Ao Natal MercuryDurban, 7th. July, 1905 "The Man in the Moon"


"Natal Mercury" Office,

Durban. Sir,

I have been somewhat astonished, in the perusal of the "Natal Mercury", and especially of your column, to perceive how meanly, and in what slavish way, sarcasm and irony are heaped on the Russians, on their army, and on their Emperor. I know too well that it is the nature of men; where are not culture and dignity, to laugh at misery and at disaster, so that these be to the harm of others, and implicate themselves in no way. Even where some consideration exists for the soul-clear bounds of tragedy and of comedy, and nothing but that consideration - no feeling and no thought besides - laughter is repressed at those things wich outlie the bounds of the ridiculous.

Every reserve and disaster of the Russian army or navy is in such a way made the subject of a jest among us, that we seem to have nothing more amusing. Some of the Russian admirals, even after their death or their capture, have caused us outbursts of sniggering. The Czar himself, when dismayed by revolution and by war, and when in distress and in grief over his armies, appears to be taken by the British people as an animate joke of great value.

To us, Englishmen, of all men the most egotistic, the thought has never occurred that misery and grief ennoble, despicable and self-caused thought they be. A drunken woman reeling through the streets is a pitiable sight. The same woman falling awkwardly in her drunkenness is, mayhap, an amusing spectacle. But this very same woman, drunken and awkward though she be, when weeping the death of her child is no contemptible nor ridiculous creature, but a tragic figure as great as your Hamlets and your King Lears.
If I may be permitted to make one more consideration, I should like to point out that pure shame should restrain us from laughter at the Russian woes, and from the making of jokes upon them. It is quite clear, I believe, that our hearty amusement may be constructed, not even by one malicious, into a joy from the relief we now have from fears of an Indian disturbance. Russia does not now threaten our Easter possession; and it is therefore that we laugh? Surely this thought is too obvious; it must have occurred to us ere we laughed - the greater shame that we laugh notwithstanding.

As an answer, however meager, to these ridiculings, I send you three sonnets, for wich I ask such publicity as has been extended to writers on the other side.

On the whole, I am extremely sorry to have such proofs of human ignobleness and unfeeling. We should not, where we in truth manly, laugh at the woes of others; but we cannot, as it seems, force manliness on ourselves. Yet if misery and grief delight us, and the woes of our enemies amuse, let us be so far noble as to say no thing, and look within us our joy - let us not, however it may be, burst into laughter, least of all into the unsteady sniggering of those whose fears are dispelled, than wich there is nothing more base.

Your faithfully,

Charles Robert Anon.

Notas explicativas carta nº 1
Charles Robert Anon, Que assina esta carta, é uma personalidade literária criada por Fernando Pessoa, ainda na África do Sul. Os seus escritos, poéticos, diarísticos e filosóficos, situam-se entre 1904 e 1906. É, no entanto, e compreende-se que assim seja, um "ser" ainda muito umbilicalmente ligado ao seu jovem criador, traduzindo muito das suas preocupações de adolescente. O nome escolhido, abreviatura de "anonimous", remete-nos, também, para um estatuto de não-maioridade dentro do universo pessoano. Seria em breve substituído pela figura de Alexandre Search. Pessoa-Anon refere-se à guerra russo-japonesa que eclodiu em fevereiro de 1904, com um ataque surpresa do Japão à esquadra russa, em Porto Arthur. O tratado de paz viria a ser assinado em 5 de setembro de 1905. Fernando Pessoa - Correspondência 1905-1922 Editora Companhia Das Letras