瞿秋白《“儿时”》 -经典散文英译-中英双语赏析

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◎ 瞿秋白 Qu Qiubai

“儿时”

◎ 瞿秋白

生命没有寄托的人,青年时代和“儿时”对他格外宝贵①。这种浪漫谛克的回忆②其实③并不是发见了“儿时”的真正了不得,而是感觉到“中年”以后的衰退。本来,生命只有一次④,对于谁都是宝贵的。但是,假使他的生命溶化在大众的里面⑤,假使他天天在为这世界干些什么⑥,那末,他总在生长⑦,虽然衰老病死仍旧是逃避不了⑧,然而他的事业——大众的事业是不死的,他会领略到“永久的青年”⑨。而“浮生如梦”的人⑩,从这世界里拿去的很多,而给这世界的却很少,——他总有一天会觉得疲乏的死亡:他连拿都没有力量了。衰老和无能的悲哀,像铅一样的沉重,压在他的心头⑪。青春是多么短呵⑫!

“儿时”的可爱是无知⑬。那时候,件件都是“知”,你每天可以做大科学家和大哲学家⑭,每天在发见什么新的现象,新的真理。现在呢?“什么”都已经知道了,熟悉了,每一个人的脸都已经看厌了。宇宙和社会是那么陈旧,无味,虽则它们其实比“儿时”新鲜得多了。我于是想念“儿时”,祷告“儿时”。

不能够前进的时候,就愿意退后几步,替自己恢复已经走过的前途。请求“无知”回来,给我求知的快乐。可怕呵,这生命的“停止”。

过去的始终过去了,未来的还是未来。究竟感慨些什么——我问自己。

Childhood

Qu Qiubai

One who lives a life without high aspirations will treasure all the more the memory of his own youth and childhood. As it is, the sentimental recollection marks his awareness of post-middle age decline rather than his discovery of anything truly remarkable in the bygone days. Life is of course precious to anyone because he will pass through it but once. But one will long remain fresh and vigorous, if he identifies himself with the broad masses of people and day in, day out does his bit for the good of the public. Although, being subject to the law of nature, he too will eventually become aged and die, yet his cause — the public cause — will be everlasting. He will enjoy perennial youth in spirit. Those who dream away their life without doing anything useful are taking from this world much more than they are giving to it until at last they are too enfeebled to take any more and die of weariness. Consequently, a sad feeling of getting senile weighs heavily on their mind like a lump of lead. All they do is bemoan the transience of youth!

Childhood is lovely in terms of our erstwhile childish ignorance. In those early days, everything was new to us. Every day we were something of a great scientist or philosopher. Every day we discovered something new — new phenomena or new truth. What about now? Now we know everything only too well. We are tired of seeing every familiar human face. The whole universe and society seem stale and boring to us though, in fact, they have a lot more new things now than when we were in our childhood. Hence I feel nostalgic for my childhood and pray for it.

When we cease to advance any more, we are inclined to fall back a few paces and indulge in reminiscences of the path we have already trodden. We pray for the return of “childish ignorance” so as to re-experience the joy of knowledge-seeking. O this cessation of life! How horrible it is!

What is gone is gone, and what is to come is to come. What are my innermost feelings of it?

瞿秋白(1899—1935),江苏常州人,是中国共产党早期主要领导人之一。他既是政治家,又是文学家。《“儿时”》是他写于1933年9月28日的一篇杂文,选自人民文学出版社1986年版《瞿秋白文集》第2卷。文章认为那些留恋“儿时”的人们,往往是由于缺乏积极向前的人生观,只有面对现实,与人民大众打成一片,献身人类进步事业,才能领略到“永久的青春”。

注释

①“生命没有寄托的人,青年时代和‘儿时’对他格外宝贵”意即“一个没有崇高抱负的人会格外怀念他的青年时代和儿时”,译为One who lives a life without high aspirations will treasure all the more the memory of his own youth and childhood,其中用high aspirations表达“寄托”;all the more是成语,作“更加”、“格外”等解;to treasure the memory of意同to cherish the memory of,作“深情怀念”解。此句也可译为One who has no high aspirations in life is apt to look back most nostalgically on his own youth and childhood。

②“这种浪漫谛克的回忆”译为The sentimental recollection,其中sentimental与romantic有类同的意思,但前者偏重于“感伤”之意,后者偏重于“不切实际”之意,今根据上下文选用前者。

③“其实”意即“事实上”可译in fact、as a matter of fact等,今译as it is,能更好地承上启下。

④“生命只有一次”可译为he will pass through it but once或he will pass through this life but once,未按原文逐字处理。今选用前者,是为了避免life一词的重复使用。

⑤“假使他的生命溶化在大众的里面”意即“如果他与大众打成一片”,故译if he identifies himself with the broad masses of people或if he becomes one with the people。

⑥“假使他天天在为这世界干些什么”译为(if he) day in, day out does his bit for the good of the public,其中把“天天”译为day in, day out (=day in and day out),在此意同always;“为这世界”意即“为公益”,故译for the good of the public。

⑦“他总在生长”可按“他始终充满活力”的内涵译为one will long remain fresh and vigorous。

⑧“衰老病死仍旧是逃避不了”译为being subject to the law of nature, he too will eventually become aged and die,其中用being subject to the law of nature(按自然规律性)来表达“逃避不了”。

⑨“他会领略到‘永久的青年’”译为He will enjoy perennial youth in spirit,其中in spirit作“精神上”或“内心中”解,是增益成分,原文虽无其词而有其意。

⑩“‘浮生如梦’的人”意即“虚度光阴,无所事事的人”,故译those who dream away their life without doing anything useful或those who dawdle away their precious days in inaction.

⑪“像铅一样的沉重,压在他的心头”译为weighs heavily on their mind like a lump of lead,其中a lump of是增益成分。

⑫“青春是多么短呵!”意即“他们只好悲叹青春是多么短暂”,故译All they do is bemoan the transience of youth。

⑬“‘儿时’的可爱是无知”意即“儿时令人感到可爱是由于那时候我们年幼无知”,故译Childhood is lovely in terms of our erstwhile childish ignorance,其中in terms of的意思是“就……而论”、“从……方面(说来)”等。

⑭“你每天可以做大科学家和大哲学家”译为Every day we were something of a great scientist or philosopher,其中用something of把原文“在某种意义上”(to some extent)或“多少有点”(a bit of)的含义表达出来,以缓和语气。

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