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《英国诗人的生平》节译

(2011-01-15 17:07:43)
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杂谈

分类: 翻译练习

 Lives of the English Poets

 《英国诗人的生平》

——Samuel Johnson

 译:甜甜

 

  Cowley, like other poets who have written with narrow views and, instead of tracing intellectual pleasure to its natural sources in the mind of man, paid their court to temporary prejudices, has been at one time too much praised and too much neglected at another.

    考利,同其他诗人一样持着狭隘的观念进行创作,只是寻求一时的偏见,而不是从人的内心循着理智的欢愉抵达自然的源泉,所以他曾一度过于受到推崇,又被其他人过于忽略。

   Wit, like all other things subject by their nature to the choice of man, has its changes and fashions, and at different times takes different forms. About the beginning of the seventeenth century appeared a race of writers that may be termed the metaphysical poets, of whom in a criticism on the works of Cowley it is not improper to give some account.

    机智,如同其他事物一样,人们根据其本质进行选择。它有他的变幻和风尚,在不同的时间持有不同的形式。关于十七世纪开始出现的一群作家,或许可能被称为玄学派诗人,在批评考利的作品时并没给予正确的理解。

   The metaphysical poets were men of learning, and to shew their learning was their whole endeavour; but, unluckily resolving to shew it in rhyme, instead of writing poetry they only wrote verses, and very often such verses as stood the trial of the finger better than of the ear; for the modulation was so imperfect that they were only found to be verses by counting the syllables.、

    玄学派诗人都是学者,他们努力展示他们的学问;但是,对展示韵律却不在行。他们只是在写韵文,而不是诗歌,这种韵文作为笔头的考验优育于耳朵的考验;因为这种韵律的调整的瑕疵过多以至于他们的韵文创作就像是在计算音节。

   If the father of criticism has rightly denominated poetry techne mimetike, an imitative art, these writers will without great wrong lose their right to the name of poets, for they cannot be said to have imitated any thing: they neither copied nature nor life; neither painted the forms of matter nor represented the operations of intellect.

    若批评界的前辈郑重地把诗歌称为模仿艺术,这些作者却丢了他们的诗人的名号,虽不是因为什么大错,却因为他们不能被说成是在模仿:他们既没有模仿自然也没有模仿生活;既没有描绘事物的形式也没有展现理智的运行。

    Those however who deny them to be poets allow them to be wits. Dryden confesses of himself and his contemporaries that they fall below Donne in wit, but maintains that they surpass him in poetry.

    然而,那些不认为他们是诗人的人却认同他们具有机智。德莱顿承认他自己和他的同辈在机智上不如邓恩,但在诗歌上他们坚持超越了他。

   If Wit be well described by Pope as being 'that which has been often thought, but was never before so well expressed,' they certainly never attained nor ever sought it, for they endeavoured to be singular in their thoughts, and were careless of their diction. But Pope's account of wit is undoubtedly erroneous; he depresses it below its natural dignity, and reduces it from strength of thought to happiness of language.

    若机智被蒲柏很好的解释成“时常被想起,却从未曾有过这么好的表达”,那么他们从未有达到或是追寻过,因为他们只是努力形成思想上的独特,而不关注措辞。但很肯定蒲柏对机智的理解是错的,在贬低了原有的崇高的本性,把它从思想的力量降格为语言的优美。

     If by a more noble and more adequate conception that be considered as Wit which is at once natural and new, that which though not obvious is, upon its first production, acknowledged to be just; if it be that, which he that never found it, wonders how he missed; to wit of this kind the metaphysical poets have seldom risen. Their thoughts are often new, but seldom natural; they are not obvious, but neither are they just; and the reader, far from wondering that he missed them, wonders more frequently by what perverseness of industry they were ever found.

若解释为一个更为权威和适合的概念,机智是自然与新颖,基于第一次指出,尽管机智是模糊的,但公认为它是合理的;若它被这样定义,他则从没有发现它,便猜想为何不具备;很少玄学派诗人提升到这种类型的机智。他们的思想常常很新颖,但很不自然;它们是模糊的,但也不合理;而且读者不认为漏掉了它们,并时常认为通过产业的堕落它们已经被创立。

     But Wit, abstracted from its effects upon the hearer, may be more rigorously and philosophically considered as a kind of discordia concors; a combination of dissimilar images, or discovery of occult resemblances in things apparently unlike. Of wit, thus defined, they have more than enough. The most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together; nature and art are ransacked for illustrations, comparisons, and allusions; their learning instructs, and their subtilty surprises; but the reader commonly thinks his improvement dearly bought, and, though he sometimes admires, is seldom pleased.

    但机智,从听众产生的效果提炼出来,或许更为严格和思辨地被看作是一种协调了不一致性;是各异的意象的组合,或者是从明显相异的事情中的神秘相似性的发现。它们对机智的定义已绰绰有余。最迥异的观念被强迫地联系在一起;为了阐述,对比,暗示而剥夺了自然和艺术;学识教诲,以及惊异玄妙;但读者普遍认为他的改进,尽管有时很佩服,但很少觉得有趣。

  From this account of their compositions it will be readily inferred that they were not successful in representing or moving the affections. As they were wholly employed on something unexpected and surprising they had no regard to that uniformity of sentiment, which enables us to conceive and to excite the pains and the pleasure of other minds: they never enquired what on any occasion they should have said or done, but wrote rather as beholders than partakers of human nature; as beings looking upon good and evil, impassive and at leisure; as Epicurean deities making remarks on the actions of men and the vicissitudes of life, without interest and without emotion. Their courtship was void of fondness and their lamentation of sorrow. Their wish was only to say what they hoped had been never said before.

   从他们的作品的这种解释来看,它将很容易被推测成他们不善于模仿和情绪渲染。当他们完全在那些出乎意料和惊奇的事物上阐释,没有注意到情绪的统一,使我们对于其他想法产生幻想并激起疼痛和欢愉:他们从未询问过在任何场合他们应该说什么或是做什么,但是他们不是作为人类本性的参与者,而是作为旁观者来写作;冷漠地或是闲适地观察善与恶;如享乐主义者一样不带有任何偏好和情感评论人类的行为和生活的变化无常。他们的求爱是缺乏爱慕的求爱,他们的悲叹是缺乏悲伤的悲叹。他们的希望仅仅是说出他们从未说出的希望。

    What they wanted however of the sublime they endeavoured to supply by hyperbole; their amplification had no limits: they left not only reason but fancy behind them, and produced combinations of confused magnificence that not only could not be credited, but could not be imagined.

他们努力通过夸张得手法填补他们所缺乏的崇高性;他们的夸张手法没有节制:背后隐藏着不仅仅是他们的推理而且还有他们的想象,产生出令人无法相信,甚至难以想象的混乱华丽的组合。

 Yet great labour directed by great abilities is never wholly lost: if they frequently threw away their wit upon false conceits, they likewise sometimes struck out unexpected truth: if their conceits were far-fetched, they were often worth the carriage. To write on their plan it was at least necessary to read and think. No man could be born a metaphysical poet, nor assume the dignity of a writer by descriptions copied from descriptions, by imitations borrowed from imitations, by traditional imagery and hereditary similes, by readiness of rhyme and volubility of syllables.

但通过极强能力指导而付出的极大的努力从未完全失败过:若他们丢弃了机智而基于错误的幻象,有时同样产生出意外的真实:若他们的想象是牵强附会的,也常值得被它们带去很远。他们创作规划至少也必须要阅读和思考。没有人生来就是玄学诗人,也不能通过描述模仿描述,通过模仿借用模仿,通过传统的意象和世袭的比喻、韵律的敏捷和音节的流畅,就能享有诗人的尊严。

 In perusing the works of this race of authors the mind is exercised either by recollection or inquiry; either something already learned is to be retrieved, or something new is to be examined. If their greatness seldom elevates their acuteness often surprises; if the imagination is not always gratified, at least the powers of reflection and comparison are employed; and in the mass of materials, which ingenious absurdity has thrown together, genuine wit and useful knowledge may be sometimes found, buried perhaps in grossness of expression, but useful to those who know their value, and such as, when they are expanded to perspicuity and polished to elegance, may give lustre to works which have more propriety though less copiousness of sentiment.

在仔细考察这些作者的作品当中,思想通过回顾或是探究得到锻炼;要么是要恢复早已了解的一些事物,要么是要考察一些新的事物。若他们的伟大之处极少令他们提升尖锐度而常是新鲜感;若他们的想象不尽人意,至少他们运用了反映和比较的手法;而且在大量的素材中,独创性的荒谬感偶然拼凑在一起,真正的机智和有用的知识隐藏在粗劣的表达中,或许能够被发现,但对于那些知道它们的价值的那些人是有用的,例如,当他们扩展为语言明晰以及措辞高雅,尽管情感不太丰盈,但都可能给予已经得体不少的作品于光彩。

 

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