoological treatises, translated by William Ogle:
268.26-28: “Every realm of nature is marvelous: and as Heraclitus, when the strangers who came to visit him found him warming himself at the furnace in the kitchen and hesitated to go in, is reported to have bidden them not to be afraid to enter, as even in that kitchen divinities were present, so we should venture on the study of every kind of animal without distaste; for each and all will reveal to us something natural and something beautiful” (I.5; 645a).
268.29 Parts of Animals: see note at 268.26.
268.30-269.4: The must of an ever / The infant laughing to its parent…: “Now in the works of nature the good end and the final cause is still more dominant than in works of art such as these, nor is necessity a factor with the same significance in them all; though almost all writers, while they try to refer their origin to this cause, do so without distinguishing the various senses in which the term necessity is used. For there is absolute necessity, manifested in eternal phenomena; and there is hypothetical necessity, manifested in everything that is generated by nature as in everything that is produced by art, be it a house or what it may. […] As with these productions of art, so also is it with the productions of nature. The mode of necessity, however, and the mode of ratiocination are different in natural science from what they are in the theoretical sciences; of which we have spoken elsewhere. For in the latter the starting-point is that which is; in the former that which is to be. For it is that which is yet to be—health, let us say, or a man—that, owing to its being of such and such characters, necessitates the pre-existence or previous production of this and that antecedent; and not this or that antecedent which, because it exists or has been generated, makes it necessary that health or a man is in, or shall come into, existence. Nor is it possible to track back the series of necessary antecedents to a starting-point, of which you can say that, existing itself from eternity, it has determined their existence as its consequent” (I.1; 639b-640a).
269.5-6: Breath by its passage breaks open / The nostrils’ outlets: “Now that with which the ancient writers, who first philosophized about Nature, busied themselves, was the material principle and the material cause. They inquired what this is, and what its character; how the universe is generated out of it, and by what motor influence, whether, for instance, by antagonism or friendship, whether by intelligence or spontaneous action, the substratum of matter being assumed to have certain inseparable properties; fire, for instance, to have a hot nature, earth a cold one; the former to be light, the latter heavy. For even the genesis of the universe is thus explained by them. After a like fashion do they deal also with the development of plants and of animals. They say, for instance, that the water contained in the body causes by its currents the formation of the stomach and the other receptacles of food or of excretion; and that the breath by its passage breaks open the outlets of the nostrils; air and water being the materials of which bodies are made; for all represent nature as composed of such or similar substances” (I.1; 640b).
269.7: Germ of each nature: “For a given germ does not give rise to any chance living being, nor spring from any chance one; but each germ springs from a definite parent and gives rise to a definite progeny. And thus it is the germ that is the ruling influence and fabricator of the offspring. For these it is by nature, the offspring being at any rate that which in nature will spring from it. At the same time the offspring is anterior to the germ; for germ and perfected progeny are related as the developmental process and the result. Anterior, however, to both germ and product is the organism from which the germ was derived. For every germ implies two organisms, the parent and the progeny. For germ or seed is both the seed of the organism from which it came, of the horse, for instance, from which it was derived, and the seed of the organism that will eventually arise from it, of the mule, for example, which is developed from the seed of the horse. The same seed then is the seed both of the horse and of the mule, though in different ways as here set forth. Moreover, the seed is potentially that which will spring from it, and the relation of potentiality to actuality we know” (I.3; 641b).
269.8-10: But its soul’s end the animal’s / Like the animal in a fable / Turned to stone: “If now this something that constitutes the form of the living being be the soul, or part of the soul, or something that without the soul cannot exist; as would seem to be the case, seeing at any rate that when the soul departs, what is left is no longer a living animal, and that none of the parts remain what they were before, excepting in mere configuration, like the animals that in the fable are turned into stone; if, I say, this be so, then it will come within the province of the natural philosopher to inform himself concerning the soul, and to treat of it, either in its entirety, or, at any rate, of that part of it which constitutes the essential character of an animal; and it will be his duty to say what this soul or this part of a soul is; and to discuss the attributes that attach to this essential character, especially as nature is spoken of in two senses, and the nature of a thing is either its matter or its essence; nature as essence including both the motor cause and the final cause” (I.3; 641a).
269.10-12: so scales / Feet, feathers / Used alike: “Many groups, as already noticed, present common attributes, that is to say, in some cases absolutely identical affections, and absolutely identical organs,—feet, feathers, scales, and the like—while in other groups the affections and organs are only so far identical as that they are analogous” (I.5; 645b).
269.12-21: Sponges / Virtually plants and / Not much more…: “The Ascidians differ but slightly from plants, and yet have more of an animal nature than the sponges, which are virtually plants and nothing more. For nature passes from lifeless objects to animals in such unbroken sequence, interposing between them beings which live and yet are not animals, that scarcely any difference seems to exist between two neighbouring groups owing to their close proximity. A sponge, then, as already said, in these respects completely resembles a plant, that throughout its life it is attached to a rock, and that when separated from this it dies. Slightly different from the sponges are the so-called Holothurias [sea-cucumber or sea-slugs] and the sea-lungs, as also sundry other sea-animals that resemble them. For these are free and unattached. Yet they have no feeling, and their life is simply that of a plant separated from the ground. For even among land-plants there are some that are independent of the soil, and that spring up and grow, either upon other plants, or even entirely free” (IV.5; 681a).
269.22-25: A tailsting / Nature gives it / To insects of fierce / Disposition—: “As for the insects that have a sting behind, this weapon is given them because they are of a fierce disposition” (IV.6; 683a).
269.27-30: Hind legs of grasshoppers / tho never the front seem to remember / The two long stem oars / By which a ship steered: “It is only the hind legs of locusts, and not the front ones, that resemble the steering oars of a ship. For this requires that the joint shall be deflected inwards, and such is never the case with the anterior limbs” (IV.6; 683a-683b).
270.1-9: To close their eyes / Some great birds / Crocodiles and frogs / Raise only their lower lid / A roll of skin / And as it contains / No flesh, like the prepuce / It does not unite / When cut: “[…] whereas the oviparous quadrupeds, and the heavy-bodied birds as well as some others, use only the lower lid to close the eye; […] It is as a still further safeguard that all these animals blink, and man most of all; this action (which is not performed from deliberate intention but from a natural instinct) serving to keep objects from falling into the eyes; and being more frequent in man than in the rest of these animals, because of the greater delicacy of his skin. These lids are made of a roll of skin; and it is because they are made of skin and contain no flesh that neither they, nor the similarly constructed prepuce, unite again when once cut” (II.13; 657a-657b).
270.10-12: The elephant claps with / Nostril as a hand, / In water as with a diver’s bell: “For the elephant uses its nostril as a hand; this being the instrument with which it conveys food, fluid and solid alike, to its mouth. […] Just then as divers are sometimes provided with instruments for respiration, through which they can draw air from above the water, and thus may remain for a long time under the sea, so also have elephants been furnished by nature with their lengthened nostril; and, whenever they have to traverse the water, they lift this up above the surface and breathe through it” (II.16; 658b-659a).
270.13-17: A small bird has nothing fairly called / A nose, a beak for jaws, / Head and neck / Little, breastbone / Narrowed: “A bird at any rate has nothing which can properly be called a nose. For its so-called beak is a substitute for jaws. The reason for this is to be found in the natural conformation of birds. For they are winged bipeds; and this makes it necessary that their heads and neck shall be of light weight; just as it makes it necessary that their breast shall be narrow” (II.16; 659b).
270.17-19: An ox—horns of such length—he must / Walk backward to graze: [continuing above passage on elephants, quoted at 270.10]: “For the elephant’s proboscis, as already said, is a nostril. Now it would have been impossible for this nostril to have the form of a proboscis, had it been hard and incapable of bending. For its very length would then have prevented the animal from supplying itself with food, being as great an impediment as the horn of certain oxen, that are said to be obliged to walk backwards while they are grazing” (II.16; 659a).
270.20-22: Brain is the cause of sleep / Why drowsy persons / Hang the head: “It is the brain again—or, in animals that have no brain, the part analogous to it—which is the cause of sleep. For either by chilling the blood that streams upwards after food, or by some other similar influences, it produces heaviness in the region in which it lies (which is the reason why drowsy persons hang the head), and causes the heat to escape downwards in company with the blood” (II.7; 653a).
270.23: Flesh the organ of touch: “Sensation, then, is confined to the simple or homogeneous parts. But, as might reasonably be expected, the organ of touch, though still homogeneous, is yet the least simple of all the sense-organs. For touch more than any other sense appears to be correlated to several distinct kinds of objects, and to recognize more than one category of contrasts, heat and cold, for instance, solidity and fluidity, and other similar oppositions. Accordingly, the organ which deals with these varied objects is of all the sense-organs the most corporeal, being either the flesh, or the substance which in some animals takes the place of flesh” (II.1; 647a).
270.24-27: The animal becomes a plant / Its upper parts / Downward, its lower / Above: this analogy evidently appealed to LZ and its primary source is from De Anima (qtd. or mentioned in Bottom 62, 338, 345), although the same idea appears in The Parts of Animals: “But animals, with scarcely an exception, and notably all such animals as are capable of locomotion, are provided with a stomachal sac, which is as it were an internal substitute for the earth. They must therefore have some instrument which shall correspond to the roots of plants, with which they may absorb their food from this sac, so that the proper end of the successive stages of concoction may at last be attained” (II.3; 650a). “For nature passes from lifeless objects to animals in such unbroken sequence, interposing between them beings which live and yet are not animals, that scarcely any difference seems to exist between two neighbouring classes owing to their close proximity” (IV.5; 681a).
From De Anima II.4 (qtd. Bottom 62): “For [Empedocles] misinterprets up and down; up and down are not for all things what they are for the whole Cosmos: if we are to distinguish and identify organs according to their functions, the roots of plants are analogous to the head in animals.” (trans. J.A. Smith); see also from De Anima II.2 qtd. Bottom 338.
270.28-30: All blooded animals / Have hearts / Origin and fountain: “All animals that have blood possess an omentum, a mesentery, intestines with their appendages, and, moreover, a diaphragm and a heart; and all, excepting fishes, a lung and a windpipe” (IV.1; 676b).
“For here [the heart], and here alone in all the viscera and indeed in all the body, there is blood without blood-vessels, the blood elsewhere being always contained within vessels. Nor is this but consistent with reason. For the blood is conveyed into the vessels from the heart, but none passes into the heart from without. For in itself it constitutes the origin and fountain, or primary receptacle, of the blood” (III.4; 666a).
271.1-3: Cut from Parnassus sedum / Which hung from rafters / Lives a considerable time: [continuing immediately from quotation at 269.11]: “Such, for example, is the plant which is found on Parnassus, and which some call the Epipetrum. This you may hang up on a peg and it will yet live for a considerable time” (IV.5; 681a). Sedum is a genus of the polypetalous plants, of the order crassulaceae; numerous species of which many are common in dry, barren or rocky places where little else will grow. Many species are remarkable for persistence of life, cut stems growing and even flowering when fastened on a wall, deriving nourishment from reserves in their lower leaves and succulent stem, especially S. Telephium, also called live-for-ever and livelong, and known as Aaron’s-rod because sometimes growing when pressed and apparently dried (CD).
271.4-6: Architecture—Bricks, painting, timber etc— / But start and end: a house: “Similarly, the true object of architecture is not bricks, mortar, or timber, but the house; and so the principal object of natural philosophy is not the material elements, but their composition, and the totality of the form, independently of which they have no existence” (I.5; 645a).
271.7-9: Man moved by his expectations / A beating heart / Not quite explained by the lung: “The organ of respiration is the lung. This derives its motion from the heart [….] It has been said that the lung exists as a provision to meet the jumping of the heart. But this is out of the question. For man is practically the only animal whose heart presents this phenomenon of jumping, inasmuch as he alone is influenced by hope and anticipation of the future” (III.6; 669a).
271.10: his blood is water: “The water-courses in gardens are so constructed as to distribute water from one single source or fount into numerous channels, which divide and subdivide so as to convey it to all parts; and, again, in house-building stones are thrown down along the whole ground-plan of the foundation walls; because the garden-plants in the one case grow at the expense of the water, and the foundation walls in the other are built out of the stones. Now just after the same fashion has nature laid down channels for the conveyance of the blood throughout the whole body, because this blood is the material out of which the whole fabric is made” (III.5; 668a).
271.10 His innocence his blood is water, his / Tears salt…: through 271.13 from the nature writer Donald Culross Peattie (1898-1964), An Almanac for Moderns (1935): “I say that it touches a man that his blood is sea water and his tears are salt, that the seed of his loins is scarcely different from the same cells in a seaweed, and that of stuff like his bones is coral made.” Cf. Ariel’s Song from Shakespeare, The Tempest I.ii: “Full fathom five thy father lies; / Of his bones are coral made.” Probably used from notes sent to LZ by Lorine Niedecker, who owned this book and mentions sending him notes on it in a 19 June 1948 letter (Penberthy 150).
271.16 A half glimpse of / Your love—more pleasure than / In a bird’s-eye view of the world: from Aristotle, On the Parts of Animals: “Of things constituted by nature some are ungenerated, imperishable, and eternal, while others are subject to generation and decay. The former are excellent beyond compare and divine, but less accessible to knowledge. The evidence that might throw light on them, and on the problems which we long to solve respecting them, is furnished scantily by sensation; whereas respecting perishable plants and animals we have abundant information, living as we do in their midst and ample data may be collected concerning all their various kinds, if only we are willing to take sufficient pains. Both departments, however, have their special charms. The scanty conceptions to which we can attain of celestial things give us, from their excellence, more pleasure than all our knowledge of the world in which we live; just as a half glimpse of persons that we love is more delightful than a leisurely view of other things, whatever their number and dimensions” (I.5; 644b-645a).
271.19 Love’s leisure is / The prime end of all action…: through 272.9 from Aristotle, Politics:
271.19: Love’s leisure is / The prime end of all action: this is a version of Aristotle’s famous statement about the proper end of human life and therefore of society. Often LZ’s “action” is translated in Aristotle as “activity” or simply “work.” LZ likely has in mind Politics VIII.3 (1337b) where Aristotle discusses the role of music in education: “Concerning music a doubt may be raised—in our own day most men cultivate it for the sake of pleasure, but originally it was included in education, because nature herself, as has been often said, requires that we should be able, not only to work well, but to use leisure well; for, as I must repeat once again, the first principle of all action is leisure. Both are required, but leisure is better than occupation and is its end; and therefore the question must be asked, what ought we to do when at leisure?” (trans. Benjamin Jowett). Cf. Nicomachean Ethics X.7 (1177b): “And this activity [the philosophical life] alone would seem to be loved for its own sake; for nothing arises from it apart from the contemplating, while from practical activities we gain more or less apart from the action. And happiness is thought to depend on leisure; for we are busy that we may have leisure, and make war that we may live in peace” (trans. W.D. Ross).
271.21: That Pharsalian mare called Honest: from Politics II.3 (1262a): “And some women, like the females of other animals—for example, mares and cows—have a strong tendency to produce offspring resembling their parents, as was the case with the Pharsalian mare called Honest.”
271.22: Man should not work / At the same time / With his mind and his body: from Politics VIII.4 (1339a): “When boyhood is over, three years should be spent in other studies; the period of life which follows may then be devoted to hard exercise and strict diet. Men ought not to labor at the same time with their minds and with their bodies; for the two kinds of labor are opposed to one another; the labor of the body impedes the mind, and the labor of the mind the body.”
271.25: Two rites burn for affection / It is your own / And you love it: / Touching community / Let this / Be the conclusion: from Politics II.4 (1262b): “For friendship we believe to be the greatest good of states and the preservative of them against revolutions; neither is there anything which Socrates so greatly lauds as the unity of the state which he and all the world declare to be created by friendship. But the unity which he commends would be like that of the lovers in the Symposium, who, as Aristophanes says, desire to grow together in the excess of their affection, and from being two to become one, in which case one or both would certainly perish. Whereas in a state having women and children common, love will be watery; and the father will certainly not say ‘my son,’ or the son ‘my father.’ As a little sweet wine mingled with a great deal of water is imperceptible in the mixture, so, in this sort of community, the idea of relationship which is based upon these names will be lost; there is no reason why the so-called father should care about the son, or the son about the father, or brothers about one another. Of the two qualities which chiefly inspire regard and affection—that a thing is your own and that it is your only one—neither can exist in such a state as this.
Again, the transfer of children as soon as they are born from the rank of husbandmen or of artisans to that of guardians, and from the rank of guardians into a lower rank, will be very difficult to arrange; the givers or transferrers cannot but know whom they are giving and transferring, and to whom. And the previously mentioned evils, such as assaults, unlawful loves, homicides, will happen more often amongst those who are transferred to the lower classes, or who have a place assigned to them among the guardians; for they will no longer call the members of the class they have left brothers, and children, and fathers, and mothers, and will not, therefore, be afraid of committing any crimes by reason of consanguinity. Touching the community of wives and children, let this be our conclusion.”
272.1: Further if politics be an art, / Most know nothing of peace / Supposing goods they contend for / Mean more than love: from Politics II.9 (1271b): “The charge which Plato brings, in the Laws, against the intention of the legislator, is likewise justified; the whole constitution [of Sparta] has regard to one part of virtue only—the virtue of the soldier, which gives victory in war. So long as they were at war, therefore, their power was preserved, but when they had attained empire they fell, for of the arts of peace they knew nothing, and had never engaged in any employment higher than war. There is another error, equally great, into which they have fallen. Although they truly think that the goods for which men contend are to be acquired by virtue rather than by vice, they err in supposing that these goods are to be preferred to the virtue which gains them.”
272.5: They regarded in making / Works / To occupy people / And keep them / Poor: from Politics V.11 (1313b): “Also [the tyrant] should impoverish his subjects; he thus provides against the maintenance of a guard by the citizen and the people, having to keep hard at work, are prevented from conspiring. The Pyramids of Egypt afford an example of this policy; also the offerings of the family of Cypselus, and the building of the temple of Olympian Zeus by the Peisistratidae, and the great Polycratean monuments at Samos; all these works were alike intended to occupy the people and keep them poor.”
272.16 What knowledge forbids the tree— / That is not naked…: alluding to the parable of the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Knowledge in Genesis, Chap. 2 & 3.
272.20 On the touchstone / Gold is proved / And in the fire…: from Henry Greene, Shakespeare and the Emblem Writers (1870), which LZ used and recommended in Bottom (433-435; see also 279.26). Greene examines the influence of emblems throughout Shakespeare’s works, including the mottos for the various knights contending at the birthday celebrations for Thasia in Pericles II.ii: “To the motto, ‘Amor certvs in re incerta cernitvr,’—Certain love is seen in an uncertain matter,—Otho Vaenius, in his Amorum Emblemata, 4to, Antwerp, 1608, represents two Cupids at work, one trying gold in the furnace, the other on the touchstone. His stanzas, published with an English translation, as if intended for circulation in England, may, as we have conjectured, have been seen by Shakespeare before 1609, when the Pericles was revived. They are to the above motto,— [Green then quotes three stanzas accompanying the motto, the third of which is:]
Come l’oro nel foco.
Sû la pietra, e nel foco l’or si proua,
E nel bisogno, come l’or nel foco,
Si dee mostrar leale in ogni loco
L’Amante; e alhor si vee d’Amor la proua.
The same metaphor of attesting characters, as gold is proved by the touchstone or by the furnace, is of frequent occurrence in Shakespeare’s undoubted plays […]” (179-180). LZ apparently makes his own translation of the above stanza in his notebooks: “On the stone, and in the fire gold is proved / And in need, like gold in fire / Shows loyal in each place— / the Beloved and so sees the proof of Love” (HRC 3.13).
272.28 Preserve you / —And you, to outlive long…: through 273.2 from Shakespeare, Pericles V.i:
Lysimachus: Hail, reverend sir! the gods preserve you!
Helicanus: And you, sir, to outlive the age I am,
And die as I would do.
Lysimachus: You wish me well.
Being on shore, honouring of Neptune’s triumphs,
Seeing this goodly vessel ride before us,
I made to it, to know of whence you are.
273.7 What time the Pleiades…: through 272.18 from Hesiod, Works and Days; LZ’s source is Hesiod: The Poems and Fragments, translated by A.W. Mair:
273.7: What time the Pleiades: “What time the Pleiades, daughters of Atlas, rise, begin thy harvest, thy plowing when they set” (383).
273.8-9: Bay or elm poles / Freest of worms: “Freest of worms are poles of bay or elm.” (435).
273.9-10: The cranes’ / Cry of the year: “Take heed what time thou hearest the voice of the crane from the high clouds uttering her yearly cry, which bringeth the sign for plowing and showeth forth the season of rainy winter, and biteth the heart of him that hath no oxen” (448-449).
273.10-11: the soil / Light to be sowed: “Sow the fallow field while yet the soil is light” (463).
273.12: Hope is a poor companion: “Hope is a poor companion for a man in need, who sitteth in a place of dalliance, when he hath no livelihood secured” (500).
273.13-16: Better a cap of felt / For dry ears in / Sleet winters blustering frost / Warmth for three: “And when the frost cometh in its season sew thou together with thread of oxgut the skins of firstling kids to put about thy back as a shield against the rain. And on thy head wear thou a cap of wrought felt, that thou mayst not have thine ears wetted. For chill is the dawn at the onset of Boreas. And in the dawn a fruitful mist is stretched over the earth from starry heaven above the fields of happy men: a mist which drawing from the everflowing rivers is lifted high above the earth by the blowing of the wind, and anon turneth to rain toward eventide, and otherwhiles to wind, when Thracian Boreas driveth the thronging clouds. Forestalling that wind, finish thy work and get thee home betimes, lest the darkening cloud in Heaven cover thee and make thy body dank and wet thy raiment” (545-547).
273.16-18: these lines refer to Hesiod’s famous excursus on the two types of strife near the beginning of the poem: “Not one breed of Strife is there on earth, but twain. […] The one increaseth evil war and contention, for frowardness. […] But the other is the elder child of black Night, and her the Son of Kronos, who dwelleth in the height of Heaven, both in the Earth’s foundations and among men made mightier far. She stirreth even the helpless to labour. For when he that hath no business looketh on him that is rich, he hasteth to plow and to plant and to array his house: and neighbour vieth with neighbour hasting to be rich: good is this Strife for men. So potter with potter contendeth: the hewer of wood with the hewer of wood: the beggar is jealous of the beggar, the minstrel jealous of the minstrel. O Perses [Hesiod’s brother], lay thou this to heart, nor let Strife that exulteth in evil turn thy mind from work, to watch contention and to hearken in the market-place” (11-30).
273.19 Tibia the animal’s legbone / Or old flute fleet of foot…: tibia = the inner, larger lower leg bone or shin-bone; ancient variety of flageolet or direct flute; < L. tibia the shin-bone, the shin, hence pipe, flute (orig. of bone) (CD). Also a technical term in organ music.
273.22 refigure the Passion: cf. the opening of “A” and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.
273.23 ‘The blood of Christ, the blood of Christ…: through 273.27 from Logan Pearsall Smith, Unforgotten Years (1939) (see also 276.36-37, 278.3-30), who is quoting the Quaker preacher Elias Hicks (1748-1830): “The blood of Christ which cleanses us from sin was, [Hicks] declared, not his material blood. At the great Yearly Meeting of Philadelphia in which the schism [among the Quakers] originated, he made use of these words, ‘The blood of Christ—the blood of Christ—why, my friends, the actual blood of Christ in itself was no more effectual than the blood of bulls and goats—not a bit more—not a bit.’ These words were followed by a great tumult” (29).
274.3 Flail’s swipple or swingle…: a flail is an implement for “Threshing grain by hand” (274.7). An instrument for threshing or beating grain from the ear, consisting of the hand-staff, which is held in the hand, the swingle or swiple [or swipple], which strikes the grain, and the middle band, which connects the hand-staff and the swingle, and may be a thong of leather or a rope of hemp or straw (CD).
274.4 Coat perhaps lost sometimes harvesting: from the New York Times for 10 March 1960, “Letter of 650BC Is Found in Israel”: on the discovery in 1959 at Yavne Yam of what is believed to be the oldest letter in Hebrew concerning a case in which a coat was apparently stolen while the owner was working at the harvest.
274.8 Bacchus: Greek God of wine.
274.28 Why hop ye so, ye little, little hills?: through 275.9 a humorous hymn, which according to Quartermain (Disjunctive Poetics 208), Hugh Kenner informed him was found in an anthology of Anglican Humor among the Clergy, although I have not been able to identify this. Cf. Psalms 68.16: “Why hop ye so, ye high hills? This is God’s hill, in the which it pleaseth him to dwell; yea, the Lord will abide in it for ever.” This is the Anglican Prayer Book Version of the Psalms (Coverdale Psalter) rather than the King James version, which uses the verb “leap.”
275.10 For 17 years and for 27…: the Zukofskys moved to Columbia Heights near the Brooklyn Bridge and the Promenade (see 275.13) in late 1942, roughly 17 years prior to the composition of “A”-13, and for the most part lived in the same neighborhood throughout that period. Also PZ would turn 17 in Oct. 1960. Ten years previous, LZ also moved from Manhattan to Columbia Heights, although he moved back in 1934.
275.13 promenade: the Brooklyn Promenade Park runs along the East River just south of the Brooklyn Bridge, offering excellent views of downtown Manhattan and New York harbor. The second “partita” of “A”-13 is loosely framed by a walk taken by the poet and his young son along the promenade, across Brooklyn Bridge to the Lower East Side where LZ grew up and then back to their Willow Street apartment in the Brooklyn Heights area. LZ is no doubt conflating a number of such rambles and conversations, but the primary walk took place in June 1954, when PZ would have been ten years old (HRC 3.13).
275.39 Brooklyn Bridge / Inclined towards Edward Hopper’s angular search of shadows: Hopper (1882-1967) American realist painter, in whose works sharply etched shadows are often prominent, although he never actually painted the Brooklyn Bridge.
276.8 —Yes, he was thrown in a heap / Out of Carnegie Hall for yelling / Thru the great pianist’s performance…: the protagonist of this anecdote is the American proto-modernist Sadakichi Hartmann (1867-1944) responding to a performance by the pianist Moriz Rosenthal (1862-1946), a student of Franz Liszt, adding flourishes to the master’s Hungarian Rhapsody.
276.24 Must be the recording of the Rhapsody…: in a late interview, CZ recounts that when PZ was “not quite two” he loved to play records over and over again on an old crank handle phonograph. She specifically mentions a record of two of Brahms’ Hungarian Dances (Barry Ahearn, “Two Conversations with Celia Zukofsky,” Sagetrieb 2.1 (Spring 1983): 130).
276.34 The First Quarto of Pericles / With a preface by Mr. P. Z. Round: the information through 277.5 on early editions of Pericles comes from the introduction to a facsimile edition of the play edited by Sidney Lee, which LZ owned (see note of thanks to Mark Van Doran for the gift of this edition on the copyright page of the original Ark Press edition of Bottom) and which gives an extensive census of surviving copies and facsimiles (36-48). The P.Z. Round facsimile is of the 1609 First Quarto edition (London: C. Praetorious, 1886). Aside from including PZ’s initials, the name is an acronym of Ezra Pound. LZ reproduces the title-page of the First Quarto edition in Bottom (321), followed by extensive discussion of textual questions of Pericles in particular and Shakespeare in general, although the edition he used was the facsimile edited by Sidney Lee (1905).
276.36 blind research / Only an excuse for laziness: from a remark by Benjamin Jowett (1817-1893) found in Logan Pearsall Smith, Unforgotten Years (see 273.23-27, 278.3-30): “‘Research!’ [Jowett] said. ‘A mere excuse for idleness; it has never achieved, and will never achieve, any results of the slightest value.’”
276.39 Another owned about 1750 / By Charles Jennens the / Virtuoso, Handel’s friend: Jennens (1700-1773) adapted from the Bible the librettos for a number of oratorios by Georg Händel (1685-1759), most famously that of Messiah (1741).
277.2 Another of the 1619 edition / Presented to the U. of Virginia / By Col. Thomas Mann Randolf…: the Fourth Quarto edition of Pericles. Randolf, or Randolph (1768-1828) was a Congressman and governor of Virginia; since Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, it makes sense that Randolf would make such a donation.
277.15 Order rains—Lucretius did not quite say that: aside from the pun on rains/reigns (see Bottom 327, also 22.516.1 where LZ “translates” reigns as rain), this refers to the section in Book II of De Rerum Natura on the motion of atoms, where atoms are described as constantly raining, but it is their swerving (clinamen) that begins the actual formation of the physical universe.
277.19 lightning before one can say it, lightning: from Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet II.ii (I have not identified any textual variant that precisely matches LZ’s version):
Juliet: Well, do not swear: although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract to-night:
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say it lightens. Sweet, good night!
This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
Good night, good night! as sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart as that within my breast!
277.25 Tuppence, Brumous: tuppence = two pence, former UK silver coin; brumous = pertaining or relating to winter; hence, foggy, misty, dull and sunless (CD).
277.27 —You said siphonate / For hypenate: LZ notes this “slip” by the ten-year-old PZ dated 9/18/54 (HRC 3.13).
277.38 Godey’s: Godey’s Lady Book was an enormously popular U.S. woman’s illustrated magazine published from 1850-1898, which included literature, recipes and articles on fashion and other topics deemed of interest to women. It was highly influential in defining the look and character of the proper Victorian lady.
278.3 —That kid, banderlog singing…: through 278.30 primarily from various passages in Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946), Unforgotten Years (1939), an autobiographical account of his early development as a writer (see also 273.23-27, 276.36-37):
278.3-6: That kid, banderlog singing…: Bandar-logs are chattering monkey people in Rudyard Kipling’s two Jungle Books.
“[William James] had gone, he told me, by tram that afternoon to Boston; and as he sat and meditated in the Cambridge horsecar two strains of thought had occupied his mind. One of these was the notion, which Mrs. James had recently derived from the perusal of Kipling’s writings, that our social order, that all the graces and amenities of our social life, had for their ultimate sanction nothing but force, however much we might disguise it—the naked fist, in fact, the blow of the sword, the crack of the pistol, or the smoke and roar of guns. Superimposed upon this meditation began to recur, with greater and greater persistence, the memory of certain remarks of his brother Henry, who, on a recent visit to America, had indignantly protested against the outrageous pertness of the American child and the meek pusillanimity with which the older generation suffered the behavior of their children without protests.
It was not long, William James said, before he became aware of what had aroused this second line of thought; it was the droning sound which filled the horsecar—the voice, in fact, of an American child, who was squeaking over and over again an endless, shrill, monotonous sing-song. Growing more and more irritated by this squeaking, William James resolved that he at least would not suffer it without protest; so, addressing the mother of the vocal infant, he said politely, ‘I think, madam you can hardly be aware that your child’s song is a cause of annoyance to the rest of us in this car.’ The lady thus addressed paid no attention; but a gallant American, who heard it, turned on him and said with great indignation, ‘How dare you, sir, address a lady in this ungentlemanly fashion!’” (118-119).
278.7-8: (The writer not what he says but whispers…: this is not from Unforgotten Years but a well-known remark by Logan Pearsall Smith: “What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers” (Afterthoughts, 1931).
278.8-10: ‘Let me impress upon you…: Henry James’ advise to the young Logan Pearsall Smith on declaring his interest in becoming a writer: “About the profession of letters in general, the desire to do the best one could with one’s pen,—and this I confessed was my ambition, —he made one remark which I have never forgotten. ‘My young friend,’ he said, ‘and I call you young, —you are disgustingly and, if I may be allowed to say so, nauseatingly young, —there is one thing that, if you really intend to follow the course you indicate, I cannot too emphatically insist on. There is one word—let me impress upon you—which you must inscribe upon your banner, and that,’ he added after an impressive pause, ‘that word is Loneliness’” (219-220).
278.13: The French take their hats off to them: LZ may be recalling an incident in WCW’s Autobiography (1951), when WCW, feeling self-conscious, was speaking at a party of writers and artists and mentioned that he had noticed “when a corpse, in its hearse, plain or ornate, was passing in the streets, the women stopped, bowed their heads and that men generally stood at attention with their hats in their hands” (195).
278.14-21: We venerate our young…: “[The Greeks’] adoration of the youthful human form, in contrast to the Eastern idealization of venerable age, has put a kind of blight on human life; our progress, as we grow older, in wisdom and humanity is thought of in terms of the physical decay which accompanies that luminous advance. We feel ashamed, instead of feeling proud like the Chinese, of our accumulated years; we are always trying in vain to seem younger than we really are; in our Western world it is by no means a compliment, as it is in the wise East, to attribute to others a greater age than their appearance might suggest. When I think of that brother and sister [Smith is speaking of himself] fifty years ago at Harvard, —endowed, it may be, with the grace of youth, but full otherwise of ignorance and folly, —I cannot but prize more highly our present state. Our bones are ripening, it is true, for their ultimate repose, but how small a price, after all, is that to pay for the knowledge we have acquired of the world and men, for the splendid panorama of literature and the arts which years of travel and study have unrolled before us, and above all for those adequate conceptions in whose possession, according to Spinoza’s wisdom, true felicity consists” (129-130).
Adequate conceptions or ideas, according to Spinoza, are those which are motivated by reason rather than passions. These lines, a central tenet of Spinoza’s philosophy, do not necessarily have a specific source, but Ethics Part IV, Appendix, No. 4 is a possibility: “It is therefore extremely useful in life to perfect as much as we can the intellect or reason, and of this alone does the happiness or blessedness of man consist: for blessedness (beatitudo) is nothing else than satisfaction of mind which arises from the intuitive knowledge of God. But to perfect the intellect is nothing else than to understand God and his attributes and actions which follow from the necessity of his nature. Wherefore the ultimate aim of a man who is guided by reason, that is, his greatest desire by which he endeavours to moderate all the others, is that whereby an adequate conception is brought to him of all things which can come within the scope of his intelligence” (trans. Andrew Boyle).
278.26-28: These blossoms nourished by something / As ugly as manure…: “Thus the sense of malease grew, and has indeed remained with me so vividly that I never meet a rich, successful business American without some slight speculation about the bones he has crushed and the wretches he has eaten. These experiences have given me a certain dislike for the whole iron economic system upon which our civilization is founded—a dislike, however, which I must admit is by no means strong enough to make me forgo any of the pecuniary advantages which I derive from it. And anyhow I quiet my conscience—how honestly or dishonestly it would be difficult for me to say—by the reflection that I cannot think out any other economic scheme of things that would allow the human spirit to put forth fairer blossoms. The only alternative to it seem to be Fascism and Communism, and of the prospects these offer it would be difficult to say which is the more ghastly. But that these blossoms of capitalism are nourished by something as ugly as manure seems plain enough to me when I think (as I try not to think) of our present social system, and the questionable gold which the world keeps on putting into my pockets” (151-152).
278.29-30: His Quaker mother…: Smith’s mother was a prominent figure in the Quaker community, and he describes a visit by a group of schoolgirls: “The spectacle of all these good young girls, being prepared, as my mother knew, for lives of self-sacrifice as daughters, or as wives of American business husbands—somehow this spectacle banished from the old lady’s mind the admonition she had intended for them, and when she opened her lips I was considerably surprised to hear her say, ‘Girls, don’t be too unselfish’” (157).
278.11 —Ha-ha the monkey of it: LZ’s reworking of the refrain line of Robert Burns, “Duncan Grey”: “Ha, ha, the wooing o’t.”
278.22 two tallest Manhattan skyscrapers: the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, completed in 1930 and 1931 respectively, were the two tallest skyscrapers in the world until the late 1960s.
278.24 They are cut of white cardboard / On the blue: Ahearn suggests that LZ may have in mind Henri Matisse’s late paper cut-outs of white on blue (159).
278.32 Savoyards: those involved in or fans of Gilbert and Sullivan operas; from the Savoy Theatre in London.
278.34 ‘Dear Mr. Gilbert, what is Mr. Bach composing now?’…: this well-known joke is attributed to W.S. Gilbert (1836-1911) in response to a fulsome admirer; LZ apparently got this from a Niedecker letter received 12 July 1953 (Penberthy 215).
278.36 Gainsborough boy…: English painter Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788); “The Blue Boy,” a portrait of a boy in a blue suit is perhaps his best-known work (in the Huntington Library, California).
278.38 “Sharp” Cathedral for Chartres: the famous gothic cathedral in France, the proper pronunciation of Chartres poses a challenge for Americans unfamiliar with French.
279.2 Milch: giving milk; milky, said of plants; yielding liquid, distilling drops (namely, tears) (CD); from Ger. meaning milk.
279.5 If with light head . . / From my poor love of anything…: from Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), “Inspiration” (lines 5-20):
If with light head erect I sing
Though all the Muses lend their force,
From my poor love of anything,
The verse is weak and shallow as its source.
But if with bended neck I grope
Listening behind me for my wit,
With faith superior to hope,
More anxious to keep back than forward it,—
Making my soul accomplice there
Unto the flame my heart hath lit,
Then will the verse forever wear,—
Time cannot bend the line which God has writ.
I hearing get, who had but ears,
And sight, who had but eyes before;
I moments live, who lived but years,
And truth discern, who knew but learning’s lore.
279.10 Ooçah: a phonetic transcription for U.S.A., perhaps as pronounced by the Porto Rican boy mentioned in the same line. Ahearn notes that this is the only cedilla in “A” and that cedilla (from Spanish) means “little z” (153); or more precisely indicates the pronunciation “cz.”
279.12 Fiftieth star for Hawaii: Hawai’i became the fiftieth state in Aug. 1959.
279.16 The Stronger…: a famous mini-play or monologue by August Strindberg (1849-1912) about the rivalry between two women over a man, which takes place in a café. The continuation of the sentence is taken from the play, which is rewritten by LZ in the following sentence.
279.26 Pastegem tiaras triumph with pomp thru the provinces: playfully derived from the third knight’s Latin device in Shakespeare, Pericles II.ii: “Me pompae provexit apex.” LZ was reading Henry Green, Shakespeare and the Emblem Writers (1870), which he used in Bottom (433-435); Green translates the device as “the crown at the triumphal procession has carried me onward” (168). See 272.20-24.
279.27 Chief of State for latrines or the Nations run by / a Doctrine:
279.32 the Herald in Agamemnon…: in the tragedy by Aeschylus (c.525-456 BC), the Herald precedes Agamemnon’s arrival back home from the Trojan War. For LZ apparently a figure of sentimental patriotism as the following off-color lines mock the opening lines of the Herald’s lengthy over-blown speech on his arrival, which begins: “All hail, soil of Argos, land of my fathers! On this happy day in the tenth year I am come to thee” (trans. W.H. Smyth).
279.40 Emerson’s noble chemistry / Poured out / Sunshine from cucumbers…: from Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), a journal entry on the Persian poet Hafiz that LZ found in the notes to the essay “Persian Poetry” (1976) in the Centennial edition of Letters and Social Aims (1903-1904). The reference to “sunshine from cucumbers” alludes to the absurd experiments of the Academy of Lagado from Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Book III, Chap. 5:
“In the journal of 1846 is a translation of Hafiz, followed by this paragraph, called ‘The Noblest Chemistry’: — Sunshine from cucumbers. Here was a man who has occupied himself in a noble chemistry of extracting honor from scamps, temperance from sots, energy from beggars, justice from thieves, benevolence from misers. He knew there was sunshine under those moping churlish brows, elegance of manners hidden in the peasant, heart-warming expansion, grand surprises of sentiment, in these unchallenged, uncultivated men, and he persevered against all repulses until he drew it forth: now his orphans are educated, his boors are polished, his palaces built, his pictures, statues, conservatories, chapels adorn them; he stands there prince among his peers, prince of prince, —the sunshine is out, all flowing abroad over the world.”
280.8 Charlie befriending the kid / ‘There can’t always be the orange…: Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), the initial allusion is probably to The Kid (1921), his first great feature length film, in which Chaplin as the Tramp adopts an abandoned child. The quoted remark was made to Bosley Crowther, who reported them in the New York Times for 28 Sept. 1952 “Under Suspicion: The Dilemma of Charlie Chaplin and Some Other Artists in Hollywood” (repeated in a review of Chaplin’s autobiography in the Times, 4 Oct. 1964): “’The great stories today are the things that are happening inside people. The things with which we have to compete are the startling physical and scientific developments and discoveries that are crowding upon us day by day. But all this external materialistic world has its counterpart, which is the spiritual. That’s my theme. Against these great external forces, internal spiritual forces must grow. Nature always compensates with balance. There can’t always be the orange outweighing the pea. So I am not afraid of all this atom business because I know that out of it will come the greatest expression of spirituality that man has ever known.’” See 14.314.2-5.
280.12 For Saadi sat in the sun…: through 280.16 from Ralph Waldo Emerson, remarks concerning the great Persian poet Saadi (1184-1291?) found in the notes to “Persian Poetry” in Letters and Social Aims (Rieke 97). First, from Emerson’s poem “Saadi”:
Yet Saadi loved the race of men,—
No churl immured in cave or den,—
In bower and hall
He wants them all,
Nor can dispense
With Persia for his audience; (lines 23-28)
And yet it seemeth not to me
That the high gods love tragedy;
For Saadi sat in the sun,
And thanks was his contrition […] (lines 70-73).
280.14-16: said / It was rumored I was penitent…: from Emerson, “Shakespeare; or the Poet” in Representative Men (1850), but again in this case found in the notes to “Persian Poetry”: remark attributed to Saadi: “‘It was rumored abroad that I was penitent; but what had I to do with repentance?’”
280.27 To his last best days on earth…: through 280.32, the primary source are headlines from articles in the Oct. 1956 Reader’s Digest. A contest, advertised in various media, asked readers to choose and order the six best titles from a long list, and apparently PZ picked: “Medicine men on the Amazon,” “European vs. U.S. beauties,” “The sub that wouldn’t stay down,” “Secy. Benson’s [U.S. Secretary of Agriculture] faith in the American farmer,” “My last best days on earth,” “A new deal in the old firehouse.” LZ substituted for the first a headline from the New York Times for 31 July 1960: “Scientist Depicts Midge Wing Cycle; 1,000 flaps a Second Cited by Britain as a Product of Elasticity in Body.”
280.40 Old Fire House Museum on Duane Street: Duane Street on the lower East Side was the former location of the NYC Fire Dept. exhibitions of historical equipment. This and the following mentioned streets are all in the general neighborhood where LZ grew up on Chrystie Street.
281.7 C Street: presumably Chrystie Street where LZ grew up, although Avenue C is also on the Lower East Side.
281.10 Greene Street…: in Greenwich Village, NYC. The details here indicate LZ is thinking of the notorious Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire; see 282.32. “Rat lofts” are also mentioned at 5.18.10.
281.16 French conductor…:
281.20 I remember another language / ‘I can’t rear myself to shwenk de wesh‘: the other language is Yiddish, both LZ’s and CZ’s native tongue. The mixed English-Yiddish remark was made by CZ, meaning she’s too tired to rinse the wash or do the laundry (see following).
281.23 ‘A broch zu dir Semmele hust shayn a colt’: Yiddish, LZ gives a translation at 281.25. “A broch zu dir” (a brokh tsu dir) would usually be a bit stronger: Damn you! or, a curse on you.
281.24 a’s Latin tho, the tone’s sneeze Prospero’s: a Latin “a” is pronounced short (roughly ah). Prospero is the scholarly magician in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
281.28 Translating Latin sentences— / ‘The sword will be hidden in the man, / And the javelin in the bad boy’: a made-up Latin sentence by PZ (HRC 3.13).
281.31 Admiral Kickover…: evidently referring to a toy, with possibly a comic allusion to Admiral Hyman G. Rickover (1900-1986). A controversial figure, Admiral Rickover directed the development of the US nuclear powered navy in the decades after World War II.
281.37 pseudepigrapha: spurious writings, specifically, those writings which profess to be Biblical in character and inspired in authorship, but are not adjudged genuine by the general consent of scholars; those professedly Biblical books which are regarded as neither canonical nor inspired, and from their character are not worthy of use in religious worship. Biblical literature is divided into three classes: (a) The canonical and inspired; (b) the non-canonical and uninspired, but on account of their character worthy of use in the services of the church; (c) those which, though Biblical in form, so vary from the Biblical writings in spirit that they are not deemed worthy of any place in religious use. The second constitute the apocrypha, the third the pseudepigrapha (CD).
281.40 Isorhythm: a musical form in which a given rhythm cyclically repeats, although the corresponding melody notes may change. “I—so rhythm” was CZ’s quip in response to PZ’s talk about isorhythm (HRC 3.13).
281.41: Dominations and angelic orders…: these couple of lines and possibly some of the preceding originated in playfully satiric remarks on EP’s Thrones: Cantos XCVI-CIX (1959). Thrones, like dominations, are one of the angelic orders and the English jurist Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634) figures centrally in the final three cantos of the book. Like quite a few other readers, LZ appears to have found Thrones’ documentary and legalistic arguments somewhat boring, which may be behind 281.37-38 (HRC 3.13).
282.2 a clay ton of editor: Clayton Eshleman (b. 1935) poet and editor. As a graduate student at Indiana University, Eshleman was editor for three issues of the student literary journal, Folio, in which he published a selection from Bottom (Spring 1960). LZ was somewhat exasperated with Eshleman, who after LZ responded to his request for a contribution dallied over whether he would print it and suggested emending LZ’s prose (see 26 Nov. 1959 letter to Cid Corman, HRC 18.1). The following lines appear to refer to someone else.
282.11 Satori: sudden enlightenment in Zen Buddhism.
282.12 muzjik: or muzhik = Russian peasant.
282.31 Nothing ran to a fire as fast as a thoroughbred: reworking of a quip by the American drama critic, Ashton Stevens, on the decline of his friend, the actor John Barrymore (1882-1942): “Nobody can run downhill as fast as a thoroughbred.”
282.32 The Triangle fire: infamous fire in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, located at 23-29 Washington Place, between Greene Street and east Washington Square Park, on 25 March 1911 was the deadliest industrial disaster in NYC. 146 garment workers, mostly Jewish and Italian immigrant women, were killed, partially due to locked doors. The tragedy galvanized the U.S. labor movement and there was a huge funeral procession through the city. The factory was not far from where LZ grew up on Chrystie Steet, and as he mentions at 281.12-14, his father and older siblings worked in the garment industry at the time. Since 1929 the building has been part of New York University.
282.37 arcades of Richardson’s spacious windows…: refers to the architect Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886), a good friend of Henry Adams, who although he began in NYC in fact designed very few buildings there. However, he was highly influential in developing a neo-Romanesque style, in contrast to the then popular Gothic revival style, known as the Richardson Romanesque.
282.39 Lower Broadway: major north-south boulevard of Manhattan that ends at Battery Park at the southern tip of the island.
282.40 Melville (at the foot of Gansevoort) walked under them: Gansevoort Street on the Lower West Side down to the piers where Melville would have gone as deputy inspector of customs (1866-1886); named after Melville’s grandfather, the Revolutionary hero Peter Gansevoort.
282.40 Lanier / Lectured or played his flute at the Broadway Central: the American poet, Sidney Lanier (1842-1881), was a professional flutist and visited NYC city on a number of occasions. The Grand Central Hotel at Broadway and West 3rd Street, later renamed the Broadway Central Hotel, was built in 1869 on the site of a former famous theatre.
283.3 Irving’s low town house…: probably refers to Irving House on the corner of Irving Place and East 17th Street, across from the Washington Irving High School; although there is a plaque claiming Washington Irving (1783-1859) lived at this address, apparently this is not the case, but the developer of Irving Place was a friend who named the street after him in 1831.
283.3 Twain / Smoking nearby…: One of Mark Twain’s NYC homes was at 14 West 10th Street.
283.4 Henry James returned…: Henry James visited NYC in 1904, the year of LZ’s birth, and describes visiting both the Lower East Side and Washington Square in The American Scene (1907); see note at 12.148.21 and 18.397.18-19. A few phrases at 283.6 are taken from the Preface to The American Scene: “My visit to America had been the first possible to me for nearly a quarter of a century, and I had before my last previous one, brief and distant to memory, spent other years in continuous absence; so that I was to return with much of the freshness of eye, outward and inward, which, with the further contribution of a state of desire, is commonly held a precious agent of perception. I felt no doubt, I confess, of my great advantage on that score; since if I had had time to become almost as ‘fresh’ as an inquiring stranger, I had not on the other hand had enough to cease to be, or at least to feel, as acute as an initiated native. I made no scruple of my conviction that I should understand and should care better and more than the most earnest of visitors, and yet that I should vibrate with more curiosity—on the extent of ground, that is, on which I might aspire to intimate intelligence at all—than the pilgrim with the longest list of questions, the sharpest appetite for explanations and the largest exposure to mistakes.”
283.7 the Mews: Washington Mews just north of Washington Square, still used to house horse stables during LZ’s youth.
283.8 American Classical of Washington Square: square in the heart of Greenwich Village in NYC; along the north side in particular are 19th century row houses built in Greek revival style. Henry James lived on Washington Square as a boy and of course used it as the title of one of his novels.
283.9 the University: New York University campus is located around Washington Square.
283.16 Worth Street: runs east-west across lower Manhattan.
283.19 O Pompeian florals:
283.20 W. C. Fields…: (1880-1946), American comic and actor.
283.25 our Cyrus:
283.30 Sputnik: probably Sputnik 4 launched on 15 May 1960 and stayed up for over two years, or perhaps Sputnik 5 launched 19 August 1960 carrying two dogs plus mice, rats and plants.
283.33 Polaris: ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and launched from submarines; first test launched in 1960.
283.34 Dear whilom friend champing with the bad teeth of Rudaki: Basil Bunting, who translated the poem by the Persian poet Rudaki (859-c.941) about aging that begins: “All the teeth ever I had are worn down and fallen out. / They were not rotten teeth, they shone like a lamp […]” (Bunting, Complete Poems 155-156). Bunting sent LZ an early version of this translation in Dec. 1948 from Teheran, and an abbreviated version is quoted in Bottom 120-121. “Whilom” is archaic meaning having once been, former (AHD), but here is a pun on Wylam, the village outside Newcastle upon Tyne where Bunting lived for much of his later life. Bunting himself suffered from bad teeth, as did LZ.
283.36 The Hoe, Plymouth, England: the Plymouth Hoe is a large grassy park area on Plymouth Sound. LZ expressed admiration for this area when the Zukofskys landed in Plymouth at the beginning of their whirlwind tour of Europe in the summer of 1957 (HRC 25.4).
283.37 seadog: veteran sailor.
284.3 love trouthe and . . wed thy folk: from Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-1400), the balade “Lak of Stedfastnesse,” the envoy addressed to King Richard (as quoted in TP 16):
O prince, desyre to be honourable
Cherish thy folk and hate extorcioun!
Suffre no thyng, that may be reprevable
To thyn estat, don in thy regioun.
Shew forth thy swerd of castigacioun,
Dred God, do law, love trouthe and worthynesse
And wed thy folk ageyn to stedfastnesse.
284.6 ‘A time for government to step aside…: Dwight David Eisenhower (see 265.7) famously remarked: “I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of their way and let them have it” (from TV Talk with British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, 31 August 1959).
284.10 ‘By pooling intelligence nets (laughing)…: through 284.32 LZ quotes various, often colorful remarks by Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971), Premier of the Soviet Union from 1953-1964. The majority of the quotations come from Khrushchev’s first visit to the U.S. for almost two weeks in Sept. 1959, in which virtually his every move and remark was reported in the media. Probably, but not certainly, LZ is mainly quoting from the New York Times.
284.10 ‘By pooling intelligence nets (laughing) / So we don’t have to pay twice / For spying the same information: reported in New York Times for 17 Sept. 1959: “Visitor, Cameramen Up Early; Khrushchev Twits Allen Dulles; He Says They Read the Same Reports, and Suggests They Merge Their Spy Services—His Talk Is Pungent.”
284.13 . . a hog under a sonar test / Wants to keep his fat sickness a secret, / Ashamed of it?: from the New York Times for 17 Sept. 1959: “Khrushchev Sees U.S. Model Farm; Trades Quips With Benson and Examines Livestock at Research Center.”
284.16 As to my saying we will bury you / Here is one city / Of Americans, literally to bury / Only this city one life would not be enough: from a report on “Khrushchev Speech at National Press Club and Questions and Answers” in the New York Times for 17 Sept. 1959. In Nov. 1956 Khrushchev famously made the remark, “Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you,” to a group of Western ambassadors, and on various occasions over the subsequent years he would attempt to qualify his statement.
284.20 My face . . the wen is there / Nothing I can do about it, / I was born with it’: New York Times for 17 Sept. 1959: “Premier Uses Face To Illustrate a Point”: “Discussing the question of noninterference before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Khrushchev pointed to a blemish on his face. ‘The wen is there and there is nothing I can do about it,’ he told the Senators, ‘I was born with it.’”
284.23 After lunch: ‘Even an animal / If you feed him becomes kind / Tho a Russian full of vodka / Could never reach the moon: remarks in meeting with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reported in the New York Times for 17 Sept. 1959.
284.27 You are a nightingale . . / Singing it closes its eyes and hears nothing / And no one except itself: New York Times for 25 Sept. 1959: “Reuther Scored by Soviet Press; Moscow Says Labor Leader Distorted Account of Khrushchev Dinner”: in an exchange with Walter P. Reuther, President of the United Auto Workers: “’You are like a nightingale,’ Khrushchev said, smiling, ‘When singing it closes its eyes, sees and hears nothing and no one except itself.’”
284.31 spit in their / Eyes and they say God’s dew’: this appears to be a proverbial remark Khrushchev used on a number of occasions, including a New York Times report for 13 May 1960 on “Queries on U-2 Incident and Khrushchev’s Replies.”
284.32 Nikita / second name?: Sergei (or Sergeyevich) is usually given as Khrushchev’s middle name but sometimes treated as his first.
284.34 G.: Groucho Marx (1890-1977), American comedian. LZ probably found this mock responses in the New York Time Book Review for 17 Jan. 1960, Lewis Nichols, “In and Out of Books.”
284.36 Pullets, pewlitzers, dull bright fellows: < Pulitzer Prizes, Fulbright Fellows.
285.14 Cuba’s cane: probably alluding to the Cuban Revolution; Fidel Castro’s forces triumphed in Jan. 1959, and in Aug. 1960 his government nationalized all foreign property in response to the U.S. embargo. Sugarcane is a major Cuban crop.
285.14 snake dance / twining down on Kishi: Nobusuke Kishi (1896-1987) was forced to resign as Prime Minister of Japan in July 1960, primarily due to large, often violent demonstrations in opposition to his extension of the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty. The snake dance was a protest technique developed by the Japanese students, in which long lines of protestors linked arms and rapidly zig-zagged or swerved along the streets to keep the police at bay.
285.16 Mau Mau: native resistance movement in Kenya during the mid-1950s; began as a bloody campaign against Europeans in 1952 and largely put down by 1956, although the state of emergency in Kenya was officially lifted only in Jan. 1960.
285.18 Or as the Queen of British barmaids…: the New York Times for 11 June 1960: “Philip Opens British Fair; Nixon and Governor Meet”: “Prince Philip opened the $200,000,000 British Exhibition at the New York Coliseum yesterday, with Vice President Nixon and Governor Rockefeller taking part in the ceremony.” As part of the ceremony, “Joan (Hebe) Morton, queen of English barmaids,” escorted the dignitaries; “’I told them to call me Hebe. That means goddess of youth, dears.’”
285.26 —Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them…: from Shakespeare, Othello I.ii:
Othello: Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.—
Good signior, you shall more command with years
Than with your weapons.
285.27 God’s my life—snoring—no man can tell what: from Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream IV.i: [Bottom on waking up:] “God’s my life, stolen hence, and left me asleep! I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was: man is but an ass, if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was—there is no man can tell what. Methought I was, —and methought I had, —but man is but a patched fool, if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream: it shall be called Bottom’s Dream, because it hath no bottom; and I will sing it in the latter end of a play, before the duke: peradventure, to make it the more gracious, I shall sing it at her death” (qtd. Bottom 9).
285.28 —Look, if my gentle love be not rais’d up!: from Shakespeare, Othello II.iii; Othello speaking on Desdemona’s entrance.
285.29 Times: New York Times newspaper.
285.31 —Protesting a tax on horsetails for bows…: from the New York Times for 3 Feb. 1960: “M.P. Perceives Discord In Ill-Attuned Taxation”: “London, Feb. 2 (AP)—A member of Parliament complained that the British Treasury was fiddling around with its taxes on fiddling. Gerald Nabarro, a Conservative, told the House of Commons that a hank of horsetail hairs suitable for repairing one violin bow was subject to a retail purchase tax of twenty-five percent. But there is no tax on a whole horsetail of hair. ‘Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer remove all for violins from the purchase tax schedules?’ he demanded. Chancellor Derick Heathcoat Amory said no, ‘A tail of horsehair is mere raw material,’ he explained. ‘A hank of such hair, selected and prepared for repair of a violin bow, is an accessory to a musical instrument.’ When Mr. Nabarro accused him of ‘adding confusion to confusion,’ Mr. Heathcoat brought the house down by commenting: ‘I am glad to know that Mr. Nabarro has an interest in violins. I thought he belonged to the wind rather than to the strings.’”
286.6 As the little old lady said…: this and most of what follows through 287.17 refer to Wanda Landowska (1879-1959) Polish-French harpsichordist and pioneer in the use of original instruments, who moved to the U.S. in 1940. Leo Tolstoy was a great fan, and on a number of occasions early in her career Landowaka visited and performed at his home, once during a storm. See 286.17.
286.14 hurdy-gurdies: a barrel organ or similar instrument played by turning a crank, often used by street musicians.
286.17 Landowska’s nose, that’s Bach’s Goldberg / Sounding off…: see 286.6; an influential teacher, Landowska was largely responsible for the revival of the harpsichord and was the first to play Bach’s Goldberg Variations on that instrument in the 20th century. She had a prominent nose.
286.20 No, let us not flatter ourselves…: these two lines, as well at those at 286.28-287.17 from Wanda Landowska (see 286.6), Musique ancienne (1909), an important book on early music translated as Music of the Past (1924) by William Aspenwell Bradley: “Nero, going to Greece to complete for the music prize, took with him five thousand persons who, trained to applaud, mingled with the crowd to stimulate it. The applause of a hundred thousand spectators encouraged by several thousand Roman athletes…no, let us not flatter ourselves—it is not we who have invented loud noise” (41).
286.22 her Music of the Past: see preceding note.
286.24 —They all have their radios and phonographs on…: through 286.27 a remark by PZ dated Dec 28/52 (HRC 3.13).
286.34 Children are fond of stories / Which frighten them…: from Wanda Landowska, Musique ancienne (see note at 286.20): “[C.M.F.E. von] Weber also rails at the emphatic language which was becoming the fashion in his time: ‘Do you by any chance believe that in our progressive age, when so many things happen, a composer should for your sake cease to suppress his divine, gigantic ideas? God forbid! It is now no longer possible to talk of clearness, of neatness as in the time of Gluck, of Handel and of Mozart.’ But the children sated with the amiable, sprightly tales which had lulled them too long, seemed not to reject these stories which frighten them” (31).
“At the monster concert given in 1615 at Dresden by the command of the Elector of Saxony, one of my compatriots, a certain Raposki, of Cracow, had brought from the Low Countries, on a wagon drawn by eight mules, a counter-bass more than eight yards tall. To it had been fitted a little ladder which made it possible to reach the neck of the instrument; and, across the strings of this giant counter-bass, was drawn by many arms an enormous bow. This machine however seemed not to suffice. The grandiose idea was then conceived of improvising a counter-bass by means of a wind-mill stretched with heavy cables which four men were employed to vibrate by means of a heavy piece of notched wood. On one side of the orchestra was a great organ on which Father Serapion worked hands and feet with might and main. A battery of mortars replaced the kettledrums. The execution was worthy of this fine preparation. The prima donna Bigozzi, of Milan, sang so well and so long that she died of it three days later.”
287.2 (Breughel’s spaces): see 8.66.15, 17.377.19. Strictly speaking Brueghel would be the more correct spelling, but the name appears inconsistently in “A” as it does in English language texts generally.
287.18 Golden Mean’s / Calculus: for Aristotle’s ethical “golden mean,” see 12.236.13. Also “golden section,” a ratio, represented by the Greek letter phi, that is seen to have mysterious, even mystical significance and has been applied in mathematics and art, including music. Aristotle concludes Politics with a substantial discussion of music, and while recognizing that music can serve a range of different purposes, he predictably recommends the Dorian mode for the purposes of education: “And whereas we say that the extremes should be avoided and the mean followed, and whereas the Dorian is a mean between the other modes, it is evident that our youth should be taught the Dorian music” (1342b).
287.22 Stands for First Things / The Great Mother…: through 287.35 quoted and paraphrased from Lucretius, De Rerum Natura Bk. II:
“Wherefore earth alone has been called the Great Mother of the gods [Cybele], and the mother of the wild beast, and the parent of our body. Of her in days of old the learned poets of the Greeks sang that <borne on from her sacred> shrine in her car she drove a yoke of lions, teaching thereby that the great earth hangs in the space of air nor can earth rest on earth. […] On her the diverse nations in the ancient rite of worship call as the Mother of Ida, and they give her Phrygian bands to bear her company, because from those lands first they say corn began to be produced throughout the whole world. […] Taut timbrels [like a tambourine; same etymological root as timpani] thunder in their hands, and hollow cymbals all around, and horns menace with harsh-sounding bray, and the hollow pipe goads their minds in the Phrygian mode, and they carry weapons before them, the symbols of their dangerous frenzy, that they may be able to fill with fear of the goddess’s power the thankless minds and unhallowed hearts of the multitude. […] Then comes an armed band, whom the Greeks call by name the Curetes of Phrygia, and because now and again they join in mock conflict of arms and leap in rhythmic movement, gladdened at the sight of blood and shaking as they nod the awesome crests upon their heads, they recall the Curetes of Dicte, who are said once in Crete to have drowned the wailing of the infant Jove, while, a band of boys around the baby boy, in hurrying dance all armed, they beat in measured rhythm brass upon brass, that Saturn might not seize and commit him to his jaws, and plant an everlasting wound deep in the Mother’s heart. […] Yet all this, albeit well and nobly set forth and told, is nevertheless far removed from true reasoning. For it must needs be that all the nature of the gods enjoys life everlasting in perfect peace, sundered and separated far away from our world” (86-87; trans. Cyril Bailey).
287.30 Curetes: attendants of Rhea, mother of the gods, often depicted performing a sacred dance to accompanying music; see above quotation from Lucretius.
287.34 Tibiae stimulate: tibiae < L. pl. of tibia = shinebone, type of ancient flute; see 273.19. This is LZ’s interpretation of the “hollow pipe” in the above quotation from Lucretius.
287.36 Let’s go upstairs!: CZ notes that at the time of writing the Zukofskys lived in a tenth floor apartment at 135 Willow Street in Brooklyn Heights (Ahearn, “Two Conversations” 116).
287.37 What your Ludwig probably means…: through 288.3 is a remark by PZ dated 6/30/55 (HRC 3.13), referring to Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) and a remark that particularly intrigued LZ from the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921):
“2.013 Everything is, as it were, in a space of possible atomic facts. I can think of this space as empty, but not of the thing without the space. 2.0131 A spatial object must lie in infinite space. (A point in space is a place for an argument.) ‘A speck in a visual field need not be red, but it must have a colour; it has, so to speak, a colour space around it. A tone must have a pitch, the object of the sense of touch a hardness, etc.'”(qtd. Bottom 46, 47). LZ used the first English translation by C.K. Ogden and F.P. Ramsey (1922), which included the original German.
288.13 Picasso’s jeering horse’s head in / His “Guernica”: a horse’s head with the mouth shown “tilted” figures prominently at the center of this painting by Picasso. Although it is unlikely most would describe the horse as “jeering,” LZ evidently emphasizes the defiant aspect of the work. On Picasso’s “Guernica”, see 12.205.34; and the Guernica bombing, see 10.118.20.
288.21 old composer / Who teaches in his studio…: Wallingford Riegger (1885-1961), American composer and teacher who lived and worked most of his life in NYC. An advocate of modernist music, Riegger was well-known for adaptations of twelve-tone or duodecuple techniques.
288.31 “Duodecuple”: technical term for twelve-tone music; see 288.21.
288.32 Et bonum quo antiquius, eo melius…: LZ immediately translates the Latin in the following line, but makes it self-questioning; from Shakespeare, Pericles I.Prologue (qtd. Bottom 145, 330):
Gower: To sing a song that old was sung,
From ashes ancient Gower is come;
Assuming man’s infirmities,
To glad your ear, and please your eyes.
It hath been sung at festivals,
On ember-eves and holy-ales;
And lords and ladies in their lives
Have read it for restoratives:
The purchase is to make men glorious;
Et bonum quo antiquius, eo melius.
288.35 —Thanks fer / Passover provender…: a thank you note dated 27 April 1957 from EP, when he was incarcerated at St. Elizabeths from 1945-1958 (EP/LZ xviii; HRC 3.13) (see 264.28-265.3).
289.5 Lunik Three: the USSR Lunik or Luna 3, a moon orbiter launched 4 Oct. 1959 and sent back the first pictures of dark side a few days later.
289.10 Choctaw oke or hoke equals yes: a common folk etymology for “okay” is that it derives from the Native American Choctaw word oke or hoke, an affirmative response meaning roughly “it is so.”
289.17 — A diva singing six feet of uplift / The helden soprano…: this anecdote was told by PZ about the great Wagnerian soprano Kirsten Flagstad (1895-1962), who was a regular performer at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC during the 1930s and the years immediately after World War II. helden = Ger. heroes or epics, here means a heroic soprano such as Wagner’s Brunhilde, a Valkyrie (female Norse divinities who accompany the dead to Valhalla) and the central female character in Richard Wagner’s opera cycle, Der Ring der Nibelungen (1869-1876) (HRC 3.13).
289.23 Man in the moon stand and stride…: to the end of this section is a modernized version by LZ of an anonymous medieval lyric, “The Man in the Moon,” from the 14th century manuscript called the Harley Lyrics, which is the largest single collection of early Middle English lyrics.
290.24 The human son fathered by man and the sun: from Aristotle, Physics II.2 (194b): “Again, matter is a relative term: to each form there corresponds a special matter. How far then must the physicist know the form or essence? Up to a point, perhaps, as the doctor must know sinew or the smith bronze (i.e. until he understands the purpose of each): and the physicist is concerned only with things whose forms are separable indeed, but do not exist apart from matter. Man is begotten by man and by the sun as well. The mode of existence and essence of the separable it is the business of the primary type of philosophy to define” (trans. R.P. Hardie & R.K. Gaye) (qtd. Bottom 76, 86; see 300.10, 303.5-6 and 12.236.11-13). Cf. “Poem beginning ‘The’” (lines 313-314), where LZ uses the same pun adapting II Samuel 18:33.
290.29 Korean King who / In the first half century…: see Bottom 423 where it is a Korean poet rather than king; these same two passages are quoted and related in Prep+ 171-172. It is probable that this tale refers to the Korean kayagum, a 12-string zither that is related to the Chinese k’in (see 300.23). These lines through 290.37 come out of a classroom event at the Brooklyn Polytechnic when PZ was invited to LZ’s class to play some of Shakespeare’s songs and a Korean student also brought a Korean “harp” and recounted this legend. While PZ was playing a wind tunnel was being loudly tested just outside the classroom window (letter to Cid Corman dated 24 Sept. 1960; HRC 18.3).
290.32 paulownia wood: particularly prized in East Asia because it is easy to carve and often used in making musical instruments.
290.38 my Shakespeare theme—‘Love see?’—…: as elaborated in Bottom:
“love: reason :: eyes: mind
Love needs no tongue of reason if love and the eyes are 1—an identity. The good reasons of the mind’s right judgment are but superfluities for saying: Love sees—if it needs saying at all in a text which is always hovering towards The rest is silence” (39).
291.3 spinet: small upright piano. Along with the “blessed” of the preceding line, also suggests Spinoza, a major source for the articulation of LZ’s “Shakespeare theme.”
291.5 four seasons: perhaps alluding to Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”; see 12.136.26.
291.12 Only in Shakespeare is there / Such reconcilement…: see 290.38.
291.18 outpost Harry: scene of a fierce eight-day battle in June 1953 during the Korean War between a small contingent of U.S. troops fending off vastly superior Chinese communist troops. During lulls in the fighting the dead were recovered.
291.22 “An instrument of torture”: the possible source of this incident is George Oppen (1908-1984), who according to Harvey Shapiro made this response to a Catholic Chaplin when he was wounded in World War II. See Harvey Shapiro, A Momentary Glory: Last Poems (Wesleyan UP, 2014): 6. However, I have not been able to confirm Shapiro’s account.
291.29 —’Batter up, Grumpa Marrump’ / —Your idea of novelizing…: through 291.36 from draft notes for a novel probably from the 1930s, almost certainly the same work quoted at 12.254.28-255.10 and given the title there of The Little Girl. These lines and some of what appears in “A”-12 exist on both sides a single small sheet among LZ’s papers, which also seem to suggest the work was intended to be Jamesian in manner, specifically mentioning The Awkward Age (HRC 3.13). See also 292.6-11.
292.6 ‘An older sister an English beauty / Called Violet…: from the same draft notes for a novel mentioned in the note for 291.29 (see also 12.254.28-255.10).
292.12 —He used to talk about / His art and his God and his fiddle…: through 292.21 is a quoted anecdote by James C. Petrillo, head of the American Federation of Musicians, A.F.L., concerning the violinist Yehuda Menuhin. The New York Times for 10 June 1953 has a report, “Oscar Levant Swallows Pride and Squirms as Petrillo Calls tune on Pianist’s Future,” in which Petrillo makes an example of Levant for trying to resist the union and recounts this earlier incident with Menuhin.
292.22 Two hundred years ago / His alma mater…: Columbia University, which LZ attended from 1920-1922, was chartered by King George II as King’s College in 1754, and its first location was at the Trinity Church schoolhouse on what is now lower Broadway. In 1857 the college moved to a site at 49th Street and Madison Avenue bought from the Deaf and Dumb Asylum. Moved to its current Morningside Heights location in 1897, where Low Library was build over the former site of the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum.
292.34 Seeing because tears are / Forbidden to these eyes: from Euripides, Hippolytus (line 1398). Apparently LZ’s own version of a line spoken by Artemis to Hippolytus, although it is not clear what text he is working from. The Loeb Classical edition by Arthur S. Way has: “I see—but tears are to mine eyes forbid.”
293.3 ‘Barrel E, Barrel A, Barrel D, Barrel G’: Ahearn’s suggestion that this is PZ hearing musical notes in the banging of the garbage men (156) is supported by CZ (“Commemorative Evening” 25).
293.9 . . the commodity wages not with the danger / . . so live quietly and so give over: from Shakespeare, Pericles IV.ii:
Pander: Three or four thousand chequins were as pretty proportion to live quietly, and so give over.
Bawd: Why to give over, I pray you? Is it a shame to get when we are old?
Pander: O, our credit comes not in like the commodity, nor the commodity wages not with the danger; therefore, if in our youths we could pick up some pretty estate, ’twere not amiss to keep our door hatch’d. Besides, the sore terms we stand upon with the gods will be strong with us for giving o’er.
293.11 . . sung, and made the night bed mute: from Shakespeare, Pericles IV.Prologue (this line is from the 1609 First Quarto: all modern texts accept the emendation of “night bed” to “night-bird” = nightingale, first suggested by the 18th century scholar Lewis Theobald; qtd. Bottom 38):
Gower: Or when she would with sharpe needle wound,
The Cambricke which she made more sound
By hurting it or when too’th Lute
She sung, and made the night bed mute,
That still records with mone […]
293.13 prose clothes the poem: cf. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus-Logico Philosophicus, 4.002: “Language disguises thought; so that from the external form of the clothes one cannot infer the form of the thought they clothe, because the external form of the clothes is constructed with quite another object than to let the form of the body be recognized. The silent adjustments to understanding colloquial language are enormously complicated” (partially qtd. Bottom 50).
293.14 . . world-without-end bargain in: from Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost V.ii: “Princess: A time, methinks, too short / To make a world-without-end bargain in.”
293.15 And take upon’s . . / Who loses and who wins…: from Shakespeare, King Lear V.iii (qtd. Bottom 312, Prep+ 22 and TP 141):
Lear: No, no, no, no! Come, let’s away to prison:
We two alone will sing like birds I’ the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we’ll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we’ll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who’s in, who’s out;
And take upon’s the mystery of things,
As if we were God’s spies: and we’ll wear out,
In a wall’d prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by the moon.
293.19 If we didn’t both like to talk…: From Henry James, letter to George Bernard Shaw dated 20 Jan 1909: “[…] if we didn’t both like to talk—there would be scarce use in our talking at all. I think, frankly, even, that we scarce want anything else at all”
293.31 M. said…: Max Beerbohm (1872-1956) in The Works of Max Beerbohm (1898): “To give an accurate and exhaustive account of that period would need a far less brilliant pen than mine.”
293.36 No one in history or legend / Died of laughter…: from Max Beerbohm in “Laughter” (1920): “Strange, when you come to think of it, that of all the countless folk who have lived before our time on this planet not one is known in history or in legend as having died of laughter.”
294.2 You can’t win affection / By wishing your opponent to drop dead…: cf. concluding scene of Little (CF 175; also 131); also Spinoza’s remarks on the transformation of hate through love (see 11.124.19, 12.233.26).
294.6 Pill-and-Envy / Mud’s Son:
294.8 All he has to do is to sit down / And he looks like Michelangelo’s Moses…: a remark by CZ (dated July 22/58, HRC 3.13) referring to the poet Ebbe Borregaard (b. 1933), who attended LZ’s workshop at San Francisco College during the summer of 1958. The comparison is with the main figure in Michelangelo’s elaborate tomb for Pope Julian II in St. Peter’s Cathedral, the Vatican; the statue depicts Moses with a strikingly long flowing beard. The suggestion is plausible: see photo of Borregaard around this time in Lewis Ellingham and Kevin Killian, Poet Be Like God: Jack Spicer and the San Francisco Renaissance (Wesleyan UP, 1998): 194. See Robert Duncan’s 9 July 1958 letter to Denise Levertov for some remarks about LZ’s negative reaction to Borregaard’s poetry in The Letters of Robert Duncan and Denise Levertov, eds. Robert J. Bertholf and Albert Gelpi (Stanford University Press, 2003): 125-126.
294.13 The great know how to wait: remark by the cellist, Pablo Cassels: “Only the mediocre are impatient; the great know how to wait” (HRC 3.13).
294.23 against nature…:
294.29 crèche: Fr. crib. A public nursery where the children of women who go out to work are cared for during the day; an asylum for foundlings and infants which have been abandoned (CD).
294.35 Or as the architect / —You can get culture…: LZ’s notebook (HRC 3.13) indicates this refers to Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), and in American Friends, CZ quotes this remark, attributing it to an interview (66). In his later years, Wright often made such disparaging comments on contemporary culture.
295.3 Admitted, my modest philosophers— / No, common sense is not / What we find in the world…: through 295.6 LZ is apparently responding to a remark by Jacob Bronowski, The Common Sense of Science (1953): “The world makes sense all right; it makes common sense. […] But common sense is not what we put into the world. It is what we find there” (HRC 3.13).
295.9 One swallow does not summer our nights: proverbial, but found in Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics I.6 (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 and happy” (trans. W.D. Ross). See 12.138.20 and Bottom 112.
295.16 Vico’s intellegere from legere to collect greens: here and at 295.19 LZ appears to be using Richard Volney Chase, Quest for Myth (1949): “Many abstract words, says Vico, can be traced back to natural objects, which were once ‘real words’; intellegere comes from legere, ‘to collect vegetables’; disserere means ‘to scatter seed.’” On the same page, as LZ noted, Chase quotes Vico: “‘The most sublime task of poetry; —to animate, to give passion to inanimate objects'” (HRC 3.13).
295.19 Disserere to discuss to scatter seed: see note at 295.16. Discuss < L. discussus, pp. of discutere, strike or shake apart, break up, scatter (CD).
295.31 That my heart know will never be the world’s wide / commonplace: from Shakespeare, Sonnet 137: “Why should my heart think that a several plot / Which my heart knows the wide world’s common place?”
295.38 Dian’s argentine: from Shakespeare, Pericles V.i; Pericles on awakening from his dream vision of Diana: “Celestial Dian, goddess argentine, / I will obey thee.” This first line is quoted in CD for the definition of “argentine,” meaning silvery.
295.39 M . . m, night’s mute, the slightest sound made with closed lips: here LZ is working with the etymology of the word mum, which in Skeats is glossed: Silence! M.E. mom, mum, to express the least sound made with closed lips. Cf. L. mu, Gk. μû. The phrase “night’s mute” is from Shakespeare, Pericles IV.Prologue, see 293.11.
296.11 H.J.: Henry James.
296.15 As the great numbers to resignation / In every strike unfed, unclothed and unread…: through 296.21 from Alice James (1848-1892), Alice James: Her Brothers—Her Journal, ed. Anna Robeson Burr (1934). LZ is using notes supplied by Lorine Niedecker (HRC 33.6); see 13.265.10:
“After seeing a May day celebration in London 1890: ‘Could anything exhibit more beautifully the solidarity of the race than that by combining to walk through the streets on the same day, these starvelings should make emperors, kings, presidents, and millionaires tremble the world over? Those who have every opportunity for acquiring wisdom, and of inheriting noble, human, and generous instincts, have found no more inspired means of allaying their mutual rapacities than shooting down vast hordes of innocent men, as helpless as sheep; whilst these creatures, the disinherited, with savage instincts all unsubdued, have divined that brotherly help is the path to victory! What one of us, with his sentimental, emotional sympathy, ever stood by his fellow starving, and watching his dwindling wife and children for weeks? And yet at every strike thousands of the unfed, the unclothed, and the unread stand or fall together and make no boast.’ (She wrote this in 1890).”
“When Harry [Henry James] was five or thereabouts, Alice says, Wm. [James] undertook to explain to him the nature of God, and hearing that he was everywhere, asked whether he was the chair, or the table. ‘Oh, no! God isn’t a thing; He is everywhere about us; He pervades.’ ‘Oh, then, he’s a skunk.’”
“One day, talking about some good review of William’s [Principles of] Psychology, ‘which reprobate his mental pirouettes, and squirm at his daring to go lightly among the solemnities, H. said, ‘Yes, they can’t understand intellectual larking.’”
296.26 It is not night when I do see your face: from Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream II.i:
Helena: Your virtue is my privilege: for that
It is not night when I do see your face,
Therefore I think I am not in the night;
Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company,
For you in my respect are all the world:
Then how can it be said I am alone,
When all the world is here to look on me?
296.39 “cellar door” (1926), / (1956) “Neither/nor, nor and/or”: “Cellar Door” appeared in line 172 of “Poem Beginning ‘The’” (1926), apparently referring there to a student hangout at Columbia University (?), and rhyming with the preceding line’s “galore.” For “Neither/nor…” see the poem, “The Laws Can Say” (1955), published in Some Time (CSP 155).
297.1 Attesting an exchange between an intellective portion / Of head…: see Bottom 432: “The syllables of Pericles are brought together like notes. And if that intellective portion of mind that is music can make poetry and prose interchangeable, because there is a note always to come back to a second time—sung to the scale the ‘subjects’ of speech are so few and words only ring changes one on another, the differences perceived by their fictions are so slight music makes them few.”
297.7 Honor a word gone out of English: see 11.124.7.
297.8 Bottom the weaver: the character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; see 12.133.20.
297.9 Richard Flecknoe on Pericles: / “Ars longa, vita brevis…: Richard Flecknoe (c.1600-1678), English dramatist and poet. Ars longa, vita brevis: L. art is long, life is short; attributed to Hippocrates. LZ found this remark in a note to Sidney Lee’s facsimile edition of Shakespeares Pericles (1905), which he refers to quite often in Bottom, although he does not mention this particular comment: “In 1656 Richard Flecknoe, in his Diarium, p. 96, has the epigram:— ‘On the play of the life and death of Pyrocles’ / Ars longa, via brevis, as they say, / But who inverts that saying made this play.”
297.14 The lines of the song Pericles that end so many times: life: throughout Shakespeare’s Pericles, 15 lines end with the word “life.”
297.15 Our thoughts . . our . . their ends not our own…: from Shakespeare, Hamlet III.ii; spoken by the Player King in the inner play:
But, orderly to end where I begun,
Our wills and fates do so contrary run
That our devices still are overthrown;
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own:
So think thou wilt no second husband wed;
But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.
297.18 Memphis—not Egypt—Tennessee…: Memphis was a major city and capital of ancient Egypt, while Memphis, Tennessee is best known for its associations with country music. This passage through 297.30 refers to a March 1960 PZ performance in the Ellis Auditorium, a large multi-purpose arena. The incident of the wrestling matches going on simultaneously with the music concert apparently refers not to PZ’s performance but to a previous concert by the pianist Rudolf Serkin (1903-1991), but LZ did see some wrestling and the smoke-filled auditorium during PZ’s rehearsal (letter to Cid Corman dated 2 April 1960; HRC 18.2).
297.26 Michelangelo’s hordes of the Judgment / in the Sistine Chapel: refers to Michelangelo’s crowded fresco of contorted bodies rising to the Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, painted 1535-1541.
297.28 saraband of / Bach’s Second Partita for Violin: see 262.1. If we assume that Bach’s Partita No. 2 is the main model for the larger structure of “A”-13, then the saraband would be the third part.
297.31 Taine said…: Hippolyte Taine (1828-1893), French historian; quote unidentified.
297.36 The King is a thing, says Hamlet / shocking only the fox: from Shakespeare, Hamlet IV.ii:
Hamlet: The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body.
The king is a thing,—
Guildenstern: A thing, my lord!
Hamlet: Of nothing: bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after.
298.9 Attar of roses banked as collateral…: through 298.19 from 23 Aug. 1960 New York Times article: “Bulgaria Deposits Attar of Roses In Place of Gold in London Bank; Sofia Delivers 1,100 Pounds of Essence as Collateral—Value of Perfume Base Put at $800 a Pound.” LZ is more or less quoting from the background information provided in the article: “Attar of roses is an essential oil distilled from rose petals, mainly those of the bloom called Rosa damascena. For centuries attar has been used by Bulgaria in financial dealings […] No other country can compete with Bulgaria in the rose industry, which was brought there in the seventeenth century by the conquering Turks, who had undoubtedly learned the art of distilling rose oil in Persia. The word attar, sometimes corrupted to ‘otto,’ comes from the Persian. […] ‘The Bulgarian rose growers always hope for a damp season, not only because the rain intensifies the fragrance of the flowers, but also because too much sun makes the roses grow faster than they can be handled. The harvest takes place during most of May and early June, lasting for only about twenty-five days. Before dawn, the Bulgarian peasant, in their bright costumes, are in the rose fields picking the flowers, which are still fresh with dew. Actually, the maximum yield is around 2 o’clock in the morning, but though the flowers are willing the workers are not. After the flowers are picked they are loaded into carts and taken to the distilleries by drivers who are practically embedded in blossoms. It takes about 4000 pounds of Bulgarian roses to produce one pound of rose oil, so you can imagine the profusion of the rose harvest.’”
298.21 stereoscope: an optical instrument with two eyepieces used to create a three-dimensional effect with two photographs of the same scene taken at slightly different angles (AHD). Mentioned also at 300.7, LZ was intrigued by the image of the stereoscope, which appears at least twice elsewhere in his writings: in a passage of “Thanks to the Dictionary” that apparently describes the double-focus experience of watching a film (CF 274) and in the story, “It Was”: “I wanted our time to be the story, but like the thought of a place passed by once and recalled altogether: seen again a through a stereoscope blending views a little way apart into a solid—defying touch” (CF 183).
298.26 There come back not in the order of an itinerary…: through 300.5 consists of various details from a trip the Zukofskys took across country in the summer of 1954 that included stops at St. Elizabeths to visit EP, over to the west coast and up to western Canada. As LZ indicates, the details are not presented in chronological order.
298.27 Jefferson’s slave quarters in his natural air-conditioned / cellar at Monticello: Thomas Jefferson Monticello home includes an extensive cellar, from which food and wine were sent above into the main house. The “gadgeteer” of 298.30 is undoubtedly Jefferson, who was a well-known and voracious adapter of new practical inventions, many of which he incorporated into Monticello.
298.29 Mt. Vernon: George Washington’s Virginia estate.
298.32 Collections’ Amati they let him try out in the Library of / Congress: Amati was a 17th century family of violin makers from Cremona, Italy. The “Collection” here is no doubt the Cremonese Collection of musical instruments at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., which includes a violin by Niccolò Amati (1596-1684) called the “Brookings,” acquired in 1938, which apparently PZ was allowed to “try out.”
298.34 Arcangelo / Corelli: Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), Italian composer and preeminent violinist of his day.
298.35 The mad kept way out there in a circle as he played / Corelli, Jannequin’s song: the Zukofskys visited EP at St. Elizabeths (see 264.28, 288.35) on 11 July 1954, where PZ played Bach’s Partita for Solo Violin No. 3 in E Major and, at EP’s request, Le Chant des Oiseaux (Song of the Birds) by Clement Jannequin (c.1475-c.1560), a favorite piece whose score as arranged by Gerhart Münch EP used for Canto 75. LZ briefly describes this visit in Little (CF 121) and mentions Jannequin in relation to EP in “Nor did the prophet’” (CSP 146). See also CZ’s description in Terrell, “Two Conversations” 585-587 and Gordon, “Zuk and Ez at St. Liz.”
298.39 deodar: a tall cedar (Cedrus deodara) native to the Himalaya Mountains and having drooping branches and dark bluish-green leaves, often with white, light green, or yellow new growth in cultivars (AHD).
299.5 Gilbert Stuart’s / Portrait of Washington: (1775-1828) American artist who painted a number of portraits of President Washington, including the one used on the one dollar bill, in which his white wig stands out.
299.7 Crater Lake: National Park in southern Oregon, the lake is famous for its intense blue color. This and following details are from a trip West the Zukofskys took in the summer of 1958, returning through parts of Canada.
299.12 Sages of sheaves of analects…: Analects of Confucius. Ancient Chinese texts were written on pieces of split bamboo that were tied together and could be rolled up into bundles. EP’s translation of Confucius’ main works, including the Analects, was published in 1951. LZ seems here to be conflating Confucius with Chinese landscape sensibility generally.
299.14 misnamed temples / Of Grand Canyon’s absurd sunsets…: buttes and tower-like formations left due to erosion of the canyon walls by the Colorado River are frequently called temples, and given exotic mythological and religious names, such as the Brahma, Vishnu, Manu, Zoroaster, Thor, Isis or Buddha Temples.
299.18 Lake Louise: in southern Alberta, Canada.
299.21 kadota figs: a light-green, tear-drop shaped fig.
299.27 poor man’s flowers: purple lilacs (syringe vulgaris), supposedly so-called because they are so easy to cultivate.
299.32 Winnipeg: capital of Manitoba, Canada.
299.33 Canmore: in Alberta in the Canadian Rockies.
300.7 stereoscope: see note at 298.21.
300.10 The human son and the suns sleep…: see 290.24 and 303.5-6; also 12.236.11-13, Bottom 76, 86.
300.13 You intended a small boy to light a masquerade / As a Chinese sage…: a slightly more detailed description of this Confucius outfit that PZ wore to a costume party appears in one of Lorine Niedecker’s For Paul poems, “Now go to the party” (Collected Works 152), no doubt from LZ’s description in a letter. The “you” of this passage is CZ.
300.17 Not a world of four words—last things—: cf, Shakespeare, Timon of Athens V.i (from Timon’s dying speech): “Lips, let four words go by and language end.”
300.18 when the Chinese / Adopt the Latin alphabet…: the People’s Republic of China announced in 1956-1957 a policy of language reform that involved the adoption of the first phase in character simplification (reduction in the number of strokes per character) and of the pinyin system of romanization, with the ultimate aim of the complete replacement of characters with an alphabetic writing system. Although this first phase of language reform has now been thoroughly institutionalized in mainland China, its further stages were abandoned with the end of the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s.
300.23 K’in plays its principles from nature…: the Chinese k‘in, ch‘in or qin (pronounced “ch´in”), often translated as lute although zither is more descriptively accurate (another instrument, the pipa, is more appropriated rendered as “lute”), was since ancient times the prized instrument of the Chinese literati, which every well-educated man was expected to be able to play. Through 301.5 LZ’s source, directly or indirectly, is J.A Van Aalst, Chinese Music (1884), perhaps the most authoritative overview in English of its subject well into the 20th century, which includes discussion of the cosmological and ritualistic significance of music in Chinese tradition. Why LZ uses the romanization k’in rather than ch‘in as in his source and as copied into his notebooks is uncertain (unless perhaps he wishes to suggests a pun with “kin”); he also seems to have mixed up the elements that correlate with the notes yü and chiao:
“The Ch‘in, is one of the most ancient instruments, and certainly the most poetical of all. It was invented by Fu Hsi, who called it ch‘in, referring to restriction, prohibition, because its influence checks the evil passions, rectifies the heart, and guides the actions of the body. The dimensions, the number of strings, the form, and whatever is connected with this instrument had their principles in Nature. Thus, the ch‘in measured 3.66 feet or 366/10 of an inch, because the year contains a maximum of 366 days; the number of strings was five, to agree with the five elements; the upper part was made round, to represent the firmament; the bottom was flat, to represent the ground; and the 13 studs stood for the 12 moons and the intercalary moon” (59).
“Each of the primitive names of notes had a particular meaning. The Chinese, who are so fond of comparing and contrasting, could not fail to find some relation between the five notes and—
The five planets: Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Mars.
” points: north, east, centre, west, south.
” colours: black, violet, yellow, white, red.
” elements: wood, water, earth, metal, fire.
The affinity of the five sounds with the five relations of men and things is explained as follows by the Chinese:—
1. (kung shu chün). The note kung corresponds to the chief, the ruler, the Emperor.
2. (shang shu ch‘ên). The note shang corresponds to the minister.
3. (chiao chu min). The note chiao is related to the people, the nation.
4. (chih shu shih). The note chih represents the affairs of State.
5. (yü shu wu). The note yü represents material objects.” (17)
300.39 Come back to read from one book / I do see your face—: see 296.25-26.
301.6 Dealing from a household / Each art…: these lines refer to the etymology of economy < Gr. oἰκονομία, the management of a household or family, or of the state, the public revenue, < οἰκονόμος, one who manages a household, a manager, administrator, < οἰκος, a house, household + νέμειν, deal out, distribute, manage (CD).
301.9 Earth’s yield and work / Use to the used: from J.K. Ingalls, Work and Wealth (1878) (see 12.256.26-257.3): “Into all production of wealth only two factors enter: (1) the raw materials—the soil or its spontaneous productions; (2) human effort. However complex or extended, in the last analysis only these two elements are found. It is not the carbon and nitrogen, the salts and gases, of which our food and clothing are composed, which we produce as wealth, but that specific form and aptitude for use which our work has wrought or effected.”
301.16 We talk after the fishermen in Pericles / Who banter their verse…: three fishermen appear in Shakespeare, Pericles II.i, who help out the shipwrecked prince. Pericles remarks admiringly on their good humored verbal wit and social critique: “How from the fenny subiect of the Sea, / These Fishers tell the infirmities of men, / And from their watry empire recollect. / All that may men approue, or men detect”; see the Fishermen’s remarks quoted at 21.456.34 and 21.457.2. See also Bottom 99, 396, 397.
301.18 Droll roll and gambol of a playful / fish of the playful sea: see 21.507.10.
301.20 Shakespeare skeptical of most music…:
301.24 “He that doth ill hateth the night”: from Thomas Nashe (1567-1601), The Terrors of the Night, Or a Discourse of Apparitions (1594): “It is not to be gainsaid but the devil can transform himself into an angel of light, appear in the day as well as in the night, but not in this subtle world of Christianity so usual as before. If he do, it is when men’s minds are extraordinarily thrown down with discontent, or inly terrified with some horrible concealed murder, or other heinous crime close smothered in secret. In the day he may smoothly in some mild shape insinuate, but in the night he takes upon him like a tyrant. There is no thief that is half so hardy in the day as in the night; no more the devil. A general principle it is, he that doth ill hateth the light.”
301.26 Gagaku: ancient form of Japanese court music, including dance. LZ went to a performance of Gagaku music and dance by the Musicians and Dancers of the Japanese Imperial Household in early June 1959, and there exists a copy of Playbill (1 June 1959) among LZ’s papers offering information particularly on two of the performances, a Mimic Dance and a Monkey-God Dance (Rieke, “Quotation and Originality” 93).
301.34 Monkey Dance…: see notes at 301.26 and 302.4.
301.35 (Able the sensible rhesus…: Able, along with his co-pilot Baker, were monkeys sent up in a U.S. Jupiter rocket on 28 May 1959 and were the first living beings to survive space travel. Able was a rhesus monkey, Baker a squirrel monkey.
302.4 Monkey God…: see note at 301.26. Although CZ suggested this is indebted to Arthur Waley’s Monkey (Ahearn, “Two Conversations” 118-119), a highly abridged translation of the great Chinese novel, Journey to the West by Wu Ch’eng-en, LZ wrote Cid Corman 30 Sept. 1960, a couple weeks after composing the third partita, that he was reading Monkey “to see what in my ignorance I may have ‘repeated,'” adding: “Just as I’m my own Gagaku (as I say in iii)—I mean don’t take my dance to be a literal report of the dances I ‘saw’ performed—if I haven’t said this before. As a matter of fact I take off from two dances I saw & mix ’em up […]” (qtd. Corman, “In the Event of Words” 326). In fact, LZ’s description has little in common with the rambunctious antics of Monkey and appears to be based on his memory or imagining of a monkey dance (see note at 301.26—the Chinese Monkey (Sun Wukong) does make an appearance at 22.527.24). The more formal or original name for Noh is Sarugaku Noh with saru meaning monkey. Mary Oppen in Meaning a Life (Santa Barbara: Black Sparrow Press, 1978) mentions that LZ “saw the Noh plays with a famous Chinese actor who toured the United States several times, and he delighted us with imitations of this actor” (94); although this account mixes up the grave, ritualistic Japanese Noh for the far more exuberant and athletic Peking Opera, it refers to the great Chinese opera performer Mei Lanfang (1893-1961), who both LZ and WCW saw and enthused over in 1930 (WCW/LZ 60-62); CZ also mentions LZ performing imitations of Mei Lanfang and others (Carroll F. Terrell, “Louis Zukofsky: An Eccentric Profile” in Louis Zukofsky: Man and Poet (1979): 69.
303.5 So the sun warms your bodies as one. / You human son sleeps and does not care: see 290.24 and 300.10.
303.18 [partita iv] Too heavy / for / my / breast pocket…: this section of “A”-13 primarily catalogs the contents of LZ’s wallet, including notes for his poetry that he was in the habit of carrying.
304.5 my resource / es / for / my son…: these lines appear to refer to the origins of “Poetry / For My Son When He Can Read,” which begins: “When you were 19 months old your ability to say ‘Go billy go billy go billy go ba,’ much faster than I could ever say it, made me take some almost illegible notes on poetry out of my wallet” (Prep+ 3).
304.14 your / own / eyes, by strength…: through 305.13, as well as most of the other italicized phrases in this partita, from Shakespeare, The Two Noble Kinsmen. In Bottom, the chapter “Forgotten” (349-351) primarily consists of short quotations from this play, including all those used in this partita. On the assumption that in composing these passages LZ is consulting Bottom or his notes for that work, the relevant quotations are given complete as presented there, with LZ’s ellipses and using an original spelling text:
III.vi,250 (qtd. Bottom 350):
‘By your owne eyes: By strength‘
III.i.117 (qtd. Bottom 350):
Yet pardon me hard language: when I spur
My horse, I chide him not; content and anger
In me have but one face.’
V.i.80f (qtd. Bottom 350):
‘Venus . . .
Soveraigne . . . who hast power
To call the feircest Tyrant from his rage,
And weepe unto a Girle; that ha’st the might
Even with an ey-glance, to choke Marsis Drom . . .
that canst make
A Criple florish with his Crutch . . .
Stale gravitie to daunce . . .
Mothers: I had one, a woman . . .
To put life into dust . . .
O thou, that from eleven to ninetie raign’st . . .
whose chase is this world,
And we in heards thy game: I give thee thankes . . .
My body to this businesse.’
V.iv.67, 71 (qtd. Bottom 349):
‘On this horse is Arcite
Trotting the stones of Athens, which the Calkins
Did rather tell than trample . . .
as he thus went counting
The flinty pavement, dancing, as t’were, to th’ Musicke
His own hooves made; (for as they say from iron
Came Musickes origen)’
III.i.29 (qtd. Bottom 350):
‘I ear’d her language, livde in her eye‘
II.vi.11 (qtd. Bottom 349):
‘love . . . beyond love and beyond reason,
Or wit, or safetie‘:
305.20 the fiddler’s / at nine and / a / half: the third poem of “I’s (pronounced eyes)” also refers to the “fiddler” (PZ) at age nine (214), which Scroggins notes refers to a snapshot (Poetry of Knowledge 108).
305.24 my young wife […] the year / he was born: PZ born 22 Oct. 1943. Scroggins reproduces a photo of CZ from 1943 wearing a smart hat, although it is difficult to tell whether or not it is decorated with a peacock feather (Scroggins Bio).
306.1 “Jakobus / Stain- /er / in Absam…: Jacobus Stainer (c.1617-1683) a great violin maker from Absam (near Innsbruck), Austria. The quotation is the hand-written label inside PZ’s violin; prope Oenipontam is L. meaning near Innsbruck; see 12.157.10 and 18.405.7.
307.8 life into / dust (who can- / not / feel…: through 307.17 from Shakespeare, The Two Noble Kinsmen; from two distinct passages:
from V.i.80f (qtd. Bottom 350), see quotation at 304.14; and from I.i.131 (qtd. Bottom 349):
‘Who cannot feele nor see the raine, being in’t,
Knows neither wet nor dry‘:
308.4 Go, fresh / horses: from Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale III.i (qtd. Bottom 431): “Go: fresh horses! / And gracious be the issue!” The word “rush” a couple lines previous may be suggested by the lines that immediately precede those quoted: “Shall the contents discover, something rare / Even then will rush to knowledge.”
308.5 the / bar- / ber’s / last haircut / Thoth the price…: see 267.9.
308.16 Chinese / whips stage sym- / bols / for / horses: referring to the convention in traditional Chinese drama, which is actually closer to opera, of using no stage settings and only the most minimal props and mime to indicate, for example, riding off on a horse. See Prep+ 61.
308.24 Hop o’my / thumb lady- / bug…: “Hop o’ my Thumb” is a children’s fairytale by Charles Perreult (1628-1703). Hop o’my Thumb or Little Tom Thumb is a tiny boy who gets the better of a giant.
308.30 by / my / short life my / body to / this / thanks /tender her— / it lets offerers—: from Shakespeare, The Two Noble Kinsmen; combining snippets from two passages:
from V.iv.33 (qtd. Bottom 351):
‘—By my short life . . .
Commend me to her . . .
Tender her this.
—Nay lets be offerers all.’
from V.i (see full quotation at 304.14):
I give thee thankes . . .
My body to this businesse.
309.7 tandaradei: a famous onomatopoetic voicing of the nightingale from “Under the Lindens” by Walter von der Vogelweide (13th century),which here is suggested homophonically by “tender her” a few lines previous (see 10 Feb. 1960 letter to Cid Corman (HRC 18.2)):
Under the lindens of the heather,
There was our double resting-place,
Side by side and close together
Garnered blossoms, crushed, and grass
Nigh a shaw in such a vale:
Sweetly sang the nightingale. (trans. Ford Madox Ford)
309.11 [musical staff and clef]: a notation fixing the location of a particular note on the staff, and therefore the location of the other notes; in this case a treble clef, the G or violin-clef. Here the suggestion is that the clef looks like a cat.
309.12 Naked sitting and lying awake / […] Walking past each other not to step / Over their own bodies: cf. 8.90.14-16 and 303.6-7.
309.23 five contiguous windows of a tenth floor: in an interview, CZ notes that this entire subsection of “A”-13 is set as if LZ is looking out the 10th floor window of their Brooklyn apartment at 135 Willow Street, which they moved into in 1957. She points out that at the time it was one of the few high buildings in the area of mostly low-rise apartments, so they looked down upon many surrounding roofs and their ornamentations (Ahearn, “Two Conversations” 116-117). These five windows are also mentioned at 21.495.27 and Little (CF 176-177). The following description indicates LZ is looking northward in the direction of Brooklyn Bridge, see note at 311.4.
309.26 from eleven to ninety: from Shakespeare, Two Noble Kinsmen V.i; see quote at 304.14 (qtd. Bottom 350). Palamon is speaking before the altar of Venus just prior to the climactic contest with Arcite; the fuller passage reads:
O thou that from eleven to ninety reign’st
In mortal bosoms, whose chase is this world
And this fair token, which being laid unto
Mine innocent true heart, arms in assurance
My body to this business. Let us rise
And bow before the goddess.
Time comes on.
310.2 children in some kind: from Shakespeare, Two Noble Kinsmen V.iv: the final passage of the play excluding the epilogue (qtd. Bottom 349):
Theseus: O you heavenly charmers,—
What things you make of us! For what we lack
We laugh, for what we have, are sorry; still
Are children in some kind. Let us be thankful
For that which is, and with you leave dispute
That are above our question. Let’s go off
And bear us like the time.
310.6 corbie gable: a gable having corbie-steps, a series of steps or step-like projections on the top of a gable wall; also called crow-steps.
310.21 Surcingle—Sir Single: a surcingle is a girth for a horse; esp. a girth separate from the saddle and passing around the body of the horse, retaining in place a blanket, a sheet, or the like, by passing over it (CD).
310.35 Quoins, stringcourses, / Rustications, / Ogee arch, spandrel…: various external architectural features. A quoin is an external solid angle of a building; a stringcourse is a narrow molding or a projecting course continued horizontally along the face of a building, frequently under windows; rustication in masonry is stonework of which the face is hacked or picked in holes, or of which the courses and the separate blocks are marked by rectangular grooves; an ogee arch is formed with doubly curved sides, the lower part of each side being concave and the part toward the apex convex; a spandrel is the triangular space comprehended between the outer curve of an arch, a horizontal line drawn through its apex, and a vertical line through its springing, or the wall-space between the outer moldings of two arches and the framework surrounding it; a lanthern is an upright skylight in the roof of a building (CD).
311.3 (For what we lack we laugh): from Shakespeare, Two Noble Kinsmen V.iv: see 310.2.
311.4 Crowns of / Two towers…: through 311.15 describes two huge hotels very near LZ’s 135 Willow Street apartment in Brooklyn Heights. The Leverich Towers Hotel, built in 1926, has four hexagonal towers on each corner and arcades as described and was located just half a block north of the Zukofskys’ apartment. Immediately behind the Leverich Towers was the Hotel St. George, various structures built between 1885-1929, occupying a full city block and at one time the largest hotel in NYC—whether it was the largest in the world is uncertain. This image taken at the corner of Willow and Clark Streets (looking east) shows the Leverich’s towers and further behind the building formerly the Hotel St. George. The Zukofskys’ apartment was half a block in the direction of the one-way sign arrow near the Leverich.
311.13 tourelles: Fr. turrets.
311.17 . . your sweet music . . last night..: from Shakespeare, Pericles II.v (qtd. Bottom 36):
Simonides: I am beholding to you
For your sweet music this last night: I do
Protest my ears were never better fed
With such delightful pleasing harmony.
311.26 fantastic island / To the north…: Manhattan viewed from Brooklyn Heights.
311.39 Empire State: the Empire State Building, at the time the tallest in the world; but also the nickname for New York state.
312.14 Pompons, ferns, petiole: a pompon is a form of small, globe-shaped flower head that characterizes a type of flowering plant, esp. chrysanthemums and dahlias. A petiole is a leafstalk.
312.17 The Egyptian queen: / —age cannot wither: from Shakespeare, Anthony and Cleopatra II.ii:
Enobarbas [speaking of Cleopatra]:
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety: other women cloy
The appetites they feed: but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies; for vilest things
Become themselves in her: that the holy priests
Bless her when she is riggish.
312.19 So brief is not brief…:
312.22 The embrace / Of the beloved…: from the Upanishads, Brihadaranyaka (4.3.21-22): “As a man when in the embrace of a beloved wife knows nothing within or without, so this person when in the embrace of the intelligent Soul (i.e. the one great Atman) knows nothing within or without. Verily that is his (true) form.” LZ’s source is A.C. Bouquet, Sacred Books of the World (Pelican, 1954): 121.
312.28 Incapable of / Conspiring / Together: this phrase refers to a law going back to Anglo-Saxon times, that a married couple are considered legally a single entity and cannot be charged with conspiring against each other (HRC 3.13).
312.32 Eight definitions / Seven axioms…: in Ethics Baruch Spinoza deploys a method of “geometrical demonstration” to elaborate his philosophical system out of eight initial definitions and seven axioms. The list that follows chooses a key term for each of these definitions and axioms, with which the Ethics begins. Given the importance of Ethics for LZ generally, the following reproduces these first two pages of the work in the Andrew Boyle translation LZ used, with the corresponding term from “A”-13 indicated:
First Part: Concerning God
I. [cause] I understand that to be Cause of Itself (causa sui) whose essence involves existence and whose nature cannot be conceived unless existing.
II. [limit] That thing is said to be Finite in its Kind (in suo genere finita) which can be limited by another thing of the same kind. E.g., a body is said to be finite because we can conceive another larger than it. Thus a thought is limited by another thought. But a body cannot be limited by a thought, nor a thought by a body.
III. [substance] I understand Substance (substantia) to be that which is in itself and is conceived through itself: I mean that, the conception of which does not depend on the conception of another thing from which it must be formed.
IV. [attribute] An Attribute (attributum) I understand to be that which the intellect perceives as constituting the essence of a substance.
V. [mode] By Mode (modus) I understand the Modifications (affectiones) of a substance or that which is in something else through which it may be conceived.
VI. [absolute] God (Deus) I understand to be a being absolutely infinite, that is, a substance consisting of infinite attributes, each of which expresses eternal and infinite essence.
Explanation.—I say absolutely infinite, but not in its kind. For of whatever is infinite only in its kind, we may deny the attributes to be infinite; but what is absolutely infinite appertains to the essence of whatever expresses essence and involves no denial.
VII. [need] That thing is said to be Free (libera) which exists by the mere necessity of its own nature and is determined in its actions by itself alone. That thing is said to be Necessary (necessaria), or rather Compelled (coacta), when it is determined in its existence and actions by something else in a certain fixed ratio.
VIII. [eternity] I understand Eternity (aeternitas) to be existence itself, in so far as it is conceived to follow necessarily from the definition of an eternal thing.
Explanation.—For the existence of a thing, as an eternal truth, is conceived to be the same as its essence, and therefore cannot be explained by duration or time, although duration can be conceived as wanting beginning and end.
I. [essence] All things which are, are in themselves or in other things.
II. [conception] That which cannot be conceived through another thing must be conceived through itself.
III. [sequence] From a given determined cause an effect follows of necessity, and on the other hand, if no determined cause is granted, it is impossible that an effect should follow.
IV. [knowledge] The knowledge of effect depends on the knowledge of the cause, and involves the same.
V. [identity] Things which have nothing in common reciprocally cannot be comprehended reciprocally through each other, or, the conception of the one does not involve the conception of the other.
VI. [idea] A true idea should agree with its ideal (ideatum), i.e. what it conceives.
VII. [negation] The essence of that which can be conceived as not existing does not involve existence.
313.13 (Launce) / To / Stand-under . . / Under-stand . . / all one: from Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona II.5 (qtd. Bottom 50-51 and frequently referred to thereafter; also see 22.519.5-6, 23.544.19):
Speed: What an ass art thou! I understand thee not.
Launce: What a block art thou, that thou canst not! My staff understands me.
Speed: What thou sayest?
Launce: Ay, and what I do too: look thee, I’ll but lean, and my staff understands me.
Speed: It stands under thee, indeed.
Launce: Why, stand-under and under-stand is all one.
313.20 the image of a voice: from II Esdras V:37 in the Apocrypha, which is quoted in Bottom 36 and the phrase also at Bottom 92.
313.21 Love you: from Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale II.i:
Mamillius [to Hermione]: “You’ll kiss me hard, and speak to me, as if I were a baby still. I love you better” (Rieke, “Quotation and Originality” 97).