to the poem: In
"The Fifth Empire" Pessoa continues his revision of the
symbols of the Portuguese Milenarism. The poem starts by one of
his favourite themes (also found in "The
Field of the Escutcheons"): that homely happiness precludes
creativity. When he goes about to the main subject he refers Nebuchadnezzar's
dream from the Bible, interpreted by Daniel as a succession of four
empires which would in time crumble. But the Fifth would be God's
own and would last forever. And Pessoa offers the reader his own
opinion of what empires were/are the four that precede the final
one, yet to come...
him who lives at home
with his life,
Without a dream, a flexing of wings,
To make him relinquish
the warmest ember of
Pity him who is happy!
He lives because life lasts.
Nothing within him whispers
More than the primeval law:
That life leads to the grave.
Eras upon eras vanish
In the course of time, made of eras.
To be discontent is to be a man.
Let nature's forces be tamed
By the vision within the soul!
And so, past the four
of the being that dreamed,
The world will be the stage
Of the bright day, that in the dark
Of the empty night began.
Greece, Rome, Christianity,
Europe - the four go
To where all age goes.
Who wants to live the truth
For which Don Sebastian died?