现代英文选评注 | At Gallipoli 大军出征 John Masefield

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1915年英法为求打通地中海黑海交通,援助帝俄,曾在土耳其达达尼尔海峡上方Gallipoli登陆。苦战累月,终于无功而退。约翰·梅斯斐尔(John Masefield,1878—1967)时随红十字会在军中服务,目击忠勇事迹,随笔著录,成Gallipoli一书。书已绝版,1959年5月31日《纽约时报书评周刊》(New York Times Book Review)为纪念英国桂冠诗人梅斯斐尔七十五岁寿辰,转载数段,誉为英文散文中之杰作,兹介绍如下。按:梅斯斐尔此文写开阔的场面,激昂的情绪,想象丰富,节拍雄健,读之自令人起慷慨悲壮,大气磅礴之感,中文所谓“惊天地,泣鬼神”者,想即指此类文章也。

On Friday, the 23rd of April, the weather cleared so that the work could be begun. In fine weather in Mudros a haze of beauty comes upon the hills and water till their loveliness is unearthly it is so rare. Then the bay is like a blue jewel, and the hills lose their savagery, and glow, and are gentle, and the sun comes up from Troy, and the peaks of Samothrace change color, and all the marvelous ships in the harbor are transfigured. The land of Lemnos was beautiful with flowers at that season, in the brief Aegean spring, and to seaward always, in the bay, were the ships, more ships, perhaps, than any port of modern times has known; they seemed like half the ships of the world. In the crowd of shipping, strange beautiful Greek vessels passed, under rigs of old time, and the tugs of the Thames and Mersey met again the ships they had towed of old, bearing a new freight, of human courage.

  • 第一句很简单,只是说天气晴朗了,工作可以开始了。工作就是大军登舰出发,进攻葛利波里。这是何等繁复而又意义重大的工作,而作者不加任何形容词,只是轻轻地称之为“the work”。但是前面保留得愈多,后面便愈容易开展;“作势欲张”有时比真的“铺张扬厉”还要引人入胜;简单的字眼往往有丰富的含蓄,便是这个道理。
  • Mudros是爱琴(Aegean)海中Lemnos岛上的一个海港,英大军在此集中,为进攻葛利波里之基地。
  • haze:雾气。their loveliness is unearthly:山水为雾气所罩,其美妙疑非人间所有。it is so rare(稀有):此一子句在文法上与前面没有连接,但读来语气极顺,如排印本无误,则似为说明上文:所以unearthly者,即为其稀有之故也。
  • 第三句内共有六个“and”,句法故意松弛,不求紧凑,读者因此可以少用脑筋去想,只要睁开眼睛,东一处西一处地去看,自然海也,山也,日出也,船只也,重重叠叠,纷然杂陈,令人有目不暇接之感。
  • the hills lose their savagery:雾气笼罩,山色略显朦胧,无复犷悍之状。glow:发光,遍体通亮。gentle:文静;重复“lose their savagery”。
  • Troy:在Lemnos之东,今小亚细亚之西北角,相传古希腊联军围攻Troy达十年之久,荷马史诗Iliad即取材于此。
  • Samothrace:爱琴海中一岛,在Lemnos之北。peaks:群峰;此乃远景,当较Lemnos本岛上近景hills为高。transfigured:形状变易。港内船舶亦因景色之诡异,而变得unearthly了。
  • 第二第三两句的时态用的是现在式,指的大约是好天气时候的经常情形。第四句起用过去式,以点明大军出征的那一天。
  • brief:简短的。爱琴海中气候,夏天紧跟着冬天,春天没有几天。to seaward:开出海去;为adverbial phrase,形容动词were,主词为the ships, more ships用以加强ships;“比之近代任何港口(port)所见到(known)的船只还要多;好像全世界船只的半数都在这里。”
  • shipping是集合名词,一国或一港船只之总称。rigs:船上帆、索等配备。这里希腊船的配备是旧式的。
  • tugs:马力极大、用以拖曳大船之小汽船。Thames和Mersey是英国两条河名。那里的拖船现在调到爱琴海上来了;当年被它们拖曳(towed)过的大船也来了;两种船在这里重新见面。(they had towed of old是定语从句,省去关系代名词which;of old:从前)。freight:船上所载之货物。当年所载的是一种货物,现在所载的又是一种货物。现在满船是出征的大军,所载者乃人类的勇气耳。

Ship after ship, crammed with soldiers, moved slowly out of harbor, in the lovely day, and felt again the heave of the sea. These men had come from all parts of the British world, from Africa, Australia, Canada, India, the Mother Country, New Zealand and remote islands in the sea. In a few hours at most, as they well knew, perhaps a tenth of them would have looked their last on the sun, and be a part of foreign earth or dumb things that the tides push. And perhaps a third of them would be mangled, blinded or broken, made imbecile or disfigured, with the color and the taste of life taken from them, so that they would never move with comrades nor exult in the sun. All that they felt now was a gladness of exultation that their young courage was to be used. They went like kings in a pageant to the imminent death.

  • crammed:挤满。heave:海的起伏;船进港之前,本跨海而来,曾经颠簸;现在出港远征,又感觉到了。
  • 第二句用过去完成式,追叙过去。健儿们本是从英帝国各处来的,在此地集中训练编组之后,现在又开发出去。the British world:英国统治所及之地。the Mother Country:英国本部。按:出击葛利波里,共有军队五师,计英军两师,澳洲纽西兰军两师,法国殖民地军一师。
  • 达达尼尔海峡素称天险,德土联军防务坚固,今冒险进攻,伤亡必大,下面几句,都是描写健儿们视死如归的精神。
  • 他们都知道,至多几小时之内,他们之中的十分之一可能已经战死了。但是作者避免用“战死”的说法,而说:“那时他们将已经(would have)看过了太阳最后的一眼,那时他们将消失在异乡的泥土里面(化为外国泥土的一部分),或则身体化为与木石相等(dumb things:不会说话的东西),受到潮水的拍击而已。”
  • mangled:周身受割裂之伤。broken:不健全。made imbecile:化为痴呆(脑筋受伤或神经受震)。disfigured:化为丑恶(面目受伤)。with the color and the taste of life taken from them:人生的色和味都被剥夺;受了伤,很多东西就不能享受了。so that从句表示“结果”:以致他们不再能和同伴们一起行动,也不再能够在太阳底下踊跃欢喜了。
  • 受伤之后是欢喜不起来了,可是他们现在是满心欢喜,喜的是他们年轻人的勇气快要得其所用了。
  • pageant:盛大辉煌之行列。imminent:即将发生的。君王临死犹不失其庄严,虽明知死在眼前,犹全副仪仗,声威甚盛地从容赴难。

As they passed from moorings to the man-of-war anchorage on their way to the sea, their feeling that they had done with life and were going out to something new, welled up in those battalions; they cheered and cheered till the harbor rang with cheering.

  • moorings:泊船所。man-of-war anchorage:兵舰下锚处。moorings想是在港内,而兵舰则在近出口处下锚碇泊。
  • to have done with:了结,结束。(注意:do一定要用perfect tense,才可作这个解释。)well(动词):喷出,涌出。battalions:单数原作“营”解,复数即指军队。他们感觉到他们的生命已经了结,现在正走向一个新的天地,(something new此两字甚难译,是不是指“死”呢?)。这种去旧就新的感觉在出征军队里面,沛然而兴。于是欢呼声大作矣。

They left the harbor very, very slowly; this tumult of cheering lasted a long time; no one who heard it will ever forget it, or think of it unshaken. Presently all were out, and the fleet stood across for Tenedos, and the sun went down with marvelous color, lighting island after island and the Asian peaks, and those left behind in Mudros trimmed their lamps knowing that they had been for a little brought near to the heart of things.

  • tumult:骚嚷,鼓噪。unshaken:没有震栗之感;没有一个人想起了这种欢呼之声,会不大受感动的。
  • Tenedos为在Lemnos以东的一个岛屿,舰队朝这个方向开去。stood并非“站住不动”,而指船照固定方向航行。
  • 载运五师军队当需大量船只,一一出海想必很费时间。如今夕阳西垂,霞光奇艳,反照爱琴海诸岛,并亚洲诸峰,而Mudros市上已是上灯时分。
  • those left behind:没有随军队出发的人。trimmed their lamps:修剪灯心,此三字见马太福音二十五章七节,按:“修拾灯”喻指迎接天国或真理而言。for a little=for a little while。had been brought near to the heart of things:更进一步地认识了宇宙间的奥妙。刚才壮士出征,那种欢呼鼓舞、视死如归的精神,真够得上说是“正气浩然”;说到“正气”,不免牵涉到宇宙的神秘,“正气”可以说是宇宙秩序之所以赖以维持者,或者说是“万物的中心”(heart of things);看了刚才那种景象,谁都有几分钟的感动,若问为什么感动?“感动”本身又是个什么东西?我们只好说:受感动的人是接近了正气,他们亲证了万物的中心;至少在这短时间内,他们被推送(brought)得和宇宙的神秘更近一步了。

(本文摘自《现代英文选评注》:京东正版购买链接

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