Poem introduction

Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (Parts 4 and 5)


These fought in any case,
and some believing
pro domo, in any case...

Died some, pro patria,
walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men's lies, then unbelieving
came home, home to a lie,
home to many deceits,
home to old lies and new infamy;
usury age-old and age-thick
and liars in public places.

Daring as never before, wastage as never before.
Young blood and high blood,
fair cheeks, and fine bodies;

fortitude as never before

frankness as never before,
disillusions as never told in the old days,
hysterias, trench confessions,
laughter out of dead bellies.


There died a myriad,
And of the best, among them,
For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
For a botched civilization.

Charm, smiling at the good mouth,
Quick eyes gone under earth's lid,

For two gross of broken statues,
For a few thousand battered books.

from Personae: Collected Shorter Poems (Faber, 1952), copyright © 1926 by Ezra Pound, by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. Recording used by permission of the BBC.