An Immorality Poem Text
Sing we for love and idleness,
Naught else is worth the having.
Though I have been in many a land,
There is naught else in living.
And I would rather have my sweet,
Though rose-leaves die of grieving,
Than do high deeds in Hungary
To pass all men's believing.
Reference to Hungary
This poem is interpreted in multiple ways. Since there is sarcastic/serious reference to high deeds in Hungary and the poem was published in 1912, in his collection of 25 poems named "Riposites". Let's see what was happening in Hungary around 1912.
- 1526: Ottoman Empire divided hungary into three parts: the Habsburgs, the Turks, and the Principality of Transylvania.
- 1848-49: War of Independence: Hungarians revolted against the Austrian emperor.
- 1867: Habsburgs supressed the revolution with help of the Russian Czar.
- 1912: Serious tension with Jews living there.
Summary of the Poem: An Immorality
The poem reads, there is nothing more important in life than love and idleness. Narrator has been to many different places but all the experience culminates in this single lesson that in fact nothing is worthwhile except being with the "sweet", that is to say, beloved, even though leaves of rose eventually are separated from the rose and they grieve. Narrator claims he would prefer this over doing high deeds in Hungary and to pass all men's beliefs.
- Poem's title "An Immorality" suggests number of things since it contradicts the message of the whole poem. Some of the possible interpretations can be:
- There are two speakers, one calls the whole message of the poem "an immorality" and another gives the message present in the poem. Kind of a debate.
- The title is used as a sarcasm to refer to popular belief at the time.
- The embedded contradiction is meant to stimulate thinking and questioning.
- Ezra Pound is the first speaker because he supported Hitler and Mussolini.
- Or Ezra Pound is the second narrator who is against wars fought for capitalist interests.
- The poem can be interpreted as an anti-war work.
- It can also be read as treatise on love and peace over war.
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