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普罗米修斯

2006-02-28 00:00

  Prometheus

  英汉对照

  There once lived a race of huge giants called Titans. These giants were fierce, violent, and lawless-always fighting among themselves and against Zeus, the king of the gods.

  One of the Titans, whose name was Prometheus, was wiser than the rest. He often thought about what would be likely to happen in the future.

  One day, Prometheus said to his brother Titans, “What is the use of wasting so much strength? In the end, wisdom and forethought will win. If we are going to fight against the gods, let us choose a leader and stop quarrelling among ourselves.”

  The Titans answered him by a shower of great rocks and uprooted trees.

  Prometheus, after escaping unhurt, said to his younger brother, “Epimetheus, we can do nothing among these Titans. If they keep on, they will tear the earth to pieces. Let us go and help Zeus to overcome them.”

  Epimetheus agreed to this, and the two brothers went over to Zeus, who called the gods together and began a terrible battle. The Titans tore up enormous boulders and cast them at the gods, while Zeus hurled his thunderbolts and his lightenings in all directions. Soon the sky was a sheet of flame, the sea boiled, the earth trembled, and the forests took fire and began to burn.

  At last the gods-partly by the help of the wise counsel of Prometheus-conquered the Titans, took them to the ends of the earth, and imprisoned them in a deep underground cavern. Neptune, the sea-god, made strong bronze gates with heavy bolts and bars, to keep the giants down, while Zeus sent Briareus and his brothers, three giants with fifty heads and a hundred hands each, to stand guard over them.

  All but one of the Titans who had fought against the gods were imprisoned in this cavern. This one who was not shut in with the others was Atlas, whose enormous strength was greater than that of his brothers, while his character was less quarrelsome. He was made to stand and hold up the sky on his head and hands.

  As the Titans could now make no more trouble, there was comparative peace and quiet on the earth. Nevertheless, Zeus said that, although the men who remained on the earth were not so strong as the Titans, they were foolish and wicked race. He declared that he would destroy them-sweep them away, and have done with them, forever.

  When their king said this, none of the gods dared to say a word in defence of mankind. But Prometheus, the Titan, who was earth-born himself, and loved these men of the earth, bagged Zeus so earnestly to shae them, that Zeus consented to do so.

  At this time, men lived in dark gloomy caves. Their friend, Prometheus taught them to build simple houses, which were much more comfortable than the caves had been. This was a great step forward. but men needed more help yet from the Titan. The beasts in the forests, and the great birds that build their nests on the rocks were strong; but men were weak. The lion had sharp claws and teeth; the eagle had wings; the turtle had a hard shell; but man, although he stood upright with his face toward the stars, had no weapon with which he could defend himself.

  Prometheus said that man should have Zeus's wonderful flower of fire, which shone so brightly in the sky. So he took a hollow reed, went up to Olympus, stole the red flower of fire, and brought it down to earth in his reed.

  After this, all the other creatures were afraid of man, for this red flower had made him strong than they. Man dug iron out of the earth and by the help of his new fire made weapons that were sharper than the lion's teeth; he tamed the wild cattle by the fear of it, yoked them together, and taught them how to draw the plough; he sharpened strong stakes, hardening them in its heat, and set them around his house as a defence from his enemies; he did many other things besides with the red flower that Prometheus had made to blossom at the end of the reed.

  Zeus, sitting on his throne, saw with alarm how strong man was becoming. One day he discovered the theft of his shining red flower, and knew tat Promethwus was the thief. He was greatly displeased with this act.

  “Prometheus loves man too well,” said he, “he shall be punished.” Then he called his two slaves, Strength and Force, and told them to take Prometheus and bind him fast to a great rock in the lonely Caucasian Mountains. At the same time he ordered Hephaestus to lock the Titan's chains-in a cunning way that only Hephaestus knew.

  There Prometheus hung on the rock for hundreds of years. The sun shone on him pitilessly, by day-only the king night gave him shade. He heard the rushing wings of the seagulls, as they came to feed their young who cried from the rocks below. The sea nymphs floated up to his rock to give him their pity. An eagle, cruel as the king of the gods, came daily and tore him with his claws and beak.

  But this frightful punishment did not last forever. Prometheus himself knew that some day he should be set free, and his knowledge made him strong to endure.

  At last the time came when Zeus's throne was in danger, and Prometheus, pitying his enemy, told him a secret which helped him to make everything safe again. After this, Zeus sent Hercules to shoot the eagle and to break the Titan's chains. So Prometheus was set free.

  从前,有一个地方住着一族叫泰坦的巨人。这些巨人不但性情暴躁,而且无法无天——他们总是自相残杀,甚至还跟众神之王宙斯作对。

  泰坦中有一个名叫普罗米修斯,他是巨人中最聪明的,时常思考将来会发生什么。

  一天,普罗米修斯对他的兄弟们说:“我们浪费这么多力气到底有什么好处呢?有了智慧和深谋远虑,最终才会赢得胜利。如果我们有意和众神争斗,就让我们选一个领导者,并且结束内部的争斗。”

  泰坦们拔起大树,并且掷出一阵乱石回答了他。

  及时躲避而未受伤害的普罗米修斯对他的弟弟说:“厄庇墨透斯,我们在这些泰坦之中无法有所作为。假如他们再这样执意下去的话,尘世会被摧毁的。让我们去帮助宙斯征服他们。”

  厄庇墨透斯同意了哥哥的决定,两兄弟就去见宙斯了。宙斯召来众神,于是一场可怕的战争爆发了。泰坦们将巨石砸裂,然后扔向诸神,宙斯则将霹雳和雷电投掷到各处。整个天空立刻火光闪耀,海水沸腾,大地震动,森林2起火,并开始燃烧。

  普罗米修斯的智谋在某种程度上帮助众神最终征服了泰坦,并将他们带到尘世的边缘,关在一个很深的地下洞穴里。海神尼普顿早了一座有着沉重的门闩的坚固的铜门,把他们锁在下面,宙斯有派了三个各有五十个头和一百只手的巨人——布里阿柔斯和他的兄弟在门外看守。

  跟众神作对的所有泰坦巨人中,只有一个没被关进洞穴。这个没跟其他人关在一起的人叫阿特拉斯,他的力气比他的兄弟们都大,但他并不太好争斗。于是,他被命令站着有头和双手撑住天空。

  泰坦们无法制造任何麻烦以后,尘世变得较为和平宁静。可是,宙斯说虽然尘世间其余的人类没有泰坦们强壮,但他们却是愚昧阴险的种族。于是,他宣布要把他们毁灭——永远扫除,毁灭他们。

  当众神之王说完此话时,众神都不敢为人类说话。但是,那个生长在人间并热爱人类的泰坦普罗米修斯,却很诚恳地请求宙斯宽恕他们。宙斯答应了他的请求。

  这时,人类还生活在漆黑的洞穴里。人类的朋友普罗米修斯教他们建造比洞穴舒适的简易房屋。虽然这已经是一个很大的进步,可人类还需要泰坦更多的帮助。森林中的野兽和在岩石上筑巢穴的鸟都很强壮,但人类却很虚弱。狮子有锐利的爪和牙齿;老鹰有翅膀;乌龟有坚硬的外壳;尽管人类脸朝着星星直立行走,却没有武器来保护自己。

  普罗米修斯认为人类应该拥有宙斯那种能照亮天空的奇妙火花。于是,他带了一根空心的芦苇到奥林匹斯山去偷红色的火花,并把火花装入芦管带到了人间。

  有了火花以后,其他所有的动物都开始害怕起人类来,因为这红色的火花使人类比它们更加强大。人类从地里挖出铁矿,用火炼成比狮子尖锐的牙齿更坚韧的武器;人类凭着野牛怕火,把牛驯服并套在一起,教它们犁地耕田;人类将削尖的围桩用活加热,使之更加坚固,插在房屋周围,用以防御敌人。此外,人类还用普罗米修斯那朵使芦苇端部绽放的红色火花制造出不少其他东西。

  宙斯坐在宝座上看到人类逐渐强大起来,非常惊讶。一天,他发现他那会发光的红火花被盗,并且知道普罗米修斯就是窃贼,对此十分恼火。

  “普罗米修斯对人类的感情太深了。他应该受到惩罚。”他说。于是,他命令力气和武力两个奴隶去捉拿普罗米修斯,把他牢牢地绑在荒芜的高加索山上的一块巨石上。他又命令赫菲斯托斯用一种只有赫菲斯托斯知道的巧妙方法锁牢铁链。

  普罗米修斯就这样被绑在石头上好几百年。白天,太阳无情地炙烤他——只有仁慈的夜晚给他遮阴。当海鸥衔来食物喂岩石下号叫的幼鸟时,普罗米修斯倾听着它们拍翅的声音。海仙女有时会到岩石上安慰他。只有一只跟众神之王一样残忍的老鹰,天天用爪和嘴啄他。

  不过,这种残酷的惩罚不会持久的。普罗米修斯知道,终有一天他会获得自由的,正是这个想法使他勇敢地忍受着。

  当宙斯的王位岌岌可危时,这个时刻终于到来了。普罗米修斯同情他的敌人,再次告诉宙斯一个能帮助他转危为安的秘诀。局势平定后,宙斯派赫拉克勒斯把那只老鹰杀死并且解开铁链。于是,普罗米修斯又自由了。

  New Words and Expressions 生词和词组1. fierce a. 残忍的;凶猛的2. Zeus n. 希腊神话中的主神3. be likely to 可能4. tore up 撕碎5. hurl v. 用力投掷6. counsel n. 劝告;忠告7. conquer vt. 占领;攻取;攻克8. consent n. 用意;答应;允许9. gloomy a. 黑暗的;阴暗的10.Olympus n. 据传系希腊诸神之家11.Hephaestus n. 希腊神话中火与煅冶之神12.cunning a. 奸诈的;狡猾的13.nymphs n. 居于山林水泽的仙女14.Hercules n. 主神宙斯和阿尔克墨涅之子,力大无比,以完成十二项英雄业绩闻名。

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