现代英文选评注 | Moon Shell 月形螺壳 Anne Morrow Lindbergh

更多精彩,请关注微信公众号:田间小站

本文作者是名飞行家林白上校(Charles A. Lindbergh)的夫人(Anne Morrow Lindbergh,1906—2001),其父亲是外交家。林白夫人写诗,也写小说;这篇文章选自她1955年出版的散文集《海的礼物)》(Gift from the Sea)。该书收了八篇文章,大多是林白夫人记录自己在海滨的各种思想,大多有关妇女问题和人生问题。她的思想大多又是海滨的各种贝壳所引起的,所以这本书名《海的礼物》。这种发抒个人感慨的散文,在中国是“散文正宗”,美国十九世纪的散文也很多是这一种的,但是二十世纪便很少见。林白夫人此书出版后很受欢迎,列入畅销书。

This is a snail shell, round, full and glossy as a horse chestnut. Comfortable and compact, it sits curled up like a cat in the hollow of my hand. Milky and opaque, it has the pinkish bloom of the sky on a summer evening, ripening to rain. On its smooth symmetrical face is pencilled with precision a perfect spiral, winding inward to the pinpoint center of the shell, the tiny dark core of the apex, the pupil of the eye. It stares at me, this mysterious single eye—and I stare back.

  • snail:蜗牛。海滩上的贝壳,也有圆圆的像蜗牛壳的。full:丰满的。glossy:光泽鲜明的。horse chestnut:“七叶树”所结的果子,据说以前是马的饲料。
  • compact:满满的。Comfortable形容贝壳,似乎奇怪;但贝壳既比作为猫,此字也是妥当的。curled是过去分词,作形容词用,形容主语it。这两句的形容词,有些放在名词的前面,有些放在后面,其间颇有考究。如第一句改成:This is a round snail shell. 第二句改成:It sits comfortable, compact, and curled up. 都比较差。
  • in the hollow of my hand:在我手心里面(我手的洼处)。
  • 第三句又是以两个形容词开头。这种句法,至少可以省掉verb to be;否则的话It is comfortable and compact;it is milky and opaque:重复地说,句法很笨。现在把形容词放在一句之首,句子的主语还没出现;句子的重心不落在这几个形容词身上,句子里可以讲些更重要的事。opaque:不透明的。bloom:红润之色。ripening:这个字来形容天空,很怪。原义是“成熟”,夏日黄昏,红云渐浓,乃下雨之兆。
  • symmetrical:对称的。pencilled:并不真是用铅笔画的;线条很细,好像是铅笔画的。spiral:螺旋线。此字乃本句之主语。pinpoint:像针头那样细的。core:核心。此字和center是“同位”。pupil:瞳孔,这个字也是同位语。圆形的螺壳,好像是只眼睛。apex:顶点。

Now it is the moon, solitary in the sky, full and round, replete with power. Now it is the eye of a cat that brushes noiselessly through long grass at night. Now it is an island, set in ever-widening circles of waves, self-contained, serene.

  • 作者看见这只螺壳,思潮大作,把它比作三件东西。Now连着用,表示“一下子这样,一下子那样”。
  • replete:充满了。power:如把月亮看作是神,它有它的权力,通常以为月亮有一种magical power,中国有僵尸拜月,狐狸拜月的传说,西洋人以为月亮能使人发狂。至少月亮有吸动潮水的力量。
  • a cat that中的that代替cat。brushes through:走过(身体跟外物磨擦的)。
  • set是过去分词:放在。self-contained:自足的。serene:宁静的。这两个形容词,放到句子的结尾来了。形容island。

How wonderful are islands! Islands in space, like this one I have come to, ringed about by miles of water, linked by no bridges, no cables, no telephones. An island from the world and the world's life. Islands in time, like this short vacation of mine. The past and the future are cut off: only the present remains. One lives like a child or a saint in the immediacy of here and now. Every day, every act, is an island, washed by time and space, and has an island's completion. People, too, become like islands in such an atmosphere, self-contained, whole and serene; respecting other people's solitude, not intruding on their shores, standing back in reverence before the miracle of another individual. "No man is an island," said John Donne. I feel we are all islands—in a common sea.

  • 说到这个螺壳像一座岛,文章就转到“岛”上去了。岛的特性是隔绝的:在空间上隔绝的,或者是在时间上隔绝的。空间上的岛,像我在这里度假的那座岛。
  • ringed是过去分词:围绕。cables:海底电缆。以前人所想象的岛是没有桥梁和其他陆地相联系的。但是现代人的想法不然,即使没有桥梁,有电报电话,所谓孤岛也者,还可以和外界联络。所以作者于linked by no bridges之后,再说no cables, no telephones,这才表示彻底孤立。
  • Islands in space…是句不完全句子,后面两句也都是不完全句子。
  • An island from中的from有“隔绝”之意。英文的介词,往往有中文的动词之意义。如中文“民有、民治、民享”中间的“有、治、享”是三个动词,在英文里便成了of the people, by the people, for the people了。
  • 另外一种岛屿是时间上的岛屿,如我这短短的假期。它和过去,和未来都是隔绝的。(意思大约是说:我既不想过去,也不想将来。)
  • here and now(成语):此时此地。immediacy是immediate的名词形式:直接领略目前的情形。一个人要心无挂碍,无思无虑,才能做到这一地步。小孩子能,圣人亦能。
  • Every day, every act虽然是两件东西,动词还是用单数形式。washed by time and space:把时间空间比作海水。has an island's completion=is complete in itself like an island:自身圆满具足。
  • 在这种气氛之下,人也都像了一座一座的岛了。谁也不去管别人的闲事:“尊敬别人的孤独”。
  • 既然把人比作岛,那么管人的闲事,就好像插足到别人的岛上去:闯入了别人的海岸(intruding on their shores)。
  • reverence较之respect更多一层宗教上的“虔诚敬畏”之意。照基督教的看法,上帝创造人是一大奇迹(miracle)。我身之外,另有他人,此他人者,即是奇迹,我观此奇迹,衷心敬之畏之,驻步不敢前(standing back)。人和人之间因此缺乏来往,这样,两个人就成了两座孤岛了。
  • John Donne(1572—1631):英国名诗人,较莎士比亚晚生九年。他也是个有名的布道家,“No man is an island”是他的一篇讲道文中的名句,讲的是人人祸福相关,没有人可以孤立;海明威有一部小说的标题For Whom the Bell Tolls,也出自同一篇文章:丧钟为谁而响呢?为你而响。——别人丧生,你也受到影响。
  • 但是本文作者,从另外一个观点看来,以为人人都是孤岛。人是寂寞的,人和人之间沟通是困难的,所以一个人是一座岛。这和Donne人人祸福相关的看法不同。

We are all, in the last analysis, alone. And this basic state of solitude is not something we have any choice about. It is, as the poet Rilke says, "not something that one can take or leave. We are solitary. We may delude ourselves and act as though this were not so. That is all. But how much better it is to realize that we are so, yes, even to begin by assuming it. Naturally," he goes on to say, "we will turn giddy."

  • in the last analysis:分析到最后;归根结底。
  • basic state of solitude:人类的基本状态——寂寞。we have any choice about:是adjective clause。对于人生之寂寞,我们并无选择之余地。人生而寂寞;如欲不寂寞,为不可能之事。只有寂寞的一条路,没有第二条路。Rilke(1875—1926):奥国诗人。It is…not something:句法是上一句this basic state of solitude is not something的重复。take or leave(成语):接受或不接受。人生有些东西(如非义之财),你可以取(take),也可以不取(leave),这就是所谓choice,但是人生的寂寞,是无法避免的。
  • delude:哄骗。act:如此这般地做人。as though this were not so:好像是人生并不寂寞的。
  • That is all:仅此而已。假如有人以为人生并不寂寞,或者兴高采烈地和别人相聚为乐,这“无非”是自己骗自己,他忘记了这点基本事实而已。
  • how much better it is:it代替to realize体会到,领悟到我们确是寂寞(so代替solitary)。我们尽可自骗自,但是领悟到这一点,对于我们是有好处的。
  • yes=moreover,in addition。前面所说固然不错,我们还可以更进一步地说。
  • to begin by assuming it:做人一开头就假定人生的寂寞,不要自骗自,这样更好。begin by+gerund是成语:以某事开始,如He began by scolding us, saying…(他对我们说话是以责骂开头的;他一开头就责骂我们,说道……)。
  • we will这里的will没有意志作用,只是表示将来。假如我们念念不忘人生的寂寞,无疑我们将要头晕眼花(giddy),支持为难。

Naturally. How one hates to think of oneself as alone. How one avoids it. It seems to imply rejection or unpopularity. An early wallflower panic still clings to the word. One will be left, one fears, sitting in a straight-backed chair alone, while the popular girls are already chosen and spinning around the dance floor with their hot-palmed partners.

  • Naturally:这是本文作者附和Rilke的话。Rilke刚用过Naturally这个字(原文是德文),这里接着用一个。人领悟到人生的寂寞之后,当然是要头晕眼花的。
  • How one avoids it:it可能是代替上一句to think of oneself as alone。这两句以How开头,都是不完全句子。
  • imply:含有……之意。我们怕寂寞,因为寂寞含有不见容于人(rejection),或不受欢迎(unpopularity)之意。
  • early:早期所养成的。panic:恐慌心理。wallflower:舞会中无人邀舞的女子。西洋女子视舞会为正式社交场合,假如众人皆舞,我独向隅,这个味道是不好受的。她们很早就有这种心理,这种心理也就附着于(clings to)这个字上。the word:什么字?可能是alone;较好的是solitude。
  • one fears:是插入语句。怕的是什么呢?作者更具体的描写舞会中受冷落的情形。这样的寂寞确实可怕,但是人生的基本寂寞(basic state of solitude)和舞会里的寂寞不同。舞会里的寂寞只是rejection,unpopularity而已。leave这个字用处很大,前面刚刚见过take or leave。leave也有“不加理睬”之意,leave me alone(不要来惹我)是成语。这句话的结构,还是从这个成语脱胎而出:One will be left…alone。
  • straight-backed chair:靠背笔直的,强调不舒服的情形。人家跳舞,我在沙发上躺一回,也蛮舒服,偏偏坐在硬椅子上。
  • popular是受人欢迎,人见人爱。chosen:这句连用两个被动式动词:will be left和are already chosen。主语不明,用被动式较妥。spinning:蝴蝶穿花似地转。这个动词很生动,目的也无非强调做wallflower的可怕。hot-palmed:掌心是热的。这个形容词也很生动。自己没有下场子跳,但是不难想象别人相依相偎的亲热情形。美国女人很早就有怕寂寞的心理,所以要逃避寂寞。

We seem so frightened today of being alone that we never let it happen. Even if family, friends, and movies should fail, there is still the radio or television to fill up the void. Women, who used to complain of loneliness, need never be alone any more. We can do our housework with soap-opera heroes at our side. Even day-dreaming was more creative than this; it demanded something of oneself and it fed the inner life. Now instead of planting our solitude with our dream blossoms, we choke the space with continuous music, chatter and companionship to which we do not even listen. It is simply there to fill the vacuum. When the noise stops there is no inner music to take its place. We must relearn to be alone.

  • alone是形容词, 不可以做of的宾语,一定要加一个being。frightened of being alone:我们畏惧寂寞。never let it happen:不让寂寞发生。想尽办法,消除寂寞。
  • fail:失败;不能帮我们消除寂寞。fill up the void:填补空虚。
  • need never be alone:need用于否定句中,后面通常不用to。alone要和be连接着用,前面已经说过了。
  • soap-opera:低级广播剧(所以得名,恐怕是由于替肥皂公司做广告而起)。at our side:一面做家务工作,一面听收音机(或看电视),广播剧中的人物就在我们身旁,我们毋庸忧惧寂寞了。
  • 这种消遣方法,本文作者是反对的。她认为听低级广播剧的时候,脑筋只是消极地接受,不能积极地创造。
  • day-dreaming:白日梦。过去家里没有收音机,我们无聊的时候,只好胡思乱想。作者认为这样做白日梦反而多一点创造性。was more creative:注意时态。这是在收音机尚未普及之时。前面有一句who used to complain也用的是过去式。过去是那样,现在是这样。
  • it demanded something of oneself,做白日梦还需要自己动用脑筋。它向自己要求些什么。demand和of是连用的,例如:He demanded a dollar of me。fed:喂饲,滋养。做白日梦也可使精神生活内容更为充实。使精神生活内容充实,作者在下一句换了一种说法:在我们的寂寞(的土地)上,种上梦想的花朵。
  • the space:这块空地(即无聊的时候)。choke:窒息。扼杀这块地皮的生机。我们非但不去(instead of)种花以培养生机,反而扼杀之。continuous music, chatter and companiomhip:作者用这几个字代替广播或电视的节目——不断的音乐,不断的聊天,不断的有人跟你作伴。
  • 我们虽说是在听广播,其实也并不聚精会神地听。空闲的时候,本来可以用以思想的,现在让广播节目占据住了,这些节目我们其实也不好好地听的。
  • It is simply there中的It代替continuous music等等。fill the vacuum:填补空虚。
  • 人的奇思妙想,可以说是内心的音乐。但是近代人只倚赖外面的杂声,以填补精神的空虚。外面的杂声停止之时,我们内心没有音乐去取代杂声的地位。
  • 如何应付寂寞,也成了一种学问。古人是知道的,今人必须重新学习,如何在寂寞之中,充实内心生活。

It is a difficult lesson to learn today—to leave one's friends and family and deliberately practice the art of solitude for an hour or day or a week. I find there is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before.

  • deliberately:故意地。practice:美国人拿practice当动词用,英国人则用practise。practice the art of solitude:实习独处之道。
  • being alone两个字连起来,是一名词短语,前面已经说过了。
  • 介词to这样的用法,《简明牛津字典》里有一个例句:

There is a moral to it.(这件事情里有一个教训;我们可以从这件事情得到一个教训。)

这里是:我发现在寂寞里有一种性质——一种不可思议(令人难信)的宝贵的性质。

  • Life:在寂寞之时,我们可以思想。我们想起各种问题,各种人物,好像生命又涌回到这段空虚里来。这时的生命,较之我们平日的生活更为丰富,更为生动,更为充实。

For a full day and two nights I have been alone. I lay on the beach under the stars at night alone. I made my breakfast alone. Alone I watched the gulls at the end of the pier, dip and wheel and dive for the scraps I threw them. A morning's work at my desk, and then, a late picnic lunch alone, on the beach. And it seemed to me, separated from my own species, that I was nearer to others: the sandpiper, running in little unfrightened steps down the shining beach ahead of me; the slowly flapping pelicans over my head, coasting down wind; the old gull, hunched up, grouchy, surveying the horizon. I felt a kind of impersonal kinship with them and a joy in that kinship. Beauty of earth and sea and air meant more to me. I was in harmony with it, melted into the universe, lost in it, as one is lost in a canticle of praise, swelling from an unknown crowd in a cathedral. "Praise ye the Lord, all the fishes of the sea—all ye birds of the air—all ye children of men—Praise ye the Lord!"

  • 这一段作者讲她自己practice the art of solitude的经验。
  • 前三句都用alone结尾,第四句用alone开头。这是造句变化之法。gulls:海鸥。pier:码头。dip:以身浸水。wheel:盘旋地飞。dive:俯冲。三个动词都是不定式。在watched后面的不定式动词是不要用to的。scraps:碎片(食物)。
  • A morning's work:这是不完全句子。separated from my own species:与我同类隔绝;离开人群。我因此和别种动物更为接近。
  • sandpiper:矶鹞。unfrightened:见人不畏,本是形容鸟的,但是作者用来形容steps,鸟的动作(奔跑)因此更为传神。shining:此字乃是画龙点睛之笔。得此字而全景乃耀然光亮矣。
  • flapping:拍翅的。pelicans:塘鹅。coasting:(乘风)滑翔(而下)。
  • hunched up:弓着背。grouchy:心有不平的、牢骚满腹的样子。surveying the horizon:仔细地看着天边。
  • kinship:“民胞物与”、“众生皆我类也”之感。
  • melted(过去分词):融化消失(形容主语)。
  • canticle:赞美歌。swelling:(乐声)扬起。
  • ye:古式的you,所引歌似出自《圣经·旧约·但以理书》第三章,但圣经语句与此处所引略有不同。

Yes, I felt closer to my fellow men too, even in my solitude. For it is not physical solitude that actually separates one from other men, not physical isolation, but spiritual isolation. It is not the desert island nor the stony wilderness that cuts you from the people you love. It is the wilderness in the mind, the desert wastes in the heart through which one wanders lost and a stranger. When one is a stranger to oneself, then one is estranged from others too. If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others. How often in a large city, shaking hand with my friends, I have felt the wilderness stretching between us. Both of us were wandering in arid wastes, having lost the springs that nourished us or having found them dry. Only when one is connected to one's own core is one connected to others, I am beginning to discover. And, for me, the core, the inner spring, can best be refound through solitude.

  • physical solitude:外表的(物质的)寂寞。下一句desert island,stony wilderness即说明所谓physical solitude,physical isolation。
  • 本段的两个desert都是形容词。
  • 前面说separates one from other men,接着说cuts you from the people you love,这是用字的变化。
  • wastes:荒地。It is the wilderness in the mind…是不完全句子。后面省了that cuts you…等字。lost是过去分词,形容主语one。a stranger和主语one同位。
  • a stranger to oneself:自己不认识自己。不认识自己,焉能认识别人?这就是所谓spiritual isolation。estranged from:(和别人)隔膜。
  • the wilderness stretching between us:在大都市里,我虽和朋友握手,但是我们精神上并无沟通,只是形式上的寒暄而已。我觉得我们之间有一块长长的荒地,把我们隔离。stretching:伸展。
  • Both of us:此三字略有微疵。因为前面说的是my friends;但是both of us应该是我和我的朋友(friend,单数)。代名词所指不明。arid:干燥不毛的。springs:泉水,甘泉(即精神上的生机)。nourished:滋养。found them dry的them代springs。
  • core:核心。connected to one's core:和自己的灵魂有联系;有自己的精神生活,不单是追逐声色货利。此句的主句中的动词is置于主语one之前。在前面有Only when的状语从句时,主句的倒置句法是很常见的。
  • I am beginning to discover是插入语句。
  • 末句再说明the core,那就是内心的甘泉,它是在寂寞之中最容易(best)被你重新发现的。

(本文摘自《现代英文选评注》:京东正版购买链接

打赏

微信赞赏支付宝赞赏