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大器晚成

(2010-09-12 22:58:00)
标签:

英汉对照读物

教育

分类: 英汉对照读物

                        It’s Never Too Late for Success

                                  大器晚成

 

    作父母的无不望子成龙、望女成凤,总希望自己的子女在孩提时代便是神童、便是天才;子女也为此与父母一起忧心忡忡,或与父母感情对立。读读这篇英语散文,不仅可以茅塞顿开,还可以学会用英语表达这些感情纠葛。笔者对原文进行了改写并翻译加注释。

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大器晚成

You and your parents can stop worrying, for Faulkner, Edison, Darwin and lots more were far from being geniuses in their teens.

你和你的父母亲不必再忧心忡忡:因为福克纳、爱迪生、达尔文和其他许多的人,在青少年时期,都远远不是天才。

 

History books seldom mention it, but the truth is that many of our greatest figures were practically “beatniks” when they were teenagers. They were given to day-dreaming, indecision, plain dullness(1), and they showed no promise of being doctor, lawyer or Indian chief.

历史书很少提到这一点,但是,事实是:我们的许多伟大人物,在他们还是少男少女时,实际上属于“垮掉的一代”。他们喜欢想入非非、优柔寡断、反应迟钝;他们完全没有当医生、律师,或印第安人酋长的希望。

 

So, young men and women, if you suffer from the same symptoms, don’t despair. The world was built by men and women whose parents worried that they would “never amount to a hill of beans.” You don’t hear too much about their early failures because parents prefer to cite more inspiring examples. Here I’ll give you some example to show that it is never too late for success.

所以,少男少女们,如果你们的病症与此相同,就不要绝望。这个世界就是由那些父母亲担心会一事无成的男男女女创造的。关于他们早期的失败的事,你听得不多,因为作父母的都愿举些更令人鼓舞的楷模。这里,我要给你们讲几个大器晚成的例子。

 

(1)Darwin Hated School.

   Charles Darwin’s early life was a mess. He hated school, and at one time his school headmaster called him a dullard. His father, a successful and wealthy physician, once shouted: “You care for nothing but dogs, shooting, and rat-catching, and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family!” In this well-educated family (2), he was considered to be rather dull. He was sent to Glasgow to study medicine, but he couldn’t stand the sight of red blood. He was sent to divinity school and barely managed to graduate. Whereupon he chucked the whole business and shipped to the South American coastline on the famous exploring ship Beagle. On that voyage, one of history’s greatest scientists was born. It was here that he collected the material(3) for the book that would revolutionize biological science: The Origin of Species.

(1)达尔文讨厌上学。

达尔文的早期生活简直是一塌糊涂。他讨厌上学,有一此,学校的校长叫他是笨蛋。他的父亲是一位事业有成的富有的物理学家,曾经对儿子大发雷霆:“你什么都不关心,只关心狗、打猎和抓老鼠,你会把你自己和全家人的脸都丢尽!”家里的人都受过良好教育,大家认为他相当愚蠢。送他到格拉斯哥去学医,但是,他看见鲜血就受不了。送他到神学院就读,他也仅仅混毕业而已。于是,他抛弃一切事务,搭乘著名的“背格尔号”探险船,奔赴南美洲海岸线。正是在这次航行中,一位历史上最伟大的科学家诞生了。正是在这儿,他为引起生物科学革命的著作《物种起源》收集到了材料。

 

(2)Edison Was Addled.

   All of us know that Thomas Edison was a great American inventor. His inventions are beyond counting, and all of us are benefited from him. But you may not know that Thomas Edison, in his early teens, was so dull that his teacher tried to get him out of the class. The teacher said that his brain was addled.

(2) 爱迪生奔头笨脑。

     我们大家都知道爱迪生是美国的一位伟大的发明家。他的发明数不胜数,我们大家收益非浅。但是,你也许不知道,托马斯·爱迪生在十二、三岁时,非常笨,他的老师试图把他从班上赶走。老师说,他笨头笨脑。

 

(3)Tschaikowsky Had No Interest in Music.

   Tschaikowsky never showed a shit of interest in music during his formative years. In fact he never showed talent in any direction whatever. Finally put to study law, he barely passed his final exam. It was not until he was 22 that he suddenly became fired with a great passion for music, and finally became a great musician with world fame.

(3)柴可夫斯基对音乐不感兴趣。

柴可夫斯基,在他那形成性格的岁月里,对音乐从未表现出一丝一毫的兴趣。事实上,他在任何方面都绝没有天才的表现。最后,让他去学法律,他的结业考试也只勉强过关。他直到22岁时,才突然感情喷发,爱上音乐,终致成为享誉世界的伟大的音乐家。

 

(4)Faulkner Failed in English.

   William Faulkner was a great American writer. And great writers are supposed to be born, not made, but there are many fascinating exceptions. William Faulkner was one. He quit school in the fifth grade and rattled around the country as a house painter and a dishwasher. Once he tried attending college, but failed in freshman English and quit. He wangled a postmaster’s job in a small Mississippi (4) town, and infuriated the populace by getting the mail all mixed up and closing the office whenever he felt like it. Faulkner was 25 before he started the writing career that won him a Nobel prize in literature.

(4)福克纳英语不过关。

威廉·福克纳是一位伟大的美国作家。而人们认为:伟大的作家是天生的,不是造就的。但是,有许多例外,令人惊奇。威廉·福克纳就是一例。他读到五年级时便退学回家,在全国到处游荡,当过家庭油漆工,也洗过盘子。有一次,他试图上大学,但是,参加大学一年级英语考试,不及格而退学。他玩弄权术,在密西西比州的一个小镇上,当上了邮局局长,然而,他把邮件搞得乱七八糟,想什么时候关门就什么时候关门,因而激怒了当地的人们。福克纳直到25岁时,才开始写作生涯,而写作生涯为他赢得了诺贝尔文学奖。

 

So who’s to say what about youth? A young boy or girl who knows what he or she wants to do in life probably has a better future. No teen-agers need despair of the future, for:

所以,谁都不要对还年轻的人说三道四。对生活中所追求的东西心中有数的少男少女,大概前途更美好。青少年们都无须对未来感到绝望,因为:

 

they have that one special advantage over the greatest man alive----time!

与还健在的最伟大的人相比,他们有那么一个特殊的优势:时间!

 

If you don’t think time counts, look at Grandma Moses. She never sold a painting till she was 80.

如果你认为时间无足轻重,那就请看看摩西奶奶吧。她直到80岁时,才卖出第一张画。

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Notes:

(1) They were given to day-dreaming, indecision, plain dullness…

   句中的given 是形容词,作表语,后面常接介词to,表示“有……癖好的; 有……倾向的”。如:She

   is given to lying.(她爱说谎。)/ His father is given to long walks.(他的父亲酷爱长途散步。)

(2) …this well-educated family, …

    句中的family 指“家庭成员”,不是“家庭”。上面一句中a disgrace to yourself and all your 

    family 里的family也是指“家庭成员”。

(3) It was here that he collected the material…

   本句为强式结构:It + was + here(强调部分)+ that 。

(4) a small Mississippi town

   这儿的Mississippi表示“密密西比州”。如果前面加定冠词,the Mississippi, 则表示“密密西比州河”。

   再如:The Missouri密苏里河,Missouri密苏里州;the Ohio俄亥俄河,Ohio 俄亥俄州。

                                                                 

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