Sonntag, 29. Juli 2007

Die 100 beliebtesten Liebesgedichte Englands ...

Wenn man viel mit der englischen Sprache zu tun hat, was sich für einen Akademiker heute fast zwangsläufig ergibt, bekommt man vielleicht selbst als Fremdsprachen-Muffel irgendwann einmal "Hunger" darauf, "Durst" danach, mit der englischen Sprache nicht nur in den sachlichen, wissenschaftlichen Texten in Verbindung zu treten. Man beginnt also vielleicht "Romeo und Julia" zu lesen. Man liest "Hamlet".

Oder aber man stößt irgendwann - etwa in einer Bahnhofsbuchhandlung in London - auf eine viel aufgelegte Gedicht-Sammlung der BBC "The Nation's Favorite Love Poems": Die hundert beliebtesten Liebesgedichte Englands entsprechend einer großen BBC-Umfrage von 1997. Hier, so könnte dann der Fremdsprachen-Muffel meinen, bekommt man mit einem Schlag leicht einen guten und dichten Überblick und auch Einblick in die Seele Englands - sowohl des alten England wie des heutigen.

Im folgenden sollen einmal sieben Gedichte aus diesem Buch zusammen gestellt werden. Gewiß ist die Auswahl auch davon bestimmt, daß der Fremdsprachen-Muffel diese sieben Gedichte schneller - ohne allzu viele Worte nachschlagen zu müssen - verstehen kann. Oft kann man auch erst einmal nur den Tonfall und Rhythmus auf sich wirken lassen.


The wind blew all my wedding-day,
And my wedding-night was the night of the high wind;
And a stable door was banging, again and again,
That he must go and shut it, leaving me
Stupid in candlelight, hearing rain,
Seeing my face in the twisted candlestick,
Yet seeing nothing. When he came back
He said the horses were restless, and I was sad
That any man or beast that night should lack
The happiness I had.

Now in the day
All's ravelled under the sun by the wind's blowing.
He has gone to look at the floods, and I
Carry a chipped pail to the chicken-run,
Set it down, and stare. All is the wind
Hunting through clouds and forests, thrashing
My apron and the hanging cloths on the line.
Can it be borne, this bodying-forth by wind
Of joy my actions turn on, like a thread
Carrying beads? Shall I be let to sleep
Now this perpetual morning shares my bed?
Can even death dry up
These new delighted lakes, conclude
Our kneeling as cattle by all-generous waters?

Philip Larkin (1922 - 1985)

(chipped pail = angeschlagener Eimer; apron = Schürze; thread = Faden; conclude = beenden)

After the Lunch

On Waterloo Bridge, where we said our goodbyes,
The weather conditions bring tears to my eyes.
I wipe them away with a black woolly glove,
And try not to notice I've fallen in love.

On Waterloo Bridge, I am trying to think,
"This is nothing - you're high on the charm and the drink."
But the jukebox inside me is playing a song,
That says something different, and when was it wrong?

On Waterloo Bridge with the wind in my hair,
I am tempted to skip. "You're a fool." I don't care.
The head does it's best, but the heart is the boss,
I admit it before I am halfway across.

Wendy Cope (geb. 1945)
To Lucasta
Going to the Warres

Tell me not (Sweet) I am unkinde,
That from the Nunnerie
Of thy chaste breast, and quiet minde,
To Warre and Armes I flie.

True; a new Mistresse now I chase,
The first Foe in the Field;
And with a stronger Faith imbrace
A Sword, a Horse, a Shield.

Yet this Inconstancy is such,
As you too shall adore;
I could not love thee (Deare) so much,
Lov'd I not Honour more.

Richard Lovelace (1618 - 58)

(Nunnerie = Nonnenkloster; chaste = keusch, unschuldig, rein; Foe = Feind; adore = anbeten)

Giving Up Smoking

There's not a Shakespeare sonnet
Or a Beethoven quartet
That's easier to like than you
Or harder to forget.

You think that sounds extravagant?
I haven't finished yet --
I like you more than I would like
To have a cigarette.

Wendy Cope (geb. 1945)
Und zum Schluß vielleicht fast mein Lieblingsgedicht in diesem Buch - Achtung, jetzt wird's länger:

The Courtship Of The Yonghy-bonghy-bo


On the Coast of Coromandel
Where the early pumpkins blow,
In the middle of the woods
Lived the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
Two old chairs, and half a candle,—
One old jug without a handle,—
These were all his worldly goods:
In the middle of the woods,
These were all the worldly goods,
Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.


Once, among the Bong-trees walking
Where the early pumpkins blow,
To a little heap of stones
Came the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
There he heard a Lady talking,
To some milk-white Hens of Dorking,—
‘’Tis the lady Jingly Jones!
‘On that little heap of stones
‘Sits the Lady Jingly Jones!’
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.


‘Lady Jingly! Lady Jingly!
‘Sitting where the pumpkins blow,
‘Will you come and be my wife?’
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
‘I am tired of living singly,—
‘On this coast so wild and shingly,—
‘I’m a-weary of my life:
‘If you’ll come and be my wife,
‘Quite serene would be my life!’—
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.


‘On this Coast of Coromandel,
‘Shrimps and watercresses grow,
‘Prawns are plentiful and cheap,’
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
‘You shall have my chairs and candle,
‘And my jug without a handle!—
‘Gaze upon the rolling deep
(’Fish is plentiful and cheap)
‘As the sea, my love is deep!’
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.


Lady Jingly answered sadly,
And her tears began to flow,—
‘Your proposal comes too late,
‘Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò!
‘I would be your wife most gladly!’
(Here she twirled her fingers madly,)
‘But in England I’ve a mate!
‘Yes! you’ve asked me far too late,
‘For in England I’ve a mate,
‘Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò!
‘Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò!’


‘Mr. Jones—(his name is Handel,—
‘Handel Jones, Esquire, & Co.)
‘Dorking fowls delights to send,
‘Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò!
‘Keep, oh! keep your chairs and candle,
‘And your jug without a handle,—
‘I can merely be your friend!
‘—Should my Jones more Dorkings send,
‘I will give you three, my friend!
‘Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò!
‘Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò!’


‘Though you’ve such a tiny body,
‘And your head so large doth grow,—
‘Though your hat may blow away,
‘Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò!
‘Though you’re such a Hoddy Doddy—
‘Yet I wish that I could modi-
‘fy the words I needs must say!
‘Will you please to go away?
‘That is all I have to say—
‘Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò!
‘Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò!’.


Down the slippery slopes of Myrtle,
Where the early pumpkins blow,
To the calm and silent sea
Fled the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
There, beyond the Bay of Gurtle,
Lay a large and lively Turtle,—
‘You’re the Cove,’ he said, ‘for me
‘On your back beyond the sea,
‘Turtle, you shall carry me!’
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.


Through the silent-roaring ocean
Did the Turtle swiftly go;
Holding fast upon his shell
Rode the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
With a sad primæval motion
Towards the sunset isles of Boshen
Still the Turtle bore him well.
Holding fast upon his shell,
‘Lady Jingly Jones, farewell!’
Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.


From the Coast of Coromandel,
Did that Lady never go;
On that heap of stones she mourns
For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
On that Coast of Coromandel,
In his jug without a handle
Still she weeps, and daily moans;
On that little heap of stones
To her Dorking Hens she moans,
For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

Edward Lear (1812 - 88)

(pumpkins = Kürbisse; jug = Krug; shingly = kieselig; serene = heiter; prawns = Garnelen; gaze = starren; twirl = ringen; cove = Zuflucht, Schlupfwinkel, kleine Bucht; shell = Flügel)

Oh, when I was in love with you

Oh, when I was in love with you,
Then I was clean and brave,
And miles around the wonder grew
How well did I behave.

And now the fancy passes by,
And nothing will remain,
And miles around they 'll say that I
Am quite myself again.

A. E. Housman (1859 - 1936)
... "Eins hab' ich noch, eins hab' ich noch ...":

Jenny kiss'd Me

Jenny kiss'd me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
Say that health and wealth have miss'd me,
Say I'm growing old, but add,
Jenny kiss'd me.

Leigh Hunt (1784–1859)

  1. The Nation’s Favourite Love Poems. (Introduction by Daisy Goodwin) BBC Books, London 1997, 1998

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