Mercury (as the personification of painting) Hendrick Goltzius, 1611

Mercury (as the personification of painting) Hendrick Goltzius, 1611

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.

 

 

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