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Portrait d'une Femme

Portrait d'une Femme


by Ezra Pound

Portrait d'une Femme Language and Communication Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #1

And bright ships have left you this or that in fee:
Ideas, old gossip, oddments of all things,
Strange spars of knowledge and dimmed wares of price. (3-5)

The speaker lists "oddments of all things" and "dimmed wares of price" (a fancy way of saying "knickknacks" and "once-valuable objects") alongside ideas, gossip, and knowledge. We probably begin picturing gold coins, jewels, and other valuable trinkets in our minds, even though the list consists primarily of abstract, intangible products of conversation. It's hard not to imagine a large pirate ship filled with treasure when the speaker describes "bright ships" leaving a fee.

Quote #2

You have been second always. Tragical?
No. You preferred it to the usual thing: (7-8)

The question and answer here makes us wonder whether the speaker is actually having a conversation with someone or just rambling to himself. Who could he be talking to? The woman herself? A third party, such as his readers or whoever else is included in the "our" of the first line?

Quote #3

Trophies fished up; some curious suggestion;
Fact that leads nowhere; and a tale or two,
Pregnant with mandrakes, (16-18)

Notice the frequency of semicolons here. Semicolons are like really strong commas; they create a pause in the sentence so it can move onto the next topic. Here, however, it's tempting to read the semicolons as colons or equal signs. The context tells us that we probably shouldn't read "trophies" as actual medals or gold goblets. The trophies here are more likely something similar to suggestions, facts, and tales. In other words, these lines bring together a list of related things.

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