Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)


Thomas Hardy - und das ist wohl einmalig in der Literatur - schrieb nach Liddells Tod im Jahr 1898 ein Gedicht auf die Fertigstellung des griechischen Wörterbuchs von Liddell und Scott. Niemand hat je die Mühsal des Lexikographen und die Erschöpfung nach getaner Arbeit schöner in Verse gefaßt!


LIDDELL AND SCOTT
On the Completion of their Lexicon

"Well, though it seems
Beyond our dreams,
Said Liddell to Scott,
"We've really got
To the very end,
All inked and penned
Blotless and fair
Without turning a hair,
This sultry summer day, A.D.
Eighteen hundred and forty-three.

"I've often, I own,
Belched many a moan
At undertaking it,
And dreamt forsaking it.
--Yes, on to Pi,
When the end loomed nigh,
And friends said: 'You've as good as done,'
I almost wished we'd not begun.
Even now, if people only knew
My sinkings, as we slowly drew
Along through Kappa, Lambda, Mu,
They'd be concerned at my misgiving,
And how I mused on a College living
Right down to Sigma,
But feared a stigma
If I succumbed, and left old Donnegan
For weary freshmen's eyes to con again:
And how I often, often wondered
What could have led me to have blundered
So far away from sound theology
To dialects and etymology;
Words, accents not to be breathed by men
Of any country ever again!"

"My heart most failed,
Indeed, quite quailed,"
Said Scott to Liddell,
"Long ere the middle!...
'Twas one wet dawn
When, slippers on,
And a cold in the head anew,
Gazing at Delta
I turned and felt a
Wish for bed anew,
And to let supersedings
Of Passow's readings
In dialects go.
'That German has read
More than we!' I said;
Yea, several times did I feel so!...

"On that first morning, smiling bland,
With sheets of foolscap, quills in hand,
To write aaatos and aagEs,
Followed by fifteen hundred pages,
What nerve was ours
So to back our powers,
Assured that we should reach OOdEs
While there was breath left in our bodies!"

Liddell replied: "Well, that's past now;
The job's done, thank God, anyhow."

"And yet it's not,"
Considered Scott,
"For we've to get
Subscribers yet
We must remember;
Yes; by September."

"O Lord; dismiss that. We'll succeed.
Dinner is my immediate need.
I feel as hollow as a fiddle,
Working so many hours," said Liddell.


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