约翰·梅斯菲尔德《加利波利战役》 -经典文学英译-中英双语赏析



By John Masefield

FIGHTING IN GALLIPOLI, by John Masefield, in his Gallipoli, London, The MacMillan Company, 1916. Reprinted in Chamberlain and Bolton,Progressive Readings in Prose, pp. 256-259.

John Masefield (1878-1967), English poet laureate (1930), regarded generally as the greatest living English poet, has also produced prose of unusual merit. Among his outstanding poems are the tragic narrative, “Dauber”; the war poem, “August, 1914”; and the sailor lyrics, “Salt Water Ballads.” His prose includes “Gallipoli” (1916), an account of the Dardanelles expedition, in which he himself took part; and “The Mainsail Haul,” a group of sea yarns. In this selection from Gallipoli is illustrated Masefield’s ability to record events sympathetically and vividly.Gallipoli is a conscious literary effort to celebrate a noble failure in a prose epic surcharged with emotion.

Let the reader imagine himself to be facing three miles of any very rough broken sloping ground known to him, ground for the most part gorse-thyme-and-scrub-covered, being poor soil, but in some places beautiful with flowers (especially “a spiked yellow flower with a whitish leaf”) and on others green from cultivation. Let him say to himself that he and an army of his friends are about to advance up the slope towards the top, and that as they will be advancing in a line, along the whole length of the three miles, he will only see the advance of those comparatively near to him, since folds or dips in the ground will hide the others. Let him, before he advances, look earnestly along the line of the hill, as it shows up clear, in blazing sunlight only a mile from him, to see his tactical objective, one little clump of pines, three hundred yards away, across what seem to be fields. Let him see in the whole length of the hill no single human being, nothing but scrub, earth, a few scattered buildings, of the Levantine type (dirty white with roofs of dirty red) and some patches of dark Scotch pine, growing as the pine loves, on bleak crests. Let him imagine himself to be more weary than he has ever been in his life before, and dirtier than he has ever believed it possible to be, and parched with thirst, nervous, wild-eyed and rather lousy. Let him think that he has not slept for more than a few minutes together for eleven days and nights, and that in all his waking hours he has been fighting for his life, often hand to hand in the dark with a fierce enemy, and that after each fight he has had to dig himself a hole in the ground, often with his hands, and then walk three or four roadless miles to bring up heavy boxes under fire. Let him think, too, that in all those eleven days he has never for an instant been out of the thunder of cannon, that waking or sleeping their devastating crash has been blasting the air across within a mile or two, and this from an artillery so terrible that each discharge beats as it were a wedge of shock between the skull bone and the brain. Let him think, too, that never, for an instant, in all that time, has he been free or even partly free from the peril of death in its most sudden and savage forms, and that hourly in all that time he has seen his friends blown to pieces at his side, or dismembered, or drowned, or driven mad, or stabbed, or sniped by some unseen stalker, or bombed in the dark sap with a handful of dynamite in a beef tin, till their blood is caked upon his clothes and thick upon his face, and that he knows, as he stares at the hill, that in a few moments, more of that dwindling band, already too few, God knows how many too few, for the task to be done, will be gone the same way, and that he himself may reckon that he has done with life, tasted, and spoken and loved his last, and that in a few minutes more may be blasted dead, or lying bleeding in the scrub, with perhaps his face gone and a leg and an arm broken, unable to move but still alive, unable to drive away the flies or screen the ever-dropping rain, in a place where none will find him, or be able to help him, a place where he will die and rot and shrivel, till nothing is left of him but a few rags and a few remnants and a little identification disk flapping on his bones in the wind. Then let him hear the intermittent crash and rattle of the fire augment suddenly and awfully in a roaring, blasting roll, unspeakable and unthinkable, while the air above, that has long been whining and whistling, becomes filled with the scream of shells passing like great cats of death in the air; let him see the slope of the hill vanish in a few moments into the white, yellow and black smokes of great explosions shot with fire, and watch the lines of white puffs marking the hill in streaks where the shrapnel searches a suspected trench; and then, in the height of the tumult, when his brain is shaking in his head, let him pull himself together with his friends, and clamber up out of the trench, to go forward against an invisible enemy, safe in some unseen trench expecting him.

The Twenty-ninth Division went forward under these conditions on the 6th of May. They dashed on, or crawled, for a few yards at a time, then dropped for a few instants before squirming on again. In such an advance men do not see the battlefield. They see the world as the rabbit sees it, crouching on the ground, just their own little patch. On broken ground like that, full of dips and rises, men may be able to see nothing but perhaps the ridge of a bank ten feet ahead, with the dust flying in spouts all along it, as bullets hit it, some thousand a minute, and looking back or to their flanks they may see no one but perhaps a few men of their own platoon lying tense but expectant, ready for the sign to advance while the bullets pipe over them in a never-ending birdlike croon. They may be shut off by some all-important foot of ground from seeing how they are fronting, from all knowledge of what the next platoon is doing or suffering. It may be quite certain death to peep over that foot of ground in order to find out, and while they wait for a few instants shells may burst in their midst and destroy a half of them. Then the rest nerving themselves, rush up the ridge, and fall in a line dead under machine-gun fire. The supports come up, creeping over their corpses, get past the ridge, into scrub which some shell has set on fire. Men fall wounded in the fire, and the cartridges in their bandoliers explode and slowly kill them. The survivors crawl through the scrub, half-choked, and come out on a field full of flowers tangled three feet high with strong barbed wire. They wait for a while, to try to make out where the enemy is. They may see nothing but the slope of the field running up to a sky line, and a flash of distant sea on a flank, but no sign of any enemy, only the crash of guns and the pipe and croon and spurt of bullets. Gathering themselves together their brave men dash out to cut the wire and are killed; others take their places and are killed; others step out with too great a pride even to stoop, and pull up the supports of the wires and fling them down, and fall dead on top of them, having perhaps cleared a couple of yards. Then a couple of machine guns open on the survivors and kill them all in thirty seconds, with the concentrated fire of a battalion.

The supports come up, and hear about the wire from some wounded man who has crawled back through the scrub. They send back word, “Held up by wire,” and in time the message comes to the telephone which has just been blown to pieces by a shell. Presently when the telephone is repaired, the message reaches the gunners, who fire high-explosive shells on to the wire, and on to the slopes where the machine guns may be hidden. Then the supports go on over the flowers and are met midway by a concentrated fire of shells, shrapnel, machine guns, and rifles. Those who are not killed lie down among the flowers and begin to scrape little heaps of earth with their hands to give protection to their heads. In the light sandy marl this does not take long, though many are blown to pieces or hit in the back as they scrape. As before, they cannot see how the rest of the attack is faring, nor even where the other platoons of the battalion are; they lie scraping in the roots of daffodils and lilies, while bullets sing and shriek a foot or two over their heads. A man peering from his place in the flowers may make out that the man next to him, some three yards away, is dead, and that the man beyond is praying, the man beyond him cursing, and the man beyond him out of his mind from nerves or thirst.

Long hours pass, but the air above them never ceases to cry like a live thing with bullets flying. Men are killed or maimed, and the wounded cry for water. Men get up to give them water and are killed. Shells fall at regular intervals along the field. The waiting men count the seconds between the shells to check the precision of the battery’s fire. Some of the bursts fling the blossoms and bulbs of flowers into the bodies of men, where they are found long afterwards by the X rays. Bursts and roars of fire on either flank tell of some intense moment in other parts of the line. Every feeling of terror and mental anguish and anxiety goes through the mind of each man there, and is put down by resolve.

The supports come up, they rise with a cheer, and get out of the accursed flowers into a gulley where some men of their regiment are already lying dead. There is a little wood to their front; they make for that, and suddenly come upon a deep and narrow Turk trench full of men. This is their first sight of the enemy. They leap down into the trench and fight hand to hand, kill and are killed, in the long grave already dug. They take the trench, but opening from the trench are saps, which the Turks still hold. Men are shot dead at these saps by Turk sharpshooters cunningly screened within them. Bullets fall in particular places in the trench from snipers hidden in the trees of the wood. The men send back for bombs, others try to find out where the rest of the battalion lies, or send word that from the noise of the fire there must be a battery of machine guns beyond the wood, if the guns would shell it.

Presently, before the bombs come, bombs begin to drop among them from the Turks. Creeping up, the men catch them in their hands before they explode and fling them back so that they burst among the Turks. Some have their hands blown off, other their heads, in doing this, but the bloody game of catch goes on till no Turks are left in the sap, only a few wounded groaning men who slowly bleed to death there. After long hours, the supports come up and a storm of high explosives searches the little wood, and then with a cheer the remnant goes forward out of the trench into the darkness of the pines. Fire opens on them from snipers in the trees and from machine guns everywhere; they drop and die, and the survivors see no enemy, only their friends falling and a place where no living thing can pass. Men find themselves suddenly alone, with all their friends dead, and no enemy in sight, but the rush of bullets filling the air. They go back to the trench, not afraid, but in a kind of maze, and as they take stock and count their strength there comes the roar of the Turkish war cry, the drumlike proclamation of the faith, and the Turks come at them with the bayonet. Then that lonely remnant of a platoon stands to it with rapid fire, and the machine gun rattles like a motor cycle, and some ribald or silly song goes up, and the Turks fail to get home, but die or waver and retreat and are themselves charged as they turn. It is evening now; the day has passed in long hours of deep experience, and the men have made two hundred yards. They send back for supports and orders, link up, if they are lucky, with some other part of their battalion, whose adventures, fifty yards away, have been as intense, but wholly different, and prepare the Turk trench for the night. Presently word reaches them from some far-away H. Q. (some dugout five hundred yards back, in what seems, by comparison, like peaceful England) that there are no supports, and that the orders are to hold the line at all costs and prepare for a fresh advance on the morrow. Darkness falls, and ammunition and water come up, and the stretcher bearers hunt for the wounded by the groans, while the Turks search the entire field with shell to kill the supports which are not there. Some of the men in the trench creep out to their front, and are killed there as they fix a wire entanglement. The survivors make ready for the Turk attack, certain soon to come. There is no thought of sleep; it is too cold for sleep; the men shiver as they stare into the night;they take the coats of the dead, and try to get a little warmth. There is no moon and the rain begins. The marl at the bottom of the trench is soon a sticky mud, and the one dry patch is continually being sniped. A few exhausted ones fall not into sleep but into nervous dreams, full of twitches and cries, like dogs’ nightmares, and away at sea some ship opens with her great guns at an unseen target up the hill. The terrific crashes shake the air; someone sees a movement in the grass and fires;others start up and fire. The whole irregular line starts up and fires, the machine guns rattle, the officers curse, and the guns behind, expecting an attack, send shells into the woods. Then slowly the fire drops and dies, and stray Turks, creeping up, fling bombs into the trench.


gorse-thyme-and-scrub-covered, covered by gorse, thyme, and scrub. Gorse is a spiny, thorny evergreen shrub of the bean family with yellow flowers. Its scientific name is Ulex europæus;it is common in Europe;it is also called furze and whin. Thyme is any of a genus (Thymus)of menthaceous plants, especially the common garden species (Thymus vulgaris), with pungent, aromatic leaves, or a wild creeping species (Thymus serpyllum). Scrub refers to vegetation consisting chiefly of dwarf or stunted shrubs, often thick and impenetrable.

“a spiked yellow flower with a whitish leaf,  the gorse flower.

folds or dips, the uneven ground.

tactical objective, the point that the military unit must reach; the destination towards which military maneuvers are directed.

Levantine, pertaining to the Levant, the countries washed by the eastern part of the Mediterranean and its contiguous waters.

Scotch pine, also known as the Scotch fir, is the pine of northern Europe, where it is extensively used for building purposes.

parched, dry and hot.

lousy, infested with lice.

heavy boxes of ammunition.

wedge, a piece of wood or metal tapering to a thin edge, used in splitting wood, rocks, and in raising heavy bodies.

dismembered, torn from limb to limb; torn or cut into pieces.

drowned, while trying to land from the transports.

sniped, to be shot at individually, especially at long range or from cover. A sniper is a soldier who does such shooting, or sniping.

stalker, a soldier on the other side who is approaching stealthily or under cover; a sniper.

sap, the covered trench or tunnel, or, more frequently, the narrow trench used by one side to approach the enemy’s trenches.

dynamite in a beef tin, the explosive dynamite, made of nitroglycerin absorbed in a porous material, and packed in a small beef can or container, to increase its explosive effect.

caked, formed or hardened into a cake or mass.

dwindling, becoming less; decreasing; becoming smaller and smaller.rot, decompose; decay.

identification disk, the disk or small flat circular plate, on which is stamped the soldier’s name, sometimes only a number, to serve the purpose of identification. The disk is usually worn around the neck of the soldier.

intermittent, coming and going at intervals; periodic.

shrapnel, a shell containing small round projectiles, a bursting charge and a fuse to produce explosion at a given instant, named after a British general Henry Shrapnel (1761-1842).

trench, a more or less extended narrow ditch or excavation, the earth from which is thrown up in its front to form a parapet.

clamber, climb, as by scrambling on hands and feet.

the Twenty-ninth Division, of the British army, engaged in fighting against the Turks in Gallipoli Division,一师.

squirming, wriggling; writhing; twisting about with contortions like an eel or worm.

flanks, the right or left of an army.

platoon, a subdivision of a company, commanded by a lieutenant,一排.

fronting, opposing face to face; facing.

machine gun, a cannon of a small-arm caliber for rapid, continuous

firing, and operated by mechanism,机关枪.

supports, the supporting troops; the soldiers that are detailed to support, help the front line soldiers.

battalion, an infantry command of two or more conpanies, the tactical infantry unit,一营.

high-explosive shells, shrapnel shells.

marl, a crumbling deposit, chiefly clay and calcium carbonate; earth, used poetically.

faring, doing; coming along.

daffodils and lilies, tuberous plants. The daffodil is a kind of narcissus with large yellow single or double flowers.

maimed, physically injured seriously; wounded; deprived of the use of a member, so as to be incapacitated in fighting.

Turk trench, the trench which the Turks, their enemy, were holding.

maze, daze; perplexity; confusion of thought.

take stock, count over how many men they have left who can carry on fighting.

bayonet, a weapon of the dagger kind made to fit on the muzzle end of a rifle,刺刀.

ribald, obscene or coarsely offensive in language.

H.Q.,the abbreviation for Headquarters, the quarters or residence of the chief officer, the place from which orders are issued.

dugout, hole dug into the ground, so as to be safe from enemy observation and enemy artillery fire.

at all costs, no matter what it may cost in lives; even at the greatest sacrifices.

on the morrow, on the next morning; to-morrow.

stretcher bearers, the hospital or Red Cross nurses or attendants who carry stretchers for carrying the disabled or dead. A stretcher is a litter, usually of canvas stretched on a wooden frame.

wire entanglement, wire strung up in front of the trenches to entangle or impede the progress of the enemy.


  1. What were the conditions under which the soldier had existed eleven days and nights before the battle? By what means does the author make this description especially vivid?
  2. Describe the advance of the Twenty-ninth Division on May 6.
  3. How much ground was gained during the day?
  4. Does war appear worth the cost?



《加利波利战役》一文选自约翰·梅斯菲尔德所著《加利波利》,伦敦麦克米伦公司1916年出版。后收入钱伯伦及博尔顿编写的《散文进阶读本》, 256—259页。











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