The Battle of Life

A Love Story

Der Kampf des Lebens

Eine Liebesgeschichte

Übersetzt von Margit Meyer, Lizenz der Aufbau Verlagsgruppe
Synchronisation und Ergänzungen © Doppeltext 2012







Once upon a time, it mat­ters little when, and in stal­wart Eng­land, it mat­ters little where, a fierce battle was fought.
It was fought upon a long sum­mer day when the wav­ing grass was green.
Many a wild flower formed by the Almighty Hand to be a per­fumed gob­let for the dew,
felt its enamelled cup fill high with blood that day, and shrink­ing dropped.
Many an in­sect de­riv­ing its del­ic­ate col­or from harm­less leaves and herbs, was stained anew that day by dy­ing men,
and marked its frightened way with an un­nat­ur­al track.
The painted but­ter­fly took blood into the air upon the edges of its wings. The stream ran red.
The trod­den ground be­came a quag­mire, whence, from sul­len pools col­lec­ted in the prints of hu­man feet and horses’ hoofs,
the one pre­vail­ing hue still lowered and glimmered at the sun.
Heav­en keep us from a know­ledge of the sights the moon be­held upon that field,
when, com­ing up above the black line of dis­tant rising-ground, softened and blurred at the edge by trees,
she rose into the sky and looked upon the plain, strewn with up­turned faces
that had once at moth­ers’ breasts sought moth­ers’ eyes, or slumbered hap­pily.
Heav­en keep us from a know­ledge of the secrets whispered af­ter­wards upon the tain­ted wind
that blew across the scene of that day’s work and that night’s death and suf­fer­ing!
Many a lonely moon was bright upon the battle-ground, and many a star kept mourn­ful watch upon it,
and many a wind from every quarter of the earth blew over it, be­fore the traces of the fight were worn away.
They lurked and lingered for a long time, but sur­vived in little things,
for Nature, far above the evil pas­sions of men, soon re­covered Her serenity,
and smiled upon the guilty battle-ground as she had done be­fore, when it was in­no­cent.
The larks sang high above it, the swal­lows skimmed and dipped and flit­ted to and fro,
the shad­ows of the fly­ing clouds pur­sued each oth­er swiftly, over grass and corn and turnip-field and wood,
and over roof and church-spire in the nest­ling town among the trees,
away into the bright dis­tance on the bor­ders of the sky and earth, where the red sun­sets faded.
Crops were sown, and grew up, and were gathered in; the stream that had been crim­soned, turned a wa­ter­mill;
men whistled at the plough; glean­ers and hay­makers were seen in quiet groups at work;
sheep and oxen pas­tured; boys whooped and called, in fields, to scare away the birds;
smoke rose from cot­tage chim­neys; sab­bath bells rang peace­fully; old people lived and died;
the tim­id creatures of the field, and simple flowers of the bush and garden, grew and withered in their destined terms:
and all upon the fierce and bloody battle-ground, where thou­sands upon thou­sands had been killed in the great fight.
But there were deep green patches in the grow­ing corn at first, that people looked at aw­fully. Year after year they re-ap­peared;
and it was known that un­der­neath those fer­tile spots, heaps of men and horses lay bur­ied, in­dis­crim­in­ately, en­rich­ing the ground.
The hus­band­men who ploughed those places, shrunk from the great worms abound­ing there;
and the sheaves they yiel­ded, were, for many a long year, called the Battle Sheaves,
and set apart; and no one ever knew a Battle Sheaf to be among the last load at a Har­vest Home.
For a long time, every fur­row that was turned, re­vealed some frag­ments of the fight.
For a long time, there were wounded trees upon the battle-ground;
and scraps of hacked and broken fence and wall, where deadly struggles had been made;
and trampled parts where not a leaf or blade would grow.
For a long time, no vil­lage-girl would dress her hair or bos­om with the sweetest flower from that field of death:
and after many a year had come and gone, the ber­ries grow­ing there, were still be­lieved to leave too deep a stain upon the hand that plucked them.

Charles Dickens
The Battle of Life / Der Kampf des Lebens
Zweisprachige Ausgabe
Übersetzt von Margit Meyer

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Die Übersetzung erschien erstmals 1979 in Alle Weihnachtserzählungen im Verlag Rütten & Loening, Berlin. Rütten & Loening ist eine Marke der Aufbau Verlag GmbH & Co. KG.
Übersetzung © Aufbau Verlag GmbH & Co. KG

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