Z-siteA Companion to the Works of Louis Zukofsky
14 Feb. 1970 – 14 April 1973 / “AN ERA,” Unicorn Postcard (May 1970); Initial, Phoenix Bookshop (1970); From “A”-22, Pomegranate Press (1972); first half, Poetry 122 (July 1973); second half, Poetry 124 (April 1974)
“A”-22 and “A”-23 are complementary movements: both are precisely 1000 lines each, begin and end with 100 line segments in 5-line stanzas, and deploy throughout the 5-word line that LZ used throughout the last decade of his life, from “A”-21 through 80 Flowers. As usual, however, there are some slight irregularities in this neat structure: the concluding segment of “A”-22 has 97 lines due to the 3-line block that opens the movement, and the concluding 100-line segment of “A”-23 is simply set off by a line break rather than set in stanzas. When he finished “A”-21, beginning in 1967 LZ set himself a five-year reading plan to gather materials for these two movements, which he organized chronologically covering 6000 years (Leggott 55)—for the significance of this period of history, see note at 12.127.3. The basic distinction between the materials used in “A”-22 and -23 appears to be that of history in the former and literature in the latter, although LZ often enough insisted there were no essential generic distinctions within his own body of writing. In “A”-22, “history” must be taken in a very catholic sense to encompass natural history, anthropology and philosophy, particularly classical Greek philosophers. To further blur generic distinctions, the most frequently used source of all is Herbert A. Giles, A History of Chinese Literature (see 515.10), which itself follows traditional Chinese practice in taking “literature” to include historical, philosophical, religious and lexicographical writings. For an outline list of the major sources LZ uses in the main body of “A”-22 see here.
508.1 AN ERA / ANYTIME / OF YEAR: this opening block was written Valentine’s Day 1970 (Scroggins Bio 427-428) and published as a poetry postcard by Unicorn Press in May 1970 (see image). The design, carefully dictated by LZ, had blue type against a yellow background, as alluded to at 508.7. Leggott reproduces some of LZ’s working notes on this opening block, as well as discussing it in considerable detail and its relevance to the following “Initial” segment (see note at 508.8; Leggott 34-52). The notebooks indicate LZ examined the dictionary senses of “era” and its etymological antecedents, which he looked up in the standard Lewis & Short, A Latin Dictionary, suggesting some phrases and lines. “Era” derives from the Latin aera meaning:
1. counters; in math., a given number, according to which a reckoning or calculation is to be made; 2. An item of an account; 3. An era or epoch from which time is reckoned.
Aera is a plural form of aes meaning:
1. any crude metal dug out of the earth, except gold and silver;
2. A. (esp. in the poets) For everything made or prepared from copper, bronze, etc. (statues, tables of laws, money), and (as the ancients had the art of hardening and tempering copper and bronze) weapons, armor, utensils of husbandry.
B. Money: the first Roman money consisted of small rude masses of copper, called aes rude. 1. Aes alienum, lit. the money of another; hence, in reference to him who has it, the sum owed, a debt, Plautus Curc. 3,1,2. […] Cic. Fam. 5,6: “aes alienum amicorum suspcipere,” to take upon one’s self. 2. In aere meo est, trop., he is, as it were, among my effects, he is my friend (only in the language of conversation): “in animo habui te in aere meo esse propter Lamiae nostri conjunctionem,” Cic. Fam. 13,62; 15,14.— 3. Alicujus aeris esse, to be of some value, Gell. 18,5—
D. 1. Wages, pay. 2. Reward, payment.
E. In plur.: aera, counters, hence also the items of a computed sum (Lewis & Short).
508.3 Others letters a sum owed / ages account years each year…: see preceding note, where the definition of “era” in part contributes to the derivation of this lines. For the phrase “years each year” see note at 508.6. There is a pun on owed/ode (Quartermain, Disjunctive Poetics 107).
508.6 out of old fields: from Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1340-1400), Parlement of Foules, line 22. LZ had used line 24 (third quoted below) as the epigraph to the First Movement of “Poem beginning ‘The’” (CSP 9). For other lines worked from Parlement of Foules, see 510.16, 511.3, 511.17, 511.20-23:
For out of olde feldes, as men seith,
Cometh al this newe corn fro yeer to yere;
And out of olde bokes, in good feith,
Cometh al this newe science that men lere.
But now to purpos as of this matere—
To rede forth hit gan me so delyte,
That al the day me thoughte but a lyte.
508.8 initial: the section of “A”-23 that immediately follows the opening block of “AN ERA,” one hundred lines in five line stanzas that ends with an echoed “initial” (511.10), was originally published as Initial by the Phoenix Book Shop in NYC, Christmas 1970. This section was composed 5 July-11 Aug. 1970 (Leggott 384). It is perhaps worth noting the cluster of meanings of initial: [< L. initialis, of the beginning, incipient, initial, < initium, beginning, < inire, go in, enter upon, begin, < in, in, + ire, go] I. 1. Of or pertaining to the beginning; incipient: as, the initial step in a proceeding. 2. Placed at the beginning; standing at the head: as, the initial letter of a word, or of a chapter in a book. II. 1. The initial or first letter of a word; an initial letter. 2. The first letter of a book or writing, or of any division of it, distinguished from the body of the text by larger size or more ornamental character, or both. 3. In plain-song, a tone with which a melody may begin (CD). Also related meanings as a verb and cognates: initially, initiate, initiation, initiative, initiator, initiatory.
508.9 swim near and / read a weed’s reward—grain: Leggott points out (43) that reading the initial “AN ERA” block vertically one can anagramically find anno, L. meaning to pass or live through a year, but also to swim to, toward, or along. The related annona means the yearly produce, the annual income of natural products, particularly corn or grain or the price of grain or other food (Lewis & Short, A Latin Dictionary). Also in Lewis and Short under aer, aeris one finds: “aera (dissyl.), ae, f., = αἰρα, a weed among grain; darnel, tare, or cockle (noted in HRC 37.4).
508.11 an omen a good omen: from Plato, Epistle VII, see 519.9-10.
508.14 let me live here ever, / sweet now, silence foison: from Shakespeare, The Tempest IV.i. “Foison,” means plentiful harvest or abundance. These lines appear in Propero’s masque, spoken by Ceres (qtd. Bottom 38, 149, 185, 354):
Hourely joyes, be still upon you,
Juno sings her blessings on you.
Earths increase, foyzon plentie,
Plants, with goodly burthen bowing:
Spring come to you at the fathest,
In the very end of Harvest.
Scarcity and want shall shun you […]
Ferdinand: Let me live here ever:
So rare a wondred father, and a wife,
Makes this place a Paradise.
[Juno and Ceres whisper, and send Iris on employment.]
Prospero: Sweet, now, silence!
508.18 why that was you: in the etymological variations LZ explored in “AN ERA” and examined by Leggott is the note, “Y that / was / U” (Leggott 45). Among the punning possibilities, the English letter y is derived from the Greek upsilon.
508.25 bleed / one proof of its strength: from Thomas Aquinas, 3rd part of the Summa Theologica: “His wounds are proof of His strength, since they attest his triumph over death.” LZ’s source is uncertain; this is quoted as in his notebook (HRC 37.4).
508.27 cannot feign / persisting for light as when / they began to exist…: threaded through this and the following stanza are bits from Spinoza that appear elsewhere in LZ’s work. The bird relates to a passage that LZ quotes and refers to a number of times: see quotation at 9.108.25, also qtd. Bottom 287, Prep+ 56 and same passage without the chicken at 12.235.7-8. The word pairs “cannot feign” at 508.27 and “error / delirium” at 509.2-3 can be found in another couple of passages quoted together in Bottom: “. . . we cannot feign while we think that we think or do not think . . . as soon as we know that nature of body we cannot feign an infinite fly, or as soon as we know that nature of mind we cannot feign that it is square, although anything may be expressed in words . . . the less men know of nature, the more easily they can feign things . . .”; “But error . . . is a waking man’s dream, and if it become too prominent it is called delirium” (Treatise on the Correction of Understanding 57-58; as qtd. Bottom 344). The phrase at 508.28-509.1, “as when / they began to exist,” echoes a key passage in Bottom at 423-424, which in turn echoes a long passage from Spinoza quoted on the preceding two pages that concludes: “Finally, by perfection in general I shall understand, as I said . . . the essence of anything, in so far as it exists and operates in a certain manner, without any consideration of time. . . . the duration of things cannot be determined by their essence, since the essence of things does not involve a . . . determined time of existing; but everything, whether it be more or less perfect, shall persist in existing with the same force with which it began to exist . . . in this all things are equal” (Ethics IV, Preface; as qtd. Bottom 421-422).
509.9 sleep revives—night adds hours / awake to augur days impend: from Pliny the Elder (23-79), Natural History (see 523.26), the Preface: “The days we devote to you [dies vobis inpendimus], and we keep our account with sleep in terms of health, content even with this reward alone, that, while we are dallying (in Varro’s phrase) with these trifles, we are adding hours to our life—since of a certainty to be alive means to be awake.” LZ’s source is the Loeb Classical Library edition, trans. H. Rackham.
509.15 leaf to flower to fruit / the season’s colors a ripening / work their detail: from Louis Agassiz (1807-1873), Swiss-American scientist (see 511.29-31): “The change in color [of leaves] coincides with changes in the constitutive chemical elements of the plants; and this comparison between the ripening of foliage and fruit seems the more natural, when we remember that fruits are but a modification of leaves, assuming higher functions—special adaptations in the flower, so as to produce what we call a fruit. The ripening process by which the leaves take on their final colors is as constant and special as in the fruits.” LZ presumably found this in Guy Davenport’s selection, The Intelligence of Louis Agassiz: A Specimen Book of Scientific Writings (1963).
509.17 the perennial / invariance…: throughout much of the rest of the opening 100-line section, LZ works in pieces from Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, 2nd ed. (1961), on which he took extensive notes. Wiener’s classic account of cybernetics, the study of communication and control processes, is centrally concerned with the significance of feedback (see 509.29), in other words the function of memory (see also 510.1-4, 510.6-10, 511.6, 535.19-20):
509.17-19: “Electrical circuit phenomena, like many other physical phenomena, are characterized by an invariance with respect to a shift of origin in time” (viii-ix).
“The problem of the analysis of a non-linear circuit consists in the determination of the coefficients of these polynomials in certain parameters of the input by a process of averaging” (x).
509.20: “As a final remark, let me point out that a large computing machine, whether in the form of mechanical or electric apparatus or in the form of the brain itself, uses up a considerable amount of power, all of which is wasted and dissipated in heat. The blood leaving the brain is a faction of a degree warmer than that entering it. No other computing machine approaches the economy of energy of the brain” (132).
509.21: “The very fact that we see a star means that its thermodynamics is like our own” (34).
509.23: “We have decided to call the entire field of control and communication theory, whether in the machine or in the animal, by the name Cybernetics, which we form from the Greek χυβερνήτης or steersman” (11).
509.24-25: “Probabilities one and zero are notions which include complete certainty and complete impossibility but include much more as well. If I shoot at a target with a bullet of the dimensions of a point, the chance that I hit any specific point on the target will generally be zero, although it is not impossible that I hit it; and indeed, in each specific case I must actually hit some specific point, which is an event of probability zero. Thus an event of probability one, that of my hitting some point, may be made up of an assemblage of instances of probability zero” (46).
509.26: “Biologically, we have at least an analogue to what is perhaps the central phenomenon of life. For heredity to be possible and for cells to multiply, it is necessary that the heredity-carry components of a cell—the so-called genes—be able to construct other similar heredity-carrying structures in their own image” (xii).
509.28-29: “[…] those feedbacks which maintain the working level of the nervous system as well as those other feedbacks which respond to special stimuli” (xv).
509.27 as tho horses rushed / definite as an aching nerve: from Henry James, A London Life (1889): “There were an immense number of horses, in one way or another, in Mrs. Berrington’s life. Then she had so many friends, who were always rushing about like herself […].” “For it was as definite as an aching nerve to Laura that she did not believe her, and if she did not believe her, the words she had spoken were a lie.” See 535.19 and 23.558.29-30.
509.32 an affair with the moon / it looked as if it…: the first manned moon landing was accomplished by Apollo 11 on 20 July 1969; LZ saved a number of clippings of the event from the New York Times, including the entire main section of the issue reporting the historic landing.
Leggott (124-125) identifies these lines through 509.35 as from Laurence Sterne (1713-1768), A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy (1768), chapter entitled “The Monk, Calais”: “I had scarce uttered the words, when a poor monk of the order of St. Francis came into the room to beg something for his convent. No man cares to have his virtues the sport of contingencies—or one man may be generous, as another is puissant; —sed non quoad hanc—or be it as it may,—for there is no regular reasoning upon the ebbs and flows of our humours; they may depend upon the same causes, for aught I know, which influence the tides themselves: ’twould oft be no discredit to us, to suppose it was so: I’m sure at least for myself, that in many a case I should be more highly satisfied, to have it said by the world, ‘I had had an affair with the moon, in which there was neither sin nor shame,’ than have it pass altogether as my own act and deed, wherein there was so much of both. […]
It was one of those heads which Guido [Reni] has often painted,—mild, pale—penetrating, free from all commonplace ideas of fat contented ignorance looking downwards upon the earth; —it look’d forwards; but look’d as if it look’d at something beyond this world.— […]
The poor Franciscan made no reply: a hectic of a moment pass’d across his cheek, but could not tarry—Nature seemed to have done with her resentments in him; —he showed none:—”
510.1 until computed in the metal / tidal waves…: through 510.4 from Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics (see 509.217-30, 510.6-10, 511.6):
510.1: “Indeed, Leibniz himself, like his predecessor Pascal, was interested in the construction of computing machines in the metal” (12).
510.2-4: “We have said that we can treat the relative movements of the sun and the planets as the movements of rigid bodies, but this is not quite the case. The earth, for example, is nearly surrounded by oceans. The water nearer the moon than the center of the earth is more strongly attracted to the moon than the solid part of the earth, and the water on the other side is less strongly attracted. This relatively slight effect pulls the water into two hills, one under the moon and one opposite to the moon. In a perfectly liquid sphere, these hills could follow the moon around the earth with no great dispersal of energy, and consequently would remain almost precisely under the moon and opposite to the moon. […] However, the tidal wave they produce on the earth gets tangled up and delayed on coasts and in shallow seas such as the Bering Sea and the Irish Sea. […] These frictional forces drag the moon back in its course about the earth and accelerate the rotation of the earth forward. They tend to bring the lengths of the month and of the day ever closer to one another. Indeed, the day of the moon is the month, and the moon always presents nearly the same face to the earth” (35).
510.4 blazed sun, white / under weightless dancing: alluding to the first moon walk on 20 July 1969 (Leggott 114-115).
510.6 predictable vaguer with time’s increase…: through 509.10 from Norbert Weiner, Cybernetics (see 509.17-30, 510.1-4, 511.6):
“Using the Newtonian laws, or any other system of causal laws whatever, all that we can predict at any future time is a probability distribution of the constants of a system, and even this predictability fades out with the increase of time” (33).
“The pattern for all events in the solar system was the revolution of a wheel or a series of wheels, whether in the form of the Ptolemaic theory of epicycles or the Copernican theory of orbits, and in any such theory the future after a fashion repeats the past. The music of the spheres is a palindrom, and the book of astronomy reads the same backward as forward” (31).
“We thus find that the eye receives its most intense impression at boundaries, and that every visual image in fact has something of the nature of a line drawing. […] We center our images around the focus of attention and reduce them more or less to outlines” (136).
“The prediction of the future of a message is done by some sort of operator on its past […]” (9).
510.14 painting a standpipe / seeing its swan or stork: LZ’s notebooks indicate this is from a cityscape observation looking over flat roofs and seeing a standpipe that had been painted by hippies to look like a bird (HRC 37.4).
510.16 fish purl in the weir: from Chaucer, Parlement of Foules, lines 138-140 (part of the warning on the black side of the gate to the Garden of Love); see also 508.6, 511.3, 511.17 and 511.20-23:
This streem yow ledeth to the sorwful were,
Ther as the fish in prison is al drye;
Th’schewing is only the remedye.
510.17 we are caught by our / own knowing, barb yellow…: much of the rest of “Initial” through 511.10 is worked from medieval Welsh poetry, using Gwyn Williams, An Introduction to Welsh Poetry (1953), which LZ also drew on extensively in Little and in the latter half of “A”-23 (see also 511.9-10, 511.26-27):
from the Red Book of Talgarth (c. 1400): following from the preceding line from Chaucer, “Did you hear what the fish sang / as he floundered among the stalks? / Nature is stronger than education” (Williams 54).
from the Red Book of Hergest (see 23.557.18):
Gwacllaw bard hard effeiryat
(Empty-handed the poet, splendid the priest) (Williams 66)
from the Black Book of Carmarthen (see 23.557.19):
Oian aparchellan llimy vinet
(Greetings little pig with the sharp toe nails) (Williams 69) (see also 510.21)
from Gruffydd ab yr Ynad Coch, “Ode to Llywelyn the Last”:
Oct hyt attat ti duw na daw mor tros dir
(A sigh to you, god, that the sea may come over the land!) (Williams 93)
510.21 shard porcelain learned blue veined: this is in part suggested homophonically by line from the Black Book of Carmarthen used in 510.19, see above.
510.23 coo (where?): from an observation in Gwyn Williams, Introduction to Welsh Poetry (1953): “[…] whereas in some literatures the cuckoo’s note is associated with the gaiety of spring as the rebirth of nature […] in old Welsh its cry induces melancholy and the memory of all that has passed with this and other winters. This […] derives from the old Welsh cw (pronounced like the English coo) which meant where, and which is cognate with the Latin quo, the Persian ku and the French où. The Cuckoo comes asking, ‘Where, where?’ Où sont les neiges d’antan?” (49).
510.23 dig or not / piece dig who with what…: this and the following five or six lines at least partially suggested by a Welsh song, “Pais Dinogad” (Diogad’s petticoat) (9th century?):
Peis dinogat e vreith vreith
o grwyn balaot ban wreith
chwit chwit chwidogeith
gochanwn gochenyn wythgeith
pan elei dy dat tye helya
llath ary ysgwyd llory eny law
(Dinogad’s speckled petticoat
is made of skins of speckled stoat;
whip whip whipalong,
eight times we’ll sing the song.
when your father hunted the land,
spear on shoulder, club in hand (Williams, Introduction to Welsh Poetry 46-48)
510.30 killick: (or killock) a small anchor or weight for mooring a boat, sometimes consisting of a stone secured by pieces of wood (CD).
511.1 cherries, knave of a valentine, / were ever blue of yellow: from Dafydd ap Edmwnd (c.1450-1497), Welsh poet:
sirian o nef, ser y nos (cherries from heaven, the stars of night)
[Gwyn Williams adds:] “[The poet] asks whether a bush was ever so yellow, as though doubting the power of comparison. A fu lwy cyn felyned?” (Introduction to Welsh Poetry 161).
For another rendition of the above two lines, see 23.560.33. For “blue of yellow,” see 508.7 and note at 508.1.
511.3 birds, harp in three trees— / now summer: from Geoffrey Chaucer, Parlement of Foules, which although it is set on St. Valentine’s Day concludes with a song welcoming summer (Leggott 39); see also 508.6, 510.16, 511.17 and 511.20-23:
Now welcom somer, with thy sonne softe,
That hast this wintres weders over-shake,
And driven awey the longe nightes blake!
511.6 no piper lead with nonsense…: from Wiliam Llŷn, Welsh poet: “Every voice I have loved, innocent and old, / all lively musicians, / all arts wherever they are in the world, / all knowledge save that of pipers” (Gwyn Williams, Introduction to Welsh Poetry (1953): 182). See also Norbert Weiner, Cybernetics (see 509.17-30, 510.1-4, 510.6-10): “The radio depends on its advertisers for income, and, as everywhere, the man who pays the piper calls the tune” (161).
511.6 nonsense / before its music: from Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), “Discourse Concerning the Mechanical Operation of the Spirit” (1704): “[…] as a discreet Composer, who in setting a Song, changes the Words and Order so often, that he is forced to make it Nonsense, before he can make it Musick.” However, this is probably also suggested by Gwyn Williams’ observation (noted by LZ) that by the 15th century the complicated requirements of certain Welsh verse forms, codified by Dafydd ap Edmwnd, often threatened “to bring the meaning of a line to the verge of nonsense” (Introduction to Welsh Poetry 159).
511.8 brag of faith too much—: from Dafydd ap Gwilym (c. 1325-1380), Welsh poet, from a poem addressed to a nun that attracts the poet: “A chadw i’th gof lyfr Ofydd, / a phaid a gormod o ffydd.” (Keep in mind Ovid’s book and, please, not too much faith) (Williams 107-108).
511.9 fear thawed reach three-fingered chord / sweet treble hold lovely: from Dagydd ap Edmwnd (c.1450-1497), Welsh poet (see 23.560.33), from a cywydd on the death of the harpist, Sion Eos (John the Nightingale):
Myfyrdawd rhwng bawd abys,
main a threbl mwyn a thribys
(A meditation between thumb and finger, / mean and sweet and three-fingered chord) (Williams 163)
511.12 surge sea erupts boiling molten / lava island from ice, land: from a 10 April 1969 New York Times ad for a TV news program on the birth of the volcanic island Surtsey (> surge sea) off Iceland (> ice land) (Leggott 58)—the ad includes a photo and the following text: “Volcano: Birth of an Island: An incredible return to our planet at its very beginning. Surtsey Island. Born 1963 in a cataclysmic boiling up of molten lava from storm-blown Icelandic waters. Now, primitive life is beginning to evolve. Much as it may have billions of years ago. Perhaps this is the way our world was formed. See it happen before your eyes as Charles Kuralt reports in a CBS News Special.” Between Nov. 1963 and June 1967, Surtsey began to appear from the ocean floor in spectacular fashion, to finally rise 174 meters above sea level with an area of 2.8 kilometers.
511.16 idola: plural of idolon (idolum) an image; a false mental image or conception, a mistaken notion, a fallacy. < Gk. idōlon, phantom (CD). See 522.2, where the term appears in the context of Epicurus’ atomistic philosophy, in which idola (or eidolons) are films or images of objects that cause physical sensation.
511.17 that love well forget late: from Geoffrey Chaucer, Parlement of Foules, translates the French title of the final song in the poem: “Qui bien aime a tard oublie”; see also 508.6, 510.16, 511.3 and 511.20-22.
511.18 History’s best emptied of names’ / impertinence met on the ways: cf. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance” (1841): “Whence then this worship of the past? The centuries are conspirators against the sanity and majesty of the soul. Time and space are but physiological colors which the eye maketh, but the soul is light: where it is, is day; where it was, is night; and history is an impertinence and an injury if it be any thing more than a cheerful apologue or parable of my being and becoming” (qtd. Bottom 238). See also remarks on sounding one’s time without using names in “It Was” (CF 183).
511.20 shows then the little earth / at regard of the heavens / unfolding tract…: through 511.23 from Geoffrey Chaucer, Parlement of Foules; see also 508.6, 510.16, 511.3, 511.17. Lines 57-63:
Than shewed he him the litel erthe, that heer is,
At regard of the hevenes quantite;
And after shewed he him the nyne speres,
And after that the melodye herde he
That cometh of thilke speres thryes three,
That welle is of musyk and melodye
In this world heer, and cause of armonye.
511.22-23: unfolding tract and flying congregate / birds their hiding valentine’s day: from the Medieval Latin colophon to Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules: “Explicit tractatus de congregacione Volucrum die sancti Valentini” (Here finishes (unfolds) the treatise of the congregation of birds (flying) the Day of St. Valentine).
511.26 birches in the meadow / kiss: from Llywelyn Goch (late 14th century), Welsh poet, from a cywydd “I’r Benglog” (To a Skull:
ac oed ym medw unoed man,
och Iesu Grist, a chusan
(a tryst in a copse of young birch trees, / Christ Jesus, and a kiss) (Williams 125)
511.29 earliest mountain the lowest the / seas moil…: through 511.31 from Louis Agassiz (1807-1873), which LZ almost certainly found in Guy Davenport’s selection, The Intelligence of Louis Agassiz: A Specimen Book of Scientific Writings (Beacon Press, 1963):
“The oldest mountains are the lowest, while the younger and more recent ones tower above their elders, and are usually more torn and distorted also. This is easily understood, when we remember that all mountains and mountain-chains are the result of upheavals, and that the violence of the outbreak must have been in proportion to the strength of the resistance. When the crust of the earth was so thin that the heated masses within easily broke through it, they were not thrown to so great a height, and formed comparatively low elevations, such as the Canadian hills or the mountains of Bretagne and Wales. But in later times, when young, vigorous giants, such as the Alps, the Himalayas, or, later still, the Rocky Mountains, forced their way out from their fiery prison-house, the crust of the earth was much thicker, and fearful indeed must have been the convulsions which attended their exit.” The mention of “seas moil” at 511.30 makes the connection with the lines that open the section at 511.11-13, but Agassiz also says of the oldest mountains: “Insignificant in height, […] these are nevertheless the first mountains that broke the uniform level of the earth’s surface and lifted themselves above the water.”
511.32 chitin: a tough, protective, semitransparent substance, primarily a nitrogen-containing polysaccharide, forming the principal component of arthropod exoskeletons and the cell walls of certain fungi (AHD).
511.33 word time a voice bridled / as order…: through 512.2 from John Scotus Erigena (c.810-877), with an interpolation from Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), both found in Bottom (LZ’s original source in both cases is Anne Fremantle, The Age of Belief):
From Erigena, The Division of Nature: “All things created by God are created in the image of God, and are therefore trinities consisting of essence, power and operation. […] In a tree these aspects are for it to be, to be able to grow and actually to grow. […] God, in His infinite activity, leads forth the primordial causes into their effects, dividing the eternal ideas into the particular things, both intelligible and visible, which participate in them. These effects are related to the primordial causes as words are related to the voice which speaks them; they are subsequent not in time but in order of causality. […] A combination of a certain quality and a certain quantity produces matter, which is not a new thing but a result of the combination, just as the combination of light and an opaque body produces a shadow, without in any way affecting either the light or the body itself” (qtd. Bottom 118).
From Thomas Aquinas: “What is . . . eternal is not only being but living” (qtd. Bottom 133).
512.3 Figured 135,000 years built up / from 75 foot depth…: through 513.17 predominately from Sir Charles Lyell, Geographical Evidence of the Antiquity of Man (1863) (see also 513.31), but with interpolations from Henry Adams (see notes at 512.8). Lyell offers many descriptions and illustrations of prehistoric findings, from which LZ sometimes selects details from different descriptions into single catalogues. LZ does not follow Lyell’s order of presentation, but arranges his selections in roughly chronological order from geological and natural history to progressively more complex interactions between humans and their environment. LZ used the Everyman’s Library edition, with an introduction and notes by R.H. Rastall (1914).
512.3-5: “Professor Agassiz has described a low portion of the peninsula of Florida as consisting of numerous reefs of coral, which have grown in succession so as to give rise to a continual annexation of land, gained gradually from the sea in southerly direction. This growth is still in full activity, and assuming the rate of advance of the land to be one foot in a century, the reefs being built up from a depth of 75 feet, and that each reef has in its turn added ten miles to the coast, Professor Agassiz calculates that it has taken 135,000 years to form the southern half of this peninsula.”
512.6: “In what manner, then, did the great lake-basins originate if they were not hollowed out by ice? My answer is, they are all due to unequal movements of upheaval and subsidence.”
512.7: “It also seems necessary, as colder currents of water always flow to lower latitudes, while warmer ones are running towards polar regions, that some such compensation should take place, and that an increase of cold in one region must to a certain extent be balanced by a mitigation of temperature elsewhere.”
512.10-11: “For the last half-century, the occasional occurrence, in various parts of Europe, of the bones of Man or the works of his hands, in cave-breccias and stalagmites […] has given rise to a suspicion that the date of Man must be carried further back than we had hithertofore imagined.” Breccia is a conglomerate in which the fragments, instead of being rounded or water-worn, are angular (CD). Moraine is the accumulation of rock and detrital material along the edges of a glacier (CD).
“(FIGURE 5. SKULL ASSOCIATED WITH GROUND FLINT IMPLEMENTS, FROM A TUMULUS AT BORREBY IN DENMARK, AFTER A CAMERA LUCIDA DRAWING BY MR. G. BUSK, F.R.S.”
“That [ancient people] also ventured out to sea in canoes such as are now found in the peat-mosses […] to catch fish far from land, is testified by the bony relics of several deep-sea species, such as the herring, cod, and flounder.”
512.11-15: “The deposits of peat in Denmark, varying in depth from 10 to 30 feet, have been formed in hollows or depressions in the northern drift or boulder formation hereafter to be described. […] Around the borders of the bogs, and at various depths in them, lie trunks of trees, especially of the Scotch fir (Pinus sylvestris), often 3 feet in diameter, which must have grown on the margin of the peat-mosses, and have frequently fallen into them. […] It appears clear that the same Scotch fir was afterwards supplanted by the sessile variety of the common oak, of which many prostrate trunks occur in the peat at higher levels than the pines; and still higher the pedunculated variety of the same oak (Quercus robur, L.) occurs with the alder, birch (Betula verrucosa, Ehrh.), and hazel. The oak has now in its turn been almost superseded in Denmark by the common beech. Other trees, such as the white birch (Betul alba), characterize the lower part of the bogs, and disappear from the higher; while others again, like the aspen (Populus tremula), occur at all levels, and still flourish in Denmark.”
512.20-21: “When we reflect, therefore, on the fractional state of the annals which are handed down to us, and how little even these have as yet been studied, we may wonder that so many geologists should attribute every break in the series of strata and every gap in the past history of the organic world to catastrophes and convulsions of the earth’s crust or to leaps made by the creational force from species to species, or from class to class.”
512.21-22: “But Professor Owen, in a memoir lately read to the Royal Society (November 20, 1862), has shown that it is unequivocally a bird, and that such of its characters as are abnormal are by no means strikingly reptilian. The skeleton was lying on its back when embedded in calcareous sediment, so that the ventral part is exposed to view. It is about 1 foot 8 inches long, and 1 foot across, from the apex of the right to that of the left wing. The furculum, or merry-thought [see 531.13], which is entire, marks the fore part of the trunk; the ischium, scapula, and most of the wing and leg bones are preserved, and there are impression of the quill feathers and of down on the body.”
512.23-24: “The cranium, which Dr. Fuhlrott showed me, was covered both on its outer and inner surface, and especially on the latter, with a profusion of dendritical crystallisations, and some other bones of the skeleton were ornamented in the same way. These markings, as Dr. Hermann von Meyer observes, afford no sure criterion of antiquity, for they have been observed on Roman bones. Nevertheless, they are more common in bones that have been long embedded in the earth.”
512.26: “The Loess of Central Europe includes deposits of two different ages. According to Penck the ‘Older Loess’ was formed in the period of warm and dry climate that intervened between the third and fourth glacial episodes, while the ‘Younger Loess’ is post-glacial. Both divisions are for the most part aeolian deposits, formed by the redistribution of fine glacial mud originally laid down in water and carried by the wind often to considerable heights.”
“But in some of the pits at St. Acheul there are seen in the beds Number 4, Figure 21, not only well-rounded Tertiary pebbles, but great blocks of hard sandstone, of the kind called in the south of England ‘greywethers,’ some of which are 3 or 4 feet and upwards in diameter. They are usually angular, and when spherical owe their shape generally to an original concretionary structure, and not to trituration in a river’s bed.”
512.27: the editor of the Everyman’s Library edition of Lyell notes: “Since the ‘Stone Age’ […] obviously occupied an enormous lapse of time and embraced very different stages of culture, it has been found convenient to subdivide it into two primary subdivisions. For these Lord Avebury proposed in 1865 the terms Palaeolithic and Neolithic […]. The first comprises the ages during which man fabricated flint implements solely by chipping, whereas the implements of the Neolithic Age are polished by rubbing.”
“To the north of Cromer there are other fine illustrations of contorted drift [boulder clay exhibiting irregular foldings and twistings] reposing on a floor of Chalk horizontally stratified and having a level surface.”
512.28-30: “FIGURE 31. SECTION OF CONCENTRIC BEDS WEST OF CROMER 1. Blue clay. 2. White sand. 3. Yellow Sand. 4. Striped loam and clay. 5. Laminated blue clay.”
512.30: “A large part of the Upper Miocene insects and plants alluded to have been met with at Oeninghem, near the Lake of Constance, in two or three spots embedded in thinly laminated marls, the entire thickness of which scarcely exceeds three or four feet, and in two quarries of very limited dimensions.”
512.32-34: seen / seeded flower; unaltered flowerless marriage / of spore: LZ apparently looked up the term phanerogamous (< Gk. phanero, visible + –gamos, marriage) and its complement, cryptogamous (Gk. crypto-, hidden, obscure), referring respectively to plants that have flowers and therefore seeds as opposed to those which do not and reproduce by spores
512.34-37: “There can be no question that if we could trace back any set of cognate languages now existing to some common point of departure, they would converge and meet sooner in some area of the past than would the existing races of mankind; in other words, races change much more slowly than languages. […] No language seems ever to last for a thousand years, whereas many a species seems to have endured for hundreds of thousands.”
“When we consider the complexity of every form of speech spoken by a highly civilised nation, and discover that the grammatical rules and the inflections which denote number, time, and equality are usually the product of a rude state of society—that the savage and the sage, the peasant and the man of letters, the child and the philosopher, have worked together, in the course of many generations, to build up a fabric which has been truly described as a wonderful instrument of thought, a machine, the several parts of which are so well adjusted to each other as to resemble the product of one period and of a single mind—we cannot but look upon the result as a profound mystery, and one of which the separate builders have been almost as unconscious as are the bees in a hive of the architectural skill and mathematical knowledge which is displayed in the construction of the honeycomb.”
512.37-513.1: “Professor Agassiz, […] also observes, that ‘the range of the passions of animals is as extensive as that of the human mind, and I am at a loss to perceive a difference of kind between them, however much they may differ in degree and in the manner in which they are expressed. The gradations of the moral faculties among the higher animals and Man are, moreover, so imperceptible, that to deny to the first a certain sense of responsibility and consciousness would certainly be an exaggeration of the difference between animals and Man. There exists, besides, as much individuality within their respective capabilities among animals as among Man, as every sportsman, or every keeper of menageries, or every farmer and shepherd can testify, who has had a large experience with wild, or tamed, or domesticated animals.’”
513.2-3: Lyell’s compilation of evidence and main argument is against the idea of divine creation, “if created Once.” “Professor Agassiz, […] observed that, ‘while human thought is consecutive, divine thought is simultaneous’ […].”
513.3-6: “Before I pass on to another topic, it may be well to answer a question which may have occurred to the reader: how it happened that we remained so long ignorant of the vegetation and insects of the Upper Miocene period in Europe? […] The rare combination of causes which seems to have led to the faithful preservation of so many treasures of a perishable nature in so small an area, appear to have been the following: first, a river flowing into a lake; secondly, storms of wind, by which leaves and sometimes the boughs of trees were torn off and floated by the stream into the lake; thirdly, mephitic gases rising from the lake, by which insects flying over its surface were occasionally killed: and fourthly, a constant supply of carbonate of lime in solution from mineral springs, the calcareous matter when precipitated to the bottom mingling with fine mud and thus forming the fossiliferous marls.”
513.4: “As to the ‘homologous insects’ of the Upper Miocene period in Switzerland, we find among them, mingled with genera now wholly foreign to Europe, some very familiar forms, such as the common glowworm, Lampyris noctiluca, Linn., the dung-beetle, Geotrupes stercorarius, Linn., the ladybird, Coccinella septempunctata, Linn., the ear-wig, Forficula auricularia, Linn., the cuckoo spittle [= froghopper] insect, Aphrophora spumaria, Linn., and a long catalogue of others, to all of which Professor Heer had given new names, but which some entomologists may regard as mere varieties until some stronger reasons are adduced for coming to a contrary opinion.”
513.5: “I have noticed this fact when speaking of the common English butterfly, Vanessa atalanta, or ‘red admiral,’ which I saw flying about the woods of Alabama in mid-winter.”
513.5-8: “[…] for hundreds of implements resembling those of the Danish shell-mounds and peat-mosses have been dredged up from the mud into which the piles were driven. […] The Swiss lake-dwellings seem first to have attracted attention during the dry winter of 1853-54, when the lakes and rivers sank lower than had ever been previously known, and when the inhabitants of Meilen, on the Lake of Zürich, resolved to raise the level of some ground and turn it into land, by throwing mud upon it obtained by dredging in the adjoining shallow water. During these dredging operations they discovered a number of wooden piles deeply driven into the bed of the lake, and among them a great many hammers, axes, celts, and other instruments. All these belonged to the stone period with two exceptions, namely, an armlet of thin brass wire, and a small bronze hatchet.”
513.6-7: “One of the sites first studied by the Swiss antiquaries was the small lake of Moosseedorf, near Berne, where implements of stone, horn, and bone, but none of metal, were obtained. Although the flint here employed must have come from a distance (probably from the south of France), the chippings of the material are in such profusion as to imply that there was a manufactory of implements on the spot. Here also, as in several other settlements, hatchets and wedges of jade have been observed of a kind said not to occur in Switzerland or the adjoining parts of Europe, and which some mineralogists would fain derive from the East; amber also, which, it is supposed, was imported from the shores of the Baltic.”
513.8-10: “At Wangen near Stein, on the Lake of Constance, another of the most ancient of the lake-dwellings, hatchets of serpentine and greenstone, and arrow-heads of quartz have been met with. Here also remains of a kind of cloth, supposed to be of flax, not woven but plaited, have been detected. […]
Carbonised apples and pears of small size, such as still grow in the Swiss forests, stones of the wild plum, seeds of the raspberry and blackberry, and beech-nuts, also occur in the mud, and hazel-nuts in great plenty.” A drupe in botany, a stone-fruit; a fruit in which the outer part of the pericarp becomes fleshy or softens like a berry, while the inner hardens like a nut, forming a stone with a kernel, as the plum, cherry, apricot and peach (CD).
513.10-12: “As yet the reindeer is missing in the Swiss lake-settlements as in the Danish ‘refuse-heaps,’ although this animal in more ancient times ranged over France, together with the mammoth, as far south as the Pyrenees.”
“A middle-sized race of dogs continued unaltered throughout the whole of the stone period; but the people of the bronze age possessed a larger hunting-dog, and with it a small horse, of which genus very few traces have been detected in the earlier settlements—a single tooth, for example, at Wangen, and only one or two bones at two or three other places.
513.13: “Pieces of burnt brick and pottery were extracted almost everywhere, and from all depths, even where they sank sixty feet below the surface towards the central parts of the valley.”
513.13-16: “In the gravel pits of St. Acheul, and in some others near Amiens, small round bodies, having a tubular cavity in the centre, occur. They are well known as fossils of the White Chalk. Dr. Rigollot suggested that they might have been strung together as beads, and he supposed the hole in the middle to have been artificial. […] Dr. Rigollot’s argument in favour of their having been used as necklaces or bracelets, appears to me a sound one. He says he often found small heaps or groups of them in one place, all perforated, just as if, when swept into the river’s bed by a flood, the bond which had united them together remained unbroken.”
512.8 the ganoid / or monkey dropped from branch’s perch: from Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1918), which is the source of intermittent lines through 512.32:
512.8-10: from Chap. 15: “Darwinism (1867-1868)”: in this chapter Adams discusses the impact of Darwinism and his conversations with Sir Charles Lyell during the period he worked at the American consulate in London when his father was ambassador. Pieces from the following passages of this chapter are interpolated among those worked from Lyell (see note at 512.3) throughout this page: “[…] but perhaps he liked best to ramble over the Edge on a summer afternoon and look across the Marches to the mountains of Wales. The peculiar flavor of the scenery has something to do with absence of evolution; it was better marked in Egypt: it was felt wherever time-sequences became interchangeable. One’s instinct abhors time. [This last sentence is quoted at the end of “1892-1941” from Anew, see CSP 91.] As one lay on the slope of the Edge, looking sleepily through the summer haze towards Shrewsbury or Cader Idris or Caer Caradoc or Uriconium, nothing suggested sequence. The Roman road was twin to the railroad; Uriconium was well worth Shrewsbury; Wenlock and Buildwas, had they approached where he lay in the grass, would have taken him only for another and tamer variety of Welsh thief. They would have seen little to surprise them in the modern landscape unless it were the steam of a distant railway. One might mix up the terms of time as one liked, or stuff the present anywhere into the past, measuring time by Falstaff’s Shrewsbury clock, without violent sense of wrong, as one could do it on the Pacific Ocean; but the triumph of all was to look south along the Edge to the abode of one’s earliest ancestor and nearest relative, the ganoid fish, whose name, according to Professor Huxley, was Pteraspis, a cousin of the sturgeon, and whose kingdom, according to Sir Roderick Murchison, was called Siluria. Life began and ended there. Behind that horizon lay only the Cambrian, without vertebrates or any other organism except a few shell-fish. On the further verge of the Cambrian rose the crystalline rocks from which every trace of organic existence had been erased.” […]
“Sir Charles [Lyell] labored only to heap up the evidences of evolution; to cumulate them till the mass became irresistible. With that purpose, Adams gladly studied and tried to help Sir Charles, but, behind the lesson of the day, he was conscious that, in geology as in theology, he could prove only Evolution that did not evolve; Uniformity that was not uniform; and Selection that did not select. To other Darwinians—except Darwin—Natural Selection seemed a dogma to be put in the place of the Athanasian creed; it was a form of religious hope; a promise of ultimate perfection. Adams wished no better; he warmly sympathised in the object; but when he came to ask himself what he truly thought, he felt that he had no Faith; that whenever the next new hobby should be brought out, he should surely drop off from Darwinism like a monkey from a perch; that the idea of one Form, Law, Order, or Sequence had no more value for him than the idea of none; that what he valued most was Motion, and that what attracted his mind was Change.”
512.16: Summers looking across marches to / mountains an old mind sees…: from The Education of Henry Adams, see quotation at 512.8.
512.17: an old mind sees / more, thinking of a thought / not his thought, older complexities: from The Education of Henry Adams, last paragraph of Chap. 26: “Twilight (1901)”: “Politics and geology pointed alike to the larger synthesis of rapidly increasing complexity; but still an elderly man knew that the change might be only in himself. The admission cost nothing. Any student, of any age, thinking only of a thought and not of his thought, should delight in turning about and trying the opposite motion, as he delights in the spring which brings even to a tired and irritated statesman the larger synthesis of peach-blooms, cherry-blossoms, and dogwood, to prove the folly of fret. Every schoolboy knows that this sum of all knowledge never saved him from whipping; mere years help nothing; King and Hay and Adams could neither of them escape floundering through the corridors of chaos that opened as they passed to the end; but they could at least float with the stream if they only knew which way the current ran. Adams would have liked to begin afresh with the Limulus and Lepidosteus in the waters of Braintree, side by side with Adamses and Quincys and Harvard College, all unchanged and unchangeable since archaic time; but what purpose would it serve? A seeker of truth—or illusion—would be none the less restless, though a shark!” See 512.30-32.
512.25: only archaic time unchanged unchangeable: from The Education of Henry Adams, Chap. 26: see quotation at 512.17.
512.30: fret changes / only himself, to prove peach / blooms, cherry blossoms, dogwood: from The Education of Henry Adams, Chap. 26: see quotation at 512.17.
513.18 The departed celestial radiated alive / under earth rest will not / return above to hunger: from Numa Denis Fustel de Coulanges, The Ancient City: A Study on the Religion, Laws, and Institutions of Greece and Rome (1864), Book I, Chap. 1: “Ancient Beliefs, Notions About the Soul and Death”:
“Did they believe that the spirit ascended towards the sky, towards the region of lights? Not at all; the thought that departed souls entered a celestial home is relatively recent in the West; we find it expressed for the first time by the poet Phocylides. […] According to the oldest belief of the Italians and Greeks, the soul did not go into a foreign world to pass its second existence; it remained near men, and continued to live under ground. […] It was a custom, at the close of a funeral ceremony, to call the soul of the deceased three times by the name he had borne. They wished that he might live happy underground. Three times they said to him, Fare thee well. They added, May the earth rest lightly upon thee. Thus firmly did they believe that the person would continue to live underground, and that he would still preserve a sense of enjoyment and suffering. They wrote upon the tomb that the man rested there—an expression which survived this belief, and which has come down through so many centuries to our time. We still employ it, though surely no one today thinks that an immortal being rests in a tomb. But in those ancient days they believed so firmly that a man lived there that they never failed to bury with him the objects of which they supposed he had need—clothing, utensils, and arms. They poured wine upon his tomb to quench his thirst, and placed food there to satisfy his hunger” (trans. Willard Small). Fustel de Coulanges continues to discuss the importance of a proper burial and funeral rites in order that the dead remain underground and not become wandering and potentially malevolent spirits. Cf. the return of the hungry dead in Melanesian myth at 18.400.5-22.
513.22 glowworms before stars: from Peter Kalm, Travels in North America (see 514.3, 514.9-15 and 23.561.24): “Towards night we found some glowworms in the wood: […] It had rained considerably all day, yet they crept in great numbers along the bushes, so that the ground seemed as if it were sown with stars” (184). The edition LZ is using is America of 1750: Peter Kalm’s Travels in North America, the English version of 1770, 2 vols., ed. Adolph B. Benson (1937)
513.24 north south west east uncompassed / only sun unshifting…: through at least 513.30 from Andrew Sharp, Ancient Voyagers in the Pacific (1957), who discusses in some detail early navigation techniques throughout the world and argues that the spread of Polynesian culture across much of the Pacific was more a matter of accident and drift than deliberate migration. The following are some of the passages LZ probably drew on, although not complete:
“The early off-shore voyages of the Old World were in land-locked seas to extended coasts. Crude methods of navigation by the sun, stars, winds and currents were good enough for voyages of no great distance between extended coast-lines, where a landfall somewhere or other was assured even if the destination were missed. Man originated as a land animal and presumably graduated through river craft to coastal vessels. The early off-shore voyages were in the land-locked seas of the Old World to extended coast-lines on the other side. When the ancient voyagers made these traverses out of sight of land, they took their course from the relationship of their directions to the sun and stars. The early Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and northern people travelled in this manner across the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, the Baltic and the North Sea. The Arabs and the Indians did the same across the Arabian Gulf […]. For these journeys in the land-locked seas and gulfs, navigation by the sun, stars, winds and currents was good enough, for when the voyagers came in sight of the coast, which they could not miss, they could pick their way along it.”
“The voyagers supplemented their astral navigation by using the wind direction and the run of the seas as a sort of crude compass needle. Their methods, of course, differed radically from those of a modern navigator.”
[Andia y Varela, Spanish navigator who visited Tahiti in 1774:] “Andia’s evidence bears out the fact that the direction of the winds and waves was considered no less important than the sun and stars. When the latter were obscured [Capt. John] Cook found that the Tongans depended on the points from which the wind and waves came upon the vessel. Andia was told that similarly the Tahitians took note of the part of the vessel that the wind and seas impinged on, the winds and seas acted as compass needles. Since however these were not stable in one general direction, the navigators had to keep checking their wind directions in relation to the heavenly bodies which were the only certain guides when the voyagers were out of sight of land. If the heavenly bodies were obscured the navigator had no way of knowing if the wind had changed. As the Tongans told Cook, under such circumstances they were bewildered, frequently missed their intended port, and were never heard of more.”
“An ingenious way of recording direction of journeys when they had been fixed by experience was to register them, as it were, by lining up two landmarks on the home island which would thereafter give a permanent record of the direction.”
“It is not appropriate to describe voyages arising either from storms or exile as drift voyages. The accidental voyages of the Pacific Islanders, as the accounts of them show, arose from their inability to re-set their courses when blown away and lost at sea, or when committed to unfamiliar waters.”
513.31 (with bat migrant at sea): from Charles Lyell, The Antiquity of Man (see 512.3): “Mr. Darwin has pointed to this absence of mammalia [on islands far from continents] as favouring his views, observing that bats, which are the only exceptions to the rule, might have made their way to distant islands by flight, for they are often met with on the wing far out at sea.”
513.34 Small wonder when they fish / some greet food in water…: through 514.1 from C.M. Bowra, Primitive Song (1962); see also 23.539.8-24:
“Another powerful force in maintaining a truly primitive outlook is the nature of primitive language. Though the languages of our peoples have very little in common either in structure or in syntax, they tend to show certain common methods of digesting and presenting experience. First, they lack words for general and abstract ideas, and that is why it is often difficult for Europeans to make themselves understood by them. The Australians have not even a general word for ‘fish,’ but speak of ‘food in water.’ Missionaries have not always found it easy to find equivalents for ‘God,’ and more specialized notions require great ingenuity to find a new home; in Labrador Eskimo ‘forgiveness’ has to be translated by ‘not-being-able-to-think about-it-any-more.’ On the other hand these languages are extremely skilful at dealing with all kinds of impressions, whether visible or emotional or audible, and have words which over a vastly wider range than any civilized language can for such matters as colours or effects of light and shade or the movements of animals and birds and fish or the relations of bodies in space. In some branches of Eskimo a noun can have many forms, each with its own special shade of meaning, and the aboriginal Australians of Arnhem Land have a most apt and rich vocabulary for catching the precise impression of natural things. This means that a very large vocabulary is in daily use, and though Thomas Bridges, who composed a dictionary of the Yamana language, may have treated as different some words which were in fact local, dialectal forms, his estimate that the language contained over thirty thousand words is a tribute to its richness. This means that though such a language is a poor instrument for the expression of ideas, it is admirably suited for emotions and sensations and impressions. Nor does it much matter that what we might think so important a matter as numerals the Tasmanians, Andamanese, some Australians and some Eskimos count ‘one, two, many’; for in fact they can enumerate all the members of a class of company present on a given occasion by simply naming them, and their memories are stimulated by the lack of numbers to retain a mental picture of what happens. Secondly, on the whole these languages lack the precision of structure familiar from Indo-European with its different parts of speech and achieved by Chinese through its disciplined word-order” (22). This long paragraph continues with the discussion of the line from an Aranda (Australian aboriginal) song quoted in the note to 23.539.19-20.
514.2 unnamable things in their healing: from Shaking the Pumpkin: Traditional Poetry of the Indian North Americans, ed. Jerome Rothenberg (1972), quoting the anthropologist Peter Freuchen on Eskimo shamans: “all things & all beings were called by other than their usual names or by circumlocutions. This immediately put a whole new set of images at their disposal. Also, their trade required that they always have numerous magic formulas ready for use when needed. These formulas would lose their power if used by anyone else. Therefore, within the rules of the polysynthetic language, they would make their own word compositions, not understandable to other people. Since the formulas lost their power after too much use, they had to be constantly renewed, & the angakoks [shamans] thus trained themselves in new & unusual word combinations. As a result they could write many poems” (405).
514.3 fireless cold tamed geese barren—: from Peter (Pehr) Kalm (1716-1779), Swedish-Finnish explorer and botanist, student of Linneaus, Travels in North America (1753-1761) (see 513.22, 514.9-15, 23.561.24): Ben Franklin reported to Kalm on a sea captain who journeyed up to Greenland and “at last he went so far that he discovered people who had never seen Europeans before [… and] who had no idea of the use of fire, which they had never employed and if they had known it, they could have made no use of their knowledge, as there were no trees in the country” (155).
“Wild geese have likewise been tamed in the following manner. When the wild geese first come hither in spring […] the people try to shoot them in the wing, which however is generally mere chance. They then row to the place where the wild geese fall, catch and keep them for a time at home […]” (111).
514.4 jackal, coyote ravished earth—separated: the coyote and jackal obviously are significant figures in the Native American and African beliefs that preoccupies most of this page through 515.9. One likely source LZ has in mind here is from Marcel Griaule, Conversations with Ogotemmêli (see note at 514.26): “[The God Amma, the creator god] cut down the termite hill and had intercourse with the excised earth. […] from this defective union, there was born, instead of the intended twins, a single being, the Thos aureus or jackal, symbol of the difficulties of God” (17). The jackal later rapes his mother the earth (21). “The source of all disorder was the loneliness of the jackal, God’s first-born” (156).
514.5 Warming, blue ridge tore down— / rocks avulsed…: through 514.8 from Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (1784):
“Query IV: Mountains: The passage of the Potomac through the Blue Ridge is, perhaps, one of the most stupendous scenes in nature. […] The first glance of this scene hurries our senses into the opinion, that this earth has been created in time, that the mountains were formed first, that the rivers began to flow afterwards, that in this place, particularly, they have been dammed up by the Blue Ridge of mountains, and have formed an ocean which filled the whole valley; that continuing to rise they have at length broken over at this spot, and have torn the mountain down from its summit to its base. The piles of rock on each hand, but particularly on the Shenandoah, the evident marks of their disrupture and avulsion from their beds by the most powerful agents of nature, corroborate the impression.”
“Query V: Its Cascades and Caverns?: [on Madison’s Cave] The vault of this cave is of solid lime-stone, from twenty to forty or fifty feet high; through which water is continually percolating. This, trickling down the sides of the cave, has incrusted them over in the form of elegant drapery; and dripping from the top of the vault generates on that and on the base below, stalactites of a conical form, some of which have met and formed massive columns.”
514.9 Where stone pillars leaned together / a smaller stone topped…: through 514.15 from Peter Kalm, Travels in North America (1753-1761); see 513.22, 514.3 and 23.561.24:
[Kalm records earlier explorations as reported to him by Pierre de la Vérendrye:] “When they came far to the west, where to the best of their knowledge, no Frenchmen or European had ever been, they found in one place in the woods, and again on a large plain, great pillars of stone, leaning upon each other. The pillars consisted of one single stone each, and the Frenchmen could not but suppose that they had been erected by human hands. […] At last, they met with a large stone like a pillar, and in it a small stone was fixed, which was covered on both sides with unknown characters” (II.441).
“[Aug. 1749] All those who had made long journeys in Canada to the south, but chiefly westward, agreed that there were many great plains destitute of trees, where the land was furrowed, as if it had been plowed. In what manner this happened no one knew, for the grain fields of a great village or town of the Indians are scarce above four or five of our acres in extent: whereas those furrowed plains sometimes continue for several days journey, except now and then a small smooth spot, and here and there some rising grounds” (II.443).
Elsewhere Kalm wonders that the Native Americans did not make iron tools despite the ready availability of iron.
“An old Indian said that when God had created the world and its people, he took a stick, cast it on the ground, and spoke unto man, saying, ‘Here thou shall have an animal which will be of great service to thee, and which will follow thee wherever thou goest,’ and in that moment the stick turned into a dog” (II.687).
514.16 Faithful vivacity, pigmy and mammoth— / the difference of increment…: through 514.18 from Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (see 514.5). In the Notes, Jefferson was in part refuting the arguments for the natural inferiority of the New World propagated by the Comte de Buffon in his Histoire naturelle (1749-1788):
[from a long catalog of the virtues of Native Americans:] “[…] that his friendships are strong and faithful to the uttermost extremity: that his sensibility is keen, even the warriors weeping most bitterly on the loss of their children, though in general they endeavor to appear superior to human events; that his vivacity and activity of mind is equal to ours in the same situation; hence his eagerness for hunting, and for games of chance.”
“‘La nature vivante est beaucoup moins agissante, beaucoup moins forte’ [Buffon, xviii. 122 edit. Paris, 1764]: that nature is less active, less energetic on one side of the globe than she is on the other. As if both sides were not warmed by the same genial sun; as if a soil of the same chemical composition was less capable of elaboration into animal nutriment; as if the fruits and grains from that soil and sun, yielded a less rich chyle, gave less extension to the solids and fluids of the body, or produced sooner in the cartilages, membranes, and fibres, that rigidity which restrains all further extension, and terminates animal growth. The truth is, that Pigmy and a Patagonian, a mouse and a mammoth, derive their dimensions from the same nutritive juices. The difference of increment depends on circumstances unsearchable to beings with our capacities. Every race of animals seems to have received from their Maker certain laws of extension at the time of their formation. Their elaborative organs were formed to produce this, while proper obstacles were opposed to its further progress. Below these limits they cannot fall, nor rise above them. What intermediate station they shall take may depend on soil, on climate, on food, on a careful choice of breeders. But all the manna of heaven would never raise the mouse to the bulk of the mammoth.”
514.19 feigning stay a devout nothing: from Theodora Kroeber, Ishi in Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America (1963) (see 514.35):
“[Ishi] retained a reluctance to the use of words of farewell. His preferred phrase was a casual, You go? or, alternatively, You stay. I go” (228).
“No person was ever less ‘primitive’ than Juan [Dolores, a Papagos Indian]. […] His mother and sister were devout Catholics, hence Juan’s name. His father and elder brother were devout Papagos. Juan put the case for himself, ‘I am a devout nothing’” (157).
514.20 dog’s letter: or canine letter, is the letter or sound r because it sounds like a dog’s growl.
514.21 Dog his luck: from Jaime de Angulo, Indians in Overalls (1950), selections from which were included as an appendix to the edition of Indian Tales LZ used. LZ brings together two closely synonymous Achumawi terms, dinihowi and damaagome, designating types of spirits: “Blind Hall called his medicine ‘my poison.’ The Indian word is damaagome. Some Indians translate it in English as ‘medicine,’ or ‘power,’ sometimes ‘dog’ (in the sense of pet dog, or trained dog)” (245). “It was Robert Spring who first made me understand about the dinihowi. ‘That’s what we Indians call luck. A man has got to have luck, no matter for what, whether it’s for gambling, or for hunting, for making love, for anything, unless he wants to be just a common Indian . . . like me. […] The old men say: “You’ll never amount to anything if you don’t go and catch a dinihowi.”‘ […] I said to Robert Spring: ‘But then, I don’t see what is the difference between the dinihowi and the damaagome.’ ‘There is no difference. It’s all the same. Only the damaagome that’s for doctors'” (243).
514.21 stone passion’s / tears: possibly from Jaime de Angulo, Indians in Overalls (see preceding): “Everything is living, even the rocks, even that bench you are sitting on. Somebody made that bench for a purpose, didn’t he? Well then it’s alive, isn’t it? Everything is alive. That’s what we Indians believe. White people think everything is dead . . . ” (242).
514.22 his mother sings, corn’s / ground I may not: from the response of a Keresan Indian recorded by Franz Boas: “long ago her mother / had to sing this song and so / she had to grind along with it / the corn people have a song too / it is very good / I refuse to tell it” (rendered by Armand Schwerner). LZ’s source is Shaking the Pumpkin: Traditional Poetry of the Indian North Americans, ed. Jerome Rothenberg (1972): 3.
514.23 I may not hunt, / never lived: probably from Marcel Griaule, Conversations with Ogotemmêli (see note at 514.26): “I knew by divination that I was to give up hunting if I wanted to protect my children. Hunting is a work of death, and it attracts death” (14).
514.24 without bringing some / thing: from Jaime de Angulo, Indian Tales (1953). Although LZ made extensive notes on this text, he only seems to have directly used a few small bits (see 514.28): “‘Wait a minute,’ said Turtle Old Man. ‘I’ll give you some beads to take as a present. It never was that you go and visit people without bringing them some little thing’” (11).
514.26 water is mine speaking eddies / thru coiled shells…: through 515.9 is partially from Marcel Griaule, Conversations with Ogotemmêli: An Introduction to Dogon Religious Ideas (1965). Apparently this work was brought to LZ’s attention by Guy Davenport, who reported reading the book with great enthusiasm in two letters dated Dec. 1970 (HRC 42.8). Davenport mentions making a digest of the work for his students, which possibly he sent to LZ, although the latter’s very extensive notes indicate he consulted the book directly (HRC 37.4). See also 515.2-9.
514.26-27: Nummo, a mythological ram who represents the life process, moves across the sky and then comes to earth: “He plunges among the water-lilies, crying: ‘The water is mine! Water is mine!’” (108).
“[Ogotemmêli] returned to the subject of the Nummo spirits, or (as he more usually put it, in the singular) of Nummo, for this pair of twins, he explained, represented the perfect, the ideal unit.
The Nummo, looking down from Heaven, saw their mother, the earth, naked and speechless, as a consequence no doubt of the original incident in her relations with the God Amma. It was necessary to put an end to this state of disorder. The Nummo accordingly came down to earth, bringing with them fibres pulled from plants already created in the heavenly regions. They took ten bunches of these fibres, corresponding to the number of their ten fingers, and made two strands of them, one for the front and one for behind. To this day masked men still wear these appendages hanging down to their feet in thick tendrils.
But the purpose of this garment was not merely modesty. It manifested on earth the first act in the ordering of the universe and the revelation of the helicoids sign in the form of an undulating broken line.
For the fibres fell in coils, symbol of tornadoes, of the windings of torrents, of eddies and whirlwinds, of the undulating movement of reptiles. They recall also the eight-fold spirals of the sun, which sucks up moisture. They were themselves a channel of moisture, impregnated as they were with the freshness of the celestial plants. They were full of the essence of Nummo: they were Nummo in motion, as shown in the undulating line, which can be prolonged to infinity.
When Nummo speaks, what comes from his mouth is a warm vapour which conveys, and itself constitutes, speech. This vapour, like all water, has sound, dies away in a helicoid line. The coiled fringes of the skirt were therefore the chosen vehicle for the words which the Spirit desired to reveal to the earth. He endued his hands with magic power by raising them to his lips while he plaited the skirt, so that the moisture of his words was imparted to the damp plaits, and the spiritual revelation was embodied in the technical instruction.
In these fibres full of water and words, placed over his mother’s genitalia, Nummo is thus always present.
Thus clothed, the earth had a language, the first language of this world and the most primitive of all time” (19-20).
514.28: “The plan of the upper story was the same, except for the kitchen, the ceiling of which was higher than the roof of the building, which it overlooked by means of an opening that also served as an outlet for the smoke” (92).
514.28: “Others again say that they buried Lébé [the original Dogon man] and sowed the seed the same day. It was at the harvest that they opened the grave, thinking the old man had risen again like the millet” (57).
514.29: “A Binu sanctuary is erected in honour of an ancestor, Binu, whose name is a contraction of two terms, one of which means ‘gone’ and the other ‘come back.’ This ancestor was apparently dead, that is to say, gone to another world, then returned to the world of men, to his own people to protect them and to help and succour them” (99).
514.29-31: “All these operations took place by daylight, for spinning and weaving are work for the daytime. Working at night would mean weaving webs of silence and darkness” (29).
514.31-32: “For the technique of making a drum was similar to the technique of weaving; and the bodkin with which the craftsman pierces the edge of the skins to thread the tension-cord through is a symbol of the shuttle and of the Nummo’s tongue. Beating the drum is also a form of weaving” (65).
514.33-34: “She was an old woman with a gentle voice, which broke at certain words because of palpitations of the heart […] ‘God brings you [Ogotemmêli]!’ she said. ‘Give me a cure for my heart!’ ‘It is old stuff,’ he explained. ‘How can one make a new heart our of an old one?'” (59).
514.34: old habit orders there: probably: “The very fact of establishing their cult means that the dead will receive regular succour from their own people, and from the moment of the first offering they will gather together their forces and draw to themselves all the parts dispersed by death. From impure dead they will become living ancestors. ‘Then drunkenness has its uses?’ ‘The words the drunkards speak move the people to set up altars, and that gives satisfaction to the dead.’ ‘Then it is a good thing to drink too much beer?’ ‘For the old, drunkenness is a duty; it seems like disorder, but it helps to restore order'” (183).
514.28 smoke hole: from Jaime de Angulo, Indian Tales (see 514.24): “You will ask a lot of questions, about Indian houses, and what is a center-post, and why is there a smoke-hole and no chimney” (1). However, there is also mention of smoke-holes in another text LZ drew on in this passage, Theodora Kroeber, Ishi in Two Worlds (see note at 514.35).
514.35 Four for balance: from Theodora Kroeber, Ishi in Two Worlds (see 514.19): “[Alfred] Kroeber noticed that as he talked, Juan fingered the fringe, and after a while he said to him, ‘Do you know how many fringes you are putting together in each bunch?’ […] He answered, ‘Of course. Four. Always four.’ Four, the sacred number, the number of balance and beauty.” Cf. Pythagorian four at 19.419.2f.
514.36 deer born blue, rain trees…: through the following line from two peyote songs of the Huichol of Mexico rendered by Jerome Rothenberg in Shaking the Pumpkin (see 514.22). From the “First Peyote Song”:
At the foot of the Eternal Mountain
Roses are breathing: breath of the gods
The mother’s moist love: the dew
& from the peyote’s heart fog emerges
Blue Stag emerges
Rain comes down
Blue Stag comes down (362)
Rothenberg’s note adds: “Aboriginal images & transformations within the Huichols’ localized (tribal) religion. Blue Stag is Tahumatz Kauzumair, culture hero of the Huichols, messenger between the gods & man” (470).
From “How the Violin Was Born: A Peyote Account”:
Then Tahomatz the BIG BRAIN
sent Aimari the BIRD pure & feckless
Aimari came singing: entered the tree
& became its pith.
And the tree’s heart filled with music.
& CEDAR CEDAR sang. Quivered to caresses from the Wind. (365)
515.1 heal-all pays the fee: from the notes in Shaking the Pumpkin (see 514.22) on the prayers recited during the initiation of a new chief of the Osage tribe: “The candidate and all the totems mentioned are located in the center of the House of Mystery with the clan members, arranged in the three main divisions Sky, Earth and Water, surrounding them. After the candidate distributes all his fees—buffalo meat, sweet corn, dried squash, lotus roots, horses, clothing, weapons—to individuals present, all the clanspeople (with the exception of the three silent clans) begin reciting their prayers” (464).
515.2 A flat roof discerned area, / tread and riser…: through 515.9 from Marcel Griaule, Conversations with Ogotemmêli (see 514.26):
515.2-3: “[The first ancestor] took a woven basket with a circular opening and a square base in which to carry the earth and puddle clay required for the construction of a world-system, of which he was to be one of the counselors. This basket served as a model for a basket-work structure of considerable size which he built upside down, as it were, with the opening, twenty cubits in diameter, on the ground, the square base, with sides eight cubits long, formed a flat roof, and the height was ten cubits. […] The symbolic significance of this structure was as follows: The circular base represented the sun. The square roof represented the sky. A circle in the centre of the roof represented the moon. The tread of each step being female and the rise of each step male, the four stairways of ten steps together prefigured the eight tens of families, offspring of the eight ancestors.” (31-32).
515.4-9: “[Ogotemmêli] dwelt on the notion of equality, from which (he said) the idea of exchange was derived. Twins have the right, the identical word; they have the same value, they are the same thing. Likewise the man who sells and the man who buys are the same thing: they are twins. ‘Trade,’ he said, ‘selling and buying different kinds of things, is exchanging twins.’ He meant that the things exchanged must be of the same value and exactly equivalent to one another, whether the exchange took the form of barter or a cash transaction. […] For the first exchange the twins took up their position on an anthill. One sold and the other bought. They took the ant as witness of the transaction. It is said also that the first exchange was between cowries and strips of cloth. […] But the objects traded were alive: the cowries were live shells, and the cloth was full of words. ‘The seventh Nummo,’ said Ogotemmêli, ‘had stipulated that the objects to be exchanged should be placed facing one another and the words effecting the exchange spoken before them. It was as if the objects spoke through the mouths of their owners and heard each other on the subjects of their own exchange.’ The old man’s voice was loud. He sat up straight in the embrasure, not sunk in on himself, as he usually was when the conversation turned on religious subjects. ‘That was to make sure,’ he said, ‘that the objects agreed to it.’ The chief factor, he explained, in an exchange or sale is the spoken word, the words exchanged between the two parties, the discussion of price. It is as if the cloth and the cowries were speaking. The goods come to an agreement with one another through the mouths of men. […] the weaver who sells a strip of cloth introduces his own life-force when he enfolds in it the Word of the ancestors. This is the case with any object made by man: a little of his life-force passes into the work of his hands and the mere fact of possession introduces into the material object forces that, in a sense, represent the owner” (199-202).
515.10 four eyes agreed birdprint wrote…: through 515.13 from Herbert A. Giles, A History of Chinese Literature (1901), a major source throughout “A”-22 and used in “A”-23 as well: “China has her Cadmus in the person of a prehistoric individual named Ts‛ang Chieh, who is said to have had four eyes, and to have taken the idea of a written language from the markings of birds’ claws upon the sand. Upon this achievement of his task the sky rained grain and evil spirits mourned by night. […] As to the origin of the written language of China, invention is altogether out of the question. It seems probable that in prehistoric ages, the Chinese, like other peoples, began to make rude pictures of the sun, moon, and stars, of man himself, of trees, of fire, of rain, and they appear to have followed these up by ideograms of various kinds.” (6).
515.12: metal say chase, wood say / carve…: from Giles quoting the Erh Ya (Nearing the Standard), a guide on the correct use of terms: “For metal we say lou (to chase); for wood k‛o (to carve); for bone ch‛ieh (to cut), etc., etc.” (45).
515.17: As to flood, but for / You we’d all be fishes…: through 515.32 primarily from Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature (see 515.10) with the addition of at least one other source:
515.17-18: quoting the Tso Chuan [a commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annuals] on the legendary Emperor Yü who successfully dealt with great flooding: “How grand was the achievement of Yü, how far-reaching his glorious energy! But for Yü we should all have been fishes” (8).
515.19: As to drought, why burn / a witch if she were / cause might make things worse: from Giles quoting from the Tso Chuan (see preceding): “In consequence of the drought the Duke wished to burn a witch. One of his officers, however, said to him, ‘That will not affect the drought. Rather repair your city walls and ramparts; eat less, and curtail your expenditure; practice strict economy, and urge the people to help one another. That is the essential; what have witches to do in the matter? If God wishes her to be slain, it would have been better not to allow her to be born. If she can cause a drought, burning her will only make things worse.’ The Duke took this advice, and during that year, although there was famine, it was not very severe” (27).
515.22: Annals moon’s summer midnight aerolite: from Giles quoting the Ch‛un Ch‛iu (Spring and Autumn Annals), one of the Confucian Five Classics: “In the 7th year of Duke Chuang (B.C. 685), in summer, in the 4th moon, at midnight, there was a shower of stars like rain” (25).
515.23: 64 guesses at order…: through 515.28 from the I Ching (Book of Changes) using both Giles and a brief extract from A.C. Bouquet, Sacred Books of the World:
“[Fu Hsi] subsequently increased the above simple combinations [of hexagrams] to sixty-four double ones, on the permutations of which are based the philosophical speculations of the Book of Changes. Each diagram represents some power in nature, either active or passive, such as fire, water, thunder, earth, and so on. The text consists of sixty-four short essays, enigmatically and symbolically expressed, on important themes, mostly of a moral, social, and political character. […] The following is a specimen (Legge’s translation):—“Text [hexagram] This suggests the idea of one treading on the tail of a tiger, which does not bite him. There will be progress and success […]” (21-22). Giles adds that no one really knows what the “gibberish” of the commentaries mean.
“The great man is he who is in harmony, in his attributes, with heaven and earth; in his brightness, with the sun and moon; in his orderly procedure, with the four seasons; and in his relation to what is fortunate and what is calamitous, in harmony with the spirit-like operations (of Providence)” (Bouquet 164).
515.29: Stuck in a rut? try / a flagstaff pry the wheel / then horses may travel light: from Giles quoting from the Tso Chuan (see 515.17): “In the rout which followed, a war-chariot of the Chin State stuck in a deep rut and could not get on. Thereupon a man of the Ch‛u State advised the charioteer to take out the stand for arms. This eased it a little, but again the horses turned round. The man then advised that the flagstaff should be taken out and used as a lever, and at last the chariot was extricated. ‘Ah,’ said the charioteer to the man of Ch‛u, ‘we don’t know so much about running away as the people of your worthy State’” (27-28).
515.35 sat until nothing was something: from a note on the most famous of the Vedic creation hymns (x, 129), “[…] which describes the world as due to the development of the existent (sat) from the non-existent (a-sat).” From Arthur MacDonell, A Vedic Reader for Students (1917): xxvi. LZ gives a partial version of this hymn at 12.126.24-127.1; see also Prep.+ 55.
515.36 ‘empty, zimbabwe’: referring to the ruins of the Great Zimbabwe, a stone city that served as the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe (11th-15th centuries). LZ found this in Basil Davidson, The African Past (1964).
516.1 leader rains why be led— / he will take your sons / for war…: through 516.4 from 1 Samuel 8:10-18: “And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king. And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”
516.5 fair kill’s no valor in: from Jausbert de Puycibot (early 13th century, troubadour poet: Die ver qu’il non val nien. However, in his notebook LZ wrote this last word as “rien,” which also suggests the following line’s “valerian” (HRC 37.4).
516.7 Seventy plants, thirty / trees cite: describing the Shih Ching (Book of Odes or Songs), Giles spends a paragraph enumerating the number of different plants, trees, animals, birds, fishes and insects to be found in the odes (19).
516.8 cite the way why / argue it, those wise don’t / inflict your living…: through 516.19 from Lao Tzu (6th century BC). LZ works with scattered bits drawn from the work ascribed to Lao Tzu, and his primary source appears to be The Wisdom of China and India (1942), edited by Lin Yutang, from which the following quotations are taken. The central Taoist concept of wu-wei (516.14) literally means inaction, but which Lin Yutang says is better understood as non-interference (580); see also Joseph Needham’s on the meaning of wu wei in Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. 2 (68-71) :
from Chap. 71: “True words are not fine-sounding; / Fine sounding words are not true. / A good man does not argue; / He who argues is not a good man.”
from Chap. 75: “It is those who interfere not with their living / that are wise in exalting life.”
from Chap. 8: “In his relations with others, he loves kindness; / In his words, he loves sincerity; / In government, he loves peace; / In business affairs, he loves ability; / In his actions, he loves choosing the right time. / It is because he does not contend / That he is without reproach.”
from Chap. 41: “When the highest type of man hear the Tao (truth), / They practice it diligently. / When the mediocre type hear the Tao, / They seem to be aware and yet unaware of it. / When the lowest type hear the Tao, / They break into loud laughter— / If it were not laughed at, it would not be Tao.”
from Chap. 14: “Prehistoric Origins”: “Looked at, but cannot be seen / That is called the Invisible (yi). / Listened to, but cannot be heard / That is called the Inaudible (hsi). / Grasped at, but cannot be touched / That is called the Intangible (wei). / These three elude all our inquires / And hence blend and become One.”
from Chap. 19: “Banish ‘love,’ discard ‘justice,’ / And the people shall recover love of their kin” (Lin Yutang notes that the terms “love” and “justice” refer to Confucianism).
from Chap. 55: “Who is rich in virtue / Is like a child. […] His bones are soft, his sinews tender, yet his grip is strong.”
from Chap. 15: on the virtues of the “wise ones of old”: “Self-effacing, like ice beginning to melt. / Genuine, like a piece of undressed wood.”
516.20 Callous stone men: from Praxilla (c.450BC), Greek poet, from the opening phrase of her best-known surviving fragment, “To Adonis”; Lyra Graeca, vol. III, trans. J.M. Edmonds (Loeb Classical Library):
Κάλλιστον μὲν […] (the fairest thing I leave…) (74)
516.23 No songs where she’s immortal / and if not no rites…: through 516.33 (possibly 516.34) from Xenophanes (c.570-c.475 BC), Greek philosopher and poet. LZ’s source is Elegy and Iambus, vol. 1, trans. J.M. Edmonds (Loeb Classical Library):
516.23-24: “Compare what Xenophanes replied to his fellow-citizens of Elea when they asked him whether or not they should make sacrifice and sing dirges for Leucothea, ‘If you believe her immortal sing no dirges, if mortal make no sacrifice’” (from Aristotle, Rhetoric).
516.25-30: “Xenophanes declares that there are four elements, and worlds innumerable [κόσμους δ᾽ ἀπείρους], but not contiguous [οὐ παραλλακτοὺς δέ = not side by side]. Clouds are made when the vapour from the sun is carried upwards and lifts them into ‘that which encompasses.’ The substance of God is spherical, in no way resembling man. He is all eye and all ear [ὅλον δὲ ὁρᾶν καὶ ὅλον ἀκούειν], but does not breathe. He is the totality of mind and thought, and is eternal. Xenophanes was the first to declare that everything which comes into existence is destructible, and that the soul is breath” (from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Philosophers).
516.31: “[…] if I know how to tell the truth [ἐτύμως] in these things” (from Diogenes Laertius).
516.31-32: “And Xenophanes says: ‘In certain caverns pure water drips’” (from Herodian On Peculiarities).
516.32-33: the “glosses” in this line plays both on the fact that the fragment survives in a gloss and on the Greek for “sweeter”: “No comparative in –ων has υ in the penultimate syllable; the form γλύσσων ‘sweeter,’ therefore, used by Xenophanes, is remarkable: ‘Had not God made honey yellow, they had said that figs were far sweeter‘” (from Herodian, On ‘Doubtful’ Syllables). Cf. 18.391.9.
516.33: “Mulberries: —These are called μόρα by Aeschylus, who gives the name of συκάμινα to the wild variety, the fruit of the bramble. They might also perhaps be called κεράσια, for we find the tree κερασός / cherry-tree” (from Pollux Onomasticon). [Edmonds’ note:] “κερασός is really the bird-cherry; mulberries and blackberries seem to have been confused.”
516.34: probably from Xenophanes: “This challenge to an oath from impious to pious is not fair” (from Aristotle, Rhetoric in Elegy and Iambus, vol. 1, 215).
516.35 and a hero dotes on / a tale of honesty…: through 517.2 from Herodotus (hero dotes on), 5th century BC Greek historian. LZ found this excerpt in Basil Davidson, The African Past: Chronicles from Antiquity to Modern Times (1964):
“The Carthaginians also tell us that they trade with a race of men who live in a part of Libya beyond the Pillars of Heracles. On reaching this country, they unload their goods, arrange them tidily along the beach, and then, returning to their boats, raise a smoke. Seeing the smoke, the natives come down to the beach, place on the ground a certain quantity of gold in exchange for the goods, and go off again to a distance. The Carthaginians then come ashore and take a look at the gold; and if they think it represents a fair price for their wares, they collect it and go away; if, on the other hand, it seems too little, they go back on board and wait, and the natives come and add to the gold until they are satisfied. There is perfect honesty on both sides; the Carthaginians never touch the gold until it equals in value what they have offered for sale, and the natives never touch the goods until the gold has been taken away” (53, trans. Aubrey de Sélincourt).
516.37-517.1: sun goes over: apparently interpolated from a phrase found in a fragment attributed to Xenophanes (see 516.23): “and the Sun that goeth over and warmeth the Earth” (Elegy and Iambus, Vol. 1, ed. J.M. Edmonds).
517.3 Times the gain from philosophy / hárassed: abuse—brothel and inn…: through 519.3 primarily from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, a work (probably 3rd century AD) that uncritically compiles surviving information on the Greek philosophers and is strong on biographical anecdote and weak on comprehensive accounts of philosophy. LZ uses the two volume Loeb Classical Library edition, trans. R.D. Hicks.
Through 517.10 is from the life of Aristippus of Cyrne (c.435-350 BC), Greek philosopher, founder of the Cyrenaic school which taught that the purpose of life was to seek pleasure. LZ seems to have had an early interest in Aristippus, and a poem survives dated 19 Sept. 1923 entitled “(The Master Aristippus)” (see “Discarded Poems” 146-148).
517.3: the gain from philosophy: “Being asked what he had gained from philosophy, he replied, ‘The ability to feel at ease in any society’” (II.68). See 517.6.
517.4: brothel and inn: “One day, as he entered the house of a courtesan, one of the lads with him blushed, whereupon he remarked, ‘It is not going in that is dangerous, but being unable to go out’” (II.69).
517.6: to dynasties passing: τὸ δύνασθαι πᾶσι θαρρούντως ὁμιλεῖν (The ability to feel at ease in any society); see 517.8 below.
517.7: spitting / seas redeem: “He bore with Dionysius when he spat on him, and to one who took him to task he replied, ‘If the fishermen let themselves be drenched with sea-water in order to catch a gudgeon, ought I not to endure to be wetted with negus [wine punch] in order to take a blenny [a fish]?’” (II.67). LZ alludes to this anecdote at 14.316.27-29.
517.8-10: No knowledge but / intimate pleasure, tho a trained / horse’s no stone, takes trouble—:
“To the question how the educated differ from the uneducated, [Aristippus] replied, ‘Exactly as horses that have been trained differ from untrained horses’” (II.69).
“He was asked by someone in what way his son would be better for being educated. He replied, ‘If nothing more than this, at all events, when in the theatre he will not sit down like a stone upon stone’” (II.72).
“Some one brought him a knotty problem with the request that he would untie the knot. ‘Why, you simpleton,’ said he, ‘do you want it untied, seeing that it causes trouble enough as it is?’” (II.70).
517.12 soul / owns laws’ spiderweb surfeit’s outrage, / wound from acting in tragedies: from Diogenes Laertius, Life of Solon (< soul owns), 6th century BC Athenian lawmaker:
“He compared laws to spiders’ webs, which stand firm when any light and yielding object falls upon them, while a larger thing breaks through them and makes off” (I.58).
“Asked how crime could most effectually be diminished, he replied, ‘If it caused as much resentment in those who are not its victims as in those who are,’ adding, ‘Wealth breeds satiety, satiety outrage.’ […] He prohibited Thespis from performing tragedies on the ground that fiction was pernicious. When therefore Pisistratus appeared with self-inflicted wounds, Solon said, ‘This comes from acting tragedies’” (I.59).
517.15 Pith or gore has 4 / seasons…: < Pythagoras, 6th century BC pre-Socratic philosopher (see 15.368.31, 19.419.7, 19.419.30). Through 517.26 from Diogenes Laertius, Life of Pythagoras:
517.15-17: has 4 / seasons, 20 yet boy, 40 / young 60 ripe, 80 aged: “He divides man’s life into four quarters thus: ‘Twenty years a boy, twenty years a youth, twenty years a young man, twenty years an old man; and these four periods correspond to the four seasons, the boy to spring, the youth to summer, the young man to autumn, and the old man to winter’” (VIII.10). Xavier Kalck points out that Pythagoras has four syllables; on the significance of the number four for the Pythagorians see notes at 19.419.2 & 7.
517.18: pursued pi beyond stratus: “We are told by Apollodorus the calculator that he offered a sacrifice of oxen on finding that in a right-angled triangle the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the squares on the sides containing the right angle” (VIII.11). However, LZ’s “pursued pi beyond stratus” does not seem to refer primarily to the Pythagorean theorem, but to the Pythagorean numerical philosophy in which mathematics is extended to the cosmos. The mathematical pi (π) is a symbol used in geometry for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter (CD).
517.18-19: weights / and measures: “He too, according to Aristoxenus the musician, was the first to introduce weights and measures into Greece” (VIII.14).
517.19-20: the eyes doors / to sun: “As it is, in certain [lines] he calls the eyes the portals of the sun” (VIII.29).
517.20-23: air thronged with / souls exacting heroes’ crumbs, salt / from seas men with their / livestock dream: “The whole air is full of souls which are called genii or heroes; these are they who send men dreams and signs of future disease and health, and not to men alone, but to sheep also and cattle as well; and it is to them that purifications and lustrations, all divination, omens and the like, have reference” (VIII.32).
“He bade his disciples not to pick up fallen crumbs, either in order to accustom them not to eat immoderately, or because connected with a person’s death; nay, even, according to Aristophanes, crumbs belong to the heroes […]” (VIII.34).
“Of salt he said it should be brought to table to remind us of what is right; for salt preserves whatever it finds, and it arises from the purest sources, sun and sea” (VIII.35).
517.23-24: warned not to / pray, unsure where help comes: “He forbids us to pray for ourselves, because we do not know what will help us” (VIII.9).
517.25-26: when Evening Star lowers to / Morning Star: “It was he who first declared that the Evening and Morning Stars are the same, as Parmenides maintains” (VIII.14).
517.26 How can you, / […] serve ghost—remain loyal, living / faithful glances, magic and medicine: from Confucius (6th century BC), as quoted in Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. 2: History of Scientific Thought (1956):
“Chi-Lu asked about serving the ghosts and spirits, The Master said, ‘While you are not yet able to serve men, how can you serve ghost?’ Chi-Lu then ventured upon a question about the dead. The Master said, ‘You do not yet know about the living, how can you know about the dead?’” (13).
“The Master took four subjects for his teaching: culture (letters), the conduct of affairs, loyalty to superiors and the keeping of promises” (14).
[Description of the Confucian scholar:] “The practice of medicine was possible and agricultural studies were always respectable. But alchemy was severely frowned upon […]” (30).
517.27 opinion’s throbbing ear aimless eye…: through 517.36 (except 517.27-28) from Parmenides (6th century BC). Diogenes Laertius’ Life of Parmenides is very short and can only account for part of this section. A possible additional source is Nahm’s Selections from Early Greek Philosophy, which according to Leggott LZ owned and used elsewhere (389); for some of the following this source has been used.
517.27: opinion’s throbbing ear aimless eye: “And let not long-practiced wont force thee to tread this path [of opinion], to be governed by an aimless eye, an echoing ear and tongue, but do thou with understanding bring the muchcontested issue to decision ” (Diogenes Laertius IX.22). See Bottom 358.
517.30-33: For now it is: not / is the same and can / be thought and thought is / now: in Bottom, LZ gives the following version of the relevant fragment: “How can now be hereafter, or how can it have been? For if it has been before, or shall be, it is not. Nor is aught distinct; for the All is self-similar always” (358). In Bottom, this quotation is juxtaposed to a well-known passage from Hamlet V.ii, which is here clearly being conflated with Parmenides and explains the particular emphasis on “now” (also at 517.36): “If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be now now, yet it will come; the readiness is all.” This Hamlet remark appears frequently in LZ: see 18.406.20-22, 23.554.6; Bottom 46, 106, 152, 302, 358; Prep+ 46.
517.33-35: Truth’s way all one / where it begins and shall come back again: “It is no matter to me whence I take my beginning; for to that point I shall return once more” (Nahm 92).
517.36: now the moving body’s sphere: from Zeno of Elea, 5th century BC follower of Parmenides: “A moving body moves neither where it is nor where it is not.” Found in Diogenes Laertius’ Life of Pyrrho (IX.72). LZ may also have in mind Diogenes Laertius’ remark that Parmenides “was the first to declare that the earth is spherical and is situated in the center of the universe” (IX.21).
517.37 Pride drenched faster than fire…: through 518.4 from Diogenes Laertius, Life of Heraclitus (fl. 500 BC).
517.37-518.1: Pride drenched faster than fire, / good laws uphold good walls: “Again he would say: ‘there is more need to extinguish insolence than an outbreak of fire,’ and ‘The people must fight for the law as for city-walls’” (IX.2). Possibly a wink at Robert Frost, “Mending Wall,” in this last line.
518.2-3: a breath up from the / sea—home, light upward: “He reduces nearly everything to exhalation from the sea. This process is the upward path. Exhalations arise from earth as well as from sea; those from sea are bright and pure, those from earth dark. Fire is fed by the bright exhalations, the moist element by the others” (IX.9). An unattributed epigramic verse: “Do not be in too great a hurry to get to the end of Heraclitus the Ephesian’s book: the path is hard to travel. Gloom is there and darkness devoid of light. But if an initiate be your guide, the path shines brighter than sunlight” (IX.16).
518.3-4: silent / path to let others chatter: “We are told that, when asked why he kept silence, he replied, ‘Why, to let you chatter’” (IX.12).
518.5 Love and hate—souls of / animals and plants, where a / nest is tears may flow / no key to the tangle: through 518.7 from Diogenes Laertius on Empedocles (484-424 BC): “His doctrines were as follows, that there are four elements, fire, water, earth and air, besides friendship by which these are united, and strife by which they are separated. These are his words: ‘Shining Zeus and life-bringing Hera, Aidoneus and Nestis, who lets flow from her tears the source of mortal life,’ where by Zeus he means fire, by Hera earth, by Aidoneus air, and by Nestis water. ‘And their continuous change,’ he says, ‘never ceases,’ as if this ordering of things were eternal. At all events he goes on: ‘At one time all things uniting in one through Love, at another each carried in a different direction through the hatred born of strife.’ […] The soul, again, assumes all the various forms of animals and plants” (VIII.76-77). On the phrase “Love and hate” (518.5) also see the famous opening phrase of Catullus 85: “Odi et amo.”
518.8 no key to the tangle: apparently LZ’s reworking of a reported remark by Heraclitus (see 517.7-518.4): “Let us not conjecture on deepest questions what is likely” (Diogenes Laertius IX.73).
518.9 Mind would not defend itself…: through 518.19 from Diogenes Laertius on Anaxagoras (c.500-428 BC):
518.9: Mind would not defend itself: “He was a pupil of Anaximenes, and was the first who set mind above matter, for at the beginning of his treatise, which is composed in attractive and dignified language, he says, ‘All things were together; then came Mind and set them in order.’ This earned for Anaxagoras himself the nickname of Nous or Mind […]” (II.6). Anaxagoras was tried by Athens for impiety, for declaring “the sun to be a mass of red-hot metal,” and condemned to death. “When news was brought him that he was condemned […], his comment on the sentence was, ‘Long ago nature condemned both my judges and myself to death’” (II.13).
518.10-11: believing bone’s of smaller bone / particle accreted elements: Anaxagoras’ concept of the homoeomeria appears in Diogenes Laertius (II.8), but the image of bone here indicates LZ turned in this case to Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura (see 12.164.19): “Now let us also examine the homoeomeria of Anaxagoras as the Greeks call it, which cannot be named in our language because of the poverty of our mother speech, but yet it is easy to explain the thing itself in words. First, when he speaks of the homoeomeria in things, he clearly holds that bones are made of very small and minute bones, flesh of very small and minute particles of flesh, and blood is composed by many drops of blood coming together into union, and he thinks gold may consist of grains of gold, and earth to be a concretion of small earths, fire or fires, water of waters; he fancies and imagines the rest in the same way” (I.830-840; trans. W.H.D. Rouse).
518.11-13: mind humble / before molten sun reflecting moon’s / low fosses and far ranges: “He declared the sun to be a mass of red-hot metal and to be larger than the Peloponnesus, though others ascribe this view to Tantalus; he declared that there were swellings on the moon, and moreover hills and ravines (φάραγγας)” (II.8).
518.14-16: a heaven of stones whose / swiftness made their separate orbits / one, that slackening would fall: “Silenus […] says that Anaxagoras declared the whole firmament to be made of stones; that the rapidity of rotation caused it to cohere; and that if this were relaxed it would fall” (II.12).
518.17-18: not justice nor virtue the / singer knew: “Favorinus in his Miscellaneous History says Anaxagoras was the first to maintain that Homer in his poems treats of virtue and justice […]” (II.11).
518.18-19: life retraced / in annual holidays for boys: “At length he retired to Lampsacus and there died. And when the magistrates of the city asked if there was anything he would like done for him, he replied that he would like them to grant an annual holiday to the boys in the month in which he died; and the custom is kept up to this day” (II.14).
518.20 A porter’s neat wood bundle / talked wish, question, answer, command: from Diogenes Laertius, Life of Protagoras, 5th century BC Sophist:
518.20: “He too invented the shoulder-pad on which porters carry their burdens, so we are told by Aristotle in his treatise On Education; for he himself had been a porter, says Epicurus somewhere. This was how he was taken up by Democritus, who saw how skillfully his bundles of wood were tied. He was the first to mark off the parts of discourse into four, namely, wish, question, answer, command […] these he called the basic forms of speech” (IX.53-54).
518.22 Our call’s nature, sound is / shocked air…: through 518.26 from Diogenes Laertius’ Life of Archelaus, student of Anaxagoras and teacher of Socrates: “He was called the physicist inasmuch as with him natural philosophy came to an end, as soon as Socrates had introduced ethics. It would seem that Archelaus himself also treated of ethics, for he has discussed laws and goodness and justice; Socrates took the subject from him and, having improved it to the utmost, was regarded as its inventor. Archelaus laid down that there were two causes of growth or becoming, heat and cold; that living things were produced from slime; and that what is just and what is base depends not upon nature but upon convention” (II.16). “Living things, he holds, are generated from the earth when it is heated and throws off slime of the consistency of milk to serve as a sort of nourishment, and in this same way the earth produced man. He was the first who explained the production of sound as being the concussion of air, and the formation of the sea in hollow places as due to its filtering through the earth” (II.17).
518.24-26: the “pupil” here is Socrates (see preceding note): “[who] discussed moral questions in the workshops and in the market-place, being convinced that the study of nature is no concern of ours […]” (II.21).
“[Archelaus’] theory is to this effect. Water is melted by heat and produces on the one hand earth in so far as by the action of fire it sinks and coheres, while on the other hand it generates air in so far as it overflows on all sides. Hence the earth is confined by the air, and the air by the circumambient fire” (II.17).
518.26 most gorge to eat / I eat to live: from Diogenes Laertius, Life of Socrates: “He would say that the rest of the world lived to eat, while he himself ate to live” (II.34).
518.27 Science: / a well—empty yet something / uncut…: from Diogenes Laertius, Life of Democritus, (460?-357 BC), Greek Atomist, although the following is found in the Life of Pyrrho: “‘Opinion says hot or cold, but the reality is atoms and empty space,’ and again, ‘Of a truth we know nothing, for truth is in a well’” (IX.72).
518.29: Shadow speaking irks action: “From him we have the saying, ‘Speech is the shadow of action’” (IX.37). “Irks” is suggested by the original Greek of Democritus’ remark: λόγος ἔργον σκιή.
518.30 Man featherless two-legs, at which / the cosmopolite plucked a fowl’s / ‘Here’s your man—’…: through 519.3 from Diogenes Laertius, Life of Diogenes of Sinope (404-323 BC), one of the founders of the Cynic school of philosophy:
518.30-32: “Plato had defined Man as an animal, biped and featherless, and was applauded. Diogenes plucked a fowl and brought it into the lecture-room with the words, ‘Here is Plato’s man.’ In consequence of which there was added to the definition, ‘having broad nails’” (VI.40).
518.31: “Asked where he came from, he said, ‘I am a citizen of the world (kosmopolites)’ [editor’s note: If this answer is authentic, it apparently shows that the famous term ‘cosmopolitan’ originated with Diogenes]” (VI.63).
518.32-33: My teacher / gone mad: “On being asked by somebody, ‘What sort of a man do you consider Diogenes to be?’ ‘A Socrates gone mad,’ said [Plato]” (VI.54).
518.33-34: ‘loveliest—free speech’ / (unlicensed tongue): “Being asked what was the most beautiful thing in the world, he replied, ‘Freedom of speech’” (VI.69). LZ looked up the Greek word translated as “freedom of speech,” παρρησία, in Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon and found the variant meaning of “in bad sense, license of tongue.”
518.34-35: ‘true polity wide / as the universe: “‘The only true commonwealth (πολιτείαν; see 519.6) was that which is as wide as the universe’” (VI.72).
518.35-37: but the great thieves lead the little away’: “Once he saw the officials of a temple leading away some one who had stolen a bowl belonging to the treasurers, and said, ‘The great thieves are leading away the little thief’” (VI.45).
518.37-519.2: Your eyes see—prating— / not to my mind—expose / pride: “And one day when Plato had invited to his house friends coming from Dionysius, Diogenes trampled upon his carpets and said, ‘I trample upon Plato’s vainglory.’ Plato’s reply was, ‘How much pride you expose to view, Diogenes, by seeming not to be proud’” (VI.26). “As Plato was conversing about Ideas and using the nouns ‘tablehood’ and ‘cuphood,’ he said, ‘Table and cup I see; but your tablehood and cuphood, Plato, I can nowise see.’ ‘That’s readily accounted for,’ said Plato, ‘for you have the eyes to see the visible table and cup; but not the understanding by which ideal tablehood and cuphood are discerned’” (VI.53).
519.3: died holding his breath: “Diogenes is said to have been nearly ninety years old when he died. Regarding his death there are several different accounts. One is that he was seized with colic after eating an octopus raw and so met his end. Another is that he died voluntarily by holding his breath” (VI.76).
519.2 Dog Star: Sirius, associated with the hottest part of the year and thus madness. Diogenes of Sinope (see 518.30) is frequently associated with dogs: called a dog (by Plato among others), calling himself a dog (Cynic means literally Hound according to a footnote at VI.60 in Hicks’ edition of Diogenes Laertius’ Lives) and on occasion acting like and living with dogs. Cf. the dog imagery associated with Shakespeare’s version of Diogenes, Apemantus, in Timon of Athens.
519.4 Pragmatic meaning equivocally fare well. / Trivial uttered…: through 519.14 from Plato’s Epistles; using the Loeb Classical Library edition of Plato, vol. 9, Timaeus, Critias, Cleitophon, Menaxenus, Epistles, trans. Robert G. Bury.
519.4: from the salutation to Dionysius, ruler of Syracuse, that opens Epistle I, to which the editor gives a note: “The Greek phrase εὖ πράττειν is purposely ambiguous, meaning either “act well” or “fare well” (i.e. “prosper”) […]. It is the form of address regularly used in these Epistles […].
519.5-6: Trivial uttered, hard to stand / under: from Epistle Xi, quoting Hesiod, Fragment 22: “Trivial when uttered by me, but hard to be understanded.” A favorite remark, LZ will repeat it in the Hesiod passage at 23.544.18 and hear it as echoed or echoed in a favorite line from Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona II.5: (spoken by Launce the clown) “Why, stand-under and under-stand is all one” (see note at 13.313.13).
519.6-14: from Plato, Epistle VII, a long explanation and justification of his activities as the tutor of the young tyrant Dionysius of Syracuse at the invitation of the latter’s uncle, Dion:
519.6: polity’s impossible without friends: “When, therefore, I considered all this, and the type of men who were administering the affairs of State [πολιτικά, see 518.34], with their laws too and their customs, the more I considered them and the more I advanced in years myself, the more difficult appeared to me the task of managing affairs of State rightly. For it was impossible to take action without friends and trusty companions; and these it was not easy to find ready to hand, since our state was no longer managed according to the principles and institutions of our forefathers; while to acquire other new friends with any facility was a thing impossible” (325c-325d).
519.7-8: “For the truth must be told. [Dionysius] became indeed more and more devoted as time advanced, according as he grew familiar with my disposition and character, but he was desirous that I should praise him more than Dion and regard him rather than Dion as my special friend, and this triumph he was marvelously anxious to achieve. But the best way to achieve this, if it was to be achieved—namely, by occupying himself in learning and in listening to discourses on philosophy and by associating with me—this he always shirked owing to his dread of the talk of slanderers, lest he might be hampered in some measure and Dion might accomplish all his designs” (330a-330b).
“Ought not the doctor that is giving counsel to a sick man who is indulging in a mode of life that is bad for his health to try first of all to change his life, and only proceed with the rest of his advice if the patient is willing to obey?” (330d-e).
519.8-9: “For by nature none of us is immortal, and if any man should come to be so he would not be happy, as the vulgar believe; for no evil nor good worthy of account belongs to what is soulless, but they befall the should whether it be united with a body or separated therefrom” (334e-335a).
519.9-10: “But now, for the third time, let us speak good words, for the omen’s sake” (336c). See 508.11.
519.10-14: “[…] it is impossible in my judgment at least, that these men should understand anything about this subject [metaphysical truths]. There does not exist, nor will there ever exist, any treatise of mine dealing therewith. For it does not at all admit of verbal expressions like other studies, but, as a result of continued application to the subject itself and communion therewith, it is brought to birth in the soul on a sudden, as light that is kindled by a leaping spark, and thereafter it nourishes itself (341c) […] And this is the reason why every serious man in dealing with really serious subjects carefully avoids writing, lest thereby he may possibly cast them as a prey to the envy and stupidity of the public. In one word, then, our conclusion must be that whenever one sees a man’s written compositions—whether they be the laws of a legislator or anything else in any other form,—these are not his most serious work, if so be that the writer himself is serious: rather those works abide in the fairest region he possesses [editor’s note: i.e. in his head, the abode of unexpressed thoughts]” (344c).
519.15 Air of early dawn, how / shun jee and ch’…: through 519.18 from the Mencius (372-289 BC), Confucian philosopher (see also 519.31-520.1). LZ’s source is The Wisdom of China and India (1942), ed. Lin Yutang, who uses the translation of James Legge with his own revisions indicated in parentheses:
519.15-16: from Lin Yutang’s introduction to Mencius: “[…] there was a certain high idealism in Mencius, when he spoke of the haojan chih ch’i, the ‘expansive spirit’ in us, which he beautifully pinned down in a phrase, ‘the air of the early dawn,’ which every early riser is familiar with. How to save and keep that air, or spirit, of the early dawn through the day, or how to guard the warm and good heart of the child through our life is the moral problem” (744; see 519.32-35 below). LZ is phonically retranscribing the Chinese phrase, which Lin gives in the Wade-Giles romanization: hao = how, chih = jee, chʽi = ch’ (but more accurately pronounced: chee); shun for jan (pronounced closer to “ran”) is LZ’s own addition.
519.17-18: “In the Declaration of Tʽang it is said, ‘O sun, when wilt thou expire? We will die together with thee’” (748).
519.16 eagre / bore the crest: an eagre or eager is a tidal bore.
519.19 ‘if your house were burning / what would you save from / it?’ ‘The fire’: this response is attributed to Jean Cocteau in an interview. Apparently its appearance here (and perhaps the interpolated mention of eagre/bore at 519.16-17 as well) was suggested by a passage in which Mencius (see preceding) admonishes a king’s lust for conquest, observing: “When with (the strength of) your kingdom of ten thousand chariots you attacked another of the same strength and they met your Majesty’s army with baskets of rice and vessels of congee, was there any other reason for this but that they (hoped to) escape out of fire and water [editor’s note: ‘in deep water’ or distress]? If (you make) the water more deep and the fire more fierce, they will just in the like manner make another revolution” (Lin Yutang, Wisdom of China and India, 760). Cf. 519.6.
519.21 To see / small beginnings clear…: through 519.25 from Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature (see 515.10), remark attributed to Lao Tzu by the Legalist philosopher Han Fei Tzü (d. 233 BC): “‘To see small beginnings is clearness of sight,’ by drawing attention to a man who foresaw, when the tyrant Chou Hsin (who died B.C. 1122) took to ivory chopsticks, that the tide of luxury had set in, to bring licentiousness and cruelty in its train, and to end in downfall and death.”
“Lao Tzǔ said, ‘Leave all things to take their natural course.’ To this Han Fei Tzǔ adds, ‘A man spent three years in carving a leaf out of ivory, of such elegant and detailed workmanship that it would lie undetected among a heap of real leaves. But Lieh Tzǔ said, “If God Almighty were to spend three years over every leaf, the trees would be badly off for foliage”’” (71).
519.26 rejoic’d na men but dogs: from Robert Burns (1759-1796), “The Twa Dogs”:
When up they gat an’ shook their lugs,
Rejoic’d they were na men but dogs;
An’ each took off his several way,
Resolv’d to meet some ither day.
This quotation appears here by association with an anecdote about the death of the neo-Taoist philosopher, Huai-nan Tzŭ (2nd century BC) found in Giles, A History of Chinese Literature: “Tradition, however, says that he positively discovered the elixir of immortality, and that after drinking of it he rose up to heaven in broad daylight. Also that, in his excitement, he dropped the vessel which had contained this elixir into his courtyard, and that his dogs and poultry sipped up the dregs, and immediately sailed up to heaven after him!” (74).
519.27 Earth, its people must weather, / but should honor plead profit?…: through 520.1 from Mencius (see also 519.15-18), primarily using Lin Yutang, The Wisdom of China and India (1942):
519.27: “Weather is less important than terrain, and terrain is less important than the people’s unity” (745).
519.28: [The first chapter of the Book of Mencius is a critique of the term “profit” and concludes with Mencius’ advice to a king:] “Let your Majesty likewise make benevolence and righteousness your only themes;—why must you speak of profit?” (748).
519.29-30: “[…] famous remark of Mencius that it would be better to be without the Book of History altogether than to believe all there is in it” (Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China Vol. 2, 8).
519.31-32: Mencius is debating with Kaotse about human nature: “Kaotse said, ‘(The phenomena of) life is what I call nature.’ Mencius replied, ‘Do you say that life is nature just as you say that white is white?’ ‘Yes,’ was the reply. (Mencius asked again), ‘Is the whiteness of a white feather like the whiteness of white snow, and the whiteness of white snow like that of white jade?’ ‘Yes,’ returned (the other). Mencius retorted, ‘Very well. Is the nature of a dog like the nature of an ox, and the nature of an ox like the nature of a man?’ Kaotse said, ‘(To delight in) food and in sexual pleasure is nature. Benevolence is from within, and not from without; righteousness is from without and not from within.’ Mencius said, ‘What is the ground of your saying that benevolence is from within, and righteousness from without?’ (The other) replied, ‘There is a man older than I, and I give honour to his age;—it is not that there is in me a principle of reverence for age. It is just as when there is a white man, and I consider him white;—according as he is so externally to me. It is on this account that I say (of righteousness) that it is from without.’ (Mencius) said, ‘There is no difference to us between the whiteness of a white horse, and the whiteness of a white man, but I do not know that there is no difference between the regard with which we acknowledge the age of an old horse, and that with which we acknowledge the age of a man older (than ourselves)? And what is it which we call righteousness? The fact of a man’s being older (than we)? or the fact of our giving honour to his age?’” (772-773). Cf. Aristotle on whiteness at Nicomachean Ethics I.6; see quotation at 12.237.25.
519.32-35: “Mencius said, ‘The trees of Niu hill were once beautiful. Being situated, however, in the suburbs of (the capital of) a large State, they were hewn down with axes and bills; and could they retain their beauty? Still through the growth from the vegetative life day and night, and the nourishing influence of the rain and dew, they were not without buds and sprouts springing out. […] The way in which a man loses the proper goodness of his mind is like the way in which (those) trees were denuded by axes and bills. Hewn down day after day, can it retain its excellence? But there is some growth of its life day and night, and in the (calm) air of the morning, just between night and day, the mind feels in a degree those desires and aversions which are proper to humanity; but the feeling is not strong; and then it is fettered and destroyed by what the man does during the day. This fettering takes place again and again; the restorative influence of the night is not sufficient to preserve (the proper goodness); and when this proves insufficient for that purpose, the (nature) becomes not much different from (that of) the irrational animals; and when people see this, they think that it never had those endowments (which I assert). But does this condition represent the feelings proper to humanity? Therefore if it receive its proper nourishment, there is nothing which will not grow; if it lose its proper nourishment, there is nothing which will not decay away’” (776-777).
519.36-520.1: “Mencius said, ‘Anybody who wishes to cultivate a t’ung tree, or a tse, which may be grasped with the two hands, (perhaps) with one, knows by what means to nourish it; but in the case of their own persons men do not know by what means to nourish them. Is it to be supposed that [/] their regard for their own persons is inferior to their regard for a t’ung or a tse? Their want of reflection is extreme’” (779-780). The slash mark indicates the page break where there are two footnotes by Lin at the bottom of the page, although they refer to a preceding section: “[First note:] The Chinese word hsin means both ‘heart’ and mind.’ Here the heart of original goodness is meant. [Second note:] ‘The lost heart of a child.’” The latter note refers to the concluding phrase of a sentence that may have suggested 520.1: “The object of learning is nothing else but to seek for the lost mind.”
520.2 Esteem me now, may it / never happen…: through 520.4 from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers on Aristotle. From the opening of Aristotle’s will: “All will be well [ἕσται μὲν εὖ]; but, in case anything should happen, Aristotle made these dispositions” (V.11). Likely, 520.4 is worked from the Greek phrase with which LZ ends Bottom: τοῦτο δε πρὸς ἕνα, meaning “toward one person only,” which is Aristotle’s definition in the Nicomachean Ethics (IX.10/1171a) of “love” or “friendship in the superlative degree.”
520.5 not small for the greatest / not great for the smallest…: through 520.22 is predominantly from Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi), the 4th century BC Chinese Taoist philosopher. LZ uses several different versions of Chuang Tzu: Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature (see 515.10), Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu (1965) which Merton sent to LZ, Lin Yutang, The Wisdom of China and India (1942) and Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. 2 (see 520.17-22).
520.5-6: from Giles: “Tao is not too small for the greatest, not too great for the smallest” (61).
520.7: from Merton: “In the age when life on earth was full, no one paid any special attention to worthy men, nor did they single out the men of abilities. Rulers were simply the highest branches on the tree, and the people were like deer in the woods.”
520.8: from Lin Yutang: “‘May I ask what is your method?’ asked Tsekung. ‘Fishes live their full life in water. Men live their full life in Tao,’ replied Confucius. ‘Those that live their full life in water thrive in ponds. Those that live their full life in Tao achieve realization of their nature in inaction. Hence the saying “Fish lose themselves (are happy) in water; man loses himself (is happy) in Tao.”’” Merton’s version: “Fish are born in water / Man is born in Tao […] Moral: ‘All the fish needs / Is to get lost in water. / All man needs is to get lost / In Tao”; and elsewhere: “Chuang said: / ‘See how free / The fishes leap and dart: That is their happiness.’”
520.8 in water / what it is to be / water: from Aristotle, De Anima (On the Soul): “Since we can distinguish between a spatial magnitude and what it is to be such, and between water and what it is to be water, and so in many other cases (though not in all; for in certain cases the thing and its form are identical), flesh and what it is to be flesh are discriminated either by different faculties, or by the same faculty in two different states: for flesh necessarily involves matter and is like what is snub-nosed, a this in a this” (III.4; 429b). Qtd. Bottom 43, 52. On “a this” see 12.163.22 and Prep+ 51.
520.10 butterfly or man know / stop…: continuing with Chuang Tzu (see 520.5). Chuang Tzu’s famous parable of dreaming he was a butterfly and upon awakening observing, “Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man” (Giles 63).
520.11: from Merton: “To know when to stop / To know when you can get no further / By your own action, / This is the right beginning.”
520.12: from Merton’s introductory essay: “When the right moment arrives, even one who seems incapable of any instruction whatever will become mysteriously aware of Tao.”
520.13: from Merton: “Hui Tzu said to Chuang Tzu: ‘All your teaching is centered on what has no use.’ Chuang replied: ‘If you have no appreciation for what has no use you cannot begin to talk about what can be used. The earth, for example, is broad and vast but of all this expanse a man uses only a few inches upon which he happens to be standing. Now suppose you suddenly take away all that he is not actually using so that, all around his feet a gulf yawns, and he stands in the Void, with nowhere solid except right under each foot: How long will he be able to use what he is using?’ Hui Tzu said: ‘It would cease to serve any purpose.’ Chuang Tzu concluded: ‘This shows the absolute necessity of what has “no use”‘” (153).
520.15 would / you have them suffer justly? / sometimes hearing…: from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers (see note at 517.15), Life of Socrates: “When his wife said, ‘You suffer unjustly,’ [Socrates] retorted, ‘Why, would you have me suffer justly?’” (II.35).
“He used to say that his supernatural sign warned him beforehand of the future […]” (II.32).
520.17 learning / dam from the waters not / the sages: through 520.22 follows from Chuang Tzu (see 520.5) with two further Taoist passages and another from Chuang Tzu from Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, vol. 2. First from the Shen Tzu attributed to the Taoist Shen Tao: “‘As regards the people who protect and manage the dykes and channels of the nine rivers and the four lakes, they are the same in all ages; they did not learn their business from Yü the Great, they learnt it from the waters.’ And in the Kuan Yin Tzu, a Taoist book of the Tang (perhaps 8th century) it is said: ‘Those who are good at archery learnt from the bow and not from Yi the Archer. Those who know how to manage boats learnt from boats and not from Wo (the legendary mighty boatman). Those who can think learnt for themselves, and not from the Sages’” (73).
520.19: ancestors wore cotton: “Here is the Chuang Tzu’s description of primitive collectivism: ‘(Anciently) the people had a constant nature, they wove themselves clothes and tilled the ground for food. This was what we call the Virtue of the Common Life (shih wei thung tê¹)’” (106).
520.20-22: from the 2nd century predominately Taoist work Huai Nan Tzu attacking the Legalists, the proponents of strict law and order (lore and odor severe) as opposed to the Taoist belief in natural transformation, the dialectic of rot to growth: “Now as regards the methods of government of Shen (Pu-Hai), Han (Fei Tzu) and Shang Yang, they pulled things up by the roots, neglected their origins (causes, pên¹), and did not thoroughly investigate their coming into being. Why did they act thus? Increasing the five punishments to a severity which was contrary to the foundations of the virtue of the Tao (pei Tao têchih pên²) they sharpened the points of weapons and cut down the greater part of the people like straw. Filled with satisfaction, they considered that they had put the world in order. But this was like adding fuel to fire or trying to empty an ever-flowing spring; planting tzu-trees round wells so that the buckets cannot go up and down; or willow-trees along canals, so that boats cannot go past—in three months they will be cut down” (71).
520.23 Annual in all parts annual— / mere regard won’t carp…: through 521.15 from Theophrastus (see 14.319.3), 3rd century BC Aristotelian philosopher, Enquiry into Plants, which meticulously catalogs the types and characteristics of plants and trees. Not surprisingly, LZ later used this work extensively in 80 Flowers. LZ uses the Loeb Classical Library edition, 2 vols., trans. Sir Arthur Hort:
520.23-25: “In the case of trees we may thus distinguish the annual parts, while it is plain that in annual plants all the parts are annual: for the end of their being is attained when the fruit is produced” (I.ii.2). Leggott points out that 520.24-25—“mere regard won’t carp, own / fruit sees”—is a homophonically suggested by the Gk. μέχρι γὰρ τῶν καρπῶν ᾑ φύσις (měchri gar tŏn karŏn e physis) meaning: “when the fruit is produced.”
520.26: Theophrastus frequently comments on the difficulty of definitions in the early sections of Enquiry and that he will use a comparative method to establish differences and analogies: e.g. “However, since it is by the help of the better known that we must pursue the unknown, and better known are the things which are larger and plainer to our senses, it is clear that it is right to speak of these things in the way indicated: for then in dealing with the less known things we shall be making these better known things our standard, and shall ask how far and in what manner comparison is possible in each case. And when we have taken the parts, we must next take the differences which they exhibit, for thus will their essential nature become plain, and at the same time the general differences between one kind of plant and another” (I.ii.3).
520.27-28: “Now in using the terms ‘cultivated’ and ‘wild’ we must make these on the one hand our standard, and on the other that which is in the truest sense ‘cultivated.’ Now Man, if he is not the only thing to which the name is strictly appropriate, is at least that to which it most applies” (I.iii.6).
520.29: “For these reasons then, as we are saying, one must not make a too precise definition; we should make our definitions typical” (I.iii.4).
520.30: “Some have, as it were, spinous leaves, as fir Aleppo pine prickly cedar; some, as it were, fleshy leaves; and this is because their leaves are of fleshy substance, as cypress tamarisk apple, among under-shrubs kneoros and stoibe, and among herbaceous plants house-leek and hulwort. This plant is good against moth in clothes” (I.x.4). The obscure “hulwort” translates the Gk. πόλιον (L. polium) from which LZ gets “poley.”
520.31: “For there are some plants which cannot live except in wet; and again these are distinguished from one another by their fondness for different kinds of wetness; so that some grow in marshes, others in lakes, others in rivers, others even in the sea, smaller ones in our own sea, larger ones in the Red Sea. Some again, one may say, are lovers of very wet places, or plants of the marshes, such as the willow and the plane.” (I.iv.2).
520.31-32: “The flower of no other cultivated trees is gay nor of two colours, though it may be so with some uncultivated trees, as with the flower of silver-fir, for its flower is of saffron colour; and so with the flowers of those trees by the ocean which have they say, the colour of roses” (I.xiii.1).
520.32-34: “However all plants when young have smoother bark, which gets rougher as they get older; and some have cracked bark, as the vine; and in some cases it readily drops off, as in andrachne apple and arbutus” (I.v.2).
520.35: “Most peculiar are the knots of the apple, for they are like the faces of wild animals; there is one large knot, and a number of small ones round it” (I.vii.4).
520.35 Rooted: felt / depth, density, core…: these are descriptive categories Theophrastus uses to distinguish types of roots (I.vi.3-6).
520.36-521.1: “The character and function of the roots of the ‘Indian fig’ (banyan) are peculiar, for this plant sends out roots from the shoots till it has a hold on the ground and roots again; and so there comes to be a continuous circle of roots round the tree, not connected with the main stem but at a distance from it” (I.vii.3).
521.1-3: “But no root goes down further than the sun reaches, since it is the heat which induces growth” (I.vii.1).
521.3-5: “So again a white fig may change into a black one, and conversely; and similar changes occur in the vine” (II.iii.1).
521.5-7: “Further we are told that the plants chosen should be the best possible, and should be taken from soil resembling that in which you are going to plant them, or else inferior [editor’s note: i.e. the shift should be into better soil, if possible]; also the holes should be dug as long as possible beforehand, and should always be deeper than the original holes, even for those whose roots do not run very deep” (II.v.1).
521.7-8: “All those trees which are propagated by pieces cut from the stem should be planted with the cut part downwards, and the pieces cut off should not be less than a handsbreadth in length, as was said, and the bark should be left on” (II.v.5).
521.8: “Among other trees there is none that we know which has spines for leaves altogether, but it is so with other woody plants, as akorna drypis pine-thistle and almost all the plants which belong to that class. For in all these spines, as it were, take the place of leaves, and, if one is not to reckon these as leaves, they would be entirely leafless, and some would have spines but no leaves at all, as asparagus” (I.x.6).
521.9-15: “There is a peculiarity special to the olive lime elm and abele [white poplar]: their leaves appear to invert the upper surface after the summer solstice, and by this men know that the solstice is past. Now all leaves differ as to their upper and under surfaces; and in most trees the upper surfaces are greener and smoother, as they have the fibers and veins in the under surfaces, even as the human hand has its ‘lines,’ but even the upper surface of the leaf of the olive is sometimes whiter and less smooth. So all or most leaves display their upper surfaces, and it is these surfaces which are exposed to the light. Again most leaves turn towards the sun; wherefore also it is not easy to say which surface is next to the twig; for, while the way in which the upper surface is presented seems rather to make the under surface closer to it, yet nature desires equally that the upper surface should be the nearer, and this is specially seen in the turning back of the leaf towards the sun” (I.x.2).
521.15 Engaged / paroled of fate, we determine / nothing…: through 521.30 from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers on Pyrrho of Elis (c.360-270 B.C.) in the Loeb Classical Library edition translated by R.D. Hicks. Pyrrho was a philosopher of “agnosticism and suspension of judgement” (IX.61), the founder of Pyrrhonian Scepticism, and although he himself wrote nothing, Diogenes includes in his Life an extensive summary of the school generally. Sextus Empiricus (c.160-210), who appears prominently in “A”-19.427.34-430.8, is the main source for Pyrrhonian Scepticism.
521.15-22: “paroled” presumably puns on Pyrrho.
“[Pyrrho adopted] a most noble philosophy […] taking the form of agnosticism and suspension of judgement. He denied that anything was honourable or dishonourable, just or unjust. And so, universally, he held that there is nothing really existent, but custom and convention govern human action; for no single thing is in itself any more than than that.” (IX.61).
“The Sceptics, then, were constantly engaged in overthrowing the dogmas of all schools, but enunciated none themselves; […] they themselves laid down nothing definitely, not even the laying down of nothing. So much so that they even refuted their laying down of nothing, saying, for instance, ‘We determine nothing,’ since otherwise they would have been betrayed into determining; but we put forward, say they, all the theories for the purpose of indicating our unprecipitate attitude, precisely as we might have done if we had actually assented to them. Thus by the expression ‘We determine nothing’ is indicated their state of even balance; which is similarly indicated by the other expression, ‘Not more (one thing than another),’ ‘Every saying has its corresponding opposite,’ and the like.” (IX.74-75).
“The other statement, ‘Every saying, etc.,’ equally compels suspension of judgement; when facts disagree, but the contradictory statements have exactly the same weight, ignorance of the truth is the necessary consequence. But even this statement has its corresponding antithesis, so that after destroying others it turns round and destroys itself, like a purge which drives the substance out and then in its turn is itself eliminated and destroyed” (IX.76). LZ appears to be referring to valerian as a traditional puragive, see 516.6.
“The end to be realized they hold to be suspension of judgement, which brings with it tranquility like its shadow“(IX. 107).
521.22-29: “He would withdraw himself from the world and live in solitude, rarely showing himself to his relatives; this he did because he had heard an Indian reproach Anaxarchus, telling him that he would never be able to teach others what is good while he himself danced attendance on kings in their courts” (IX.63).
“He lived in fraternal piety with his sister, a midwife, so says Eratosthenes in his essay On Wealth and Poverty, now and then even taking things for sale to market, poultry perchance or pigs, and he would dust the things in the house, quite indifferent as to what he did. They say he showed his indifference by washing a porker. Once he got enraged in his sister’s cause (her name was Philista), and he told the man who blamed him that it was not over a weak woman that one should display indifference. When a cur rushed at him and terrified him, he answered his critic that it was not easy entirely to strip oneself of human weakness; but one should strive with all one’s might against facts, by deeds if possible, and if not, in word” (IX.66).
521.29-30: “When his fellow-passengers on board a ship were all unnerved by a storm, he kept calm and confident, pointing to a little pig in the ship that went on eating, and telling them that such was the unperturbed state in which the wise man should keep himself” (IX.68).
521.31 ‘Why then study these things?’ / 3 pennies for you…: from Euclid in Greek Mathematics, vol. 1, Loeb Classical Library edition, trans. Ivor Thomas: “Someone, who had begun to read geometry with Euclid, when he had learnt the first theorem asked Euclid, ‘But what advantage shall I get by learning these things?’ Euclid called his slave and said, ‘Give him threepence, since he must needs make profit out of what he learns’” (437).
521.33 To / translate the exile whose arch…: through 522.37 from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers on Demetrius of Phalerum (?350-280BC), an Athenian orator and statesman, who Diogenes describes as a wise ruler of Athens (318-307BC), yet was eventually forced into exile by his enemies. Often mistakenly confused with Demetrius, the author of On Style (see 524.8-9):
“He used to say that the eyebrows formed but a small part of the face, and yet they can darken the whole of life by the scorn they express. Again, he said that not only was Plutus blind, but his guide, Fortune, as well; that all that steel could achieve in war was won in politics by eloquence. On seeing a young dandy, ‘There,’ quoth he, ‘is a four-square Hermes for you, with trailing robe, belly, beard and all‘” (V.82).
522.1 Time vague gods intervals worlds / everlastingly…: through 522.21 from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers predominately on Epicurus (341-271 B.C.), whose life occupies the entire last book of Diogenes’ work. LZ’s text is the Loeb Classical Library edition trans. by R.D. Hicks (see 517.15). It is Epicurus’ philosophy that Lucretius expounds in On the Nature of Things, which figures significantly elsewhere in LZ’s work, particularly “A”-12.164.17-167.31 and Bottom 112-113, 138, 398-401:
522.1-2: Time vague gods intervals worlds / everlastingly themselves eidolons: “Unlimited time and limited time afford an equal amount of pleasure, if we measure the limits of that pleasure by reason” (X.145).
“Elsewhere he says that the gods are discernible by reason alone, some being numerically distinct, while others result uniformly form the continuous influx of similar images directed to the same spot and in human form” (X.139).
“[…] there is an infinite number of worlds, some this this world, others unlike it” (X.45).
“Of all this there is no beginning, since both atoms and void exist from everlasting” (X.44).
“Again, there are outlines or films, which are of the same shape as solid bodies, but of a thinness far exceeding that of any object that we see. For it is not impossible that there should be found in the surrounding air combinations of this kind, materials adapted for expressing the hollowness and thinness of surfaces, and effluxes preserving the same relative position and motion which they had in the solid objects from which they come. To these films we give the name of ‘images’ or ‘idols‘ [εἴδωλα]” (X.139).
522.2: intellect garden: “Friends indeed came to him from all parts and lived with him in his garden” (X.10). There are various other mentions of Epicurus’ “garden,” designating not simply a literal garden but his group of philosopher-friends, which he was anxious should continue after his death.
522.3: reading an old epic, cure: perhaps referring to the claim that Epicurus “turned to philosophy in disgust at the schoolmasters who could not tell him the meaning of ‘chaos’ in Hesiod” (X.2). But note also the pun on “epic, cure” < Epicurus.
522.4: vacancy fills, returns profound inane: “[…] the world of being consists of bodies and space. […] And if there were no space (which we call also void and place and intangible nature), bodies would have nothing in which to be and through which to move, as they are plainly seen to move” (X.39-40). The Latin root of “inane” (inanis, –e), means empty or void, and so is the word Lucretius would have used for “void” in his redaction of Epicurus’ philosophy in On the Nature of Things.
522.5: the sum total of things / does not vary: “Moreover, the sum total of things was always such as it is now, and such it will ever remain. For there is nothing into which it can change. For outside the sum of things there is nothing which could enter into it and bring about the change” (X.39). See 522.33-34.
522.6-8: blest nature’s / no backwater on life, free / as the need quicks thought: “Nor will [the wise man] take part in politics, as is stated in the first book On Life; nor will he make himself a tyrant; nor will he turn Cynic (so the second book On Life tells us); nor will he be a mendicant. But even when he has lost his sight, he will not withdraw himself from life: this is stated in the same book” (X.119).
“‘And of the necessary desires some are necessary if we are to be happy, some if the body is to be rid of uneasiness, some if we are even to live. He who has a clear and certain understanding of these things will direct every preference and aversion toward securing health of body and tranquility of mind, seeing that this is the sum and end of a blessed life. For the end of all our actions is to be free from pain and fear, and, when once we have attained all this, the tempest of the soul is laid […]. Wherefore we call pleasure the alpha and omega of a blessed life. Pleasure is our first and kindred good. It is the starting-point of every choice and of every aversion, and to it we come back, inasmuch as we make feeling the rule by which to judge of every good thing’” (X.127-129).
[The designation “blest” for LZ always evokes Spinoza, whose given name Baruch or Benedict means “blessed,” and among LZ’s notebook notes (HRC 37.1) on Epicurus appears Spinoza’s definition of what it means to be free: “That thing is said to be free which exists by the mere necessity of its own nature and is determined in its actions by itself alone” (Ethics I.Def.7; qtd. Bottom 20).
552.9: fact apprehending main heads: “Those who have made some advance in the survey of the entire system ought to fix in their minds under the principal headings an elementary outline of the whole treatment of the subject. For a comprehensive view is often required, the details but seldom. To the former, then—the main heads—we must continually return, and must memorize them so far as to get a valid conception of the facts, as well as the means of discovering all the details exactly when once the general outlines are rightly understood and remembered; since it is the privilege of the mature student to make a ready use of his conceptions by referring every one of them to elementary facts and simple terms” (X.35-36).
522.9: duration / a knowledge that verifies: “We must not investigate time as we do the other accidents which we investigate in a subject, namely, by referring them to the preconceptions envisaged in our minds; but we must take into account the plain fact itself, in virtue of which we speak of time as long or short, linking to it in intimate connexion this attribute of duration. We need not adopt any fresh terms as preferable, but should employ the usual expressions about it. Nor need we predicate anything else of time, as if this something else contained the same essence as is contained in the proper meaning of the word ‘time’ (for this also is done by some). We must chiefly reflect upon that to which we attach this peculiar character of time, and by which we measure it. No further proof is required […]” (X.72-73).
522.11: wisdom most sensitive / to emotion can slow to / least hurt deepest pleasure: “There are three motives to injurious acts among men—hatred, envy and contempt; and these the wise man overcomes by reason. Moreover, he who has once become wise never more assumes the opposite habit, not even in semblance, if he can help it. He will be more susceptible of emotion than other men: that will be no hindrance to his wisdom” (X.117).
522.13: age / young in good things, and / young grow up without fear: “Therefore, both old and young ought to seek wisdom, the former in order that, as age comes over him, he may be young in good things because of the grace of what has been, and the latter in order that, while he is young, he may at the same time be old, because he has no fear of the things which are to come” (X.122).
522.16-18: lampooned in off time by / a stage dancer restoring song / under scholia—‘a schoolmaster physicist’: Timon (c.320-230 B.C.), the Sceptic, remarked of Epicurus: “Again there is the latest and most shameless of the physicists, the schoolmaster’s son from Samos, himself the most uneducated of mortals” (X.3). In Diogenes Laertius’ Life of Timon, immediately preceding that of Epicurus, we are told of Timon: “Losing his parents when young, he became a stage-dancer […]” (IX.109). “He was, according to Antigonus, fond of wine, and in the time that he could spare from philosophy he used to write poems. These included epics, tragedies, satyric dramas, silli (lampoons) and obscene poems. […] There are three silli in which, from his point of view as a Sceptic, he abuses every one and lampoons the dogmatic philosophers, using the form of parody” [presumably including the derogatory lines on Epicurus above] (IX.110-111).
522.19: attracting philosophers by fleeing them: from the Life of Timon: “[…] there is a story that Hieronymus the Peripatetic said of [Timon], ‘Just as with the Scythians those who are in flight shoot as well as those who pursue, so, among philosophers, some catch their disciples by pursuing them, some by fleeing from them, as for instance Timon” (IX.112).
522.21 Nor will it do / saying, ‘I desire…: through 522.30 from Machiavelli (1469-1527), Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius. Titus Livius or Livy (1st century BC), Roman historian. LZ’s source is the Modern Library edition of The Prince and The Discourses, trans. Luigi Ricci, revised E.R.P Vincent:
522.21-24: “Nor will it do for him [who desires tranquility] to say, ‘I do not care for anything, I desire neither honor nor profit: all I want is to live quietly and without trouble,’ —for such excuses would not be admitted. Men of condition cannot choose their way of living, and even if they did choose it sincerely and without ambition, they would not be believed; and were they to attempt to adhere to it, they would not be allowed to do so by other” (III.2).
522.25-26: “Thus the majority of those who read [history] take pleasure only in the variety of the events which history relates, without ever thinking of imitating the noble actions, deeming that not only difficult, but impossible; as though heaven, the sun, the elements, and men had changed the order of their motions and power, and were different from what they were in ancient times” (I.Introduction).
522.27-29: “In times of difficulty men of merit are sought after, but in easy times it is not men of merit, but such as have riches and powerful relations, that are most in favor” (III.16).
522.29-30: “Among the admirable sayings and doings related of Camillus by our historian, Titus Livius, for the purpose of showing how a great man conducts himself, he puts the following words into his mouth: ‘My courage has neither been inflated by the dictatorship nor abated by exile’” (III.31).
522.30 Look / when shoe: < Lu Wên-shu; see 522.36 below.
522.33 the sum / of things does not vary: from Epicurus; see 522.5.
522.36 shepherd / jailer, let the flogged escape…: through 523.2 from Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature (see 515.10), from Lu Wên-shu (1st century BC), whose father, a village goaler, sent him to tend sheep as a boy and he in turn later became an assistant at a prison. He wrote a famous memorial to the Emperor on the corruption of the justice system that was included as a model essay in the school primer San Tzŭ Ching: “[In times past] ‘Rather than slay an innocent man, it were better that the guilty escape.’ […] Beneath the scourge what is there that cannot be wrung from the lips of the sufferer? […] Where you let the kite rear its young undisturbed, there will the phoenix come and build its nest” (90-92).
523.3 the law, water, shaped / to the container it’s in…: through 523.10 from the Talmud, although not all sources have been precisely identified. LZ’s primary source is The Wisdom of Israel, ed. Lewis Browne (1945). LZ’s notebooks (HRC 37.4) appear to indicate that these first two lines are from the Pirke Avot (Sayings of the Fathers), although there is no clear source there. Most likely is a well-known passage: “Rabbi Hanina bar Idi said: ‘Why are the words of the Torah [= the law] likened unto water (Isaiah 55:1)? The answer is, as follows, Just as water forsakes a high place and travels to a low one, just so do the words of Torah find a resting place only in a man of lowly spirit’. Rabbi Oshaya said: ‘Why are the words of the Torah likened to water, wine and milk: The answer is, as follows: Just as these liquids are kept only in the simplest vessels, so the words are preserved only in the man of humble spirit.’” Taanit 7a (Wisdom of Israel 208).
523.8 The amiable spares both: “For three years the Schools of Hillel and Shammai have maintained a controversy, each School asserting that the decision should be given in accordance with its opinion. At last a Voice descended in Jabneh and cried out: ‘The words of both these and these are the words of the Living God, but the decision should follow the School of Hillel.’ It was asked: ‘If the words of both are those of the Living God, why was the decision granted to the School of Hillel?’ The reply was: ‘Because the members of the School of Hillel are amiable of manner and courteous; they teach the opinions of both, and furthermore, they always give the opinion of their opponents firs.t’ This teaches us that whosoever abases himself, God exalts. Erub. 13b” (Wisdom of Israel 131-132).
523.9-10 the laughing and weeping his / rudeness: from a remark of Hillel: “Among those who stand, do not sit, and among those who sit, do not stand. Among those who laugh, do not weep; and among those who weep, do not laugh.” Tosefta Berakot, 2 (Wisdom of Israel 129).
523.10 His integrity drinks is / sober…: through 523.13 from Philo Judaeus (20BC-50), Hellenic Jewish philosopher: “Truth will properly blame those who without discrimination shun all concern with the life of the State, and say that they despise the acquisition of good repute and pleasure. They are only making grand pretensions, and they do not really despise these things. They go about in torn raiment and with solemn visage, and live the life of penury and hardship as a bait, to make people believe that they are lovers of good conduct, temperance, and self-control. Therefore, be drunk in a sober manner. De Fuga, 5ff” (Wisdom of Israel 135).
“God judges by the fruit of the tree, not by the root; and in the Divine judgment the proselyte will be raised on high, and he will have a double distinction, because on earth he ‘deserted’ to God, and later he receives as his reward a place in Heaven. De Exsecr. 6, 2:433” (Wisdom of Israel 135).
523.14 Unpolished jade so hard steel / cut no scratch: from William Willetts, Chinese Art Vol. 2 (1958): “Even more significant from the technological point of view is the fact that fresh jade is so hard that it can be cut only by one or other of the few stones harder than itself. Steel makes no impression on it, provided it is in fresh condition” (53).
523.15 traveler recorded / city shape of a chlamys, / street for men on horse, / library, harbor beacon: from Strabo (c.63 BC-c.21 AD), Greek geographer, historian and philosopher; from The Geography, describing Alexandria, Egypt in Book XVII.1.8: “The shape of the area of the city is like a chlamys [a short military cloak]; the long sides of it are those that are washed by the two waters, having a diameter of about thirty stadia, and the short sides are the isthmuses, each being seven or eight stadia wide and pinched in on one side by the sea and on the other by the lake. The city as a whole is intersected by streets practicable for horse-riding and chariot-driving, and by two that are very broad, extending to more than a plethrum in breadth, which cut one another into two sections and at right angles” (trans. H.L. Jones). Strabo also describes the inhabited world as “chlamys-shaped” at II.5.6. Strabo describes Pharos, the renowned harbor lighthouse in some detail, although he does not explicitly mention the famous library.
523.18 the mind / does not light of itself; / stripped to…: through 523.24 from “The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali” (4th-5th centuries), trans. Swami Vivekananda in The Wisdom of India and China, ed. Lin Yutang.
523.18-19: from a section on “Desires and Objects of the Mind”: “The mind is not self-luminous, being an object” (131). Cf. note at 523.30 below.
523.20-23: from a section on “Forms of Meditation and Samādhi”: “Samādhi called ‘without-question’ (comes) when the memory is purified, or devoid of qualities, expressing only the meaning (of the meditated object). By this process (the concentrations) with discrimination and without discrimination, whose objects are finer, are (also) explained. […] These concentrations are with seed. The concentration ‘without discrimination’ being purified, the Chitta [=mind] becomes firmly fixed. […] The knowledge that is gained from testimony and inference is about common objects. That from the Samādhi just mentioned is of a much higher order, being able to penetrate where inference and testimony cannot go. The resulting impression from this Samādhi obstructs all other impressions. By the restraint of even this (impression, which obstructs all other impressions), all being restrained, comes the ‘seedless’ Samādhi” (123).
Lines 523.21-22 are largely a redaction of a note by the translator elaborating on the term Samādhi: “According to Yoga philosophy the whole of nature consists of three qualities or forces; one is called Tamas, another Rajas and the third Sattva. These three qualities manifest themselves in the physical world as darkness or inactivity; attraction or repulsion; and equilibrium of the two. Everything that is in nature, all manifestations, are combinations and recombinations of these three forces” (121).
523.24-25: as Lin Yutang points out in his introduction to Patanjali’s aphorisms, yoga means yoke since it “represents a form of personal discipline, with the object of ‘yoking’ the body to the soul, and the individual soul to the universal soul. From a practical aspect, its aim is to help cultivate emotional stability” (116).
Under a section entitled “Five Observances (Niyamo)”: “By the establishment of truthfulness the Yogi gets the power of attaining for himself and others the fruits of work without the works” (126).
In a section entitled “Desires and Objects of the Mind”: “Good and bad deeds are not the direct causes in the transformations of nature, but they act as breakers of obstacles to the evolutions of nature: as a farmer breaks the obstacles to the course of water, which then runs down by its own nature” (130).
523.25 Temple altar light unextinguished: from Josephus, Against Apion (see 523.28), quoting Hecatacus of Abdera describing the Temple at Jerusalem: “Within this enclosure is a square altar, built of heaped up stones, unhewn and unwrought; each side is twenty cubits long and the height ten cubits. Beside it stands a great edifice, containing an altar and a lampstand, both made of gold, and weighing two talents; upon these is a light which is never extinguished by day or night” (I.199).
523.26 sleep waylaid, mused more hours: from Pliny the Elder (23-79), Preface to Natural History, Loeb Classical Library, trans. H. Rackham; this is the same sentence LZ works from at 509.9 “The days we devote to you, and we keep our account with sleep in terms of health, content even with this reward alone, that, while we are dallying (in Varro’s phrase) with these trifles, we are adding hours to our life—since of a certainty to be alive means to be awake” (13).
523.27 in a fire of coals— / bread: from John 21:9 (see 524.2). The disciples have been fishing when Jesus appears to them, and when they return to shore: “As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.”
523.28 their past 5000 years / not duped by studied words…: through 524.1 from Josephus (37-c.100), Against Apion (see 523.25), a defense of Judaism that emphasizes its antiquity as compared with Greek culture. LZ uses the Loeb Classical Library edition, trans.H. St. J. Thackeray.
“In my history of our [Jewish] Antiquities, most excellent Epaphroditus, I have, I think, made sufficiently clear to those who may read that work that extreme antiquity of our Jewish nation, the uniqueness of its original foundation, and the manner in which it established itself in the country which we occupy today. That history embraces a period of five thousand years and was written by me in Greek on the basis of our sacred books. Since, however, I observe that a considerable number of persons, influenced by the malicious calumnies of certain individuals, disbelieve the statements in my history concerning our antiquity, and adduce as proof of the recent origin of our people the fact that it has not been thought worthy of mention by the best known Greek historians, I consider it my duty to devote a brief treatise to all these points; in order at once to convict our detractors of malignity and deliberate falsehood, to correct the ignorance of others, and to instruct all who desire to know the truth concerning our antiquity” (I.1).
“Upon the laws it was unnecessary to expatiate. A glance at them showed that they teach not impiety but the most genuine piety; that they invite them not to hate their fellows, but to share their possessions; that they are the foes of injustice and scrupulous of justice, banish sloth and extravagance, and teach men to be self-dependant and to work with a will; that they deter them from war for the sake of conquest, but render them valiant defenders of the laws themselves; inexorable in punishment, not to be duped by studied words, always supported by actions. For actions are our invariable testimonials, plainer than any documents. I would therefore boldly maintain that we have introduced to the rest of the world a very large number of very beautiful ideas. What greater beauty than inviolable piety? What higher justice than obedience to the always? What more beneficial than to be in harmony with one another, to be a prey neither to disunion in adversity, nor to arrogance and faction in prosperity; in war to despise death, in peace to devote oneself to crafts or agriculture; and to be convinced that everything in the whole universe is under the eye and direction of God?” (II.42).
Josephus recounts an incident concerning Ptolemy Physeon’s attempt to become pharaoh of Egypt on the death of his brother: “Moreover, the justice of his [the Jewish general Onias] action was signally attested by God. For Ptolemy Physeon, though [not] daring to face the army of Onias, had arrested all the Jews in the city with their wives and children, and exposed them, naked and in chains, to be trampled to death by elephants, the beasts being actually made drunk for the purpose. However, the outcome was the reverse of his intentions. The elephants, without touching the Jews at their feet, rushed at Physeon’s friends, and killed a large number of them” (II.53-54).
“Our sacrifices are not occasions for drunken self-indulgence—such practices are abhorrent to God—but for sobriety. At these sacrifices prayers for the welfare of the community must take precedence of those for ourselves; for we are born for fellowship, and he who sets its claim above his private interests is specially acceptable to God” (II.24).
“The consideration given by our legislator to the equitable treatment of aliens also merits attention. It will be seen that he took the best of all possible measures at once to secure our own customs from corruption, and to throw them open ungrudgingly to any who elect to share them. To all who desire to come and live under the same laws with us, he gives a gracious welcome, holding that it is not family ties alone which constitute relationship, but agreement in the principles of conduct. On the other hand, it was not his pleasure that casual visitors should be admitted to the intimacies of our daily life” (II.210).
“My first thought is one of intense astonishment at the current opinion that, in the study of primeval history, the Greeks alone deserve serious attention, that the truth should be sought from them, and that neither we nor any others in the world are to be trusted. In my view the very reverse of this is the case, if, that is to say, we are not to take idle prejudices as our guide, but to extract truth from the facts themselves. For in the Greek world everything will be found to be modern, and dating, so to speak, from yesterday or the day before: I refer to the foundation of their cities, the invention of the arts, and the compilation of a code of laws; but the most recent, or nearly the most recent, of all their attainments is care in historical composition. On the contrary, as is admitted even by themselves, the Egyptians, the Chaldeans, and the Phoenicians […] possess a very ancient and permanent record of the past. […] The land of Greece, on the other hand, has experienced countless catastrophes, which have obliterated the memory of the past; and as one civilization succeeded another, the men of each epoch believed that the world began with them. They were late in learning the alphabet and found the lesson difficult; for those who would assign the earliest date to its use pride themselves on having learnt it from the Phoenicians and Cadmus. Even of that date no record, preserved either in temples or on public monuments, could now be produced; seeing that it is a highly controversial and disputed question whether even those who took part in the Trojan campaign so many years later made use of letters, and the true and prevalent view is rather that they were ignorant of the present-day mode of writing” (I.2).
523.30 an idea meant a name: apparently from Tacitus (c.56-117), Roman historian, a famous sentence on the monotheism of the Jews in the Histories (V.v): “Iudaei mente sola unumque numen intelligunt” (The Jews conceive of one god only, and that with the mind alone). See 524.3.
524.2 counted 153 fish like sonnets: the 153 fish are from John 21:11 (see 523.27): “Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.” In the speculations about the numerological significant of Shakespeare’s sonnets, they have been related to this passage in John, counting 153 sonnets if you discount Sonnet 126, which is truncated and thus not a proper sonnet.
524.3 Where they make a desert / call’t peace: a famous remark from Cornelius Tacitus (1st century AD), Agricola in his account of the battle of Mons Graupius (84 AD), in which the Romans decisively defeated the Caledonians. In a speech to his army, the Caledonian Chief Galgacus says: “We, the most distant dwellers upon the earth, the last of the free, have been shielded until now by our remoteness and by the obscurity which has shrouded our name. Now, the farthest bounds of Britain lie open to our enemies. There are no more nations beyond us only waves, and rocks, and the Romans. Pillagers of the world, they have exhausted the land by their indiscriminate plunder. East and west alike have failed to satisfy them. To robbery, butchery and rapine, they give the lying name ‘government.’ They create a desert and call it peace. Which will you choose to follow me into battle, or to submit to taxation, labour in the mines and all the other tribulations of slavery? Whether you are to endure these forever or take a quick revenge, this battle must decide.”
524.4 East penned stag’s / more memorial for who’s who / than a moneyed subscriber. Born / amoral seed, air as good: from Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature (see 515.10) on Yang Hsiung (53 BC-18): “On compilation of [‘a philosophical treatise known as the Fa Yen’], his most famous work, a wealthy merchant of the province was so struck by its excellence that he offered to give 100,000 cash if his name should merely be mentioned in it. But Yang answered with scorn that a stag in a pen or an ox in a cage would not be more out of place than the name of a man with nothing but money to recommend him in the sacred pages of a book.”
“He propounded an ethical criterion occupying a middle place between those insisted upon by Mencius and by Hsün K′uang, teaching that the nature of man at birth is neither good nor evil, but a mixture of both, and that development in either direction depends wholly upon environment” (93).
524.7: air as good: this phrase may be LZ’s version of Yang Hsiung’s environmental influences, or may be from a remark by Wang Ch‘ung (27-97), an essayist who argued against the immortality of the soul, pointing out “[…] that if the souls of human beings were immortal, those of animals would be immortal likewise; and that space itself would not suffice to contain the countless shades of the men and creatures of all time” (94).
524.8 Deemed tree—who? a bronze / tablet: the first two words are homophonically suggested by the name Demetrius, referring to the author of On Style (2nd century BC-2nd century), who, as LZ indicates, is otherwise unknown, although it has been speculated he is the Demetrius mentioned in a pair of bronze tablets unearthed in Britain. LZ used Demetrius’ On Style in “A”-19.420.13-36. Often confused with Demetrius of Phalerum (see 521.33-37).
524.11 2000 years old: West-East dictionaries: referring to the Shuo Wên by Hsü Shên (d. 120), considered the first Chinese dictionary (Giles109). The 2000 years presumably refer to the roughly two millennia since this dictionary and the present.
524.12 As tea guides this hour / keep…: through 524.30 from Philostratus (c.172-c.250), Life of Apollonius of Tyana as well as some of the epistles of Apollonius, the peripatetic 1st century Neo-Pythagorean philosopher; LZ is using the Loeb Classical Library edition of Philostraus, 2 vols., trans. F.C. Conybeare. LZ is primary working by homophonic suggestion from the Greek text.
524.12-14: As tea guides this hour / keep, pear—her root’s in / wrinkles: from Life VIII.29:
ἔστι γάρ τις ὥρα καὶ περὶ ῥυτίσιν […]
“For there is a certain beauty even in wrinkles, which was especially conspicuous in his case, as is clear from the likenesses of him which are preserved in the temple at Tyana, and from accounts which praise the old age of Apollonius more than was once praised the youth of Alcidiades.”
524.14-15: come now to practice / pressing me on: from Epistle LXXXIX:
Οὐ κάμνει τὰ πράγματα πρασσόμενα.
“A task once begun never wearies.”
524.15-16: horse hear us home, dismount is marathon: from Life VIII.31; Apollonius appears after death to a disbeliever and through him communicates a final poem on the immorality of the soul:
ἣ μετὰ σῶμα μαρανθέν, ἅτ᾽ ἐκ δεσμῶν θοὸς ἵππος […]
“The soul is immortal, and ’tis no possession of thine own, but of Providence,
And after the body is wasted away, like a swift horse freed from its traces,
It lightly leaps forward and mingles itself with the light air […]”
524.17: May day assay the eyes’: from Life IV.44:
“καὶ τίς,” εἰπεν, “ἐγγυήσεται σῶμα, ô μηδεὶς δήσει.”
[Tigellinus, Nero’s minister, has Apollonius arrested and interviews him:] “‘And what do you think,’ said [Tigellinus], ‘about Nero?’ And Apollonius answered: ‘Much better than you do; for you think it dignified for him to sing, but I think it dignified in him to keep silent.’ Tigellinus was astonished at this and said: ‘You may go, but you must give sureties for your person.’ And Apollonius answered: ‘And who can go surety for a body that no one can bind?’ This answer struck Tigellinus as inspired and above the wit of man; and as he was careful not to fight with a god, he said: ‘You may go wherever you choose, for you are too powerful to be controlled by me.’”
524.18: chronicle light photos, chromatic fire: from two Epistles:
Epistle XX (To [the Roman Emperor] Domitian):
[…] ὥσπερ ὄψις φωτὸς καὶ φῶς ὄψεως.
“If you have power, and you have it, then it would be well if you also acquired prudence. For supposing you to have prudence, but to lack power, you would have been equally in need of power; for the one of these ever stands in need of the other, just as the eye needs light and light the eye.”
Epistle LVII: “Light is the presence of fire, without which it could not be. Now fire is itself an affection, and that whereunto it comes, is of course burnt up. But light can only supply its own radiance to our eyes, on condition of using not force to them, but persuasion. Speech therefore in its turn, resembles in its one aspect, fire which is the affection, and in its other, the radiance which is light” (in his notebooks (HRC 37.4) LZ writes out all of the above).
chromatic may be picked up from another noted passage in the Life VII.30:
“νὴ Δί᾽,” ἔφη, “ὦ Δάμι, αὐτοσχεδίῳ γὰρ αὐτῷ χρῶμαι.”
“‘Yes, by Heaven, [Damis],’ he replied, ‘for it is an extempore life that I have always led.’”
524.19: salt consumes animate: from Life VII.34:
“χρόνος,” ἔφη, “καὶ θεων πνεῦμα καὶ σοφίας ἔρως, ᾗ ξύνειμι.”
“‘And who,’ asked the Emperor, ‘is going to plead your cause?’ ‘Time,’ replied Apollonius, ‘and the spirit of the gods, and the passion for wisdom which animates me.’”
LZ apparently looks up the last word and finds a seemingly related word, ξυνέωνα, meaning “salt on the common table” (HRC 37.4).
524.19: Enigma: tongue / gone scaling down see apace: from Life VI.11 (Ivry 220-221):
εἰ δ’ αἰνιγμάτων ἅπτομαι, σοφία Πυθαγόρου ξυγχωρεῖ ταῦτα, παρέδωκε γὰρ καὶ τὸ αἰνίττειν, διδάσκαλον εὑρὼν σιωπῆς λόγον […]
“You will say that I have taken to riddles, but the wisdom of Pythagoras allows of this; for he taught us to speak in riddles, when he discovered that the word is the teacher of silence.”
524.21-23: clods deafmute let springs pray: from Life I.16: [Apollonius visits the Temple of the Apollo of Daphne in Antioch:] “Apollonius, when he beheld a Temple so graceful and yet the home of no serious studies, but only of men half-barbarous and uncultivated, remarked: ‘O Apollo, change these dumb dogs into trees, so that at least as cypresses they may become vocal.’ And when he had inspected the springs, and noted how calm and quiet they were, and how not one of them made the least babble, he remarked: ‘The prevailing dumbness of this place does not permit even the springs to speak.’”
524.22-23: gay not drugged, sun raise / rarer air—unarmed little want: from Life III.15: the “gay” is from Gk. γῇ = earth; from part of a long passage describing the powers of the Indian sages or Brahmins Apollonius met: “Apollonius himself describes the character of these sages and of their settlement upon the hill; for in one of his addresses to the Egyptians he says, ‘I saw Indian Brahmans living upon the earth and yet not on it, and fortified without fortifications, and possessing nothing, yet having the riches of all men.’ […] Moreover, they neither burn upon an altar nor keep in stoves the fire which they extract from the sun’s rays, although it is a material fire; but like the rays of sunlight when they are refracted in water, so this fire is seen raised aloft in the air and dancing in the ether. […] Such then was the meaning of the phrase of Apollonius that ‘the Brahmins are upon the earth and yet not upon earth’ [ἐν τῇ γῇ τε εἶναι τοὺς βραχμᾶνας καὶ οὐκ ἐν τῇ γῇ]. And his phrase ‘fortified without fortifications or walls,’ refers to the air or vapour under which they bivouac, for though they seem to live in the open air, yet they raise up a shadow and veil themselves in it, so that they are not made wet when it rains and they enjoy the sunlight whenever they choose. […] Apollonius therefore was right in saying that people provided as they are with all they want offhand and without having prepared anything, possess what they do not possess.”
524.24-25: wrist high unwearying bent, […] / fingers order trope to trope: from Life V.21: [A discussion on flute-playing in Rhodes:] “And facility with the lips consists in their taking in the reed of the flute and playing without blowing out the cheeks; and manual skill I consider very important, for the wrist must not weary from being bent, nor must the fingers be slow in fluttering over the notes, and manual skill is especially shown in the swift transition from mode to mode [ἐκ τρόπου ἐς τρόπον].”
524.24: cosmos: from Life VI.11: […] κόσμου γὰρ ἐπιμελήσεται τέχνη πᾶσα, ὅτι καὶ αὐτὸ τὸ εἶναι τέχνας ὑπὲρ κόσμου εὕρηται.
“For every art is interested to adorn, and the very existence of the arts was a discovery made in behalf of ornament.” See 544.5 and note for another instance of LZ’s interest in the Gk. meanings of “cosmos.”
524.26: Choice by lot’s no insight: from Life III.30: [Apollonius speaking with Indian sages:] “’Now we, O Apollonius, have heard from the Egyptians of the custom of the Elians, and that the Hellanodicae, who preside over the Olympic games, are ten in number; but we do not approve of the rule imposed in the case of these men; for they leave the choice of them to the lot, and the lot has no discernment, for a worse man might be as easily chosen by lot as a better one.’”
524.27: grass where his mother lay: from Life I.5: “For just as the hour of his birth was approaching, his mother was warned in a dream to walk out into the meadow and pluck the flowers; and in due course she came there and her maids attended to the flowers, scattering themselves over the meadow, while she fell asleep lying on the grass. Thereupon the swans who fed in the meadow set up a dance around her as she slept […]. She then leaped up at the sound of their song and bore her child, for any sudden fright is apt to bring on a premature delivery.”
524.28: can T any philosophical rambler: T any < Tyana (see 524.19). As Ivry points out (220-221) this refers to Apollonius’ wandering life in search of truth, which famously included a journey to India. Also may echo a famous remark that LZ noted in Life I.21: when challenged at the border of Babylonian territory, “Apollonius said, ‘All the earth is mine, and I have a right to go all over it and through it.’”
524.29-30: to a fist free of / theories: from Life VII.8:
[…] ἀφιστη τοὺς ἄνδρας καὶ ὑπὲρ τῆς ἁπάντων ἐλευθερίας ἐρρώννυ.
“But he did his best to alienate them from Domitian, on account of his cruelty, and encouraged them to espouse the cause of the freedom of all.”
524.30: dotterel’s last ties peridot: from Life VII.10:
“ἅ γε,” ἔφη, “προειδὼς ἥκεις ει γὰρ τὸν σὸν ἀγνοῶ νοῦν, οὐδὲ τὸν ἐμαυτοῦ οἶδα.”
“Thereupon Demetrius embraced [Apollonius] and after sundry pious ejaculations said: ‘O ye gods, what will come upon philosophy, if she risks the loss of such a man as yourself?’ ‘And what risks does she run?’ asked he. ‘Those surely, a foreknowledge of which brought you here,’ said the other; ‘for if I do not know what is in your mind, then I do not know what is in my own.’”
A dotterel is a plover or a dupe, a fooling person. Peridot is a deep yellowish-green transparent variety of olivine used as a gem, the same as chrysolite.
524.31 To think His Thought: Once / (presumably) after Him…: through 525.16 primarily concerns the Talmud with an interpolation from Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature (525.7). LZ’s primary sources are The Wisdom of Israel, ed. Lewis Browne (1945) and the Soncino Press edition of the Babylonian Talmud with a forward by Dr. J.H. Hertz (1936):
524.31-32: “‘Apart from the direct intercourse of prayer,’ says Herford, ‘the study of Torah was the way of closest approach to God; it might be called the Pharisaic form of the Beatific Vision. To study Torah was to think God’s thoughts after Him, as Kepler said'” (Hertz forward xiv).
524.33-36: Torah means “law” and LZ regularly refers to it as such in his notes; strictly speaking it is the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Mishna (literally “repetition”) is the first redaction or collection of commentary on the Torah, while the Gemara (“study”) is commentary on the Mishna; these latter two together comprise the Talmud. From the Gemara: “The Torah is likened to salt, the Mishna to peppers, but the Gemara to spices. The Torah is likened to water, the Mishna to wine, but the Gemara to spiced wine. Soferim, 14a” (Wisdom of Israel 187).
“The Talmud itself classifies its component elements either as Halachah or Haggadah. […] Halachah, as we have seen, means ‘the trodden path,’ rule of life, religious guidance. To it belong all laws and regulations that bear upon Jewish conduct. These include the ritual, the civil, criminal, and ethical laws. Everything else is embraced under the term Haggadah; literally, ‘talk,’ ‘that which is narrated,’ ‘delivered in a discourse.’ […] The historical Haggadah brings traditions and legends concerning the heroes and events in national or universal history, from Adam to Alexander of Macedon, Titus and Hadrian. It is legend pure and simple. […] That some of the folklore element in the Haggadah, some of the customs depicted or obiter dicta reported are repugnant to Western taste need not be denied. ‘The greatest fault to be found with those who wrote down such passages, says Schechter, ‘is that they did not observe the wise rule of Dr. Johnson, who said to Boswell on a certain occasion, “Let us get serious, for there comes a fool.” And the fools unfortunately did come, in the shape of certain Jewish commentators and Christian controversialists, who took as serious things which were only the expression of a momentary impulse, or represented the opinion of some isolated individual, or were meant simply as a piece of humorous by-play, calculated to enliven the interest of a languid audience.’ In spite of the fact that the Haggadah contains parables of infinite beauty and enshrines sayings of eternal worth, it must be remembered that the Haggadah consist of mere individual utterances that possess no general and binding authority” (Hertz forward xviii-xix).
524.26-525.1: from the Mishna (Pirke Abot): “Elisha ben Abuya said: ‘If one learns as a child, to what is that comparable? To writing on clean paper. And if one learns as an old man, to what is that comparable? To writing on blotted paper” (Wisdom of Israel 183).
525.2-3: from the Gemara: “Rabbi Baruka then asked them, ‘What is your occupation?’ They said, ‘We are merry-makers. When we see a man who is downcast, we cheer him up; also when we see two people quarreling, we endeavor to make peace between them.’ Ta’anit, 22a” (Wisdom of Israel 196).
525.3: from the Mishna: “He who gives, but doesn’t want others to do so” (Wisdom of Israel 186).
525.4: possibly from the Mishna: “Rabban Jochanan ben Zakkai used to say: ‘Don’t feel self-righteous if you have learned much Torah, because that is what you were created for.’ He said to his disciples: ‘Go and discover what (best helps) a man to find the right way of life.’ Rabbi Eliezer answered: ‘A good eye.’ Rabbi Jehoshua answered: ‘A good comrade.’ Rabbi Jose answered: ‘A good neighbor.’ Rabbi Simeon answered: ‘Foresightedness.’ Rabbi Elazar answered: ‘A good heart.’ Rabban Jachanan then said to them: ‘I prefer Rabbi Elazar’s answer, for his words include all of yours’” (Wisdom of Israel 180).
525.5-7: from the Gemara: “The man sold his field one day, and as he was walking away, he stumbled over some of the stones he had thrown into the roadway. He said to himself: ‘The sage was truly right when he declared that I was casting stones from the property of others upon my own. That which belongs to all, belongs to each.’ Baba Kamma, 50b” (Wisdom of Israel 198). “Why was man created a solitary human being, without a companion? So that it might not be said that some races are better than others. Sanhedrin, 37a” (Wisdom of Israel 190).
525.7: from Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature (see 515.10), from an autobiographical skit by Liu Ling (3rd century), a member of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove who extolled a life of drinking and inaction: “‘To him, the affairs of this world appeared but as so much duckweed on a river; while the two philanthropists [who attempt to dissuade him from drinking] at his side looked like two wasps trying to convert a caterpillar’ (into a wasp, as the Chinese believe is done)’” (126).
525.8: from the Gemara: “The gait of the ass is according to the amount of barley he receives. Sabbath, 51b” (Wisdom of Israel 218).
525.9-12: from the Gemara: “Because of the Roman oppression, Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai and his son hid in a cave, and there for many years spent all their days in study and contemplation. One day they came out of the cave and observed people tilling the soil. Turning to his pupils, Rabbi Simeon remarked: ‘These men neglect eternal life and busy themselves with momentary needs.’ Thereupon all that they looked at was immediately destroyed by fire. After which a Heavenly Voice was heard to say to them: ‘Did you come out to destroy My world? Return to your cave!’ Sabbath, 33b (Wisdom of Israel 239). As Jonathan Ivry points out (221), LZ interpolates here from Psalms 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness therefo; the world, and they that dwell therein.”
525.12: from the Gemara: “The years of him are shortened who runs after leadership. . . . Berakot, 63a” (Wisdom of Israel 221).
525.13-16: from the Gemara: “Resh Lakish said, What is meant by the verse, and there shall be faith in thy times, strength, salvation, wisdom and knowledge? ‘Faith’ refers to the Order of Seeds; thy times, the Order of Festivals; strength, the Order of Women; salvation, the Order of Nezikin; wisdom, the Order of Sacrifices; and knowledge, to the Order of Purity. Yet even so the fear of the Lord is his treasure” (Sabbath 31a; Babylonian Talmud).
525.14-15: your girl’s / summer her second time: one of LZ notebooks for “A”-22 (HRC 37.1) indicates that probably this phrase, which most deviates from the Talmud passage, was suggested by a 19 Nov. 1972 letter from Kenneth Cox in which he remarks that in England they were experiencing a prolonged Indian summer, which the Russians call Women’s Summer.
525.17 How to write history, policy / an unteachable gift…: through 525.29 from Lucian of Samosata (c.120-200), primarily from “How to Write History,” a satiric and didactic essay in the form of a letter. LZ is using the Loeb Classical Library edition of Lucian, vol. 6, trans. K. Kilburn.
525.17-18: “I maintain then that the best writer of history comes ready equipped with these two supreme qualities: political understanding and power of expression; the former is an unteachable gift of nature, while power of expression may come through a deal of practice, continual toil, and imitation of the ancients” (49). LZ’s “policy” (political) is from the Gk. πολιτικὴν, and echoes previous instances where he renders similar terms as “polity” (see 518.34 and 519.6).
525.19: from “A Conversation with Hesiod” commenting on Hesiod’s Works and Days: “But this is not the prophecy we expected from you [Hesiod] and the Muses. In that sort of thing the farmers are much better prophets than you poets. They can foretell such things excellently to us: that after rain the crops will flourish, while in the time of drought when the fields are thirsty, you can do nothing to prevent famine following their thirst; that you must not plough in the middle of summer […]” (235).
525.20: “[historians] do not realise that the dividing line and frontier between history and panegyric is not a narrow isthmus but rather a mighty wall; as musicians say, they are two diapasons apart […]” (11).
525.21: “If I have to mention a philosopher let his name remain unknown” (27).
525.21-22: from “Hermotinus or Concerning the Sects”: “I will tell you—it is not mine, it comes from one of the sages: ‘Keep sober, and remember to disbelieve’” (351).
525.22-23: “That, then, is the sort of man the historian should be: fearless, incorruptible, free, a friend of free expression and the truth, intent, as the comic poet [Aristophanes] says, on calling a fig a fig and a trough a trough, giving nothing to hatred or to friendship, sparing no one, showing neither pity nor shame nor obsequiousness, an impartial judge, well disposed to all men up to the point of not giving one side more than its due, in his books a stranger and a man without country, independent, subject to no sovereign, not reckoning what this or that one will think, but stating the facts” (57). See 18.391.9 for a fig quotation from Aristophanes.
525.24-26: “Let [the historian’s] mind have a touch and share of poetry, since that too is lofty and sublime, especially when he has to do with battle arrays, and land and sea fights; for then he will have need for a touch of poetry to fill his sails and help carry his ship along, high on the crest of the waves. Let his diction nevertheless keep its feet on the ground, rising with the beauty and greatness of his subjects and as far as possible resembling them, but without becoming more unfamiliar or carried away than the occasion warrants. For then its greatest risk is that of going mad and being swept down into poetry’s wild enthusiasm, so that at such times above all he must obey the curb and show prudence, in the knowledge that a stallion’s pride in literature as in life is no trifling ailment. It is better, then, that when his mind is on horseback his exposition should go on foot, running alongside and holding the saddle-cloth, so as not to be left behind” (58-61).
525.26-27: “Again if a myth comes along you must tell it but not believe it entirely; no, make it known for your audience to make of it what they will—you run no risk and lean to neither side” (71).
525.27-29: “Do you know what the Cnidian architect did? He built the tower on Pharos, the mightiest and most beautiful work of all, that a beacon-light might shine from it for sailors far over the sea and that they might not be driven on to Paraetonia, said to be a very difficult coast with no escape if you hit the reefs. After he had built the work he wrote his name on the masonry inside, covered it with gypsum, and having hidden it inscribed the name of the reigning king. He knew, as actually happened, that in a very short time the letters would fall away with the plaster and there would be revealed: ‘Sostratus of Cnidos, the son of Dexiphanes, to the Divine Saviours, for the sake of them that sail at sea.’ Thus, not even he had regard for the immediate moment or his own brief life-time: he looked to our day and eternity, as long as the tower shall stand and his skill abide” (71-73).
525.30 Or 6 nine’s of material / light and fire from long…: through 526.3 from Plotinus, 3rd century Neoplatonic philosopher; Loeb Classical Library edition edited and translated by A.H. Armstrong. Vol. 1 includes the introduction by the original editor of Plotinus, Porphyry, “On the Life of Plotinus and the Order of His Books,” who describes his arrangement of Plotinus’ works: “So I, as I had fifty-four treatises of Plotinus, divided them into six sets of nine (Enneads)—it gave me pleasure to find the perfection of the number six along with the nine” (73).
525.31: material light and fire […] / […] a / diffusion of warmth cold from / snow or flowers conceived scented: from Armstrong’s introduction: “Plotinus’s thought at this point is certainly a late Stoic doctrine of the emanation of intellect from a divinity conceived as material light or fire, and his favourite metaphor to describe the process is that of the radiation of light or heat from sun or fire (he also uses others of the same sort, the diffusion of cold from snow or perfume from something scented)” (xviii).
525.31: from long / habit of greeting everyone: from Porphyry, “On the Life of Plotinus”: “So, since his friends avoided meeting him because he had the habit of greeting everyone by word of mouth, he left the city and went to Campania […]” (5).
525.35: intimate in a whorl of / soul…: cf. Armstrong’s introduction: “Soul in Plotinus is very much what it is in Plato, the great intermediary between the worlds of intellect and sense and the representative of the former in the latter. It proceeds from Nous and returns upon it and is formed by it in contemplation as Nous proceeds from and returns upon the One: but the relationship of Soul to Nous is a much more intimate one. Soul at its highest belongs to the world of Nous: and Plotinus hesitates a good deal over the question of whether its going out from that world to form and order the material universe is a fall, an act of illegitimate self-will and self-assertion, or a good and necessary part of the universal order” (xxii).
“Plotinus prefers to speak of the lower as in the higher, rather than the other way round; body is in soul, and soul in Intellect, and Intellect in the One […]” (xvii).
526.37: its active Necessary unstopped modes / manifest of a source…: “The procession of Intellect from the One is necessary and eternal, as are also the procession of Soul from Intellect and the forming and ordering of the material universe by Soul” (xviii).
“There is no activity on the part of the One, still less any willing or planning or choice […]. There is simply a giving-out which leaves the source unchanged and undiminished” (xix).
526.2: what change and chance bring—: from Plotinus, Ennead I: “A good man’s activities will not be hindered by changes of fortune, but will vary according to what change and chance brings, but they will all be equally fine, and, perhaps finer, for being adapted to circumstances” (203).
526.3: unfaced and seeing all faces: from Plotinus: “So one might compare it [the Intellect] to a living sphere of varied colour and pattern or something all faces, shining with living faces, or imagine all the pure souls gathered together, with no defect but complete in all their parts, and universal Nous set at their highest point, illuminating the region with intellectual light. If one imagined it like this one would be seeing it from outside, as something different from oneself. But we have to become it ourselves and make ourselves that which we contemplate” (VI.7).
526.4 With two pupils to one / eye…: through 526.8 from Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature (see 515.10), on the scholar Shên Yo (A.D. 441-513): “Personally, he was remarkable for having two pupils to his left eye. He was a strict teetotaler, and lived most austerely. He had a library of twenty thousand volumes. He was the author of the histories of the Chin, Liu Sung, and Ch‛i dynasties. He is said to have been the first to classify the four tones. In his autobiography he writes, ‘The poets of old, during the past thousand years, never hit upon this plan. I alone discovered its advantages.’ The Emperor Wu Ti of the Liang dynasty one day said to him, ‘Come, tell me, what are these famous four tones?’ ‘They are whatever your Majesty pleases to make them,’ replied Shên Yo, skillfully selecting for his answer four characters which illustrated, and in the usual order, the four tones in question” (138-139). See also 526.18-19 and 532.8.
526.10 —a sacrifice of dough—: from Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature on the first Emperor of the Liang dynasty, Hsiao Yen (see 526.12-15): “Interpreting the Buddhist commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ in its strictest sense, he caused the sacrificial victims to be made of dough” (133).
526.12 Different trees, different birds, different / songs, fish leap, float, mountains / rise, water dries, what for / who knows: from Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature, a poem by the 6th century Emperor Hsiao Yen of the Liang dynasty, (see 526.10):
Trees grow, not alike,
by the mound and the moat;
Birds sing in the forest
with varying note;
Of the fish in the river
some dive and some float.
The mountains rise high
and the waters sink low,
But the why and the wherefore
we never can know. (133)
526.15 when a doctor’s / paradise does not run up / the price of his herbs: from Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature, on the Ching Hua Yüan [Flowers in the Mirror] a satiric Qing dynasty novel set in the seventh century in which the protagonist journeys to various imaginary countries. Giles offers an excerpt describing the Country of Gentlemen, where the visitors are astonished to witness arguments in the market because sellers refuse to charge inflated prices to their customers (316-322).
526.18 Too full for talk. 4 / tones: see 11.125.14, where the former phrase is preceded by “four notes first.” On the latter phrase see quotation at 526.7 and also 532.8. For “healall” see 515.1. LZ appears to be combining or conflating a number of different cultural connections with “black,” which leads into the following passages from Boehme and Erigena on the dark dialectics of necessity (see following notes). LZ’s notebooks mention a observation from Basil Davidson, The African Past: Chronicles from Antiquity to Modern Times (1964): “‘The land of Zanj [East Africa] is vast,’ wrote Suleiman the Merchant: ‘It’s plants are all black in color'” (22).
526.20 dark, light, / no more than a sound / can be painted, or wind / in the hollow of hand: from Jacob Boehme (1575-1624), Signaturea Rerum: The Signature of All Things (Everyman’s Library), the “Preface to the Reader”: “And thus parable have a double and different respect and use; for as they conceal and hide secrets from the rude and vulgar sort, who are not able or patient to bear anything but what suits with their common conceits and opinions, so likewise they sweetly lead the mind of the true searcher into the depths of wisdom’s council. They are as the cloudy pillar of Moses; they have a dark part, and they have a light part; they are dark to the Egyptians, the pharisaical sons of sophistry, but light to the true Israel, the children of the mystery. […] I will now endeavour briefly to hint to the reader what this book contains, though in it the spirit of wisdom cannot be delineated with pen and ink, no more than a sound can be painted, or the wind grasped in the hollow of the hand: But know, that in it he deciphers and represents in a lively manner the Signature of all Things, and gives you the contents of eternity and time, and glances at all mysteries.” The latter phrase LZ uses echoes Proverbs 30:4: “… who hath gathered the wind in his fists.”
526.26 dividing or returning actually, literally / He still is not…: from John Scotus Erigena (c. 810-877), The Division of Nature (as qtd. in Bottom 117-118); see 511.33-512.2:
“Metaphysics begins and ends with God. In nature . . . division is creation, by successive states from the divine unity. All things flow constantly from God as water flows from a spring . . . as water tends ever to return to its level. God alone is without motion . . . has himself neither beginning nor end . . . […] Nature is eternal . . . but . . . dynamic, moving by the dialectical process of division and return. […] We do not know what God is . . . God Himself does not know what He is because He is not anything . . . Literally God is not . . . […] . . . as words are related to the voice which speaks them . . . subsequent not in time but in order . . . .”
526.31 Escaped conceptions clouds darken hang / without violence…: through 526.35 from Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature, the late Tang poet Ssŭ-K‛ung T‛u (Sikong Tu, 834-908), the “24 Modes (or Categories),” an important Taoist inspired work of poetics in the form of a sequence of twenty-four 12-line poems (179-188), from which LZ picks up phrases here and there:
From Poem i: Energy—Absolute.
Freighted with eternal principles,
Athwart the mighty void,
Where cloud-masses darken,
And the wind blows ceaseless around,
Beyond the range of conceptions,
Let us gain the Centre,
And there hold fast without violence,
Fed from an inexhaustible supply.
From Poem iii: Slim—Stout.
With green leaves the peach-trees are loaded,
The breeze blows gently along the stream,
Willows shade the winding path,
Darting orioles collect in groups.
From Poem xiii—Animal Spirits.
That they might come back unceasingly,
That they might be ever with us!—
The bright river, unfathomable,
The rare flower just opening,
The parrot of the verdant spring,
The willow-trees, the terrace,
The stranger from the dark hills,
The cup overflowing with clear wine…
From Poem xiv—Close Woven.
So words should not shock,
Nor thought be inept.
But be like the green of spring,
Like snow beneath the moon.
From Poem xxiii—Illumined
And daily visits to the wistaria arbour,
Where flowers cluster around the eaves…
526.35 Wistaria plight flute song unbroken…: through 527.2 primarily from Su Shih (Su Dongpo, 1036-1101), the preeminent poet of the Sung dynasty. The “Wisteria” mentioned in Ssŭ-kʽung Tʽu’s “Poem xxiii—Illumined” (see 526.31) becomes a link word with two works by Su Shih. First from a prose piece, or more precisely from the first of two fu or rhyme-prose describing an outing to the famous Red Cliffs on the Yangtze: “My friend accompanied these words upon his flageolet [a small flute], delicately adjusting its notes to express the varied emotions of pity and regret, without the slightest break in the thread of sound which seemed to wind around us like a silken skein. […] ‘Now you and I have fished and gathered fuel together on the river eyots [small islands]. We have fraternized with the crayfish; we have made friends with the deer. We have embarked together in our frail canoe; we have drawn inspiration together from the wine-flask—a couple of ephemerides launched on the ocean in a rice-husk! Alas! Life is but an instant of Time. I long to be like the Great River which rolls on its way without end’” (Giles 223-224). Ephemeridae = May-flies, day-flies or ephemerids, so called from the shortness of their lives after reaching the perfect winged state, in which they have no jaws, take no food, but propagate and speedily die (CD). Cf. the striking bug image LZ includes in the Gilgamesh passage at 23.543.22-23, also concerning the ephemerality of life.
526.37-527.3 adapted from a dedicatory poem by Su Shih:
Should Heaven rain pearls, the cold cannot wear them as clothes;
Should Heaven rain jade, the hungry cannot use it as food.
It has rained without cease for three days—
Whose was the influence at work?
Should you say it was that of your Governor,
The Governor himself refers it to the Son of Heaven [i.e. the Emperor].
But the Son of Heaven says “No! it was God,”
And God says “No! it was Nature.”
And as Nature lies beyond the ken of man,
I christen this arbour instead. (Giles 225-226)
527.4 Sun rule / over star sea moon…: through 527.13 from John Collier, The Indians of the Americas: The Long Hope (1948), primarily from Chap. 3: “The Empire of the Incas” (< ink a):
527.4-8: “Basic to the civilization of the Incas, and informing it in all its aspects was the Inca religion—the Religion of the Sun. There were and still remain huacas, or place-shrines, many of which used to be temples with priests and priestesses. Above these were the Earth Mother and the Mother Seas, Sun, Moon and Stars. The Inca himself represented the Sun on Earth—more strictly, he was the Sun, for Inca means Sun. […] Beyond all other gods—within them and without them—was the Uncreated Creator-God, Viracocha, ‘ancient foundation, lord, instructor of the world.’ The Viracocha concept goes back in ancient Indian society to a time beyond memory. The great chroniclers tell how the ninth Inca came to restore Viracocha to his rightful place, even above the Sun—even above the Inca. […] Belief in immortality was explicit and even dominant in Inca life, and carried with it a belief in the on-reaching effects of moral actions. When an Inca died, he was led into the world beyond by his dog, who was slain that he might be there to lead his master. His palace and all the delicacy and splendor it contained was sealed. Each Inca created his own establishment anew.” Veery is a type of small thrush.
527.9-13: Collier describes the elaborate system of recording using knots (the quipu or knot record) developed by the Incas, their extensive and sophisticated system of roads and communications using couriers throughout their empire. Elsewhere he mentions that the Maya had no concept of the wheel nor of a “money economy.”
527.14 A goblet of prase, gems / shade light of a shrine…: through 527.24 draws from at least three different sources—Christian, Jewish and Chinese:
From documents on the debate over the lavish decor and treasures in medieval churches, criticized by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) and defended by the Abbot Suger (1081-1151), found in A Documentary History of Art, Vol. 1, ed. Elizabeth Holt (1957). The Abbot Suger wrote detailed descriptions of the reconstruction of and the numerous treasures gathered in the Church of St. Denis, just north of Paris, which is among the first and finest examples of a gothic building. In the church was a “most precious vessel of prase, carved into the form of a boat, […].” Prase is a light green or light grayish-green variety of translucent chalcedony. St. Bernard of Clairvaux observes: “Hence the church is adorned with gemmed crowns of light—nay, with lustres like cart wheels, girt all round with lamps, but no less brilliant with the precious stones that stud them. Moreover, we see candelabra standing like trees of massive bronze, fashioned with marvelous subtlety of art, and glistening no less brightly with gems than with the lights they carry.”
From Suger’s inscription on the bronze doors of St. Denis:
“Whoever thou art, if thou seekest to extol the glory of these doors,
marvel not at the gold and the expense but at the craftsmanship of the work.
Bright is the noble work; but, being nobly bright, the work
Should brighten the minds, so that they may travel, through the true lights,
To the True Light where Christ is the true door.
In what manner it be inherent in this world the golden door defines:
The dull mind rises to truth through that which is material
And, in seeing this light, is resurrected from its former submersion.”
527.16-18: from Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature: Chu Hsi (1130-1200) was an enormously influential revisionist commentator on the Confucian Classics, and of his interpretations of the notoriously obscure Book of Changes, Wang Pu-ch‘ing observes: “[…] Chu Hsi alone was able to pierce through the meaning, and appropriate the thought of the prophets who composed it” (230). Lin Yin (1241-1293) further observes: “Chu Hsi said, ‘When God is about to send down calamities upon us, he first raises up the hero whose genius shall prevail against those calamities’ [… Lin Yin adds:] ‘If one is a man, the mills of heaven and earth grind him to perfection; if not, to destruction'” (252).
527.19-20: combined with 527.15, LZ appears to be working in a detail from the Welsh poet Madog Benfras (c.1230-1260), from lines homophonically rendered at 23.559.35-36: referring to the beloved as “like a bright shrine lamp / among the little tapers” (Gwyn Williams, Introduction to Welsh Poetry 99).
527.21-22: from Maimonides (1135-1204), Jewish philosopher: “[…] the Sages forbade us to try to calculate the advent of the Messiah, since this raises false hopes among the masses, and ends by plunging them into despair” (419). “I declare that there is a limit to man’s capacity for knowledge, since so long as the mind is in the body, it cannot know what is beyond Nature. Therefore when the mind essays to contemplate what is beyond, it attempts that which is impossible” (419-420). “A miracle cannot prove that which is impossible; it is useful only as a confirmation of that which is possible” (439). These are among selections from Maimonides found in The Wisdom of Israel, ed. Lewis Browne (1945).
527.24: this refers to the Monkey King, the exceedingly mischievous protagonist of the classic Chinese novel Hsi Yu Chi (Record of Travels in the West), best-known in English as Monkey in Arthur Waley’s very abridged rendition. Giles describes and gives brief excerpts from the novel in A History of Chinese Literature (281-287). It is perhaps relevant in this context that the novel is a Buddhist allegory.
527.24 if she’s / beautiful they’ll see: action’s end / is to finish. A beast in a dream…: through 528.5 from Harold Lamb, Genghis Khan: The Emperor of All Men (1928); Genghis Khan (1162-1227), the Mongol emperor and conqueror:
“[Genghis Khan] could appreciate beauty in women [….] Once the attractive face and bearing of a girl in a captured province were described to him by a Mongol who did not know just where she might be found. ‘If she is really beautiful,’ the Khan answered impatiently, ‘I will find her’” (80).
“‘The merit of an action,’ [the Khan] told his sons, ‘is in finishing it to the end’” (47).
“There is a legend that in the defiles of the lower Himalayas Genghis Khan saw in his path a marvellous-appearing animal, shaped like a deer, but green in colour and with only a single horn. He called Ye Liu Chutsai [Chinese scholar and favorite of the Khan] for an explanation of the phenomenon, and the Cathayan made answer gravely: ‘This strange animal is called Kio-tuan. He knows every language of the earth, and he loves living men, and has a horror of slaying, His appearance is undoubtedly a warning to thee, O my Khan, to turn back from this path’” (185).
When Ye Liu Chutsai died, “some Mongol officers searched his residence. They found no other treasure than a regular museum of musical instruments, manuscripts, maps, tablets and stones on which inscriptions had been carved” (186).
From an account of a visit to the Mongol capitol by the French monk, Fra Rubruquis: “On Palm Sunday we were near Karakorum and at dawn of day we blessed the willow boughs on which there were as yet no buds” (197).
“The Scourge of God” was one of the appellations given Genghis Khan by the Muslims (1, 132). Although Lamb does not specifically mention that the Khan rode a white-nosed horse, such horses are mentioned a number of times as particularly prized by the Mongols and suitable tribute for the Khan.
[The Khan addressing the Muslim population of the city of Bokhara:] “First he questioned them closely about their religion, and commented gravely that it was a mistake to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. ‘For the power of Heaven is not in one place alone, but in every corner of the earth’” (109).
“Snow covered everything, even the sand dunes of the wastes. Withered grey tamarisk danced under the wind gust, like the ghosts of old men. […] Here they were buffeted by winds and chilled by a cold so great that whole herds might be frozen if caught in the pass during a buran, a black wind storm. By now most of the cattle had died off and had been eaten. The last stores of hay had vanished; the carts, perforce, had been left behind, and only the hardiest of the camels survived” (95).
[On Genghis Khan’s death:] “The conqueror was brought home, not to Karakorum, but to the valleys where he had struggled for life as a boy, to the heritage that he would not desert. […] No one knows the exact burial place. The grave was dug under a great tree. The Mongols say that a certain clan was exempted from military duty and charged to watch the site, and that incense was burned unceasingly in the grove until the surrounding forest grew so thick that the tall tree was lost among its fellows and all trace of the grave vanished” (152).
“The Mongols of Juchi [the Khan’s eldest son and key general]—the detached left wing of the horde—were riding through one of the garden spots of high [central] Asia, where every stream had its white walled village and watch-tower. Here grew melons and strange fruits; the slender towers of minarets uprose in growths of willows and poplars. To the right and left were mellow foothills, with cattle grazing on the slopes. Behind them, the white summits of the higher ranges reared against the sky. ‘Kudjan (Kholand) abounds in pomegranates,’ the observant Ye Liu Chatsai noted down in his geography of the journey. ‘They are as large as two fists and of a sour-sweet taste. People take the fruit and press out the juice into a vessel—a delicious beverage for slaking thirst’” (101). Kaki is the Japanese persimmon, long ubiquitous throughout most of Asia and now the world; neither kaki nor persimmon is mentioned in Lamb, but given LZ’s growing botanical interests, he no doubt knew any region in Asia bountiful with fruit would include persimmons.
“[…] the Mongol army marched against [the Persian city] Merv—the jewel of the sands, the pleasure city of the Shahs. It stood on the River of Birds, the Murgh Ab, and sheltered in its libraries many thousand volumes of manuscripts” (125).
“[Of his grandsons] the youthful Kubilai was a favourite of the Khan, who evinced toward him all the pride of a grandfather. ‘Mark well the words of the boy Kubilai; they are full of wisdom’” (81).
528.6 his rose and pink flower / a deeper shade—gone timorous: from Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature: from a poem by Hsieh Chin (1369-1415):
Man in his youth-time’s rosy glow,
The pink peach flowering in the glade . . . .
Why, yearly, when spring breezed blow,
Does each one flush a deeper shade? (330)
528.8 a single sunbeam enough to / drive away many shadows: attributed to St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226); see 23.559.6-21.
528.9 now / stands still, not time beginning / to measure: from Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274): “The now that stands still, is said to make eternity according to our apprehension” (qtd. Bottom 133).
“Things are said to be created in the beginning of time not as if the beginning of time were a measure of creation, but because with time heaven and earth were created together” (Summa Theologica, on “Whether the creation of things was in the beginning of time?”; from Introduction to Saint Thomas Aquinas, ed. Anton C. Pegos).
528.11 verdant foliate pure / more mated: from Dante Aligheri (1265-1321), Purgatorio VIII.28: “Verdi, come fogliette pur mo nate” (Green, as tender leaves just born) (qtd. Bottom 135).
528.12 Brightness: in Bottom (110, 342), LZ points out that Zohar, the essential work of Jewish Kabbalah (first printed in 1558), means “brightness,” so this may anticipate the appearance of the Kabbalist Abulafia at 528.16.
528.12 Discriminates minutely, / […] the Letter…: through 528.15 from William Blake (1757-1827), “A Vision of the Last Judgement,” except for the interpolated 528.13 (see next note). The text is that of the Complete Writings, ed. Geoffrey Keynes, although LZ found these passages in the journal Tree 1 (Winter 1970), where he also found the materials from the Kabbalist Abulafia he uses at 528.16-18, which apparently explains why Blake appears here out of chronological order:
“Every Man has Eyes Nose & Mouth this Every Idiot knows but he who enters into & discriminates most minutely the Manners & Intentions the [Expression] Characters in all their branches is the alone Wise or Sensible Man & on this discrimination All Art is founded. I intreat then that the Spectator will attend to the Hands & Feet to the Lineaments of the Countenances they are all descriptive of Character & not a line is drawn without intention & that most discriminate & particular <as Poetry admits not a Letter that is Insignificant so Painting admits not a Grain of Sand or a Blade of Grass <Insignificant> much less an Insignificant Blur or Mark>.”
“A Last Judgment is Necessary because Fools flourish. Nations Flourish under Wise Rulers & are depress’d under foolish Rulers; it is the same with Individuals as Nations; works of Art can only be produc’d in Perfection where the Man is either in Affluence or is Above the Care of it. Poverty is the Fool’s Rod, which at last is turn’d on his own back; this is A Last Judgment—when Men of Real Art Govern & Pretenders Fall.”
528.13 eye looks to arch: from Henry Adams, Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres: “The architects of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries took the Church and the universe of truths, and tried to express them in a structure which should be final. Knowing by an enormous experience precisely where the strains were to come, they enlarged their scale to the utmost point of material endurance, lightening the load and distributing the burden until the gutters and gargoyles that seem mere ornament, and the grotesques that seem rude absurdities, all do work whether for the arch or for the eye; and every inch of material, up and down, from crypt to vault, from man to God, from universe to the atom, had its task, giving support where support was needed, or weight where concentration was felt, but always with the condition of showing conspicuously to the eye the great lines which led to unity and the curves which controlled divergence; so that […] one idea controlled every line; and this is true of Saint Thomas’s church as it is of Amiens Cathedral.” Cf. Dante, Purgatorio XIX.40-42: “I was bearing my brow like one that hath it burdened with thought, who makes of himself half an arch of bridge”; used in “A”-12.136.18-19.
528.16 why deny what you’ve not tried…: through 528.18 from the 13th century Kabbalist Abraham ben Samuel Abulafia (1240-1291). LZ’s source is the poetry journal Tree 1 (Winter 1970), ed. David Meltzer. This journal focused on the Kabbala and contemporary poetry, and this issue included selections from William Blake’s “A Vision of the Last Judgement” (see 528.12) and an entire section of materials by and about Abulafia. This issue also reprinting a brief excerpt from LZ’s Bottom (155) that quotes from and briefly comments on the Zohar, which explains why he owned a copy. The Abulafia materials were translated by various hands; the first quotation below is from an entry on Abulafia by Gershom G. Scholem from the Encyclopedia Judaica and the second is translated by the poet Jack Hirschman:
One of Abulafia’s disciples reported him as saying: “My son, why do you deny something you have not tried? Much rather would it befit you to make a trial of it. If you then should find that it is nothing to you—and if you are not perfect enough to find the fault with yourself—then you may say that there is nothing to it.”
From Abulafia’s Book of the Letter (Sefer-ha-Ot): “The letter is desire. […] choosing the Day of Good Tidings when strength will seek merriment and joy […] and all who read in the Name are friends […] If it be night, kindle many lights, until all be bright.”
528.19 Called angelic instantly to resume / its humanity…: through 528.34 predominantly from the Arab historian Ibn Khaldûn (1332-1406), The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History, trans. Franz Rosenthal:
528.19-20: [On the knowledge of the prophets:] “Above the human world, there is a spiritual world. […] The essences of that spiritual world are pure perception and absolute intellection. It is the world of the angels. It follows from all this that the human soul must be prepared to exchange humanity for angelicality, in order actually to become part of the angelic species at any time, in a single instant. It will afterwards resume its humanity. But in the world of angelicality, it has meanwhile accepted (ideas) that it is charged to transmit to its fellow human beings. That is the meaning of revelation and being addressed by the angels” (339).
528.21-23: “In the desert sands, camels can find places to give birth to their young ones. Of all animals, camels have the hardest delivery and the greatest need for warmth in connection with it. (Camel nomads) are therefore forced to make excursions deep (into the desert). […] The camels are the cause of the Bedouins’ savage life in the desert, since they feed on desert shrubs and give birth in the desert sands” (92, 99).
528.24-25: “Therefore, an old merchant said to a person who wanted to find out the truth about commerce: ‘I shall give it to you in two words: Buy cheap and sell dear. There is commerce for you’” (310).
528.25: “They take the greatest pride […] in the construction of ever higher buildings and towers […]. They build castles and mansions, provide them with running water, build their towers higher and higher […]” (91).
528.25-27: “Those who claim to have made gold with the help of alchemy are like those who might claim the artificial creation of man from semen. If we grant to someone an all-comprehensive knowledge of the parts of man, his proportions, the stages of his (development), the way he is created in the womb, if he could know all this in every detail, so that nothing escapes his knowledge, then we would grant him the (ability to) create a human being. But where does anyone possess such knowledge?” (410). An alembic is a distillation instrument used by alchemists.
528.27-28: “Now, poetry exists by nature among the speakers of every language, since metres of a certain harmonious arrangement, with the alternation of (fixed) numbers of consonants, with and without vowels, exist in the nature of all human beings” (457). “It should be known that the letters (sounds) of speech are modification of sounds that come from the larynx. These modifications result from the fact that the sounds are broken up in contact with the uvula and the sides of the tongue in the throat, against the palate or the teeth, and also through contact with the lips. The sound is modified by the different ways in which such contact takes place. As a result, the sounds become distinct. Their combination constitutes the word that expresses what is in the mind” (31). “Both poetry and prose work with words, and not with ideas” (450). A syrinx is a panpipe or the vocal organ of a bird.
528.30: “Dynasties have a natural lifespan like individuals” (136).
528.31-32: “Muhammad said: ‘War is trickery’” (229). Ibn Khaldûn frequently refers to Muhammad as the “Messenger of God.”
528.32: “One of the greatest injustices and one contributing most to the destruction of civilization is the unjustified imposition of tasks and the use of the subjects for forced labour. This is so because labour belongs to the things that constitute capital. […] Now, if [subjects] are obliged to work outside their own field and are used for forced labour unrelated to their (ordinary ways of) making a living, they no longer have any profit and are thus deprived of the price of their labour, which is their capital (asset). […] If this occurs repeatedly, all incentive to cultural enterprise is destroyed, and they cease utterly to make an effort. This leads to the destruction and ruin of civilization” (241).
528.33: “[…] profit is the value realized from labour. When there is more labour, the value realized from it increases among the (people). Thus, their profit of necessity increases. The prosperity and wealth they enjoy leads them to luxury and the things that go with it, such as splendid houses and clothes, fine vessels and utensils, and the use of servants and mounts” (273). There are several passages on the error of considering gold and silver as the basis of wealth (see 279, 298, 303). For another example of the prophet/profit pun, see 23.546.36-37.
528.20 it is not / enough to be happy: from the Greek Neoplatonist, Gemistus Pletho (c.1355-1450), as quoted by E.M. Forester in “Gemistus Pletho” from Abinger Harvest (1936); see also 528.23: “It is not enough to be happy, fools can be that. We must know what happiness is, and how it comes.”
528.23 few defiled names / resound again: from Gemistus Pletho as quoted by E.M. Forester (see previous note): “A great name may be defiled by bad usage; yet once used rightly, it again becomes pure.”
528.34 Red-maple leaves a rush / of rich robes…: through 528.37 from Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature (see 515.10), creatively grafting two separate passages. The first quotes a prose work by Liu Chi (1311-1375) in which “a certain noble who had lost all by the fall of the Chʽin dynasty, B.C. 206, and was forced to grow melons for a living, had recourse to divination, and went to consult a famous augur on his prospects. ‘Alas!’ cried the auger, ‘what is there that Heaven can bestow save that which virtue can obtain? […] Besides, sir, why not reflect upon the past—that past which gave birth to the present? […] Your endive and watercresses are but the complement of the elephant-sinews and camel’s hump [gourmet delicacies] of days bygone; the maple-leaf and the rush, of your once rich robes and fine attire. Do not repine that those who had not such luxuries then enjoy them now. Do not be dissatisfied that you, who enjoyed them then, have them now no more. […] These things you know; what more can divination teach you?’” (253-254).
The second quotes a commentator on a work by Hsü Hsieh (17th century): “It is completed […] with the breath of a yawn (with a single effort), and is like a heavenly robe, without seam” (305).
529.1 venture here, venture lambent sidereal…: through 529.7 primarily from Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), Selected Letters of Christopher Columbus with Other Original Documents Related to the Four Voyages to the New World, ed. and trans. R.H. Major (1961 reprint), from descriptions of his first voyage: “All these islands are very beautiful, and distinguished by a diversity of scenery; they are filled with a great variety of trees of immense height, and which I believe to retain their foliage in all seasons; for when I saw them they were as verdant and luxuriant as they usually are in Spain in the month of May,—some of them were blossoming, some bearing fruit, and all flourishing in the greatest perfection, according to their respective stages of growth, and the nature and quality of each: yet the islands are not so thickly wooded as to be impassable. The nightingale and various birds were singing in countless numbers, and that in November, the month in which I arrived there. […] The inhabitants of both sexes in this island, and in all the others which I have seen, or of which I have received information, go always naked as they were born, with the exception of some of the women, who use the covering of a leaf, or small bough, or an apron of cotton which they prepare for that purpose. […] As soon however as they see that they are safe, and have laid aside all fear, they are very simple and honest, and exceedingly liberal with all they have; none of them refusing any thing he may possess when he is asked for it, but on the contrary inviting us to ask them. They exhibit great love towards all others in preference to themselves: they also give objects of great value for trifles, and content themselves with very little or nothing in return. […] These [aboriginal captives] are still travelling with me, and although they have been with us now a long time, they continue to entertain the idea that I have descended from heaven; and on our arrival at any new place they published this, crying out immediately with a loud voice to the other Indians, ‘Come, come and look upon beings of a celestial race’ (gentes aethereas) […] As far as I have learned, every man throughout these islands is united to but one wife, with the exception of the kings and princes […].”
529.8 needle’s West seas urge East, /today shouldn’t err…: through 529.10 (the first two lines probably and the third definitely) from Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. 4,3: Civil Engineering and Nautics, with “needle” a nod to Needham’s argument in a discussion of Chinese exploration, which is pointedly contrasted with that of contemporaneous (15th-16th centuries) Western exploration, particularly by the Portuguese (cf. 530.24-26):
“‘Coming into contact with barbarian peoples,’ wrote Chang Hsieh in +1618 […], ‘you have nothing more to fear than touching the left horn of a snail […]. And indeed it was in accordance with this enlightened conception of inter-cultural contact that the Chinese set up no factories, demanded no forts, made no slave-raids, accomplished no conquests. Their total lack of any proselytising religion precluded friction from that source. […] So there we leave them—voyagers from the East, the Chinese, calm and pacific, unencumbered by a heritage of enmities; generous (up to a point), menacing no man’s livelihood; tolerant, if more than a shade patronising; in panoply of arms, yet conquering no colonies and setting up no strongholds—voyagers from the West, the Portuguese, crusader-traders out to take hereditary enemies in the rear and wrest a mercantile foothold from unsympathetic soil; hostile to other faiths yet relatively free from racial prejudice; hot in the pursuit of economic power, and heralds of the Renaissance. In all the maritime contacts between Europe and Asia in that dramatic age our forefathers were quite sure who the ‘heathen’ were. Today we suspect that these were not the less civilised of the two” (533, 535).
529.10 painting / […] cleaning ports, / troubled sea: virgule…: through 530.11 concerns Italian Renaissance painters, specifically Leonardo da Vinci (529.11-33), Michelangelo (529.34-530.5) and Raphael (530.6-10), the latter also incorporating a reference to Albrecht Dürer. The major source is Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects, 4 vols., trans. A.B. Hinds (Everyman’s Library), with additional material from Elizabeth Holt ed., A Documentary History of Art. Also in the Da Vinci passage, LZ draws on the Catalogue of an Exhibition of Drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci from the Royal Collection (Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, 1969), which he apparently picked up or took notes on when he visited the exhibition during his London trip in May 1969.
529.11: “Every day [Leonardo] made models and designs for the removal of mountains with ease and to pierce them to pass from one place to another, and by means of levers, cranes and winches to raise and draw heavy weights; he devised a method for cleansing ports, and to raise water from great depths, schemes which his brain never ceased to evolve.”
529.12-16: “For his good friend Antonio Segni he drew a Neptune on paper, with so much design and care that he seemed alive. The sea is troubled and his car is drawn by sea-horses, with the sprites, monsters, and south winds and other fine marine creatures. The drawing was given by Antonio’s son Fabio to M. Giovanni Gaddi with the epigram:
Pinxit Virgilius Neptunum, pinxit Homerus,
Dum maris undisoni per vada flectit equos.
Mente quidem vates illum conspexit uterque,
Vincius ast oculis; jureque vincit eos.”
(Virgil and Homer have shown Neptune / in the roaring sea guide his horses. They have seen him with the mind, / but Vinci with the eye, and so has vanquished them.)
529.15-16: from Paragone: “[…] when you look at a wall spotted with stains, or with a mixture of stones, if you have to devise some scene, you may discover a resemblance to various landscapes, beautified with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys and hills in varied arrangement; […] and an endless variety of objects, which you could reduce to complete and well drawn forms. And these appear on such walls confusedly, like the sound of bells in whose jangle you may find any name or word you choose to imagine” (Holt 283).
529.17-20: see note below for 529.17.
529.20-21: when the King of France visited Milan, Leonardo was asked “to do something curious, he made a lion whose chest opened after he had walked a few steps, discovering himself to be full of lilies.”
529.23-30: partially from Leonardo’s Paragone, a treatise comparing painting with the other arts: “Whatever is painted must pass by the eye, which is the nobler sense, and whatever is poetry must pass through a less noble sense, namely, the ear, to the understanding. Therefore, let the painting be judged by a man born deaf, and the poem by one born blind. If in the painting the actions of the figures are in every case expressive of the purpose in their minds, the beholder, though born deaf, is sure to understand what is intended, but the listener born blind will never understand the things the poet describes which reflect honour on the poem, including such important parts as the indication of gestures, the compositions of the stories, the description of beautiful and delightful places with limpid waters through which the green bed of the stream can be seen and the play of the waves rolling through meadows and over pebbles, mingling with blades of grass and with playful fishes, and similar subtle detail which may as well be addressed to a stone as to a man born blind who never in his life has seen what makes the beauty of the world, namely, light, shade, colour, body, figure, position, distance, nearness, motion, and the rest—these ten ornaments of nature” (Holt 278).
“And truly it so happens that where reason is not, its place is taken by clamour. This never occurs when things are certain. Therefore, where there are quarrels, there true science is not” (Holt 276).
“Of the light which gives most grace to faces” [a section title].
“Wherefore, O painter! Do not surround your bodies with lines, and above all when representing objects smaller than nature […]” (Holt 280).
“Observe the motion of the surface of the water, which resembles that of hair, which has two motions, of which one depends on the weight of the hair, the other on the direction of the curls; thus the water forms eddying whirlpools, of which one part on the force of the predominant current and the other to the incidental motion and return flow.” See 23.563.19.
“Here no one argues as to whether twice three is more or less than six or whether the angles of a triangle are less than two right angles. Here all argument is destroyed by eternal silence and these sciences can be enjoyed by their devotees in peace” (276).
529.31-33: from the exhibition catalog of drawings from the Queen’s Gallery: from sketches and notes in the Codex Atlanticus, of which one example is: “djmmj se maj. fu fatto chosa per te’” (tell me if anything was ever done for you).
“To compare the structure of the bones of the horse to that of man you shall represent the man on tip-toe in figuring the legs.”
529.11 Order without Ordainer: from Thomas Browne, see 531.18-19 and quotation at 531.9.
529.17 borne / with metal letters for all / nations…: through 529.20 from a 1472 letter believed to be the first reference to Gutenberg’s invention of printing in the West; from Frederick R. Goff, The Permanence of Johann Gutenberg (1970): “For they say that not far from the city of Mainz, there was a certain Johann who bore the surname Gutenberg, who first of all men thought out the art of printing, by which books are made, not written with a reed as former books were made, not by pen as we make them, but by metal letters—and that indeed with speed, elegance and beauty.”
529.34 Nailed eon in the second / hour a child knew better…: through 530.5 on Michelangelo (1475-1564), primarily but not exclusively from Vasari, Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects, using vol. 4 of the Hinds trans. (see 529.20). LZ is freely blending or reworking various bits:
529.34: Nailed eon in: homophonically rendered from the opening phrase of Michelangelo’s poem, “Negli anni molti..” (Through many years…).
529.34-35: from a letter in which Michelangelo reports on his progress on the tomb for Pope Julius II: “[…] ask him not to make the stone-cutters discontented by saying to them in a kindly way: ‘These people seem to have but little mercy on you, to make you work until the evening in these days when it is dark at the second hour.’” From Elisabeth Holt, A Documentary History of Art, Vol. 2 (1958).
529.35: On being shown a drawing he did as a boy, “[Michelangelo] recognised it with pleasure, and modestly said that he knew more of that art when a child than later on in life.”
529.36: suggested by the opening lines of a poem by Michelangelo found in Vasari: “Grato me e il sonno, e piu l’esser di sasso / Mentre che il danno e la vergogna dura” (Sweet is sleep to me and even more to be of stone / while the wrong and shame endure).
529.37-38: “Piero Soderini came to see [the statue of David], and expressed great pleasure to Michelagnolo who was retouching it, though he said he thought the nose large. Michelagnolo seeing the gonfaloniere below and knowing that he could not see properly, mounted the scaffolding and taking his chisel dexterously let a little dust fall on to the gonfaloniere, without, however, actually altering his work. Looking down he said, ‘Look now.’ ‘I like it better,’ said the gonfaloniere, ‘you have given it life.’ Michelagnolo therefore came down with feelings of pity for those who wish to seem to understand matters of which they know nothing.”
“When the friar asked that something more might be given him Michelagnolo readily agreed; but the friar had acted from envy, thinking his request would not be granted, and when he saw what had been done he was displeased. This was reported to Michelagnolo, who said that nothing annoyed him more than these gutter-men, using an architectural metaphor meaning that it is impossible to deal with those who have two mouths.”
530.1-2: “[Michelagnolo] said much the same to a man who had painted a Pieta, and had not acquitted himself well, remarking that it was a pitiful sight (pietà) to see. Learning that Sebastiano of Venice was going to paint a friar in the chapel of S. Piero a Montorio, he said this would spoil the work. When asked why, he replied, ‘They [the friars] have spoiled the great world, so it will be no great matter for them to ruin a little chapel.’”
530.2-4: fatuous fantasy / my art makes me their / idol: from Michelangelo’s poem beginning: “Onde l’affettilosa fantasia / Che l’arte mi fece idol e monarca” (The fantasy / that made art to me an idol and a monarch).
530.4-5: was there ever time / work did not convene endurer: from a sonnet Michelangelo wrote to Vasari on reading his Lives: “Is there an age whose labours may not reach the zenith? […] yet through you these memories of others, revived you you, will endure for ever with you.”
530.6 modesty not cheap or foolish / a lovable woman’s…: though 530.10 concerning Raphael Sanzio de Urbino (1583-1520) primarily from Vasari (vol. 2 of Hinds trans.; see 529.20). LZ is freely blending or reworking various bits. Vasari repeatedly points out the exquisite detail and finish of Raphael’s portraiture and landscapes in single works, particularly of his madonnas (see 530.9):
[Vasari’s fulsome opening to the “Life of Raphael”:] “The liberality with which Heaven now and again unites in one person the inexhaustible riches of its treasures and all those graces and rare gifts which are usually shared among many over a long period is seen in Raphael Sanzio of Urbino, who was as excellent as gracious, and endowed with a natural modesty and goodness sometimes seen in those who possess to an unusual degree a humane and gentle nature adorned with affability and good-fellowship, and he always showed himself sweet and pleasant with persons of every degree in all circumstances.”
“By these and other works the fame of Raphael spread to France and Flanders. Albert Dürer, a remarkable German painter and author of some fine copper engraving, paid him the tribute of his homage and sent him his own portrait, painted in water-colours, on cambric, so fine that it was transparent, without the use of white paint, the white material forming the lights of the picture. […] Marco Antonio then did a number of prints which Raphael afterwards gave to Il Baviera, his boy, who had the charge of one of his mistresses whom Raphael loved until his death. He made a beautiful life-like portrait of her which is now in Florence in the possession of the most noble Botti, a Florentine merchant […].”
530.9-10: from Raphael’s report to Pope Leo X on the condition of ancient Roman remains and plea for their preservation: “[In the past, men] stripped the ancient walls to obtain bricks, broke marble into little squares, and with a mixture of these squares and the bricks they built their walls, as we may see today in the tower called the Tower of the Militia.” “Of all the arts, architecture was the last to decline” (Holt, A Documentary History of Art, Vol. 1 (1957): 294).
530.11 Peaceable woods: from Vasari’s life of Michelangelo (see 529.34f), who wrote in a late letter to Vasari: “Today with considerable fatigue and great delight I have visited the hermits of the Spoleto mountains, so that less than half of me has returned to Rome, for true peace can only be found in the woods. I have no more to say […].”
530.14 Hats on scrape your boots / laugh it off…: through 530.23 are various bits from François Rabelais (c.1494-1553), Gargantua and Pantagruel, from The Portable Rabelais (1946), trans. Samuel Putnam:
530.14: “‘Put on your hats, gentlemen, put on your hats,’ said Picrochole.” Or: “‘Put on your hat, Kissarse,’ said Pentagruel.” (both noted by LZ in HRC 37.4).
From Pantagruel’s motto for the university: “A tennis ball in your belly-band, / And a racquet in your hand, / A law-book in your doctor’s hood, / Scrape your feet, and scrape ’em good / And you’re a doctor, understand.”
530.15: laugh it off: from the concluding line of the dedicatory poem, “Aux lecteurs,” of Book I: “For smiles, not tears, make the better autograph, / Because to laugh is natural to man” (Mieulx est de ris que de larmes escripre, / Pour ce que rire est le propre de l’homme).
530.15: abstracter of / quintessence: this is the title or designation of the narrator of the first two books on Gargantua: “M. Alcofribas, Abstractor of Quintessence”
530.16: “‘I,’ said Panurge, ‘will speak it for you all, I understand it like my mother tongue. I’m as used to it as I am to the vulgate.’”
530.17: eternity cant love lacks / what it hasn’t: apparently conflates the following: “I drink for thirst to come. I drink everlastingly. With me it’s an eternity of drinking and a drinking of eternity.” And a translation of a Greek inscription: “Love seeketh not her own.”
530.16 stonechat / click: apparently this was suggested by a passage from the Book of Duante Barbosa (c. 1500-1518), describing people inhabiting the coast opposite Mozambique: “Their lips are bored with three holes, and in each hole three cowries, and in these they place bones with little stones and other little pendants.” LZ’s source is Basil Davidson, The African Past: Chronicles from Antiquity to Modern Times (1964): 131.
530.20 blind mole perswaded / any beast can see: from Edmund Spenser (1552-1599), dedicatory epistle to The Shepheardes Calender (1579); see also 530.23-24: “The second shame no lesse then the first, that what they so vnderstand not, they straight way deeme to be sencelesse, and not at al to be vnderstode. Much like to the Mole in Æsopes fable, that being blynd her selfe, would in no wise be perswaded, that any beast could see.”
530.21 Brained / mule, light heart, trumpet full / of vines: from Rabelais (see 530.14):
“Moreover, seeing that our laws have been transplanted from the soil of moral and natural philosophy, how could those fools ever hope to understand them, who, by God! know less about philosophy than does my mule.”
“And even supposing that you do find matter there that is sufficiently entertaining and that corresponds well enough with the title, you are never under the necessity of pausing over it, as you would stop and listen to the Sirens’ song, but you rather should interpret in a higher sense that which you may, perhaps, believe to have been uttered out of pure light-heartedness.”
“Then [Friar John] sallied forth, in a handsome cassock, using his cowl for a scarf; and with the staff of the cross, he proceeded to lay about him briskly on the heads of the enemy, who, without any ranks, banner, trumpet or drum, were engaged in despoiling the vineyard—for the standard-bearers and color-bearers had laid their standards and their colors against the wall, the drummers had caved in one side of their drums in order to fill their instruments with grapes; the trumpets were full of vine-branches, and all was in confusion” (trans. Samuel Putnam).
530.23 mercy no merchandise, / art tracking music: from Edmund Spenser, The Shepheardes Calender (see 530.20). The concluding Latin motto of The Shepheardes Calender is: Merce non mercede (favor not payment; or, grace not wages). From the gloss for December: “Musick, that is Poetry as Terence sayth Qui artem tractant musicam, speking of Poetes.”
530.24 loose as / old beachcomber’s gripe—the / folly . . craving for power . . circumnavigating: from Luis Vaz de Camões (c.1524-1580), The Lusiads (> loose as), the Portuguese heroic epic on the voyages of Vasco da Gama around Africa to India. LZ quotes from the end of Canto 4 when an old man harangues Gama’s fleet as it departs from Lisbon harbor; he is not described as a “beachcomber,” although this might be suggested by Camões himself who was shipwrecked at least twice: “‘Oh, the folly of it, this craving for power, this thirsting after the vanity we call fame, this fraudulent pleasure known as honour that thrives on popular esteem! When the vapid soul succumbs to its lure, what a price it exacts, and how justly, in perils, tempests, torments, death itself! It wrecks all peace of soul and body, leads men to forsake and betray their loved ones, subtly yet undeniably consumes estates, kingdoms, empires […]’” (119-120; trans. William C. Atkinson). See 23.561.4-5.
530.27 to read music into plumage—: from John Collier, Indians of the Americas: The Long Hope (1947): “Sir Francis Drake’s classic description of the coast tribes around the present San Francisco might be applied to them all: Arcadian people, he found them, whose natures could hardly be told save through the language of music; peoples joyously hospitable who seemed as free as birds, whose speech and colors were like the warbling and plumage of birds.” Cf. 12.128.2-4.
530.28 eye den hearing—‘hungry I / climb’d to eat grass’—envy: from Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2 IV.x, in which the populist rebel Jack Cade is found and killed by a gentleman, Alexander Iden, in his garden (Iden > eye den = Eden). First Cade enters and explains why he has climbed into the garden:
“Fie on ambitions! Fie on myself, that have a sword, and yet am ready to famish! […] These five days have I hid me in these woods and durst not peep out, for all the country is laid for me; but now am I so hungry that, if I might have a lease of my life for a thousand years, I could stay no longer. Wherefore, on a brick wall have I climb’d into this garden, to see if I can eat grass or pick a sallet another while, which is not amiss to cool a man’s stomach this hot weather.” [Then Iden enters and, before discovering Cade, soliloquizes:]
Lord, who would live turmoilèd in the court,
And may enjoy such quiet walks as these?
This small inheritance my father left me
Contenteth me, and worth a monarchy.
I seek not to wax great by other’s waning,
Or gather wealth, I care not with what envy:
Sufficeth that I have maintains my state,
And sends the poor well pleased from my gate.
530.30 In the flagrate of cold: from Jacob Boehme, The Signature of All Things (1621): “Thus we see this Ground very exactly and properly in Thunder and Lightning; for the Flash, or Lightening, or ethereal Blaze, goes always before, for it is the enkindled Salniter; thereupon follows the Stroke in the Flagrat of the Coldness; as you see, as soon as the Stroke is given the astringent Chamber is opened, and a cool Wind follows, and oftentimes Whirling and Wheeling, for the Forms or Nature are awakened, and are as a turning Wheel, and So they carry their Spirit the Wind” (trans. Johan Ellistone). Flagrat is Boehme’s term for a sudden fright or flash, the severing of the principles of Light and Darkness.
530.31 theatre of the world: from the title of the play The Great Theatre of the World (El Gran Teatro del Mundo) by Pedro Calderon de la Barca (1600-1681).
530.32 wren […] an / architecture honors a people’s obstinate / valor ages through infinite changes: from Christopher Wren (1632-1723), Tracts on Architecture: “The obstinate valour of the Jews, occasioned by the love of their temple, was the cement that held that people together for many ages through infinite changes.” LZ’s source is quite possibly W.R. Lethaby, Architecture: An Introduction to the History and Theory of the Art of Building (2nd rev. 1939) which he owned and quotes in Bottom 183.
530.35 caldron run over, scattered / congregate, their sanctuary the Land: from Ezekiel 11. Ezekiel refers to Jerusalem as a caldron several times, e.g. 11:3: “Which say, It is not near let us build houses: this city is the caldron, and we be the flesh.” LZ’s notes refer to further mentions of caldron at 1 Samuel 2:14 and Jeremiah 52:18-19.
Ezekiel 11:16-17: “Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come. Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel” (see 23.547.34).
530.37 the blood’s motion—arteries to / heart: through 531.1 from William Harvey (1578-1657), On the Motion of the Heart and Blood (1628).
531.1 come at last into / ample fields…: through 531.9 from Robert Burton (1577-1640), The Anatomy of Melancholy:
531.1-2: “As a long-winged hawk, when he is first whistled off the fist, mounts aloft, and for his pleasure fetcheth many a circuit in the air, still soaring higher and higher, till he be come to his full pitch, and in the end when the game is sprung, comes down amain, and stoops upon a sudden: so will I, having now come at last into these ample fields of air, wherein I may freely expatiate and exercise myself for my recreation, awhile rove, wander round about the world, mount aloft to those ethereal orbs and celestial spheres, and so descend to my former elements again.”
531.2: “Something I have done, though by my profession a divine, yet turbine raptus ingenii, as he said, out of a running wit, an unconstant, unsettled mind, I had a great desire (not able to attain to a superficial skill in any) to have some smattering in all, to be aliquis in omnibus, nullus in singulis, which Plato commends, out of him Lipsius approves and furthers, ‘as fit to be imprinted in all curious wits, not to be a slave of one science, or swell altogether in one subject, as most do, but to rove abroad, centum puer atrium, to have an oar in every man’s boat, to taste of every dish, and sip of every cup,’ which, saith Montaigne, was well performed by Aristotle, and his learned countryman Adrain Trunebus.”
531.3: “Amongst so many thousand authors you shall scarce find one, by reading of whom you shall be any whit better, but rather much worse, quibus inficitur potius, quam perficitur, by which he is rather infected than any way perfected.—Qui talia legit, Quid didicit tandem, quid scit nisi somnia, nugas? So that oftentimes it falls out (which Callimachus taxed of old) a great book is a great mischief.”
531.4-5: “Though there were many giants of old in physic and philosophy, yet I say with Didacus Stella, A dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than a giant himself; I may likely add, alter, and see farther than my predecessors; and it is no greater prejudice for me to indite after others, than for Aelianus Montaltus, that famous physician, to write de morbis capitis after Jason Pratensis, Heurnius, Hildesheim, &c., many horses to run in a race, one logician, one rhetorician, after another.”
531.6-9: “If the patron be precise, so must his chaplain be; if he be papistical, his clerk must be so too, or else be turned out. These are those clerks which serve the turn, whom they commonly entertain, and present to church livings, whilst in the meantime we that are University men, like so many hidebound calves in a pasture, tarry out our time, wither away as a flower ungathered in a garden, and are never used; or as so many candles, illuminate ourselves alone, obscuring one another’s light, and are not discerned here at all, the least of which, translated to a dark room, or to some country benefice, where it might shine apart, would give a fair light, and be seen over all. Whilst we lie waiting here as those sick men did at the Pool of Bethesda, till the Angel stirred the water, expecting a good hour, they step between, and beguile us of our preferment. I have not yet said, if after long expectation, much expense, travel, earnest suit of ourselves and friends, we obtain a small benefice at last; our misery begins afresh, we are suddenly encountered with the flesh, world, and devil, with a new onset; we change a quiet life for an ocean of troubles, we come to a ruinous house, which before it be habitable, must be necessarily to our great damage repaired […].”
531.7 poet living tomb of his / games: Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), whose Hydriotaphia, or Urn Burial was originally published with The Garden of Cyrus (see 531.9), from which LZ primarily draws in the following.
531.9 the emphatical decussation / quincunx…: through 531.16, from Sir Thomas Browne, The Garden of Cyrus; or The Quincuncial Lozenge, or Net-work Plantations of the Ancients, Artifically, Naturally, Mystically, Considered (1658); a quincunx is an arrangement of things by fives in a square or a rectangle, one being placed at each corner and one in the middle; especially such an arrangement of trees repeated indefinitely, so as to form a regular group with rows running in various directions (see 533.16 and 29).
531.9-10: “Which we shall take for granted as being accordingly rendered by the most elegant of the Latins; and by no made term, but in use before by Varro. That is, the rows and orders so handsomely disposed, or five trees so set together, that a regular angularity, and thorough prospect, was left on every side. Owing this name not only unto the quintuple number of trees, but the figure declaring that number, which being double at the angle, makes up the letter X, that is the emphatical decussation, or fundamental figure” (Chap. I).
531.11-13: “To enlarge this contemplation unto all the mysteries and secrets accommodable unto this number, were inexcusable Pythagorism, yet cannot omit the ancient conceit of five surnamed the number of justice; as justly dividing between the digits, and hanging in the centre of nine, described by square numeration, which angularly divided will make the decussated number; and so agreeable unto the quincuncial ordination, and rows divided by equality, and just decorum, in the whole com-plantation; and might be the original of that common game among us, wherein the fifth place is sovereign, and carrieth the chief intention;—the ancients wisely instructing youth, even in their recreations unto virtue, that is, early to drive at the middle point and central seat of justice.
Nor can we omit how agreeable unto this number an handsome division is made in trees and plants, since Plutarch, and the ancients have named it the divisive number: justly dividing the entities of the world, many remarkable things in it, and also comprehending the general division of vegetables. And he that considers how most blossoms of trees, and greatest number of flowers, consist of five leaves, and therein doth rest the settled rule of nature;—so that in those which exceed, there is often found, or easily made, a variety;—may readily discover how nature rests in this number, which is indeed the first rest and pause of numeration in the fingers, the natural organs thereof. Nor in the division of the feet of perfect animals doth nature exceed this account. And even in the joints of feet, which in birds are most multiplied, surpasseth not this number; so progressionally making them out in many, that from five in the fore-claw she descendeth unto two in the hindmost; and so in four feet makes up the number of joints, in the five fingers or toes of man” (Chap. V).
531.13: “Quincuncial forms and ordinations are also observable in animal figurations. For to omit the hyoides or throat bone of animals, the furcula or merry-thought in birds [see 512.21], which supporteth the scapulæ, affording a passage for the wind-pipe and the gullet, the wings of flies, and disposure of their legs in their first formation from maggots, and the position of their horns, wings and legs, in their aurelian cases and swaddling clouts […]” (Chap. III).
531.14: “He that forgets not how antiquity named this the conjugal or wedding number, and made it the emblem of the most remarkable conjunction, will conceive it duly appliable unto this handsome economy, and vegetable combination: and may hence apprehend the allegorical sense of that obscure expression of Hesiod, and afford no improbable reason why Plato admitted his nuptial guests by fives, in the kindred of the married couple” (Chap. V).
531.14-16: “Night, which Pagan theology could make the daughter of Chaos, affords no advantage to the description of order; although no lower then that mass can we derive its genealogy. All things began in order, so shall they end, and so shall they begin again; according to the ordainer of order and mystical mathematicks of the city of heaven” (Chap. V). LZ’s notebooks indicate that here he also has in mind a discussion of the classic Book of Changes by Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China, vol. II: “With consummate art, the last kua [hexigram] of the series is not ‘Consummation’ or ‘Perfect Order,’ but ‘Disorder, potentially capable of perfection and order.’ One is tempted to exclaim, with Sir Thomas Browne, [quotes the last sentence above]. But for the Chinese, this mystical Order had no Ordainer” (310).
531.16-17: from the Dedicatory Epistle to The Garden of Cyrus: “Your discerning judgement, so well acquainted with that study, will expect herein no mathematical truths, as well understanding how few generalities and U finitas [Note: rules without exceptions] there are in nature […].” The editor adds a further note on U finitas that likely interested LZ: “This is, no doubt, an allusion to the well known and invariable rule in prosody,—”Postremo, U finita producuntur omnia” [Lastly, all words ending in u are made long],of which Browne here (most characteristically) avails himself in a proverbial sense.”
531.18 make their worst use of / time’s shortness: from Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696), Les Caractères de Théophraste, traduits du Grec, avec les caractères et les moeurs de ce siècle (1688-1696): “Those who make the worst use of time are the first to complain of its shortness.”
531.19 conceding the fletcher’s / mark—our ballads care little / who makes the laws: this is a well-known remark by Andrew Fletcher (1655-1716), Scottish statesman, that exists in a number of versions. However, LZ’s source is Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature (see 515.10), who seems to have slightly improved on the original: [speaking of the Book of Odes] “Confucius may indeed be said to have anticipated the apophthegm attributed by Fletcher of Saltown to a ‘very wise man,’ namely, that he who should be allowed to make a nation’s ‘ballads need care little who made its laws’” (13). A fletcher is an arrow-maker.
531.21 the / higher geometry dividing a circle…: through 531.24 from Sir Thomas Browne, The Garden of Cyrus (see 531.9): “Besides, a large number of leaves have five divisions, and may be circumscribed by a pentagon or figure of five angles, made by right lines from the extremity of their leaves, as in maple, vine, fig-tree; but five-leaved flowers are commonly disposed circularly about the stylus, according to the higher geometry of nature, dividing a circle by five radii, which concur not to make diameters, as in quadrilateral and sexangular intersections.”
531.24 not / necessary that the things a / sceptic proposes be consonant…: through 531.30 from Robert Boyle (1627-1691), The Sceptical Chymist (1661):
531.24-28: “And if there should appear any disagreement betwixt the things he delivers in divers passages, he hopes it will be considered, that it is not necessary that all the things a sceptic proposes should be consonant; since it being his work to suggest doubts against the opinion he questions, it is allowable for him to propose two or more several hypotheses about the same thing […]. And lastly, Carneades hopes he shall do the ingenious this piece of service, that by having thus drawn the chymists’ doctrine out of their dark and smokie laboratories, and both brought it into the open light, and shewn the weakness of their proofs, that have hitherto been wont to be brought for it, either judicious men shall henceforth be allowed calmly and after due information to disbelieve it, or those abler chymists, that are zealous for the reputation of it will be obliged to speak plainer than hitherto has been done, and maintain it by better experiments and arguments than those Carneades hath examined […].”
531.28: “[…] principles ought to be like diamonds, as well very clear as perfectly solid.” “I who had the good fortune to learn the operations from illiterate persons, upon whose credit I was not tempted to take up any opinion about them, should consider things with less prejudice, and consequently with other eyes than the generality of learners.”
531.29-30: “The water in its own form boiling and hissing at the ends of the burning wood betrays itself to more than one of our senses; and the ashes by their weight, their firiness, and their dryness, put it past doubt that they belong to the element of earth.”
531.31 to fare soul not bothering / my son’s the world paroles…: through 531.34 from Blaise Pascal (1623-1662).
531.31-32: from Pensées: “Je vois qu’ils ne m’aideraient pas a mourir, je mourrai seul, il faut donc faire comme si j’etais seul or, si j’etais seul, je ne batirais pas des maisons, je ne m’embarrasserais point dans des occupations tumultuaires, je ne chercherais l’estime de personne, mais je tacherais settlement a decouvrir la verite.” Probably found in Henry Adams, Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres (1913), Chap. 15, where translated: “I see that they would not help me to die, I shall die alone, I must then act as though alone, but if I were alone I should not build houses, I should not fret myself with bustling occupations, I should seek the esteem of no one, but I should try only to discover the truth.”
531,32: the world paroles / with words: apparently from Walter Pater (1839-1894), “Pascal” from Miscellaneous Studies, discussing the latter’s “Letters to a Provincial”: “He does not allow us to forget that he is, after all, a layman; while he introduces us, almost avowedly, into a world of unmeaning terms, and unreal distinctions and suppositions that can never be vertified. The world in general, indeed, se paye des paroles.”
531.33-34: pleasing Justice— / a meridian decides: from Pensées V.294, taken from Henry Adams, Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres (1913), Chap. 16: “[…] as Pascal says, ‘three degrees of polar elevation upset all jurisprudence; a meridian decides truth; fundamental laws change; rights have epochs. Pleasing Justice! bounded by a river or a mountain! truths of this side the Pyrenees! errors beyond!’”
531.34 To guard / the glories of a face…: through 531.38 from John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (1647-1680); LZ uses Rochester’s “Ode to Nothing” in TP 30:
531.34-35: from “A Pastoral Dialogue between Alexis and Strephon”:
The gods no sooner give a Grace,
But fond of their own Art,
Severely jealous, ever place
To guard the Glories of a Face
A Dragon in the Heart.
531.36-38: from “A Satyr against Reason and Mankind” (lines 8-9).
532.1 still the same as each / other without loss of truth: from Gottfried Leibnitz (1646-1716): “Things are the same as each other, of which one can be substituted for the other without loss of truth.” LZ found this definition of logical identity in Gottlob Frege, The Foundations of Arithmetic: A logico-mathematical enquiry into the concept of number, trans. J.L. Austin (1953).
532.3 Health’s one Thing, / moving the Earth . . a proposal…: through 532.8 from Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), A Tale of a Tub (1710); see also 23.561.29-35:
532.3: from the Preface: “There is a Problem in an ancient Author, why Dedications, and other Bundles of Flattery run all upon stale musty Topicks, without the smallest Tincture of anything New; not only to the torment and nauseating of the Christian Reader, but (if not suddenly prevented) to the universal spreading of that pestilent Disease, the Lethargy, in this Island: Whereas, there is very little Satyr which has not something in it untouch’d before. The Defects of the former are usually imputed to the want of Invention among those who are Dealers in that kind: But, I think, with a great deal of Injustice; the Solution being easie and natural. For, the Materials of panegyrick being very few in Number, have been long since exhausted: For, as Health is but one Thing, and has been always the same, whereas Diseases are by thousands, besides new and daily Additions: So, all the Virtues that have been ever in Mankind, are to be counted upon a few Fingers, but his Follies and Vices are innumerable, and Time adds hourly to the Heap.”
532.4: from Section I: “I am informed, Our two Rivals have lately made an Offer to enter into the Lists with united Forces, and Challenge us to a Comparison of Books, both as to Weight and Number. In Return to which, (with License from our President) I humbly offer two Answers: First, We say, the proposal is like that which Archimedes made upon a smaller Affair [Swift’s footnote: Viz. About moving the Earth], including an impossibility in the Practice; For where can they find Scales of Capacity enough for the first, or an Arithmetician of Capacity enough for the Second? Secondly, We are ready to accept the Challenge, but with this Condition, that a third indifferent Person be assigned, to whose impartial Judgment it shall be left to decide, which Society each Book, Treatise or Pamphlet do most properly belong to.”
532.5-6: from “An Apology For the, &c.”: “The dull, unwieldy, ill-shaped Ox would needs put on the Furniture of a Horse, not considering he was born to Labour, to plow the Ground for the Sake of superior Beings, and that he has neither the Shape, Mettle, nor Speed, of that nobler Animal he would affect to personate.”
532.7-8: Section XI: “Jack had not only calculated the first revolutions of his brain so prudently, as to give rise to that epidemic sect of Æolists, but succeeding also into a new and strange variety of conceptions, the fruitfulness of his imagination led him into certain notions, which, although in appearance very unaccountable, were not without their mysteries and their meanings, nor wanted followers to countenance and improve them. I shall therefore be extremely careful and exact in recounting such material passages of this nature as I have been able to collect, either from undoubted tradition, or indefatigable reading; and shall describe them as graphically as it is possible, and as far as notions of that height and latitude can be brought within the compass of a pen. Nor do I at all question, but they will furnish plenty of noble matter for such, whose converting imaginations dispose them to reduce all things into types; who can make shadows, no thanks to the sun, and then mould them into substances, no thanks to philosophy; whose peculiar talent lies in fixing tropes and allegories to the letter, and refining what is literal into figure and mystery.”
532.8 4 tones / teen: from Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, Vol 1: Introductory Orientations (1954), on a basic difficulty in the Chinese language: “Perhaps this very poverty of sounds in the developed language had some bearing on the difficulties of the Chinese in forming a terminology for science. […] To appreciate the situation one must realize that the 49,000 characters of the Khang-Hsi Tzu Tien [The Character Classic of Emperor Khang-Hsi, a classic dictionary from 1716] have thus only 412 sounds at their disposal. In practice this is mitigated by the four tones, which raise the number of available sounds to about 1280. There is, therefore, an average of some forty meanings to every sound” (36). Teen seems to have been suggested by a mispronunciation of Tien in the above title (Needham points out elsewhere that the modern Chinese word for “dictionary” develops from “tzu-tien” in the above title). LZ’s notebooks indicate he looked up “teen” in his Century Dictionary and discovered several obsolete meanings including to allot or bestow, used in Spenser’s Fairy Queen, and also to enclose or fence in, such as property.
532.8 blood’s tide, see 1.4.1.
532.9 to think / or panser, dress wounds or groom: from Voltaire (1694-1778) who on returning from exile in England (1726-1729) was asked by King Louis XV, “What did you learn over there?” and punningly responded, “To think, Sire” (penser, to think; panser, to groom horses or to dress wounds).
532.11 No, one cannot play / everything at first sight: from an anecdote on J.S. Bach found in A Bach Reader: Bach once remarked that “he really believed he could play anything without hesitating at the first sight,” but a friend discretely laid out a challenging piece music over which Bach stumbled and he admitted, “‘one cannot play everything at first sight; it is not possible’” (from J.N. Forke’s early biography of Bach).
532.12 (Old / Peruke—Sir, a piper?): from two Bach anecdotes. Bach’s son Johann Christian Bach apparently referred to his father as “that old peruke”; a peruke or periwig is that type of wig worn by men in the 17th and 18th centuries. In her diary, Fanny Burney recorded a remark by Samuel Johnson in response to a question about J.C. Bach who was performing in London: “And pray, Sir, who is Bach? is he a piper?” LZ found this in The Portable Johnson and Boswell (1947): 755.
532.13 Hardly / hell wit’s use: < Claude Adrien Helvétius (1715-1771), French philosopher, author of De l’espirit (On Mind) (1758).
532.14 I prefer / people say ‘it isn’t so / crazy as you might think— / we’re different species’: from Denis Diderot (1713-1784), Rameau’s Nephew and Other Works, translated by Jacques Barzun and Ralph H. Bowen. LZ is quoting from the introductory sections of this edition an 11 Sept. 1769 letter to Sophie Volland speaking about D’Alembert’s Dream: “It was, I think, a neat trick to put my ideas in the mouth of a man who is dreaming—one must often dress wisdom up as foolishness in order to procure it an entrée. I much prefer to have people say, ‘All the same, it isn’t so crazy as you might think,’ than ‘Pay attention to these words of wisdom I am about to utter.’” On Rameau’s Nephew: “For this we have confirmation from the best source—Rameau himself, whom Diderot represents as saying in divers ways: ‘My mode of life would not suit you, yours would not suit me. We belong to different species.’”
532.17 An historian’s / vindication: minute particulars of little / moment…: through 532.24 from Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), A Vindication of Some Passages in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Chapters of the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1779); see LZ’s extended use of the latter work at 15.370.17-373.32, see also 18.392.36-37 and Prep+ 42.
532.18: “I exhort, I solicit him to run his eye down the columns of Notes, and to count how many of the quotations are minute and particular, how few are vague and general” (Chap. I).
532.18-19: “The Public may not, perhaps, be very eager to assist Mr. Davis in his favourite amusement of depluming me. They may think, that if the materials which compose my two last chapters are curious and valuable, it is of little moment to whom they properly belong. If my readers are satisfied with the form, the colours, the new arrangement which I have given to the labours of my predecessors, they may perhaps consider me not as a contemptible Thief, but as an honest and industrious Manufacturer, who has fairly procured the raw materials, and worked them up with a laudable degree of skill and success” (Chap. XVII).
532.20-21: “In the consideration of any extensive subject, none will pretend to have read all that has been written, or to recollect all that they have read: nor is there any disgrace in recurring to the writers who have professionally treated any questions, which, in the course of a long narrative, we are called upon to mention in a slight and incidental manner” (Chap. XVII).
532.21-23: “Under these circumstances, it is the duty of an impartial judge to be counsel for the prisoner, who is incapable of making any defence for himself; and it is the first office of a counsel to examine with distrust and suspicion, the interested evidence of the accuser. Reason justifies the suspicion, and it is confirmed by the constant experience of modern History, in almost every instance where we have an opportunity of comparing the mutual complaints and apologies of the religious factions, who have disturbed each other’s happiness in this world, for the sake of securing it in the next” (Chap. XX).
532.23-24: “The spirit of resentment, and every other lively sensation, have long since been extinguished; and the pen would long since have dropped from my weary hand, had I not been supported in the execution of this ungrateful task, by the consciousness, or at least by the opinion, that I was discharging a debt of honour to the Public and to myself. I am impatient to dismiss, and to dismiss FOR EVER, this odious controversy, with the success of which I cannot surely be elated; and I have only to request, that, as soon as my Readers are convinced of my innocence, they would forget my Vindication” (Chap. XX).
532.24 Bawling / inhuman unison: from Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Notes on the State of Virginia, Chap. XIII: Constitution: “What clause in our constitution has substituted that of Rome, by way of residuary provision, for all cases not otherwise provided for? Or if they may step ad libitum into any other form of government for precedents to rule us by, for what oppression may not a precedent be found in this world of the ballum omnium in omnia?” This Latin phrase, meaning the war of all against all, misprints bellum in the edition LZ evidently used, The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson, eds Adrienne Koch & William Peden (1944). Aside from this homophonic suggestion, inhuman unison, may also have been suggested by a passage in Charles Darwin’s Autobiography (see next note): “[…] of late years, though I still have very friendly feelings toward many persons, I have lost the power of becoming deeply attached to anyone, […] as I should formerly have been.”
532.25 study affinity, ciliate / animal strains: from Charles Darwin (1809-1882), a remark among stray notes of 1837-38 found in an edition of the Autobiography (see preceding note, 532.21 and 23.562.32), edited by Nora Barlow (1958): “range and geological general works—systematize and study affinities.”
From the Autobiography, Darwin’s descriptions of his earliest scientific discovery: “This was that the so-called Flustra had the power of independent movement by means of cilia [tiny hair-like projections], and were in fact larvae.”
532.26 the angel philosophizes / paths bordered with nevergreen: from Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799), Aphorisms; line 532.27 quotes a complete aphorism, while the preceding phase is probably from: “If an angel were to tell us about his philosophy, I believe many of his statements might well sound like ‘2 x 2 = 13’” (trans. Franz H. Mautner & Henry Hatfield).
532.28 taste bud savors go / of a thing: apparently from a review in the New York Times Book Review for 6 Feb. 1972 by Robert S. Pirie and Richard Sennett of a new edition of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste, Or Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy (1825), trans. M.F.K. Fisher: “It begin with the chemistry of frying, then shows the emotional metaphor the chemistry produces—frying is a way to ‘surprise’ food by sealing in flavors before they escape under heat.”
532.29 mort trumpets: LZ’s notebooks indicate this was suggested, at least in part, by Karl Marx, Capital, preface to the 1st edition (1867): “Alongside of modern evils, a whole series of inherited evils oppress us, arising from the passive survival of antiquated modes of production, with their inevitable train of social and political anachronisms. We suffer not only from the living, but from the dead. Le mort saisit le vif!” The French phrase means: The dead seize the living. See below 532.30-33.
532.30 whale has its louse: from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), via Charles Darwin, Autobiography (1887); see 23.562.32. In response to a virulent review of Darwin’s edition of work by his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, “Huxley consoled me by quoting some German lines from Goethe, who had been attacked by some one, to the effect ‘that every Whale has its Louse.’”
532.31 tragic multiplies farce value is / simple: from Karl Marx (1818-1883). First, the famous opening to The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852): “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce” (see also 523.33 below). Secondly, from the 1867 Preface to Capital: “The value-form, whose fully developed shape is the money-form, is very elementary and simple” (cf. “A”-12.207.25-32).
532.32 heartened in water crystallizing / pure crystal: from John Tyndall, Faraday as a Discoverer (1868); Tyndall (1820-1893) was a major physicist in his own right: “[Faraday] loved to show that water in crystallizing excluded all foreign ingredients, however intimately they might be mixed with it. Out of acids, alkalis, or saline solutions, the crystal came sweet and pure. By some such natural process in the formation of this man, beauty and nobleness coalesced, to the exclusion of everything vulgar and low. He did not learn his gentleness in the world, for he withdrew himself from its culture; and still this land of England contained no truer gentleman than he. Not half his greatness was incorporate in his science, for science could not reveal the bravery and delicacy of his heart.”
532.33 cóntent beyond phase: from Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (see 523.31): “The social revolution of the nineteenth century cannot draw its poetry from the past, but only from the future. It cannot make a beginning until it has stripped off all superstition of the past. Earlier revolutions required world-historical recollections in order to drug themselves concerning their own content. In order to arrive at its own content, the revolution of the nineteenth century must let the dead bury their dead. There the phrase went beyond the content; here the content goes beyond the phrase.”
532.34 Between grape bay and hungry / bay wind song and sea / foam…: Grape Bay and Hungry Bay are in the Paget area along the south shore of Bermuda where the Zukofskys spent a vacation in Jan. 1972, details from which appear throughout the following pages through 534.20. Apparently they stayed in a beach cottage named Sea Foam, next to another named Wind Song (Leggott 299). Among LZ’s papers is a tourist pamphlet giving factual and historical information on Bermuda that LZ draws on (HRC 36.1). LZ’s notes indicate they visited the botanical gardens, from which the flora details derive. While on this trip they received news by cable that LZ’s sister Fanny Wand (b. 1888) had died on 15 Jan., which accounts for the tears at 533.6 and grief at 534.13 (Leggott 121).
533.5 we’re freed by silence: from interview with Herbert Marcuse, “Marcuse Defines His New Left Line,” in New York Times Magazine, 27 Oct. 1968: “There is no free society without silence, […]. If there is neither private life […] nor solitude in a Socialist society—well, it is not yet a Socialist society! Not yet.”
533.9 all eyes: from Shakespeare, The Tempest IV.i.59: “No tongue! All eyes! Be silent,” which appears ubiquitously throughout Bottom, see note at 38.
533.9 pageant / bay inlet…: see 532.34.
533.12 sorrows dissolve—human: this is apparently worked from a phrase in a 30 Dec. 1968 letter LZ wrote to Cid Corman responding to the recent deaths of both Corman’s father and Thomas Merton; the relevant sentence is quoted in Leggott 391, also Scroggins Bio 407).
533.16 quincunx: see 531.9.
533.17 in town: Hamilton, the major city and port of Bermuda, a short distance from Paget.
533.21 lily-turf (snakebeard…: a grass-like form of evergreen that grows in clumps; common names include mondo grass, lily-turf and snakebeard.
533.26 discount / banking…: Bermuda has a long history of off-shore banking and as a tax haven.
533.28 extinct volcanic island: although famous as a coral reef atoll, Bermuda is actually formed from a long extinct volcano.
533.32 comedians bowing out of the / theatre: from James B. Mellow, “The World of Edward Hopper,” New York Times for 5 Sept. 1971: “‘Two Comedians’ is probably Hopper’s most mordant commentary on a number of his chosen themes—the remorseless human comedy, the theater as an abiding image of life, the artificiality of nature, his own long marital life. It depicts a man and a woman in clown costumes bowing out before the last curtain […].”
534.11 the cable / […] grief […] / sister: see note at 532.34.
534.15 . . beyond the laboratory brain . . : this is the final phrase of an essay by Henry James, “Is There a Life After Death?” (1910), from which LZ also quotes at 13.265.13-20: “If I am talking, at all events, of what I ‘like’ to think I may, in short, say all: I like to think it open to me to establish speculative and imaginative connections, to take up conceived presumptions and pledges, that have for me all the air of not being decently able to escape redeeming themselves. And when once such a mental relation to the question as that begins to hover and settle, who shall say over what fields of experience, past and current, and what immensities of perception and yearning, it shall not spread the protection of its wings? No, no, no—I reach beyond the laboratory-brain.” Originally published in Harper’s Bazaar and then collected with essays by various prominent writers on the question of the future life in In After Days: Thoughts on the Future Life (1910). It is perhaps worth noting that almost all the quotations from Henry James scattered throughout LZ’s works refer to stories that deal in one way or another with the persistence of the dead among or in the living.
534.21 Mist, summit disembodied lake…: at this point the scene shifts from Bermuda to Bellagio, northern Italy, situated on the promontory (535.5) at the point where Lake Como divides into two branches (535.3). The Zukofskys spent 9 Nov.-14 Dec. 1972 on a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship at the Villa Serballoni, which sits above the town overlooking the branches of the lake and has a large garden mentioned later in the movement.
534.23 these our actors . . Ayre . .: from Shakespeare, The Tempest IV.1:
Prospero: Our Reuels now are ended: These our actors,
(As I foretold you) were all Spirits, and
Are melted into Ayre, into thin Ayre,
And like the baselesse fabricke of this vision
The Clowd-capt Towres, the gorgeous Pallaces,
The solemne Temples, the great Globe it selfe,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolue,
And like this insubstantiall Pageant faded
Leaue not a racke behinde: we are such stuffe
As dreames are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleepe:
534.24 ‘if I / met that voice I’d die / of fear’: from remark by Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) in correspondence speaking of Shakespeare: “If I were to see Shakespeare in person, I should die of fear!” (Si je voyais Shakespeare en personne, je crèverais de peur!).
534.30 Leo’d hear again 100 forearms / perpendicularly fuming milk noise down: from the Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (see 529.20f); a brief entry describing Bellagio on Lake Como where the Zukofskys were staying in late 1972 (see note at 534.21): “Opposite the castle Bellaggio there is the river Latte, which falls from a height of more than 100 braccia from the source whence it springs, perpendicularly, into the lake with an inconceivable roar and noise.” It. braccia = arms; It. latte = milk; fuming is probably suggested by It. fiume (from Fiume Latte) = river.
534.32 ride horses look straight between / their ears…: through at least 535.5 from Stendhal (1783-1842), The Charterhouse of Parma; the connection here is that Stendhal’s protagonist, Fabrizio del Dongo, grew up on Lake Como (see note at 534.21), and the novel includes descriptive details that have been worked into this and the following stanza.
534.32-535.2: “[Fabrizio] remembered most opportunely a favourite saying of his mother’s coachman: ‘When you’ve been lifting your elbow, look straight between your horse’s ears, and do what the man next you does’” (Chap. 3).
535.3-5: “The Contessa set out to revisit, with Fabrizio, all those enchanting spots in the neighbourhood of Grianta, which travellers have made so famous: the Villa Melzi on the other shore of the lake, opposite the castle, and commanding a fine view of it; higher up, the sacred wood of the Sfrondata, and the bold promontory which divides the two arms of the lake, that of Como, so voluptuous, which the most famous site in the world, the Bay of Naples, may equal, but does not surpass” (Chap. 2).
“But there was a spectacle which spoke with a more living voice to Fabrizio’s soul: from the campanile his gaze shot down to the two branches of the lake, at a distance of several leagues, and this sublime view soon made him forget all the others; it awakened in him the most lofty sentiments. All the memories of his childhood came crowding to besiege his mind; and this day which he spent imprisoned in a belfry was perhaps one of the happiest days of his life” (Chap. 9; trans. C.K. Scott-Moncrieff).
535.6 fief rockfalls: probably a sly allusion to the fact that the Villa Serbelloni is the property of the Rockefeller Foundation.
535.8 black hellebore…: a plant of the genus Helleborus, of the natural order Ranunculaceae, particularly H. niger, the black hellebore or Christmas rose, a native of southwestern Europe (CD). LZ gives in the following lines a perfectly factual description of the flower, which is in fact white but called black because most species are poisonous; is an evergreen, has short stems, flowers in the middle of winter, and although the flowers resemble wild roses, botanically they are not.
535.13 a peasant gardener’s attention…: according to Leggott (300, 403), this is a gardener, Mario Ferrario, at the Villa Serbelloni (see 534.21), which has famous and extensive gardens.
535.15 iberis: a genus of cruciferous plants, consisting of annual, perennial, and shrubby species, distinguished by having the two outer petals larger then the others; most species are native to the Mediterranean and believed to have medicinal properties against rheumatism, gout and other diseases; probably from L. Iberia, Spain (CD).
535.15 evonymous: a shrub.
535.19 a nerve’s aching respond to / energies not itself: from Norbert Weiner, Cybernetics (see note at 509.17), combined with Henry James, A London Life (see quotation at 509.28):
“[speaking of the development of nerve research:] And so it permitted us to move the final elements of the recording device by the use of energy not emanating from the nerve but controlled by it” (182).
535.23 cento: a patchwork; in music and literature a composition made up of a selection from the work of various authors or composers, a pasticcio, a medley (CD; Ahearn 188).
535.27 still-vext Bermoothes . . where / once thou call’dst me up…: from Shakespeare, The Tempest I.ii (Shakespeare used a contemporary account of Bermuda as partial inspiration for this play):
Ariel: Safely in harbour
Is the king’s ship; in the deep nook, where once
Thou call’dst me up at midnight to fetch dew
From the still-vex’d Bermoothes, there she’s hid:
The mariners all under hatches stow’d;
Who, with a charm join’d to their suffer’d labour,
I have left asleep […]
535.30 an arm embraces: as Leggott suggests this arm suggests a C and therefore CZ (66); see in particular the repeated phrase “with seas [Cs] in arms of landscape” that appears three times at “A”-12 (12.183.2, 187.8 and 213.26), also 13.312.22-30.