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瓦尔登湖:经济篇21

2006-07-28 19:19

  True, there are architects so called in this country, and I have heard of one at least possessed with the idea of making architectural ornaments have a core of truth, a necessity, and hence a beauty, as if it were a revelation to him.  All very well perhaps from his point of view, but only a little better than the common dilettantism.  A sentimental reformer in architecture, he began at the cornice, not at the foundation.  It was only how to put a core of truth within the ornaments, that every sugarplum, in fact, might have an almond or caraway seed in it —— though I hold that almonds are most wholesome without the sugar —— and not how the inhabitant,the indweller, might build truly within and without, and let the ornaments take care of themselves.  What reasonable man ever supposed that ornaments were something outward and in the skin merely —— that the tortoise got his spotted shell, or the shell-fish its mother-o'-pearl tints, by such a contract as the inhabitants of Broadway their Trinity Church?  But a man has no more to do with the style of architecture of his house than a tortoise with that of its shell: nor need the soldier be so idle as to try to paint the precise color of his virtue on his standard.  The enemy will find it out.  He may turn pale when the trial comes.  This man seemed to me to lean over the cornice, and timidly whisper his half truth to the rude occupants who really knew it better than he.  What of architectural beauty I now see, I know has gradually grown from within outward, out of the necessities and character of the indweller, who is the only builder —— out of some unconscious truthfulness, and nobleness, without ever a thought for the appearance and whatever additional beauty of this kind is destined to be produced will be preceded by a like unconscious beauty of life.  The most interesting dwellings in this country, as the painter knows, are the most unpretending, humble log huts and cottages of the poor commonly; it is the life of the inhabitants whose shells they are, and not any peculiarity in their surfaces merely, which makes them picturesque; and equally interesting will be the citizen's suburban box, when his life shall be as simple and as agreeable to the imagination, and there is as little straining after effect in the style of his dwelling.  A great proportion of architectural ornaments are literally hollow, and a September gale would strip them off, like borrowed plumes, without injury to the substantials.  They can do without architecture who have no olives nor wines in the cellar.  What if an equal ado were made about the ornaments of style in literature, and the architects of our bibles spent as much time about their cornices as the architects of our churches do?  So are made the belles-lettres and the beaux-arts and their professors.  Much it concerns a man, forsooth, how a few sticks are slanted over him or under him, and what colors are daubed upon his box.  It would signify somewhat, if, in any earnest sense,he slanted them and daubed it; but the spirit having departed out of the tenant, it is of a piece with constructing his own coffin —— the architecture of the grave —— and "carpenter" is but another name for "coffin-maker."  One man says, in his despair or indifference to life, take up a handful of the earth at your feet, and paint your house that color.  Is he thinking of his last and narrow house?

  Toss up a copper for it as well.  What an abundance of leisure be must have!  Why do you take up a handful of dirt?  Better paint your house your own complexion; let it turn pale or blush for you.  An enterprise to improve the style of cottage architecture!  When you have got my ornaments ready, I will wear them.

  Before winter I built a chimney, and shingled the sides of my house, which were already impervious to rain, with imperfect and sappy shingles made of the first slice of the log, whose edges I was obliged to straighten with a plane.

  真的,在这个国家里面有一种人叫做建筑师,至少我听说过一个建筑师有一种想法要使建筑上的装饰具有一种真理之核心,一种必要性,因此有一种美,好像这是神灵给他的启示。从他的观点来说,是很好的罗,实际他比普通爱好美术的外行人只高明一点儿。一个建筑学上感情用事的改革家,他不从基础,却从飞檐人手。仅在装饰中放一个真理之核心,像糖拌梅子里面嵌进一粒杏仁或者一粒葛缕子,——我总觉得吃杏仁,不用糖更有益于健康,——他不想想居民,即住在房屋里面的人,可以把房屋建筑得里里外外都很好,而不去管什么装饰。哪个讲理性的人会认为装饰只是表面的,仅属于皮肤上的东西,——认为乌龟获得斑纹的甲壳,贝类获得珠母的光泽,就像百老汇的居民获得三一教堂似的要签订什么合同呢?一个人跟他自己的房屋建筑的风格无关,就跟乌龟跟它的甲壳无关一样:当兵的不必那么无聊,把自己的勇气的确切的颜色画在旗帜上。

  敌人会知道的。到了紧要关头上,他就要脸色发青了。在我看来,这位建筑师仿佛俯身在飞檐上,羞涩地向那粗鲁的住户私语着他的似是而非的真理,实际上住户比他还知道得更多。我现在所看到的建筑学的美,我了解它是从内部向外面渐渐地生长出来的,是从那住在里面的人的需要和他的性格中生长出来的,住在里面的人是唯一的建筑师,——美来自他的不知不觉的真实感和崇高心灵,至于外表他一点儿没有想到;这样的美如果必然产生的话,那他先已不知不觉地有了生命之美。在我们这国土上,画家们都知道,最有趣味的住宅一般是穷困的平民们的那些毫无虚饰的、卑微的木屋和农舍;使房屋显得别致的,不是仅仅在外表上有的哪种特性,而是外壳似的房屋里面的居民生活;同样有趣味的,要算市民们那些郊外的箱形的木屋,他们的生活将是简单的,恰如想象的一样,他们的住宅就没有一点叫人伤脑筋的风格。建筑上的大多数装饰确实是空空洞洞的,一阵九月的风可以把它们吹掉,好比吹落借来的羽毛一样,丝毫无损于实际。并不要在地窖中窖藏橄榄和美酒的人,没有建筑学也可以过得去。如果在文学作品中,也这样多事地追求装饰风,如果我们的《圣经》的建筑师,也像教堂的建筑师这样花很多的时间在飞檐上,结果会怎样呢?那些纯文学、那些艺术学和它们的教授们就是如此矫揉造作的。当然,人很关心这几根木棍子是斜放在他上面呢,还是放在下面,他的箱子应该涂上什么颜色。这里头是很有一点意思的,如果认真他说,他把它们斜放了,箱子徐上颜色了;可是在精神已经离开了躯壳的情况下,那它跟建造他自己的棺材就属于同一性质了——说的是坟墓的建筑学,——而“木匠”只不过是“做棺材的人”的另一个名称罢了。有一个人说,你在失望中,或者对人生采取漠然态度时,抓起脚下的一把泥土来,就用这颜色来粉刷你的房子吧。他想到了他那临终的狭长的房子了吗?抛一个铜币来抉择一下好了。他一定有非常多的闲暇!为什么你要抓起一把泥土来呢?还是用你自己的皮肤颜色来粉刷你的房屋好得多;让它颜色苍白或者为你羞红好了。一个改进村屋建筑风格的创造!等到你找出了我的装饰来,我一定采用它们。

  进冬以前,我造了一个烟囱,在屋侧钉上一些薄片,因为那里已经不能挡雨,那些薄片是木头上砍下来的,不很完善的很苍翠的木片,我却不得不用刨子刨平它们的两旁。

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