- His extraordinary gifts of invention and narration, his radical intelligence, wit, humor, good sense, and goodness of heart, will shine out to anyone who values such qualities in an artist, but his age gives his art a singular edge. ... He's been farther and learned more. He has seen most of the twentieth century, and has had time to think about it, decide what matters, and learn how to say it. The energy and mastery with which he says it is a marvel. He is the only novelist of my generation who tells me what I didn't know, or rather, what I didn't know I knew: the only one I still learn from. He had the time and the courage to earn that subtle and unpretentious kind of understanding we call, inadequately, wisdom.
- Ursula K. Le Guin, Words Are My Matter (2016), "Examples of Dignity: Thoughts on the Work of José Saramago"
- "You learn something new every day." Actually, you learn something old every day. Just because you just learned it, doesn't mean it's new.
Nor shall my hand the golden prize withhold:
Like your proud lord, I envy not the bold.
The conscious infant so, when fear alarms,
Retires for safety to the mother's arms.
Thus Ajax guards his brother in the field,
Moves as he moves, and turns the shining shield.
Great Agamemnon views with joyful eye
The ranks grow thinner as his arrows fly:
Now deep in ocean sunk the lamp of light,
And drew behind the cloudy veil of night:
The conquering Trojans mourn his beams decayed;
The Greeks rejoicing bless the friendly shade.
Wounds, that long hence may ask their spouses' care,
And warn their children from a Trojan war.
Then tell him, loud, that all the Greeks may hear,
And learn to scorn the wretch they basely fear;
For, armed in impudence, mankind he braves,
And meditates new cheats on all his slaves;
Though, shameless as he is, to face these eyes
Is what he dares not; if he dares, he dies;
Tell him, all terms, all commerce, I decline,
Nor share his council, nor his battle join;
For once deceived, was his; but twice, were mine.
My fates long since by Thetis were disclosed,
And each alternate, life or fame, proposed:
Here if I stay, before the Trojan town,
Short is my date, but deathless my renown;
If I return, I quit immortal praise
For years on years, and long-extended days.
And cursed thee with a mind that cannot yield.
It would have made a Stoic smile to have seen me and my little family sit down to dinner. There was my majesty the prince and lord of the whole island; I had the lives of all my subjects at my absolute command...and no rebels among all my subjects. Then, to see how like a king I dined, too, all alone, attended by my servants! Poll...was the only person permitted to talk to me. My dog, who was now grown old and crazy...sat always at my right hand; and two cats, one on one side of the table and one on the other... With this attendance and in this plentiful manner I lived; neither could I be said to want anything but society.
And now I saw how easy it was for the providence of God to make even the most miserable condition of mankind worse. Now I looked back upon my desolate, solitary island as the most pleasant place in the world and all the happiness my heart could wish for was to be but there again. I stretched out my hands to it, with eager wishes: O happy desert! said I, I shall never see thee more...
- A youth unshod amid the crowd appears,
Cause of thy ruin, subject of thy fears.
- Lines 11–12, tr. William Preston
- I remember also distinctly, (though I have not for this the authority of my journal,) that the conversation going on concerning Mr. Pope, I took notice of a report which had been sometimes propagated that he did not understand Greek. Lord Bathurst said to me, that he knew that to be false; for that part of the Iliad was translated by Mr. Pope in his house in the country; and that in the mornings when they assembled at breakfast, Mr. Pope used frequently to repeat, with great rapture, the Greek lines which he had been translating, and then to give them his version of them, and to compare them together.
- Indeed it is impossible for any Translator, and much less for this, to express in a Translation the Poetical Language of HOMER. By the Advantage of the Language in which he wrote, he had several Ways of rendering his Language poetical, which a Translator can never have; as the frequent Use of compounded and decompounded Words; the Use of Words which were as it were at one and the same time both Grecian and Foreign; as being confin'd in their vulgar Use to some particular Part of Greece; as likewise the Use of Words which were purely Poetick, and which were seldom or never us'd in Prose; the contracting or lengthening the Words which he used, and the frequent transposing of Syllables; and, lastly, the altering the Terminations of Words, by means of the different Dialects.
- John Dennis, Remarks upon Mr. Pope's Translation of Homer (1717)
- And say, has fame so dear, so dazzling charms?
Must brutal fierceness and the trade of arms,
Conquest, and laurels dipt in blood, be prized,
While life is scorn'd, and all its joys despised?
- The Lusiad (1776), Book IV, pp. 185.
- Let the cravens who contend that the free genius and taste of divine Virgil were prisoners of Homer's inventions hold their peace. It was not thus. The arguments of Homer which nature proposed to him were corrected by Virgil as a schoolboy's theme by his professor.
- Julius Caesar Scaliger, Poetices (1561), Book V, Ch. 3; as quoted in "Life of Julius Caesar Scaliger (1484-1558)" by Vernon Hall, Jr. — Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 40, Part 2 (October, 1950), p. 153
Nin = Adalgisa!
- ... no tempo que a luz clara
Foge, e as estrelas nítidas que saem
A repouso convidam quando caem,
Estando já deitado no áureo leito,
Onde imaginações mais certas são,
Revolvendo contino no conceito
De seu ofício e sangue a obrigação,
Os olhos lhe ocupou o sono aceito,
Sem lhe desocupar o coração;
Porque, tanto que lasso se adormece,
Morfeu em várias formas lhe aparece.
Aqui se lhe apresenta que subia
Tão alto que tocava à prima Esfera,
Donde diante vários mundos via,
Nações de muita gente, estranha e fera.
E lá bem junto donde nace o dia,
Despois que os olhos longos estendera,
Viu de antigos, longincos e altos montes
Nacerem duas claras e altas fontes.
Aves agrestes, feras e alimárias
Pelo monte selvático habitavam;
Mil árvores silvestres e ervas várias
O passo e o trato às gentes atalhavam.
Estas duras montanhas, adversárias
De mais conversação, por si mostravam
Que, dês que Adão pecou aos nossos anos,
Não as romperam nunca pés humanos.
Das águas se lhe antolha que saíam,
Par' ele os largos passos inclinando,
Dous homens, que mui velhos pareciam,
De aspeito, inda que agreste, venerando.
Das pontas dos cabelos lhe saíam
Gotas, que o corpo todo vão banhando;
A cor da pele, baça e denegrida;
A barba hirsuta, intonsa, mas comprida.
D'ambos de dous a fronte coroada
Ramos não conhecidos e ervas tinha.
Um deles a presença traz cansada,
Como quem de mais longe ali caminha;
E assi a água, com ímpeto alterada,
Parecia que doutra parte vinha,
Bem como Alfeu de Arcádia em Siracusa
Vai buscar os abraços de Aretusa.
Este, que era o mais grave na pessoa,
Destarte pera o Rei de longe brada:
– «Ó tu, a cujos reinos e coroa
Grande parte do mundo está guardada,
Nós outros, cuja fama tanto voa,
Cuja cerviz bem nunca foi domada,
Te avisamos que é tempo que já mandes
A receber de nós tributos grandes.
«Eu sou o ilustre Ganges, que na terra
Celeste tenho o berço verdadeiro;
Estoutro é o Indo, Rei que, nesta serra
Que vês, seu nascimento tem primeiro.
Custar-t'-emos contudo dura guerra;
Mas, insistindo tu, por derradeiro,
Com não vistas vitórias, sem receio
A quantas gentes vês porás o freio.»
Não disse mais o Rio ilustre e santo,
Mas ambos desparecem num momento.
Acorda Emanuel cum novo espanto
E grande alteração de pensamento.
- Now, from the sky, the sacred light withdrawn,
O'er heaven's clear azure shone the stars of dawn,
Deep silence spread her gloomy wings around,
And human griefs were wrapp'd in sleep profound.
The monarch slumber'd on his golden bed,
Yet, anxious cares possess'd his thoughtful head;
His gen'rous soul, intent on public good,
The glorious duties of his birth review'd.
When, sent by Heaven, a sacred dream inspir'd
His lab'ring mind, and with its radiance fir'd:
High to the clouds his tow'ring head was rear'd,
New worlds, and nations fierce, and strange, appear'd;
The purple dawning o'er the mountains flow'd,
The forest-boughs with yellow splendour glow'd;
High, from the steep, two copious glassy streams
Roll'd down, and glitter'd in the morning beams;
Here, various monsters of the wild were seen,
And birds of plumage azure, scarlet, green:
Here, various herbs, and flow'rs of various bloom;
There, black as night, the forest's horrid gloom,
Whose shaggy brakes, by human step untrod,
Darken'd the glaring lion's dread abode.
Here, as the monarch fix'd his wond'ring eyes,
Two hoary fathers from the streams arise;
Their aspect rustic, yet, a reverend grace
Appear'd majestic on their wrinkled face:
Their tawny beards uncomb'd, and sweepy long,
Adown their knees in shaggy ringlets hung;
From every lock the crystal drops distil,
And bathe their limbs, as in a trickling rill;
Gay wreaths of flowers, of fruitage, and of boughs,
(Nameless in Europe), crown'd their furrow'd brows.
Bent o'er his staff, more silver'd o'er with years,
Worn with a longer way, the one appears;
Who now slow beck'ning with his wither'd hand,
As now advanc'd before the king they stand:—
"O thou, whom worlds to Europe yet unknown,
Are doom'd to yield, and dignify thy crown;
To thee our golden shores the Fates decree;
Our necks, unbow'd before, shall bend to thee.
Wide thro' the world resounds our wealthy fame;
Haste, speed thy prows, that fated wealth to claim.
From Paradise my hallow'd waters spring;
The sacred Ganges I, my brother king
Th' illustrious author of the Indian name:
Yet, toil shall languish, and the fight shall flame;
Our fairest lawns with streaming gore shall smoke,
Ere yet our shoulders bend beneath the yoke;
But, thou shalt conquer: all thine eyes survey,
With all our various tribes, shall own thy sway."
He spoke; and, melting in a silv'ry stream,
Both disappear'd; when waking from his dream,
The wond'ring monarch, thrill'd with awe divine,
Weighs in his lofty thoughts the sacred sign.
- Canto IV, st. 67–75 (as translated by William Julius Mickle).
- Now, from the sky, the sacred light withdrawn,
- Dada ao mundo por Deus que todo o mande,
Pera do mundo a Deus dar parte grande.
- La mayor venganza del que es sabio
Es olvidar la causa del agravio.
- El desprecio agradecido (1633), Act I, scene xi.
Aquilo que é inevitável torna-se fácil, se formos realistas, e humildes. (MP)
O Lord God, Almighty Father! hear the prayer of a poor, wicked, proud child! I know that my heart is full of sin, and that my body is corrupt and filthy, and that I must soon die and go down into the dust; and yet I am so foolish and so wicked as to wish to be great in this world. I wish to have a fine house to live in, and a great many servants to wait on me, and to be of great consequence, and to be made a great deal of; and yet I know, that if I had what I deserved, I should now at this moment be in hell fire. O thou that resisteth the proud, and givest grace to the humble! give me the grace of humility; make me humble and lowly in heart, content and thankful for what I have. O set my sins in order before my eyes, that I may see I have nothing to be proud of, and know that I am not worthy to be set up and made great in the world. I know that thou, O Lord! lovest humble and lowly people; and that thy blessed Son, when in this world, appeared in the form of a servant, amongst the lowest and poorest of men, and was meek and lowly in his behaviour. O Lord! send thy Holy Spirit to cleanse my heart from all proud thoughts. Teach me to know my sins and hate myself, and to humble myself before men and in thy sight. O give me a clean and a new heart, that I may rather desire to be numbered amongst the saints, and martyrs, and children of God—those holy people of whom the world was not worthy—than amongst the great and mighty men of the earth.
- He was in love with [imagination].
- Owen Barfield, as quoted in Christianity & Literature, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Autumn 1990), p. 314
O wheels, O gears, eternal r-r-r-r-r-r-r!
Me, me, adsum, qui feci, in me convertite ferrum.
Moniti meliora sequamur.
A corja de ladrões assignalados
Fugindo vem da praia Lusitana,
Que, em crimes nunca d'antes praticados,
Tem já muito excedido a audácia humana:
Que, em caurins e calotes esforçados,
Vão demandando o Império da Banana;
Tão infame ralé, corja tão porca.
Eu sempre a cantarei digna da Forca.
Time goes, you say? Ah, no!
Alas, Time stays, we go.
Their martial rage inflame:
And one the chief's young beauty fires,
One kindles at his hero sires,
One at his deeds of fame.
dn [in progress]
And now the rising day renews the year;
A day for ever sad, for ever dear.
O happy, if he knew his happy state,
The swain, who, free from bus'ness and debate,
Receives his easy food from Nature's hand,
And just returns of cultivated land!
See there, where old unhappy Priam stands!
telum imbelle sine ictu
Nee dulcia carmina quaeras;
Ornari res ipsa negat, eontenta doceri.
- ‘En Priamus! Sunt hic etiam sua praemia laudi,
Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt.
Solve metus; feret haec aliquam tibi fama salutem.'
Sic ait atque animum pictura pascit inani,
Multa gemens, largoque humectat flumine vultum.
- Priam is here, here meed to heroic worth is assigned,
Tears are to human sorrows given, hearts feel for mankind.
"Fear not," he cries; "Troy's glory will save thee in danger still."
Then on the lifeless painting he feeds his heart to his fill.
Tears streamed over his cheek as he gazed; groans broke from his breast.
- Lines 461–464 (translated by Sir Charles Bowen).
- Cf. Conington's translation:
'See Priam! aye, praise waits on worth
E'en in this corner of the earth;
E'en here the tear of pity springs,
And hearts are touched by human things.
Dismiss your fear: we sure may claim
To find some safety in our fame.'
He said; and feeds his hungry heart
With shapes of unsubstantial art,
In fond remembrance groaning deep,
While briny floods his visage steep.
- Cf. Conington's translation:
- Priam is here, here meed to heroic worth is assigned,
No hostile hand can antedate my doom,
Till fate condemns me to the silent tomb;
Fixed is the term to all the race of earth,
And such the hard condition of our birth.
No force can then resist, no flight can save;
All sink alike, the fearful and the brave.