April-8th-2012, 02:17 PM
Don't you think it would have been better to let them die, then we would have spared ourselves the shameful spectacle of life in Portugal, beggars sitting on the curb eating a crust of bread and scraping the bottom of their bowls. They don't even deserve electric lights, all they need to know is the road from their plate to their mouth and that can be found in the dark.
Inside the body, too, there is profound darkness, yet the blood reaches the heart, the brain is sightless yet it can see, it is deaf yet hears, it has no hands yet reaches out. Clearly man is trapped in his own labyrinth.
It is not Ricardo Reis who thinks these thoughts, nor one of those innumerable beings who exist within him, it is perhaps thought thinking itself while he looks on in amazement as a thread unwinds, leading him down unknown paths and corridors, at the end of which there waits a girl dressed in white...
...what is written is often confused with what, having been experienced, gave birth to it, therefore one does not ask the poet what he thought or felt. It is precisely to avoid having to reveal these things that he composes verses.
You yourself wrote that a poet is someone who pretends. We utter such intuitions without knowing how we arrive at them, unfortunately I died without discovering whether it is the poet who pretends to be a man or the man who pretends to be a poet.
Sometimes a reply is not even spoken, trapped between one's teeth, one's lips, and if spoken, it remains inaudible, a tenuous yes or no that dissolves in the shadows of a hotel lounge like a drop of blood in a transparent sea, present but invisible.
He smiled, and they smiled, too, gestures and postures according to the rules of civilized behavior, part hypocrisy, part necessity, to disguise our anguish.
... it could never be a conversation between equals, everybody knows that there is nothing more difficult to achieve in this world.
-- Saramago/ Ricardo Reis
April-12th-2012, 04:21 AM
... You've never told me about yourself, You've never asked, That's true, all I know about you is that you live here in the hotel, that you go out on your days off, that you are single and unattached as far as one could see, What could be better, Lydia retorted, and with these four words she wrung the heart of Ricardo Reis. It is banal to say so, but that is precisely how they affected him, they wrung his heart... What could be better. If this were a duel with swords, Ricardo Reis would already be losing blood. Lydia is about to leave, a clear indication of not having spoken at random. Certain phrases may seem spontaneous, a thing of the moment, but God alone knows what millstone ground them, what invisible sieve filtered them, so that when pronounced they ring like the judgments of Solomon. The best one could hope for now is silence, or that one of the two interlocutors should depart, but people usually go on talking and talking, until what was for a moment definitive and irrefutable is completely lost.
... no one can claim to be truly Portuguese unless he speaks another language better than his own.
Come now, you have a long way to go before you know what loneliness is. I've always lives alone. I, too, but loneliness is not living alone, loneliness is the inability to keep someone or something within us company, it is not a tree that stands alone in the middle of a plain but distance between the deep sap and the bark, between the leaves and the roots.
Among the Portuguese there is a strong desire for martyrdom, an eagerness for sacrifice and self-denial, only the other day one of our leaders said, No mother who has ever begotten a son could guide him to a loftier and nobler destiny than that of giving his life in defense of the fatherland. The bastard. We can just see him visiting maternity wards, probing the bellies of pregnant women, asking when they expect to give birth, telling them that soldiers are needed in the trenches, which trenches, never mind, there will be trenches.
[Saramago tells a great story about a 97-year old John D Rockefeller receiving a specially made daily edition of the NY Times which contained only news to make him happy]... and after he has dismissed his secretary his will peruse with his own weary, myopic eyes the paragraphs that reassure and delight him. At long last there is peace on earth, war only when it is advantageous, dividends are stable, interest rates guaranteed. He does not have much time left to life, but when the hour comes, he will die happy, the sole inhabitant of a world privileged with a strictly individual and non-transferable happiness. The rest of mankind has to be satisfied with whatever remains.
Saramago/ Ricardo Reis
April-18th-2012, 11:25 PM
Overhead, tracing out an enormous circle, an airplane was dropping leaflets, perhaps prayers for intoning in unison, perhaps maps showing the way to the gates of paradise, or could they be messages from our Lord God, an apology for not being with us today, in His place He has sent His Divine Son, who already worked a miracle at the bend in the road, and a good miracle it was too. The leaflets descend slowly, there is not a breath of wind. Noses in the air, the pilgrims reach out eagerly to catch them, white, yellow, green, blue. Many who cannot read, and they form the majority in this spiritual gathering, hold the leaflets, not knowing what to do with them. A man dressed in peasant attire, after deciding that Ricardo Reis looks like someone who can read, asks, What is written here, sir. Ricardo Reis tells him, It's an advertisement for Bovril. The man looks at him suspiciously, debates whether to ask him to explain what Bovril is, then folds the paper in four and puts it in his jerkin pocket. Always hold on to what is useless, you will always find a use for it.
The best words are those that reveal nothing.
I am an Argus with nine-hundred and ninety-nine eyes and all blind.
Entering the square, he finds that the crowd is much larger than it seemed before, and too packed for anyone to pass. But he has had time to master the wiles practiced in these parts, and says as he goes, Excuse me, please, I'm a doctor. Thanks to this strategy, a lie though it is the truth, he succeeds in reaching the front lines, where he can see everything.
Saramago/ Ricardo Reis
May-31st-2012, 06:05 AM
Imogen There cannot be a pinch in death
More sharp than this is.
Iachimo 'Tis her breathing that
Perfumes the chamber thus
Cloten I would this music would come: I am advised to give
her music o' mornings; they say it will penetrate.
Come on; tune: if you can penetrate her with your
fingering, so; we'll try with tongue too
Hark, hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes:
With every thing that pretty is,
My lady sweet, arise:
II, iii (set to music by Robert not-the-King-of-the-Delta-Blues Johnson in Shakespeare's time, and later and more famously by Franz Schubert)
Posthumus Me of my lawful pleasure she restrain'd
And pray'd me oft forbearance; did it with
A pudency so rosy the sweet view on't
Might well have warm'd old Saturn; that I thought her
As chaste as unsunn'd snow. O, all the devils!
This yellow Iachimo, in an hour,—wast not?—
Or less,—at first?—perchance he spoke not, but,
Like a full-acorn'd boar, a German one,
Cried 'O!' and mounted
Arviragus What should we speak of
When we are old as you? when we shall hear
The rain and wind beat dark December, how,
In this our pinching cave, shall we discourse
The freezing hours away? We have seen nothing;
We are beastly, subtle as the fox for prey,
Like warlike as the wolf for what we eat;
Our valour is to chase what flies; our cage
We make a quire, as doth the prison'd bird,
And sing our bondage freely.
Belarius How you speak!
Did you but know the city's usuries
And felt them knowingly; the art o' the court
As hard to leave as keep; whose top to climb
Is certain falling, or so slippery that
The fear's as bad as falling
Pisanio What shall I need to draw my sword? the paper
Hath cut her throat already.
Imogen Prithee, dispatch:
The lamb entreats the butcher: where's thy knife?
Thou art too slow to do thy master's bidding,
When I desire it too.
Guiderius Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
Arviragus Fear no more the frown o' the great;
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.
Guiderius Fear no more the lightning flash,
Arviragus Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone;
Guiderius Fear not slander, censure rash;
Arviragus Thou hast finish'd joy and moan:
Guiderius [with Arviragus] All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.
Guiderius No exorciser harm thee!
Arviragus Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Guiderius Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Arviragus Nothing ill come near thee!
Guiderius [with Arviragus] Quiet consummation have;
And renowned be thy grave!
Imogen Why did you throw your wedded lady from you?
Think that you are upon a rock; and now
Throw me again.
Posthumus Hang there like a fruit, my soul,
Till the tree die!
July-3rd-2012, 01:54 PM
Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.
-- Ecclesiastes 9:11
August-28th-2012, 03:00 AM
Ferdinand: Therefore, brave conquerors,—for so you are,
That war against your own affections
And the huge army of the world's desires,—
Our late edict shall strongly stand in force:
Navarre shall be the wonder of the world;
Our court shall be a little Academe,
Still and contemplative in living art.
You three, Biron, Dumain, and Longaville,
Have sworn for three years' term to live with me
My fellow-scholars, and to keep those statutes
That are recorded in this schedule here
Longaville: I am resolved; 'tis but a three years' fast:
The mind shall banquet, though the body pine:
Fat paunches have lean pates, and dainty bits
Make rich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits.
Berowne: . . . dear liege, I have already sworn,
That is, to live and study here three years.
But there are other strict observances;
As, not to see a woman in that term,
Which I hope well is not enrolled there;
And one day in a week to touch no food
And but one meal on every day beside,
The which I hope is not enrolled there;
And then, to sleep but three hours in the night,
And not be seen to wink of all the day—
When I was wont to think no harm all night
And make a dark night too of half the day—
Which I hope well is not enrolled there:
O, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep,
Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep!
Berowne: Light seeking light doth light of light beguile
[which Harry Levin unpacks as: "INTELLECT, seeking WISDOM, cheats EYESIGHT out of DAYLIGHT"]
Ferdinand: How well he's read, to reason against reading!
Princess of France: Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,
Needs not the painted flourish of your praise:
Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye,
Not utter'd by base sale of chapmen's tongues
Berowne: Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?
Rosaline. Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?
Berowne: I know you did. 605
Rosaline: How needless was it then to ask the question!
Berowne: You must not be so quick.
Rosaline: 'Tis 'long of you that spur me with such questions.
Berowne: Your wit's too hot, it speeds too fast, 'twill tire.
Rosaline: Not till it leave the rider in the mire.
Boyet: (reading) . . . Who came? the king: why did he
come? to see: why did he see? to overcome: to
whom came he? to the beggar: what saw he? the
beggar: who overcame he? the beggar. The
conclusion is victory: on whose side? the king's.
The captive is enriched: on whose side? the
beggar's. The catastrophe is a nuptial: on whose
side? the king's: no, on both in one, or one in
both. I am the king; for so stands the comparison:
thou the beggar; for so witnesseth thy lowliness.
Shall I command thy love? I may: shall I enforce
thy love? I could: shall I entreat thy love? I
will. What shalt thou exchange for rags? robes;
for tittles? titles; for thyself? me. Thus,
expecting thy reply, I profane my lips on thy foot,
my eyes on thy picture, and my heart on thy every
part. Thine, in the dearest design of industry,
DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO.'
Nathaniel: Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred
in a book; he hath not eat paper, as it were; he
hath not drunk ink: his intellect is not
replenished; he is only an animal, only sensible in
the duller parts:
Longaville: Did not the heavenly rhetoric of thine eye,
'Gainst whom the world cannot hold argument,
Persuade my heart to this false perjury?
Vows for thee broke deserve not punishment.
A woman I forswore; but I will prove,
Thou being a goddess, I forswore not thee:
My vow was earthly, thou a heavenly love;
Thy grace being gain'd cures all disgrace in me.
Vows are but breath, and breath a vapour is:
Then thou, fair sun, which on my earth dost shine,
Exhalest this vapour-vow; in thee it is:
If broken then, it is no fault of mine:
If by me broke, what fool is not so wise
To lose an oath to win a paradise?
Berowne: This is the liver-vein, which makes flesh a deity,
A green goose a goddess: pure, pure idolatry.
God amend us, God amend! we are much out o' the way.
Berowne: Let us once lose our oaths to find ourselves,
Or else we lose ourselves to keep our oaths.
It is religion to be thus forsworn,
For charity itself fulfills the law,
And who can sever love from charity?
Princess of France. We are wise girls to mock our lovers so.
Rosaline: They are worse fools to purchase mocking so.
Boyet: The tongues of mocking wenches are as keen
As is the razor's edge invisible,
Cutting a smaller hair than may be seen,
Above the sense of sense
Berowne: Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some Dick,
That smiles his cheek in years and knows the trick
To make my lady laugh when she's disposed,
Told our intents before; which once disclosed,
The ladies did change favours: and then we,
Following the signs, woo'd but the sign of she.
Ferdinand: Now, at the latest minute of the hour,
Grant us your loves.
Princess: A time, methinks, too short
To make a world-without-end bargain in
Rosaline: Oft have I heard of you, my Lord Biron,
Before I saw you; and the world's large tongue
Proclaims you for a man replete with mocks,
Full of comparisons and wounding flouts,
Which you on all estates will execute
That lie within the mercy of your wit.
To weed this wormwood from your fruitful brain,
And therewithal to win me, if you please,
Without the which I am not to be won,
You shall this twelvemonth term from day to day
Visit the speechless sick and still converse
With groaning wretches; and your task shall be,
With all the fierce endeavor of your wit
To enforce the pained impotent to smile.
Berowne: To move wild laughter in the throat of death?
It cannot be; it is impossible:
Mirth cannot move a soul in agony.
Rosaline: Why, that's the way to choke a gibing spirit,
Whose influence is begot of that loose grace
Which shallow laughing hearers give to fools:
A jest's prosperity lies in the ear
Of him that hears it, never in the tongue
Of him that makes it: then, if sickly ears,
Deaf'd with the clamours of their own dear groans,
Will hear your idle scorns, continue then,
And I will have you and that fault withal;
But if they will not, throw away that spirit,
And I shall find you empty of that fault,
Right joyful of your reformation.
Berowne: Our wooing doth not end like an old play;
Jack hath not Jill: these ladies' courtesy
Might well have made our sport a comedy.
Ferdinand: Come, sir, it wants a twelvemonth and a day,
And then 'twill end.
Berowne: That's too long for a play.
Love's Labour's Lost
September-7th-2012, 09:08 AM
That for which we find words is something already dead in our hearts. There is always a kind of contempt in the act of speaking. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
September-7th-2012, 09:35 AM
He methodically basted the dark skin of the Alsatian, which he had stuffed with garlic and herbs. "One rule in life", he murmured to himself. "If you can smell garlic, everything is all right".
- JG Ballard, "High Rise"
September-16th-2012, 02:51 PM
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
-- T S Eliot
September-16th-2012, 03:29 PM
This is a test.
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes."
- Marcel Proust
"There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind."
- Duke Ellington
“Hatred is the coward's revenge for being intimidated.”
- George Bernard Shaw
"As iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by their own passion."
September-18th-2012, 04:53 PM
Sometimes we can feel where the drift is taking us even while we struggle against it. Probably the majority of those who read these words feel that it is quite "incorrect" to say "Who did you see?" We readers of many books are still very careful to say "Whom did you see?" but we feel a little uncomfortable (uncomfortably proud, it may be) in the process. We are likely to avoid the locution altogether and to say "Who was it you saw?" conserving literary tradition (the "whom") with the dignity of silence.
The folk makes no apology. "Whom did you see?" might do for an epitaph, but "Who did you see?" is the natural form for an eager inquiry. It is of course the uncontrolled speech of the folk to which we must look for advance information as to the general linguistic movement. It is safe to prophesy that within a couple of hundred years from to-day not even the most learned jurist will be saying "Whom did you see?" By that time the "whom" will be as delightfully archaic as the Elizabethan "his" for "its." No logical or historical argument will avail to save this hapless "whom." The demonstration "I:me=he:him=who:whom" will be convincing in theory and will go unheeded in practice.
Even now we may go so far as to say that the majority of us are secretly wishing they could say "Who did you see?" It would be a weight off their unconscious minds if some divine authority, overruling the lifted finger of the pedagogue, gave them carte blanche. But we cannot too frankly anticipate the drift and maintain caste. We must affect ignorance of whither we are going and rest content with our mental conflict—uncomfortable conscious acceptance of the "whom," unconscious desire for the "who."
- Edward Sapir, Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech
December-15th-2012, 07:33 AM
Paranoia means having all the facts.
-- William S. Burroughs
December-16th-2012, 01:10 AM
Polixenes. We were as twinn'd lambs that did frisk i' the sun,
And bleat the one at the other: what we changed
Was innocence for innocence; we knew not
The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dream'd
That any did. Had we pursued that life,
And our weak spirits ne'er been higher rear'd
With stronger blood, we should have answer'd heaven
Boldly 'not guilty;' the imposition clear'd
Hermione. By this we gather
You have tripp'd since.
Polixenes. O my most sacred lady!
Temptations have since then been born to's; for
In those unfledged days was my wife a girl;
Your precious self had then not cross'd the eyes
Of my young play-fellow.
Hermione. Grace to boot!
Of this make no conclusion, lest you say
Your queen and I are devils:
Leontes. Is whispering nothing?
Is leaning cheek to cheek? is meeting noses?
Kissing with inside lip? stopping the career
Of laughing with a sigh?—a note infallible
Of breaking honesty—horsing foot on foot?
Skulking in corners? wishing clocks more swift?
Hours, minutes? noon, midnight? and all eyes
Blind with the pin and web but theirs, theirs only,
That would unseen be wicked? is this nothing?
Why, then the world and all that's in't is nothing;
The covering sky is nothing; Bohemia nothing;
My wife is nothing; nor nothing have these nothings,
If this be nothing.
Leontes. How blest am I 645
In my just censure, in my true opinion!
Alack, for lesser knowledge! how accursed
In being so blest! There may be in the cup
A spider steep'd, and one may drink, depart,
And yet partake no venom, for his knowledge 650
Is not infected: but if one present
The abhorr'd ingredient to his eye, make known
How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides,
With violent hefts. I have drunk,
and seen the spider.
Hermione. Sir, spare your threats:
The bug which you would fright me with I seek.
To me can life be no commodity:
The crown and comfort of my life, your favour,
I do give lost; for I do feel it gone,
But know not how it went. My second joy
And first-fruits of my body, from his presence
I am barr'd, like one infectious. My third comfort
Starr'd most unluckily, is from my breast,
The innocent milk in its most innocent mouth,
Haled out to murder: myself on every post
Proclaimed a strumpet: with immodest hatred
The child-bed privilege denied, which 'longs
To women of all fashion; lastly, hurried
Here to this place, i' the open air, before
I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege,
Tell me what blessings I have here alive,
That I should fear to die? Therefore proceed.
But yet hear this: mistake me not; no life,
I prize it not a straw, but for mine honour,
Which I would free, if I shall be condemn'd
Upon surmises, all proofs sleeping else
But what your jealousies awake, I tell you
'Tis rigor and not law.
[Exit, pursued by a bear]
Florizel. What you do
Still betters what is done. When you speak, sweet.
I'ld have you do it ever: when you sing,
I'ld have you buy and sell so, so give alms,
Pray so; and, for the ordering your affairs,
To sing them too: when you do dance, I wish you
A wave o' the sea, that you might ever do
Nothing but that; move still, still so,
And own no other function: each your doing,
So singular in each particular,
Crowns what you are doing in the present deed,
That all your acts are queens.
Polixenes. This is the prettiest low-born lass that ever
Ran on the green-sward: nothing she does or seems
But smacks of something greater than herself,
Too noble for this place.
Camillo. He tells her something
That makes her blood look out: good sooth, she is
The queen of curds and cream.
Autolycus. Lawn as white as driven snow;
Cyprus black as e'er was crow;
Gloves as sweet as damask roses;
Masks for faces and for noses;
Bugle bracelet, necklace amber,
Perfume for a lady's chamber;
Golden quoifs and stomachers,
For my lads to give their dears:
Pins and poking-sticks of steel,
What maids lack from head to heel:
Come buy of me, come; come buy, come buy;
Buy lads, or else your lasses cry: Come buy.
Paulina. Either forbear,
Quit presently the chapel, or resolve you
For more amazement. If you can behold it,
I'll make the statue move indeed, descend
And take you by the hand; but then you'll think—
Which I protest against—I am assisted
By wicked powers.
Leontes. What you can make her do,
I am content to look on: what to speak,
I am content to hear; for 'tis as easy
To make her speak as move.
Paulina. It is required
You do awake your faith. Then all stand still;
On: those that think it is unlawful business
I am about, let them depart.
No foot shall stir.
Paulina. Music, awake her; strike!
'Tis time; descend; be stone no more; approach;
Strike all that look upon with marvel. Come,
I'll fill your grave up: stir, nay, come away,
Bequeath to death your numbness, for from him
Dear life redeems you. You perceive she stirs:
[HERMIONE comes down]
Start not; her actions shall be holy as
You hear my spell is lawful: do not shun her
Until you see her die again; for then
You kill her double. Nay, present your hand:
When she was young you woo'd her; now in age
Is she become the suitor?
Leontes. O, she's warm!
If this be magic, let it be an art
Lawful as eating.
Polixenes. She embraces him.
Camillo. She hangs about his neck:
If she pertain to life let her speak too.
Polixenes. Ay, and make't manifest where she has lived,
Or how stolen from the dead.
Paulina. That she is living,
Were it but told you, should be hooted at
Like an old tale: but it appears she lives,
Though yet she speak not. Mark a little while.
Please you to interpose, fair madam: kneel
And pray your mother's blessing. Turn, good lady;
Our Perdita is found.
Hermione. You gods, look down
And from your sacred vials pour your graces
Upon my daughter's head! Tell me, mine own.
Where hast thou been preserved? where lived? how found
Thy father's court? for thou shalt hear that I,
Knowing by Paulina that the oracle
Gave hope thou wast in being, have preserved
Myself to see the issue.
The Winter's Tale
December-16th-2012, 08:31 AM
Plus ça change...
Beautiful stuff, SqD. Don't know that play at all. Thanks.
“The lot of critics is to be remembered by what they failed to understand.”--George Moore
January-24th-2013, 09:06 PM
Plus ça change...
Island where all becomes clear.
Solid ground beneath your feet.
The only roads are those that offer access.
Bushes bend beneath the weight of proofs.
The Tree of Valid Supposition grows here
with branches disentangled since time immemorial.
The Tree of Understanding, dazzlingly straight and simple,
sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It.
The thicker the woods, the vaster the vista:
the Valley of Obviously.
If any doubts arise, the wind dispels them instantly.
Echoes stir unsummoned
and eagerly explain all the secrets of the worlds.
On the right a cave where Meaning lies.
On the left the Lake of Deep Conviction.
Truth breaks from the bottom and bobs to the surface.
Unshakable Confidence towers over the valley.
Its peak offers an excellent view of the Essence of Things.
For all its charms, the island is uninhabited,
and the faint footprints scattered on its beaches
turn without exception to the sea.
As if all you can do here is leave
and plunge, never to return, into the depths.
Into unfathomable life.
By Wislawa Szymborska
From "A large number", 1976
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh
“The lot of critics is to be remembered by what they failed to understand.”--George Moore