现代英文选评注 | The Reigning Royalty of Europe 欧洲之王室 Lord David Cecil

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戴维·塞西尔(Lord David Cecil,1902 - 1986)为英国贵族,亦是当代有名批评家,在牛津大学任教多年。著有The Stricken Deer(诗人Cowper传),Early Victorian NovelistsHardy the Novelist等。

本文原发表于1957年8月5日的《生活画报》(Life。作者身为贵族,对于王室似颇为崇敬。但是他的谦虚合理的态度,相信民主自由的中国人似乎也能接受。

原文甚长,此处摘录数段。题目中reigning一字,意为“在位的”。法国、意大利、西班牙等国王室后人,今仍在世,他们仍旧保持王室的尊号,只是他们并不“在位”。又如:英女王为reigning queen,其母(王太后)亦有queen的尊号,可是就不是reigning了。

European monarchies of today are a very different thing from those of the past. For one thing they are constitutional. They also thrive in liberal democracies, where the government is conducted by the heads of the majority party in the elected chamber of government. Theoretically the king is head of the state. But he always acts on the advice of his ministers, so this does not amount to much. The one important occasion in which Britain's constitutional monarch can influence events is when a party takes power without an accepted leader. The monarch can then choose, as Queen Elizabeth II did recently when she named Harold Macmillan to be prime minister, rather than Richard Austen Butler. But even here a monarch is unlikely to act against the wishes of the substantial body of the party in power. And though the monarch can advise the government, which may pay attention to the king's wisdom and experience, he does not direct policy.

  • monarchies(此字ch读作/k/音):君主政体;君主国。those仍是指monarchies。第一句里的thing的用法应加注意。有了这个字,文章显得更为亲切,因为这个字太普通了。
  • For one thing:今古君主政体不同之处可能很多,今举一点来说。constitutional:合宪法的。君主立宪(constitutional monarchy)与君主专制(absolute monarchy)不同。
  • liberal democracies:自由民主的国家。君主政体在那种国家里也能盛行不衰(thrive)。接着一个定语从句说明何谓自由民主的国家。在自由民主的国家里,管理政务之事(government is conducted)是由民选(elected)的国会(国会的上院下院都是house,但是也可以称为chamber)里的多数党(majority party)领袖担任的。
  • Theoretically:理论上说来。head of the state:国家元首。
  • acts on the advice of his ministers:按照大臣的劝告而行事。注意句中his一字。minister在中国译作“部长”,英文原意是“仆人”;大臣者,帝王的仆人也。
  • this:纵为国家元首(事实上不发生什么作用)。amount to:(加起来)得到(什么样的数目)。does not amount to much:没有多少价值。
  • occasion:场合。此字前面的介词常用on(如on one occasion:某一次),但是这里用的是in(in which)。events:大事;国家大事。takes power:执政。when…是名词性从句,与前面的occasion相等。英国某一政党虽已掌握政权,但是群龙无首(没有公认的领袖),那时英国受宪法限制的君主,就可出来干涉,左右大局。
  • choose:常用作及物动词,这里是不及物动词,君主可以为政党选拔领袖,组织内阁。
  • did recently:did为did choose之略。Macmillan:英国前首相。方艾登辞职之际,Butler是副首相,继任希望本来甚大。但是保守党内部拥护Macmillan者,和拥护Butler者,分成两派。女王经咨询元老邱吉尔和Marquess of Salisbury(此人可能与本文作者是一家人)后,决定任命Macmillan组阁。
  • even here:即使在这种场合之中。the substantial body:大多数人。国王不大可能(unlikely)违反执政党多数意见,独断独行。pay attention to:国王有其智慧与经验,他的指示,政府人士可以注意倾听;但是国王不能指导政府的政策,他的话可能毫不起作用。

Monarchy today has also lost its religious halo. The religious conception does not fit with the secular views that lie behind modern democracy—all the more so because a large number of the citizens of these democracies no longer believe in any religion.

  • halo:神光(神、佛、天使、saints头上的光)。在君主专制的时候,帝王自命君权神授(中国的皇帝自称“奉天承运”);英国国王加冕时,大主教还要背这么一段话:“Receive this kingly sword brought now from the altar of God and delivered to you by the hands of us the bishops and servants of God.”君主政体本来有一种神圣的光华,现在可是没有了。
  • secular:非宗教的。近代民主政治的基本观念(views)是非宗教的:人为贵,天次之。君权神授的观念,和这种看法格格不入(does not fit with)。
  • all the more so:尤其使这两种观念格格不入者。so是“不合”,more是“更不合”,the(副词)=on that account,因此而更为不合。民主国家里,很多老百姓什么教也不信,君主如再拿“天命”来号召,也没有人会相信的。

Only in England is the institution still sacramental, the monarch being crowned in church and still recognized as head of the national church. Other countries manage to forego the religious ceremony of coronation: the monarchs of Europe mark their accession by swearing an oath in the legislative assembly, according to a constitutional concept that does not accept any idea of divinely appointed monarch.

  • institution:(王室的)制度。sacramental:含有神圣意味的。(sacrament:圣礼,或是任何有神圣意味的东西。)
  • 第一句是倒装法。句子重心在前三个字,主语放在动词的后面。又本句用了一个absolute phrase(the monarch being…),这种短语用作轻描淡写的说明,最为合适。
  • crowned:加冕。这个字的名词形式是coronation。head of the national church:国教的教主。in church的church是“教堂”,national church的church是“教会”。
  • manage:想办法。forego或拼作forgo:取消。
  • Europe:广义的欧洲,包括英国在内。狭义的欧洲,仅指欧洲大陆。这里所用的是狭义。
  • accession:登基,就位。这个字的动词形式是accede。mark:举行仪式以表示。swearing an oath:宣誓。legislative assembly:立法议会。他们所以在议会里宣誓,而不在教堂加冕者,是根据一种宪法观念:这种宪法观念不承认君主是上帝任命的(不接受这种想法)。

Has the king's social and personal position changed with the decline in his religious status and political power? The answer to this question is different in different countries. In Scandinavia it has. The general sentiment is democratic. The Norwegians, the Swedes and Danes do not like the idea that the royal family is something apart, leading an existence of courtly formality and stately splendor. The royal families, so far as we can gather, agree with them. Certainly they fall in with their wishes. The kings and queens of these countries perform their public functions with traditional state and dignity; but when these are over, they return to a home life which differs in no essentials from that of their subjects.

  • social and personal position:社会地位与个人地位。religious status:宗教上的地位。status和position没有多少分别,不过status是法律名词,更能引起庄严的联想。国王的宗教地位和政治权力都衰落了(decline),他的社会地位与个人地位是否也因此改变呢?
  • Scandinavia:指挪威、瑞典、丹麦三国(还有冰岛)。按地理位置说来,丹麦是不在Scandinavia半岛上的。it has=his position has changed。
  • do not like the idea:idea这个字很常用,中文不易表达(上一段有does not accept any idea of)。这一句直译应该是“他们不喜欢这个想法”;照中国习惯说法,其实就是“他们不喜欢这个办法”。
  • something apart:高高在上,和老百姓判然不同。leading an existence中的existence就是life:过这样的生活。courtly formality:宫廷的繁文缛节。stately splendor:庄严华丽。“庄严”和“华丽”这两个观念在中文里是平行的,但在英文里,可以用一个为主(名词),一个为从(形容词)。这是中英文用法不同之处,亦是英文较多伸缩性的一个例子,请读者注意。
  • so far as we can gather:就我们所知者。gather:从事实上推断。
  • 那些君主,是否真正赞成“君民平等”的想法,我们不敢断言。就事实上表现看来,他们是赞成的。
  • 有一点我们是敢断定的(certainly),他们的确是依从(fall in with)老百姓的意志而行事的。
  • perform their public functions:执行公务(如接见外国使节、主持国庆大典等)。traditional:传统的。state and dignity:这两个字连用时,意义上没有多大分别。state有“庄严”之意。
  • when these are over=when these functions are over:公务执行完毕。
  • differ in no essentials:其主要之点并无分别。that of their subjects:他们“子民”的家庭生活。

In Belgium and England the story is different because there the traditions of aristocratic society and court life are still alive. The British royal children are privately educated; the queen of England does not go out unattended and the Belgian king rarely does; there are courtiers and splendor. Yet even in England royal life has modified a great deal. An English princess will now dine out with friends without a lady in waiting in attendance. The little Duke of Cornwall is beginning his education not at home under the care of a tutor but at a school. It seems possible, too, that when he is older he may become the first heir to the British throne to attend a public school. Altogether the English royal family today leads a life which, while retaining many of its old forms, is growingly democratic in spirit.

  • story原意是“故事”。the story is different是成语,与“故事”无关,只是“情形是不一样的”。
  • aristocratic society:贵族社会。alive这个字是可以形容traditions的。are still alive当然比still exist来得好。
  • privately educated:请“太傅”教授。
  • does not go out unattended:没有侍从跟随,是不出门的。unattended形容主语queen。…rarely does:比利时国王出门,难得没有侍从跟随。
  • there are…:宫廷供奉之臣和宫廷生活的华丽,迄今犹存。
  • modified:改变,程度减轻。
  • will dine out的will是表示“习惯”。a lady in waiting:侍从宫女。in attendance:从旁侍候。
  • Duke of Cornwall:就是现在英国的王子Charles。英国太子的封号是Prince of Wales,当时这个王子,尚未正式册封为Prince of Wales。
  • under the care of a tutor:受私人教师指导。
  • heir to the throne:储君。public school:英国的public school,不是“公立学校”,只是“公众可以就读的学校”。以前英国的储君,从来没有上学校念书的。
  • a life which:这句话的重心是在which…这个定语从句上。a life可以说没有什么意义,它的意义借“which”clause而完成。这种生活虽然(while)旧日规模仍旧保持不少,可是在精神上,已是日益民主了。同样的句法,见于上一段之末句:a home life的意义亦是借“which”clause而完成的。

(本文摘自《现代英文选评注》:京东正版购买链接

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