Edmund BURKE, from Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
NB: Parlementaire et philosophe, auteur du traité d‟esthétique A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1759), Burke passa ses dernières années à
dénoncer la Révolution sous tous ses aspects.
1. „Are all orders, ranks and distinctions to be confounded, that out of universal anarchy, joined to
national bankruptcy, three or four thousand democracies should be formed into eighty-three, and that
they may all, by some sort of unknown attractive power, be organized into one? (…) Is a compulsory
paper currency to be substituted in the place of the legal coin of this kingdom?‟
2. „… instead of paying the old debt, they contracted a new debt, at 3 per cent., creating a new paper currency; founded on an eventual sale of the church lands. They issued this paper currency to satisfy in
the first instance chiefly the demands made upon them by the bank of discount, the great machine, or paper-mill, of their fictitious wealth.‟
3. „So violent an outrage upon credit, property, and liberty, as this compulsory paper currency, has
seldom been exhibited by the alliance of bankruptcy and tyranny, at any time, or in any nation.‟
4. „[Necker] affirms that from the year 1726 to the year 1784, there was coined at the mint of France,
in the species of gold and silver, to the amount of about one hundred million pounds sterling (…) He
calculates the numeraire, or what we call specie, then actually existing in France, at about eighty-eight
millions of the same English money. A great accumulation of wealth for one country, large as that
5. „They have compelled all men, in all transactions of commerce, in the disposal of lands, in civil
dealings, and through the whole communion of life, to accept as perfect payment and good and lawful
tender, the symbols of their speculations on a projected sale of plunder.‟
6. „great collections of ancient records, medals, and coins (…) attest and expain laws and customs‟.
Ezra POUND, from „Kublai Khan and his Currency‟ (1920)
1. „Paper money in Europe as in the Orient, seems to have been regarded either as a perquisite of
tyrants or as an expedient (…) We have ceased to regard the issue of paper as a hoax, yet Polo smelled
a rat, a real rat‟.
Ezra POUND, from „A Visiting Card‟ (1942)
2. „With the falsification of the word everything else is betrayed (…) The usurers, in their obscene and
pitch-dark century, created this satanic transubstantiation, their Black Mass of money (…) „money
alone is capable of being transmuted immediately into any form of activity‟ – This is the idiom of the
Black myth! (…) the betrayal of the word begins with the use of words that do not fit the truth, that do
not say what the author wants them to say.‟
3. „Money is a title and a measure. If it is metallic it is subject to assay that the coin is of specified
fineness and weight. The use of such money still falls under the classification of barter. When people
begin to understand the function of money as a title, the desire to barter disappears. When the state
understands its duties and its powers it does not leave its sovereignty in the hands of private interests
that are irresponsible or arrogate themselves unwarranted responsibilities (...) The beauty of the
designs on ancient coins rightly symbolizes the dignity of sovereignty inherent in royal or imperial
responsibility. The disappearance of numismatic art coincides with the corruption of the government
Ezra POUND, from an interview with the Paris Review
4. „Gold is simple. It is weighed, refined and then weighed again. You can tell the grade of the ore by
the relative weights. But the test for silver is a cloudy solution; the accuracy of the eye in measuring
the thickness of the cloud is an aesthetic perception, like the critical sense. I like the idea of the
fineness of the metal.‟
Ezra POUND, from The Cantos
from Canto XXXVII
Thou shalt not,” said Martin Van Buren, “jail ‟em for debt.” “that an immigrant shd. set out with good banknotes
and find ‟em at the end of his voyage
but waste paper….if a man have in a primeval forest set up his cabin, shall rich patroon take it from him?
(…) ” remarked Mr Adams
“No where so well deposited as in the pants of the people, Wealth ain‟t”, said President Jackson.
from Canto XLVI
Hath benefit of interest on all the moneys which it, the bank, creates out of nothing.
Said Mr Rothschild, hell knows which Roth-schild
1861, ‟64 or there sometime, “Very few people “will understand this. Those who do will be occupied “getting profits. The general public will probably not “see it‟s against their interest.”
from Canto LX
History translated to manchu. Set up boad of translators
Pereira professor of music, a treatise in chinese and manchu
Gerbillon and Bouvet, done in manchu
Revised by the emperor as to questions of style
A digest of philosophy (manchu) and current
Reports on the mémoires des académies
Des sciences de Paris.
Quinine, a laboratory set up in the palace.
He ordered ‟em to prepare a total anatomy, et Qu‟ils veillèrent à la pureté du langage Et qu‟on employât que de termes propres
from Canto XCVI (on Byzantium)
To be tabulary, must know the Manuale
to recite it, and the Basiliks, 60 books
and draw up an act in the presence, and be sponsored
by the principier and his colleagues
and be neither babbler nor insolent, nor sloppy in habits
and have a clear Handschrift
and have a style. Without perfect style
might not notice punctuation and phrases
that alter the sense,
and if he writes a variant
his sponsors will be responsible
Bankers not to file coins
nor make false ones
Nor put a slave (δουλον) in charge of their business
Καταλλάκτης < > κεκομμένον (double m) If they do not notify counterfeits that come in
and from whom
shall be flogged, shaved and exiled
Geoffrey HILL, from Mercian Hymns (1971)
From Hymn XI
Coins as handsome as Nero‟s; of good substance
and weight. Offa Rex resonant in silver, and the names of his moneyers. They struck with account-
able tact. They could alter the king‟s face.
Exactness of design was to deter imitation; muti-
lation if that failed. Exemplary metal, ripe for
commerce. Value from a sparse people, scrapers of
pans and byres.
From Hymn XIII
Trim the lamp; polish the lens; draw, one by one, rare
coins to the light. Ringed by its own lustre, the
masterful head emerges, kempt and jutting, out of
Geoffrey HILL, from Canaan (1994)
(NB: cette section est dédiée à Hans Bernd von Haeften, résistant allemand à Hitler)
In Plötzensee where you were hanged
they now hang
tokens of reparation and in good faith
compound with Cicero‟s maxims, Schiller‟s chant,
your silenced verities.
To the high-minded
base-metal forgers of this common Europe,
community of parody, you stand ec-
centric as a prophet.
Philip LARKIN, from „Modesties‟ (1949)
Words a plain as hen-birds‟ wings
Do not lie
Do not over-broider things –
Are too shy.
Thoughts that shuffle round like pence
Through each reign
Wear down to their simplest sense
Philip LARKIN, from „The Explosion‟ (1970) (about a mining disaster)
The dead go on before us, they
Are sitting in God’s house in comfort,
We shall see them face to face –
Plain as lettering in the chapels
It was said, and for a second
Wives saw men of the explosion
Larger than in life they managed –
Gold as on a coin, or walking
Somehow from the sun towards them,
Philip LARKIN, „Money‟ (1973)
Quarterly, is it, money reproaches me:
„Why do you let me lie here wastefully? I am all you never had of goods and sex.
You could get them still, by writing a few cheques.‟
So I look at others, what they do with theirs:
They certainly don‟t keep it upstairs. By now they‟ve a second car, a house, a wife
Clearly money has something to do with life
- In fact, they‟ve a lot in common, if you enquire:
You can‟t put off being young until you retire, And however you bank your screw, the money you save
Won‟t in the end buy you more than a shave.
I listen to money singing. It‟s like looking down
From long French windows at a provincial town,
The slums, the canals, the churches ornate and mad
In the evening sun. It is intensely sad.
NB: „quarterly‟: en Angleterre, les extraits de compte sont envoyés aux clients des banques tous les
trois mois. „screw‟ = salaire (argot)
Carol Ann DUFFY, „$‟ (1985)
A one a two a one two three four – boogie woogie chou chou cha cha chatta
noogie. Woogie wop a loo bop a wop
bim bam. Da doo ron a doo ron oo wop a
sha na? Na na hey hey doo wah did.
Um didy ay didy shala lala lala lala,
boogie woogie choo choo cha cha bop.
(A woogie wop a loo bam) yeah yeah yeah.
Carol Ann DUFFY, „Money Talks‟ (1987)
I am the authentic language of suffering. My cold, gold eye
does not blink. Mister, you want nice time? No problem.
I say Screw You. I buy and sell the world. I got
Midas touch, turn bread to hard cash. My million tills
sing through the night, my shining mad machines.
I stink and accumulate. Do you fancy me, lady? Really?
See me pass through the eye of a needle! Whoopee,
I cut Time dead with my sleek facelift. I travel
faster than $-sound. Don‟t give me away; after all, no one
can eat me. Honey, I‟m a jealous God, $-stammering my one commandment on the calculator. Love me.
Under your fingernails I smile up with my black grin.
Don‟t let my oily manner bother you. Sir, I‟ll get you
a taxi, get you a limousine. I know a place
where it‟s raining dollar bills. I got any currency
you want, women and gigolos, metal tuxedos. The party
is one long gold-toothed scream. Have a good day. I am
the big bombs, sighing in their thick lead sheaths OK.