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Solitude4

2006-07-29 00:27

  I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating.  I love to be alone.  I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.  We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers.  A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will.  Solitude is not measured by the miles of space that intervene between a man and his fellows.  The really diligent student in one of the crowded hives of Cambridge College is as solitary as a dervish in the desert.  The farmer can work alone in the field or the woods all day, hoeing or chopping, and not feel lonesome, because he is employed; but when he comes home at night he cannot sit down in a room alone, at the mercy of his thoughts, but must be where he can "see the folks," and recreate, and, as he thinks, remunerate himself for his day's solitude; and hence he wonders how the student can sit alone in the house all night and most of the day without ennui and "the blues"; but he does not realize that the student, though in the house, is still at work in his field, and chopping in his woods, as the farmer in his, and in turn seeks the same recreation and society that the latter does,though it may be a more condensed form of it.

  Society is commonly too cheap.  We meet at very short intervals,not having had time to acquire any new value for each other.  We meet at meals three times a day, and give each other a new taste of that old musty cheese that we are.  We have had to agree on a certain set of rules, called etiquette and politeness, to make this frequent meeting tolerable and that we need not come to open war. We meet at the post-office, and at the sociable, and about the fireside every night; we live thick and are in each other's way, and stumble over one another, and I think that we thus lose some respect for one another.  Certainly less frequency would suffice for all important and hearty communications.  Consider the girls in a factory —— never alone, hardly in their dreams.  It would be better if there were but one inhabitant to a square mile, as where I live. The value of a man is not in his skin, that we should touch him.

  I have heard of a man lost in the woods and dying of famine and exhaustion at the foot of a tree, whose loneliness was relieved by the grotesque visions with which, owing to bodily weakness, his diseased imagination surrounded him, and which he believed to be real.  So also, owing to bodily and mental health and strength, we may be continually cheered by a like but more normal and natural society, and come to know that we are never alone.

  I have a great deal of company in my house; especially in the morning, when nobody calls.  Let me suggest a few comparisons, that some one may convey an idea of my situation.  I am no more lonely than the loon in the pond that laughs so loud, or than Walden Pond itself.  What company has that lonely lake, I pray?  And yet it has not the blue devils, but the blue angels in it, in the azure tint of its waters.  The sun is alone, except in thick weather, when there sometimes appear to be two, but one is a mock sun.  God is alone ——but the devil, he is far from being alone; he sees a great deal of company; he is legion.  I am no more lonely than a single mullein or dandelion in a pasture, or a bean leaf, or sorrel, or a horse-fly,or a bumblebee.  I am no more lonely than the Mill Brook, or a weathercock, or the north star, or the south wind, or an April shower, or a January thaw, or the first spider in a new house.

  I have occasional visits in the long winter evenings, when the snow falls fast and the wind howls in the wood, from an old settler and original proprietor, who is reported to have dug Walden Pond,and stoned it, and fringed it with pine woods; who tells me stories of old time and of new eternity; and between us we manage to pass a cheerful evening with social mirth and pleasant views of things,even without apples or cider —— a most wise and humorous friend,whom I love much, who keeps himself more secret than ever did Goffe or Whalley; and though he is thought to be dead, none can show where he is buried.  An elderly dame, too, dwells in my neighborhood,invisible to most persons, in whose odorous herb garden I love to stroll sometimes, gathering simples and listening to her fables; for she has a genius of unequalled fertility, and her memory runs back farther than mythology, and she can tell me the original of every fable, and on what fact every one is founded, for the incidents occurred when she was young.  A ruddy and lusty old dame, who delights in all weathers and seasons, and is likely to outlive all her children yet.

  The indescribable innocence and beneficence of Nature —— of sun and wind and rain, of summer and winter —— such health, such cheer,they afford forever! and such sympathy have they ever with our race,that all Nature would be affected, and the sun's brightness fade,and the winds would sigh humanely, and the clouds rain tears, and the woods shed their leaves and put on mourning in midsummer, if any man should ever for a just cause grieve.  Shall I not have intelligence with the earth?  Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself?

  What is the pill which will keep us well, serene, contented?

  Not my or thy great-grandfather's, but our great-grandmother Nature's universal, vegetable, botanic medicines, by which she has kept herself young always, outlived so many old Parrs in her day,and fed her health with their decaying fatness.  For my panacea,instead of one of those quack vials of a mixture dipped from Acheron and the Dead Sea, which come out of those long shallow black-schooner looking wagons which we sometimes see made to carry bottles, let me have a draught of undiluted morning air.  Morning air!  If men will not drink of this at the fountainhead of the day,why, then, we must even bottle up some and sell it in the shops, for the benefit of those who have lost their subscription ticket to morning time in this world.  But remember, it will not keep quite till noonday even in the coolest cellar, but drive out the stopples long ere that and follow westward the steps of Aurora.  I am no worshipper of Hygeia, who was the daughter of that old herb-doctor AEsculapius, and who is represented on monuments holding a serpent in one hand, and in the other a cup out of which the serpent sometimes drinks; but rather of Hebe, cup-bearer to Jupiter, who was the daughter of Juno and wild lettuce, and who had the power of restoring gods and men to the vigor of youth.  She was probably the only thoroughly sound-conditioned, healthy, and robust young lady that ever walked the globe, and wherever she came it was spring.

  大部分时间内,我觉得寂寞是有益于健康的。有了伴儿,即使是最好的伴儿,不久也要厌倦,弄得很糟糕。我爱孤独。我没有碰到比寂寞更好的同伴了。到国外去厕身于人群之中,大概比独处室内,格外寂寞。一个在思想着在工作着的人总是单独的,让他爱在哪儿就在哪儿吧,寂寞不能以一个人离开他的同伴的里数来计算。真正勤学的学生,在剑桥学院最拥挤的蜂房内,寂寞得像沙漠上的一个托钵僧一样。农夫可以一整天,独个儿地在田地上,在森林中工作,耕地或砍伐,却不觉得寂寞,因为他有工作;可是到晚上,他回到家里,却不能独自在室内沉思,而必须到“看得见他那里的人”的地方去消遣一下,用他的想法,是用以补偿他一天的寂寞;因此他很奇怪,为什么学生们能整日整夜坐在室内不觉得无聊与“忧郁”;可是他不明白虽然学生在室内,却在他的田地上工作,在他的森林中采伐,像农夫在田地或森林中一样,过后学生也要找消遣,也要社交,尽管那形式可能更加凝炼些。

  社交往往廉价。相聚的时间之短促,来不及使彼此获得任何新的有价值的东西。我们在每日三餐的时间里相见,大家重新尝尝我们这种陈腐乳酪的味道。我们都必须同意若干条规则,那就是所谓的礼节和礼貌,使得这种经常的聚首能相安无事,避免公开争吵,以至面红耳赤。我们相会于邮局,于社交场所,每晚在炉火边;我们生活得太拥挤,互相干扰,彼此牵绊,因此我想,彼此已缺乏敬意了。当然,所有重要而热忱的聚会,次数少一点也够了。试想工厂中的女工,——永远不能独自生活,甚至做梦也难于孤独。如果一英里只住一个人,像我这儿,那要好得多。人的价值并不在他的皮肤上,所以我们不必要去碰皮肤。

  我曾听说过,有人迷路在森林里,倒在一棵树下,饿得慌,又累得要命,由于体力不济,病态的想象力让他看到了周围有许多奇怪的幻象,他以为它们都是真的。同样,在身体和灵魂都很健康有力的时候,我们可以不断地从类似的,但更正常、更自然的社会得到鼓舞,从而发现我们是不寂寞的。

  我在我的房屋中有许多伴侣;特别在早上还没有人来访问我的时候。让我来举几个比喻,或能传达出我的某些状况。我并不比湖中高声大笑的潜水鸟更孤独,我并不比瓦尔登湖更寂寞。我倒要问问这孤独的湖有谁作伴?然而在它的蔚蓝的水波上,却有着不是蓝色的魔鬼,而是蓝色的天使呢。太阳是寂寞的,除非乌云满天,有时候就好像有两个太阳,但那一个是假的。上帝是孤独的,——可是魔鬼就绝不孤独;他看到许多伙伴;他是要结成帮的。我并不比一朵毛蕊花或牧场上的一朵蒲公英寂寞,我不比一张豆叶,一枝酢酱草,或一只马蝇,或一只大黄蜂更孤独。我不比密尔溪,或一只风信鸡,或北极星,或南风更寂寞,我不比四月的雨或正月的溶雪,或新屋中的第一只蜘蛛更孤独。

  在冬天的长夜里,雪狂飘,风在森林中号叫的时候,一个老年的移民,原先的主人,不时来拜访我,据说瓦尔登湖还是他挖了出来,铺了石子,沿湖种了松树的;他告诉我旧时的和新近的永恒的故事;我们俩这样过了一个愉快的夜晚,充满了交际的喜悦,交换了对事物的惬意的意见,虽然没有苹果或苹果酒,——这个最聪明而幽默的朋友啊,我真喜欢他,他比谷菲或华莱知道更多的秘密;虽然人家说他已经死了,却没有人指出过他的坟墓在哪里。还有一个老太太,也住在我的附近,大部分人根本看不见她,我却有时候很高兴到她的芳香的百草园中去散步,采集药草,又倾听她的寓言;因为她有无比丰富的创造力,她的记忆一直追溯到神话以前的时代,她可以把每一个寓言的起源告诉我,哪一个寓言是根据了哪一个事实而来的,因为这些事都发生在她年轻的时候。一个红润的、精壮的老太太,不论什么天气什么季节她都兴致勃勃,看样子要比她的孩子活得还长久。

  太阳,风雨,夏天,冬天,——大自然的不可描写的纯洁和恩惠,他们永远提供这么多的康健,这么多的欢乐!对我们人类这样地同情,如果有人为了正当的原因悲痛,那大自然也会受到感动,太阳黯淡了,风像活人一样悲叹,云端里落下泪雨,树木到仲夏脱下叶子,披上丧服。难道我不该与土地息息相通吗?我自己不也是一部分绿叶与青菜的泥上吗?

  是什么药使我们健全、宁静、满足的呢?不是你我的曾祖父的,而是我们的大自然曾祖母的,全宇宙的蔬菜和植物的补品,她自己也靠它而永远年轻,活得比汤麦斯。派尔还更长久,用他们的衰败的脂肪更增添了她的康健。不是那种江湖医生配方的用冥河水和死海海水混合的药水,装在有时我们看到过装瓶子用的那种浅长形黑色船状车子上的药瓶子里,那不是我的万灵妙药:还是让我来喝一口纯净的黎明空气。黎明的空气啊!

  如果人们不愿意在每日之源喝这泉水,那未,啊,我们必须把它们装在瓶子内;放在店里,卖给世上那些失去黎明预订券的人们。可是记着,它能冷藏在地窖下,一直保持到正午,但要在那以前很久就打开瓶塞,跟随曙光的脚步西行。我并不崇拜那司健康之女神,她是爱斯库拉彼斯这古老的草药医师的女儿,在纪念碑上,她一手拿了一条蛇,另一只手拿了一个杯子,而蛇时常喝杯中的水;我宁可崇拜朱庇特的执杯者希勃,这青春的女神,为诸神司酒行觞,她是朱诺和野生莴苣的女儿,能使神仙和人返老还童。她也许是地球上出现过的最健康、最强壮、身体最好的少女,无论她到哪里,那里便成了春天。

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