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穿越喧嚣尘世 抵达伊甸仙境

 
 
 

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与查斯菲尔德勋爵书  

2014-09-22 19:30:35|  分类: 美文撷赏 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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英国辞典编纂者查塞缪尔·约翰逊博士曾寻求有赞助文艺之誉的查斯菲尔德资助,未果。后辞典出来,查斯菲尔德勋爵前倨后恭,却来凑起了热闹。约翰逊博士毫不客气地写了一封回信,道出了一个潦倒文人的辛酸,和世态的炎凉,这封信成了传世之作。因写一文要用此信,但上网搜索不到译文,于是自己动手,译了出来。那封信很适合用文言翻,可惜我功力有限,只能翻到这个水平,还请朋友们指正。

To The Right Honourable The Earl Of Chesterfield 7th February, 1755

My Lord,

I have been lately informed, by the proprietor of The World, that two papers, in which my Dictionary is recommended to the public, were written by your lordship. To be so distinguished is an honour which, being very little accustomed to favours from the great, I know not well how to receive, or in what terms to acknowledge.

查斯菲尔德勋爵阁下:《世界》业主告知,余之字典,公先后著文二则,举荐于世人。余向不习贵人爱重,此浩荡宏恩,尚不知如何领受,如何称谢也。

When, upon some slight encouragement, I first visited your lordship, I was overpowered, like the rest of mankind, by the enchantment of your address, and could not forbear to wish that I might boast myself Le vainqueur du vainqueur de la terre;—that I might obtain that regard for which I saw the world contending; but I found my attendance so little encouraged, that neither pride nor modesty would suffer me to continue it. When I had once addressed your Lordship in public, I had exhausted all the art of pleasing which a retired and uncourtly scholar can possess. I had done all that I could; and no man is well pleased to have his all neglected, be it ever so little.

昔闻公礼贤下士,余慕名拜谒。公之风雅,余仰慕战兢,与世人无异,祈愿得公提携,以为至荣至慰也。然余之仰慕,公未略加褒赏。余岂无颜面?岂无自知?故不欲继此徒劳之功。余一介寒儒,已失斯文之态,尽阿谀之术,无复可献。余之诚昭昭也,虽无足挂齿,然当此冷遇,举世之人,安有乐之者哉?

 Seven years, my lord, have now passed, since I waited in your outward rooms, or was repulsed from your door; during which time I have been pushing on my work through difficulties, of which it is useless to complain, and have brought it, at last, to the verge of publication, without one act of assistance, one word of encouragement, or one smile of favour. Such treatment I did not expect, for I never had a patron before.

公之朱门,百谒不开。嗣后七年,余焚烛继昼,未尝有须臾之懈,其状之苦不足为外人道也。如是经年,功乃初成,拙著始见天日。此间未得一文之襄助,一言之宽慰,一笑之褒奖。余向未有贵人提携之幸,公之冷遇,余不知何以对之,唯生惊愕也。

 The shepherd in Virgil grew at last acquainted with Love, and found him a native of the rocks.  Is not a patron my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it: till I am solitary, and cannot impart it;  till I am known, and do not want it. I hope it is no very cynical asperity not to confess obligations where no benefit has been received, or to be unwilling that the public should consider me as owing that to a patron, which providence has enabled me to do for myself.

《维吉尔》中之牧者,求爱神未果,既识之,不过土石之侣尔。怪哉我主:遇人落水而袖手旁观,视其溺毙如儿戏;待其上岸,却急施援手,碍其手脚反为羁绊。先时雪中送炭,恩小亦奚足贵,其善大也。俟余心死,公方思提携,殆误久矣。迩际余空巢鳏居,得恩亦无可传,公始施浮恩。余名就功成,公之恩加一分无益,减一分无损,得失皆无患也。天道酬勤,余始有今日之成,公未有方寸之功,徒有加恩之名,却未见其实。余恐世人错爱,不欲谢公乌有之功,惟愿公亦不以余刻薄为念。

 Having carried on my work thus far with so little obligation to any favourer of learning, I shall not be disappointed though I should conclude it, if less be possible, with less; for I have been long wakened from that dream of hope, in which I once boasted myself with so much exultation,

余未得片刻相助,发愤自勉,今胸中豁然,不复生拂郁。往昔急欲高攀,妄念丛生,今梦醒久矣!

 My Lord,

Your lordship's most humble,

most obedient servant,

SAM. JOHNSON.

 仆约翰逊顿首

 主后一七五五年二月七日         (方柏林译)

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