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拉塞勒斯:第二章

拉塞勒斯:第二章

原作者:塞缪尔·约翰逊 (Samuel Johnson)

译者:青云子 ( @道长回来啦)

 

第二章: 谷中虽云乐,公子枉凝眉

 

在这儿,阿比西尼亚的儿女们只知舒舒服服地享受休息和娱乐的交替,不知世间还能有什么盛衰荣枯与沧桑变幻。四下左右,所得之物皆是极好的乐子。林林总总的感官享受,无一不能使他们得到满足。他们徜徉的花园芳香四溢,他们休息的城堡固若金汤。一切的一切都使得他们变得知足。那些指导他们的智者只告诉他们公共生活是多么可悲,所有山之外的地方,都被他们描绘成重灾区,那里天下大乱,人们互相杀伐。

以“幸福谷”为主题的歌曲每天都会播放,强化着他们对自身幸福的认识。他们的欲望被各种走马灯似的乐子反复刺激,从白天的发端到夜幕的降临,每时每刻无不是狂欢与嬉戏。

总的来说,这些方法是行之有效的。没几个王公曾想过开疆扩土,只是深信,人工所能达到的,造化所能给予的,皆唾手可得,他们就此度过一生,而且还可怜那些没法进入这安宁之国的人,觉得他们受着随机运数的支配,受着苦难和不幸的奴役。

就这样他们日出而起,日落而息,彼此相安,感觉良好。只有拉塞勒斯,这个二十六岁的年轻人,开始从他们的消遣和聚会中抽身,在独自漫步和静心冥想中得到乐趣。他经常坐在摆满玉盘珍馐的桌前,忘记平常摆在面前的美食。“幸福谷”之歌只播了一半,他便突然起身,急忙退到听不见歌声的地方。他的随从注意到了这种改变,力图重新点燃他对享乐的喜爱。他对随从们的多管闲事不予理睬,拒绝他们的邀请,日复一日地徜徉在树荫遮蔽的小河边上,时而听枝上鸟鸣,时而观水中鱼跃,不久又看一眼满布着动物的草地和高山,这些动物有的在吃草,有的在草间睡觉。

不少人察觉到他这种异常的情绪。其中有一个智者,之前和他相谈甚欢,暗自跟踪他,想要找到他不安的原因。拉塞勒斯不知道有人就在他附近,看了一会儿在石头间吃草的羊群,便开始对比它们和他自己的境况。

他说:“是什么将人和动物区分开来?在我身旁漫步的这每一头走兽都有着和我一样的生理需求,他饿了就啃青草,他渴了就饮溪流,他的饥渴得到填补,便心满意足地睡觉。当他醒来,又饿了,就再吃,然后休息。我也和他一样饥渴,但是吃饱喝足之后我却依旧不安。我像他一样苦于需求,却不像他一样,满足于饱腹。饿与饱之间是沉闷抑郁的几个小时。我渴望饥饿起来,这样我也许能再次集中注意力。鸟啄食着梅子或谷粒,然后飞到小树林里,表面上快乐地栖息在树枝上,就这样将生命耗费在哼唱一系列单调不变的曲子之中。我可以说那些琵琶乐师和歌手也是如此,只是昨天使我愉悦的声音在今天就使我感到厌烦,明天,就更烦了。我发现我身上没有哪样感官不是饱饮它们相应的愉悦,只是我自己并不感到开心。人,肯定有某种隐藏着的感官,是这里无法满足的,或者他有某种欲望,独立于那些必须满足了才能使他快乐的感官。”

这样想了之后他抬起头来,看到月亮升起,便走向宫殿。当他穿越田野,看到周围的动物,他说:“你们是快乐的,不需要羡慕我,这个行走在你们中间,自己成为自己的负担的人。你们这些温和的生灵啊,我也不需要羡慕你们拥有幸福,因为这不是人的幸福。我有许多你们没有的苦恼。我会因想到未感知过的痛苦而害怕,我有时想起以前的罪过会感到畏畏缩缩,我有时也会因预感到的罪恶而惊惧。可以肯定的是,在神祗的天平上,特别的苦难会和特别的享受持平。”

带着这样的思索,这位王子在回去的路上自娱自乐,用一种哀伤的语调来表达这些想法,但从他脸上可以看出他因自己的洞察力而感到有些得意。他也从生活的痛苦中找到一些安慰——他能够清醒地感知到思想的微妙之处,而且能够用滔滔的口才哀叹这些思想。他融入到晚间路上的景致,欣然发现自己的内心变得快乐起来了。

英文原文:

《The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia》

Chapter Two  The discontent of Rasselas in the happy valley

Here the sons and daughters of Abissinia lived only to know the soft vicissitudes of pleasure and repose, attended by all that were skilful to delight, and gratified with whatever the senses can enjoy. They wandered in gardens of fragrance, and slept in the fortresses of security. Every art was practised to make them pleased with their own condition. The sages who instructed them, told them of nothing but the miseries of publick life, and described all beyond the mountains as regions of calamity, where discord was always raging, and where man preyed upon man.

To heighten their opinion of their own felicity, they were daily entertained with songs, the subject of which was the happy valley. Their appetites were excited by frequent enumerations of different enjoyments, and revelry and merriment was the business of every hour from the dawn of morning to the close of even.

These methods were generally successful; few of the Princes had ever wished to enlarge their bounds, but passed their lives in full conviction that they had all within their reach that art or nature could bestow, and pitied those whom fate had excluded from this seat of tranquility, as the sport of chance, and the slaves of misery.

Thus they rose in the morning, and lay down at night, pleased with each other and with themselves, all but Rasselas, who, in the twenty-sixth year of his age, began to withdraw himself from their pastimes and assemblies, and to delight in solitary walks and silent meditation. He often sat before tables covered with luxury, and forgot to taste the dainties that were placed before him: he rose abruptly in the midst of the song, and hastily retired beyond the sound of musick. His attendants observed the change and endeavoured to renew his love of pleasure: he neglected their officiousness, repulsed their invitations, and spent day after day on the banks of rivulets sheltered with trees, where he sometimes listened to the birds in the branches, sometimes observed the fish playing in the stream, and anon cast his eyes upon the pastures and mountains filled with animals, of which some were biting the herbage, and some sleeping among the bushes.

This singularity of his humour made him much observed. One of the Sages, in whose conversation he had formerly delighted, followed him secretly, in hope of discovering the cause of his disquiet. Rasselas, who knew not that any one was near him, having for some time fixed his eyes upon the goats that were brousing among the rocks, began to compare their condition with his own.

“What,” said he, “makes the difference between man and all the rest of the animal creation? Every beast that strays beside me has the same corporal necessities with myself; he is hungry and crops the grass, he is thirsty and drinks the stream, his thirst and hunger are appeased, he is satisfied and sleeps; he rises again and is hungry, he is again fed and is at rest. I am hungry and thirsty like him, but when thirst and hunger cease I am not at rest; I am, like him, pained with want, but am not, like him, satisfied with fulness. The intermediate hours are tedious and gloomy; I long again to be hungry that I may again quicken my attention. The birds peck the berries or the corn, and fly away to the groves where they sit in seeming happiness on the branches, and waste their lives in tuning one unvaried series of sounds. I likewise can call the lutanist and the singer, but the sounds that pleased me yesterday weary me to day, and will grow yet more wearisome to morrow. I can discover within me no power of perception which is not glutted with its proper pleasure, yet I do not feel myself delighted. Man has surely some latent sense for which this place affords no gratification, or he has some desires distinct from sense which must be satisfied before he can be happy.”

After this he lifted up his head, and seeing the moon rising, walked towards the palace. As he passed through the fields, and saw the animals around him, “Ye, said he, are happy, and need not envy me that walk thus among you, burthened with myself; nor do I, ye gentle beings, envy your felicity; for it is not the felicity of man. I have many distresses from which ye are free; I fear pain when I do not feel it; I sometimes shrink at evils recollected, and sometimes start at evils anticipated: surely the equity of providence has ballanced peculiar sufferings with peculiar enjoyments.”

With observations like these the prince amused himself as he returned, uttering them with a plaintive voice, yet with a look that discovered him to feel some complacence in his own perspicacity, and to receive some solace of the miseries of life, from consciousness of the delicacy with which he felt, and the eloquence with which he bewailed them. He mingled cheerfully in the diversions of the evening, and all rejoiced to find that his heart was lightened.


 

拉塞勒斯:第二章
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拉塞勒斯:第二章

文学,翻译。

网友评论1

  1. 沙发
    zxz722:

    看似很简单的一句话,或许都能给人以启发,支持一小下

    2013-11-08 上午 9:14 [回复]

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