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OURIQ

Um diário trasladado

OURIQ

Um diário trasladado

05
Jul10

Queequeg in his Coffin


Eremita

 

 

Hélio J.S. Alves seleccionou textos de crítica literária de Fernando Pessoa e dei instruções para que comprassem o livro, pois ando há anos a tentar reencontrar um texto de Pessoa sobre literatura infantil que considero a melhor crítica escrita em português que alguma vez li. Infelizmente, Hélio J.S. Alves não é da minha opinião e esse texto não foi seleccionado. Mas isso nem sequer seria um problema se este livro fosse mais do que um apanhado de textos organizado segundo  critérios que, no fundo, são uma forma de baralhar para voltar a dar. Será que não vai sendo altura de os pessoanos deixarem de tentar vender gato por lebre?

 

De momento racho lenha para o Inverno e não há vagar para uma crítica detalhada, mas é inadmissível que um livro destes, destinado ao grande público, seja tão parco em notas de rodapé. E é inadmissível que o material seja publicado sem a menor atenção. Por exemplo, num texto que Pessoa abre com as qualidades que devem contar para um obra de arte (a originalidade, a construtividade e o poder de suspensão), parece haver uma transmutação do tal "poder de suspensão" para "poder de sugestão", visto que é esse o termo usado por Pessoa na parte final do texto. O leitor fica na dúvida se são termos sinónimos, embora seja muito fácil defender uma distinção entre poder de suspensão e poder de sugestão, ou se há no texto um lapso de Pessoa. Era obrigação do responsável pela edição prestar um esclarecimento.

 

Suspensão. Sugestão. Whatever. O episódio em que Queequeng morre é sublime. Aqui fica, abridged comme il faut e com anotações minhas de erudição inferior à que Hélio J.S. Alves decidiu não exibir.

 

(...)


Now, at this time it was that my poor pagan companion, and fast bosom-friend, Queequeg, was seized with a fever, which brought him nigh to his endless end. Be it said, that in this vocation of whaling, sinecures are unknown; dignity and danger go hand in hand; till you get to be Captain, the higher you rise the harder you toil. So with poor Queequeg, who, as harpooneer, must not only face all the rage of the living whale, but-as we have elsewhere seen-mount his dead back in a rolling sea; and finally descend into the gloom of the hold, and bitterly sweating all day in that subterraneous confinement, resolutely manhandle the clumsiest casks and see to their stowage. To be short, among whalemen, the harpooneers are the holders, so called.

 

Poor Queequeg! when the ship was about half disembowelled, you should have stooped over the hatchway, and peered down upon him there; where, stripped to his woollen drawers, the tattooed savage was crawling about amid that dampness and slime, like a green spotted lizard at the bottom of a well. And a well, or an ice-house, it somehow proved to him, poor pagan; where, strange to say, for all the heat of his sweatings, he caught a terrible chill which lapsed into a fever; and at last, after some days' suffering, laid him in his hammock, close to the very sill of the door of death. How he wasted and wasted away in those few long-lingering days, till there seemed but little left of him but his frame and tattooing. But as all else in him thinned, and his cheek-bones grew sharper, his eyes, nevertheless, seemed growing fuller and fuller; they became of a strange softness of lustre; and mildly but deeply looked out at you there from his sickness, a wondrous testimony to that immortal health in him which could not die, or be weakened. And like circles on the water, which, as they grow fainter, expand; so his eyes seemed rounding and rounding, like the rings of Eternity. An awe that cannot be named would steal over you as you sat by the side of this waning savage, and saw as strange things in his face, as any beheld who were bystanders when Zoroaster died. For whatever is truly wondrous and fearful in man, never yet was put into words or books. And the drawing near of Death, which alike levels all, alike impresses all with a last revelation, which only an author from the dead could adequately tell. So that-let us say it again-no dying Chaldee or Greek had higher and holier thoughts than those, whose mysterious shades you saw creeping over the face of poor Queequeg, as he quietly lay in his swaying hammock, and the rolling sea seemed gently rocking him to his final rest, and the ocean's invisible flood-tide lifted him higher and higher towards his destined heaven. [Porra!]


 

Not a man of the crew but gave him up; and, as for Queequeg himself, what he thought of his case was forcibly shown by a curious favor he asked. He called one to him in the grey morning watch, when the day was just breaking, and taking his hand, said that while in Nantucket he had chanced to see certain little canoes of dark wood, like the rich war-wood of his native isle; and upon inquiry, he had learned that all whalemen who died in Nantucket, were laid in those dark canoes, and that the fancy of being so laid had much pleased him; for it was not unlike the custom of his own race, who, after embalming a dead warrior, stretched him out in his canoe, and so left him to be floated away to the starry archipelagoes; for not only do they believe that the stars are isles, but that far beyond all visible horizons, their own mild, uncontinented seas, interflow with the blue heavens; and so form the white breakers of the milky way. He added, that he shuddered at the thought of being buried in his hammock, according to the usual sea-custom, tossed like something vile to the death-devouring sharks. No: he desired a canoe like those of Nantucket, all the more congenial to him, being a whaleman, that like a whale-boat these coffin-canoes were without a keel; though that involved but uncertain steering, and much lee-way adown the dim ages.

 

Now, when this strange circumstance was made known aft, the carpenter was at once commanded to do Queequeg's bidding, whatever it might include. (...)

 

Leaning over in his hammock, Queequeg long regarded the coffin with an attentive eye. He then called for his harpoon, had the wooden stock drawn from it, and then had the iron part placed in the coffin along with one of the paddles of his boat. All by his own request, also, biscuits were then ranged round the sides within; a flask of fresh water was placed at the head, and a small bag of woody earth scraped up in the hold at the foot; and a piece of sail-cloth being rolled up for a pillow, Queequeg now entreated to be lifted into his final bed, that he might make trial of its comforts, if any it had. He lay without moving a few minutes, then told one to go to his bed and bring out his little god, Yojo. Then crossing his arms on his breast with Yojo between, he called for the coffin lid (hatch he called it) to be placed over him. The head part turned over with a leather hinge, and there lay Queequeg in his coffin with little but his composed countenance in view. "Rarmai" (it will do; it is easy) he murmured at last, and signed to be replaced in his hammock.

 

But ere this was done, Pip, who had been slily hovering near by all the while, drew nigh to him where he lay, and with soft sobbings, took him by the hand; in the other, holding his tambourine.

 

"Poor rover! will ye never have done with all this weary roving? where go ye now? But if the current carry ye to those sweet Antilles where the beaches are only beat with water-lilies, will ye do one little errand for me? Seek out one Pip, who's now been missing long: I think he's in those far Antilles. If ye find him, then comfort him; for he must be very sad; for look! he's left his tambourine behind;-I found it. Rig-a-dig, dig, dig! Now, Queequeg, die; and I'll beat ye your dying march."

 

"I have heard," murmured Starbuck, gazing down the scuttle, "that in violent fevers, men, all ignorance, have talked in ancient tongues; and that when the mystery is probed, it turns out always that in their wholly forgotten childhood those ancient tongues had been really spoken in their hearing by some lofty scholars. So, to my fond faith, poor Pip, in this strange sweetness of his lunacy, brings heavenly vouchers of all our heavenly homes. Where learned he that, but there?-Hark! he speaks again; but more wildly now."

 

"Form two and two! Let's make a General of him! Ho, where's his harpoon? Lay it across here.-Rig-a-dig, dig, dig! huzza! Oh for a game cock now to sit upon his head and crow! Queequeg dies game!-mind ye that; Queequeg dies game!-take ye good heed of that; Queequeg dies game! I say; game, game, game! but base little Pip, he died a coward; died all a'shiver;-out upon Pip! Hark ye; if ye find Pip, tell all the Antilles he's a runaway; a coward, a coward, a coward! Tell them he jumped from a whale-boat! I'd never beat my tambourine over base Pip, and hail him General, if he were once more dying here. No, no! shame upon all cowards-shame upon them! Let'em go drown like Pip, that jumped from a whale-boat. Shame! shame!"

 

During all this, Queequeg lay with closed eyes, as if in a dream. Pip was led away, and the sick man was replaced in his hammock. [Suspensão até aqui]But now that he had apparently made every preparation for death; now that his coffin was proved a good fit, Queequeg suddenly rallied; soon there seemed no need of the carpenter's box; and thereupon, when some expressed their delighted surprise, he, in substance, said, that the cause of his sudden convalescence was this;-at a critical moment, he had just recalled a little duty ashore, which he was leaving undone; and therefore had changed his mind about dying: he could not die yet, he averred. They asked him, then, whether to live or die was a matter of his own sovereign will and pleasure. He answered, certainly. [Sugestão - isto é lindo; Melville diz tudo o que importava dizer sobre a morte de Queequeg a um leitor convencido de estar a testemunhar tal morte e depois salva a personagem sem comprometer a verosimilhança nem as leis da física de um modo, digamos, irreversível] In a word, it was Queequeg's conceit, that if a man made up his mind to live, mere sickness could not kill him: nothing but a whale, or a gale, or some violent, ungovernable, unintelligent destroyer of that sort.

 

Now, there is this noteworthy difference between savage and civilized; that while a sick, civilized man may be six months convalescing, generally speaking, a sick savage is almost half-well again in a day. So, in good time my Queequeg gained strength; and at length after sitting on the windlass for a few indolent days (but eating with a vigorous appetite) he suddenly leaped to his feet, threw out his arms and legs, gave himself a good stretching, yawned a little bit, and then springing into the head of his hoisted boat, and poising a harpoon, pronounced himself fit for a fight.

 

With a wild whimsiness, he now used his coffin for a sea-chest; and emptying into it his canvas bag of clothes, set them in order there. Many spare hours he spent, in carving the lid with all manner of grotesque figures and drawings; and it seemed that hereby he was striving, in his rude way, to copy parts of the twisted tattooing on his body. And this tattooing had been the work of a departed prophet and seer of his island, who, by those hieroglyphic marks, had written out on his body a complete theory of the heavens and the earth, and a mystical treatise on the art of attaining truth; so that Queequeg in his own proper person was a riddle to unfold; a wondrous work in one volume; but whose mysteries not even himself could read, though his own live heart beat against them; and these mysteries were therefore destined in the end to moulderaway with the living parchment whereon they were inscribed, and so be unsolved to the last. And this thought it must have been which suggested to Ahab that wild exclamation of his, when one morning turning away from surveying poor Queequeg-"Oh, devilish tantalization of the gods!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comentários recentes

  • Eremita

    Bom link. Obrigado.

  • Anónimo

    http://www.nyu.edu/classes/gmoran/WILLIAMS.pdf

  • Anónimo

    psiquiatra atento18 de Setembro de 2019 às 14:24O ...

  • Eremita

    Não sei de onde tiraste essa ideia. Ontem, logo de...

  • Anónimo

    Sabes que muita gente está perfeitamente convencid...

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