现代英文选评注 | The Last Puritan 最后一个清教徒 George Santayana

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美国早期的移民,很多是英国来的清教徒,因此清教徒主义(Puritanism)也是美国立国基本精神之一。清教徒所过的是一种严肃的生活,以天理制人欲,培养独立自尊的人格,除了相信上帝这一点以外,他们的理想,大致和宋儒传统下的中国士大夫相仿。桑塔耶那(George Santayana 1863—1952)在《最后一个清教徒》(1935)里描写一个典型的清教徒Oliver Alden,下面几段讲的是那位“清教徒”幼年时候所受的教育,由此我们知道:一个严肃的(可是也是拘谨狭仄的)生活是怎么开始的。

下面所选的几段(见原书第二编第三章)都比较浅近容易,并不能充分代表原作英文“构思精妙,辞藻华丽”的好处。但是这几段已经把“Puritanism”说明得相当清楚了。

The advent of Fr?ulein Schlote was a blessing all round. Mrs. Alden, on whom everything depended, smiled on the newcomer from the beginning. As for the child himself, neither the disappearance of his old nurse nor the appearance of the new Fr?ulein seemed to impress his young mind. He was accustomed to strangers, and not afraid of them; they all behaved in much the same way. Gradually, however, he became aware of something else in her: there was sympathy in her movements, there was playfulness: Irma was?affectionate. Discipline was relaxed: it was no longer imperative to play only with clean gravel especially poured out for him: he might now run and dig up his own gravel from the path. The routine of life might have become more plastic, making a little room for caprice. But was caprice less tiresome than law?

  • 本书主人翁Oliver Alden原有一老保姆(nurse),后从德国请来Irma Schlote小姐任看护管教之职,即英文所谓governess。
  • Fr?ulein德文,意即“小姐”。advent:来到,义同arrival,但用于较庄严重要之场合。blessing:(天赐)恩典。all round:对全家的人说来。
  • Mrs. Alden:书中主人翁之母亲。on whom everything depended:什么东西都得靠她;她是主妇,家庭教师是好是坏,就凭她一句话。
  • impress:给予印象。
  • aware of:觉得。something else:有些别的东西;就这小孩子看来,到家里来的陌生人似乎都差不多,可是这位家庭教师他渐渐地发现有些与众不同。
  • sympathy:同情。playfulness:活泼好弄。affectionate:温馨慈爱。他的母亲待他是冷冰冰的,家庭教师的慈爱给他的印象特别深,故此字用斜体字排,以示重要。
  • discipline:纪律。relaxed:放宽。接着就有例子说明:小孩子喜欢玩沙,本来家里管束得严,沙是先淘好了给他的,现在他可以自己到地上去挖了。gravel较sand为粗。中文应作“沙砾”。
  • routine of life:日常旧规,刻板生活。plastic:便于塑造的、可以任意变化其形状的。caprice:中文成语“忽发奇想”里的“奇想”、怪主意。making room for里的room原意是“地位”,“让出地位来给(别人)”;这个小孩子的生活本来只是循规蹈矩的刻板文章,现在新家庭教师来了,生活可以多点变化,“可以让出些地位来给出乎常规的思想行动了”——可以偶然“随兴之所至,自由行动了”。
  • 虽然有这种可能性,可是事实上却并未实现,动词might have become隐含did not become之意。为什么呢?末一句“反问”(rhetorical question)即说明其原委。But was caprice less tiresome than law?=But caprice was not less tiresome than law。循规蹈矩的生活(law)固然无聊(tiresome),然而就兴之所至,率性行事(caprice),亦复无聊,所以仍旧是规规矩矩地过日子。

It was a distinct relief to discard the perambulator and to trudge along with Fr?ulein for a country walk. And sometimes Fr?ulein lengthened these rambles more than was pleasant for him. He was no baby, to say he was tired, or hot, or wished to be carried; the old perambulator, even if thought of at such a moment, was not to be mentioned.

  • perambulator:小孩坐车。discard:废弃不用;小孩渐大,能蹒跚而行,用不到坐车了。relief:(束缚的)解除;坐车拘束而累赘,一旦下车步行,自有轻松之感。distinct:很明显的。trudge:吃力的走路。
  • rambles:漫游。lengthened:放长,(走远)。than在这里的用法很像是一个relative pronoun,丹麦籍文法学家Jespersen称之为relative conjunction。(见其所著Essentials of English Grammar. §34.41与A?Modern English Grammar, II. §9.11)
  • to say...:infinitive phrase当形容词用,形容baby。“他不再是一个可以说是他疲倦了……的婴孩了。”他已经自认是一个大孩子,即使是走累了,或是走热了,或是想抱(carried)了,都不愿意讲出来。
  • thought of:两个字连起来当“及物动词”用。他即使想到要坐“坐车”,也不有意对家庭教师提起,真是一个有骨气的小孩子。

If a pebble got into his shoe, it might be unpleasant, but he said nothing. Pebbles were insignificant accidents, like certain needs of the body: and if Fr?ulein said they?must?get to the top of the hill, the view would be so?wundersch?n, the hill must be stoically climbed.

  • pebble:石子。
  • insignificant:无足轻重的;accidents:偶然的事件。like以下,作者语带讥讽:石子进了鞋子,那个刚会走路的小孩子还是往前走,认为这是一件不足道的小事,“就像身体上某些需要一样”。身体上某些需要是些什么?是不是指饿了想吃,渴了想喝,痒了想搔?清教徒是可以不理会这些需要的,桑塔耶那似乎并不以为然。
  • mustwundersch?n都是引用那位德国小姐的原字,故用斜体字排。must表示非去不可,wundersch?n(德文)=very beautiful。the view would be so?wundersch?n是noun clause,做said的宾词。
  • stoically:坚毅地。Stoics本来是希腊一派哲学家,译作“斯多噶学派”,其教人以“克己忍苦”为主。这个小孩子不管气力够不够,(鞋子里还有石子呢!),一往直前地跟了家庭教师爬山,这种精神就够得上称是stoical。

The view was nothing to him: but by the time he had plodded bravely to the top, he had forgotten the pebble; and when later, after running down the hill, he felt it again in a different place, he knew that they were going home and that it didn't matter. Such was the nature of country walks; and when he changed his shoes and stockings before dinner, he would shake the pebble out. The next time he would remember to lace both his shoes equally tight, so that pebbles shouldn't get into either of them.

  • 德国小姐为了要欣赏风景才爬到山顶上去,可是这位清教徒小孩对于风景的美,并不觉得什么,他只是“为了爬山而爬山”,忽略美育的陶冶,偏重意志的锻炼,这也是清教徒主义的特征之一。桑塔耶那对于这一点,亦颇有微辞。
  • plod意义同前面的trudge差不多:吃力地走路。
  • 到了山顶,就忘了鞋子里的石子;回家的路上,脚底下又觉到有石子了(虽然石子能滚,已经挪了地方了),可是反正要回家了,这点不舒服也就可以不理了。
  • nature:性质;乡间散步的性质就是如此,有点不舒服也在意料之中。
  • lace:拴鞋带。tight:紧。either:两者之一;两只鞋子拴得一样紧,没有一只进得了石子了。

One day without any reason, he climbed up from her knee and put both arms round her neck, holding on very softly and very tight for what seemed to her a long time.

"But darling," she said, smothering her emotions, "why do you do that?"

  • for a long time:过了一段长时间;for what seemed to her a long time:过了一段在她看来是很长的时间。
  • smothering:抑制。emotions:感情。学生对她忽然如此亲热,这位家庭教师可能惊喜交集;但是她还是抑制住了感情问他。

His German, and even his English, was inadequate to frame an answer, and he merely held on.

"But do you ever hug your mother like that? And of course it would be very wrong not to love her ever so much more than you love me, because she is your mother."

  • 他同家庭教师之间是说惯德文的,但是当时的感情,他非但用德文说不出来,就是用英文也说不出来。and even his English前后两逗点(,)的功用好像括弧一般不影响主词German的number,所以动词还是用单数的“was”。
  • inadequate:不够;frame:形成。
  • hug:拥抱。not to love her=if you did not love her;ever=very(此解根据《简明牛津字典》);so也是用以加强much。比较级的形容词(或副词),如more等,前面加ever so much三个字来加强语气,是很普通的用法。

Somewhat slowly and absent-mindedly Oliver let go: he certainly never hugged his mother like that. It was all rather discouraging. Irma felt this too, and gradually ceased to take him on her lap. "You are such a big boy now," she would say. "You must sit up in your high chair."

  • absent-mindedly:心不在焉地。let go:松手。
  • discouraging:扫兴的。小孩子喜欢他的家庭教师,而且把这种感情天真自然地流露出来,本来也很正常。可是清教徒认为感情的流露是可耻的,Oliver从来没有向他的母亲亲热过,以后也不会再同家庭教师亲热了。家庭教师渐渐地也不去抱他了。lap:大腿。

One day Fr?ulein unsuspectingly mentioned at table the urgent need of a cushion for Oliver's chair. Mrs. Alden let her talk on; but after a little pause pursed her lips and said: "I don't think little boys ought to be brought up to sit on cushions. It is effeminate. The chair comes from the very best makers in Great Falls. I paid a particularly high price for it, and I'm sure it must be quite right as it is—much cooler and healthier in summer than sitting on a stuffy cushion, which is always slipping about and getting tumbled and making one restless. If only Oliver wouldn't fidget, but keep his clothes properly pulled down under him, he would be perfectly comfortable, and wouldn't need to find fault with what is provided for him."

  • unsuspectingly:没有猜想到会产生什么后果地;脱口而出地。(德国小姐以为座椅质地太粗,有伤小孩的嫩皮肤,所以主张要用垫子,想不到她这种主张竟大受女主人的反对。)at table:用膳之时;urgent:迫切的。
  • pursed her lips:把嘴唇缩起来,不大以为然的样子。女主人也是清教徒,涵养功夫到家,虽然话听不入耳,可是还是等人家说完了,再停一停之后(after a pause),然后发表她的高见。
  • brought up:教养成人。(cushions一字应重读。)
  • effeminate:太娘儿们气了。
  • Great Falls:地名,在康涅狄克州,为女主人娘家所在地。makers:制家具的。
  • as it is:照它现在的样子(就很好)。stuffy:不透气的。slipping about:滑来滑去(about=here and there)。getting tumbled:坐伤了,压破了,或是翻过来了。restless:神志不安。
  • fidget:乱摸乱动。under him:坐在他身体下面。
  • find fault with:找错。what is provided for him:(家里)替他准备好的东西。注意:他们家里资财百万,并不是为了省钱才不给小孩子买(或做)一个垫子的。照清教徒的想法,任何不舒服的事情都该忍受,何况大人替小孩子所设想的,决不会有错。所以垫子就用不着了。

(本文摘自《现代英文选评注》:京东正版购买链接

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