Simon Zelotes speaking after the Crucifixion.
Fere=Mate, Companion.

Ha’ we lost the goodliest fere o’ all
For the priests and the gallows tree?
Aye lover he was of brawny men,
O’ ships and the open sea.

When they came wi’ a host to take Our Man
His smile was good to see,
“First let these go!” quo’ our Goodly Fere,
“Or I’ll see ye damned,” says he.

Aye he sent us out through the crossed high spears
And the scorn of his laugh rang free,
“Why took ye not me when I walked about
Alone in the town?” says he.

Oh we drank his “Hale” in the good red wine
When we last made company,
No capon priest was the Goodly Fere
But a man o’ men was he.

I ha’ seen him drive a hundred men
Wi’ a bundle o’ cords swung free,
That they took the high and holy house
For their pawn and treasury.

They’ll no’ get him a’ in a book I think
Though they write it cunningly;
No mouse of the scrolls was the Goodly Fere
But aye loved the open sea.

If they think they ha’ snared our Goodly Fere
They are fools to the last degree.
“I’ll go to the feast,” quo’ our Goodly Fere,
“Though I go to the gallows tree.”

“Ye ha’ seen me heal the lame and blind,
And wake the dead,” says he,
“Ye shall see one thing to master all:
‘Tis how a brave man dies on the tree.”

A son of God was the Goodly Fere
That bade us his brothers be.
I ha’ seen him cow a thousand men.
I have seen him upon the tree.

He cried no cry when they drave the nails
And the blood gushed hot and free,
The hounds of the crimson sky gave tongue
But never a cry cried he.

I ha’ seen him cow a thousand men
On the hills o’ Galilee,
They whined as he walked out calm between,
Wi’ his eyes like the grey o’ the sea,

Like the sea that brooks no voyaging
With the winds unleashed and free,
Like the sea that he cowed at Genseret
Wi’ twey words spoke’ suddently.

A master of men was the Goodly Fere,
A mate of the wind and sea,
If they think they ha’ slain our Goodly Fere
They are fools eternally.

I ha’ seen him eat o’ the honey-comb
Sin’ they nailed him to the tree.

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

10 Comments

  1. Sheryl Skoglund says:

    I have seen him drive a hundred men with a bundle of cords swung free,
    “That they took the high and holy house
    For their pawn and treasury.”
    They will not get him in a book I think.

  2. Gary Hollingshead says:

    Wow! I have always envisioned Christ as a strong, virile man, who was still gentle and loving. Otherwise, how could he have appealed to men, women and children in so many settings. Pound shows that Jesus was both diving and human, without which He is useless as an atoning sacrifice for my and your sins.

  3. Gary Hollingshead says:

    Wow! I have always envisioned Christ as a strong, virile man, who was still gentle and loving. Otherwise, how could he have appealed to men, women and children in so many settings. Pound shows that Jesus was both diving and human, without which He is useless as an atoning sacrifice for my and your sins.

  4. stephen says:

    In response to the comment that Pound’s poem makes Jesus just another mythical hero misses the allusions to Christ’s miracles (walking on the water, healing the lame and the blind, raising the dead, and especially Himself rising from the dead).

    “I’ll go to the feast” speaks of the feast in eternity spoken of in the Bible.

    And the last line of the poem speaks of the risen Christ’s appearance to His disciples and His meal recorded in the King James Luke 24:42:”I ha’ seen him eat o’ the honey’comb sin they nailed him to the tree.”

    This is the only poem of Pound’s that I am familiar with but it strikes a visceral chord. Very wonderful!

  5. Betty Martin says:

    This poem is filled with irony. It cleverly depicts Christ as a folk hero. The implication being that he is no different from other mythical heroes such as robin hood or king arthur.

  6. Andrew says:

    “the hounds of the crimson sky gave toungue”
    oh my god, they don’t write ’em like that anymore . . .

  7. t says:

    Anger? Oh please.
    Judgement? Oh please.
    A man of the Word? Uhmmm….

    NO capon PRIEST was the Goodly Fere
    But a MAN O’ MEN was he
    (my emphases)

  8. Danis Dincer says:

    This is a poem – and there are not too many of them.

  9. Joan says:

    This is probably my favorite poem about Jesus. He is portrayed to be so strong and masculine, as is reflected in the Bible. Today we hear about his gentle, non-judgmental and forgiving nature and tend to forget that he was capable of righteous anger and did not mince words when he observed a wrong. As he was also a carpenter we can assume he had a measure of physical strength also.

  10. Chris says:

    This poem, in my opinion, is without a doubt the finest and most powerful poem that Ezra Pound wrote. It gives such a visual image of Christ, not as a weak preacher, but as a strong man of the Word. We would do well to take note in our own lives.

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