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Ihm wurde das harte Los, weder Geliebte noch Freund zu haben (G. E. Lessing)

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by Mark 2012, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Mark 2012 New Member

    Chinese
    Ihm wurde das harte Los, weder Geliebte noch Freund zu haben.
    English translation: "To him fell the hard lot to have neither a lover nor a friend."

    In "Ihm wurde das harte Los", why isn't there a verb? Is the verb deliberately omitted?
     
  2. ablativ Senior Member

    German(y)
    Hi Mark, welcome to the forum!

    The German translation is incomplete and therefore wrong. The translation could be: Ihm wurde das harte Los zuteil / auferlegt (etc.), weder ...

    Or: Ihn traf das harte Los, weder ...

    Or did the sentence go on (after the period)? You could also say : Ihm wurde das harte Los, weder ( ... ) zu haben, auferlegt / zuteil.
     
  3. Mark 2012 New Member

    Chinese
    Thanks ablativ. In fact the german passage is the original, it is excerpted from a prose called “Der Phonix” written by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729 - 1781).

    “Der unglückliche Phönix! Ihm wurde das harte Los, weder Geliebte noch Freund zu haben; denn er ist der einzige seiner Art!”

    Since Lessing was a famous writer, so the sentence is unlikely to be wrong. I wonder if it is an advanced sentence construction, or the grammatical structure only existed in 18 century.
     
  4. Demiurg

    Demiurg Senior Member

    Germany
    German
    This use of "werden" in the sense of "zuteil werden" is dated (=> DWB: werden, I C):


    Btw. the original text reads: Ihm ward das harte Los, ...

    "ward" itself is is a dated variant of "wurde".
     
  5. Mark 2012 New Member

    Chinese
    Thanks Demiurg. This clears the doubt.
     

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