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:

Reading1

2006-07-29 00:08

  With a little more deliberation in the choice of their pursuits,all men would perhaps become essentially students and observers, for certainly their nature and destiny are interesting to all alike.  In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change nor accident.  The oldest Egyptian or Hindoo philosopher raised a corner of the veil from the statue of the divinity; and still the trembling robe remains raised, and I gaze upon as fresh a glory as he did,since it was I in him that was then so bold, and it is he in me that now reviews the vision.  No dust has settled on that robe; no time has elapsed since that divinity was revealed.  That time which we really improve, or which is improvable, is neither past, present,nor future.

  My residence was more favorable, not only to thought, but to serious reading, than a university; and though I was beyond the range of the ordinary circulating library, I had more than ever come within the influence of those books which circulate round the world,whose sentences were first written on bark, and are now merely copied from time to time on to linen paper.  Says the poet Mr Udd, "Being seated, to run through the region of the spiritual world; I have had this advantage in books.  To be intoxicated by a single glass of wine; I have experienced this pleasure when I have drunk the liquor of the esoteric doctrines."  I kept Homer's Iliad on my table through the summer, though I looked at his page only now and then.  Incessant labor with my hands, at first, for I had my house to finish and my beans to hoe at the same time, made more study impossible.  Yet I sustained myself by the prospect of such reading in future.  I read one or two shallow books of travel in the intervals of my work, till that employment made me ashamed of myself, and I asked where it was then that I lived.

  The student may read Homer or AEschylus in the Greek without danger of dissipation or luxuriousness, for it implies that he in some measure emulate their heroes, and consecrate morning hours to their pages.  The heroic books, even if printed in the character of our mother tongue, will always be in a language dead to degenerate times; and we must laboriously seek the meaning of each word and line, conjecturing a larger sense than common use permits out of what wisdom and valor and generosity we have.  The modern cheap and fertile press, with all its translations, has done little to bring us nearer to the heroic writers of antiquity.  They seem as solitary, and the letter in which they are printed as rare and curious, as ever.  It is worth the expense of youthful days and costly hours, if you learn only some words of an ancient language,which are raised out of the trivialness of the street, to be perpetual suggestions and provocations.  It is not in vain that the farmer remembers and repeats the few Latin words which he has heard. Men sometimes speak as if the study of the classics would at length make way for more modern and practical studies; but the adventurous student will always study classics, in whatever language they may be written and however ancient they may be.  For what are the classics but the noblest recorded thoughts of man?  They are the only oracles which are not decayed, and there are such answers to the most modern inquiry in them as Delphi and Dodona never gave.  We might as well omit to study Nature because she is old.  To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem.  It requires a training such as the athletes underwent,the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object.  Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written. It is not enough even to be able to speak the language of that nation by which they are written, for there is a memorable interval between the spoken and the written language, the language heard and the language read.  The one is commonly transitory, a sound, a tongue, a dialect merely, almost brutish, and we learn it unconsciously, like the brutes, of our mothers.  The other is the maturity and experience of that; if that is our mother tongue, this is our father tongue, a reserved and select expression, too significant to be heard by the ear, which we must be born again in order to speak.  The crowds of men who merely spoke the Greek and Latin tongues in the Middle Ages were not entitled by the accident of birth to read the works of genius written in those languages; for these were not written in that Greek or Latin which they knew, but in the select language of literature.  They had not learned the nobler dialects of Greece and Rome, but the very materials on which they were written were waste paper to them, and they prized instead a cheap contemporary literature.  But when the several nations of Europe had acquired distinct though rude written languages of their own, sufficient for the purposes of their rising literatures, then first learning revived, and scholars were enabled to discern from that remoteness the treasures of antiquity.  What the Roman and Grecian multitude could not hear, after the lapse of ages a few scholars read, and a few scholars only are still reading it.

  如果更审慎地选择自己追逐的职业,所有的人也许都愿意主要做学生兼观察家,因为两者的性质和命运对所有的人都一样地饶有兴味。为我们自己和后代积累财富,成家或建国,甚或沽名钓誉,在这些方面我们都是凡人;可是在研究真理之时、我们便不朽了,也不必害怕变化或遭到意外了。最古的埃及哲学家和印度哲学家从神像上曳起了轻纱一角;这微颤着的袍子,现在仍是撩起的,我望见它跟当初一样的鲜艳荣耀,因为当初如此勇敢的,是他的体内的“我”,而现在重新瞻仰着那个形象的是我体内的“他”。

  袍子上没有一点微尘;自从这神圣被显示以来,时间并没有逝去。我们真正地改良了的,或者是可以改良的时间,既不是过去,又不是现在,也不是未来呵。

  我的木屋,比起一个大学来,不仅更宜于思想,还更宜于严肃地阅读;虽然我借阅的书在一般图书馆的流通范围之外,我却比以往更多地接受到那些流通全世界的书本的影响,那些书先前是写在树皮上的,如今只是时而抄在布纹纸上。诗人密尔。喀玛。乌亭。玛斯脱说,“要坐着,而能驰骋在精神世界的领域内;这种益处我得自书本。一杯酒就陶醉;当我喝下了秘传教义的芳洌琼浆时,我也经历过这样的愉快。”整个夏天,我把荷马的《伊利亚特》放在桌上,虽然我只能间歇地翻阅他的诗页。起初,有无穷的工作在手上,我有房子要造,同时有豆子要锄,使我不可能读更多的书。但预知我未来可以读得多些,这个念头支持了我。在我的工作之余,我还读过一两本浅近的关于旅行的书,后来我自己都脸红了,我问了自己到底我是住在什么地方。

  可以读荷马或埃斯库罗斯的希腊文原著的学生,决无放荡不羁或奢侈豪华的危险,因为他读了原著就会在相当程度之内仿效他们的英雄,会将他们的黎明奉献给他们的诗页。如果这些英雄的诗篇是用我们自己那种语言印刷成书的,这种语言在我们这种品德败坏的时代也已变成死文字了;所以我们必须辛辛昔苦地找出每一行诗每一个字的原意来,尽我们所有的智力、勇武与气量,来寻思它们的原意,要比通常应用时寻求更深更广的原来意义。近代那些廉价而多产的印刷所,出版了那么多的翻译本,却并没有使得我们更接近那些古代的英雄作家。他们还很寂寞,他们的文字依然被印得稀罕而怪异。

  那是很值得的,花费那些少年的岁月,那些值得珍惜的光阴,来学会一种古代文字,即使只学会了几个字,它们却是从街头巷尾的琐碎平凡之中被提炼出来的语言,是永久的暗示,具有永恒的激发力量。有的老农听到一些拉丁语警句,记在心上,时常说起它们,不是没有用处的。有些人说过,古典作品的研究最后好像会让位给一些更现代化、更实用的研究;但是,有进取心的学生还是会时常去研究古典作品的,不管它们是用什么文字写的,也不管它们如何地古老。因为古典作品如果不是最崇高的人类思想的记录,那又是什么呢?它们是唯一的,不朽的神示卜辞。便是求神问卜于台尔菲和多多那,也都得不到的,近代的一些求问的回答,在古典作品中却能找到。我们甚至还不消研究大自然,因为她已经老了。读得好书,就是说,在真实的精神中读真实的书,是一种崇高的训练,这花费一个人的力气,超过举世公认的种种训练。这需要一种训练,像竞技家必须经受的一样,要不变初衷,终身努力。书本是谨慎地,含蓄地写作的,也应该谨慎地,含蓄地阅读。本书所著写的那一国的文字,就算你能说它,也还是不够的,因为口语与文字有着值得注意的不同,一种是听的文字,另一种是阅读的文字。一种通常是变化多端的,声音或舌音,只是一种土话,几乎可以说是很野蛮的,我们可以像野蛮人一样从母亲那里不知不觉地学会的。另一种却是前一种的成熟形态与经验的凝集;如果前一种是母亲的舌音,这一种便是我们的父亲的舌音,是一些经过洗炼的表达方式,它的意义不是耳朵所能听到的,我们必须重新诞生一次,才能学会说它。中世纪的时候,有多少人,能够说希腊语与拉丁语,可是由于出生之地的关系而并没有资格读天才作家用这两种文字来著写的作品,因为这些作品不是用他们知道的那种希腊语和拉丁语来写的,而是用精炼的文学语言写的,他们还没有学会希腊和罗马的那种更高级的方言,那种高级方言所写的书,在他们看来就只是一堆废纸,他们重视的倒是一种廉价的当代文学。可是,当欧洲的好几个国家,得到了他们自己的语文,虽然粗浅,却很明澈,就足够他们兴起他们的文艺了,于是,最初那些学问复兴了,学者们能够从那遥远的地方辨识古代的珍藏了。罗马和希腊的群众不能倾听的作品,经过了几个世纪之后,却有少数学者在阅读它们了,而且现今也只有少数的学者还在阅读它们呢。

相关热词:英语 文学 散文
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