March 9th, 1980, Serial No. 01883

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The bruised and sullen wreck. Sunlight to be diffused for that. Sunlight, neat which a scum at first, a million fibers of our chokeweed nursed, disspread themselves mantling the troubled main, and, shattered by those rocks, took hold again, so kindly blazed it, that same blaze, to brood o'er every cluster of the multitude, still hazarding new clasps, ties, filaments, an emulous exchange of pulses, vents of nature into nature, till some growth, unfancied yet, exuberantly clothe a surface solid now, continuous one. Now, on the surface purposes of the poem, this is describing a growth forward of complex and tumultuous uprising of the crowd following the emperor and calling upon the emperor


to come, and the other side, the pope, for us the people, so we have us the people where I say they were they all the time, once within quotes, the pope, for us the people who began the people, carries on the people thus, to keep the kaiser off and dwell with us, see you, or say two principles that live each, now in the two principles we're right back at that fault, that earthquake that must divide from things, continuously divide things, and it's other motive is not only these cleavages, the broken sentence, Browning is the master, the trouble of the Browning syntax, he's the master of the broken subject, the broken sentence, the broken, and repeated earthquake juts, and he also argues, right now I don't know in this poem where he argues, but because this I've gotten from a couple of, from other


conversations of these scholars, one of the great arguments he has against the arrogance of the poets who call upon the sea, I mean Browning with a great score about here I am, he has in a caricature of the poetry of his period, though I think I was blushing a bit as I read this caricature, because I'm always exulting in the glories and whatever, but Browning doesn't mind thunderous sea, but what he, what really got him was, here I am, we are me, to see the smallness of man, beside the vastness of the sea, and the tremendousness of the stars, and the great and whirling orders, thank God today when we open up physics we don't find great and whirling orders when we look at the stars, because that scene's been blown forever, so it looks as messy as we do, and the universe is somewhat back together again, given until they get another great and glorious order, but frequently in Duncanland you've got, well I usually have just the glee of getting up, but all that


grandeur that one could immediately have from sea, or heavens particularly, Browning is not really like the starry wastes, when they meant, when they demeaned man as being possibly the universe that you were going to address, or you were in, or your immediate business, one has, they were used, how vast that is, and how nowhere man is, or what a little pygmy this is. But let's read this again, because you can see it right away contained in here, even more vividly than when he strikes out against the monolithic sea, that the sea's there and yet choking with them, choking and broken with the same forces that Manton would be for Robert Browning, that his own mind, and certainly the poem immediately became for him. It is really a picture of what it's like, of how it moves to be in a Robert Browning construction. Cliffs, if I come to a period I'll tell you. Okay, so you get an idea of


how it comes together. But he writes by paragraph, so let's give the paragraph. The paragraph begins at 2.05 and ends at 2.37. And the Emperor to Come, it's an enfolded paragraph, because it just follows what cry? All right, but it's a paragraph, and it really designates him. The Emperor to Come, his crowd of feudatories, all and some, that leapt down with a crash of swords, spears, shields. One fighter on his fellow to our field scattered anon, took station here and there, and carried it till now with little care, cannot but cry for him. How else rebut us longer? Question. Okay, we got sentence number one in the paragraph. Cliffs, an earthquake suffered jut in the mid-sea, each domineering crest which not save


such another throw can rest from out, conceive. A certain choke-wood tweed grown since o'er the waters, twine and dangle thrown too thick, too fast accumulating round, too sure to over-riot and confound there long each brilliant eyeless with itself, and let a second shock save shoal and shell. Whirling the sin-sea drift wide, alas, the bruised and sullen wreck, send sunlight to be diffused for that, for that, not question, for that. Sunlight, neath which a scum at first the million fibres of our choke-weed nurse dis-spread themselves, mantling the troubled main, and, shattered by those rocks, took hold again, so kindly blazed it, that same blaze to brood o'er every cluster of the multitude still hazarding new clasps, ties, filaments, and emulous exchange of pulses, vents, of nature


into nature, till some growth, unfancied yet, exuberantly clothe a surface solid now, continuous one, colon, quotes, the Pope, for us the people who begun the people, carries on the people thus, to keep that Kaiser off, and dwell with us, end quote, see you? And then the paragraphs say the two principles. It's not at odds with itself, but it is also this that seems to me the syntax of dream, because it isn't really ambiguity we've got here, we've got things choked together and ripped apart by earthquakes. The ambiguity is conceptual in a way, and, for instance, when we draw it, we've got a choice of figures, but this violent action and growth, and intergrowth, intertwining growth. Tangle, which is very different, that's something Empson does not address. Empson and his generation, when they


turn to it, can read magnificently in Tangle. I mean, they're very good readers. But the fact that he was interested in ambiguity is a problem that does not, I mean, the ambiguities when they appear, and Robert Browning is what I'm getting at, the ambiguity of whether it is, for instance, the authorial voice, or Robert Browning's voice, or the ambiguities that can come up in the U and V, are one of the modes, but the other mode is one of fracture, fault, vein, and all of those dimensions, and then you see, once you think about fracture, fault, and vein, that all the intertwining, binding, filament thing is the same thing. All look exactly like the same thing. The veins look like filament. And you come to clasps, ties, filament. It's like our word cleft. I cleave, I mean, the word cleave means


to cut and to be joined in one. And a cleavage is both seeing that the two things are together and that the two things are clasped. It's splice. Does splice also mean two? The splice, two things together, right, splice. So we're reading spliced first, and we're not used to reading it. Think about Olson, for instance, and I mean, no wonder I turn to this because actually, I would, my poetry would present some problems that are very similar to Robert Browning. For one thing, when I articulate sentences into phrases, that's not in order to make it easier at all, but the phrases are cut away from syntax so that one phrase belongs as much to the preceding one as it does to the following one, and no choice can


be made. And so it says a series of things that would otherwise be a paradox, but are not a paradox because they're coexistences in which you can make no decision and which say different things. And these meshings in Browning, he gets into, by the way, of course, he gets into this tangle, and he addresses the tangle absolutely directly in this. I mean, his sense of his own writing, he's better in this passage describing what the critics, describing the critics' problem than the critics were. And he wholly addresses it, addresses it, I mean, he sees it, of course, he makes us see it. We can't do anything about it, and you can see how few we're going to turn to get into Tordello. The First Place is not a masterpiece. No one in the world, I mean, we aren't, I'm not correcting an oversight. We're getting into a poem that was experienced by its very writer as being a chokeweed, it's


a chokeweed. But what I'm, the adventure I want is what do we find in the chokeweed? To me, one of the things in the chokeweed that is promising is that it still keeps everything together and puzzles over them when they've actually formed a tangle. Jasper is collages, collages in jigsaw puzzles. And when I work jigsaw puzzles, which I do in periods of when materials are needed for collages, they so take over my total body that when I try to read, I'm trying to fit one word into the next word. And when I dream, I try to fit one scene, and it's terrible, it's lousy. I mean, try eating flan and try, as if it


were a jigsaw puzzle that you had to fit in every little part. So, obviously, I prefer a tangle. It doesn't quite do the same thing to me that a jigsaw puzzle does with everything defined and actually fitting. And yet, I've written passages in which I've said, surely the beauty in poetry must be that each part is fit. As you write, the feeling that the word is fit and that the phrase is fit is extraordinary. It comes very near to drawing an arrow and hitting the mark when, more so that the drawing the arrow created the mark or whatever. I think that I just stumbled on a Zen thing or something, but in poetry, yeah man, that's the way it comes. Meanwhile, we're talking about it fitting and being a tangle here. It's a snarl of yarn. It's exactly, it's the opposite, it's not exactly, and yet it is one in which, splice as you will, it will only join the more surely, talking about


earthquakes, yeah, splice as you will, islet from islet, it will only surely join the tangle that you actually have to get tied into and untie and so forth, unwind the sentence. Well, let me leap forward in my, see if I can find, oh. Well, let me prepare our, just to come to the bridge where Dante appears in this opening book, and next time I'll begin with the Dante and then go to the Dante problem of Sardello, which means, well, I will read it out loud next time, Sardello's Cervantes, the one that's quite famous, and give you some idea of what, along with this, of how Sardello appears as a key poem in the problems


about Sardello's appearance in Purgatorio. But I'm going to read now from page, I think 200, beginning, well, I'm right ahead of where, I'm running out of here, see if I can, oh, okay. 13, I think. Yes, 310, beginning with 310, because I want to come upon, and let me see if I'm, let me cheat here and see if I'm going to come upon what I think I'm going to come upon. This is a disadvantage of doing, okay, no, we're not going to come upon that, okay. Because we've got a, we've got a place where as readers we're being led into maker C, but makers move


here, maker, a kinetic, I mean, going into the dream, leading in, the same night wears, this is line 309, the same night wears, Verona's rule of yore was vested in a certain twenty-four, and while within his palace these debate concerning Richard, this is the, this is our guy with the pointer telling the story, telling the story, and while within his palace these debate concerning Richard and Ferrara's fate, glide we by clapping doors, well, we've heard that a million times, now we sail on in the sunset, this is that dimension that you see in shorts of the movies over and over again, but something, but it draws us into a dream that's a very strange space, but by inviting us that way, glide we by clapping doors with sudden glare of crescents best vented on the dark, nor care for aught that's seen or heard until


we shut the smother in, the lights, all noises but the carrots booming, safe at last. Why strange such a recess should lurk behind a range of banquet rooms? Your fingers are thus you push a spring and the wall opens. Would you rush upon the banqueters, select your prey, waiting the slaughter weapons in the way, strewing this very bench with sharpened ear, a preconcerted signal to appear, or if you simply crouch with beating heart, bearing in some voluptuous pageant part that startled them, nor mutes nor masters now, nor any, does that one man sleep whose brow the dying lamp, think about this as a movie, not only as you move into the movie, but the you is at first that impersonal one, you know, you do so and so and we're back in that recipe, except the reader is you, so the reader's


drawn in and in a dream, a dream of his, her very own. By the way, one interesting thing is that for voluptuousness and so forth, no one in the Inquisitorium period ever seems to have gotten too, they found it disturbing everybody about the same way, remember they put all of sexuality over there, so ladies or gentlemen all wonder when the same voluptuous experience of this passage, they didn't check out am I a lesbian, am I a yammy miss or am I a what, they all experience the same voluptuous experience because sexuality undifferentiated has been placed in a place where, it was covered up with clothes, it was where we're going right now, it's violence we just saw as we went past, for one thing. Think about this, think about the time when it's being written, it's in 1830, why strange such a recess should lurk behind a range of banquet rooms, your finger that you push a spring and the wall opens, would you rush upon the banqueters, select your prey, waiting, the slaughter weapons


in the way, strewing this very bench with sharpened ear, a preconcerted signal to appear, or if you simply crouch with beating heart, burying in some voluptuous pageant part to startle them, nor mutes nor maskers now, nor any, does that one man sleep whose brow the dying lamp flame sinks and rises o'er, what woman stood beside him, not the more is he unfastened from the earnest eyes because that arroth fell between, her wise and lulling words are yet about the room, her presence wholly poured upon the gloom down even to her vesture's creeping stir, and so reclines he, saturate with her, until an outcry from the square beneath pierces the charm, he springs up, glad to breathe, above the cunning element, and shakes the stupor off as, look you, morning breaks on the gay dress and, near concealed


by it, the lean frame like a half-burnt paper, lit erst in some marriage feast, then laid away till the Armenian bridegroom's dying day in his wool wedding robe. You've got notes, I burn to know how come that Armenian bridegroom was in there, I mean it's a note of, time, what? Oh, that closed at line 345, 345 which is one of those double lines, frequently the movement from paragraph to paragraph is a single line which then is dropped by, yeah? An Armenian custom in which a torch is half-burned at a man's wedding then wrapped in his wool wedding robe and saved to be burned at his funeral. Oh, I see, but that wasn't my trouble. My trouble was, who is this here Armenian? I mean, how come I'm in the hands of an Armenian bridegroom? No, I mean, the poem already says that, doesn't it? Yeah, there are notes at times that since the poem said exactly that, but meanwhile,


what in the world? Well, actually, of course, you're led along this long passage, you come along, Brown, I mean, Dr. Freud should lead Freud, Robert Browning, what Armenian bridegroom is here at the end of this passage? All this passage, I saw your mother as we went by, I think, or somebody about to go, but what was this here? Browning, is that an Armenian name, yes? I can't get the right tone from out of there. Why was I doing that? Jack, what was on your mind? Well, next time, by the way, in Book One, the appearance of Robert Browning, right out front, in line 345, just ahead of where we are, if I should falter now, 347, if I should falter now, it's in parentheses, so in his own punctuation he makes it clear that he's moved up, in parentheses, he moves up out of his narration. The surprise of, I sat on the Dukatis steps, is that it's in the narration, and you shifted that voice,


and it's in this passage that Dante appears as the, as the, the, the sign, and so that Dante is you. There's a direct address, there are a series of direct addresses in this, from the authorial, but with a, and they immediately disturb the Robert Browning level. Remember he said he's scared, the one we did touch upon was the exorcism of Shelley. We know that while we've already got the man in the booth with the diorama, it's not he who was scared by Shelley. It's Robert Browning who's scared by Shelley, and that exorcism of Shelley's spirit is Browning's needed exorcism. And now we have the direct address to Dante, and a speech to Dante in the middle of the narration, and that is in book one, and begins, the paragraph begins with line 345, the he, for he, for he, for he, gate vein of,


heart's blood of Lombardy, that's the evocation, and then suddenly it's you. And so next time we will be in the, I will get the wandering little scene of Dante's, very interesting proposition, because Sardello, this again came from, this again came from my fishing around continuously, and when I meet people talking about what's going on here, and Tom Peterson who's working on it, who told me first, well he can't, he couldn't in this period come to the, to the, to be here, because he's working on his dissertation in Italian on Dante, or whatever, but he did have a marvelous Dante teacher at Cal, and she had written an article on Dante and Sardello, so he said, I'll send it to you, and it arrived this morning, and it, and it is, we would say if it were apt, that would be a jigsaw puzzle piece,


but it also has got lots of choke weeds, so we won't have to do that. Oh yes, yes, yes, right, right, thank you, and I'm, I'm now going, should also remind me at the beginning, because I want it both ends, while, while, while I'm, uh, when I talked with Yvonne about, about the, and, and the, and she, and she and, and Roshi Baker said, well it would be welcome for, for the, for the Zen Center to let, let me give these lectures here, I said, well, I, I also felt that there should be some contribution from the people attending, uh, well, practically to, of course, the affair of moving chairs back and forth and to the disturbance of, of, of, but also there should be a contribution, uh, so some, there will be, is there a dish or something, uh, to, right, oh the box there, a contribution to


the Zen Center, uh, that will be, let's say, for our upkeep, but also for some of, uh, for your participation, because, well, I'm not in, well, the only, the only form of, let's say, would you pay me, is the only one that would be significant is participation, and while participation, I get the participation directly as you, as I get back from you with the materials as they go, uh, this is also the other participation appreciation of the space we have. We have two problems, we've got time, and, and, and you and I together keep that, that time from two to four, so does the Zen Center, and, and we have the space, and that, and, and that one is the one the Zen Center has given us, uh, we, we don't have some other space, I know it, so, uh, uh. A poet of transition, and also a poet, however, that all, uh, even the 20th century little book


on Provençal poets will tell us that Sordello did not, um, in, in that long lifetime, did not come to the fruition that other, um, poets came to, so very important to Browning was that his imaginary self, the, the center of poetry in this, be a poet who did not succeed. Now, not only, back to the picture where Palma, his reader, his sympathetic reader, reveals to him that he is the son of Salenguera, who is not only the great political power, but as Browning or anybody in this field knew, one of the, one of the friendliest little Hitlers of the period, because when Salenguera comes into his actual power, it's a terrible power, Sordello anticipates it, Sordello, what Sordello opposes to his father when he comes before him is the people, and, [...] uh, since Salenguera arise, arises on the side of the Ghibelline, uh, uh, Sordello was born into a Ghibelline, entirely Ghibelline, um, uh, context,


comes to, to, to project the Guelph position because, uh, in the context of, of the period as Browning portrays it, the, in the context certainly of the Echelons and, and, and Salenguera, the other side is the people. In their own place, they're the tyrants, so that there is an opposition to tyranny, uh, not, well, I would say, and I, I, my own feeling, but we'll, we, we meant, I, I was going to hopefully skip book four and five, or Salenguera's case, and, and I see we can't skip the picture of power, but not right now, but I meant I have to get into it, uh, yet remember Browning, just, oh, in, in the course of these poems, it's Browning when he returns from Italy, after getting what place tells him, going along to these cities, and suddenly comes back, I think it's all the more forceful for being in a place where all the people are speaking Italian. The people come forward as if they were possibly the readers. Now, now let's think of the cast in


Sardello as it's given. Palma, the sympathetic reader, the, the, the one that, that also he falls in love with, who becomes the lady. Salenguera, the father, I would venture here that what haunts Robert Browning is, we'll let you change, I'm thinking of Francis right now, where I want to get the next jewel. We've got a sympathetic reader here, and I don't want her to miss it. I didn't put that on the tape, though. I'm going to record right on top of it all and erase those immortal whatever. If I picture the cast, because we'll think of the poem again, Sardello, and as Pound sees it, and it means the book, the whole poem, Browning does exactly the same thing.


In one passage at a turn, he's going along about what Sardello's writing, and he sums up what that poetry's like, what Sardello wants to do, and, and then comes, so that, dot, dot, dot, why you'll write Sardello, meaning the poem I'm writing. So right in the middle of Sardello, we have one of those breaks. It breaks through every layer of the thing, and we've got the book in the middle of the book. Sardello now is inside the book. And more than that, it goes back to, those of you know, the canto is one of the most intoxicating things when I was young, but that's up to only yesterday or so, when I suddenly dawned on me that connection, the connection. One of the great endings of the cantos, early cantos, is a canto that ends, so that. I was like, wow! But, but since it started with Sardello, we suddenly, so that, dot, dot, dot, why you'll write Sardello, is exactly what comes, popping into Browning's mind. That's the poem I'm working on. That's the level it's got me throughout.


Approaching Sardello is a dream in depth of what the poem is, not what it will be, but Browning, of course, is a young poet, is also picturing what will it be. And then he finds, all right, I must always be in this presence, and fathoming what is the work I have to be at. Then, even if he made a plot as we can, and drew, Solangeira finally comes forward in that poem to be central. And once Palma's, Palma's there right away, early. She comes forward. There's a witch Adelaide in the background. I don't think she's the ideal reader or whatever. She doesn't want to even give Sardello, won't even give him the time of day, as you'd say. She carefully doesn't tell Sardello who he is. And who he is, by the way, is back between the writer and the author, isn't it? I mean, the Sardello, all the levers that we're going to talk about Sardello is, the poet addresses the poem, which must continuously be an oracle of who he is. And the fact that the author appears is very bewildering. It's not mine. It's not


mine. It's appealing. Oh, come on. Over and over again, I find the passages in a poem thinking both this has to be me. Who else is around here writing? And meanwhile, I don't get to be me. I don't get to be inside my skin. I don't get to be just me. Something all around. Now I'm all the way around because our cast of who's in this dream has expanded from Palma and Sardello. Oh, initially before Palma, it's Sardello and Poppies. Marvelous. Opium Poppies, perhaps. Sardello, identifying with Poppies, finds that he has, what is the, what is the quality? It's marvelous. That's early enough. I should be, Sardello, takes a little time for Sardello coming here. Well, we may come across it when I get, along the way, but, so he has nature in that


way. The identification with trees, the identification with landscape. So there's landscape in Sardello. It becomes his first audience, remember. It's present. And then from there on, it is in Sardello that Browning realizes, on my thought, I've masterminded when it came into my little head, luckily before I found him Browning, but recognized him Browning, by the way. That's our other thing we do as readers. Recognize, recognizing our fellowship with what has already present to ourselves. The rest of it we almost miss. Robert Browning comes up with the idea that in writing, at least in the poem, the ends become means. A realized poem becomes the beginning of poetry, not the end of it. The Divine Comedy does not close, it closes a whole realm, but it opens an endless realm. It closes the Provençal, so that actually the very first poems of Provençal are, and in that sense,


it's a summa. But it's not a summa in the philosophical sense. St. Thomas Aquinas, the difficulty of that summa, or of that pretension of philosophy to write a summa, is it writes an end. It writes a closure and does not propose at all to write the beginning, opening of everything. So St. Thomas Aquinas fails within his summa to realize that a summa might be the beginning of things, might be the point at which nothing yet exists. In the Divine Comedy, it's harder by the fact it opens up poetry. For Dante, even it's where he's posed in it, and when Beatrice discusses the nature of heaven and hell, they become the propositions that open the whole world. The whole world is illustrated throughout, and the presence of eternal time throughout the whole thing. Well, Browning is not writing a summa here at all, but what is right away in his mind as a young man is that, and now we might go back to the scare of Shelley, that although that is an end, I mean,


Browning is where, not only can I not be another Shelley, there will never be another Shelley, that must be the end of Shelley, and yet Shelley, in truth, is the beginning of Shelley. And the power that you find, because the last time I addressed how we turn around, because you meet it first in literature courses, in which it's a course to substantiate your membership in a middle class as it took over the possession of literature, and that basis is found in the Areopagitica, in Milton's address to the Parliament on the subject of education, and the great promise to get that Parliament to see that if you had a nation, which they now have, not a king, the glory of kings was a poetry, and poetry returned to the glory of kings by actually creating it, and now the glory of nations would be a poetry, something the middle class was never quite sure of, but the Victorians are the most devout moment, the one that Browning and Tennyson


are in and the expectation is sitting on, the most devout moment in which England, now become an empire, will have its full glory in its poets, enough, of course, to bow off stage for sure, I mean, it couldn't be too polite to suddenly disappear from that, don't lend back that glory at all, because Tennyson's strongest thing comes forward with great doubt and depression, and surely it's not only about, I now see, we'll get to him next month, but a picture of something happening, and we are, by the way, in America, so close in this period, in the Victorian period, that these were our American problems immediately, societies reading Robert Browning were in every major literate circle in the United States. All right, here, and we'll close then with this letter, and then next time,


we'll yet come to Sordello, who will may hear Sordello's story told, as Tennyson said, and that was a lie, Tennyson said he understood only two lines in the whole poem, and one was the first, who will may hear Sordello's story told, and one was the last one in the poem, and who would has heard Sordello's story told, and he said both of them were lies, but I want to read this and point out, by 1863, Browning wants to reinforce his reading and view of the poem, and 1863 is, of course, after now is very close experience of Elizabeth Barrett's reading with every sympathy of the poem, so he begins to realize, but it grows through Sordello,


that although he, Robert Browning, gets into trouble, so is Richard Smuss, so the sympathetic reader does not have some magic, and I think my own feeling of this is that it's a great truth that we would avoid, I mean, and frequently I, in my imaginary reader, in letters where I draw her, she's a big, comfortable, very fat, lady of a certain age, as the French say, namely about the age I'm in, but she's fat because she really lets herself go, and poetry and everything else, hmm? Is it Gertrude? Gertrude? Stein? Stein, yes, she is sort of a steiny shape, right, and the main thing was that I'm not sure, I think I settled just for a sort of a, my sympathetic reader had merely become tolerant, because when I asked myself, why is this a picture of my reader? It was somebody who, when I looked foolish, said, oh, that's a sweet boy, he said, well, boys will, and when I came to something astounding, she said, well, isn't it strange


what people, come into people's heads and so forth? I wanted mere tolerance by that time, to get by. All right, here, let's hear our friend R.B., no wonder I identify, R.D. to R.B. Dear friend, and this is to J. Millsand of Dijon, Millsand had come to write to Robert Browning, a little group had, who began to write to Browning over years, drawn to his poetry, he knew by 1863 that he only had a handful at all that were drawn back and back and back to Sartello as he was, and by 1863, then, he returns to his 1840 version, so there is an earlier version of one I've got here, and writes, tries to clear up certain portions. What he largely does is to add punctuation levels, put in quotes, put in dashes and so forth, remove semicolons and put in dashes, so he tries to separate the levels of voices, and see if he can clear up that confusion, because you've got, you have five or six levels,


so one level which is reciting, then Robert Browning will clear through, even in the middle of all that. Mills, and I rejoice that Mills was among the intelligent readers, having arrived at that point of the Dante etudes of announcing, I would say, liberal, and I meant Mills, exactly, that seemed to be the most profound insight of a radical, that profound insight would be a la Vanzetti, and liberal, a la Stuart Mills, James Stuart Mills, that is a great insight into the necessary, while he absolutely, Dante, uses the term liberal as a requirement, Mills and, oh, back our friend Mills had written, well at least in your second edition, you cleared up punctuation, well actually Mills didn't mean he cleared up punctuation, you brought, you brought punctuation forward, so something's happening in it, and boy, I'd rather have that coming in a letter or an essay than the grand thoughts we get in literary


essays these days. Dear friend, let the next poem be introduced by your name, therefore remembered along with one of the deepest of my affections, and so repay all trouble it ever cost me. Affections, so it was not only a sympathetic reader, a reader who had a deep affection for what was coming into being through the courses of the poem. The one place I am certain of Robert Browning all the way through, trouble, trouble it cost me, always troubled, but came there even, I mean, in those celebrated dramatic monologues, always troubled and always with a deep underlying affection for what comes forward. The remarkable thing, it's like Shakespeare's absolute boundless affection, we are incapable of, well actually Shakespeare has his troubles when he comes to Henry VIII or something, but I mean, if we're faced about our reactions to the Vietnam War


and what is our poetic prediction there, or our facing Nixon, who had been one of the great false bests of all time if he were put on a proper stage, is we, in our side-taking, had no fundamental human affection. Shakespeare has affections for the, unless you think Macbeth is a friendly neighbor to have around, or Lady Macbeth, his affection goes so deep it comes to the actual human center, and that's the revelatory center for us too, by turns. Not that we feel, not pity, but absolute affection. So I'm loading this letter, but it was written and put in front of the poem with every load. I wrote it 25 years ago for only a few. That's a little difficulty, because yes, he was, actually he'd gotten into enough trouble with Pauline and Paracelsus, and he obviously knew as he went through his writings of Sardello that there would be very few


reading it, counting even in these on somewhat more care about its subject than they really had. My own faults of expression were many. By the way, in the tradition of Pound, poets today have more idea of Sardello, and as a matter of fact of Dante, than Robert Browning's generation had. They had, Carey's translation is out of that period, I think, because I think that's what Robert Browning drew on, but it's with Rossetti's and the Pre-Raphaelites that Dante comes way forward, and then will really not be forgotten. He finally arrives in Tyre. By the way, with the Rossetti's, Sardello arrives in Tyre. Rossetti read Sardello aloud to the Brotherhood. Swinburne claims to have memorized Sardello, but since Swinburne had lots of claims,


I'm not certain. I find more substantiation that Swinburne danced around the room naked with Simeon Simon, since there was a witness. I find no witnesses or auditors who heard our friend Swinburne recite Sardello in Tyre or in any part. But with care for, let's go back. My own faults of expression were many. All his life, that will be a condition of Browning's genius. And he means that directly. He doesn't mean that any of the McCarrollists, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, when she's wishing that Gwen is inspired, Robert could get straight across what it is that inspires him. And this doesn't mean that it might not be strange and obscure. The very writing that he gets into is inventing an obscurity that had not been there


initially. And that is the secret of the path he has to take. And it is the one of his faults of expression. He kept trying to clarify and getting deeper and deeper. Faults of expression, but may have quote, but again, I would write that these are really loaded. The fault of expression, the awful thing about idiotic faults of expression, faults of expression that aren't driven deep and faced, is not that they're false, but they're not faced. It's assumed there's no fault there. We're back at admissions. Our period needs gravely to face its faults. And in the absence of facing its faults, we get idiocies. We get total idiocies. If Allen Ginsberg had faced the faults of Howell, instead of ripping them off and advancing, and we thought, wow, man, look at that. What courage to ride around with your ass in the winds. Um, no, I mean, they kept, they reasserted themselves 10 times over in Kaddish in the great moments of his poetry. If it faced into the faults, but he capitalized on his faults.


The difference, a capitalist system capitalizes on his faults, sells them, and gets interest, now 20%, or 50%, or 1000%. If Ezra Pound had faced into his faults. Oh, I mean, it's typical of our poetry all the way through. It begins to capitalize, it must be the disease of our total society. It capitalizes its faults. Or anyway, we've got a guy here who couldn't. And he talks about my own faults of expression were many, but with care, the word care has already been there before for reading and writing. For a man or book, such would be surmounted. Okay, but that's what I mean by facing the faults. If you care, going into the care of the faults, and without it, what avails the faultlessness of evil? So part of the message that I want to get out of this dream is, yes, we have faults, the faults must be essential. And to have essential faults, then every care is taken in writing and when the fault appears, and now we're back at the fault line.


I love that rock and roll group that called themselves San Andreas Fault hit a mile, baby. I'm talking about real faults from which it moves. Let's assume that it can't come from anything but a fault, and then that must be the seriousness of it. I blame nobody, least of all myself, who did my best then and since, for I lately gave time and pains to turn my work into what the many might instead of what the few must like. In part that, he writes his first of his dramatic monologues within a couple of years of Sardello. It clears the way, by the way, and itself develops the method and makes clear what the dramatic monologue would be. But to clear that way, he goes to only one voice or two. He's no longer in this realm. He writes, and it's in the accumulation of those monologues and the after-reflections that we begin to wonder. Again, we return to a problem of Sardello. What puts all of this


together? What does it coexist in our mind? But after all, I imagined another thing at first, and therefore leave as I find it. I imagined another thing at first. The historical decoration was purposely of no more importance than a background requires. Rightly, and serious scholars, and we've got marvelous two of them that really, I meant to bring their names, but next time I will give you their names. Two of them are, I take it, young women doing wonderful work on Robert Browning. They really catch this one because no, we know something is important in the fact that the historical thing is not decoration in here. In the first place, it's the ground everything's embedded in, and more than that, it's something embedded in another ground, and more than that, it must be the order of the imagination because it's not history. So we get to commentate the Poundite who comes up and says,


well, Pound Sardello's historical. I mean, that's a trouble which Pound should have looked into. Because when Pound makes his faults, which are his errors, and by the way, of course, you've heard me know that I feel that if Pound had not made his errors, in other words, he had to make errors, his faults are ones that go deep and profoundly into the spirit of our time, to our fault, and he himself in his old age comes to despair and to, I think, deep spiritual experience of those canoes. Meanwhile, the ones who hate him and hated the canoes say, the old man thinks he did it wrong. He came, I mean, in this you will find me profoundly Christian. I can tell you, the Old Testament tells us nothing about a deep-running fault. Jewish mysticism does, but not the Testament. And the Christian conscience of a deep-running fault, I think of as something entering world consciousness and entering our Western


poetry, that is our dream that we're going through in process. You can throw it overboard, by the way, there's more than one human dream, as we all know. But it's a little difficult at this point for Duncan to run over to Voodoo, put on a little black face and some chicken feathers. Meanwhile, Voodoo is coming into our world consciousness. I mean, the other way around, everything comes into it. But this is the fault, certainly Browning is right in it when he's here. The historical decoration was purposely of no more importance than a background requires. Having been at work now 12 or 13 or 14 years on a thing called ground work, the word background is interesting enough. No more importance than the background. And my stress lay on the incidence and the development of a soul. Now, at least by 1863, if we didn't read Sardella, where also the same announcements made over and over again, we find Robert Browning deliberately carrying forward as a major purpose Keats's proposition of this


making of a soul. Little else is worth studying. It's this that Pound began with and shoved away. I'm certain one of the things that got him that deep in the way we closed away the question of soul from the canoes. Is it a soul journey? At the end, it is souls and griefs condition comes into its confessions. But from the major part of the canoes, it isn't mind isn't allowed to be present at all because the other great disease of all of us, the know-it-all about what's going on today, that knows more about what's in the Ayatollah Kemeny's mind, or could correct Carter or anything. I mean, the TV mindedness, which Pound has before TV, I think he invented TV. But so that declaration is not there. He's shy. He erases how much he is in this tradition. I, at least, always thought so. So we get a declaration at Browning in mid-course that's


not going to get out of line. It also, of course, is not going to get him into the ball. I mean, he's troubled. He knows what he can do. He already, though, has a measure that he has found a steady measure that's troubled, but it's not going to be unruly. Something unruly had to happen. You, with many known and unknown to me, think so. Others may one day think so. And whether my attempt remain for them or not, I trust, though away and past it, to continue ever yours, and so forth. Written to Nilsen, with encouragement. Nilsen was not a person who read Sardello with any more confidence, but read it with sympathy, and read it with something now that was not a sympathy for Browning, but with a poetic sympathy that, as I look at more and more of these Victorian readers of the poem, I find quite remarkable. So next Sunday, I'm going to begin at this point


of talking a little about those readers, as you come across them, and raising some questions about what has happened now, when we have got not only a sense, at the end of the sense of literature, after Robert Browning's time, when the poem and poetry entered as an actual subject matter into education, as such. And you had people writing essays on poems and advancing and reassuring their position, asked about a current book out of essays on my work. A body of those essays are written by people who did their dissertations on my work, and who were writing their essays, are guaranteeing their dissertation. If I should not prove to be permanently established in the curriculum of the teaching of English, they're shit out of luck with their dissertation. What did you write on that? Nothing. So immediately they write guarantees. And somebody said, well, they


laud you. I said, that's not, no, no, no, that's not quite what you're reading. Take a look again, and you're writing people who are actually guaranteeing by their essays, the subject matter on which their profession is actually, you know, if you did your dissertation in TB, you might lament it if TB were to disappear. A hell of a place to end up as a doctor with TB cured. You've got to be sure it's there permanently. Okay.