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瓦尔登湖:The Ponds8

2006-07-29 01:06

  An old man who used to frequent this pond nearly sixty years ago, when it was dark with surrounding forests, tells me that in those days he sometimes saw it all alive with ducks and other water-fowl, and that there were many eagles about it.  He came here a-fishing, and used an old log canoe which he found on the shore. It was made of two white pine logs dug out and pinned together, and was cut off square at the ends.  It was very clumsy, but lasted a great many years before it became water-logged and perhaps sank to the bottom.  He did not know whose it was; it belonged to the pond. He used to make a cable for his anchor of strips of hickory bark tied together.  An old man, a potter, who lived by the pond before the Revolution, told him once that there was an iron chest at the bottom, and that he had seen it.  Sometimes it would come floating up to the shore; but when you went toward it, it would go back into deep water and disappear.  I was pleased to hear of the old log canoe, which took the place of an Indian one of the same material but more graceful construction, which perchance had first been a tree on the bank, and then, as it were, fell into the water, to float there for a generation, the most proper vessel for the lake. I remember that when I first looked into these depths there were many large trunks to be seen indistinctly lying on the bottom, which had either been blown over formerly, or left on the ice at the last cutting, when wood was cheaper; but now they have mostly disappeared.

  When I first paddled a boat on Walden, it was completely surrounded by thick and lofty pine and oak woods, and in some of its coves grape-vines had run over the trees next the water and formed bowers under which a boat could pass.  The hills which form its shores are so steep, and the woods on them were then so high, that,as you looked down from the west end, it had the appearance of an amphitheatre for some land of sylvan spectacle.  I have spent many an hour, when I was younger, floating over its surface as the zephyr willed, having paddled my boat to the middle, and lying on my back across the seats, in a summer forenoon, dreaming awake, until I was aroused by the boat touching the sand, and I arose to see what shore my fates had impelled me to; days when idleness was the most attractive and productive industry.  Many a forenoon have I stolen away, preferring to spend thus the most valued part of the day; for I was rich, if not in money, in sunny hours and summer days, and spent them lavishly; nor do I regret that I did not waste more of them in the workshop or the teacher's desk.  But since I left those shores the woodchoppers have still further laid them waste, and now for many a year there will be no more rambling through the aisles of the wood, with occasional vistas through which you see the water. My Muse may be excused if she is silent henceforth.  How can you expect the birds to sing when their groves are cut down?

  Now the trunks of trees on the bottom, and the old log canoe,and the dark surrounding woods, are gone, and the villagers, who scarcely know where it lies, instead of going to the pond to bathe or drink, are thinking to bring its water, which should be as sacred as the Ganges at least, to the village in a pipe, to wash their dishes with! —— to earn their Walden by the turning of a cock or drawing of a plug!  That devilish Iron Horse, whose ear-rending neigh is heard throughout the town, has muddied the Boiling Spring with his foot, and he it is that has browsed off all the woods on Walden shore, that Trojan horse, with a thousand men in his belly,introduced by mercenary Greeks!  Where is the country's champion,the Moore of Moore Hill, to meet him at the Deep Cut and thrust an avenging lance between the ribs of the bloated pest?

  一个大约六十年前常来湖边的老头儿,每每在黑暗笼罩了周围森林的时候前来告诉我,在他那个时代,有时湖上很热闹,全是鸭子和别的水禽,上空还有许多老鹰在盘旋。

  他是到这里来钧鱼的,用的是他在岸上找到的一只古老的独木舟。这是两根白松,中间挖空,钉在一起造成的,两端都削成四方形。它很粗笨,可是用了很多年,才全部浸满了水,此后也许已沉到湖底去了。他不知道这是属于哪个人的;或可以说是属于湖所有的。他常常把山核桃树皮一条条地捆起来,做成锚索。另外一个老年人,一个陶器工人,在革命以前住在湖边的,有一次告诉过他,在湖底下有一只大铁箱,还曾经看到过。有时候,它会给水漂到岸上来,可是等你走近去的时候,它就又回到深水去,就此消失了。

  听到那有关独木舟的一段话,我感到很有趣味,这条独木舟代替了另外一条印第安的独木舟,材料还是一样,可是造得雅致得多。原先那大约是岸上的一棵树,后来,好像倒在湖中,在那儿漂荡了一世代之久,对这个湖来说,真是再适当不过的船舶。我记得我第一次凝望这一片湖水的深处时,隐约看到有很多大树干躺卧在湖底,若非大风把它们吹折的,便是经砍伐之后,停放在冰上,因为那时候木料的价格大便宜了,可是现在,这些树干大部分都已经消失了。

  我第一次划船在瓦尔登湖上的时候,它四周完全给浓密而高大的松树和橡树围起,有些山凹中,葡萄藤爬过了猢边的树,形成一些凉亭,船只可以在下面通过。形成湖岸的那些山太峻削,山上的树木又太高,所以从西端望下来,这里像一个圆形剧场,水上可以演出些山林的舞台剧。我年纪轻一点的时候,就在那儿消磨了好些光阴,像和风一样地在湖上漂浮过,我先把船划到湖心,而后背靠在座位上,在一个夏天的上午,似梦非梦地醒着,直到船撞在沙滩上,惊动了我,我就欠起身来,看看命运已把我推送到哪一个岸边来了;那种日子里,懒惰是最诱惑人的事业,它的产量也是最丰富的。我这样偷闲地过了许多个上午。我宁愿把一日之计在于晨的最宝贵的光阴这样虚掷;因为我是富有的,虽然这话与金钱无关,我却富有阳光照耀的时辰以及夏令的日月,我挥霍着它们;我并没有把它们更多地浪费在工场中,或教师的讲台上,这我也一点儿不后悔。可是,自从我离开这湖岸之后,砍伐木材的人竞大砍大伐起来了。从此要有许多年不可能在林间的南道上徜佯了,不可能从这样的森林中偶见湖水了。我的缪斯女神如果沉默了,她是情有可原的。森林已被砍伐,怎能希望鸣禽歌唱?

  现在,湖底的树干,古老的独木舟,黑魆魆的四周的林木,都没有了,村民本来是连这个湖在什么地方都不知道的,却不但没有跑到这湖上来游泳或喝水,反而想到用一根管子来把这些湖水引到村中去给他们洗碗洗碟子了。这是和恒河之水一样地圣洁的水!

  而他们却想转动一个开关,拔起一个塞子就利用瓦尔登的湖水了!这恶魔似的铁马,那裂破人耳的鼓膜的声音已经全乡镇都听得到了,它已经用肮脏的脚步使沸泉的水混浊了,正是它,它把瓦尔登岸上的树木吞噬了;这特洛伊木马,腹中躲了一千个人,全是那些经商的希腊人想出来的!哪里去找呵,找这个国家的武士,摩尔大厅的摩尔人,到名叫“深割”的最深创伤的地方去掷出复仇的投枪,刺人这傲慢瘟神的肋骨之间?

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