埃米尔·路德维希《俾斯麦》 -经典文学英译-中英双语赏析

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BISMARCK

By Emil Ludwig

BISMARCK, by Emil Ludwig, in his Genius and Character, New York, Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1927, pp. 41-52.

Emil Ludwig (1881-1948), German biographer and dramatist, widely known for his studies of Bismarck (1912), Napoleon (1924), William Hohenzollern (1925) and Lincoln (1929).

Earthly majesty is always akin to the fallen angel, who is proud and unhappy, beautiful but troubled, and whose plans and efforts, though vast, are denied success.

 

Powerful frame! How much was Bismarck indebted to his physique although he hardly ever came to actual tests of fist and muscle! His body and his accomplishments were identical:the will of a giant vibrant with the electric charge of magnetic nerves. He was like those mastiffs of his which, precisely because of this resemblance, he loved: strong and nervous, heavy and somber, formidable, and unrelenting towards an offender—loyal to but one person, his master, yet devoted to him until death. Bismarck was as powerful, as nervous, and as dangerous as his dogs.

Like every strong man, he once saved his own life. An assassin in Unter den Linden had fired one shot at him and was about to fire a second, this time at closer range. It would have been fatal, had not Bismarck seized the man’s right hand and hurled the weapon to the ground. On another occasion, when he was younger, he had plunged into the water after a man who was drowning—and for the rest of his life, among all the insignia of honor which “go with the make-up of a minister,” he took pride only in the medal commemorating this rescue. Again, he saved Prussia, when the king was about to yield to popular pressure and to abdicate, by taking hold of the king’s scabbard and literally shaking him into a mood of self-defense.

None of these three equally important acts would have been possible without the assistance of his powerful physique. Wherever he went, he was the biggest man present. At a court ball, when he was in his twenties, his stature elicited the admiration of his first master. Emperors of the French and of the Russians, kings, princes, and princesses—all were impressed to see him stoop as he came through the door and then draw himself up again to his full height. Generals and politicians, most of them his opponents for one reason or another, were often astounded, and even terrified by his build.

And yet his intimates, and sometimes mere government clerks, had seen the giant collapse, convulsed with weeping, tortured with despair, his features twitching and distorted. This is the other side of Bismarck, an aspect of him which the Germans readily gloss over, but without which the nationalistic side of his character could never have been effectual.

For while the spirit of history was still undecided whether or not to unite the German race after a thousand years of dissent, it produced a man whose own impulses were so rent that he alone was capable of coping with this other division. His own personal struggle, a restless oscillation between pathos and criticism, duty and power, flight and aggression, loyalty and vengeance, had its parallel for him in the condition of Germany; and this almost mystical, yet natural kinship gave him both the desire and the courage to battle for national integration. Almost unknown to himself, a powerful stream of emotion was flowing beneath the craftiness of the politician. This produced a vision, a kind of dream, which gave him consistency of purpose despite the seeming opportunism of his methods. And he could work only at white heat; rapidly, in barely eight years, Bismarck the Prussian forged Germany.

For Germany could not be subdued except by a man of emotion who, like the artist, was capable of casting his molten feelings into forms of solid iron. It was really an artist who shaped this realm of music into a state.

But he was also a realist; for this same soil nourishes a race of realists who attempt to balance their weakness for reverie and philosophy by a deliberate propulsion towards externals—their cult of action being, probably through fear, exaggerated into wariness. Bismarck was hard and realistic, with a keen sense of cold facts and an almost total indifference to principles. All during his thirty years of steadily mounting power, and even at the last when he was a dictator, he would ally himself with any party or any platform and oppose any party or any platform, purely as the occasion demanded. He hated passionately, lying awake far into the night. And the next day he would shatter his opponents like a bolt of lightning. But the very moment he had need of them, he would reverse his tactics and become conciliatory. It is absurd to ask just how far such a policy was pursued in the interests of his cause and how far in the interests of his personal power: for this man was a monomaniac who cared for no cause but his own and who felt that he alone could properly defend it!

Nevertheless Bismarck’s primum mobile was neither the will to power nor the desire for fame—as to witness his long period of aimlessness in youth. At the age of thirty-five, when Bismarck the noble was taking his first steps into politics, Napoleon the parvenu was already emperor. He did not settle upon this career through any desire to be a dictator, nor any theoretical love for a fatherland which did not yet exist, nor through pride in Prussia, his more immediate home. But when he took trowel in hand and began laying stone upon stone, he was moved by the true artist’s wish to produce order out of chaos, to give form to the formless—and along with this went a sound and thoroughgoing misanthropy which led him to ridicule the failures of his predecessors.

The German genius has always been either ideologist or artist. This people has never produced the pure homo politicus.

For this reason he was all the more violent in his opposition to the ideologists. He had little enough respect for philosophy, but he positively despised the pedants of the Frankfort variety, who had insisted, while the country ran riot, on examining in the light of ultimate philosophical principles every proposition laid before the assembly. A landowner from the Pomeranian back-country, he placed a low value on city-bred intellectuals and professional men. He was self-taught, a political primitive; he stepped abruptly into the arena without previous experience or training, and also, of course, without party prejudices. Stammeringly, he hurled his doctrine of German unity at the astonished ranks of the diet until the king had singled him out. What could attract a sickly dreamer like Frederick William to this uncouth giant except that obscure element above and beyond the intellect which they had in common? Did this stranger arrive from his provincial estate with a fully worked-out plan of action? On the contrary, he had nothing but the vaguest notion of what he wanted, nothing but courage and the mutterings of anger.

For there was heavy cargo of courage in this powerful hulk: a proud self-consciousness formed the ballast for a vessel shaken with antinomies, and this alone assured it of a voyage without mishap. Bismarck’s first word to a king was a rebuke, as was also his last: March ’48, March ‘9o. When not fighting, he was hardly more than a misanthrope and a scoffer: his great energies were drained by doubt, cynicism, and melancholy. But the presence of an enemy restored them to unity, converted them into action and purpose, and gave him self-reliance by providing an external force against which his self-reliance could be directed. And the nearer an enemy, the keener his capacity for action. He fought with a deeper devotion in domestic issues than against a foreign foe. Bismarck hated the German politicians Windhorst and Richter, but not Napoleon.

At bottom Bismarck was a thorough revolutionary. His first appearance as he came out of the oak forests of his birthplace and threw himself with fury into the narrow machinations of party politics; his attitude towards the kings and princes of his own country, and later towards foreign kings and emperors;the bold and simple “No” which he hurled at the political maxims of his times; his insistence upon ruling without interference from others; his continual threat of resigning; the splendid clarity, informality, and newness of his diction—all these defiant traits of a freedom-loving temperament belong to a man who, had he been born of the submerged classes, would have advanced behind the red flag.

He was not like Goethe who needed order to encompass his own chaos: he was disharmonic through and through, neither resting nor wanting rest. For it is not ideas, but emotions, which make the revolutionary; and the man who champions tradition with a fresh and terrorizing passionateness is often more revolutionary than a man who fights tradition with a calm pen or among the ranks of the many.

In reality, Bismarck created a new form of politics, in Germany at least. He revolutionized the methods of dealing with popular rebellions, founded the new school of diplomatic practice which openly struck terror instead of employing flattery and craft as in the school of Metternich. After a dinner in London, when he had outlined his program with astounding firmness, Disraeli, who saw him in the true perspective, said to his guests: “Take care of that man, he means what he says.”

With these strong impulses to break the bonds of custom, with so much courage and self-reliance, such forcefulness, and scorn—what kept him faithful to the old forms? What led him to decide socially against the future? What linked him with dynasties which had already begun to lose their meaning?

His blood. When he was being trained in the hunt, the old woodsman whose great-grandfather had served a Bismarck in the time of young Freddy called the boy “Herr Junker.” He saw the inadequacy of his class, their degeneration and idleness, the futility and mismanagement with which many of his cousins fulfilled their inherited offices; and he saw the intelligence, industry, and pride of common citizens triumph over the mummified prejudices of the nobility—yet he constituted himself the guardian of his class and summoned his genius to its defense.

Above all else he defended the king. Not that he considered the king’s blood to be better than his own: for more than once he told the Hohenzollerns to their faces that the Bismarcks had tenanted the realm longer than they. But he saw in the king the apex of a pyramid which, if truncated, would seen odd, and perhaps even ludicrous. He was unwilling to imperil the hereditary prerogatives of his name; like the usual noble, the usual landowner, he was loath to relinquish any worldly possessions for theoretical reasons; he could never divorce himself from this sense of superiority which found its sanction in the very force of character behind it—and thus he gave unto the king that which was the king’s.

For his house still flourished with manly vigor; the nihilism of an age of increasing transvaluations had not yet broken through his feudalistic code; and tradition was still powerful enough to extend its influence when aided by so faithful a scion. It seems as though this Junker inherited absolutely nothing from his mother, he was so totally lacking in any evidence of her bourgeois blood. Fifty years later—and Bismarck, with his temperament and will power, his fearlessness and independence, would have been a leader of the new era.

Thus he remained all his life a royalist, and grounded his work on dynasties. He himself asserted that his loyalty to the king was purely the result of his faith in God, yet this faith was forced to take strange shapes. He was a Protestant, highly unmystical, inveterately rationalistic. For years, up to the day of his death, he kept a prayer book lying on his night table; it was interleaved with blank sheets on which he jotted down the political ideas that came to him at night: truly a Bismarckian species of devotion.

In any case, no such transcendental reasons prompted him to show the least respect for other princes, and especially other German ones, even though they too felt that they ruled by divine right. On the contrary, he was scornful and heaped irony upon their heads. In the whole line of Prussian kings he loved no one, not even the great Frederick—and he cared still less for the rulers under which he himself had served. But he was bound to them by a feeling for feudal ties which must have been handed down through many generations, since blood alone can explain it. The noble granted fealty to his king through expecting fealty of his vassals. So great was the love of freedom in this revolutionary temperament.

The relationship always remained essentially one of equal to equal. And while he always observed the formalities, singing himself “most humbly” or “most obediently,” he eyed the conduct of his master with suspicion and bit the golden chain when he felt its pressure.

At last he even bit the master’s hand—and nothing shows Bismarck’s latent revolutionary tendencies more clearly than the way he rose up at the first provocation against the one authority he had recognized, the king. The significant fact is not his going, but his way of going: every detail of this drama, in which a powerful old man was called upon to comply with the arbitrary wishes of a weak young sovereign, points to the imperiousness, the intransigence, and the thorough independence of his character. The hereditary nobility of his blood provided a rigid code which would not permit him to conceive of his work in terms of the German people rather than in terms of Prussian kings. But nothing, not even the faith he paraded so readily, could hinder another kind of nobility, the nobility of his temperament, from defying a prince by God’s grace exactly as the young idiot deserved.

At times in the past he had ventured cautious criticisms or had, though always with the bearing of the liegeman, openly voiced objections when behind closed doors. But now, aroused like a mastiff, he broke into a rage against the master who had struck him unjustly. Bismarck’s fall disclosed impulses which his inherited code had kept concealed for years. Only the lack of a great opponent, and the legend which the Germans built up around the mere pretext of a reconciliation, have been able to obscure for a time the violence of this outburst.

Yet even now he winced at the thought of open rebellion. Was youth all that this old man of seventy-five needed? Or were his royalist leanings still an unsurmountable obstacle? In any case, he did not go beyond farewell tirades in which he fired disturbing truths point-blank at his king and the other princes. Then he retired in fury to his den, hurling out stones which crackled the dilapidated royal masonry.

But the steel edifice of the state remained standing. For twenty-eight years Bismarck had governed; twenty-eight years after he was gone, the old dynastic system collapsed—and Germany’s enemies watched to see the entire structure fall into ruins.

But it held! Not a stone, except those which the enemy extracted, was loosened. Indeed, at the very height of calamity, skilful hands were at work making the pillars more solid than before. And it now became evident that whereas most Germans had revered the royalty as the very foundation of the empire, it had been merely a brilliant but unnecessary facade.

The survival of the state is the surest evidence that the important part which Bismarck assigned to royalty in his political scheme was purely a concession to his class—one might almost call it a weakness. For as the ruling houses fell and the empire endured, Bismarck’s precautions for the future, despite all this baggage of tradition, were justified by their results. After the tempest, people looked about them and saw that the man who had done this was much more modern than he himself had ever hoped to be.

When the empire was founded at Versailles, amidst the medieval roar of victorious cannon, the golden mirrors in the Glass Gallery of the palace reflected only the forms of warlike princes; the industrious masses were elsewhere. When in the same hall forty-eight years later the empire was sentenced to atone and pay for its defeat, the golden mirrors no longer reflected a single royal figure. The last three emperors of Europe had been slain or deposed. Twenty-two German dynasties had been deprived of power—not by compulsion from without, hardly even by the natives themselves, but by corrosion, by the rust of an era which had served its purposes and was now ready for death.

Yet the documents which two humble citizens were called upon to sign at that momentous hour did not involve the destruction of Bismarck’s work, but only of the work of William the Second. It was William who had fostered, and Bismarck who had opposed, all those policies which eventually involved Germany in war. Foreign colonies and a marine were typical instances of all that the founder of the state had not wanted. Had he really raised the empire on the point of a victorious sword? Or had he not, rather, employed the sword purely as a means of overcoming Europe’s resistance to German unity? Did he not for twenty years thereafter, resist all the temptations of imperialism, all the enticements of militaristic expansion? And was it not Bismarck who, braving the anger of the king and all the generals at Nikolsburg, created the prototype of a modern peace: without cession of territory, without indemnity, dictated solely by the desire to restore friendly relations with the enemy as quickly as possible? Was Bismarck really of the past?

At the end he broods, despite protestations of homage, alone and in exile. When he is nearly eighty, and people try to argue him into the tranquillity proper to his years, he looks at them from under his bushy eyebrows and asks, “And why should I be tranquil?” The wife is gone upon whom he had lavished all the warmth which he repressed in his frigid dealings with the outer world. This woman had been his haven of retreat. All the yearnings for quiet, woodland and home which troubled this restless, knotty character were embodied in her—even though his equally strong love of executive activity and political organization always kept him occupied in the service of the state. The more turbulent his career, the more peaceful his marriage had to be—and was.

He had a critical mind which readily turned to history and to literary composition; and he was by nature a woodsman and a huntsman, a rustic who resented all officialdom. His sojourns in the country, which he had accepted in his youth, without thinking, were deliberately protracted in later years—for it was here that he derived the strength to breathe in ministerial chambers, in the closets of a castle, and in the halls of a parliament which he despised. This antinomy between the scene of his activity and the landscape of his heart never ended, for it was merely the symbol of a chronic indecision;and when, at the last, he had full leisure to enjoy the silence of his forests, he longed to be back in the turmoil which he had cursed for years.

This was his human lot. Bismarck was not happy by nature, and he knew it.

But he accepted life like a man, did his work with substantial materials, saw the vision of his thirties realized in his sixties, and for ten full years could look upon himself as the arbiter of the Continent. Yet he could never rid himself of the fear that all this might vanish overnight if he were not there—and in his last weeks his daughter heard him praying aloud for the future of Germany.

In a long coat, and a wide hat, peering out grimly like a Wotan, he could be seen, at the end, among the prehistoric oaks of his forests, walking about slowly and alone, between two mastiffs.

Notes

Bismarck (1815-1898), the great German statesman, the one man responsible for welding a German nation out of the many German principalities. The fallen angel is, of course, Satan.This brief sentence at the top of the page beautifully describes the Satan given in the opening books of Milton’s Paradise Lost.

Powerful frame, strong body or physique.

mastiffs, one of a breed of powerful, smooth-coated dogs, valued chiefly as watchdogs.

assassin, one who practices secret murder.

Unter den Linden, under the linden trees, the name of a street in Berlin, Germany.

the king, Frederick William IV (1797-1888), William I, German Kaiser (1871-1888), Prussian king (1861-1888).

about to yield in 1862, because of opposition to the king’s army program in Parliament. Bismarck was just then appointed minister-president, and after he had failed to secure approval of the king’s program, he dissolved Parliament, and in direct violation of the constitution, collected and expended state revenue. He assumed control of the entire government and suppressed all opposition.

scabbard, sheath of the sword.

elicited, drew out or drew forth; evoked.

convulsed, shook violently (literally and figuratively).

gloss over, cover up; explain away; say as little as possible.

after a thousand years of dissent. Charlemagne was able to bring most of the present Germany into the bounds of his empire by his energetic conquest of the Saxons, but the unity of his empire was ephemeral. The breakdown of the state was signalized in the Treaty of Verdun (843) when the three sons of Louis I, the Pious, divided the territories, the eastern portion going to Louis the German. The eastern territories never achieved a real unity; five great duchies, Saxony, Franconia, Lorraine, Bavaria, and Swabia, developed, and were dominant. From that time down to Bismarck’s day, these and many other divisions that later sprang up kept Germany from becoming a united nation.

rent, torn apart; dissociated.

coping, meeting with; dealing with.

oscillation, changing repeatedly back and forth; fluctuation.

white heat, great heat; under great compulsion; at a great speed.

forged, built up; shaped; made.

this realm of music, German musicians and composers, such as Beethoven (1770-1827), Mendelssohn (1809-1847), Schumann (1810-1856), Wagner (1813-1883), and Brahms (1833-1897), and the Austrian Schubert (1797-1828), are well known in the field of music.

wariness, state of being cautious; cautiousness.

monomaniac, one whose mind is deranged upon a single subject only.

primum mobile (first moved), with Aristotle, the highest physical sphere, or heaven of the fixed stars, which is in immediate contact with God, and derives its circular motion, the most perfect of all motions, directly from him; hence, any deep-seated impulse or urge.

Napoleon the parvenu. A parvenu is a person of obscure origin who has gained wealth or a high position; an upstart, in other words. Napoleon came from an obscure family, while Bismarck came from a family that had a long history back of it; therefore Napoleon is called the parvenu, while Bismarck is entitled the noble.

misanthropy, hatred of mankind.

ideologist or artist, idle theorizer or artist (musician, painter and such); philosopher or artist.

homo politicus, political man; political being; the practical administrator.

pedants of the Frankfort variety. Frankfort refers to the town Frankfort am Main in Germany where the Frankfort National Assembly was held in 1848-1849. A preliminary parliament (the Vorparlament) met in March, 1848, in response to popular demand and called an assembly, the parliament which convened May 13, 1848. Its president was Heinrich von Gagern (1799-1880). Delegates from all the German states gathered for the purpose of discussing plans for the unification of Germany. The delegates were of all political complexions from radical democrats to conservative royalists. There was much conflict among them and it was only after much travail that a constitution for a united Germany was drawn up. The rivalry of Austria and Prussia further complicated the problem, and the whole scheme ended in failure when Frederick William IV of Prussia, partially from fear of Austria, partially because he did not wish to have a crown given him by commoners, refused the headship of the proposed empire. Though it failed, the Parliament’s proposals were valuable to Bismarck later in the formation of the empire.

Pomeranian back-country, the uncultivated regions of Pomerania, North Prussia. Bismarck came from an old Brandenburg family.

political primitive, one unlearned in politics; one who entered the field of politics without any previous experience in it.

heavy cargo of courage, much courage.

the ballast, is any heavy substance put into the hold of a ship or the car of a balloon to steady it. Ludwig states that a proud self-consciousness kept Bismarck’s head clear and steady, even in spite of his other handicaps.

antinomies, opposition of one to another.

mishap, misfortune; accident.

March ’48, March ’90. Bismarck was present at Potsdam on that March evening, 1848, when Frederick William IV announced to the assembled officers the order for the withdrawal of the troops—a capitulation to the Revolution. Bismarck went home and at once wrote a letter to the king in which he rebuked him for conceding so readily to the mob. On March 14, 1890. Windthorst consulted Bismarck about the forthcoming session of the Reichstag. The next day the Emperor in person demanded an explanation of what had passed, and Bismarck was dragged from bed to wait upon the unexpected visitor. Both men lost their temper. Repeatedly pressed, Bismarck at last submitted his resignation. On March 20, the official Gazette announced the acceptance of the resignation by the Kaiser.

Windhorst, leader of the Center Party, formed of Catholics and Clericals, in the Reichstag. Richter, leader of the South German Popular Party in the Reichstag.

political maxims, political principles then held in highest respect.

behind the red flag of Communism. Had Bismarck been born of the poorer classes, he would have become one of the leaders of social revolt to-day.

flattery and craft as in the school of Metternich. Metternich (1773-1859), Austrian statesman, minister of foreign affairs for Austria from 1809. The period 1815-1848 has been called “the age of Metternich,” for during this time he was not only master of Austria, but chief arbiter of Europe. His skilful diplomacy depended upon his adroit use of flattery. His system depended upon political and religious censorship, espionage, and the suppression of revolutionary movements.

saw him in the true perspective, saw him as he really was;understood him well.

His blood, his descent; his lineage; his ancestry; his aristocratic ancestry.

young Freddy, Frederick the Great (1712-1786), king of Prussia from 1740-1786.

“Herr Junker,  a young German noble or squire, especially a member of the Conservative Aristocratic Party in Prussia.

mummified prejudices of the nobility, the preconceived judgments or opinions of the nobility that had been adhered to all these years although they were antiquated and out of fashion.

the Hohenzollerns, the family name of the then ruling family in Prussia. Frederick I (died 1400) acquired the margraviate of Brandenburg and built up the real greatness of the family. For 500 years (down to 1918, when the Kaiser had to abdicate in Germany) the Hohenzollerns ruled, gradually building up a powerful state. Frederick the Great, by his victory over Austria in 1740, made Prussia a major power. He is perhaps the greatest of the Hohenzollerns.

had tenanted the realm longer than they, had lived in Germany as a family longer than the Hohenzollern family.

truncated, cut off at the top or end.

nihilism,a name first applied by Turgenev in his novel Fathers and Sons(1862)to the theory held by many Russian revolutionists that it was necessary to destroy existing economic and social institutions, whatever was to be the nature of the better social order for which the destruction was to prepare.

transvaluations, changing values.

fifty years later, to-day.

inveterately, deep-rootedly; habitually; pronouncedly.

interleaved, bound with blank sheets inserted between other leaves of the book.

fealty, faithfulness to one’s lord; fidelity.

bit the golden chain, rebelled against his royal master. All through, Ludwig keeps up the comparison of Bismarck with his mastiffs.

not his going, but his way of going, Bismarck and the new Kaiser had come into open conflict over many matters; Bismarck was determined to embarrass the Emperor; the Emperor was as determined to humble the aged imperial chancellor; Bismarck finally resigned. He refused to accept any favors from the throne.

intransigence, refusal to compromise; refusing to be reconciled, to be agreeable or to remain a faithful follower.

liegeman, sworn or faithful follower.

winced, shrank as from a blow; drew back; hesitated.

twenty-eight years Bismarck had governed, from 1862 to 1890,when Bismarck’s resignation was asked for.

twenty-eight years after, from 1890 to 1918, the end of the World War.

a brilliant but unnecessary facade, a very attractive but really unnecessary false front or decoration.

in 1871, after the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian War, Bismarck, the creator of the new German Empire, became its first chancellor. William I was proclaimed emperor.

the industrious masses, the working classes; those not of the royalty.

forty-eight years later, 1918, when the peace conference at the end of the Great World War was held at Versailles.

the last three emperors of Europe. In 1872, Bismarck had formed the Three Emperors League (Germany, Russia, and Austria), in order to isolate France in diplomacy.

twenty-two German dynasties, the rulers of the twenty-two states that made up the Germany previous to 1918.

two humble citizens. The Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, Germany being represented by Mr. Herman Müller and Dr. Bell.

Nikolsburg, the treaty of Nikolsburg, July 26, 1866, between Prussia and Austria, concluding the Seven Weeks’ War. Bismarck counseled a moderate peace, for he desired Austria as a future ally.

prototype, pattern; original or model that others later have copied.

haven of retreat, refuge; shelter; place of refuge.

sojourns, periods of residence or stay.

protracted, lengthened; prolonged.

ten full years, from the formation of the German-Austrian Alliance in 1879 to William II’s accession in 1888.

arbiter, arbitrator; final authority in settling discussions.

Wotan,Wagner’s name for Woden, the chief Germanic god, called by the Norse Odin. Woden has one eye, for he gave the other for some of his knowledge. In southern Germany, Woden was especially the god of battle.

Questions

  1. What keynote to Bismarck’s character is found in the opening quotation?
  2. Of what importance was his powerful physique?
  3. In what ways did his character lack unity? How did this parallel the condition of Germany?
  4. What was his attitude towards principles?
  5. What was his primum mobile?
  6. Was Bismarck ideologist or artist?
  7. What attracted Frederick William to Bismarck?
  8. Under what conditions could Bismarck act effectively? What drained his energies when not fighting?
  9. Why must he be said to be a revolutionary at bottom?
  10. What new form of politics did he create?
  11. Why did Bismarck continue to champion the old social order?
  12. When the dynastic system of Germany collapsed, what still remained? Did the destruction involve the work of Bismarck?
  13. How had Bismarck’s marriage been his “haven of retreat”?
  14. How does he resemble his two mastiffs?

参考译文

【作品简介】

《俾斯麦》一文选自埃米尔·路德维希所著《天才与品格》,纽约哈考特布雷斯公司1927年出版,41—52页。

【作者简介】

埃米尔·路德维希(1881—1948),德国传记作家、戏剧家,以研究俾斯麦(1912)、拿破仑(1924)、威廉-霍亨索伦(1925)和林肯(1929)而著称。

俾斯麦

世间的帝王与堕落的天使相似,骄傲而忧郁,美丽而烦恼。他的计划与努力虽然宏大,却终难成功。

 

他的身躯多么魁梧强壮!俾斯麦的成就真要感谢他的强健体魄,尽管他几乎不曾与人近身肉搏过!他的躯体是如此不凡,就如同他的成就一样。他有着巨人的意志,精力充沛如同充满电荷的磁场。他像他的獒犬那样,强壮而敏锐,阴沉而冷峻,令人敬畏;对来犯者冷酷无情,对主人则终身严守忠诚。正因如此,俾斯麦钟爱獒犬,也同他的爱犬一样,强壮、敏锐而危险。

如同所有强壮之人那样,他曾救过自己的命。在柏林的菩提树大街,有一个刺客向他开枪,就在刺客走近要开第二枪的紧急时刻,俾斯麦抓住他的右手将武器打落在地,若非如此,他就当场毙命了。另外,在他年轻的时候,曾有一次跳入水中救人的经历。他终生为此感到骄傲。后来他位及宰相,一生中获得无数勋章,却唯独为这枚纪念救人的勋章而自豪。后来,他还拯救了普鲁士,在国王威廉一世将要屈服于公众压力而退位的关键时刻,俾斯麦握住了国王的剑鞘,使国王坚定信心,把握权力。

倘若没有强健体格的支撑,这三桩同等重要的事件就不会如此结局。无论走到哪儿,他都是最引人注目的一位。二十多岁时,在一次宫廷舞会上,他高大的身材就引起了他第一位主人的惊叹。无论是法国皇帝、俄国皇帝,还是国王、王子、公主,看到他进门时必须躬腰而入,继而站直身体,挺拔耸立,无不印象深刻。那些出于各种原因与他成为对手的将军和政客们,经常会对他的强壮体格感到震惊,甚至害怕。

然而他的密友,有时甚至是普通政府职员,都看到过这位巨人崩溃的时候。在绝望的折磨下,他痛哭流涕,面部表情抽搐扭曲。这是俾斯麦的另一面,也是德国人不愿示人的情感外露,但这也正是他民族主义个性的形成所不可或缺的。

关于德意志民族的统一,历史在经历了一千年的分裂后,走向依然扑朔迷离,但它却造就了这么一位个性分裂的人,单枪匹马就能抵挡另一派系。他的个人奋斗经历,交织着同情与非议、责任与权力、逃避与进犯、忠诚与报复的挣扎,恰如德国经历的艰辛路程。而这种近乎神秘的、与生俱来的相似,赋予了他为民族统一而战的愿望和勇气。连他自己也未必察觉,在他政客的狡猾表象之下,涌动着一股强大的情感。这种情感赋予了他一个愿景,一种理想,使他自始至终目标坚定,尽管他采用的方式似乎有些机会主义。俾斯麦一工作起来便高度兴奋;就这样,用了不到八年的时间,这位普鲁士人便统一了德国。

德国也只能被一位充满激情的人征服,他就像一位艺术家,能够将炽热的情感铸炼成铁。德国是一个孕育音乐家的国度,而其缔造者也必定是一位艺术家。

然而俾斯麦也是现实主义的,因为在同一片土地上,也孕育了一群现实主义者,他们试图通过深思熟虑之下向外部世界的推进,来平衡自己对思考和哲学的热爱——他们对行动的迷信,可能出于恐惧,夸张到了小心谨慎的地步。俾斯麦是一位强硬而现实的人,能够敏锐地洞察事实,对原则几乎完全漠视。在他稳步迈向权力巅峰的三十年间,甚至直到成为独裁者之后,他都能根据形势需要,与任何党派或机构结盟,或与任何党派或机构对抗。他痛恨起来,会彻夜不眠,第二天便给对手闪电一击。而当需要他们的时候,他就会改变策略求得和解。不要追问他这么做有多少是为了自己的事业,又有多少是为个人权力,因为这个人只关注自己的事业,并相信凭借一己之力能够捍卫它!

然而,俾斯麦的动力之源,与权力和名誉都无涉,想想吧,他年轻时有相当长一段时间无所事事。出身贵族的俾斯麦,三十五岁时才开始涉足政界,而拿破仑这个暴发户已经做了皇帝。他从政并不是渴望成为独裁者,也不是出于对当时还不存在的祖国理论上的热爱,更不是起于对家乡普鲁士的骄傲。然而当他手中拿起泥刀,开始一块块地垒石头时,他被真正艺术家的愿望所驱动,要在混乱中建立秩序;他由此走向愤世嫉俗,并对前辈们的无能报以嘲弄。

德国的天才一直都是思想家或是艺术家。这一民族从未造就过纯粹的“政治人”。

正因如此,他对思想家更加反感。他对哲学本就缺乏尊重,而对聚集在法兰克福的来自各党派的空谈家更是赤裸裸的鄙视。在国家陷入暴乱时,这群人坚持运用哲学原理来检验议会收到的每一条提案。俾斯麦这位来自波美拉尼亚偏远乡村的地主,对城市生长的知识分子和专业人士不屑一顾。他是自学成才的土政治家,踏入政界时毫无经验和训练,所以自然也就没有派别偏见。他结结巴巴地抛出统一德国的主张,议会举座震惊,后来得到国王的重用。俾斯麦与威廉一世国王具有某种超于才智之上的共同点,除此之外,还有什么能解释威廉一世这样一位孱弱的空想家对我们这位粗鲁巨人的赏识呢?这位拥有乡村地产的陌生人到来时是带着深思熟虑的行动计划吗?不,正相反,他什么都没带,甚至并不清楚自己想要什么,除了勇气和一肚子的不满,他一无所有。

他强壮的身躯蕴藏着非凡的勇气。他的骄傲与自信,成为航船中的压舱物,使其在动荡的航程中安全无虞。俾斯麦在1848年3月对国王说的第一句话和在1890年3月对国王说的最后一句话都是指责。不战之时,他仅是一个厌世者和嘲笑者,怀疑、愤世嫉俗以及抑郁耗尽了他的精力。然而面对敌人时,他又焕发斗志,目标坚定地果断出击,就这样,一种外部力量给他提供了攻击目标,让他获得了自足。越是近敌,他的打击越有力。相对外交敌人而言,他更专注于国内事务。比起拿破仑而言,他更憎恨德国政客温德霍斯特和里克特。

俾斯麦是一位彻头彻尾的革命者。他离开橡树林区的出生地,狂热投身于尔虞我诈的党派政治后的首次亮相;他对本国国王和王子的态度以及后来对外国国王和君主的态度;他对当时政治信条的断然驳斥;他坚持独立执政,拒绝外部干涉;他多次威胁要辞职;他清晰、不拘礼节、新颖的用词——无不表现出他热爱自由的叛逆性格。倘若此人出身于低级阶层,他必定是一位革命红旗下的勇士。

他不像歌德那样,需要秩序来包容个人的混乱。他永远处在不和谐之中,既停止不了也不愿停止。造就一个革命者的不是思想,而是情感;比起用一支冷静的笔或随众人一道抗争传统的人,以激情满志的气势去战胜传统的人,是更激进的革命者。

事实上,俾斯麦至少在德国创新了执政方式。他革新了处理民众造反的方式,创立了新的外交实践,即施行高压,而非梅特涅派主张的迂回手段。在伦敦参加一次晚宴后,俾斯麦用坚定的口吻阐述了自己的计划,英国保守党领袖迪斯雷利真正认识了俾斯麦,他对客人们说:“当心这个人,他说到做到。”

他有打破世俗束缚的强烈内在冲动,他勇气非凡,坚强独立,气势逼人,蔑视一切,然而,是什么让他忠于旧的体制?是什么使他决定维持社会现状?又是什么让他与已有衰落气象的旧王朝相联结呢?

答案是他的血统。他小时候进行狩猎训练时,老守林人称他为“容克先生”,在年轻的腓特烈二世统治时期,老守林人的曾祖父就曾经侍奉一位俾斯麦先生。俾斯麦早年看到了本阶级的无能、堕落和懒惰,以及他的表亲们世袭职位后的无用和管理不善;同时他也看到平民阶层的智慧、勤劳与骄傲压过了贵族僵化的偏见。于是,他自命为本阶级的守卫者,施展自身才能来捍卫它的利益。

他将保卫国王视为最高职责。并不因为他觉得国王的血统比自己的高贵,他不止一次当面告诉霍亨索伦王室,俾斯麦家族占有王国土地的时间比他们更长。但是他认为国王恰似金字塔的顶端,如果砍掉这一顶端,金字塔将荒诞无稽。他不想危及贵族头衔的世袭制特权;同其他贵族和地主一样,他不愿为理念而放弃任何世俗财产;他也不能摆脱高贵出身所带来的优越感——所以他要保卫国王。

他的家族依然兴旺;虽然处在动荡的虚无主义时代,他的封建主义信条尚未动摇;在他这位忠诚后裔的支持下,传统势力依旧强大,影响远播。看来,这位容克后代并未从母亲那里有所继承,在他身上看不到任何中产阶级血统的痕迹。否则,五十年后,以他的个性和意志,他的无畏和独立,他可能会成为新时代的一位领导者。

他终其一生都是保皇党,他的立足点是君主制。他宣称自己对国王的忠诚是他信仰上帝的结果,然而这种信仰的表现形式是怪异的。他是清教徒,极其务实,理性主义的世界观根深蒂固。在很多年里,直到去世那天,他的床头柜上始终放着一本祈祷书,而书里却夹着一些空白页,上面记下了夜里出现在他脑海的政治思想:这真是俾斯麦特有的虔诚。

然而,这些超验主义的理念并未使俾斯麦对其他贵族有任何敬意,特别是德国贵族,尽管他们也自以为是靠神授的权力进行统治。恰相反,俾斯麦对他们极尽蔑视讽刺。对所有的普鲁士国王,他无一爱戴,包括对弗雷德里克一世。对他所侍奉的统治者们,更是不屑一顾。但有一条世代相传的封建关系纽带,把他和他们联结起来,这也只有血统能够解释了。贵族理当效忠国王,臣下理当效忠贵族。然而,在俾斯麦的革命个性中对自由的热爱是多么强烈。

俾斯麦与国王之间的关系基本上是平等的。尽管他一贯遵循礼节,话表指称自己为“卑微的”或“顺从的”,但是,他对主人的行为是持怀疑态度的,一旦感到制压束缚时,他也会咬断主人给他戴上的金链子。

最后,他甚至还咬了主人的手。没有什么能比俾斯麦挺身对抗他唯一承认的权威——国王——能更充分地暴露他潜在的革命倾向。重要的不是他做了,而是他做的方式。当这位魁梧的老人受召遵从一位无能的年轻君主骄横的指令时,他反抗了。这次反抗的每一细节都反映出他性格中的骄傲、强硬以及完全的独立自主。俾斯麦继承的贵族血统,不允许他行事站在德国人民的立场,而非普鲁士国王的立场。然而,没有什么——即使是他津津乐道的信仰也不行——能阻止他性情中的另一种高贵挺身反抗这个上帝钦点的王子,让这个年轻的白痴受到应得的教训。

过去,俾斯麦会当面谨慎地向国王谏言,或者关起门来表达反对意见,通常都有臣下在场。但是这次,他就像被激怒的獒犬一样,对主人不公平的对待大发雷霆。俾斯麦的失控,是他被继承的行为准则多年来所压抑的冲动的一次宣泄。有两个原因使这次强烈的冲突能够被掩饰过去:第一,缺少一个与俾斯麦旗鼓相当的对手;第二,据说俾斯麦与国王出于某种原因和解了。

然而,即使现在,俾斯麦也绝不想公开造反。是因为这位七十五岁的老人缺少了当年勇吗?或者他的保皇政治倾向依然是不可跨越的障碍?无论如何,他没有越界,最多就是在辞职演讲中,对国王和贵族们进行了尖锐抨击。最后他愤怒地离朝归野,丢出的石块砸到摇摇欲坠的皇宫建筑上,噼啪作响。

然而建筑依然屹立不倒。俾斯麦执政了二十八年。在他离去二十八年之后,旧的王朝制度才崩溃。德国的敌人终于看到了皇室的坍塌。

但它并没有土崩瓦解!除了敌人抽掉的石头,没有一块石头离开原来的位置。是啊,在国难当头的时刻,能工巧匠努力让这些柱石比之前更坚不可摧。而现在显而易见的是,德国人一直视为帝国基石并尊崇有加的皇室,不过徒有其表,不堪一击。

王国的幸存充分表明,俾斯麦在其政治方略中赋予王室的重要角色,纯粹是对他所属阶级的让步——甚至可以说他是软弱的。因为当王室败落,帝国幸存之时,俾斯麦防患于未然的方略,尽管不无传统的历史包袱,结果证明是合理的。当大风暴过去,人们环顾四周,发现俾斯麦比他自己所希望的要更有前瞻性。

当凡尔赛帝国建立的时候,在胜利的炮声中,凡尔赛宫玻璃画廊的金色镜子所映照的都是好战贵族的形象;勤劳的民众无处可觅。四十八年后仍然是在凡尔赛宫,帝国失败被判赔偿,金色镜子里不再有一个王室人物。欧洲最后的三个帝王,不是被砍头就是被废黜。历经二十二朝的德国王室丧失了权力,并非迫于外界强制,亦非来自内部压力,而是由于自身的腐败,由于时代的衰落,它已经完成了历史使命,正走向寿终正寝。

然而,两位平民在那一历史时刻被迫签字的文件,毁掉的只是威廉二世的工作,而非俾斯麦的政绩。正是威廉二世制定的那些政策,最终使德国卷入战争,而这正是俾斯麦反对的。典型的例子是,这位缔国者不主张建立外国殖民地和海军。是俾斯麦把帝国推向了胜利之巅吗?他不是仅仅将战争作为手段,为的是阻止欧洲干涉德国统一吗?之后二十年,不正是俾斯麦抵制帝国主义的倾向以及军事扩张的诱惑吗?不正是俾斯麦在尼科尔斯堡顶着国王和所有将军们的愤怒,签订了现代和平条约:没有割让领土,没有赔偿,只是表明了与敌人尽快恢复友好关系的愿望。所以,俾斯麦真的过时了吗?

尽管宣称效忠王室,他直到生命尽头依然愤懑不平,过着孤独的流亡生活。在他将近八十岁的时候,人们劝他平静下来,安享晚年,他从浓密的眉毛下抬眼问道:“我为什么要平静?”他与外界打交道时是坚硬的,而把全部的温情都倾注在了过世的妻子身上。这个妇人曾是他温暖的港湾。在她的身上,集中了俾斯麦对静谧、森林和家的全部渴望,这种渴望对他烦躁而纠结的性格是一种折磨;他也同样热爱行政事务和政治组织,总是忙于处理国家事务。他的政治生涯越是动荡,他的婚姻就越需要平静——它也确实是平静的。

俾斯麦的批判性头脑,让他很自然地转向了历史和文学创作。他天生热爱森林和打猎,是个厌恶官场的乡下人。年轻时他无所追求,逗留乡村,到了晚年,他更是长期居住在乡下。只有在这里他能够积蓄力量,然后在宰相官邸、城堡议事厅和他所蔑视的议会大厅里呼吸。在他身处的环境和他心灵的愿景之间,对峙从未停止;最终在他能够终日享受森林寂静之时,他又渴望回到他诅咒多年的混乱之中。

这是他的宿命。俾斯麦天性纠结,他清楚这一点。

他接受生活的安排,以最大的努力去工作;在六十岁时实现了三十岁时的愿景;担当欧洲大陆的仲裁者整整十年。然而,他总有一种挥之不去的恐惧,担心他一离开,所有这一切会在一夜之间消失。在他弥留的最后几个星期里,他的女儿听到他在大声为德国的未来祈祷。

最后,人们看到他穿着长风衣,戴着宽礼帽,像众神之王沃旦那样,表情严肃地凝视前方,在家乡古老的橡树林中独自漫步,走在两只獒犬之间。

 

(苗菊 译)

未经允许不得转载:帕布莉卡 » 埃米尔·路德维希《俾斯麦》 -经典文学英译-中英双语赏析

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