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Canto II

Canto II

by Ezra Loomis Pound

Man and the Natural World Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

And where was gunwale, there now was vine-trunk,
And tenthril where cordage had been, (67-68)

When Dionysius decides he's had enough of the sailors trying to kidnap him, he just summons a bunch of vines out of the ocean and lifts the ship right out of the water. No one seems to know what's going on except Acoetes, who now realizes who the crew has kidnapped—or maybe god-napped would be more accurate.

Quote #5

"Olibanum is my incense,
the vines grow in my homage." (101)

In this nice little passage, Dionysius forgives Acoetes because he knows Acoetes tried to stop his crewmates from kidnapping Dionysius. Because of his ability to recognize the god, Acoetes is told that he'll never have to worry about being harmed by jungle cats or imprisonment, because Dionysius will see to it that he's protected. The god decides to finish up this little speech by reminding Acoetes (who doesn't need reminding) that vines and jungle cats are his (the god's) servants.

Quote #6

Ileuthyeria, fair Dafne of sea-bords,
The swimmer's arms turned to branches, (124-125)

Toward the end of "Canto II," Pound mentions Ileuthyeria, a woman who was being pursued by sexually aggressive mermen, and who was turned into ocean coral in order to avoid being assaulted. The problem is that, well, now she's just a plant instead of a human. It's a pretty confusing image, and we might not be sure of what to make of it. But it seems to suggest that the only way a woman can avoid being the object of male sexual aggression is to transform into a different kind of object.

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