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Letter to the President of the Republic/Carta ao Presidente da Republica.

[Letter to the President of the Republic]

[post 21 February 1935]

[92M-28r to 33r]

Your Excellency, you are the only authority in this country that has any legitimacy. You were elected as a person, which is defined and concrete, and not as a constitution, which is undefined and abstract. Everything in this country involving government or governance depends by right and, so it seems, in fact, on you. Thus it is to you that I address this protest against the manner in which the government has recently been directing--or misdirecting--public life.

I come to you as a Portuguese citizen, which you are as well, and in doing so I will not use designations, which are in this case strange and unnecessary, and say that I am the poet who wrote because he wrote the nationalist book "Mensagem", or the Templar who wrote, because it was his duty to write it, the 'Associacoes Secretas' article published in the D[iario] de L[isboa]. Your Excellency, you have nothing to do with poets, nor, except in a certain sense, whose nature, since you know it, I won't indicate, with Templars or any other members of /Greater/ Secret Orders.

I will go straight to the matter at hand. Since the dictatorship was established in Portugal, it has gone through three phases. The first was one of simple self-defence and expectation and lasted from 28 May 1926 to the advent of Prof. Salazar at the Ministry of Finance on 27 April 1928. This action, ostensibly characterised by balancing budgets and other similar or comparable deeds (with economic, social and moral rewards that I don't wish to discuss as I'm no expert in economic matters, and all things social or moral are complex and confusing) mostly owes its success to an event that is unrelated to the subject--the voluntary and pleasing withdrawal into the background, in what seemed work and modesty, of its main executor.

However, with the death of King Manuel and Professor Salazar thereby liberated from whatever obscure monarchical arrangement he had perhaps only made with himself, we entered the third phase of the Dictatorship, which starts with the Speech in the Sala do Risco and God only knows when and how it will end.

The first phase of the Dictatorship was, as it were, negative doctrinally speaking. The Dictatorship was just dictatorship: it was essentially an absence of regime, perhaps necessary, a suspension of constitutional life, an interregnum, a civil state of siege. In the second phase, though there wasn't yet a doctrinal change, that is to say, a political formula that some people wished to impose, there were already two positive things--a method and a man, the mathematics and a mathematician. I won't go into the method, because I don't discuss what I don't understand. As for the man, as he was then, I don't have to go into that: he was part and parcel of the method. What is important here is the third phase of the Dictatorship, for the simple reason that it's the one we are in, and only the present is here.

This third phase of the Dictatorship, Mr. President, began by asserting itself in monarchical integralism disguised as the New State, and continues by asserting itself in the so-called Corporative State integralism, though less disguised, and then asserts itself eventually, in Prof. Salazar's latest leaps forward, especially in the second half of the Preface to his Speeches, as integrally integral, that is to say, now unequivocally the enemy of two things--the dignity of Man and freedom of Expression.

In effect, in the afore-mentioned second half of the afore-mentioned Preface, the part in which the principal and essential political message was voiced or read out at a public gathering at the SPN [National Propaganda Secretariat] in which prizes were awarded, writers were told that they had to abide by certain directives. Hitherto the Dictatorship has not had the impudence, forsaking all true policy of spirit--that is to say, placing the spirit above politics--to intimate to those who think that they should think through the head of the government, which doesn't have one, and to intimate to those who work that they must now work freely as they are ordered.

[92M-81r]

A man who, having to preside over a distribution of literary awards, opens the session with a speech in which he insults all Portuguese writers--many of whom his intellectual superiors--with the futile imposition of "directives" that nobody requested nor would request from him and which, even if they had, nobody would be able to accept because nobody would be able to say which they were--this man, who with a lettered villager's ineptness, thus succeeded at one fell swoop in driving away the remainder of the Portuguese intelligentsia that still looked on him with any benevolence, a little impatient now, or tolerance, vaguely scornful now, doesn't even have a sufficient amount of prestige to allow him to govern an aristocratic republic, the acceptance of a minority which, even if practically useless, was theoretically intelligent.

[92M-80r]

Matters have reached this point, Sr. President: the days of disorder and bad administration have passed; we have a good administration and order. And there's not one of us who doesn't miss the disorder and bad administration. We didn't know that to have order in the streets, that the roads, ports and [naval] fleet would have to be bought at such a high cost--the selling of the Portuguese soul piece by piece.

He has all the peripheral qualities of a leader. He lacks the principal one--which is that of being a leader.

[92M-43]

With one of two qualities--of just two--a man can assert himself as leader of a people, a man can control the indistinct and shapeless mass of a nation. These qualities are the power of oratory and military prestige--the eloquence of an Antonio Jose de Almeida, the bravura of a Sidonio Paes. Qualities of intelligence, however great they are, and those of work, however intense they are, these and others of less public impact, such as honesty, virtue, patriotism, the people will shrug their shoulders at them without even a thought about respecting them; they leave them in the shade where they naturally belong. It should not be forgotten, Mr. President, that a nation is a theatre and a government a stage; no one can command the soul of a people unless he was born an actor or turns himself into one. And that is the reason behind monarchy's organic prestige: a king is born on stage and is educated from infancy to be on stage and to act on it. Eloquence may well be hollow and bravura just a posture: the point is that we listen to the one and see the other.

[92M-82r]

Mr. President, does this mean that a nation must always be governed by leaders who are very much leaders, and that there will never come a time when intelligent people without auras and patriots without prestige may be in power? No, it doesn't mean that. However, what it does mean is that this prestige of a leader, very often unnecessary in a government during a normal epoch, is indispensable in a government during an abnormal one, crucial in a government of authority. It does, however, mean that Prof. Salazar, who possesses no such prestige or way of acquiring it, has to invest in its appearance. It's his Shirt of Nessus.

Nobody can rightfully blame the current President of the Council [of Ministers] for not having qualities he doesn't have; they can rightfully do so when not having these qualities, he endeavours to have them and places himself in a situation in which despite not being able to have them, they are, however, essential for him to have. Prof. Salazar is to blame for this: he is unfit for the job he has taken on. [92M-41r]

As Prof. Salazar has naturally thus been destined by God to execute the ideas of others, seeing that he has none of his own, as secretary of some other's prestige, because he cannot muster his own, he wanted to pull himself up, or allow others to pull him up onto a pedestal where he's not at ease, a throne he doesn't know how to sit on. The Titans, and they were Titans, didn't manage to scale the heavens; how will dwarves manage, condemned as they are--in order to appear tall--to the constant disequilibrium of stilts that have been tied to their feet?

[92M-42r]

This isn't being master or leader: it's being an example. But we are given and have always been given the very same example by ants and bees--whose Old State is absolutely well organised, and run on anti-liberal lines that nobody disobeys --, without it being necessary to promote the Queen Bee to the position, more than royal nowadays, of President of the Council.

It is really a New State, because this state of things has never been seen before.

[92U-30]

[Carta ao Presidente da Republica] [pos-21 de Fevereiro de 1935]

[92M-28r a 33r]

E V. Exa a unica entidade, hoje existente neste paiz, cuja authoridade pode ser considerada legitima. Foi VExa eleito como homem, o que e definido e concreto; nao como constituicao, o que e indefinido e abstracto.1 De VExa depende, de direito e, parece, de facto, tudo quanto, de governo ou governacao, neste paiz existe. Perante2 V. Ex.a pois formulo (3) este protesto, que e dirigido contra a maneira como, nestes ultimos tempos, tem sido encaminhada--por descaminho--a direccao governativa da vida publica. (4)

Dirijo-me a VExa na minha qualidade de cidadao portuguez, que VExa tambem e. Nao me sirvo para fazel-o dos titulos, para o caso ou extranhos (5) ou desnecessarios, de ser eu o poeta que escreveu porque escreveu o livro nacionalista (6) "Mensagem" ou o [29r] templario que escreveu, por ser seu dever escrevel-o, o artigo Asso[ciacoes] Secretas, publicado no D[iario] de L[isboa]. (7) VExa nada tem que ver com poetas, nem, salvo numa acepcao especial, cuja natureza, porque VExa a sabe, nao indico, com templarios ou outros quaesquer membros das Ordens /Maiores/ Secretas.

Entro immediatamente no assunto.

Estabelecida a Dictadura em Portugal, percorreu ella, ate hoje, trez phases. A primeira foi a de simples defeza propria e de expectativa; vae de (8) 28 de Maio de 1926 ao advento, no Ministerio das Financas, em 27 de Abril de 1928, do Prof. Oliveira Salazar. A segunda foi a de consolidacao da Dictadura, obtida pela accao energica, paciente e cuidadosa que o Prof. Salazar exerceu no [30r] cargo em que foi investido. Essa accao, (9) caracterizada ostensivamente (10) pelo equilibrio dos orcamentos e por outros effeitos analogos ou similares (cujas contrapartidas, economicas, sociaes ou moraes nao pretendo discutir, por nao ser perito em materia economica, e por ser complexo e confuso tudo quanto e social ou moral), deveu em grande parte o seu exito a um phenomeno alheio ao assunto--ao voluntario e agradavel apagamento, por o que parecia ser trabalho e modestia, do seu principal executor. (11)

Morto, porem, el-rei D. Manuel, (i) e liberto portanto o Prof. Salazar de qualquer obscuro compromisso monar-[31r]chico, tomado porventura somente para consigo mesmo, entramos na terceira phase da Dictadura, que abre com o Discurso da Sala do Risco (ii) e so Deus sabe onde e como acabara. (12)

A primeira phase da Dictadura era, por assim dizer, doutrinalmente negativa. A Dictadura era so dictadura: era essencialmente uma ausencia de regime, porventura necessaria, uma suspensao da vida constitucional, um interregno, (13) um estado de sitio civil. Na segunda phase, nao havendo ainda (14) mudanca doutrinal, isto e, nao havendo ainda uma formula politica que alguns *pretendessem impor, havia ja todavia duas coisas positivas--um methodo e um homem, uma arithmetica e [32r] um arithmetizador. (15) Do methodo (16) nao cuido, pois nao cuido do que nao entendo. Do homem, como era entao, nao tenho que cuidar: estava consubstanciado com o methodo. (17) O que importa e a terceira phase da Dictadura, pela simples razao que e a em que estamos, e so o presente e que esta aqui.

Essa terceira phase da Dictadura, Senhor Presidente, (18) comecou por affirmar-se no integralismo monarchico disfarcado de Estado Novo, continua affirmando-se no integralismo, ja menos disfarcado, do chamado Estado Corporativo, e acaba com affirmar-se, nos ultimos arrancos (19) do Prof. Salazar, e nomeadamente na segunda parte do Prefacio aos seus Discursos, por integralmente integral, isto e, ja francamente inimigo de duas coisas--da dignidade do Homem e da liberdade do Expressao. Com effeito, na citada segunda parte do citado Prefacio, parte essa de que o principal e o essencial politico foi dito ou lido numa sessao publica, de entrega dos Premios, no S[ecretariado] de P[ropaganda] N[acional], diz-se aos escriptores que teem elles que obedecer a certas directrizes. Ate aqui a Dictadura nao tinha tido o impudor de, renegando toda verdadeira politica do espirito (20)--isto e, o por o espirito acima da politica--vir intimar quem pensa a que pense pela cabeca do Estado, que a nao tem, ou de vir intimar a quem trabalha a que trabalhe livremente como lhe mandam. (21)

[92M-81r]

Um homem que, tendo de presidir a uma distribuicao de premios litterarios, abre a sessao (iii) com um discurso em que enxovalha todos os escriptores portuguezes--muitos d'elles (1) seus superiores intellectuaes--com a futil imposicao de "directrizes" que ninguem lhe pediu nem pedira, e que, pedidas que fossem, ninguem poderia aceitar por nem elle saber dizer o que sejam (2)--esse homem, que assim, com uma inhabilidade de aldeao letrado, de um so golpe afastou de si o resto da intelligencia portugueza que ainda o olhava com uma benevolencia, ja um pouco impaciente, e uma tolerancia, ja vagamente desdenhosa, nao tem sequer o prestigio limitado que lhe permitta governar uma republica aristocratica, a acceitacao de uma minoria que, ainda que practicamente inutil, fosse theoricamente intelligente.

(1) <na sua> muitos d'elles (2) nao comprehender quaes [nem elle saber dizer o que] sejam

[92M-80r]

Chegamos a isto, Senhor Presidente: passou a epocha da desordem e da ma administracao; temos boa administracao e ordem. E nao ha nenhum de nos que nao tenha saudades da desordem e da ma administracao. Nao sabiamos que a ordem nas ruas, que as estradas, os portos e a esquadraiv tinham que ser compradas por1 tam alto preco--o da venda a retalho da alma portugueza.

Tem todas as qualidades periphericas do chefe. Falta-lhe a principal--que e o ser chefe.

(1) <pelo> por

[92M-43]

Com uma de duas qualidades--de duas so--se affirma um homem chefe de um povo, commanda um homem a massa indistincta e informe da nacao. Sao ellas o poder oratorio e o prestigio militar--a eloquencia de um Antonio Jose de Almeida, a bravura de um Sidonio Paes. As qualidades de intelligencia, por grande que seja, de trabalho, por intenso que possa ser, a essas e a outras, de menor relevo publico, como a honestidade, a virtude, o patriotismo, encolhe o povo os hombros, sem sequer pensar em respeital-as; deixa-as na sombra a que naturalmente pertencem. Convem nao esquecer, Senhor Presidente, que uma nacao e um theatro e um governo um palco: ninguem commanda a alma de um povo se nao tiver nascido, ou se nao fizer, actor. E essa a razao do prestigio organico da monarchia: o rei nasce no palco e e educado, desde a infancia, para estar e representar nelle.

[43v] Pode a eloquencia ser oca, a bravura postica: o caso e que uma se ouca e a outra se veja.

[92M-82r]

Quere isto dizer, Senhor Presidente, que uma nacao haja sempre de ser governada por chefes accentuadamente taes, que nao haja periodo em que possam estar no poder os intelligentes sem aura e os patriotas sem prestigio? Nao o quere dizer. O que porem quere dizer e que esse prestigio de chefe, desnecessario muitas vezes num governo de epocha normal, e indispensavel num governo de epocha anormal, imprescindivel num governo de autoridade. O que porem quere dizer e que o Prof. Salazar, nao tendo tal prestigio, nem maneira de o ter, se deixou investir da apparencia d'elle. E a sua tunica de Nessus.

Ninguem pode legitimamente culpar o actual Presidente do Conselho de nao ter qualidades que nao tem; pode legitimamente fazer-se de, nao tendo taes qualidades, pretender tel-as e ter-se collocado em situacao de, nao podendo tel-as, ser todavia necessario que as tenha.

Culpa-se o Prof. Salazar disto: de ser incompetente para o cargo que assumiu.

[92M-41r]

Destinado assim naturalmente por Deus para executor de ideas de outrem, visto que as nao tem proprias, de secretario do prestigio alheio, porque o nao pode conquistar seu, o Prof. Salazar quiz alcar-se, ou deixou que o quizessem alcar, a um pedestal onde nao (1) se accomoda, a um throno onde nao sabe como sentar-se. Nao conseguiram os titans, e eram titans, escalar o ceu (2); como o conseguirao os anoes, condemnados, para que possam parecer (3) grandes, ao desequilibrio constante das andas que lhes ataram as pernas?

(1 mal [[up arrow] nao] (2) olympo [[up arrow] ceu] (3) <parecam> possam parecer

[92M-42r]

Isto nao e ser mestre, nem ser chefe: e ser exemplo. Mas (1) igual exemplo nos dao e sempre deram as formigas e as abelhas--cujo Estado Velho esta absolutamente bem organisado, e em principios anti-liberaes a quem ninguem desobedece--, sem que seja preciso promover a Abelha Rainha a posicao, presentemente mais que regia, de Presidente do Conselho. (2)

Realmente e um Estado Novo, porque este estado de coisas nunca /antes/ se viu.v

Contextual notes

(i) King Manuel II died in exile in England on 2 July 1932.

(ii) The Sala do Risco [Drawing Room] at the old Arsenal da Marinha [Navy Arsenal]. Salazar's famous 'Sala do Risco speech' was given on 28 May 1930. The speech to which Pessoa is mistakenly referring here can only be the Salazar's inaugural address, as President of the Council, on 5 July 1932, in the Sala do Conselho de Estado [Council of State Room], three days after King Manuel's death.

(iii) Actually, Salazar spoke at the close of the ceremony, not at its beginning.

(iv) Pessoa is referring to the acquisition of new units for the Portuguese naval fleet, which occurred in the early 1930's, mentioning also the new roads and ports of which the government propaganda boasted. See Pessoa's satirical poems 'Love Poem in a New State' and 'Yes it's the New State'.

(v) On 29 July 1935 Pessoa wrote the satirical poem that begins with the following stanza: 'Yes, it's the New State and the people | Have heard, read and consented. | Yes, this is a New State, | As it's a state of things | That's never been seen before.'

(i) These documents were transcribed in collaboration with Jeronimo Pizarro.

(ii) In Fernando Tavora collection.

(1) indefinido<,> <complexo> e abstracto (2) <A> [[up arrow] Perante] (3) <dirijo> [formulo] (4) publica. <(comum).> (5) inuteis [[up arrow] extranhos] pencil addition. (6) escreveu [[uparrow] porque escreveu] o livro [[up arrow] nacionalista] (7) no D. de L., <entit> [[up arrow] de 4 de Fevereiro] (8) <data de> [[up arrow] vae de] (9) <Nao> [[down arrow] <A>] terceira> Essa accao, (10) exteriormente [[up arrow] ostensivamente] pencil addition. (11) Principal <executor> executor[.] <- o /actual/ Presidente do Conselho> (12) Sala <e Deus> [[up arrow] do] Risco e <D> so Deus sabe onde [[up arrow] e como] acabara. (13) <de> [[up arrow] uma] suspensao da <cons> vida constitucional, [[up arrow] um interregno] (14) <entrou-se numa res> nao havendo ainda (15) uma <arithme> arithmetica e um <compressor-nato> [[up arrow] arithmetico [up arrow] arithmetizador]. (16) D<a>/o\ <arithmetica> [. methodo] (17) com <a>/o\ <arithmetica>. [. o methodo.] (18) <distingue-se,> Senhor Presidente (19) nos ultimos <discursos> [[up arrow] arrancos] 20 [[up arrow] verdadeira] politica do espirito 21 [. ou de] vir intimar [. a] quem trabalha <a que> /a/ que trabalhe <com a douta animalidade da Camara Corporativa> livremente como lhe mandam.
Sim, e o Estado Yes, it's the New
 Novo, e o povo State and the people
Ouviu, leu e assentiu. Have heard, read and consented.
Sim, isto e um Estado Novo, Yes, this is a New State,
Pois e um estado de coisas As it's a state of things
Que nunca antes se viu. That's never been seen before.

Em tudo paira a alegria, Joy infuses everything,
E, de tam intima que e, And in so intimate a manner
Como Deus na theologia That like God in theology
Ella existe em toda a parte It exists everywhere
E em parte alguma se ve. And is nowhere to be seen.

Ha estradas, e a There are roads, and the
 grande Estrada great Road,
Que a tradicao ao porvir White and budgeted,
Liga, branca e orcamentada, That connects tradition with
 what's to come
E vae de onde ninguem parte Goes from where nobody departs
Para onde ninguem quere ir. To where nobody wants to go.

Ha portos, e o porto-maca There are ports, and a
 stretcher-port
Onde vem doente o caes. Where the quay lies sick.
Sim, mas nunca alli atraca Yes, but the loud ship Portugal
O paquete Portugal Is too silent to dock there
Pois tem calado de mais. (1) For its voice today is a
 shallow draught.

Ha esquadra ... So um tolo o cala, There's a fleet ... Which only a
 fool would silence,

Que a intelligencia, propicia And the intelligentsia, good at
 locating it
A achar, sabe que, se falla, Know that by talking
Desde logo encontra a esquadra: They will fleetingly find it:
E uma esquadra de policia. It's a police department's fleet.

Visao grande! Odio a minuscula! A grand vision! A loathing for the
 small!
Nem para proval-a tal And to prove it so
Tem alguem que ficar triste: Nobody needs to be sad:
Uniao Nacional existe, The National Union exists,
Mas nao uniao nacional. But not a national union.

E o Imperio? Vasto caminho And the Empire? A long stretch of
 road
Onde os que o poder despeja Where people cast off by those in
 power
Conduzirao com carinho Will lovingly lead
A civilizacao christa, Christian civilisation,
Que ninguem sabe o que seja. Though nobody knows what it is.

Com "directrizes" a arte With 'directives' to art
Reata-se a tradicao, Tradition is resumed,
E juntam-se Apollo e Marte And Apollo joins Mars
No Theatro Nacional, In the National Theatre,
Que e onde era a Inquisicao. Where the Inquisition used to be.

E a fe dos nossos maiores? And the faith of our forefathers?
Forma-a, impolluta, It is formed, untainted, by
o consorcio a consortium
Entre os padres e os doutores. Of priests and doutores.
Casados o Erro e a Asneira, (2) Once Error is married to Folly,
Ja nao pode haver divorcio. There can no longer be divorce.

[30v] Que a fe seja sempre viva, May faith never die,
Porque a esperanca nao e va! Because hope is never vain!
A fome corporativa Corporative hunger
E derrotismo. Alegria! Is defeatism. Joy!
Hoje o almoco e amanha! Today's lunch is tomorrow!

 [29 July 1935]

[63-51r a 53r]

Poema de Amor em Estado Novo Love Poem in a New State

Tens o olhar mysterioso You have mysterious eyes
Com um jeito nevoento, With a hint of mist in them,
Indeciso, duvidoso, Hesitant, uncertain,
Minha Maria Francisca, My Maria Francisca,
Meu amor, meu orcamento! My beloved, my budget!

A tua face de rosa Your rose of a face
Tem o colorido esquivo Has the demure complexion
De uma nota officiosa. Of a government communique.
Quem dera ter-te em meus bracos, How I long to hold you in my arms,
O meu saldo positivo! My positive balance sheet!

E o teu cabello-- And your hair--back to
 nao choro its natural hue
Seu regresso ao I do not regret--
 natural--Abandona
o estalao-ouro, Abandons the gold standard,
Amor, pomba, estrada, porto, Love, dove, road, port,
Syndicato nacional! National trade union!

Nao sei porque me desprezas. I don't know why you despise me.
Fita-me mais um instante, Look at me a little longer,
Lindo corte nas despezas, You lovely cut in expenses,
Adorada abolicao Dearly loved eradication
Da divida fluctuante! Of the floating debt!

Com que madrigaes mostrar-te With what madrigals to show you
Este amor que e chamma viva? This live flame of a love?
Ouve, escuta: vou chamar-te Listen, take note: I will call you
Assembleia Nacional, National Assembly,
Camara Corporativa. Corporative Chamber.

Como te amo, como, como, How much I love you, so
 very, very much,
Meu Acto Colonial! My Colonial Act!
De amor ja quase nao como, So lovesick I hardly eat now,
Meu Estatuto do Trabalho, My Statute of Labour,
Meu Banco de Portugal! My Bank of Portugal!

Meu credito no estrangeiro! My credit abroad!
Meu encaixe-oiro adorado! My beloved gold reserve!
Serei sempre o teu romeiro ... I'll be your pilgrim forever ...
Pousa a cabeca em meu hombro, Rest your head on my shoulder,
O meu Conselho de Estado! Oh my Council of State!

O minha corporativa, Oh my corporative,
Minha lei de Estado Novo, My New State law,
Nao me sejas mais esquiva! Don't be coy with me any more!
Meu coracao quer guarida My heart wants your shelter
O linda Casa do Povo! Oh lovely Casa do Povo!

Uniao Nacional querida, Dearest National Union,
Teus olhos enchem de magua Your eyes brim over with pain
A sombra da minha vida The shadow of my life
Que passa como uma esquadra That passes like a war fleet
Sobre a energia da agua. Over the water's force.

Que aristocratico ri What sort of an aristocrat laughs
O teu cabello em cifroes-- Your hair in currency signs--
Financas em mise-en-plis! Public finance in mise-en-plis!
Meu altivo plebiscito, My haughty plebiscite,
Nunca desceste a eleicoes! You've never stooped to elections!

Por isso nunca me escolhes That's why you never choose me
E a minha esperanca e va. And I hope in vain.
Nem sequer por do me acolhes, Not even for pity's
 sake you welcome me,
Minha imperialmente linda My imperially beautiful
Civilizacao christa! Christian civilisation!

I do know, for these Bem sei, por estes meus modos
 manners of mine
You will never be able to love me. Nunca me podes amar.
Look, f orgive me for all of them. Olha, desculpa-m'os todos.
I'm following the directives Estou seguindo as directrizes
Of Professor Salazar. Do Professor Salazar.

Masonic-Communist o demo-liberalismo
demo-liberalism Maconico-communista

 [8/9 November 1935]


(1) <Que tem calado d> Pois tem calado de mais. 2 Fraude (Asneira),
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