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培根优秀散文专八翻译练习:论爱情

2006-07-04 11:56

  The stage is more beholding to love, than the life of man. For as to the stage, love is ever matter of comedies, and now and then of tragedies; but in life it doth much mischief; sometimes like a siren, sometimes like a fury. You may observe, that amongst all the great and worthy persons (whereof the memory remaineth, either ancient or recent) there is not one, that hath been transported to the mad degree of love: which shows that great spirits, and great business, do keep out this weak passion. You must except, nevertheless, Marcus Antonius, the half partner of the empire of Rome, and Appius Claudius, the decemvir and lawgiver; whereof the former was indeed a voluptuous man, and inordinate; but the latter was an austere and wise man: and therefore it seems (though rarely) that love can find entrance, not only into an open heart, but also into a heart well fortified, if watch be not well kept. It is a poor saying of Epicurus, Satis magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus; as if man, made for the contemplation of heaven, and all noble objects, should do nothing but kneel be- fore a little idol, and make himself a subject, though not of the mouth (as beasts are), yet of the eye; which was given him for higher purposes.

  It is a strange thing, to note the excess of this passion, and how it braves the nature, and value of things, by this; that the speaking in a perpetual hyperbole, is comely in nothing but in love. Neither is it merely in the phrase; for whereas it hath been well said, that the arch-flatterer, with whom all the petty flatterers have intelligence, is a man`s self; certainly the lover is more. For there was never proud man thought so absurdly well of him self, as the lover doth of the person loved; and therefore it was well said, That it is impossible to love, and to be wise. Neither doth this weakness appear to others only, and not to the party loved; but to the loved most of all, except the love be reciproque. For it is a true rule, that love is ever rewarded, either with the reciproque, or with an inward and secret contempt.

  舞台上的爱情比生活中的爱情要美好得多。因为在舞台上,爱情只是喜剧和悲剧的素材。而在人生中,爱情却常常招来不幸。它有时像那位诱惑人的魔女,有时又像那位复仇的女神。你可以看到,一切真正伟大的人物(无论是古人、今人,只要是其英名永铭于人类记忆中的),“没有一个是因爱情而发狂的人:因为伟大的事业抑制了这种软弱的感憎。只有罗马的安东尼和克劳底亚是例外。前者本性就好色荒淫,然而后者却是严肃多谋的人。所以爱情不仅会占领开旷坦阔的胸怀,有时也能闯入壁垒森严的心灵——假如守御不严的话。 埃皮克拉斯曾说过一句笑话:”人生不过是一座大戏台。“似乎本应努力追求高尚事业的人类,却只应像玩偶奴隶般地逢场作戏似的。虽然爱情的奴隶并不同于那班只顾吃喝的禽兽,但毕竟也只是眼目色相的奴隶——而上帝赐人以眼睛本来是更高尚的用途的。

  过度的爱情追求,必然会降低人本身的价值。例如,只有在爱情中,才永远需要那种浮夸诌媚的词令。而在其他场合,同样的词令只能招人耻笑。古人有一句名言:“最大的奉承,人总是留给自己的”。——只有对情人的奉承要算例外。因为甚至最骄傲的人,也甘愿在情人面前自轻自贱。所以古人说得好:“就是神在爱情中也难保持聪明。”情人的这种弱点不仅在外人眼中是明显的,就是在被追求者的眼中也会很明显——除非她(他)也在追求他(她)。所以,爱情的代价就是如此,不能得到回爱,就会得到一种深藏于心的轻蔑,这是一条永真的定律。

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