sâmbătă, 15 octombrie 2011

Balthasar & Blimunda, Jose Saramago II

"If your Majesty will permit to speak frankly, I am of the opinion that we are facing bankruptcy and must be fully aware of our difficult situation. But, thanks be to God, there has never been any lack of money, That is true, but my experience as a treasurer has taught me that the most persistent beggar is the one who has money to squander, just like Portugal, which is a bottomless coffer, the money goes in its mouth and comes out of its arse, if your Majesty will pardon the expression. Ha ha ha, the King laughed, that is funny, are you trying to tell me that shit is money, No your Majesty, that money is shit, and I'm in a position to know, squatting down here like everyone else who finds himself looking after someone else's money. This dialogue is fictitious, apocryphal, and libellous, and also deeply immoral, it respects neither throne nor altar, It makes a King and his treasurer speak as if they were drovers conversing in a tavern, and all we need are a few comely wenches to provoke the most awful outbursts of foul language, what you have just read, however is simply an updated rendering of colloquial Portuguese, since what the King really said was, As from today, your stipend is doubled so that you will be under less pressure, whereupon the treasurer replied, I kiss your Majesty's hand in gratitude."

Balthasar & Blimunda, Jose Saramago I

"Signor Scarlatti, the priest said when the maestro had stopped improvising on the keyboard and all the reverberations ceased, Signor Scarlatti, I cannot claim to know anything about the art of music, but I'll wager you that even an Indian peasant from my native Brazil who knows still less about music than I do would feel enraptured by these celestial harmonies, Perhaps not, the musician replied, for it is a well known fact that the ear has to be educated if one wishes to appreciate musical sounds, just as the eyes must learn to distinguish the value of words and the way in which they are combined when one is reading text, and the hearing must be trained for one to comprehend speech, These weighty words moderate my frivolous remarks, for it is a common failing among man to say what they believe others wish to hear them say, without sticking to the truth, however, for men to be able to stick to the truth, they must first acknowledge their errors, And commit them" 

"It rained again during the night but no one cursed. It is wisest not to pay too much attention to what heaven sends, whether it be sunshine or rain, unless it becomes unbearable, and even then the Great Flood did not suffice to drown the whole of mankind, and drought is never so great that a blade of grass does not survive, or at least the hope of finding one. It rained like this for an hour or so, then the clouds lifted, for even clouds get peevish if they are ignored." 

".. if only there were no gloom or misery, if streams flowed over pebbles everywhere, and birds were singing, then life would be simply to sit in the grass, holding a daisy without stripping off the petals, either because one already knew the answers or because they were so unimportant that to discover them would not be worth a flower's life."

"What matters, however, is that a man should prolong himself in his offspring, and if it is true that in his anguish at the thought of old age or its imminent approach, man does not always relish seeing certain of his own actions repeated that were once cause for public scandal or discord, it is not less true that a man is delighted when he can persuade his children to repeat some of his own gestures, his own attitudes, his own words, thus appearing to recover some justification for what he himself has been and accomplished."