Sing we for love and idleness,
Naught else is worth the having.

Though I have been in many a land,
There is naught else in living.

And I would rather have my sweet,
Though rose-leaves die of grieving,

Than do high deeds in Hungary
To pass all men’s believing.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Ezra Pound's poem An Immorality


  1. Mushahid Syed says:

    Just wanted to mention that I found your blog and Oh what a wonderful thing that is.

    I’ve read much of Pound and also a biography, but it is hard for me to come to grips with him, to pin him down to whatever it was he believed he believed.

    I will say I think he authored a few of the most perfect poems in English, among them “A Virginal”, and “Envoi”.

  2. zia ul qamar says:

    Ezra pound visited many places and share his experience of travelling that
    There is nothing without love and peace

  3. Sheryl Skoglund says:

    “And I would rather have my sweet,”
    alive doing high deeds than dying on a battlefield.

  4. Nancy says:

    Wow, people. It speaks for itself: His “immorality” lies in admitting that he values love and indolence over proving himself on the battlefield. He would rather win the hand of his lady than be a war hero in Hungary, even though the roses might wilt in grief to hear of his wickedness.

  5. Sheryl Skoglund says:

    The poet would rather be immoral than do high deeds in Hungary. Women grieve and so do high deeds.

  6. Joseph says:

    Love is certainly an element of the poem, but I think the themes here are complicated (or at least extended) by the inclusion of “idleness” in that first line. The poem seems to say that love AND idleness are worth having– I interpret this paradoxically desirable “idleness” as a world without event: or in the context of the early 20th C–> a world without war.
    The war references are reiterated further when Pound speaks of being in “many a land” and doing “high deeds in Hungary”.
    My take (and remember this is only my personal opinion) is that: yes, there is talk of love in here, but it is simultaneously a poem about disillusionment with a world at war.
    The voice would rather experience the most painful grief of loving and losing than to participate in the immorality that is war.

    • Saba says:

      Both are same feelings
      Love and idleness
      If you love someone that will be your idle ofcourse
      But it’s all about disillusionment
      He was a kind of man who want love and peace

  7. robert says:

    Ezra Pound was born in E U but he is not really an american. The goberment had him in jail becouse he was too much for the rest of the ordinary citisens

  8. nadia says:

    I think it is very intresting poem

  9. Nikki says:

    this poem is weird and i didnt really get it so like yeahh

  10. Karl says:

    It’s not “An Immortality,” Carey N., it’s “An Immorality.” What a great poem! I love this one even though Pound was a Nazi sympathizer (see the comments fron the fellow from Australia). Would that we all could so succinctly sum up our feelings when it comes to expressing them about those things we love.

  11. dorothy muller says:

    Loved the comments, varied and though humorous I don’t know if they were meant to be. the comment on McCarthism was quite a stretch. I feel the title tells it all. of course the words in their beautiful simplicity elicits what most of us feel on what makes life worthwhile

  12. Stevens says:

    This poem reminds me of the fluffy white bunnies that rome wildly among the hills of the African desert. This is were they reproduce with the dolphins and the Dodu birds and as they feed in paridise Among all of the kings men.

  13. Cory says:

    I think the poem was about two old people having sex in a public restroom. And how the immorality of sex will last for ever!

  14. jdog 1040 says:

    The think that Ezra implies that the people relish love and little more. Even though loves pass and great deeds are remembered he still chooses love and that is the immoral decision. That’s my take…

  15. Neil Marsh says:

    Interesting title; perhaps it bespeaks a Calvinistic upbringing? Any’ow, glad to see that a man who was sent out of his country for his political views is now acclaimed after the wave of pre-McCarthyism dissipated on the rocks of common-sense. Sing we for love …

  16. Carey N. says:

    It sounds like more of a love poem to me. The following lines:
    “And I would rather have my sweet,
    Though rose-leaves die of grieving,
    Than do high deeds in Hungary
    To pass all men’s believing.”
    is, in my oppinion, anyway, saying that despite the fact that life is evanescent, despite the fact that a love with eventually fade or die, he would still rather have love than “immortality” for a great and final deed on the battlefield (the reference to Hungary; the man lived through both World Wars)

  17. Slidth says:

    It’s a bit cynical but cut’s through the crud to the point. People donate money to flaunt there wealth and make people think better of them. I also thinks when he mentions the dieing rose he’s talking about people that might leave flowers at a grave or protest but not do really do anything. He won’t hide behind charades, instead he admits he’d rather not spend his wealth on something he doesn’t care about.

  18. Susan says:

    I like the truthful, gut-wrenching honesty
    of Pound. This poem speaks to the essence
    of living deep within the self.

  19. Angela says:

    I thought it was an excellent poem. I thought it grasped the reader quickly and kept your attention… throughtout.

  20. Miyuki says:

    cool poemy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Ezra Pound better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.