Canto VII commentary

These fragments you have shelved (shored).

Paraphrase from Eliot’s “Waste Land.”
Both Ez and Tom felt European culture
only survived in “fragments” after World War I.
Eliot thought they cd be “shored” [rescued]
Ez worries they might only get “shelved” [preserved.]
Cf MAKE IT NEW theme from Emperor Ching later.

 “Slut!”  “Bitch!”  Truth and Calliope
Slanging each other sous les lauriers:

Who gets the laurel: fact [Truth] or the Muse
of Epic Poetry? Ez ain’t sure. Cf opening
of Canto II: which Sordello “is” the “real”

That Alessandro was negroid. 

Alessando de Medici again, still more full of life
than 1919 London, bringing another fact
or rumor with him.

            And Malatesta
             Frater tamquam
Et compater carissime: tergo
                               …hanni de

The hero of the next four Cantos appears as
part of a mostly ruined document….
sorta like the letter containing all history
found in the garbage dump in Finnegans Wake.

And suddenly Sigismundo speaks directly to us
in “his own words” of at least in Ez’s invention
of a kind of English isomorphic to Sigd’s
15 Century aristocrat/soldier Italian:

Equivalent to:
                               Giohanni of the Medici,
Letter received, and in the matter of our Messire Gianozio,
One from him also, sent on in form and with all due dispatch,
Having added your wishes and memoranda.
As to arranging peace between you and the King of Ragona,
So far as I am concerned, it wd.
Give me the greatest possible pleasure,
At any rate nothing wd. give me more pleasure
    or be more acceptable to me,
And I shd. like to be party to it, as was promised me,
            either as participant or adherent.
As for my service money,
Perhaps you and your father wd. draw it
And send it on to me as quickly as possible.

They all wrote with unction and
lubricating oil in those days
even when asking to be paid;
but Sigismundo will surprise us:

And tell the Maestro di pentore
that there can be no question of
His painting the walls for the moment,
As the mortar is not yet dry
And it wd. be merely work chucked away
                 (buttato via)
But I want it to be quite clear, that until the chapels are ready
I will arrange for him to paint something else
So that both he and I shall
Get as much enjoyment as possible from it,
And in order that he may enter my service
And also because you write me that he needs cash,
I want to arrange with him to give him so much per year
And to assure him that he will get the sum agreed on.
You may say that I will deposit security
For him wherever he likes.
And let me have a clear answer,
For I mean to give him good treatment
So that he may come to live the rest
Of his life in my lands –
Unless you put him off it –
And for this I mean to make due provision,
So that he can work as he likes,
Or waste his time as he likes
(affatigandose per suo piacere o no
non gli manchera la provixione mai)
                                               never lacking provision.
                 In campo Illus. Domini Venetorum die 7
                 aprilis 1449 contra Cremonam

Sigd wrote that age 32 after 19 years as a professional
soldier-for-hire [yeah, he started at 13];|
his attitude toward artists much pleased Ez
and, as we shall shortly learn, wd please Kungfutse too

The money Sigd earned as killer-for-hire
went largely to creating the monument he
left behind, the  first Pagan temple built
in Itay in 1000 years, Tempio Malatesta

Pound’s Voluntarist Economics differs from
Deterministic Economics in positing creative
leaps of intelligence as ‘chaotic’ factors

 . . . . . and because the aforesaid most illustrious
Duke of Milan
Is content and wills that the aforesaid Lord Sigismundo
Go into the service of the most magnificent commune
of the Florentines
For alliance defensive of the two states,
Therefore between the aforesaid Illustrious Sigismund
And the respectable man Agnolo della Stufa,
                        ambassador, sindic and procurator
Appointed by the ten of the baily, etc., the half
Of these 50,000 florins, free of attainder,
For 1400 cavalry and four hundred foot
To come into the terrene of the commune
                        or elsewhere in Tuscany
As please the ten of the Baily,
And to be himself there with them in the service
of the commune
With his horsemen and his footmen
                   (gente di cavollo e da pie) etc.
Aug. 5 1452, register of the Ten of the Baily.

Even in documents as “dusty” as this Ez helps us
see the meaning of the STYLE: these guys sure
wuz perlite even about minute details…
sorta like the Confucian rulers we’ll meet later

From the forked rocks of Penna and Billi, on Carpegna
with the road leading under the cliff,
                        in the wind-shelter into Tuscany,
And the north road, toward the Marecchia
                        the mud-stretch full of cobbles.

Ez and Hemingway went over the scenes of Sigd’s
most famous battles, with Hem explaining military
details to the Quaker-raised Ez. Soomehow,
the above Imagist impressonism emoiged

” Ye spirits who of olde were in this land
Each under Love, and shaken,
Go with your lutes, awaken
The summer within her mind,
Who hath not Helen for peer
                  Yseut nor Batsabe.”

An early poem by Sigismundo; Ez stresses
the troubadour [Eleanor] influence.

With the interruption:

[always interruptions. Sigd lived that kind
of life….]

            Magnifico, compater et carissime
            (Johanni di Cosimo)
Venice has taken me on again
            At 7,000 a month, fiorini di Camera.
For 2,000 horse and four hundred footmen,
And it rains here by the gallon,
We have had to dig a new ditch.
In three or four days
I shall try to set up the bombards.

“I sing eternal war between light and mud”–Canto 73
Light and joy again:

Under the plumes, with the flakes and small wads of colour
Showering from the balconies
With the sheets spread from windows,
            with leaves and small branches pinned on them,
Arras hung from the railings; out of the dust,
With pheasant tails upright on their forelocks,
            The small white horses, the
Twelve girls riding in order, green satin in pannier’d habits;
Under the baldachino, silver’d with heavy stitches,
Bianca Visconti, with Sforza,
The peasant’s son and the duchess,
To Rimini, and to the wars southward,
Boats drawn on the sand, red-orange sails in the creek’s mouth,
For two days’ pleasure, mostly “la pesca,” fishing,
Di cui in the which he, Francesco, godeva molto.
            To the war southward
In which he, at that time, received an excellent hiding.

Best imagist outburst since Canto 2….

And the Greek emperor was in Florence
            (Ferrara having the pest)
And with him Gemisthus Plethon
Talking of the war about the temple at Delphos,
And of POSEIDON, concret Allgemeine,

Florence hosted a meeting between the Pope and
the Patriarch  of the Eastern Church, and there
Sigd met Gemisto Plethon, a neo-pagan
philosopher who profoundly impressed him.

Gemisto conceived “the sea” and/or the “sea-god”
as concrete abstractions, things you can experience
but still not totally concrete — e.g. the sea
changes every nanosecond but Poiseiden, Lyr,
So-Shu, the concrete images of the sea
reveal a form behind the metamorphoses

Many commentators believe Gemisto’s ideas
about seagods inspired the aquatic emphasis
of the Tempio Malatesta

And telling of how Plato went to Dionysius of Syracuse
Because he had observed that tyrants
Were most efficient in all that they set their hands to,
But he was unable to persuade Dionysius
To any amelioration.

I can’t read this  without thinking about poor
idealistic Ez trying to sell his ideas to Mussolini…..
but we leap ahead to Sigd’s chaotic & tragic
last years:

And in the gate at Ancona, between the foregate
And the main-gates
Sigismundo, ally, come through an enemy force,
To patch up some sort of treaty, passes one gate
And they shut it before they open the next gate, and he says:
“Now you have me,
           Caught lke a hen in a coop.”
And the captain of the watch says: “Yes Messire Sigismundo,
But we want this town for ourselves.”
            With the church against him, 

[for heresy and paganism]

With the Medici bank for itself,   
With wattle Sforza against him
Sforza Francesco, wattle-nose,
Who married him (Sigismundo) his (Francesco’s)
Daughter in September,
Who stole Pesaro in October (as Broglio says “bestialmente“),
Who stood with the Venetians in November,
With the Milanese in December,
Sold Milan in November, stole Milan in December
Or something of that sort,
Commanded the Milanese in the spring,
the Venetians at midsummer,
The Milanese in the autumn,
And was Naples’ ally in October,
            He, Sigismundo, templum aedificavit


In Romagna, teeming with cattle thieves,
            with the game lost in mid-channel,
And never quite lost till’ 50,
            and never quite lost till the end, in Romagna,
So that Galeaz sold Pesaro “to get pay for his cattle.”

And Poictiers, you know, Guillaume Poictiers,
            had brought the song up out of Spain
with the singers and viels.  But here they wanted a setting.
By Marecchia, where the water comes down over the cobbles
And Mastin had come to Verucchio,
            and the sword, Paolo il Bello’s,
            caught in the arras
And, in Este’s house, Parisina
For this tribe paid always,

She paid with more than money. Story
comes later.

and the house
Called also Atreides’,
And the wind is still for a little
And the dusk rolled
            to one side a little
And he was twelve at the time, Sigismundo,
And no dues had been paid for three years,
And his elder brother gone pious;
And that year they fought in the streets,
And that year he got out to Cesena
            And brought back the levies,
And that year he crossed by night over Foglia, and…

Some consider Sigismundo one of the worst
monsters of the Rennaisance; some consider
him its most maligned hero. I think Ez
presents him as a case in the development
of Western Individualism
another heir of Odysseus
OUTSIDE Dante’s categories
a one man hell/purgatory/paradiso

But we have 3 more canti about him
coming at us

Truth or Calliope?
Which the slut, which the bitch?

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