Z-siteA Companion to the Works of Louis Zukofsky
Arise, Arise (1973)
27 June 1936, rev. 30 Nov. 1940/ Kulchur 6 (Summer 1962)
Twitchell-Waas, Jeffrey. “‘in whose memory am I?’: Arise, Arise” (2013). Z-Notes.
This play was given a reading performance in the Dramatic Workshop directed by Erwin Piscator at the New School for Social Research in winter 1947. LZ attended a performance in August 1965 at the Cinémathèque Theatre in NYC, directed by Jerry Benjamin. First publication of the play was not until 1962 in Kulchur, and then as a book in 1973 by Grossman Publishers, NY.
Title Arise, Arise: the title of the play alludes both to John Donne, “Holy Sonnet 7” (see 1) and L’International (see 33). In the 1973 Grossman publication, the title is printed as Arise, arise, but elsewhere LZ consistently capitalizes both words, such as in “A”-24 (564, 804-806), the index to “A” (808), as well as in his notes and correspondence.
1 “At the round earth’s imagined corners, blow / Your trumpets…: opening lines of John Donne (1572-1631), “Holy Sonnet 7”; most of the lines or key phrases of this sonnet appear here and elsewhere in the play (see 2, 5, 23, 35). Most contemporary editions have “dearth” for “death” in line 6, but the latter is an acceptable alternative and as LZ quotes at 23:
At the round earth’s imagined corners, blow
Your trumpets, Angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o’erthrow,
All whom war, death, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance, hath slain, and you whose eyes,
Shall behold God, and never taste death’s woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space,
For, if above all these, my sins abound,
’Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace,
When we are there; here on this lowly ground,
Teach me how to repent; for that’s as good
As if thou hadst seal’d my pardon, with thy blood.
2 your sister’s grave: one of LZ’s two sisters, Dora, died young in 1913 having just given birth to a son, the young nephew who is spoken to by the Father at the end of this scene. See also 14-15 where the sister and her wedding are described, a rare instance in LZ’s work of a memory from his childhood. LZ would celebrate this nephew’s wedding in 1939 in the poem Anew 31 (CSP 94-95).
5 “here on this lowly ground, teach me how to repent: from John Donne, “Holy Sonnet 7,” lines 12-13; see note at 1.
7 There was once a Strictly Anonymous…: the subject or target of this limerick is EP (Strictly Anonymous), responding to a limerick by EP entitled “Formalism” and aimed at LZ. EP’s limerick can be found in Ezra Pound and James Laughlin: Selected Letters, ed. David M. Gordon (Norton, 1994): 10.
9 Wolsey’s Wilde: a popular keyboard tune by William Byrd (1543-1623), as LZ indicates at 10. This tune is also mentioned in the contemporaneously written “Modern Times” (Prep+ 58).
9 Le Pauvre Laboureur: traditional French folksong, the title means “The Poor Laborer,” although the English version is “The Man Behind the Plow.” LZ’s source is probably EP, Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony (1924), who praises this song as “a finer pre-Marseillaise, with a detached or impersonal, dispassionate passion” and remarks on its socio-political significance; EP also quotes the same two stanzas in the original French, which apparently LZ freely translates here (Ezra Pound and Music 280-281).
10 I never had a birthday till my mother died: LZ’s mother died 29 Jan. 1927, which at the time he was writing Arise, Arise he also believed was his birthday—although subsequently he learned the correct day was 23 Jan (see note to “Song 29,” CSP 64 and Scroggins Bio 11-12).
11 The Trojan elders on the wall…: refers to a scene from Homer, Iliad Book III.146-160; LZ’s second stanza appears to be his own elaboration on Homer’s text. EP includes a version of this scene in Canto II:
“And they that were about Priam and Panthous and Thymoetes and Lampus and Clytius and Hicetaon, scion of Ares, and Ucalegon and Antenor, men of prudence both, sat as elders of the people at the Scaean gates. Because of old age had they now ceased from battle, but speakers they were full good, like unto cicadas that in a forest sit upon a tree and pour forth their lily-like voice; even in such wise sat the leaders of the Trojans upon the wall. Now when they saw Helen coming upon the wall, softly they spake winged words one to another: ‘Small blame that Trojans and well-greaved Achaeans should for such a woman long time suffer woes; wondrously like is she to the immortal goddesses to look upon. But even so, for all that she is such an one, let her depart upon the ships, neither be left here to be a bane to us and to our children after us’” (trans. A.T. Murray).
14 We came to the garden in flower…: this sentence and then continuing in the Son’s next speech, as well as the final speech of the scene (page 18), reproduce almost complete LZ’s translation of a poem by Guillaume Apollinaire, “The Gathering” (La cueillette, from Il y a). The translation was not included in The Writing of Guillaume Apollinare (1934), but can be found in “Discarded Poems” in Terrell (1979):
Nous vînmes au jardin fleuri pour la cueillette.
Belle, sais-tu combien de fleurs, de roses-thé,
Roses pâles d’amour qui couronnent ta tête,
S’effeuillent chaque été ?
Leurs tiges vont plier au grand vent qui s’élève.
Des pétales de rose ont chu dans le chemin.
Ô Belle, cueille-les, puisque nos fleurs de rêve
Se faneront demain!
Mets-les dans une coupe et toutes portes doses,
Alanguis et cruels, songeant aux jours défunts,
Nous verrons l’agonie amoureuse des roses
Aux râles de parfums.
Le grand jardin est défleuri, mon égoïste,
Les papillons de jour vers d’autres fleurs ont fui,
Et seuls dorénavant viendront au jardin triste
Les papillons de nuit.
Et les fleurs vont mourir dans la chambre profane.
Nos roses tour à tour effeuillent leur douleur.
Belle, sanglote un peu… Chaque fleur qui se fane,
C’est un amour qui meurt!
14 my dead sister: see note at 2.
15 That there comes a time when twenty years are but one day…: from a 9 April 1863 letter by Karl Marx to Frederick Engels: “In great historical processes, twenty years are but as one day—and then may come days which are the concentrated essence of twenty years” (also qtd. in “Thanks to the Dictionary,” CF 279). However, in American Friends, CZ suggests an intriguing connection with Washington Irving, “Rip Van Winkle” (1819): “…it’s twenty years since he want away…but whether he shot himself…nobody can tell…for the whole twenty years had been to him but as one night” (as qtd. American Friends 26)—these phrases express the townspeople’s reaction to Rip’s disappearance, except for the last which describes Rip’s feelings on his return. In the next scene of the play, Attendant R explains Attendant D’s disappearance: “They explained nothing. Said he shot himself” (20), and then late in the play when Attendant D mysteriously reappears, he explains: “Oh, I see what’s troubling you! I’ve been at Valenciennes, man, sleeping on the railroad tracks […]” (48).
16 workers of the — […] Of the Lutterworth world…: cf. concluding sentence of Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto.
16 He came also still…: these and the immediately following lines by Attendant D from a 15th century carol which is included in TP 13; see below 24:
I sing of a maiden
That is makèles;
King of all kinges
To her sone sche ches.
He cam also stille
There his moder was,
As dew in Aprille
That falleth on the grass.
He cam also stille
To his moderes bour
As dew in Aprille
That falleth on the flour.
He cam also stille
There his moder lay,
As dew in Aprille
That falleth on the spray.
Moder and maiden
Was never none but sche;
Well may such a lady
Godes moder be.
16 canon: in music, a contrapuntal work in which a melody in one part is exactly imitated in other parts.
17 We mourn only ourselves, our own earth selves: cf. uncollected sonnet written in response to the death of LZ’s mother and dated 15 march 1927: “Someone said, ‘earth, bowed with her death, we mourn / Ourselves, our own earth selves’”; published in Dial 85.6 (Dec. 1928) (Scroggins Bio 508).
18 An expansive garden is nipped, my egotist…: from Apollinaire, see note at 14.
18 “Sentimentally I am disposed…: a well-known quote from Charles Lamb (1775-1834), “A Chapter on Ears”: “I even think that sentimentally I am disposed to harmony. But organically I am incapable of a tune. I have been practising ‘God save the King’ all my life; whistling and humming of it over to myself in solitary corners; and am not yet arrived, they tell me, within many quavers of it. Yet hath the loyalty of Elia never been impeached.”
20 Said he shot himself: see note on “Rip Van Winkle” at 15.
21 Van Tienhoven: Cornelis Van Tienhoven (d. 1656), arrived in New Amsterdam in 1633 as an accountant, became Secretary to Peter Stuyvesant and eventually Sheriff and Attorney General of New Amsterdam in 1652 but was removed from office for both personal and public misconduct. He provoked some of the devastating Indian wars and atrocities of the period, and there are contemporary reports of kicking Indian heads around like footballs, including by Van Tienhoven’s mother-in-law (rather than wife).
21 They wired from Strasboug…: this entire paragraph is quoted, slightly abridged, from a colonial era newspaper, the American Weekly Mercury (1719-1746). LZ has altered the second word, which originally reads “write” rather than “wired.”
22 Minuchihr would treat as worse than evil…: one of the great kings in the Persian epic, Shahnamah by Firdosi (940-1020). A rendition of the passage LZ alludes to, a speech Minuchihr makes on his ascension to the throne on the powers and responsibilities of kingship, appears in Ferdinand (CF 222). Almost certainly LZ learned of this passage from Basil Bunting, who spent many years attempting a translation of the Shahnamah, although only a few short passages ever made it into public view.
22 All one’s friends…: from Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1918), Chap. XXII (also qtd. “A”-8.51.15): “For a hundred years, between 1793 and 1893, the American people had hesitated, vacillated, swayed forward and back, between two forces, one simply industrial, the other capitalistic, centralizing, and mechanical. In 1893, the issue came on the single gold standard and the majority at last declared itself, once for all, in favor of the capitalistic system with all its necessary machinery. All one’s friends, all one’s best citizens, reformers, churches, colleges, educated classes, had joined the banks to force submission to capitalism; a submission long foreseen by the mere law of mass. Of all forms of society or government, this was the one he liked least, but his likes or dislikes were as antiquated as the rebel doctrine of State rights. A capitalistic system had been adopted, and if it were to be run at all, it must be run by capital and by capitalistic methods; for nothing could surpass the nonsensity of trying to run so complex and so concentrated a machine by Southern and Western farmers in grotesque alliance with city day-laborers, as had been tried in 1800 and 1828, and had failed even under simple conditions.”
23 I am no longer myself. I am the fifteenth after the eleventh: from Guillaume Apollinaire, “A la Santé,” qtd. The Writing of Guillaume Apollinaire 230-231. This translation was included in “A Sequence from “The Writing of Gaillaume Apollinaire” (1934), a selection of brief passages from Apollinaire; see also 25.
23 We were all there today, all whom the flood did, and fire, all whom war, death, age, agues, tyrannies, despair, law, chance had slain: adapted slightly from John Donne, “Holy Sonnet 7,” lines 5-7 (see 1).
23 “we understood…: from John Donne’s “The Second Anniversary: Of the Progress of the Soul.”
24 He came also still…: see 15th century carol quoted at 16.
25 Passing me on the street today Sam MacVea / Was sorry that I looked so much blacker than he: from Guillaume Apollinaire, Le Pòete assassiné, qtd. The Writing of Guillaume Apollinaire 194-195. Sam MacVea (or McVea, McVey) (1884-1921) was a major African-American heavyweight boxer in the early decades of the 20th century. This and the following translations from Apollinaire were included in “A Sequence from “The Writing of Gaillaume Apollinaire” (1934), a selection of brief passages from Apollinaire, although the translations are in some cases slight different than those in The Writing of Guillaume Apollinaire.
26 Machines—luxury and beauty are only their spray: from Guillaume Apollinaire, “1909” in Alcools: J’aimais j’aimais le people habile des machines / Le luze et la beauté ne sont que son écume. (I loved I loved the people expert with machines / Luxury and beauty are only froth/dross). (qtd. Writing of Apollinaire 228-229).
30 It is plain, moreover, that work now brutal under suitable conditions…: from Karl Marx, Capital, Chap. XV: see quotation at 32.
30 embonpoint: the condition of being plumb, stoutness (AHD).
32 It is just as stupid to regard the Christo-Teutonic form of the family…: this through the following Doctor’s speech from Karl Marx, Capital, Chap. XV.9: “But it was not the misuse of parental authority which gave rise to the direct or indirect exploitation of immature labour power by capital. On the contrary, it was the capitalist method of exploitation which, by sweeping away the appropriate economic basis of parental authority, transformed that authority into an abuse. However terrible, however repulsive, the break-up of the old family system within the organism of capitalist society may seem; none the less, large-scale industry, by assigning to women, and to young persons and children of both sexes, and a decisive role which has to be fulfilled outside the home, is building the new economic foundation for a higher form of the family and of the relations between the sexes. I need hardly say that it is just as stupid to regard the Christo-Teutonic form of the family as absolute, as it is to take the same view of the classical Roman form, or of the classical Greek form, or of the Oriental form—which, by the by, constitute a historically interconnected developmental series. It is plain, moreover, that the composition of the combined labour personnel out of individuals of both sexes and various ages—although in its spontaneously developed and brutal capitalist form (wherein the worker exists for the process of production instead of the process of production existing for the worker) it is a pestilential source of corruption and slavery—under suitable conditions cannot fail to be transformed into a source of human progress” (528-529; trans, Eden & Cedar Paul).
33 A specter is haunting Europe…: the opening sentence of Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto (1848).
33 Debout les damnés de la terre…: from the opening of the L’Internationale, the anthem of socialism, originally composed by Eugene Pottier to celebrate the Paris Commune of 1871:
Debout les damnés de la terre
Debout les forçats de la faim
La raison tonne en son cratère
C’est l’éruption de la fin
Du passé faisons table rase
Foules, esclaves, debout, debout
Le monde va changer de base
Nous ne sommes rien, soyons tout
[Refrain. Sung twice]
C’est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain
Sera le genre humain
[There are several English versions that are more or less free translations of the French original; the Son’s brief beginning of a translation on the following page is very literal as far as it goes.]
Arise, ye prisoners of starvation!
Arise, ye wretched of the earth!
For justice thunders condemnation,
A better world’s in birth.
No more, tradition’s chains shall bind us,
Arise ye slaves, no more in thrall.
The earth shall rise on new foundations,
We have been naught, we shall be all.
’Tis the final conflict,
Let us stand in our place.
The international working class
Shall be the human race!
’Tis the final conflict,
Let us stand in our place.
The international working class
Shall be the human race!
34 No man sick with ever such sickness…: the rest of this speech and continuing at the bottom of the next page from Henry Adams, Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres (1905), Chapter XII: “Nicolette and Marion.” Adams discusses and quotes in detail the 13th century “Aucassins and Nicolette,” a “chante-fable” in poetry and prose:
Whom would a good ballad please
By the captive from o’er-seas,
A sweet song in children’s praise,
Nicolette and Aucassins;
What he bore for her caress,
What he proved of his prowess
For his friend with the bright face?
The song has charm, the tale has grace,
And courtesy and good address.
No man is in such distress,
Such suffering or weariness,
Sick with ever such sickness,
But he shall, if he hear this,
Recover all his happiness,
So sweet it is!
As [Aucassins] looked before him along the way he saw a man such as I will tell you. Tall he was, and menacing, and ugly, and hideous. He had a great mane blacker than charcoal and had more than a full palm-width between his two eyes, and had big cheeks, and a huge flat nose and great broad nostrils, and thick lips redder than raw beef, and large ugly yellow teeth, and was shod with hose and leggings of raw hide laced with bark cord to above the knee, and was muffled in a cloak without lining, and was leaning on a great club. Aucassins came upon him suddenly and had great fear when he saw him.
“Fair brother, good day!” said he.
“God bless you!” said the other.
“As God help you, what do you here?”
“What is that to you?” said the other.
“Nothing!” said Aucassins; “I ask only from good-will.”
“But why are you crying!” said the other, “and mourning so loud? Sure, if I were as great a man as you are, nothing on earth would make me cry.”
“Bah! you know me?” said Aucassins.
“Yes, I know very well that you are Aucassins, the count’s son; and if you will tell me what you are crying for, I will tell you what I am doing here.”
[…] Yet he dared not tell the truth, so he invented, on the spur of the moment, an excuse; —he has lost, he said, a beautiful white hound. The peasant hooted—
“Listen!” said he, “By the heart God had in his body, that you should cry for a stinking dog! Bad luck to him who ever prizes you! When there is no man in this land so great, if your father sent to him for ten or fifteen or twenty but would fetch them very gladly, and be only too pleased. But I ought to cry and mourn.”
“And—why you, brother?”
“Sir, I will tell you. I was hired out to a rich farmer to drive his plough. There were four oxen. Now three days ago I had a great misfortune, for I lost the best of my oxen, Roget, the best of my team. I am looking to find him. I’ve not eaten or drunk these three days past. I daren’t go to the town, for they would put me in prison as I’ve nothing to pay with. In all the world I’ve not the worth of anything but what you see on my body. I’ve a poor old mother who owned nothing but a feather mattress, and they’ve dragged it from under her back so she lies on the bare straw, and she troubles me more than myself. For riches come and go if I lose today, I gain tomorrow; I will pay for my ox when I can, and will not cry for that. And you cry for a filthy dog! Bad luck to him who ever thinks well of you!”
“Truly, you counsel well, good brother! God bless you! And what was your ox worth?”
“Sir, they ask me twenty sous for it. I cannot beat them down a single centime.”
“Here are twenty,” said Aucassins, “that I have in my purse! Pay for your ox!”
“Sir!” said he; “many thanks! and God grant you find what you seek!”
35 Bach’s “Around thy tomb”…: as LZ indicates in the stage directions, this refers to the final chorus of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (see “A”-1.1.2), which is sung around Christ’s tomb (see “A”-2.8.16). Attendant R’s following speech is adapted from this chorus, which in the version LZ apparently used reads:
Around thy tomb here sit we weeping,
Hearts turned to thee, O Saviour blest:
Rest thee softly, softly rest.
Long, ye weary limbs, lie sleeping.
This cold stone above thy head
Shall to many a careworn conscience
Be a sweet refreshing pillow;
Here the soul finds peaceful bed.
Closed in bliss divine
Slumber now the weary eyes.
35 It is late to ask much of its grace, when we are here: adapted from John Donne, “Holy Sonnet 7,” lines 11-12 (see note at 1).
35 Death’s woe: from John Donne, “Holy Sonnet 7,” line 8 (see note at 1).
35 Should you pass her door…: continuing to the top of the next page, from Henry Adams, Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres, continuing the tale of Aucassins and Nicolette (see 34 above):
[… Meanwhile] Nicolette had built herself a little hut in the depths of the forest:—
So she twined the lilies’ flower,
Roofed with leafy branches o’er,
Made of it a lovely bower,
With the freshest grass for floor
Such as never mortal saw.
By God’s Verity, she swore,
Should Aucassins pass her door,
And not stop for love of her,
To repose a moment there,
He should be her love no more,
Nor she his dear!
38 The land where milk and honey flow / Where healing plants as thick as thistles grow…: from an early verse description promoting New Amsterdam (later New York). LZ has edited the poem somewhat and substituted “Adam’s” for the expected “Aaron’s”:
This is the land where milk and honey flow,
Where healing plants as thick as thistles grow;
The place where flowers on Aaron’s Rod do blow;
This, this is Eden.
(from Jacob Steendam, Praise of New Netherland (1661), qtd. from Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer, The History of the City of New York in the Seventeen Century, vol. 1: New Amsterdam (1901)).
Further quotations from early colonial documents describing New York appear below.
39 The moneyed relation that tore from our family its sentimental veil: here and throughout the rest of this scene are numerous quotations or echoes of Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto, Part 1: “The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation into a mere money relation” (trans. Samuel Moore).
39 “Around thy tomb”: see page 35.
40 I see the ground on which your aunt stood has been drawn from under her feet. In place of old wants, new: adapted from The Communist Manifesto (see also 41): “The bourgeoisie has, through its exploitation of the world market, given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of reactionaries, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilized nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of the old wants, satisfied by the production of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature” (trans. Samuel Moore).
40 Arise damned of earth!: from the first line of the Internationale; see note at 33.
41 The ground’s onesidedness becomes more and more impossible. From many lands local tunes travel thru the world. You see these local flowers are from all lands for all lands: adapted from The Communist Manifesto; see quotation at 40.
41 who exist to accumulate but do not accumulate so we may exist—: cf. The Communist Manifesto: “In bourgeois society, living labor is but a means to increase accumulated labor. In communist society, accumulated labor is but a means to widen, to enrich, to promote the existence of the laborer.”
41 Where is your capital? […] Why, then, there can no longer be wage labor: see quotation from The Communist Manifesto at 42.
42 the accumulators have produced their own gravediggers: echoing Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto: “The essential conditions for the existence and for the sway of the bourgeois class is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage labor. Wage labor rests exclusively on competition between the laborers. The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the laborers, due to competition, by the revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable” (trans. Samuel Moore).
43 Mesquakies, their reservation lowlands…: the Sac or Fox Native Americans now in Iowa, but previously in northern New York state and the Great Lakes region. The New York Times for 27 April 1936: “Indians Seek a ‘New Cash’ in Maple Sugar Shortage”: “The Indians have taken their currency off the maple sugar standard. Spring floods created a shortage of the sugar, which long had been the Mesquakies’ principal medium of exchange. Reservation lowlands were under water this Spring and by the time the Iowa River receded, maple trees had budded. It was too late to tap them for their prized supply of sap. What to use as an exchange commodity for the soft buckskins, wild rice, cranberries, persimmons, porcupine quills and other articles not produced on the reservation, worried tribal leaders. Indian corn may find favor as the new money standard. They had a good supply and knew it was wanted, particularly by the Chippewas in Wisconsin.”
43 What is money?…: the following “definition” of money by the Son is paraphrased from Marx’s discussion in Capital, particularly the chapter on “Money, or the Circulation of Commodities.” Much of this passage is also echoed in the first half of “A”-9. The following are two relevant passages from Capital (trans. by Eden and Cedar Paul):
“But this finished form of the world of commodities, this money form, is the very thing which veils instead of disclosing the social character of private or individual labour, and therewith hides the social relations between the individual producers. When I say that coats of boots or what not are related to linen as the general embodiment of abstract human labour, the statement seems manifestly absurd. Yet when the producers of coats, boots, etc., bring these commodities into relation with linen as the general equivalent (or with gold or silver as the general equivalent, for the nature of the case is just the same), it is precisely in this absurd form that the relation between their own private labour and the collective labour of society discloses itself to them” (49).
“Like every other commodity, gold can only express the magnitude of its value in the form of a relation to other commodities. Its own value is determined by the amount of labour time needed for its production, and that value secures expression in the quantum of any other commodity in which an equal amount of labour time is congealed” (67).
44 Here in New York, the grain sowed in the middle of May…: from a historically important letter by Peter Schagen dated 5 Nov. 1626 announcing the purchase of Manhattan: “They [Dutch colonists] have purchased the island Manhattes from the Indians for the value of 60 guilders, ’tis 11,000 morgens in size. They had all their grain sowed by the middle of May and reaped by the middle of August.”
44 a fruit called forerunners: from Adriaen Van der Donck (c.1618-1655), A Description of the New Netherlands (1655): “Orchard cherries thrive well and produce large fruit. Spanish cherries, forerunners, morellaes, of every kind we have, as in the Netherlands; and the trees bear better, because the blossoms are not injured by the frosts. The peaches, which are sought after in the Netherlands, grow wonderfully well here. If a stone is put into the earth, it will spring in the same season, and grow so rapidly as to bear fruit in the fourth year, and the limbs are frequently broken by the weight of the peaches, which usually are very fine.” LZ was intrigued enough by the name of this fruit to mention it later in Bottom 86.
44 One wrote of an east river: a narrow passage…: this and the longer speech by the Son on the next page are quoted from Daniel Denton (1626-1705), A Brief Description of New York (1670):
“New-York is setled upon the West-end of the aforesaid Island, having that small arm of the Sea, which divides it from Long-Island on the South side of it, which runs away Eastward to New-England, and is Navigable, though dangerous. For about ten miles from New-York is a place called Hell-Gate, which being a narrow passage, there runneth a violent stream both upon flood and ebb, and in the middle lieth some Islands of Rocks, which the Current sets so violently upon, that it threatens present shipwreck; and upon the Flood is a large Whirlpool, which continually sends forth a hideous roaring, enough to affright any stranger from passing further, and to wait for some Charon to conduct him thorough; yet to those that are well acquainted little or no danger; yet a place of great defence against any enemy coming in that way, which a small Fortification would absolutely prevent, and necessitate them to come in at the West-end of Long-Island by Sandy Hook where Nutten-Island doth force them within Command of the Fort at New-York, which is one of the best Pieces of Defence in the North-parts of America. […]
[Describing Long Island] For wilde Beasts there is Deer, Bear, Wolves, Foxes, Racoons, Otters, Musquashes and Skunks. Wild Fowl there is great store of, as Turkies, Heath-Hens, Quailes, Partridges, Pidgeons, Cranes, Geese of several sorts, Brants, Ducks, Widgeon, Teal, and divers others: There is also the red Bird, with divers sorts of singing birds, whose chirping notes salute the ears of Travellers with an harmonious discord, and in every pond and brook green silken Frogs, who warbling forth their untun’d tunes strive to bear a part in this musick […].
The Fruits natural to the Island are Mulberries, Pesimons, Grapes great and small, Huckelberries, Cranberries, Plums of several sorts, Rasberries and Strawberries, of which last is such abundance in June, that the Fields and Woods are died red: Which the Countrey-people perceiving, instantly arm themselves with bottles of Wine, Cream, and Sugar, and instead of a Coat of Male, every one takes a Female upon his Horse behind him, and so rushing violently into the fields, never leave till they have disrob’d them of their red colours, and turned them into the old habit.”
45 Morning stars, maritoffles…: this comes from a description of gardens in New Amsterdam by Adriaen Van der Donck, A Description of the New Netherlands (see note at 44). LZ researched old gardens as part of his work for the WPA during the 1930s (see “A”-8.96.6-97.27): “The flowers in general, which the Netherlanders have introduced, are the red and white roses of different kinds, the cornelian roses and stock roses, and those of which there were none before in the country, such as eglantine, several kinds of gilly flowers, jenoffelins, different varieties of fine tulips, crown imperials, while lilies, the lily frutilaria, anemones, baredames, violets, marigolds, summer sots, etc. The clove tree has also been introduced, and there are various indigenous trees that have handsome flowers which are unknown in the Netherlands. We also find there are some flowers of native growth, as for instance, sun flowers, red and yellow lilies, mountain lilies, morning stars, red, white and yellow maritoffles (a very sweet flower), several species of bell flowers, etc., to which I have not given particular attention, but amateurs would hold them in high estimation and make them widely known.”
45 Divers birds chirping harmonious discord…: from Daniel Denton, A Brief Description of New York; see quotation at page 44.
45 tho its trees one time were so laden with peaches…: from the Journal of Jasper Danckaerts, a missionary who with Peter Sluyter visited New Netherlands and other American colonies in 1679-1680. The entry for 23 Sept. 1679 describes their initial impressions on arrival in New York: “As we walked along we saw in different gardens trees full of apples of various kinds, and so laden with peaches and other fruit that one might doubt whether there were more leaves or fruit on them. I have never seen in Europe, in the best season, such an overflowing abundance.”
46 Small fish are fried best whole with the backbone severed to prevent curling up: from W.H. Gibson, Camping for Boys (1913).
47 Propped on the earth, and from where, what sleep […] awake…: all of this speech by Attendant D, with the exception of the last sentence and the phrase, “A creeping thought says,” is quoted with slight variations from an uncollected poem by LZ, “(Awake!),” published in Pagany 2.1, Jan.-March 1931. The poem opens: “Propped on the earth / And from where, what sleep, awake! Your head— / And kissed the center of your forehead— / Knowing we have escaped from death / Of sleep,” and the sentence, “now like a lamp […] blue morning go out,” is explicitly ascribed to Death.
48 I’ve been at Valenciences, man, sleeping on the railroad tracks…: Valenciennes is a city in northern France in a major coal producing area. There was a General Strike across much of France in June 1936, in which the socialist leaning Valenciennes region played a major role. The New York Times for 6 June 1936 reported that: “Miners in the Valenciennes region slept on railroad tracks to prevent movement of cars of coal.” See also note on “Rip Van Winkle” at page 15.
48 vaticinate: to prophesy, foretell (AHD).
50 Graced, graced, the eyes grow black from dancing: from an unpublished poem by LZ dated 1923?; see “Discarded Poems” 149 (Scroggins Bio 508).
52 One thing we pray of Diana. Let whoever never loved…: from the Pervigilium Veneris (probably 2nd-3rd century), by an unknown Latin author. LZ is taking this from EP’s The Spirit of Romance (1910, 1929), in which the first chapter, “The Phantom Dawn,” concludes with a translation of this poem, presumably by EP, but could be by J.W. Mackail from whom EP frequently cribs in this work. EP gives this succinct description of the poem: “It celebrates a Greek fest, which had been transplanted into Italy, and recently revived by Hadrian: the feast of Venus Genetrix, which survived as May Day” (18). LZ primarily quotes the famous refrain precisely as in EP, “Let whoever never loved, love tomorrow, / Let whoever has loved, love tomorrow” (trans. J.W. MacKail), plus an edited version if the opening of one of the strophes: “One thing which we pray thee, Virgin Diana, / Let the grove be undefiled with the slaughter of wild things” (20). LZ quotes the Latin refrain in Bottom 411; see also “A”-23.555.10.