T.S. Eliot’s The Journey of the Magi

Freitagsgedicht

The Journey of the Magi von TS Eliot behandelt die Rückkehr der „Könige aus dem Morgenland“ von der Geburtsstätte Jesu Christi. In einem recht lockeren Plauderton, der doch nie unangemessen scheint, reflektiert einer der zoroastrischen Weisen auf die Bedeutung, die die Geburt für seine Religion, sein gesellschaftliches Umfeld hat. Dabei entpuppt sich, was auf den ersten Blick nur für eine Erkältung gesorgt hat, als ein Schock der eine ganze Gesellschaftsordnung abwickeln wird: der Aufstieg des Christentums. Im übertragenen Sinne aber, und das macht diesen Text so herausragend, beleuchtet das Gedicht so zugleich die neuerliche Auflösung der christlichen Religion und Metaphysik in der modernen pragmatischen Weltordnung.

The Journey of the Magi

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.“
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

One thought on “T.S. Eliot’s The Journey of the Magi

  1. Pingback: Hymn to Proserpine von Algernon Charles Swinburne | SonntagsGesellschaft

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