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Mar 21

1954: Ernest Hemingway

Ja, en gång ringer de till dom.

Each man’s Death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Ovanstående är en lärodikt av den engelske renässansskalden John Donne. Engelskan har, liksom svenskan, många olika ord för att återge en klockas ljud. Edgar Allan Poe ger exempel, The Bells heter dikten. Radbrytningen saknas i denna återgivning men läsaren hör den eller kan återfinna dikten på nätet:

I.

Hear the sledges with the bells– Silver bells! What a world of merriment their melody foretells! How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle, In the icy air of night! While the stars that oversprinkle All the heavens, seem to twinkle With a crystalline delight; Keeping time, time, time, In a sort of Runic rhyme, To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells From the bells, bells, bells, bells, Bells, bells, bells– From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

II.

Hear the mellow wedding bells Golden bells! What a world of happiness their harmony foretells! Through the balmy air of night How they ring out their delight! From the molten-golden notes, And all in tune, What a liquid ditty floats To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats On the moon! Oh, from out the sounding cells, What a gush of euphony voluminously wells! How it swells! How it dwells On the Future! how it tells Of the rapture that impels To the swinging and the ringing Of the bells, bells, bells, Of the bells, bells, bells, bells, Bells, bells, bells– To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

III.

Hear the loud alarum bells– Brazen bells! What tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells! In the startled ear of night How they scream out their affright! Too much horrified to speak, They can only shriek, shriek, Out of tune, In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire, In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire, Leaping higher, higher, higher, With a desperate desire, And a resolute endeavor Now–now to sit or never, By the side of the pale-faced moon. Oh, the bells, bells, bells! What a tale their terror tells Of Despair! How they clang, and clash, and roar! What a horror they outpour On the bosom of the palpitating air! Yet the ear, it fully knows, By the twanging, And the clanging, How the danger ebbs and flows ; Yet, the ear distinctly tells, In the jangling, And the wrangling, How the danger sinks and swells, By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells– Of the bells– Of the bells, bells, bells, bells, Bells, bells, bells– In the clamour and the clangour of the bells!

IV.

Hear the tolling of the bells– Iron bells! What a world of solemn thought their monody compels! In the silence of the night, How we shiver with affright At the melancholy meaning of their tone! For every sound that floats From the rust within their throats Is a groan. And the people–ah, the people– They that dwell up in the steeple, All alone, And who, tolling, tolling, tolling, In that muffled monotone, Feel a glory in so rolling On the human heart a stone– They are neither man nor woman– They are neither brute nor human– They are Ghouls:– And their king it is who tolls ; And he rolls, rolls, rolls, rolls, Rolls A pæan from the bells! And his merry bosom swells With the pæan of the bells! And he dances, and he yells ; Keeping time, time, time, In a sort of Runic rhyme, To the pæan of the bells– Of the bells : Keeping time, time, time, In a sort of Runic rhyme, To the throbbing of the bells– Of the bells, bells, bells– To the sobbing of the bells ; Keeping time, time, time, As he knells, knells, knells, In a happy Runic rhyme, To the rolling of the bells– Of the bells, bells, bells– To the tolling of the bells, Of the bells, bells, bells, bells– Bells, bells, bells– To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.

Det fanns alltså en mångfald av associationer som väcktes hos engelskspråkiga läsare när Hemingway gav ett av sina verk namnet For Whom the Bell Tolls. Bakom fiendens linjer träffas Robert och María under spanska inbördeskriget. Krig och kärlek, pliktkänsla och svek bildar bakgrunden.

För länge sedan, när hörbarheten för Sveriges Radio var god, kunde vi som barn höra Anders de Wahl på Skansen läsa Nyårsklockan (Ring, klocka, ring!) när det nya året började. Det är en modifierad översättning av Alfred Lord Tennysons In Memoriam (Ring out, wild bells). Här citerar jag de fyra sista stroferna:

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Om bröllopsklockor har inte talats närmare i detta och föregående inlägg – Poe nämnde dem. Men jag avser också  dem och den trohet och sveklöshet de förkunnar. ”Lösryckt” förstår vi lätt Hemingways boktitel som ett pekfinger riktat mot mig – du är dödlig, du skall dö en gång. Men för engelskspråkiga läsare går tanken säkert snabbare till Donnes dikt, och till solidariteten.

Under spanska inbördeskriget gick en solidaritetsvåg genom västvärlden – också från Finland fanns det kämpar för demokratin. Kärleksdramat i boken, bakom främsta linjen, talar alltså om bröllopsklockans klang. Om den gemensamma kamp för det goda och barnens bästa där vi skulle stå enade – men där du svek.