Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

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LV - A Sonnet

Saying the word, he shook hands with all the strength of a large thank-you, said goodbye, and left. I was alone with the Panegyrico, and what the leaves of it reminded me was such that it deserves a chapter or more. Before, however, and because I also had my Panegyrico, I will tell the story of a sonnet I never did; was in the time of the seminary, and the first verse is what ides read:

Oh! flower of the sky oh! pure candor

How and why this verse came out of my head, I do not know; he left like that, lying on the bed like a loose exclamation, and when he noticed that he had the measure of verse, I thought of composing with him some thing, a sonnet. The insomnia, a muse with wide eyes, did not let me sleep a long hour or two; the tickles asked for nails, and I itched with soul. I did not choose soon, soon the sonnet; at first I took care of another form, both rhyme and loose verse, but after all I activated myself to the sonnet. It was a brief, helpful poem. As for the idea, the first verse was not yet an idea, it was an exclamation; the idea would come later. So in bed, wrapped in the sheet, I tried to poet. There was the uproar of the mother who feels the son, and the first child. He was going to be a poet, he was going to compete with that monk from Bahia, just before revealed, and then in fashion; I, a seminarian, would say in verse my sorrows, as he had said his in the cloister. I decorated the verse well, and repeated it in a low voice, to the sheets; frankly, I thought he was handsome, and even now I do not think it's bad:

Oh! flower of the sky oh! pure candor

Who was the flower? Capitú, of course; but it could be virtue, poetry, religion, any other concept that would fit the metaphor of the flower, and of the sky. I waited for the rest, always reciting the verse, and lying now on the right side, now on the left; Atinai, I let myself be on my back with my eyes on the ceiling, but nothing came. Then I warned that the most boastful sonnets were the ones that concluded with the golden key, that is, one of those verses capitaes in the sense and the form. I thought of forging one of these keys, considering that the final verse, quoting chronologically from the previous thirteen, would in fact bring the praised perfection; I imagined that these keys were cast before the lock. So it was that I determined to compose the last verse of the sonnet, and after much sweating, this one came out:

You lose your life, you win the battle!

Without vanity, and speaking as if from another, it was a magnificent verse. Sound, no doubt. And he had a thought, victory won at the expense of his own life, noble and noble thinking. That it was not new, it is possible, but it was not vulgar either; and even now I do not explain why mysterious way entered a head so few years. At that time I found it sublime. I recited one and many times the golden key; then repeated the two verses in a row, and arranged to bind them by twelve cent. The idea now, in view of the last verse, it seemed to me better not to be Capitú; it would be justice. It was more proper to say that, in the struggle for justice, life would be lost, but the battle was won. I also happened to accept the battle, in the natural sense, and to make the squid for the homeland, for example; in this case the flower of the sky would be freedom. This acceptance, however, being the poet a seminarian, might not fit as much as the first, and I spent a few minutes choosing one or the other. I thought justice better, but at last I accepted a new idea, charity, and recited the two verses, each one a way, a languid one:

Oh! flower of the sky oh! pure candor

and the other with great delight:

You lose your life, you win the battle!

The feeling I had was that a perfect sonnet would come out. Starting well and ending well was no small matter. To give me a shower of inspiration, I conjured up some celebrated sonnets, and I noticed that most of them were easy; the verses came out of each other, with the idea itself, so naturally, that it was not possible to believe if she had done them, if they had aroused her. Then I would return to my sonnet, and again repeat the first line and wait for the second; the second came neither third nor fourth; there was none. I had some imitations of anger, and more than once I thought of getting out of bed and going to see ink and paper; It could be that, by writing, the verses came, but ...

Weary of waiting, he reminded me to change the meaning of the last verse, with the simple transposition of the two words, thus:

You win the life, you lose the battle!

The sense was just the opposite, but perhaps that would even bring inspiration. In this case, it was an irony: not exercising charity, one could earn a living, but one loses the battle of the sky. I created new forces. I waited for him. There was no window; If he did, he might ask for an idea at night. And who knows if the fireflies, shining down below, would not be to me like the rhymes of the stars, and this living metaphora would not give me the elusive verses, with their consonants and their own senses?

I worked in vain, I searched, I read, I waited, the verses did not come. For some time I wrote some pages in prose, and now I am composing this narration, finding no greater difficulty than writing, good or bad. For, sirs, nothing comforts me of that sonnet I did not do. But as I believe that sonnets are made, such as odes and dramas, and other works of art, for a metaphysical order, I give these two verses to the first unoccupied person who wants them. On Sunday, or if it is raining, or on the farm, at any leisure time, you can try to see if the sonnet leaves. All is to give you an idea and fill the missing center.


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