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Canto I

Canto I

by Ezra Pound

Death Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Bore sheep aboard her, and our bodies also
Heavy with weeping, (4-5)

So why is Odysseus' crew all weeping? Probably because they started out with a lot more shipmates than they now have. According to our research, this section of Homer's Odyssey comes right after Odysseus and his gang have left the island of Circe, where a bunch of their friends got turned into pigs. In any case, there's a good bet that the death of their friends is behind all this weepiness.

Quote #2

I dug the ell-square Pitkin;
Poured we libations unto each the dead, (21-22)

Anyone know what a libation is? You got it, it's a drink (usually alcoholic). In this scene, we see Odysseus and his men getting' all gangsta and pouring booze out for their dead homies. Meanwhile, Odysseus digs a small pit, which Ezra Pound calls a "Pitkin" for some reason (as far as experts know, he made the word up).

Quote #3

Souls out of Erebus, cadaverous dead, of brides
Of youths and of the old who had borne much; (29-30)

Okay, we've made our sacrifices, said our prayers, and heeeere come the dead people! Odysseus is actually looking for the soul of one specific dead guy named Tiresias, but unfortunately, it's hard to be choosy when you open a portal into the world of the dead. The fact that the souls living in the world of the dead have "borne much" also suggests that the underworld isn't the nicest of places to spend eternity.

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