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瓦尔登湖:种豆4

2006-07-29 00:48

  When there were several bands of musicians, it sounded as if all the village was a vast bellows and all the buildings expanded and collapsed alternately with a din.  But sometimes it was a really noble and inspiring strain that reached these woods, and the trumpet that sings of fame, and I felt as if I could spit a Mexican with a good relish —— for why should we always stand for trifles? —— and looked round for a woodchuck or a skunk to exercise my chivalry upon.  These martial strains seemed as far away as Palestine, and reminded me of a march of crusaders in the horizon, with a slight tantivy and tremulous motion of the elm tree tops which overhang the village.  This was one of the great days; though the sky had from my clearing only the same everlastingly great look that it wears daily,and I saw no difference in it.

  It was a singular experience that long acquaintance which I cultivated with beans, what with planting, and hoeing, and harvesting, and threshing, and picking over and selling them —— the last was the hardest of all —— I might add eating, for I did taste. I was determined to know beans.  When they were growing, I used to hoe from five o'clock in the morning till noon, and commonly spent the rest of the day about other affairs.  Consider the intimate and curious acquaintance one makes with various kinds of weeds —— it will bear some iteration in the account, for there was no little iteration in the labor —— disturbing their delicate organizations so ruthlessly, and making such invidious distinctions with his hoe,levelling whole ranks of one species, and sedulously cultivating another.  That's Roman wormwood —— that's pigweed —— that's sorrel—— that's piper-grass —— have at him, chop him up, turn his roots upward to the sun, don't let him have a fibre in the shade, if you do he'll turn himself t' other side up and be as green as a leek in two days.  A long war, not with cranes, but with weeds, those Trojans who had sun and rain and dews on their side.  Daily the beans saw me come to their rescue armed with a hoe, and thin the ranks of their enemies, filling up the trenches with weedy dead. Many a lusty crest —— waving Hector, that towered a whole foot above his crowding comrades, fell before my weapon and rolled in the dust.

  Those summer days which some of my contemporaries devoted to the fine arts in Boston or Rome, and others to contemplation in India,and others to trade in London or New York, I thus, with the other farmers of New England, devoted to husbandry.  Not that I wanted beans to eat, for I am by nature a Pythagorean, so far as beans are concerned, whether they mean porridge or voting, and exchanged them for rice; but, perchance, as some must work in fields if only for the sake of tropes and expression, to serve a parable-maker one day. It was on the whole a rare amusement, which, continued too long,might have become a dissipation.  Though I gave them no manure, and did not hoe them all once, I hoed them unusualy well as far as I went, and was paid for it in the end, "there being in truth," as Evelyn says, "no compost or laetation whatsoever comparable to this continual motion, repastination, and turning of the mould with the spade."  "The earth," he adds elsewhere, "especially if fresh, has a certain magnetism in it, by which it attracts the salt, power, or virtue (call it either) which gives it life, and is the logic of all the labor and stir we keep about it, to sustain us; all dungings and other sordid temperings being but the vicars succedaneous to this improvement."  Moreover, this being one of those "worn-out and exhausted lay fields which enjoy their sabbath," had perchance, as Sir Kenelm Digby thinks likely, attracted "vital spirits" from the air.  I harvested twelve bushels of beans.

  要是有几个乐队在演奏着啊,整个村子就好像是一只大风箱了,一切建筑物交替地在嚣音之中一会儿扩张,一会儿坍下。然而有时传到林中来的是真正崇高而兴奋的乐句,喇叭歌唱着荣誉,我觉得自己仿佛可以痛痛快快地用刀刺杀一个墨西哥人,——我们为什么常要容忍一些琐碎事物?——我就四处寻找土拨鼠和鼬鼠,很想表演我的骑士精神。

  这种军乐的旋律遥远得像在巴勒斯坦一样,使我想起十字军在地平线上行进,犹如垂在村子上空的榆树之巅微微摇曳和颤动的动作。这是伟大的一天啊,虽然我从林中空地看天空,还和每天一样,是同样无穷尽的苍穹,我看不出有什么不同。

  种豆以来,我就和豆子相处,天长日久了,得到不少专门经验,关于种植,锄地,收获,打场,拣拾,出卖,——最后这一种尤其困难,——我不妨再加上一个吃,我还吃了豆子,尝了味道的。

  我是决心要了解豆子的。在它们生长的时候,我常常从早晨五点钟锄到正午,通常是用这天剩余时间来对付别的事情。想想,人跟各种杂草都还可以结交得很亲热很奇异呢,——说起这些来是怪累赘的,劳动的时候这些杂草已经够累赘的了,——把一种草全部捣毁,蛮横地摧残了它们的纤细的组织,锄头还要仔细地区别它们,为了把另一种草来培养。这是罗马艾草,——这是猪猡草,——这是酢酱草,——这是芦苇草,——抓住它,拔起它,把它的根翻起来,暴露在太阳下,别让一根纤维留在荫影中间,要不然,它就侧着身子爬起来,两天以后,就又青得像韭菜一样。这是一场长期战争,不是对付鹤,而是对付败草,这一群有太阳和雨露帮忙的特洛伊人。豆子每天都看到我带了锄头来助战,把它们的敌人杀伤了,战壕里填满了败草的尸体。有好些盔饰飘摇、结实强壮的海克脱,比这成群的同伴们高出一英尺的,也都在我的武器之下倒毙而滚入尘埃中去了。

  在这炎夏的日子里,我同时代的人有的在波士顿或罗马,献身于美术,有的在印度,思索着,还有的在伦敦或纽约,做生意,我这人却跟新英格兰的其他农夫们一样,献身于农事。这样做并不是为了要吃豆子,我这人天性上属于毕达哥拉斯一派,至少在种豆子这件事上是如此。管它是为了吃,或为了选票,或为了换大米,也许只是为了给将来一个寓言家用吧,为了譬喻或影射,总得有人在地里劳动。总的说来,这是一种少有的欢乐,纵然继续得太久了,也要引起虚掷光阴的损失。虽然我没有给它们施肥,也没有给它们全部都锄一遍草、松一遍土,但我常常尽我的能力给它们锄草松土,结果是颇有好处的,“这是真的,”正像爱芙琳说过的,“任何混合肥料或粪肥都比不上不断地挥锄舞铲,把泥上来翻身。”“土地,”他还在另一个地方写着,“特别是新鲜的土地,其中有相当的磁力,可以吸引盐、力,或美德(随便你怎样称呼吧)来加强它的生命,土地也是劳力的对象,我们在土地上的所有活动养活了我们,一切粪肥和其他的恶臭的东西只不过是此种改进的代用品而已。”况且,这块地只是那些“正在享受安息日的耗尽地力、不堪利用的土地”,也许像凯南尔姆。狄格贝爵士想过的,已经从空气中吸取了“有生的力量”。我一共收获了十

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