1. Baskin’s own art frequently accompanied Hughes’s work and he wrote: “Book illustration is meaningful, splendid, useful, apt and bright when it performs as a partner, paralleling the text”. Baskin.L. Baskin Sculpture Drawing and Prints, George Braziller, 1970, ‘Introduction’.

2. Ross, A. Pagan Celtic Britain, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1976, p.232.

3. Ross.361.

4. Lady Gregory, Gods and Fighting Men, Colin Smythe, 1970, p.28.

5. Ross.20.

6. Gregory.28.

7. Gregory.28.

8. Gregory.141.

9. “Pleistocene” (R.38), “Palaeolithic” (R.50), “Milesian” (R.44).

10. Since the early 1970s Salmoniformes with luminescent organs, including Photostomias, have been classified as a separate order: Stomiiformes.

11. Best et. al.(eds) The Web of Life, Australian Academy of Science, 1978, pp.301–7.

12. Blake, Songs of Experience.42.I.

13. This image reflects the Alchemists’ symbolic use of ‘fish–eyes’ to represent the spiritual scintilla in the depths of the dark impure substance.

14. Eliade, M. The Sacred and the Profane, Harcourt Brace, 1959, p.147.

15. Joseph Campbell, for example, in The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology, p.336, writes that the river is “throughout the literature of the Orient, symbolic of the pouring of divine grace into the field of phenomenality”.

16. Scigaj 309. The Addendum at the end of this chapter discussed the origin of the collaboration between Hughes and Keen, and the progress and publication of River.

17. Christy, R. Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages, Putnam and Sons, London, 1887, No.219, p.1175. Hughes was a keen collector of proverbs, as his notebooks in the British Library confirm.

18. Ross.27–9.

19. Ross.33.

20. This image appropriately suggests the entwined snakes on Mercury’s caduceus.

21. Freemantle, F. and Trungpa, C.(trans.) The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Shambhala 1975, p.4.

22. This makes the Damselfly like the hermaphrodite Alchemical figure which symbolises the union of spirit and matter – sulphur(she is “sulpherous”) and mercury (he becomes mercurial “dew”) – in the last stages of the alchemical process. It appears “just before the curtain falls” in this poem and in a form which, at the end of the poem, presages the dissolving chaos of metamorphosis and re–birth.

23. This phrase most appropriately echoes the well–known lines from R.L. Stevenson’s ‘Requiem’, which became his epitaph: “Here he lies where he longed to be; / Home is the sailor, home from sea / And the hunter home from the hill”.

24. New Larosse Encyclopedia of Mythology (Hamlyn 1959].

25. The paronomasia between ‘hoards’ and ‘hordes’ includes the sea–tribes of the earlier poem in the river’s treasure.

26. The protagonist’s words recall those constantly repeated in The Book of Common Prayer: “As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. World without end. Amen.

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