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#6: January 29, 1942 — “ON RESUMING”

On Arbour Day, Pearl Arbour Day, at 12 o’clock noon I retired from the capital of the old Roman Empire to Rapallo to seek wisdom from the ancients.

I wanted to figure things out.  I had a perfectly good alibi, if I wanted to play things safe.  I was and am officially occupied with a new translation of the Ta S’eu of Confucius.  I have in Rapallo the text of Confucius, and of Mencius, the text of the world’s finest anthology, namely that which Confucius compiled from earlier authors, and I have in reach the text of a book which bears on its front page the title Li Ki (which the head of the Chinese Department in our Congressional Library tells me proper minded Chi Sinologues now think is pronounced Lee Gee).  And I have six volumes of the late Dr. Morrison’s Dictionary, not the most up to date dictionary of Chinese Ideograms, but nevertheless good enough.

That is, I have WORK thaaar for some years, if I don’t die before I git to the middle.

The Odes are to me very difficult.  They are of extreme beauty.  Thousands of poets have looked at those odes and despaired.  There are points at which some simple ideogram (that is, Chinese picture word) is so used as to be eternal, insofar as our human sense of eternity can reach.  There is one of the sunrise that I despair of ever getting translated.

There was to face this, the SITUATION.  That is to say the United States had been for months ILLEGALLY at war, through what I considered to be the criminal acts of a President whose mental condition was NOT, as far as I could see, all that could or should be desired of a man in so responsible a position or office.

He had, so far as evidence available to me showed, broken his promises to the electorate; he had to my mind violated his oath of office.  He had to my mind violated the oath of allegiance to the United States Constitution which even the ordinary American citizen is expected to take every time he gets a new passport.

It was obviously a mere question of hours, between that day and hour, and the time when the United States of America would be legally at war with the Axis.

I spent a month tryin’ to figure things out, well did I, perhaps I concluded sooner.  At any rate I had a month clear to make up my mind about some things.  I had Confucius and Mencius, both of whom had been up against similar problems.  Both of whom had seen empires fallin’.  Both of whom had seen deeper into the causes of human confusion than most men even think of lookin’.

Then there was my old dad in bed with a broken hip; Lord knows who is going to mend it or whether it will mend.  So—I read him a few pages of Aristotle in the Loeb Classical Library, English version, to take his mind off it.  Also to keep my own work in progress.

Because for some time I have had in mind the need of comparing the terminology of Chinese and Greek philosophy, and also comparing that with the terminology of mediaevil Catholic theology.

No.  For a man cut off from all his NORMAL contacts with the non-European world, I can’t say I was destitute—mentally—there was plenty lyin’ there for me to be busy about, if I had wanted to “contract OUT.” If I had wanted to go into a funk hole, I had a nice sizeable funk hole.  About as good as an endowed professorship in one of our otiose or veiled, shall we say veiled universities, or even Oxford or Cambridge.  Plenty of muckers down there settin’ pretty, and drawin’ 5000 dollars or ten thousand a year for not tellin’.  I reckon it is Mencius who thought that “the true sage seeks not repose.”

It is not a claustral motto.  I began figurin’ out that a COMPLETE severance of communication between the calm and sentient men is not to be desired.

I have before now pointed out that England was CUT off from the current of European thought during and BY the Napoleonic Wars, and that she never got ketched up again, not during all the damned nasty and 19th century.  Always laggin’ behind.  Perhaps she allus WAS laggin’ behind.  I have pointed out the difference of up-to-dateness between Voltaire and Mr. Samuel Johnson.

At any rate it is NO GOOD.

The United States has been MISinformed.  The United States has been led down the garden path, and may be down under the daisies.  All thru shuttin’ out news.

There is no end to the amount of shuttin’ out news that the sons of Blood who started this war, and wanted this war, and monkeyed round to git a war started and monkeyed round to keep the war goin’, and spreadin’.  There is NO end to the shuttin’ out and perversions of news that these blighters ain’t up to, and that they haven’t, and aren’t still trying to com pass.  Whatever happens it is NOT going to do the United States any good to be as cut off from all news, and all NEWS of CONTEMPORARY thought like the damn fools and utterly decadent Britons have got themselves cut off from.

As you can HEAR from the British Blurb Corporation any Monday and Tuesday evening, and any Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening that you choose to listen in to their phenomenal hogwash.

That’s where they’ve got to.  And for their bein’ there neither I nor any man I shake hands with, is to blame in any way whatsoever.  Every English friend I got in the world, has done his damnest to keep England from makin’ such a thunderin’ and abysmal ass of herself.

As for my American friends, Senator Borah is dead, not that I knew him much save by letter; but I can still feel his hand on my shoulder as just before he was getting into an elevator in the Senate building, and I can still hear him sayin’:

“Well, I’m sure I don’t know what a man like you would find to DO here.”

That was a few days sooner, mebbe the first time I met him.  Neither he, nor William J. Bryan lived to hear Senator Wallace tellin’ the world there would be no peace till the nations of the world knocked under and bowed down to the GOLD standard.  Bowed down like drunken and abject fools and said, let gold rule humanity, let all human exchange of goods be bottle necked and ask permission from a few bloodthirsty kikes who OWN gold.  Bow down and say monopoly is God over all men; and this from a man, said to be, or to HAVE BEEN, interested in farmers, and farmer’s welfare.  This after all the lies from the London gold ring, this after 20 years of evasion, this in fact after 20 years’ attempt to conceal from the English people that they were being asked to go out and DIE for gold, for the monopoly of the owners and brokers; owners of gold mines, brokers, and owners of gold.

Back in December I had never expected such a confession from anyone as high in office.

Yaaas, I knew that was what the war was about: gold, usury and monopoly.  I had said as much when I was last in America.  I had then said: IF a war is pushed onto us.  So now we have got pushed out of Guam, and Wake, and I suppose out of the Philippines, and a 30 years war is in process ?  Is it ?  Is a 30 years war what the American citizen thinks will do most good to the United States of America ?

Or has someone been MiSinformed ?  and IF so, who misinformed him ?  Accordin’ to the reports of the American press now available to the aver age European, someone in charge of American destiny miscalculated somethin’ or other.

An “inquiry” is in progress, at least as they print here.  It bein’ my private belief that I could have avoided a war with Japan, if anybody had had the unlikely idea of sending me out there, with any sort of official powers.

The Japanese have a past.  Of course when I talk to ’em now, they are apt to remind me that they have ALSO a presertt.

They have not mentioned the future in our conversations.

The last American journalist I saw, and that was the night before Arbour Day, told me the Japs would never etc., etc.

A nation evolves by process of history.  Japan to me consists in part of what I learned from a sort of half trunk full of the late Ernest Fenollosa’s papers.  Anybody who has read the plays entitled Kumasaka and Kagekiyo, would have AVOIDED the sort of bilge printed in Time and the American press, and the sort of fetid imbecility I heard a few nights ago from the British Broadcasting Company.

There are certain depths of ignorance that can be fatal to a man or a nation.  When these are conjoined with malice and baseness of spirit, it seems almost useless to mention them.

A BBC commentator somewhere about January 8 was telling his presumably music hall audience that the Japs were jackals, and that they had just recently, I think he said, within living men’s lifetime, emerged from barbarism.  I don’t know what patriotic end you think, or he thinks, or the British authorities think (if that is the verb), is served by such fetid ignorance.

A glance at Japanese sword guards, a glance at Jimmy Whistler’s remarks about Hokusai, or, as I indicated a minute ago, a familiarity with the Awoi no Uye, Kumasaka, Nishikigi, or Funa-Benkei.  These are Japanese classical plays, and would convince any man with more sense than a pea hen, of the degree of Japanese civilization; let alone what they conserved when China was, as Fenollosa tells us, incapable of preserving her own cultural heritage.

China lettin’ Confucius go OUT of the schools, for example.

And you needn’t sniff, the Bostonians kulturbund needn’t sniff and say the British Broadcasting Company, the Bloody Boobs Corporation, is over in vulgar London, such things couldn’t happen in Boston.

Almost equal imbecility was attained by Time weekly magazine in November of 1941.

Someone had apparently blundered, as Lord Tennyson wrote of the charge at Balaclava.  And blundered, we think, considerably worse.  Waaal now who blundered.  A commission has been appointed—possibly to white wash who blundered.  I don’t know that it is in the citizen’s duty to white wash who blundered.

I think the United States and even her British Allies might do well to keep more in touch with continental opinion.

I don’t think anybody is going to whitewash who blundered into the alliance with Russia.

I think there are some crimes that nothing will whitewash.

I don’t think an alliance with Stalin’s Russia is lucky.  I don’t think the crime of even going thru the motions of invitin’ Russia into slaughter and kill all eastern Europe is a NECESSARY part of the program; program of defense, program of offense.  I don’t think this horror was NECESSARY.

I don’t think it is the function, even of the Commander-in-Chief of the United States American Army, to dictate the citizens’ politics;

NOT to the point of invitin’ Bolshevik Russia to kill off the whole east half of Europe!

I don’t think it is a lucky move.  EVEN if Eden hopes to doublecross Russia, which nothing indicates that he does hope.

The day Hitler went into Russia, England had her chance to pull out.  She had her chance to say, let bygones be bygones.  If you can stop the Moscovite horror, we will let bygones be bygones.  We will try to see at least HALF of your argument.

Instead of which Hank Wallace comes out—no peace till the world accepts the gold standard.

Quem Deus vult perdere.

Does look like there was a weakness of mind in some quarters.  Whom God would destroy, he first sends to the bug house.

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#2: October 26, 1941 — “BOOKS AND MUSIC”

Mr. Churchill, EVEN Mr. Churchill hasn’t had the brass to tell the American people WHY he wants ’em to die to save what.

He is fighting for the gold standard and MONOPOLY. Namely the power to starve the whole of mankind, and make it pay through the nose before it can eat the fruit of its own labor.

His gang, whether kike, gentile, or hybrid is not fit to govern. And the English OUGHT to be the only people ass enough, and brute enough to fight for him.

Now as to my personal habits, the few of you who know that I exist know that I have given most of my time to muggin’ up kulchur, that I have writ a few books, and spent my spare time trying to learn musical composition, or else playin’ tennis and floatin’ round the gulf of Tigullio, in which act I make, so far as I know, a nuisance of myself to no one whatever.

And in the mornings I write letters to and read letters from the most intelligent of my contemporaries, and Mr. Churchill and that brute Rosefield, and their kike postal spies and obstructors, kikarian and/or others annoy me by cuttin’ off my normal mental intercourse with my colleagues. But I am NOT going to starve, I am not going to starve mentally. The culture of the Occident came out of Europe and a LOT of it is still right here in Europe, and I don’t mean archeology either.

So a few weeks ago Monotti sez: ever read Pea’s Moscardino So I read it. and for the first time in your colloquitor’s life he wuz tempted to TRANSLATE a novel, and did so. Ten years ago I had seen Enrico Pea passin’ ’ along the sea front and Gino [Saviotti] sez: It’s a novelist. Having seen and known POLLON IDEN, some hundreds, or probably thousands I was not interested in its being a novelist. But the book must be good or I wouldn’t be more convinced of the fact AFTER having translated it, than I was before. Of course, my act was impractical so far as you are concerned. I haven’t the ghost of an idea how I am to get the manuscript to America or get it published. Pea has never made a cent out of the original. Well neither had Joyce nor Eliot when I started trying to git someone to print ’em.

What’s it like ? Well if Tom Hardy had been born a lot later, and lived in the hills up back of Lunigiana, which is down along the coast here, and if Hardy hadn’t writ what ole Fordie used to call that “sort of small town paper journalese,” and if a lot of other things, includin’ temperament, had been different, and so forth … that might have been something like Pea’s writin’—which I repeat is good writing—and was back in 1921 when Moscardino was printed. Moscardino is the name of the kid who is tellin’ about his granpop, a nickname, like Buck.

As soon as the barriers are down I shall be sendin’ a copy along for the enlightenment of the American public.

In the meantime, if any one wants to learn how to write Italian let ’em read the first chapter of Forastiero, or the couple of pages on the bloke who had been 20 years in jail. This is just announcin’ that Italy has a writer, and it is some time since I told anybody that ANY country on earth had a writer. Like Confucius, knocked ’round and done all sorts of jobs. Writes like a man who could make a good piece of mahogany furniture.

I sent in a hurry call from the Siena music week, but I reckon it was too late, not time to get retransmittal, but I wanted the clean and decent Americans to hear the Vivaldi Oratorio Juditha Triumphans; which makes ole pop Handel look like a cold poached egg what somebody dropped on the pavement.

Of course it’s not THAT kind of an oratorio, it is a musical whoop in two parts, to celebrate the retaking of Corfu from the Turks in 1715; and it was very timely and suitable as a bicentenary funeral wreath on red-head Vivaldi.

I got it once from the top centre, and once in a box hangin’ over the orchestry, once for the whole and once for the details.

And I think it’s O.K. brother. You’d have to hear it alternate with Johnnie Bach, say the Mathias, seven times over, at least I would, before I would think I was ready to say just HOW good it is.

There has been some good Vivaldi done for orchestra over Rome Radio, but I dunno whether it has been short-waved over to Amerika. There was some good Vivaldi done two years ago, when the Chigi organization had the sense to devote the whole of the Sienese fest to Vivaldi, but the Juditha is one up on that. Better than the Olympiade, as then presented. In fact I think it is better built up as a whole, and you don’t have to be annoyed by ginks walkin’ about and doin’ stage actin’. Well some people like their music with that distraction. When you stop shootin’ and stop pilin’ up profit for kikes by conveying their guns to the god damn English who ought to be spanked and put to bed by their nurses, you might be able to come over and HEAR IT.

That would be a saner way of passin’ the time than doublin’ your taxes and being robbed by the American treasury. God, my god, you folks are DUMB!!!

Now as to criticism of the Juditha; I affirm that Vivaldi knew more about using the human voice than Johnnie Bach ever discovered. That may sound like heresy. Waaal, you decide after you have listened to both of ’em. And I affirm that Tony Vivaldi knocks the spots off of Handel. I got no doubt on that point whatsoever. Very nice bit for viola d’amore and naturally it pleases me on account of a kink I had before I knew Vivaldi had done it. I have a high opinion of Rossini and Mozart. I.e., use of mandolin in serious orchestra. So has everyone who ain’t stark ravin’ goofy. But Mozart when he came down to Italy did NOT set the public crazy. And part of the reason was, as I conjecture, that the Italian had then had an earful of Tony Vivaldi. That is guess work. But there are things to set against Bach. In fact things Bach took hold of and rearranged; without as I think improvin’ ’em.

I had a chance to hear both together two years ago in Siena, in a good orchestral concert, one up to Casella, the way that program was built. Man named Guarnieri conductin’, been doing three years now in Siena, at this summer fest. And I would by god rather hear Guarnieri conductin’ Vivaldi than hear Toscanini conductin’ Beethoven in Salzburg. An idea which occurred to me, dunn’ the Juditha performance.

I try to tell you that Italy is carryin’ ON. La rivoluzione continua. This is the kind of thing Italians go on doing, despite that dirty mugged bleeder and betrayer of his allies, Winston babyface Churchill.

And his gangsters. Those blighters have never done one damn thing for civilization. They have rotted their country, and should not be allowed to rot anyone elses. They didn’t start the process of corruption, but they have been, everyone of ’em for it, all day and every day, and for the 24 hour period.

Di Marzio is runnin’ a paper. Vicari is runnin’ a monthly devoted to the “narrative” nothin’ but narrative or careful discussion of narrative, and how one should do it. Over in Barcelona, they are printin’ a series, Poesia en la Mano, bilingual editions of everyone from Villon to Mallarme’ and Rilke, and, I am told, your present colloquitor if they can git anyone to translate me.

EUROPE is an organic body, its life continues, its life has components and nearly every damn thing that has made your lives worth livin’ up to this moment, has had its ORIGINS right here in Europe.

Yes, we HAD some colonial architecture and 30 pages of Whitman (Walt Whitman, not Whitemann) and then Whistler, and Henry James left the country. In fact it warn’t no bed of roses fer authors and painters. Though my generation allus thought we ought to plant something or other, and try to git a new crop of somethin’ or other. The idea of the Returnin’ Native was prevalent, except possibly to Thomas S. Eliot who saw from the start that you folks weren’t episcopal enough to suit his episcopal temperament, and he somewhat looked down on my pagan and evangelical tendencies. Waaal, frankly, I allus though it would be a good thing to come back and put some sort of a college or university into shape to teach the young something. Not merely the god damn saw dust and subsitutes for learnin’ and literature they git handed. However, ca hold up the whole course of civilization. If you wanna line up with bone heads, you will line up with bone heads.

And you will go on having conductors instead of composers and European authors who have resigned.

But don’t get that Anglican attitude, of the old story, storm in the channel called by the English, the English channel—the straits between Calais and Dover—and the dirty old Times out with a headline “Continent isolated.”

Nobody here is layin’ flowers on the tomb of Columbus, not this year. But don’t go and run away with the idea that Europe is no longer here, or that books aren’t being written. I mean bein’ WRITTEN, and that we have no painters, or writers, or musicians.

I regret the personal correspondence of a small number of writers, who mostly don’t write to each other. And I would like to see what Hillaire Hiler is paintin’, and to git kumrad cumminkz’s last set of verses. Or to go on get tin’ Kitasono’s Japanese magazine. But I ain’t gittin’ weak and pindlin’ or goin’ into a pronounced and delicate melancholy fer the extinction of all human intercourse.

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