642: Great Pains.

I have been obliged to take great pains with every thing I have written, and I often write chapters over and over again, besides innumerable corrections and interlinear additions. I am not stating this as a merit, only that some persons write their best first, and I very seldom do. Those who are good speakers may be supposed to be able to write off what they want to say. I, who am not a good speaker, have to correct laboriously what I put on paper. I have heard that Archbishop Howley, who was an elegant writer, betrayed the labour by which he became so by his mode of speaking, which was most painful to hear from his hesitations and alterations — that is, he was correcting his composition as he went along.

However, I may truly say that I never have been in the practice since I was a boy of attempting to write well, or to form an elegant style. I think I never have written for writing sake: but my one and single desire and aim has been to do what is so difficult — viz. to express clearly and exactly my meaning; this has been the motive principle of all my corrections and re-writings. When I have read over a passage which I had written a few days before, I have found it so obscure to myself that I have either put it altogether aside or fiercely corrected it; but I don’t get any better for practice. I am as much obliged to correct and re-write as I was thirty years ago.

As to patterns for imitation, the only master of style I have ever had (which is strange considering the differences of the languages) is Cicero. I think I owe a great deal to him, and as far as I know to no one else.

(John Henry Newman, Letter to John Hayes. In: Letters and Correspondence of John Henry Newman during His Life in the English Church, Vol. 2. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1890, pp. 426–427).

Anúncios
642: Great Pains.

638: Desmedida Exigência de Felicidade.

A fragilidade do matrimônio decorre de uma desmedida exigência de felicidade, ou melhor, da aplicação dessa exigência a uma coisa que não suporta tal pressão. Há um insolência nossa nessa impaciente cobrança de ventura, e há sobretudo um equívoco, porque pretendemos tirar da casa, do matrimônio, do amor humano, um infinito rendimento, quando é finita e sempre muito exígua a nossa própria contribuição. Depositamos com mesquinharia e queremos juros generosos, infinitamente generosos. E no desejo desse absurdo balanço nós somos injustos com o próximo, e injustos com Deus. Realmente, por mais esquisito que isto pareça, se alguém imagina que a sua noiva, e mais tarde a esposa, lhe possa dar plena felicidade, não terá direito de queixar-se nos dias de decepções, porque foi ele, inicialmente, o primeiro culpado de injustiça.

(Gustavo Corção, “A Casa,” O Globo, 3 de Janeiro de 1976).

638: Desmedida Exigência de Felicidade.

637: The Optimist.

The optimist view of politics assumes that there must be some remedy for every political ill, and rather than not find it, will make two hardships to cure one. If all equitable remedies have failed, its votaries take it as proved without argument that the one-sided remedies, which alone are left, must needs succeed.

(Lord Salisbury, “The Position of Parties,The Quarterly Review, Vol. CXXXIII, 1872, p. 569).

637: The Optimist.

636: Death of Balzac.

Balzac’s death was known in a moment, it would seem, to his creditors, and they came clamoring to the door, and invaded the house — a ravening horde, ransacking rooms and hunting for valuables. They drove the widow away, and she found a temporary home with Madame de Surville, at 47 rue des Martyrs. This house and number are yet unchanged. Cabinets and drawers were torn open, and about the grounds were scattered his letters and papers, sketches of new stories, drafts of contemplated work — all, that could be, collected by his friends, also hurrying to the spot. They found manuscripts in the shops around, ready to enwrap butter and groceries. One characteristic and most valuable letter was tracked to three places, in three pieces, by an enthusiast, who rescued the first piece just as it was twisted up and ready to light a cobbler’s pipe.

“He died in the night,” continues Hugo. “He was first taken to the Chapel Beaujon… The funeral service took place at Saint-Philippe-du-Roule. As I stood by the coffin I remembered that there my second daughter had been baptized. I had not been in the church since. The procession crossed Paris, and went by way of the boulevards to Père-Lachaise. Rain was falling as we left the church, and when we reached the cemetery. It was one of those days when the heavens seemed to weep. We walked the whole distance. I was at the head of the coffin on the right, holding one of the silver tassels of the pall. Alexandre Dumas was on the other side… When we reached the grave, which was on the brow of the hill, the crowd was immense… The coffin was lowered into the grave, which is near to those of Charles Nodier and Casimir Delavigne. The priest said a last prayer and I a few words. While I was speaking the sun went down. All Paris lay before me, afar off, in the splendid mists of the sinking orb, the glow of which seemed to fall into the grave at my feet, as the dull sounds of the sods dropping on the coffin broke in upon my last words.”

Yes, stretched before his grave, lies all Paris, as his Rastignac saw it, when he turned from the fossecommune, into which they had just thrown the body of Pére Goriot, and with his clenched fist, flung out his grand defiance toward the great, beautiful, cruel city: “À nous deux maintenant!

(Benjamin Ellis Martin & Charlotte M. Martin, “The Paris of Honoré de Balzac,” Scribner’s Magazine, Vol. XXVI, 1899, pp. 602–603).

636: Death of Balzac.