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2006-07-29 00:46

  Before yet any woodchuck or squirrel had run across the road, or the sun had got above the shrub oaks, while all the dew was on,though the farmers warned me against it —— I would advise you to do all your work if possible while the dew is on —— I began to level the ranks of haughty weeds in my bean-field and throw dust upon their heads.  Early in the morning I worked barefooted, dabbling like a plastic artist in the dewy and crumbling sand, but later in the day the sun blistered my feet.  There the sun lighted me to hoe beans, pacing slowly backward and forward over that yellow gravelly upland, between the long green rows, fifteen rods, the one end terminating in a shrub oak copse where I could rest in the shade,the other in a blackberry field where the green berries deepened their tints by the time I had made another bout.  Removing the weeds, putting fresh soil about the bean stems, and encouraging this weed which I had sown, making the yellow soil express its summer thought in bean leaves and blossoms rather than in wormwood and piper and millet grass, making the earth say beans instead of grass—— this was my daily work.  As I had little aid from horses or cattle, or hired men or boys, or improved implements of husbandry, I was much slower, and became much more intimate with my beans than usual.  But labor of the hands, even when pursued to the verge of drudgery, is perhaps never the worst form of idleness.  It has a constant and imperishable moral, and to the scholar it yields a classic result.  A very agricola laboriosus was I to travellers bound westward through Lincoln and Wayland to nobody knows where;they sitting at their ease in gigs, with elbows on knees, and reins loosely hanging in festoons; I the home-staying, laborious native of the soil.  But soon my homestead was out of their sight and thought. It was the only open and cultivated field for a great distance on either side of the road, so they made the most of it; and sometimes the man in the field heard more of travellers' gossip and comment than was meant for his ear: "Beans so late! peas so late!" —— for I continued to plant when others had begun to hoe —— the ministerial husbandman had not suspected it.  "Corn, my boy, for fodder; corn for fodder."  "Does he live there?" asks the black bonnet of the gray coat; and the hard-featured farmer reins up his grateful dobbin to inquire what you are doing where he sees no manure in the furrow,and recommends a little chip dirt, or any little waste stuff, or it may be ashes or plaster.  But here were two acres and a half of furrows, and only a hoe for cart and two hands to draw it —— there being an aversion to other carts and horses —— and chip dirt far away.  Fellow-travellers as they rattled by compared it aloud with the fields which they had passed, so that I came to know how I stood in the agricultural world.  This was one field not in Mr. Coleman's report.  And, by the way, who estimates the value of the crop which nature yields in the still wilder fields unimproved by man?  The crop of English hay is carefully weighed, the moisture calculated,the silicates and the potash; but in all dells and pond-holes in the woods and pastures and swamps grows a rich and various crop only unreaped by man.  Mine was, as it were, the connecting link between wild and cultivated fields; as some states are civilized, and others half-civilized, and others savage or barbarous, so my field was,though not in a bad sense, a half-cultivated field.  They were beans cheerfully returning to their wild and primitive state that I cultivated, and my hoe played the Rans des Vaches for them.

  Near at hand, upon the topmost spray of a birch, sings the brown thrasher —— or red mavis, as some love to call him —— all the morning, glad of your society, that would find out another farmer's field if yours were not here.  While you are planting the seed, he cries —— "Drop it, drop it —— cover it up, cover it up —— pull it up, pull it up, pull it up."  But this was not corn, and so it was safe from such enemies as he.  You may wonder what his rigmarole,his amateur Paganini performances on one string or on twenty, have to do with your planting, and yet prefer it to leached ashes or plaster.  It was a cheap sort of top dressing in which I had entire faith.

  还在任何土拨鼠或松鼠窜过大路,或在太阳升上橡树矮林之前,当时一切都披着露珠,我就开始在豆田里拔去那高傲的败草,并且把泥土堆到它们上面,虽然有些农民不让我这样做,——可我还是劝你们尽可能趁有露水时把一切工作都做完。一清早,我赤脚工作,像一个造型的艺术家,在承露的粉碎的沙土中弄泥巴,日上三竿以后,太阳就要晒得我的脚上起泡了。太阳照射着我锄耨,我慢慢地在那黄沙的冈地上,在那长十五杆的一行行的绿叶丛中来回走动,它一端延伸到一座矮橡林为止,我常常休息在它的浓荫下;另一端延伸到一块浆果田边,我每走一个来回,总能看到那里的青色的浆果颜色又微微加深了一些。我除草根又在豆茎周围培新土,帮助我所种植的作物滋长,使这片黄土不是以苦艾、芦管、黍粟,而是以豆叶与豆花来表达它夏日幽思的。——这就是我每天的工作。因为我没有牛马,雇工或小孩的帮助,也没有改良的农具,我就特别地慢,也因此我跟豆子特别亲呢了。用手工作,到了做苦工的程度,总不能算懒惰的一种最差的形式了吧。这中间便有一个常青的、不可磨灭的真理,对学者而言,是带有古典哲学的意味的。和那些向西穿过林肯和魏兰德到谁也不知道的地方去的旅行家相比,我就成了一个agricola laboriosu s了;他们悠闲地坐在马车上,手肘放在膝盖上,疆绳松弛地垂成花饰;我却是泥土上工作的、家居的劳工。可是,我的家宅田地很快就落在他们的视线和思想之外了。因为大路两侧很长一段路上,只有我这块土地是耕植了的,自然特别引起他们注意;有时候在这块地里工作的人,听到他们的批评。那是不打算让他听见的,“豆子种得这样晚!豌豆也种晚了!”——因为别人已经开始锄地了,我却还在播种——我这业余性质的农民想也没想到过这些。“这些作物,我的孩子,只能给家畜吃的;给家畜吃的作物!”





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