Sunday, January 03, 2010
In yesterday's post ('Elaborate Defence of Howlers') in your admirable blog you ask "Could Pound simply have made a mistake? Is it possible that the Emperor has no clothes, or at least a rip in the seat of his pants?" It seems to me you are too generous. Others have smelt a rat, most notably, Charles Harrison Wallace, who has his pound of flesh and more in the Pound Notes section of his invaluable web-site on the poem (http://www.cichw.net/essind.htm), which undertakes not so much a re-evaluation as a wholesale devaluation of some very suspect currency. Pound is kidding, conning, cunning in his cribbed coinage and Kenner too kind to quote a kenning, which The Exeter Book preserves (in Riddle 73) along with Seafarer:
Was no wiser for having swallowed words.
Stælgiest ne wæs wihte þy gleawra, þe he þam wordum swealg.
If they don't have the wool pulled over their eyes, pygmies on the shoulders of giants can see their dandruff, if not their feet of clay.