外语教育网
您的位置:外语教育网 > 英语文化视窗 > 文学与艺术 > 散文 正文
  • 站内搜索:

Visitors5

2006-07-29 00:35

  I heard that a distinguished wise man and reformer asked him if he did not want the world to be changed; but he answered with a chuckle of surprise in his Canadian accent, not knowing that the question had ever been entertained before, "No, I like it well enough."  It would have suggested many things to a philosopher to have dealings with him.  To a stranger he appeared to know nothing of things in general; yet I sometimes saw in him a man whom I had not seen before, and I did not know whether he was as wise as Shakespeare or as simply ignorant as a child, whether to suspect him of a fine poetic consciousness or of stupidity.  A townsman told me that when he met him sauntering through the village in his small close-fitting cap, and whistling to himself, he reminded him of a prince in disguise.

  His only books were an almanac and an arithmetic, in which last he was considerably expert.  The former was a sort of cyclopaedia to him, which he supposed to contain an abstract of human knowledge, as indeed it does to a considerable extent.  I loved to sound him on the various reforms of the day, and he never failed to look at them in the most simple and practical light.  He had never heard of such things before.  Could he do without factories? I asked.  He had worn the home-made Vermont gray, he said, and that was good.  Could he dispense with tea and coffee?  Did this country afford any beverage beside water?  He had soaked hemlock leaves in water and drank it, and thought that was better than water in warm weather. When I asked him if he could do without money, he showed the convenience of money in such a way as to suggest and coincide with the most philosophical accounts of the origin of this institution,and the very derivation of the word pecunia.  If an ox were his property, and he wished to get needles and thread at the store, he thought it would be inconvenient and impossible soon to go on mortgaging some portion of the creature each time to that amount. He could defend many institutions better than any philosopher,because, in describing them as they concerned him, he gave the true reason for their prevalence, and speculation had not suggested to him any other.  At another time, hearing Plato's definition of a man—— a biped without feathers —— and that one exhibited a cock plucked and called it Plato's man, he thought it an important difference that the knees bent the wrong way.  He would sometimes exclaim, "How I love to talk!  By George, I could talk all day!"  I asked him once, when I had not seen him for many months, if he had got a new idea this summer.  "Good Lord" —— said he, "a man that has to work as I do, if he does not forget the ideas he has had, he will do well.  May be the man you hoe with is inclined to race; then, by gorry, your mind must be there; you think of weeds."  He would sometimes ask me first on such occasions, if I had made any improvement.  One winter day I asked him if he was always satisfied with himself, wishing to suggest a substitute within him for the priest without, and some higher motive for living.  "Satisfied!" said he; "some men are satisfied with one thing, and some with another.  One man, perhaps, if he has got enough, will be satisfied to sit all day with his back to the fire and his belly to the table,by George!"  Yet I never, by any manoeuvring, could get him to take the spiritual view of things; the highest that he appeared to conceive of was a simple expediency, such as you might expect an animal to appreciate; and this, practically, is true of most men. If I suggested any improvement in his mode of life, he merely answered, without expressing any regret, that it was too late.  Yet he thoroughly believed in honesty and the like virtues.

  There was a certain positive originality, however slight, to be detected in him, and I occasionally observed that he was thinking for himself and expressing his own opinion, a phenomenon so rare that I would any day walk ten miles to observe it, and it amounted to the re-origination of many of the institutions of society. Though he hesitated, and perhaps failed to express himself distinctly, he always had a presentable thought behind.  Yet his thinking was so primitive and immersed in his animal life, that,though more promising than a merely learned man's, it rarely ripened to anything which can be reported.  He suggested that there might be men of genius in the lowest grades of life, however permanently humble and illiterate, who take their own view always, or do not pretend to see at all; who are as bottomless even as Walden Pond was thought to be, though they may be dark and muddy.

  我听到过一个著名的聪明人兼改革家问他,他愿不愿这世界改变:他惊诧地失笑了,这问题从来没有想过,用他的加拿大口音回答,“不必,我很喜欢它呢,”一个哲学家跟他谈话,可以得到很多东西。在陌生人看来,他对一般问题是一点都不懂的;但是我有时候在他身上看到了一个我从未见过的人,我不知道他究竟是聪明得像莎士比亚呢,还是天真未凿,像一个小孩;不知道他富于诗意呢,还是笨伯一名。一个市民告诉过我,他遇到他,戴了那紧扣的小帽,悠悠闲闲地穿过村子,自顾自吹着口哨,他使他想起了微服出行的王子。

  他只有一本历书和一本算术书,他很精于算术。前者在他则好比一本百科全书,他认为那是人类思想的精华所在,事实上在很大限度内也确实是如此。我喜欢探问他一些现代革新的问题,他没有一次不是很简单,很实际地作出回答的。他从没有听到过这种问题。没有工厂他行不行呢?我问。他说他穿的是家庭手工织的佛蒙特灰布,说这很好嘛。他可以不喝茶或咖啡吗?在这个国土上,除水之外,还供应什么饮料呢?他说他曾经把铁杉叶浸在水里,热天喝来比水好。我问他没有钱行不行呢?他就证明,有了钱是这样的方便,说得仿佛是有关货币起源的哲学探讨一样,正好表明了pecunia 这个字的字源。如果一条牛是他的财产,他现在要到铺子里去买一点针线了,要他一部分一部分地把他的牛抵押掉真是不方便啊。他可以替不少制度作辩护,胜过哲学家多多,因为他说的理由都是和他直接关联着的,他说出了它们流行的真正理由,他并不胡想出任何其他理由。有一次,听到柏拉图所下的人的定义,——没有羽毛的两足动物,——有人拿起一只拔掉了羽毛的雄鸡来,称之为柏拉图的人,他却说明,膝盖的弯向不同,这是很重要的一个区别。有时候,他也叫嚷,“我多么喜欢闲谈啊!真的,我能够说一整天!”

  有一次,几个月不见他,我问他夏天里可有了什么新见地。“老天爷,”他说,“一个像我这样有工作做的人,如果他有了意见不忘记,那就好了。也许跟你一起耘地的人打算跟你比赛;好啊,心思就得花在这上头了:你想到的只是杂草。”在这种场合,有时他先问我有没有改进。有一个冬日,我问他是否常常自满,希望在他的内心找一样东西代替外在的牧师,有更高的生活目的。“自满!”他说,“有的人满足这一些,另外的人满足另一些。也许有人,如果什么都有了,便整天背烤着火,肚子向着饭桌,真的!”

  然则,我费尽了心机,还不能找出他对于事物的精神方面的观点来;他想出的最高原则在乎“绝对的方便”,像动物所喜欢的那样;这一点,实际上,大多数人都如此。如果我向他建议,在生活方式上有所改进,他仅仅回答说,来不及了,可并没有一点遗憾。

  然而他彻底地奉行着忠实与其他这一类美德。

  从他这人身上可以察觉到,他有相当的,不管如何地少,积极的独创性;有时我还发现他在自己寻思如何表达他自己的意见,这是稀有的现象,我愿在随便哪一天跑十英里路,去观察这种景象,这等于温习一次社会制度的起源。虽然他迟疑,也许还不能明白地表现他自己,他却常常藏有一些非常正确的好意见。然而他的思想是这样原始,和他的肉体的生命契合无间,比起仅仅有学问的人的思想来,虽然已经高明,却还没有成熟到值得报道的程度。他说过,在最低贱的人中,纵然终身在最下层,且又目不识丁,却可能出一些天才,一向都有自己的见解,从不假装他什么都知道;他们深如瓦尔登湖一般,有人说它是无底的,虽然它也许是黑暗而泥泞的。

相关热词:英语 文学 散文

上一篇:Visitors3

下一篇:Visitors4

栏目相关课程表
科目名称 主讲老师 课时 免费试听 优惠价 购买课程
英语零起点 郭俊霞 30课时 试听 150元/门 购买
综艺乐园 ------ 15课时 试听 100元/门 购买
边玩边学 ------ 10课时 试听 60元/门 购买
情景喜剧 ------ 15课时 试听 100元/门 购买
欢乐课堂 ------ 35课时 试听 150元/门 购买
趣味英语速成 钟 平 18课时 试听 179元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语预备级 (Pre-Starters) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语一级 (Starters) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语二级 (Movers) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语三级 (Flyers) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
初级英语口语 ------ 55课时 ------ 350元/门 购买
中级英语口语 ------ 83课时 ------ 350元/门 购买
高级英语口语 ------ 122课时 ------ 350元/门 购买
基础英语辅导课程
郭俊霞 北京语言大学毕业,国内某知名中学英语教研组长,教学标兵……详情>>
郭俊霞:零基础英语网上辅导名师
钟平 北大才俊,英语辅导专家,累计从事英语教学八年,机械化翻译公式发明人……详情>>
钟平:趣味英语速成网上辅导名师

  1、凡本网注明 “来源:外语教育网”的所有作品,版权均属外语教育网所有,未经本网授权不得转载、链接、转贴或以其他方式使用;已经本网授权的,应在授权范围内使用,且必须注明“来源:外语教育网”。违反上述声明者,本网将追究其法律责任。
  2、本网部分资料为网上搜集转载,均尽力标明作者和出处。对于本网刊载作品涉及版权等问题的,请作者与本网站联系,本网站核实确认后会尽快予以处理。本网转载之作品,并不意味着认同该作品的观点或真实性。如其他媒体、网站或个人转载使用,请与著作权人联系,并自负法律责任。
  3、联系方式
  编辑信箱:for68@chinaacc.com
  电话:010-82319999-2371