Canto 1 Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis

Rhyme Scheme: ABACBDDEBFEGEHFIJJJA KBEJBJLJJMEJJNJJJKBB JEOJEPBKPQBJJBBRJ KBEKEJSJJTJEUJTBKJB

And then went down to the shipA
Set keel to breakers forth on the godly sea andB
We set up mast and sail on that swart shipA
Bore sheep aboard her and our bodies alsoC
Heavy with weeping and winds from sternwardB
Bore us onward with bellying canvasD
Crice's this craft the trim coifed goddessD
Then sat we amidships wind jamming the tillerE
Thus with stretched sail we went over sea till day's endB
Sun to his slumber shadows o'er all the oceanF
Came we then to the bounds of deepest waterE
To the Kimmerian lands and peopled citiesG
Covered with close webbed mist unpierced everE
With glitter of sun raysH
Nor with stars stretched nor looking back from heavenF
Swartest night stretched over wreteched men thereI
The ocean flowing backward came we then to the placeJ
Aforesaid by CirceJ
Here did they rites Perimedes and EurylochusJ
And drawing sword from my hipA
I dug the ell square pitkinK
Poured we libations unto each the deadB
First mead and then sweet wine water mixed with white flourE
Then prayed I many a prayer to the sickly death's headsJ
As set in Ithaca sterile bulls of the bestB
For sacrifice heaping the pyre with goodsJ
A sheep to Tiresias only black and a bell sheepL
Dark blood flowed in the fosseJ
Souls out of Erebus cadaverous dead of bridesJ
Of youths and of the old who had borne muchM
Souls stained with recent tears girls tenderE
Men many mauled with bronze lance headsJ
Battle spoil bearing yet dreory armsJ
These many crowded about me with shoutingN
Pallor upon me cried to my men for more beastsJ
Slaughtered the herds sheep slain of bronzeJ
Poured ointment cried to the godsJ
To Pluto the strong and praised ProserpineK
Unsheathed the narrow swordB
I sat to keep off the impetuous impotent deadB
Till I should hear TiresiasJ
But first Elpenor came our friend ElpenorE
Unburied cast on the wide earthO
Limbs that we left in the house of CirceJ
Unwept unwrapped in the sepulchre since toils urged otherE
Pitiful spirit And I cried in hurried speechP
Elpenor how art thou come to this dark coastB
Cam'st thou afoot outstripping seamenK
And he in heavy speechP
Ill fate and abundant wine I slept in Crice's ingleQ
Going down the long ladder unguardedB
I fell against the buttressJ
Shattered the nape nerve the soul sought AvernusJ
But thou O King I bid remember me unwept unburiedB
Heap up mine arms be tomb by sea bord and inscribedB
A man of no fortune and with a name to comeR
And set my oar up that I swung mid fellowsJ
-
And Anticlea came whom I beat off and then Tiresias ThebanK
Holding his golden wand knew me and spoke firstB
A second time why man of ill starE
Facing the sunless dead and this joyless regionK
Stand from the fosse leave me my bloody beverE
For soothsayJ
And I stepped backS
And he strong with the blood said then OdysseusJ
Shalt return through spiteful Neptune over dark seasJ
Lose all companions Then Anticlea cameT
Lie quiet Divus I mean that is Andreas DivusJ
In officina Wecheli out of HomerE
And he sailed by Sirens and thence outwards and awayU
And unto CriceJ
VenerandamT
In the Cretan's phrase with the golden crown AphroditeB
Cypri munimenta sortita est mirthful oricalchi with goldenK
Girdle and breat bands thou with dark eyelidsJ
Bearing the golden bough of Argicidia So thatB

Ezra Pound



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