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Sounds6

2006-07-29 00:21

  And hark! here comes the cattle-train bearing the cattle of a thousand hills, sheepcots, stables, and cow-yards in the air,drovers with their sticks, and shepherd boys in the midst of their flocks, all but the mountain pastures, whirled along like leaves blown from the mountains by the September gales.  The air is filled with the bleating of calves and sheep, and the hustling of oxen, as if a pastoral valley were going by.  When the old bell-wether at the head rattles his bell, the mountains do indeed skip like rams and the little hills like lambs.  A carload of drovers, too, in the midst, on a level with their droves now, their vocation gone, but still clinging to their useless sticks as their badge of office. But their dogs, where are they?  It is a stampede to them; they are quite thrown out; they have lost the scent.  Methinks I hear them barking behind the Peterboro' Hills, or panting up the western slope of the Green Mountains.  They will not be in at the death.  Their vocation, too, is gone.  Their fidelity and sagacity are below par now.  They will slink back to their kennels in disgrace, or perchance run wild and strike a league with the wolf and the fox. So is your pastoral life whirled past and away.  But the bell rings,and I must get off the track and let the cars go by;——

  What's the railroad to me?

  I never go to see Where it ends. It fills a few hollows,And makes banks for the swallows,It sets the sand a-blowing,And the blackberries a-growing,

  but I cross it like a cart-path in the woods.  I will not have my eyes put out and my ears spoiled by its smoke and steam and hissing.

  Now that the cars are gone by and all the restless world with them, and the fishes in the pond no longer feel their rumbling, I am more alone than ever.  For the rest of the long afternoon, perhaps,my meditations are interrupted only by the faint rattle of a carriage or team along the distant highway.

  Sometimes, on Sundays, I heard the bells, the Lincoln, Acton,Bedford, or Concord bell, when the wind was favorable, a faint,sweet, and, as it were, natural melody, worth importing into the wilderness.  At a sufficient distance over the woods this sound acquires a certain vibratory hum, as if the pine needles in the horizon were the strings of a harp which it swept.  All sound heard at the greatest possible distance produces one and the same effect,a vibration of the universal lyre, just as the intervening atmosphere makes a distant ridge of earth interesting to our eyes by the azure tint it imparts to it.  There came to me in this case a melody which the air had strained, and which had conversed with every leaf and needle of the wood, that portion of the sound which the elements had taken up and modulated and echoed from vale to vale.  The echo is, to some extent, an original sound, and therein is the magic and charm of it.  It is not merely a repetition of what was worth repeating in the bell, but partly the voice of the wood;the same trivial words and notes sung by a wood-nymph.

  At evening, the distant lowing of some cow in the horizon beyond the woods sounded sweet and melodious, and at first I would mistake it for the voices of certain minstrels by whom I was sometimes serenaded, who might be straying over hill and dale; but soon I was not unpleasantly disappointed when it was prolonged into the cheap and natural music of the cow.  I do not mean to be satirical, but to express my appreciation of those youths' singing, when I state that I perceived clearly that it was akin to the music of the cow, and they were at length one articulation of Nature.

  听啊!这里来了牛车,带来了千山万壑的牛羊,空中的羊棚、马棚和牛棚啊,还有那些带了牧杖的牧者,羊群之中的牧童,什么都来了,只除了山中的草原,它们被从山上吹下来,像九月的风吹下萧萧落叶。空中充满了牛羊的咩叫之声,公牛们挤来挤去,仿佛经过的是一个放牧的山谷。当带头羊铃子震响的时候,大山真的跳跃如公羊,而小山跳跃如小羊。在中央有一列车的牧者,现在他们和被牧者一样,受到同等待遇,他们的职业已经没有了,却还死抱住牧杖,那像是他们的证章。可是他们的狗,到哪里去了呢?这对它们来说是溃散;它们完全被摈弃了;它们失去了嗅迹。我仿佛听到它们在彼得博罗山中吠叫,或者在青山的西边山坡上啉啉地走着。它们不出来参加死刑的观礼。

  它们也失了业。它们的忠心和智慧现在都不行了。它们丢脸地偷偷溜进他们的狗棚,也许变得狂野起来,和狼或狐狸赛了个三英里的跑。你的牧人生活就这样旋风似的过去了,消失了。可是钟响了,我必须离开轨道,让车子过去;一——-铁路于我何有哉?

  我绝不会去观看它到达哪里为止。

  它把些崖洞填满,给燕子造了堤岸,使黄砂遍地飞扬,叫黑莓到处生长。可是我跨过铁路,好比我走过林中小径。我不愿意我的眼睛鼻子给它的烟和水气和咝咝声污染了。

  现在车辆已经驰去,一切不安的世界也跟它远扬了,湖中的鱼不再觉得震动,我格外地孤寂起来了。悠长的下午的其余时间内,我的沉思就难得打断了,顶多远远公路上有一辆马车的微弱之音,或驴马之声。

  有时,在星期日,我听到钟声:林肯,阿克顿,贝德福或康科德的钟声,在风向适合的时候,很柔微甜美,仿佛是自然的旋律,真值得飘荡入旷野。在适当距离以外的森林上空,它得到了某种震荡的轻微声浪,好像地平线上的松针是大竖琴上的弦给拨弄了一样。一切声响,在最大可能的距程之外听到时,会产生同样的效果,成为字宙七弦琴弦的微颤,这就好像极目远望时,最远的山脊,由于横亘在中的大气的缘故,会染上同样的微蓝色彩。这一次传到我这里来的钟声带来了一条给空气拉长了的旋律,在它和每一张叶子和每一枝松针寒暄过之后,它们接过了这旋律,给它转了一个调,又从一个山谷,传给了另一个山谷。回声,在某种限度内还是原来的声音,它的魔力与可爱就在此。

  它不仅把值得重复一遍的钟声重复,还重复了林木中的一部分声音;正是一个林中女妖所唱出的一些呢语和乐音。

  黄昏中,远方的地平线上,有一些牛叫传入森林,很甜美,旋律也优雅,起先我以为是某些游唱诗人的歌喉,有些个晚上,我听到过他们唱小夜曲,他们也许正漂泊行经山谷;可是听下去,我就欣然地失望了,一拉长,原来是牛的声音,不花钱的音乐。我说,在我听来,青年人的歌声近似牛叫,我并不是讽刺,我对于他们的歌喉是很欣赏的,这两种声音,说到最后,都是天籁。

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