梁实秋《骆驼》 -经典散文英译-中英双语赏析

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骆驼

◎ 梁实秋

台北没有什么好去处。我从前常喜欢到动物园走动走动,其中两个地方对我有诱惑。一个是一家茶馆,有高屋建瓴之势,凭窗远眺,一片油绿的田畴,小川蜿蜒其间,颇可使人目旷神怡。另一值得看的便是那一双骆驼了。[1]

有人喜欢看猴子[2],看那些乖巧伶俐的动物,略具人形,而生活究竟简陋,于是令人不由的生出优越之感,掏一把花生米掷进去。有人喜欢看狮子跳火圈,狗作算术[3],老虎翻筋斗,觉得有趣。我之看骆驼则是另外一种心情,骆驼扮演的是悲剧的角色。它的槛外是冷清清的,没有游人围绕,所谓槛也只是一根杉木横着拦在门口。地上是烂糟糟的泥。它卧在那里,老远一看,真像是大块的毛姜。逼近一看,可真吓人!一块块的毛都在脱落,斑驳的皮肤上隐隐的露着血迹。嘴张着,下巴垂着,有上气无下气的在喘。水汪汪的两只大眼睛好像是眼泪扑簌的盼望着能见亲族一面似的。腰间的肋骨历历可数,颈子又细又长,尾巴像是一条破扫帚。驼峰只剩下了干皮,像是一只麻袋搭在背上。骆驼为什么落到这悲惨地步呢?难道“沙漠之舟”的雄姿即不过如是么?

我心目中的骆驼不是这样的。儿时在家乡,一听见大铜铃玎玎珰珰就知道送煤的骆驼队来了,往往夺门出视。一根细绳穿系着好几只骆驼,有时是十只八只的,一顺的立在路边。满脸煤污的煤商一声吆喝,骆驼便乖乖的跪下来给人卸货,嘴角往往流着白沫,口里不住地嚼——反刍[4]。有时还跟着一只小骆驼,几乎用跑步在后面追随着。面对着这样庞大而温驯的驮兽,我们不能不惊异的欣赏。

是亚热带的气候不适于骆驼居住。非洲北部的国家有骆驼兵团,在沙漠中驰骋,以骁勇善战著名,不过那骆驼是单峰骆驼,不是我们所说的双峰骆驼。动物园的那一双骆驼不久就不见了,标本室也没有空间容纳它们。我从此也不大常去动物园了。我常想:公文书里罢黜一个人的时候常用“人地不宜”四字,总算是一个比较体面的下台的借口。[5]这骆驼之黯然消逝,也许就是类似“人地不宜”之故罢?生长在北方大地之上的巨兽,如何能局促在这样的小小圈子里,如何能耐得住这炎热的郁蒸?它们当然要憔悴,要悒悒,要委顿以死。我想它们看着身上的毛一块块脱落,真的要变成为“有板无毛”的状态,心里多么凄凉!真不知是什么人恶作剧,把它们运到此间,使得它们尝受这一段酸辛,使得我们也感叹!

其实,骆驼不仅是在这炎蒸之地难以生存,就是在北方大陆其命运也是在日趋于衰微。在运输事业机械化的时代,谁还肯牵着一串串的骆驼招摇过市?沙漠地带该是骆驼的用武之地了,但现在沙漠里听说也有了现代的交通工具。骆驼是驯兽,自己不复能在野外繁殖谋生。等到为人类服务的机会完全消灭的时候,我不知道它将如何繁衍下去。最悲惨的是,大家都讥笑它是兽类中最蠢的当中的一个;因为它只会消极的忍耐。给它背上驮五磅的重载,它会跪下来承受。它肯食用大多数哺乳动物所拒绝食用的荆棘苦草,它肯饮用带盐味的脏水。它奔走三天三夜可以不喝水,并不是因为它的肚子里储藏着水,是因为它在体内由于脂肪氧化而制造出水。它的驼峰据说是美味,我虽未尝过,可是想想熊掌的味道,大概也不过尔尔。像这样的动物若是从地面上消逝,可能不至于引起多少人惋惜。尤其是在如今这个世界,大家所最欢喜豢养的[6]乃是善伺人意的[7]哈巴狗,像骆驼这样的“任重而道远”的家伙,恐怕只好由它一声不响的从这世界舞台上退下去罢![8]

梁实秋(1902—1987),北京人,原籍浙江杭县(今余杭),著名现代散文家、翻译家、教育家。《骆驼》一文是他的后期散文,写于台北,文章托物遣怀,流露出久居台湾的老一代人叹老感时、怀乡思国的情怀。

[1]原文第一段共三句,本可照译为:Few places in Taipei are worth seeing. I used to visit the zoo with its two attractions for me. First, the teahouse which commanded a pleasant distant view from the window of the surrounding farmlands with lush green vegetation and meandering streams. Next, the two camels. 现译为一句,一气呵成,较顺畅紧凑:Few places in Taipei are of much appeal to me except the zoo which I used to frequent for its two attractions, namely, the teahouse commanding a pleasant distant view from the window over the surrounding farmlands with fresh green vegetation and meandering streams, and the two camels。

“台北没有什么好去处”可按“台北没有什么吸引人的地方”或“台北没有什么可看的地方”分别译为Few places in Taipei are of much appeal to me和Few places in Taipei are worth seeing。又,译文中的namely也可省略,其前后逗号改为一个冒号即可。

[2]“有人喜欢看猴子……”译为Some people like to amuse themselves by watching …,比Some people like to watch … 更确切,因to amuse themselves by …有“以自娱”、“以自我消遣”之意,更切合原文。

[3]“狗作算术”译为dogs doing easy sums,其中doing sums作“做算术”解,easy是译文中的增添词,原文虽无其词而有其意。

[4]“反刍”译为chewing the cud,其中cud作“反刍的食物”解。

[5]“我常想:公文书里罢黜一个人的时候常用‘人地不宜’四字,总算是一个比较体面的下台的借口”译为I understand“failed acclimatization”is a face-saving excuse commonly used in officialese to refer to someone’s removal from a position,其中用failed acclimatization(或inability to acclimatize)表达“人地不宜”(意为“不适应环境”、“水土不服”等),failed是形容词,作“不能”解。“体面的下台的借口”译为a face-saving excuse … to refer to someone’s removal from a position(或dismissal from office),其中用face-saving(保全面子的)表达“体面的”,铢两悉称。“公文书”即“公文用语”,故译为officialese。

[6]“大家所最喜欢豢养的”可按“最常见的宠物”译为a pet with all。

[7]“善伺人意的”译为are good at playing up to man,其中to play up to是成语,作“奉承”、“讨好”等解。

[8]“像骆驼这样的‘任重而道远’的家伙,恐怕只好由它一声不响的从这世界舞台上退下去罢!”译时不妨作为一个不能实现的愿望予以表达:O if only we could do something to prevent this useful animal from its silent withdrawal from the world stage! 其中“任重道远”不宜逐字死译,现参照上下文把它译为useful。

The Camel

◎ Liang Shiqiu

Few places in Taipei are of much appeal to me except the zoo which I used to frequent for its two attractions, namely, the teahouse commanding a pleasant distant view from the window over the surrounding farmlands with fresh green vegetation and meandering streams, and the two camels.

Some people like to amuse themselves by watching the playfulness of clever monkeys which, though slightly manlike, are after all simpleminded animals. That’s why people cannot help feeling a sense of superiority and throwing them handfuls of peanuts. Some people enjoy seeing lions jumping through a fiery hoop, dogs doing easy sums, or tigers turning a somersault. But it was with a different state of mind for me to watch the camels playing a tragic role. They had few onlookers and were separated by a fir log across the entrance instead of a fence. Lying on the muddy ground, they resembled huge pieces of ginger when looked at from afar. And it gave me quite a shock to take a closer look. Their hair was falling off in patches, faintly revealing blood-stains on the skin. They were gasping for breath, with mouth wide open, chin drooping and watery big eyes seemingly brimming with tears of longing for their beloved ones. They were so skinny that their ribs showed through distinctly, their necks thin and long, and their tails like a worn-out broom. Nothing remained of their humps but the dried up skin resting on their backs like a gunnysack. O how did they get into such a pitiful plight? O where was the majestic appearance of the“ships of the desert”?

That, however, is not what a camel looks like in my mind’s eye. In my childhood, the jingling of big bronze camel bells in my home town would always send me rushing outdoors to see a caravan arriving with a load of coal. The camels, sometimes numbering about ten, would stand roped up in a line, one after another, by the road. At the loud call of the coal trader, whose face was smeared all over with coal dust, the camels would submissively kneel down, ready to be unloaded. Foaming at the mouth, they kept chewing the cud. Sometimes, close at their heels was a calf trying ever so hard to catch up at a quickened pace. These heavily-built, docile pack animals were just amazing and adorable.

Camels do not adapt to the climate of subtropical zones. Northern African countries are known for their brave military camel corps in the deserts, but the camels involved are one-humped dromedaries, not the two-humped Bactrian camels as we are familiar with. The two camels soon disappeared from the zoo, and the specimen room did not have room enough to exhibit them. So, from then on, I seldom visited the zoo. I understand“failed acclimatization”is a face-saving excuse commonly used in officialese to refer to someone’s removal from a position. Now the dismal fadeaway of the two camels must be for some similar reasons. How could the two big animals born and brought up in the vast northern plains of China long survive confinement in a small place like the zoo? How could they endure the sweltering heat? Of course, consequently they pined away with weariness and spent their days moping around until they died. How sad they must have been over their thinning hair! Who is to blame for having mischievously brought them to Taipei to undergo untold sufferings? They certainly deserve our deep sympathies!

In fact, camels find it difficult to subsist not only in this hot region, but also in the northern plains of China. Nowadays, with the introduction of mechanized transportation, nobody will ever drive a drove of camels, all strung together, through the open street. Camels used to play a useful role as“ships of the desert”, but now, I hear, they have been largely replaced by modern means of transport. As tame animals, they are unable to live all by themselves in a wild state. I wonder if they can still manage to live and breed once they cease to be at man’s service. Sad to say, people all sneeringly call them one of the most stupid categories of animals because all they can do is submit and endure passively. They kneel down obediently to be loaded with heavy weights. They exist on low-grade diets, such as tape grass, thistles and thorns, which most mammals refuse to eat. They drink saltish filthy water. They trek for three days and nights without drinking any water, not because they have water stored in their stomachs, but because the fat inside their bodies produce water through oxidation. The hump is considered a delicacy. I have never eaten it, but, I think, it must taste no better than a bear’s paw. While probably few people now bemoan the possible extinction of camels, Pekingese, which are good at playing up to man, have become a pet with all. O if only we could do something to prevent this useful animal from its silent withdrawal from the world stage!

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