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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2031672-In-English
by Brae
Rated: E · Prose · Romance/Love · #2031672
A short piece about language and love.
The tragedy of it is that he decided on reading it in English instead of German.

Schiller's "Die B├╝rgschaft", "The Hostage", that is.

He wanted to read to me through the dark of my sadness. To comfort me with the sound of his voice, when the words themselves wouldn't reach me. It was his way of things to say something like: "let me read to you."

He started in his native tongue.

"Zu Dionys, dem Tyrannen, schlich"1

And in that moment I fell in love with him. Soaked in those foreign sounds. The lulling, the throaty, the guttural, but smooth sound of his voice. A Northern German voice tempered by schooling in British English and a fair bit of time spent on the West Coast of the States. Remarkable. Unique. Low and smooth and lilting and rich and wonderful.

Intoxicating. A beautiful, easy relief.

But then he said, "I don't know how much you're getting out of it if I read it in German."

And there was the tragedy, that he decided to read it in English instead.

To give me the half truth of it. To give me what was tempered and changed by the very virtue of translation.
To give me his second tongue. The nonnative. The piecemeal. The imperfect. The reconstruction.

The poem was beautiful anyway. Of course, after all it was Schiller.

But still, if one wanted to say "I love you", shouldn't they do it in the same tongue in which they dream?
If I told him I loved him, I would say in plain English: "I love you."
No affectation. No pretension. No false claims of ownership of a language that isn't my own.

And doesn't it mean more if you say something like that from the root of who you are?

And there you have it, the tragedy.

His love for me was in English.

Footnotes
1  http://germanstories.vcu.edu/schiller/hostage_dual.html

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