From Roger Ebert’s Journal: Ezra Pound also wrote a poem about the Lake Isle of Innisfree. And shared a cottage with Yeats.
Ezra Pound shared a cottage with W B Yeats during a period of three years. It seems that he didn’t share Yeats’ ambition to end up living alone on an island in the middle of a lake.
I posted on Yeats’ Innisfree a while back, but that’s not why I’m posting Ezra Pound’s poem. My previous post featured the statuary group of Mercury, Minerva and Hercules.
Coincidentally, Hendrik Goltzius painted a series of three paintings, depicting Mercury, Minerva and Hercules.
Mercury is a busy Roman god. At left he is a patron of the arts. At Grand Central he is a patron of finance. And at The Lake Isle he is a patron of thieves!
The Lake Isle
O GOD, O Venus, O Mercury, patron of thieves,
Give me in due time, I beseech you, a little tobacco-shop,
With the little bright boxes piled up neatly upon the shelves
And the loose fragrant cavendish and the shag,
And the bright Virginia loose under the bright glass cases,
And a pair of scales not too greasy,
And the volailles dropping in for a word or two in passing,
For a flip word, and to tidy their hair a bit.
O God, O Venus, O Mercury, patron of thieves,
Lend me a little tobacco-shop,
or install me in any profession
Save this damn’d profession of writing,
where one needs one’s brains all the time.
The Lake Isle
NOTE: Roger makes sure we know that in this case ‘volailles’ means ‘whore,’ as if we couldn’t figure that out. His post included a Spoken Verse reading of The Lake Isle. This post does, too.