主题:Andrew Marr:我们英国人——英国诗歌文学简史 -- 万年看客

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2019-12-18 20:51:30
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万年看客万年看客`28000`/bbsIMG/face/0000.gif`70`7`25659`186981`从五品上:朝请大夫|游骑将军`2008-09-25 10:28:43`
理性时代以及奴隶与污秽等等2 1

说到哲学改善人生的效力,还有一个远远更加出色的例子,也就是乔纳森.斯威夫特撰写的关于他本人如何来日无多的著名诗歌。今天的读者们一提到斯威夫特首先就会想到《格列佛游记》与《木桶的故事》,但他同时也是英国历史上最杰出的爱尔兰诗人之一。以下诗文节选自《咏斯威夫特教长之死》(Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift),诗文开篇首先反思了人类幸灾乐祸的心态,然后又以非凡的勇气直视了生死之镜:

The time is not remote, when I

Must by the course of nature die;

When I foresee my special friends

Will try to find their private ends:

Tho' it is hardly understood

Which way my death can do them good,

Yet thus, methinks, I hear 'em speak:

"See, how the Dean begins to break!

Poor gentleman, he droops apace!

You plainly find it in his face.

That old vertigo in his head

Will never leave him till he's dead.

Besides, his memory decays:

He recollects not what he says;

He cannot call his friends to mind:

Forgets the place where last he din'd;

Plies you with stories o'er and o'er;

He told them fifty times before.

How does he fancy we can sit

To hear his out-of-fashion'd wit?

But he takes up with younger folks,

Who for his wine will bear his jokes.

Faith, he must make his stories shorter,

Or change his comrades once a quarter:

In half the time he talks them round,

There must another set be found.

那个日子距离现在不会漫长,

当我由于自然规律必须死亡;

我能预见到我的亲密朋友

从各自角度出发大嚼舌头。

尽管我反复思考还是糊涂,

我死了对他们有什么好处?

但是现在我就能听见他们说话:

“瞧啊,教长他真是老得太不像话!

可怜的老先生,涎水滴答直流,

流得满脸都是,看着叫人犯愁。

多久以前他就整天晕头胀脑,

这毛病到他死那天也好不了。

他的记性一天不如一天,

开口说话总是倒四颠三。

朋友的名字他全都对不上号,

问他上顿饭在哪里吃都不知道。

老掉牙的段子他讲了一遍又一遍,

重复了五十次,真招人不待见。

他还以为我们都有耐心坐下

听他那些老掉牙的陈年闲话?

他拉拢到身边的年轻人格外多,

陪他扯东扯西只为了蹭他的酒喝。

他当真有必要将他的故事精简一通,

要不然每次都要更换四分之一听众。

将全体听众絮叨一遍的时间过半,

就该另找一帮听众前来替换。”

"For poetry he's past his prime:

He takes an hour to find a rhyme;

His fire is out, his wit decay'd,

His fancy sunk, his Muse a jade.

I'd have him throw away his pen;—

But there's no talking to some men!"

“他的诗才早已经日薄西山,

如今押个韵脚都要寻思半天。

他的灵感已经熄灭,他的智力已经枯槁,

他的想象已经沉没,他的缪斯徐娘半老。

要我说他这把年纪就该趁早封笔——

可他要是气出个好歹我可承受不起!”

And then their tenderness appears,

By adding largely to my years:

"He's older than he would be reckon'd

And well remembers Charles the Second.

接下来他们就放软了口气

开始夸奖我这一把年纪:

“他可是比看上去更加高寿,

见识过查理二世主政的时候。”

"He hardly drinks a pint of wine;

And that, I doubt, is no good sign.

His stomach too begins to fail:

Last year we thought him strong and hale;

But now he's quite another thing:

I wish he may hold out till spring."

“他如今几乎滴酒不沾唇,

我觉得这一迹象着实有些愁人。

他的肠胃功能一天不如一天,

去年我们还觉得他老而弥坚。

可他现在看上去气息奄奄,

我希望他能活到明年春天。”

Then hug themselves, and reason thus:

"It is not yet so bad with us."

然后他们相互拥抱,并且得出结论:

“咱们现在身体还行,真是不小的福分。”

这段诗文对于死亡的描写如此露骨,同时又不乏幽默与人性,为约翰.道恩恐惧死亡的诗文提供了响亮的回答,奥古斯都时代英国人对于镇定克制的信念也得到了彰显。诗歌有实用价值吗?笔者认为这首诗肯定有,因为诗人生动且永久地申斥了自艾自怜的心态。不过斯威夫特也会创作没那么有用却同样令人瞠目的诗歌。他的《妙龄水仙女就寝》(A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed)描写了一位胸部下垂的老妓女脱衣上炕的景象,行文实在过于恶心,以至于笔者实在无法收录在此。此外就笔者所知,他的《女更衣室》(The Lady's Dressing Room)也是第一首直接描写大便过程的英文诗歌(“啊,西莉亚,西莉亚,西莉亚,你也拉屎啊!”)。斯威夫特的伟大之处在于戳破了我们对于十八世纪英国诗人的成见:他们绝非只会描写理想化的事物,却对身边的日常生活视而不见。斯威夫特的观察力极其敏锐,他注意到了人们在突然遇到倾盆大雨时会如何表现,也听到了他们在参加某位将军的葬礼时的交头接耳。他的平生挚爱名叫艾丝特.约翰森,他惯于在她生日那天为她写诗祝贺。下面这首《致斯黛拉的生日,1720年》(Stella’s Birthday, 1720)一下就触及了爱情与衰老这两大话题:

ALL travellers at first incline

Where’er they see the fairest sign:

And if they find the chambers neat,

And like the liquor and the meat,

Will call again, and recommend

The Angel Inn to every friend.

What though the painting grows decay’d,

The house will never lose its trade:

Nay, though the treacherous tapster, Thomas,

Hangs a new Angel two doors from us,

As fine as daubers’ hands can make it,

In hopes that strangers may mistake it,

We think it both a shame and sin

To quit the true old Angel Inn.

所有的行路旅人第一眼看到

这最美丽的招牌,都忍不住歇脚。

若是他们喜欢这整洁的房舍,

美酒佳肴消解了他们的饥饿,

那么他们改天必然还会光临,

并且将天使酒馆推荐给友人。

就算招牌上的涂料有些脱落,

这家店永远不必担心生意难做。

只可气那酒保托马斯自以为别出心裁,

在隔壁第三栋房屋挂出了簇新的招牌。

画匠穷尽技艺,天使画得栩栩有神,

他以为这就能诱骗头回顾客走错门。

至于熟客们都觉得真是丢人现眼,

我们可不会离开正牌的天使酒馆。

Now this is Stella’s case in fact,

An angel’s face a little crack’d,

(Could poets or could painters fix

How angels look at thirty-six:)

This drew us in at first to find

In such a form an angel’s mind;

And every virtue now supplies

The fainting rays of Stella’s eyes.

See at her levee crowding swains,

Whom Stella freely entertains

With breeding, humour, wit, and sense,

And puts them but to small expense;

Their minds so plentifully fills,

And makes such reasonable bills,

So little gets for what she gives,

We really wonder how she lives!

And had her stock been less, no doubt

She must have long ago run out.

斯黛拉的境况也与此相同,

略微有些皴裂的天使面容。

(诗人与画家们,求你们用心创造

三十六岁的中年天使该是何等容貌:)

这副面容吸引我们深入寻找

天使具有怎样一副明慧头脑;

人间一切德行无不具备,

斯黛拉的眼神多么妩媚。

看斯黛拉如何应对追求者的拥挤人流

轻松写意,在主顾们之间周到应酬。

凭借气质,幽默,机智以及心思灵巧,

让每一位酒客花钱都不会大手大脚。

客人们都被她招待得满心欢喜,

他们的消费金额自然十分合理。

她的所得这么少,她的付出这么多,

我们都奇怪她究竟如何维持生活!

若是她的家底再薄弱一些,那就毫不稀奇

好久之前她家买卖就要关门大吉。

Then who can think we’ll quit the place,

When Doll hangs out a newer face?

Or stop and light at Chloe’s head,

With scraps and leavings to be fed?

Then, Chloe, still go on to prate

Of thirty-six and thirty-eight;

Pursue your trade of scandal-picking,

Your hints that Stella is no chicken;

Your innuendoes, when you tell us,

That Stella loves to talk with fellows:

所以说我们怎会另寻去处?真是笑话,

就因为布娃娃酒馆将新招牌悬挂?

难道我们还真要去克洛伊酒馆做客?

她家饭菜的用料全都是边角剩货。

克洛伊老板娘还有脸整天叽叽喳喳:

“她都三十六了”——你今年可是三十八!

你老人家的手艺无非是搬弄短长,

明里暗里咒骂斯黛拉不是黄花姑娘。

含沙射影,你散布伤人的八卦:

“那个斯黛拉整天爱跟男人说话!”

And let me warn you to believe

A truth, for which your soul should grieve;

That should you live to see the day,

When Stella’s locks must all be gray,

When age must print a furrow’d trace

On every feature of her face;

Though you and all your senseless tribe,

Could art, or time, or nature bribe,

To make you look like Beauty’s Queen,

And hold for ever at fifteen;

No bloom of youth can ever blind

The cracks and wrinkles of your mind:

All men of sense will pass your door,

And crowd to Stella’s at four-score.

我有一条事实,请你用心牢记,

记住之后你的灵魂活该痛哭流涕:

就算你能看到那个时候,

当斯黛拉终于白发满头,

当岁月在她脸上开垦出沟壑,

眼角眉梢全都不肯放过,

而且你与那帮众星捧你的俗汉

还将艺术、时间抑或自然规律买断,

让你从此变得美若天仙,

永远驻留在十五岁那天,

可你再怎么装嫩也掩饰不了

一颗黑心当中的皱纹与衰老。

凡是明理之辈都将过你家门而不入,

只会争先恐后将斯黛拉的生意光顾。

就像关于他本人的死亡的诗歌一样,这首诗的主旨同样是体面的生存与强大的内心。“气质,幽默,机智以及心思灵巧”全都无惧时间的考验。

接下来这首诗堪称是奥古斯都时代最大胆的发言。每一位受过教育的读者都很清楚,斯威夫特在文坛的主流形象既愤怒又冷峻,尤其是涉及到英格兰在爱尔兰的残暴统治的时候。他在著名散文《一个温和的建议》当中反话正说地主张要将爱尔兰儿童卖给英格兰富人当成美味佳肴,从而一举解决爱尔兰人口过剩与农业衰落的问题。这篇文章堪称是英伦三岛古往今来最犀利最凶残的一篇政治讽刺。此外斯威夫特的讽刺诗歌同样独树一帜。下面这首《已故著名将军讽刺悼词》(A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General)虽然不像《建议》一文那样怒火中烧,但是也差不了多少。在笔者看来,这是截止到当前为止(即1765年)最伟大的英国反战诗歌。诗中的讽刺对象是马尔伯勒公爵、温斯顿.丘吉尔的祖先约翰.丘吉尔。马尔伯勒公爵是一位在英国军事史上名列前茅的伟大将领,他在欧陆各地与法军作战并取得了一连串辉煌胜利,例如布莱尼姆战役,拉米伊战役以及奥登纳德战役等等。他是安妮女王的亲信,对他心怀感激的英国民众还在牛津郊区为他集资兴建了一座宫殿规模的豪宅。但是所有这一切对于斯威夫特来说连个屁都不值。在他眼里,马尔伯勒公爵仅仅只是一个躲藏在荣华富贵的伪装之下的战争贩子与刽子手而已:

His Grace! impossible! what dead!

Of old age too, and in his bed!

And could that mighty warrior fall?

And so inglorious, after all!

Well, since he’s gone, no matter how,

The last loud trump must wake him now:

And, trust me, as the noise grows stronger,

He’d wish to sleep a little longer.

And could he be indeed so old

As by the newspapers we’re told?

Threescore, I think, is pretty high;

’Twas time in conscience he should die

This world he cumbered long enough;

He burnt his candle to the snuff;

And that’s the reason, some folks think,

He left behind so great a stink.

Behold his funeral appears,

Nor widow’s sighs, nor orphan’s tears,

Wont at such times each heart to pierce,

Attend the progress of his hearse.

But what of that, his friends may say,

He had those honours in his day.

True to his profit and his pride,

He made them weep before he died.

好一位大人!不可能!死了吗?

居然还是寿终正寝?还死在自家床上?

难不成伟大的武士就这样陨落?

这么丢人的结局,请容我道一声“呵呵!”

嗨,死都死了,何必费力勉强,

唯有末日审判的号角才能让他睁眼还阳。

相信我,随着审判号角越发刺耳,

他肯定想在坟坑里再多躲一会儿。

他的寿数难道当真年逾花甲,

要是我们听信了报纸的说法?

阳寿六十年,要我说差不多就得了,

他要还有良心,趁早就该别活了。

他在人世间腻歪了太久太长,

油尽灯枯,如今他终于毙亡。

许多人都以为正是因为如此

他的尸体才会散发恶臭不止。

在他的葬礼上可是看不到

孤儿的眼泪与寡妇的哭号。

别人出殡时能刺穿人心的哀鸣

并未陪伴他的灵车向前进行。

不过他的朋友或许会说,这都是小事,

毕竟他还活着那会儿就已经哀荣备至。

为了维护骄傲,为了一己私利,

他在生前就听够了孤儿寡妇的哭泣!

读者们要是觉得斯威夫特的怒火已经达到了极致,不妨继续看看这首诗的结尾:

Come hither, all ye empty things,

Ye bubbles raised by breath of kings;

Who float upon the tide of state,

Come hither, and behold your fate.

Let pride be taught by this rebuke,

How very mean a thing’s a Duke;

From all his ill-got honours flung,

Turned to that dirt from whence he sprung.

都凑过来吧,你们这帮腹内空洞的草包,

你们不过是肥皂泡,被君王的吐息吹高。

你们的浮沉全凭国运潮落潮涨,

都凑过来吧,看看你们命定的下场!

让傲慢之辈将眼前的教训铭记,

所谓的公爵究竟是个什么东西;

一辈子欺世盗名,最终于事无补,

粪土里滋生的玩意毕竟要归于粪土。


最后于2019-12-22 21:15:21改,共3次;
2019-12-18 20:51:30