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Of Revenge(论复仇)

2006-02-17 00:00

  REVENGE is a kind of wild justice; which the more man' s nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out. For as for the first wrong, it doth but offend the law; but the revenge of that wrong, putteth the law out of office. Certainly, in taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior; for it is a prince's part to pardon.

  And Solomon, I am sure, saith, It is the glory of a man, to pass by an offence. That which is past is gone, and irrevocable; and wise men have enough to do, with things present and to come; therefore they do but trifle with themselves, that labor in past matters. There is no man doth a wrong, for the wrong's sake; but thereby to purchase himself profit, or pleasure, or honor, or the like. Therefore why should I be angry with a man, for loving himself better than me? And if any man should do wrong, merely out of ill-nature, why, yet it is but like the thorn or briar, which prick and scratch, because they can do no other. The most tolerable sort of revenge, is for those wrongs which there is no law to remedy; but then let a man take heed, the revenge be such as there is no law to punish; else a man's enemy is still before hand, and it is two for one. Some, when they take revenge, are desirous, the party should know, whence it cometh. This is the more generous. For the delight seemeth to be, not so much in doing the hurt, as in making the party repent. But base and crafty cowards, are like the arrow that flieth in the dark. Cosmus, duke of Florence, had a desperate saying against perfidious or neglecting friends, as if those wrongs were unpardonable; You shall read (saith he) that we are commanded to forgive our enemies; but you never read, that we are commanded to forgive our friends. But yet the spirit of Job was in a better tune: Shall we (saith he) take good at God's hands, and not be content to take evil also? And so of friends in a proportion. This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge, keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal, and do well. Public revenges are for the most part fortunate; as that for the death of Caesar; for the death of Pertinax; for the death of Henry the Third of France; and many more. But in private revenges, it is not so. Nay rather, vindictive persons live the life of witches; who, as they are mischievous, so end they infortunate.

  复仇乃一种原始的公道,人之天性越是爱讨这种公道,法律就越是应该将其铲除;因为首先犯罪者只是触犯了法律,而对该罪犯以牙还牙则使法律失去了效用。无可否认,若一个人对其仇敌施加报复,那他与被报复者不过是半斤八两;而若是他不念旧恶,宽大为怀,那他就比对手高出一等,因高抬贵手乃贵人之举。

  笔者确信,所罗门曾言:“宽恕他人之过失乃宽恕者之荣耀。”过去的已经过去,且一去不返,而聪明人总是努力着眼于现在和将来的事情,所以对过去耿耿于怀着无非是在捉弄自己罢了。世间并无为作恶而作恶之人,作恶者之所以作恶皆为要获得名利享乐或诸如此类的东西。既然如此,我为何要因人爱己胜过爱我而对其发怒呢?而且即便有人纯然是出于恶性而作恶,那也不过像荆棘藜枯一般,刺扎戳钩皆因其没别的本事。最可原谅的一类报复是针对那些没有法律惩治的罪行而施行的报复,但此时报复者须当心,得让自己的报复行为也因没法惩治而逍遥法外,不然报复者的仇敌依然占便宜,因为受伤害的比例是二比一。有人复仇时想要仇敌知晓这复仇来自何方。这样复仇更为雍容大度,因为更痛快的报仇似乎不在于使仇敌皮肉受到伤害,而是要让其悔不当初;不过卑怯而狡猾的懦夫则往往想要暗中施放的冷箭。佛罗伦萨大公科西莫曾用极其强烈的言辞谴责朋友的背信弃义或忘恩负义,他似乎认为这类恶行不可饶恕。他说,你可以在《圣经》里读到基督要我们宽恕仇敌的教诲,但你绝不会读到要我们宽恕朋友的训喻。但迄今为止还是约伯的精神高一格调,他说:“我们怎能只喜欢上帝赐福而抱怨上帝降祸呢?”将此例推及朋友,亦有此问。毋庸置疑,念念不忘复仇者只会使自己的创伤新鲜如初,而那创伤本来是可以愈合的。报公仇多半会为复仇者带来幸运,如为消撒大帝之死而复仇,为佩尔蒂纳之死而复仇,以及为法王亨利三世之死而复仇等等。但报私仇却不会有这般幸运;与此相反,欲报私仇者过的是巫师一般的生活,他们活着时于人有害,死去则可叹可悲。

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