Canto XXXII (partial) commentary

The revolution,’said Mr Adams,
‘Took place in the minds of the people.’

A very umportant idea to Ez, which explains why he
repeats it in Canto 50.
He called his notions “voluntarist economics” as distinct
feom Marx’s materialist economics.
Anyway, in Adams’ day it did not qualify as wishful thinking to assume the people had minds.

…..deem it necessary to keep them down by hard labour, poverty,
and to take from them, as from bees, so much of their earnings
as that unremitting labour shall be necessary to obtain a
sufficient surplus
barely to sustain a scant life. And these earnings
they apply to maintain their privileged orders in splendour and
to fascinate the eyes of the people….as to an order of superior
June 12, í23 to Judge Johnson

Jeff, as already noted, not likely to succeed in American
politics today.

whether in a stye, stable or state-room,
let everything bend before them and banish whatever might
lead them to think….and thus are become as mere animals..
Cannibals of Europe are eating one another again…

More of letter to Johnson; ‘stye’ and ‘stable’ recall
Canto 2 [greed leading by reverse evolution to animal level]

…whether in a stye, a stable or in a stateroom….
Louis Sixteenth was a fool
The King of Spain was a fool, the King of Naples a fool
they dispatched two couriers weekly to tell each other, over a
thousand miles
what they had killed…..the King of Sardinia
was, like all the Bourbons, a fool, the
Portuguese Queen a Braganza and therefore by nature an idiot,
The successor to Frederic of Prussia, a mere hog
in body and mind, Gustavus and Joseph of Austria
were as you know really crazy, and George 3d was in
a straight waistcoat,

there remained none but old Catherine, too lately picked

In “The Jefferson-Adams Letters as Shrine and Monument” [SELECTED PROSE, New Directions,1972]
Ez paises Tom and John for not feeling inferior to
European intellectuals [see Canto 31] or European


a guisa de leon
The cannibals of Europe are eating one another again
quando si posa.

Jefferson wrapped around by Dante’s lines comparing
Sordello to a crouching lion. [Pound shared Dante’s high
regard for Sordello.] I think Ez regarded Jeff’s prose
and Sordello’s songs as comparable in concision and

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