時間︰2014-07-15 00:09 作者︰未知 點擊︰

Mayhew

生活的道路

William S. Maugham

威廉·S.毛姆

The lives of most men are determined by their environment. They accept the circumstancesamid which fate has thrown them not only with resignation but even with good will. They arelike streetcars running contentedly on their rails and they despise the sprightly flivver thatdashes in and out of the traffic and speeds so jauntily across the open country. I respectthem;they are good citizens, good husbands, and good fathers, and of course somebody hasto pay the taxes; but I do not find them exciting. I am fascinated by the men, few enough in allconscience, who take life in their own hands and seem to mould it to their own liking. It may bethat we have no such thing as free will, but at all events we have the illusion ofit. At acrossroad it does seem to us that we might go either to the right or the left and, the choiceonce made, it is difficult to see that the whole course of the world's history obliged us to takethe turning we did.

對于大多數人來說,生活是由環境決定的。他們在命運的撥弄面前,不僅逆來順受,甚至還能隨遇而安。這些人猶如街上的有軌電車,滿足于在自己的軌道上運行;而對于那些不時出沒于車水馬龍間和歡快地奔馳在曠野上的廉價小汽車卻不屑一顧。我尊重這些人;他們是守法的公民、盡職的丈夫、慈祥的父親。當然,總得有人繳納種種稅款;可是,我並不覺得他們使人振奮。另有些人把生活掌握在自己手里,似乎在按照自己的意願創造生活,盡管這樣的人寥若晨星,他們卻深深地吸引了我。自由意志這玩意兒對我們來說也許純屬子虛烏有;但不管怎麼說,它確實存在于我們的幻想之中。每逢站在十字路口,我們好像能在左右兩條道路中任選其一,可一旦選定之後,卻又很難認識到那實際是世界歷史的整個進程左右了我們的轉折點。

I never met a more interesting man than Mayhew. He was a lawyerin Detroit. He was an able anda successful one. By the time he was thirty-five he had a large and a lucrative praaice, he hadamassed a competence, and he stood on the threshold of a distinguished career. He had ana cute brain, anattractive personality, and uprightness. There was no reason why he shouldnot become, financially or politically, a power in the land. One evening he was sitting in his clubwith a group of friends and they were perhaps a little worse (or the better) for liquor. One ofthem had recently come from Italy and he told them of a house he had seen at Capri, a houseon the hill, overlooking the Bay of Naples, with a large and shady garden. He described to themthe beauty of the most beautifulisland in the Mediterranean.

我從未見到過比梅休更有意思的人了。他是底特律的一名律師,為人能干,事業上也很成功。35歲時就門庭若市,收入可觀,累累勝訴,聲名昭著,前程似錦。他頭腦靈活,性格招?喜歡,為人又很正直,在這個國家里不變得有錢或有勢才怪呢。一天晚上,他與一些朋友在俱樂部聚會。喝了酒之後,他們也許有點醉意(或更清醒)了,其中一人剛從意大利回來,跟大家談起了在卡普里島看到的一幢房子。那是一幢坐落在小山上的房屋,還有個綠葉成蔭的大花園。從屋里望出去,那不勒斯灣盡收眼底。他娓娓動听地把地中海這個最美的島嶼夸了一番。

"It sounds fine," said Mayhew. "Is that house for sale?"

“听起來倒真不錯!”梅休說,“那房子賣不賣?”

"Everything is for sale in Italy."

“在意大利什麼東西都賣。”

"Let's send'em a cable and make an offer for it."

“我們打個電報,出個價把那房子買下來。”

"What in heaven's name would you do with a house in Capri?"

“天哪!你買卡普里的一所房子干什麼用啊?”

"Live in it," said Mayhew.

“住唄!”梅休說。

He sent for a cable form, wrote it out, and dispatched it. In a few hours the reply came back.The offer was accepted.

他叫人取來一張電報單,填好後就發了出去。沒過幾小時,回電來了,買賣成交。

Mayhew was no hypocrite and he made no secret of the fact that he would never have done sowild a thing if he had been sober, but when he was he did not regret it. He was neither animpulsive nor an emotional man, but a very honest and sincere one. He would never havecontinued from bravado in a course that he had come to the conclusion was unwise. Hemade up his mind to do exactly as he had said. He did not care for wealth and he had enoughmoney on which to live in Italy. He thought he could do more with life than spend it oncomposing the trivial quarrels of unimportant people.

梅休絕對不是偽君子。他毫不隱諱地承認,如果當時頭腦清醒的話,他決不至于做出如此輕率的事。但此刻他清醒了,也決不反悔。他不是個一沖動就魯莽從事的人,也不多愁善感。他為人十分正直、誠懇。無論干什麼,只要意識到所干的並不明智,他就馬上會停下來,從不會因一時逞能而一味蠻干下去。他決心不折不扣地履行自己的諾言。

He had no definite plan. He merely wanted to get away from a life that had given him allit hadto offer. I suppose his friends thought him crazy; some must have done all they could todissuade him. He arranged his affairs, packed up his ffirniture, and started.

梅休並不在乎錢財,他有的是錢,足夠在意大利花的。他想使生活過得更有價值,不願再把這大好年華浪費在調停芸芸眾生因區區小事引起的吵鬧中。他沒有明確的計赳。他只是想拋棄這已不能再使他滿意的生活。我想他的朋友們一定以為他瘋了。有些人肯定是費盡唇舌勸他千萬別這麼做。可是他安排好手頭的事務,把家具裝了箱,毅然上路了。

Capri is a gaunt rock of austere outline, bathed in a deep blue sea; but its vineyards, greenand smiling, give it a soft and easy grace. It is friendly,remote, and debonair. I find it strangethat Mayhew should have settled on this lovely island, for I never knew a man more insensibleto beauty I do not know what he sought there: happiness, freedom, or merely leisure; I knowwhat he found. In this place which appeals so extravagantly to the senses he lived a life entirelyof the spirit. For the island is rich with historic associations and over it broods always theenigmatic memory of Tiberius the Emperor. From his windows which overlooked the Bay ofNaples, with the noble shape of Vesuvius changing colour with the changing light, Mayhew saw ahundred places that recalled the Romans and the Greeks. The past began to haunt him. All thathe saw for the first time, for he had never been abroad before, excited his fancy; and in his soulstirred the creative imagination. He was a man of energy. Presently he made up his mind towrite a history. For some time he looked about for a subject, and at last decided on the secondcentury of the Roman Empire. It was little known and it seemed to him to offer problemsanalogous with those of our own day.

卡普里島是一塊外形突兀的荒涼的岩石,沐浴在深藍色的海洋里。但是它的蔥綠的葡萄園仿佛在向人微笑,使這個海島增添了幾分令人舒爽的溫柔寧靜的姿色。卡普里島遠離塵囂,卻景色宜人,生氣盎然。我真感到奇怪,梅休竟會找這麼一個可愛的海島定居,因為我實在不相信還有誰會比他對美更無動于衷的了。我不知道他到那兒去想追求什麼,是尋幸福,求自由,或者只是為了優游歲月;但我知道他找到了什麼。在這個島上,人的感官本會受到強烈的刺激,而他卻過上了純精神的生活。因為這個島上盡是能夠勾起你聯想的歷史遺跡,總叫你想到提比略大帝的神秘故事。他站在窗前就能俯視那不勒斯灣。每當日移光變,維甦威火山的雄姿也隨之變換色澤。此時,他憑窗遠望,看到上百處殘蹤遺跡,因而聯想起羅馬和希臘的盛衰。他開始不停地思考起古代社會來。過去他從未到過國外,現在第一次開了眼界,什麼都使他神馳遐想。腦海中創造性的想象聯翩浮來。他是個精力充沛的人,立刻就決定要筆耕史學。他花了一些時間尋找題目,最終選定了羅馬帝國的第二世紀。這個題目很少為人所知。梅休認為帝國當時存在的問題與當今社會的情況頗有巧合之處。

He began to collect books and soon he had an immense library. His legal training had taughthim to read quickly. He settled down to work. At first hehad been accustomed to foregather inthe evening with the painters, writers,and such like who met in the little tavern near the Piazza,but presently hewithdrew himself, for his absorption in his studies became more pressing. Hehad been accustomed to bathe in that bland sea and to take long walks among the pleasantvineyards, butlittle by little, grudging the time, he ceased to do so. He worked harder than hehad ever worked in Detroit. He would start at noon and work all through the night till thewhistle of the steamer that goes every morning from Capri to Naples told him that it was fiveo'clockand time to go to bed. His subject opened out before him, vaster and more significant,and he imagined a work that would put him forever beside the great historians of the past. Asthe years went by he was to be found seldom in the ways of men. He could be tempted to comeout of his house only by agame o' chess or the chance of an argument. He loved to set hisbrain against another's. He was widely read now, not only in history, but in philosophy andscience; and he was a skilful controversialist, quick, logical, and incisive.

他開始收集有關著作,不久就有了大量藏書。搞法律時受的訓練教會了他如何快速閱讀。他著手工作了。起初,,他慣于在黃昏時分到市場附近的一個小酒店和聚在那里的畫家、作家等文人墨客共同消磨一段時光,但不久他就深居簡出了,因為研究工作日趨緊張,使他抽不出時間。一開始他也常到溫和的海水中去洗澡,不時在可愛的葡萄園之間散步。但由于舍不得時間,漸漸地他不再洗澡,也不散步了。他干得要比在底特律賣力得多,常常是正午開始工作,徹夜不眠,待到汽笛一鳴,才恍然意識到已是清晨五點,從卡普里到那不勒斯的船只正要起錨出航,該是睡覺的時候了。他的主題在他面前展開了,涉及的內容越來越廣泛,意義越來越重大。他在遐想,一旦巨著完成,他將躋身于歷代偉大的史學家之列,永垂史冊。時間一年年過去,人們很少看到他與外界來往,只有一場棋賽或是一次辯論,才能誘使他走出家門。他就是愛與人斗智。現在他已博覽群書,不僅讀歷史,還讀哲學與科學。他能爭善辯,思路敏捷,說理邏輯嚴密,批判尖銳辛辣。

But he had good-humour and kindliness; though he took a very human pleasure in victory, hedid not exult in it to your mortification.

但他心地是善良的。當然,每逢勝利他也免不了滿腔歡欣與快樂,這是人之常情。不過他並不沾沾自喜,而讓別人下不了台。

When first he came to the island he was a big, brawny.fellow, with thick black hair and a blackbeard, of a powerful physique; but gradually his skin became pale and waxy; he grew thin andfrail. It was an odd contradiction in the most logical of men that, though a convinced andimpetuous materialist,he despised the body; he looked upon it as a vile instrument which hecould force to do the spirit's bidding. Neither illness nor lassitude prevented him from going onwith his work. For fourteen years he toiled uluemittingly. He made thousands and thousands ofnotes. He sorted and classified them. Hehad his subjea at his finger ends, and at last was readyto begin. He sat down to write. He died.

當他初到海島時,個子高大結實,一頭濃密的黑發和一把黑胡須,是一個身強力壯的人。但漸漸地他的皮膚日見蒼白,人也瘦弱了。盡管他是一個堅定不移的、甚至近于偏激的唯物論者,卻不把肉體放在眼里。這在一位最講究邏輯的人身上,可真是自相矛盾得叫人不可思議。他把肉體視為微不足道的工具,認為他可以驅使肉體去完成精神賦予的使命。病魔和疲勞都不能使他停止工作。整整14年,他埋頭苦干,鍥而不舍,做了千萬條注釋,又把這些注釋分門別類整理有序。對于自己的主題,他了如指掌,終于萬事俱備,他坐下來去寫那煌煌巨著。然而他死了。

The body that he, the materialist, had treated so contumeliously took its revenge on him.

這位唯物論者曾極度蔑視肉體,如今肉體對他進行了報復。

That vast accumulation of knowledge is lost for ever. Vain was that ambition,surely not anignoble one, to set his name beside those of -Gibbon and Mommsen . His memory is treasuredin the hearts of a few friends, fewer,alas! as the years pass on, and to the world he isunknown in death as he was in life.

那長年累月積累起來的知識也隨著他的死而化為烏有。他曾想與吉本和蒙森齊名。這雄心無疑是高尚的,然而如今只是一場空。幾個朋友還懷念著他,可嘆的是,隨著歲月的流逝,記得他的人也越來越少。在這個大干世界上,他死後默默無聞,猶如他生前一樣。

And yet to me his life was a success. The pattern is good and complete. Hedid what he wanted,and he died when his goal was in sight and never knew the bitterness of an end achieved.

然而,在我看來,他的一生是成功的。他的生活道路是完美的。因為他干了他想干的事。當目標在望時,他與世長辭,因而也就幸免了達到目標後的心酸與痛苦。

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