查尔斯·兰姆《论烤猪》 -经典英译-中英双语赏析

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A DISSERTATION UPON ROAST PIG

By Charles Lamb

 

A DISSERTATION UPON ROAST PIG, from Essays of Elia, by Charles Lamb.

Charles Lamb (1775-1834), English essayist and humorist. This essay was first published in the London Magazine, September, 1822. It is considered to be his best narrative essay.

The story is not original with Lamb but is found in many places in literature. Porphyry (233-304), Greek scholar and Neoplatonist, has this story in his De abstinentin, IV, 15. Lamb may have gotten it from Manning (as he says). The Chinese dressing is of course largely Lamb’s invention. Lamb is said to have received several gifts of pigs after the publication of the essay, and in a letter dated “Twelfth Day, ’23” he thanks a farmer and his wife for such a gift.

Mankind, says a Chinese manuscript, which my friend M. was obliging enough to read and explain to me, for the first seventy thousand ages ate their meat raw, clawing or biting it from the living animal, just as they do in Abyssinia to this day. This period is not obscurely hinted at by their great Confucius in the second chapter of his Mundane Mutations, where he designates a kind of golden age by the term Cho-fang, literally the Cook’s holiday. The manuscript goes on to say, that the art of roasting or rather broiling (which I take to be the elder brother) was accidentally discovered in the manner following. The swineherd, Ho-ti, having gone out into the woods one morning, as his manner was, to collect mast for his hogs, left his cottage in the care of his eldest son Bo-bo, a great lubberly boy, who being fond of playing with fire, as youngsters of his age commonly are, let some sparks escape into a bundle of straw, which, kindling quickly, spread the conflagration over every part of their poor mansion, till it was reduced to ashes. Together with the cottage (a sorry antediluvian makeshift of a building, you may think it), what was of much more importance, a fine litter of new-farrowed pigs, no less than nine in number, perished. China pigs have been esteemed a luxury all over the East from the remotest periods that we read of. Bo-bo was in the utmost consternation, as you may think, not so much for the sake of the tenement, which his father and he could easily build up again with a few dry branches, and the labour of an hour or two, at any time, as for the loss of the pigs. While he was thinking what he should say to his father, and wringing his hands over the smoking remnants of one of those untimely sufferers, an odor assailed his nostrils, unlike any scent which he had before experienced. What could it proceed from? —not from the burnt cottage—he had smelt that smell before—indeed this was by no means the first accident of the kind which had occurred through the negligence of this unlucky young firebrand. Much less did it resemble that of any known herb, weed, or flower. A premonitory moistening at the same time overflowed his nether lip. He knew not what to think. He next stooped down to feel the pig, if there were any signs of life in it. He burned his fingers, and to cool them he applied them in his booby fashion to his mouth. Some of the crumbs of the scorched skin had come away from his fingers, and for the first time in his life (in the world’s life indeed, for before him no man had known it)he tasted—crackling! Again he felt and fumbled at the pig. It did not burn him so much now, still he licked his fingers from a sort of habit. The truth at length broke into his slow understanding, that it was the pig that smelt so, and the pig that tasted so delicious; and surrendering himself up to the new-born pleasure, he fell to tearing up whole handfuls of the scorched skin with the flesh next it, and was cramming it down his throat in his beastly fashion, when his sire entered amid the smoking rafters, armed with retributory cudgel, and finding how affairs stood, began to rain blows upon the young rogue’s shoulders, as thick as hailstones, which Bo-bo heeded not any more than if they had been flies. The tickling pleasure, which he experienced in his lower regions, had rendered him quite callous to any inconveniences he might feel in those remote quarters. His father might lay on, but he could not beat him from his pig, till he had fairly made an end of it, when, becoming a little more sensible of his situation, something like the following dialogue ensued.

“You graceless whelp, what have you got there devouring? Is it not enough that you have burned me down three houses with your dog’s tricks, and be hanged to you! but you must be eating fire, and I know not what—what have you got there, I say?”

“O, father, the pig, the pig! do come and taste how nice the burnt pig eats.”

The ears of Ho-ti tingled with horror. He cursed his son, and he cursed himself that ever he should beget a son that should eat burnt pig.

Bo-bo, whose scent was wonderfully sharpened since morning, soon raked out another pig, and fairly rending it asunder, thrust the lesser half by main force into the fists of Ho-ti, still shouting out “Eat, eat, eat the burnt pig, father, only taste—O Lord!”—with suchlike barbarous ejaculations, cramming all the while as if he would choke.

Ho-ti trembled in every joint while he grasped the abominable thing, wavering whether he should not put his son to death for an unnatural young monster, when the crackling scorching his fingers, as it had done his son’s, and applying the same remedy to them, he in his turn tasted some of its flavour, which, make what sour mouths he would for a pretence, proved not altogether displeasing to him. In conclusion (for the manuscript here is a little tedious) both father and son fairly sat down to the mess, and never left off till they had dispatched all that remained of the litter.

Bo-bo was strictly enjoined not to let the secret escape, for the neighbors would certainly have stoned them for a couple of abominable wretches, who could think of improving upon the good meat which God had sent them. Nevertheless, strange stories got about. It was observed that Ho-ti’s cottage was burned down now more frequently than ever. Nothing but fires from this time forward. Some would break out in broad day, others in the night-time. As often as the sow farrowed, so sure was the house of Ho-ti to be in a blaze; and Ho-ti himself, which was the more remarkable, instead of chastising his son, seemed to grow more indulgent to him than ever. At length they were closely watched, the terrible mystery discovered, and father and son summoned to take their trial at Peking, then an inconsiderable assize town. Evidence was given, the obnoxious food itself produced in court, and verdict about to be pronounced, when the foreman of the jury begged that some of the burnt pig, of which the culprits stood accused, might be handed into the box. He handled it, and they all handled it, and burning their fingers, as Bo-bo and his father had done before them, and nature prompting to each of them the same remedy, against the face of all the facts, and the clearest charge which judge had ever given, —to the surprise of the whole court, townsfolk, strangers, reporters, and all present—without leaving the box, or any manner of consultation whatever, they brought in a simultaneous verdict of Not Guilty.

The judge, who was a shrewd fellow, winked at the manifest iniquity of the decision; and, when the court was dismissed, went privily, and bought up all the pigs that could be had for love or money. In a few days his Lordship’s townhouse was observed to be on fire. The thing took wing, and now there was nothing to be seen but fires in every direction. Fuel and pigs grew enormously dear all over the district. The insurance offices one and all shut up shop. People built slighter and slighter every day, until it was feared that the very science of architecture would in no long time be lost to the world. Thus this custom of firing houses continued, till in process of time, says my manuscript, a sage arose, like our Locke, who made a discovery, that the flesh of swine, or indeed of any other animal, might be cooked (burned, as they called it) without the necessity of consuming a whole house to dress it. Then first began the rude form of a gridiron. Roasting by the string, or spit came in a century or two later, I forget in whose dynasty. By such slow degrees, concludes the manuscript, do the most useful and seemingly the most obvious arts, make their way among mankind.

Notes

manuscript, composition written by hand, as an ancient book.

my friend M., Thomas Manning, an Orientalist, an Eastern traveler and linguist. Lamb was introduced to him by Lloyd in 1799, and a lifetime friendship resulted.

obliging, helpful; civil; kind.

raw, not cooked; in the natural state.

Abyssinia,in East Africa. In Bruce’s Travels in Abyssinia(Chap. VII) there is an account of the cutting of steaks from a live cow which was afterwards driven on to the evening encampment.

not obscurely hinted at, very plainly referred to; clearly mentioned.

Confucius, 孔夫子,our greatest sage (551-478 B.C.)

Mundane Mutations, Lamb’s equivalent for 易经.

designates, names; indicates by name.

golden age, an era of perfect happiness, a period of great prosperity and progress or of the flowering of civilization.

literally, following the “letter” or the exact words; giving a strict construction or translation.

roasting, cooking by exposure to radiant heat before a fire or in an oven, open or close.

broiling, cooking by direct exposure to heat over a fire. Meat is roasted before the fire on a spit; it is broiled over a flame on a gridiron.

the elder brother. Lamb says that people learned to broil first, and to roast afterwards. Hence broiling is the elder brother.

swineherd, keeper of swine or pigs.

as his manner was, as was his usual practice.

mast, any kind of nut, used collectively, especially as food for pigs.

Bo-bo, 宝宝.

lubberly, clumsy and awkward.

youngsters, young boys; lads.

kindling, catching on fire; igniting.

conflagration, fire, especially a large destructive fire.

mansion, house; abode; dwelling place. To avoid repeating the word cottage, Lamb resorts to other words like mansion, tenement, makeshift of a building. It is also humorous to turn a cottage into a mansion.

reduced to ashes, burned completely down to the ground till nothing was left of the house but the ashes.

sorry, shabby; wretched; very mean sort of.

antediluvian, of the period before the Deluge or Great Flood; hence, old, out-of-date, antiquated.

makeshift of a building, temporary building; any sort of house.

fine litter, excellent group; a number of good pigs brought forth at a birth.

new-farrowed, new-born. To farrow (to bring forth young) is used only of sows.

perished, were killed; died.

esteemed a luxury, looked upon as something very special and desirable; valued or prized as especially delicious and tasteful.

from the remotest periods that we read of, from the most ancient time; from the very beginning of history.

utmost consternation, extreme paralyzing sense of calamity; absolute dismay; greatest fear of punishment.

wringing his hands, writhing and twisting his hands, not knowing what to do.

smoking remnants, what was left of the pig but which was still giving forth smoke, still burning.

one of those untimely sufferers, one of those pigs which have met death before their time, before they ought to die.

assailed his nostrils, was carried to his nose. He smelt the odor of burnt pig and the smell was something strange to him.

accident, unexpected trouble; unintentional act.

negligence, carelessness due to bad habit; lack or want of proper care.

firebrand, properly, a piece of burning wood, but here, a boy who through carelessness sets fire to objects.

premonitory moistening, a slight wetting of his lower lip which suggested or warned him of the coming of more. When we smell something fragrant or strong, our saliva starts to flow.

nether, lower; under.

booby fashion, awkward, clumsy, stupid fashion.

crumbs, small pieces.

scorched, burnt.

crackling, the well-browned, crisp skin of roast pork.

slow, stupid; dull.

surrendering himself, abandoning himself; indulging himself excessively.

cramming, eating greedily by shoving and forcing the food down his throat.

beastly fashion, crude, clumsy, greedy fashion, like a wild beast.

sire, father.

retributory cudgel, short thick stick to be used in punishing the lad.

rain, let fall like rain; beat without stopping.

rogue, rascal; a good-for-nothing person.

hailstones, small roundish masses of ice precipitated from the clouds.

heeded not, did not pay any more attention to than; did not notice.

tickling pleasure, which he experienced in his lower regions, the satisfaction that he felt in his belly; the enjoyment that was his as he ate the roast pork.

callous, indifferent and unfeeling, because his attention was directed elsewhere.

inconveniences, discomfort; pain.

those remote quarters, his shoulders. His shoulders were at some distance from his belly, and at that moment, he was more interested in feeding his belly than he was in paying attention to anything that was happening to other parts of his anatomy.

lay on, continue to beat him; keep on beating him.

becoming a little more sensible of his situation, feeling the pain now and realizing that his father was beating him.

dialogue, conversation between two persons.

graceless whelp, shameless dog, depraved “puppy” or “cub,” used in contempt. The father was comparing his son to a dog.

burned me down three houses. Me is equivalent to to my sorrow, a Latin construction which Lamb often uses.

be hanged to you! an imprecation or spoken curse, invoking or calling down evil upon the person addressed; in this case, wishing the other person the ill fortune of being hanged.

ears tingled with horror. When we hear something horrible, our ears feel a prickling or stinging sensation.

beget, give birth to.

scent, sense of smell.

sharpened, make keen; so developed that he could now smell out quickly.

raked out, drew out; pulled out from among the débris or wreckage.

rending it asunder, tearing it apart; pulling the pig to pieces.

main force, force exerted to the full; sheer strength.

barbarous ejaculations, harsh-sounding exclamations.

abominable, detestable; loathsome.

wavering, undecided; uncertain; not having made up one’s mind.

applying the same remedy, that is, putting his fingers into his mouth.

make what sour mouths he would for a pretence, no matter how much he pretended to be displeased.

tedious, tiresome; wearisome to read.

mess, food.

dispatched, eaten up; consumed.

enjoined, commanded; prohibited; forbidden.

stoned, killed by throwing stones at them.

improving upon the good meat, cooking the natural flesh.

chastising, punishing; beating.

indulgent, disposed to please or favor; not so inclined to punish.

trial, law court’s investigation of and decision in a cause.

Peking, 北京.

an inconsiderable assize town, a small town where was held a court of assize, the periodical sessions of the judges of the higher courts in every county of England.

evidence, that which is legally submitted to a competent tribunal as a means of ascertaining the truth of any alleged matter of fact under investigation before it.

obnoxious, evil or harmful; objectionable.

verdict, decision; judgment; the finding or judgment of the jury on the matter submitted in trial.

pronounced, passed; given.

foreman of the jury. The jury is the body of men or women sworn to give a true answer, or verdict, on some matter submitted to them, especially such a body legally chosen to inquire into any matter of fact, and to render a verdict according to the evidence. The number of jurors ranges from 12 to 23. The chairman of the jury is called the foreman.

culprits, persons accused of, or arraigned for, a crime in court.

box, the place where the jurors sit.

against the face of all the facts, acting contrary to all the evidence given.

the clearest charge. Before allowing the jury to leave the court to go to a secret room to confer over the case, the judge usually summarizes the whole case from the evidence submitted and charges the jury to deliberate carefully over the case, sometimes even suggesting very strongly what verdict is expected.

reporters, newspaper representatives.

simultaneous verdict. The usual practice calls for the jurors to retire to another room and there consult together over the verdict. Such consultations may last for hours; some have lasted for days. In this particular instance, the jurors remained where they sat, and without consulting among one another they returned a judgment, a verdict; of Not Guilty. They thus freed both father and son from the accusation of guilt.

winked at, seemed to overlook; pretended not to see; did not pay attention to.

manifest iniquity, the great injustice that was so evident; the miscarry of justice that was so clearly shown.

privily, privately; secretly without letting others know.

his Lordship’s, the judge’s. Judges are addressed by the title of Lords.

took wing, spread; became known to all.

enormously dear, very expensive; tremendously costly.

insurance offices, business concerns that, for a stipulated consideration, a sum of money called the premium, undertake to indemnify or guarantee another person against loss. According to Lamb, the insurance offices had to stop doing business.

Why?

sage, a profoundly wise man.

Locke, John (1632-1704), the English philosopher, who wrote the “Essay Concerning Human Understanding.”

consuming, burning; setting afire.

dress, prepare. You dress a chicken by taking off all of its feathers and cleaning up its insides.

rude form, primitive, very simple, coarse form.

gridiron, a barred metal utensil for broiling food over coals.

spit, slender, pointed rod to hold roasting meat.

Questions

  1. Point out the elements of humor in the title and the first three sentences.
  2. How did Bo-bo happen to set fire to the cottage?
  3. How did Bo-bo discover that roast pig is good to eat?
  4. Why was Ho-ti filled with horror at the sight of his son eating pig? 5. How did Ho-ti become converted to pig eating?
  5. Why did Ho-ti want the new food kept a secret?
  6. How was their secret finally discovered?
  7. Why were Ho-ti and Bo-bo found not guilty?
  8. How did the custom of eating roast pig spread?
  9. When did the burning of houses stop?

参考译文

【作品简介】

《论烤猪》一文选自查尔斯·兰姆所著《伊利亚散文集》。

【作者简介】

查尔斯·兰姆(1775—1834),英国散文家、幽默作家。这篇散文首发在1822年9月的《伦敦杂志》上,被认为是他的最佳叙事散文。故事并非是兰姆的原创,在许多文学作品中都有提及,例如希腊学者、新柏拉图主义者波菲利(233—304)在他的著作《禁食动物论》第四卷第15章里就收入了这个故事。兰姆可能是从好友托马斯·曼宁那里听说的这个故事(正如他自己所说的那样)。当然,故事所披的那层中国外衣是兰姆杜撰出来的。据说这篇文章发表以后,兰姆收到了好几头烤猪礼物,在一封标明“1923年1月12日”的信笺中,他感谢一个农夫和他的妻子送给他的礼物。

论烤猪

我的朋友曼宁曾热心地给我朗读并讲解过一部中国书的手抄本。上面说,人类在最初七万年里茹毛饮血,从活的野兽身上生吞活剥,大嚼大吃,跟今天的阿比西尼亚人的做派毫无二致。他们的大圣人孔夫子在他那部《春秋》第二章里非常明确地提到一个人类的黄金时代,被称为“厨芳”[1],字面意思就是“厨师的芳辰”。这部手抄本接着写道,烤肉,或者不如说烧肉(我认为它是猪肉烹饪中的老大)的技术,是人在无意之中发现的。情况是这样的:一天清早,养猪人何悌像往常那样,去树林里给猪采集橡果,就把小屋交给他那个笨笨傻傻的大儿子宝宝照看。那么大的孩子一般都爱玩火,宝宝也不例外。宝宝玩起火来,谁料火花四溅溅到一捆干草上,干草见火就着,火势蔓延,他们那间可怜的庭院全都被点着了,最后化为一片灰烬。被烧的除了茅草屋(那只是没发大水以前草草搭建起来的一间极其简陋的小屋,你可以想象的),更重要的是,刚刚生下的一窝膘肥体壮的小猪,至少有九头,也都烧死了。根据我们读过的远古时期的记载,中国猪在整个东方一直被奉为食品里的珍品。当时的宝宝吓得惊慌失措,主要不是因为房子被烧掉了,因为那种房子,他父亲和他只要拿上几根干树枝,花上一两个钟头,就能轻而易举地再盖起来。他惊慌失措,是因为小猪被烧死了。面对着一具还冒着烟的意外丧生的小猪尸体,他搓着手,一筹莫展,就在这时,一股以前从来没有闻到过的气味飘进了他的鼻孔。这味道是从哪儿来的呀?——自然不是被烧的房子的味道──那种味道他以前又不是没闻到过──因为,这个爱玩火的倒霉孩子,绝对不是第一次由于粗心大意闯下这种祸。而且,这更不像他所熟悉的香草、杂草或鲜花的味道。同时,好像有了一种预感似的,口水顺着他那下嘴唇一个劲儿地往下流。他怎么想,也想不明白。接下来,他弯下身子,摸了摸那头小猪,看看还有没有一点生命体征。结果他的手指被烫了,他赶快把手指头缩了回来,放到嘴边,傻傻地吹着。几片烧焦的猪皮碎片碰巧粘在他的手指上,就这样,生平第一次(的确,这也是人类第一次,因为在他以前谁也没有尝到过)──他尝到了——脆脆的猪皮的味道!他又摸了摸猪,此时猪的身体已经不那么烫手了,可是他还是有点条件反射似的又舔了舔手指。他那迟钝的大脑这才慢慢回过味来:原来,扑鼻的香味来自于这头被烧了的小猪,被烧过的小猪吃起来的味道还那么香。他完全沉醉在自己这个新发现的快乐里了,把烧熟了的小猪连皮带肉一大把一大把地扯下来,像野兽似的狼吞虎咽地往嘴里塞──这时候,他父亲大人手里拿着打人的棍棒,从还在冒烟的檩椽中间走进来了,一看家里的惨状,手里的棍棒像下冰雹似的密集地打在那个小淘气的肩膀上,可是宝宝就像被苍蝇叮了几口似的,理也不理。他肚子所感受到的快乐让他对于距离肚子那么远部位的疼痛几乎麻木无感了。不管他父亲怎么打,也无法让他舍弃那头小猪。直到他把那头小猪全吃下肚,他才意识到自己的处境。就这样,父子之间有了下面这场对话。

“你个没羞没臊的小崽子,你刚才狼吞虎咽地在吃什么?就因为你搞的恶作剧,房子都烧了三次了,你还嫌不够吗?你个该死的,你刚才一定是在吃火,吃──我也不知道你在吃什么,我问你,你往嘴里塞的是什么东西啊?”

“哦,爸爸,小猪,小猪!你一定要过来尝尝烧过的猪有多香。”

何悌听了,吓得耳朵里嗡的一声。他骂他的儿子,也骂自己生了这么一个儿子,竟然吃烧过的猪。

宝宝的嗅觉在这个早晨变得异常敏锐。他迅速又搜出一头小猪,一撕两半儿,把小半个硬塞进何悌的手里,大声说:“吃,吃,吃烧猪吧,爸爸,你尝一口──哦,老天爷!”──他一边这么粗野地喊叫着,一边把那一半往自己嘴里塞,吃得好像都噎住了的样子。

何悌把这种该死的玩意儿抓在手里,浑身关节都在打战,他心里犹豫着,究竟要不要把儿子当作一个反常的小怪物处死;这时,烧得脆脆的猪皮把他的手指烫了一下,就像他的儿子一样,而他也一样把手指放到了嘴边吹,结果尝到了烧猪的滋味。此时的他虽然嘴上还硬说不好吃,其实心里清楚那味道确实很香。最后(手抄本此处的描述有点冗长乏味),父子二人索性坐下来大快朵颐,最后把剩下的那窝小猪很快就吃了个精光。

何悌对着宝宝千叮咛万嘱咐,严令禁止他泄露秘密,否则那些街坊邻居肯定要把他们当作一对邪恶的坏人用石头砸死,因为他们竟敢改变上帝赐给他们的美食。尽管这样,千奇百怪的流言还是传开了。有人发现,何悌家的茅屋被火烧的频率比往常要高。从那时起,他们家火灾不断:有时大白天突然起火,有时深夜里起火。常常是母猪一下崽,何悌家的房子就一定会着火;更引人注意的是何悌的做法,他非但没有为此责罚他的儿子,而且看来对他反而更加纵容。后来,他们受到了严密的监视,那个可怕的秘密终于被发现了,于是,父子二人都被传唤到了北京,那时的北京还只是一个无足轻重的巡回裁判城市。提供了证据,那种可憎可恶的食物也被送上了法庭,但在判决之前,陪审团团长请求把据以控告罪犯的烧猪肉拿到陪审席上审查。然后,他摸了摸,陪审员们也都摸了摸;他们的手指都被烫了,就像宝宝和他父亲曾经被烫过一样,不仅如此,他们很自然地一个个也都把手指伸到了嘴边去吹;结果,在所有的证据面前,在法官明明白白的指控面前,——让法庭上所有的人,包括市民、外乡人、记者和一切旁听者全都大吃一惊的是——陪审团既没有离开席位,也没有商议,就一致做出了“无罪”的裁决。

那位法官是个狡猾的家伙,对于这种明显不合法律程序的决定装聋作哑。刚一退庭,他就鬼鬼祟祟地或卡或要,把那些小猪全都据为己有。还没过几天,有人发现法官老爷的公馆就着了火。不仅如此,这种事就像长了翅膀,四面八方都能看到火光冲天。这一地区的劈柴和生猪价格飞涨,保险公司纷纷关门大吉。一天一天过去,人们盖的房子愈来愈简陋,到后来简直叫人担心:建筑这门学问恐怕不久就要在人间失传。这样,点房子烧猪的习惯就流传下来了,那个手抄本写道,随着时间的推移,某位类似我国的洛克那样的大贤人诞生了,这才发现,猪肉也好,别的什么动物的肉也好,要想烹制为食品(或者,用他们的说法,烧熟),根本不需要把整幢房子都陪着烧掉。于是,原始的烤肉架出现了。把肉串起来或用铁叉烤肉的办法,在一两个世纪以后也出现了,不过在哪朝哪代我可记不清。那部手抄本在结束时写道,人类的那些最有用、最是一目了然的技艺,就是这样一步一步慢慢地发展起来的。

 

(张白桦 译)

 

[1]此处为音译。兰姆所说的出处不确。

未经允许不得转载:帕布莉卡 » 查尔斯·兰姆《论烤猪》 -经典英译-中英双语赏析

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