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《高级英语》课文逐句翻译(11)

2006-12-29 14:06   【 】【我要纠错

  lesson11-13

  谈睡眠

  Lesson Eleven  On Getting off to Sleep

  人真是充满矛盾啊! 毫无疑问,幽默是惟一帮助我们摆脱矛盾的办法,要是没有它,我们就会死于烦恼。

  What a bundle of contradictions is a man! Surety, humour is the saving grace of us, for without it we should die of vexation.

  在我看来,没有什么比睡眠更能说明事物间的矛盾。

  With me, nothing illustrates the contrariness of things better than the matter of sleep.

  比如,我打算写一篇文章,面前放好了笔、墨和几张白纸,准保没写几个字我就会困得要命,无论当时是几点都会那样。

  If, for example, my intention is to write an essay, and 1 have before me ink and pens and several sheets of virgin paper, you may depend upon it that before I have gone very far I feel an overpowering desire for sleep, no matter what time of the day it is.

  我瞪着那似乎在谴责我的白纸,直到眼前一片模糊,声音也难以辨清,只有靠意志力才能勉强坚持。

  I stare at the reproachfully blank paper until sights and sounds become dim and confused, and it is only by an effort of will that I can continue at all.

  即使这时,我也会迷迷糊糊地像在做梦一样继续坚持工作。

  Even then, I proceed half-heartedly, in a kind of dream.

  但是当深夜躺在床上,我什么事都能干,只有睡觉无法做到。

  But let me be between the sheets at a late hour, and I can do any-thing but sleep.

  随着时钟一遍一遍的报时,我可以完成大量的文章。

  Between chime and chime of the clock I can write essays by the score.

  极有吸引力的主题和崇高的思想纷纷出现在脑海,随之而来的还有恰如其分的意象和措辞。

  Fascinating subjects and noble ideas come pell-mell, each with its appropriate imagery and expression.

  除了笔、墨和纸,什么也不能阻止我写出半打不朽的杰作。

  Nothing stands between me and half-a-dozen imperishable masterpieces but pens, ink, and paper.

  如果,我们的思想和主观意象对于来世的人来说真的就像我们的书本和图片一样是有形的、摸得着的,那么我在来世会比在今生获得更高的声誉。

  If it be true that our thoughts and mental images are perfectly tangible things, like our books and pictures, to the inhabitants of the next world, then I am making for myself a better reputation there than I am in this place.

  只要我躺在床上有一两个小时睡不着觉,我就能令自己满意地解决人类一切的疑虑。

  Give me a restless hour or two in bed and I can solve, to my own satisfaction, all the doubts of humanity.

  如果我有兴致的话,我可以谱写出宏伟的交响乐,描绘出壮丽的画卷。

  When I am in the humour I can compose grand symphonies, and paint magnificent pictures.

  我就是莎士比亚、贝多芬和米开朗基罗。但这一切仍无法令我满意,因为我还是无法入睡。

  I am, at once, Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Michael Angelo; yet it gives me no satisfaction; for the one thing I cannot do is to go to sleep.

  一旦到了上床睡觉时间,五个摄取知识的港口就要关闭的时候,我认识的大多数人似乎都能很容易就忘却了他们在尘世的作用,很快进入梦乡,而我却不能。

  Once in bed, when it is time to close the five ports of knowledge, most folks I know seem to find no difficulty in plunging their earthly parts into oblivion.

  对我来说,睡眼就像一个忸怩羞怯的情妇,喜欢反复无常地挑逗男人,让男人不停地向她求爱——“惟恐让男人得的太容易而显得自己身价太低。”

  It is not so with me, to whom sleep is a coy mistress, much given to a teasing inconsistency and for ever demanding to be wooed —“lest too light winning make the prize light”。

  我曾诧异地读过一些大肆吹捧那些好战的超人、世界和平的巨大威胁者,诸如克伦威尔、拿破仑之类的文章,文章里说他们“钢铁般的意志”使他们一躺下就能熟睡,并在某一特定时间醒来,精神抖擞。

  I used to read, with wonder, those sycophantic stories of the warlike supermen, the great troublers of the world''s peace, Cromwell, Napoleon, and the like, who, thanks to their “iron wills”, could lie down and plunge themselves immediately into deep sleep, to wake up, refreshed, at a given time.

  这些故事给了我很大的震动,我决心像他们那样做。于是上床后,我就紧咬牙关,在黑暗中尽可能显得意志坚定,命令睡眠立刻到来。

  Taking these fables to heart, I would resolve to do likewise, and, going to bed, would clench my teeth, look as determined as possible in the darkness, and command the immediate presence of sleep.

  但是,天哪 !高度集中的精力让我比任何时候都清醒,我不得不在折磨人的失眠中捱过几个钟头。

  But alas! The very act of concentration seemed to make me more wakeful than ever, and I would pass hours in tormenting sleeplessness.

  我忽略了拥有“钢铁般意志”的必要性,我自己的意志力中很少或干脆没有这种特殊的金属性质。

  I had overlooked the necessity of having an “iron will”, my own powers of will having little or none of this peculiar metallic quality.

  但是同这些具有钢铁般意志的人生活在一起会是多么不舒服啊!

  But how uncomfortable it must have been living with these ironwilled folks!

  谁愿意劝告他们,与他们争辩呢?

  Who would want to remonstrate and argue with them?

  那还不如用大铁锤打铁砧。

  It would be worse than beating an anvil with a sledge hammer.

  我承认我一直怀疑那些夸耀自己一上床就能睡着的人——那些“头一沾枕头就睡着”的家伙们。

  I must confess that I always suspect the men who boast that they unvaryingly fall asleep as soon as they get into bed — those “as soon as my head touches the pillow” fellows.

  我觉得这种习惯中有某种不近人情的、冷酷的、麻木的东西。

  To me, there is something inhuman, something callous and almost bovine, in the practice.

  我对这种人对较高级事物的鉴赏力表示怀疑。

  I suspect their taste in higher matters.

  抛开钢铁般意志不谈,那种把他清醒时的感觉及思想随同衣服抛在一边,并完全无视那些有时会从十年前隐藏的记忆中跳出来回忆和幻想的人,一定缺乏人类的同情心和造诣深度。

  Iron wills apart, there must be a lack of human sympathy or depth in a man who can thus throw off, with his clothes, his waking feelings and thoughts, and ignore completely those memories and fancies which

  ……will sometimes leap,

  From hiding-places ten years deep.

  与这种人同住一室会使人对人性丧失信心,因为即使是最重要的一天,同这种人也无法沟通交流,也没有什么午夜的密谈,更没有一同商议一天的痛苦和快乐究竟有多少。

  To share a bedroom with one of these fellows is to lose one''s faith in human nature, for, even after the most eventful day, there is no comparing notes with them, no midnight confidence, no casting up the balance of the day''s pleasure and pain.

  他们很快就进入了愚蠢的熟睡中,留下你一人在心里折腾,而且他们还都鼾声如雷,十分讨厌。

  They sink, at once, into stupid, heavy slumber, leaving you to your own mental devices. And they all snore abominably!

  人工催眠的方法多不胜举,惟一的相同之处就是都不管用。

  The artificial ways of inducing sleep are legion, and are only alike in their ineffectuality

  在《拉文格罗》(或者是《吉卜赛男人》)一书中有一个无可救药的人,患有失眠症,他发现华尔华斯的一卷诗集是惟一有效的催眠剂,但那只不过是伯罗的恶作剧而已。

  In Lavengro (or is it Romany Rye?) there is an impossible character, a victim of insomnia, who finds that a volume of Wordsworth''s poems is the only sure soporific; but that was Borrow s malice.

  那个有名的数跳过篱笆墙台阶的山羊的老办法对我从来都不起作用。

  The famous old plan of counting sheep jumping over a stile has never served my turn.

  我在想像中牧羊,一直想到它们不知怎地都变成了白熊和蓝猪。我倒想看看哪个有理智的人能在赶着一群天蓝色的猪的时候进入梦乡。

  I have herded imaginary sheep until they insisted on turning themselves into white bears or blue pigs, and I defy any reasonable man to fall asleep while mustering a herd of cerulean swine.

  前不久,我和一位老朋友谈到这个问题,她给了我一个治失眠的特别好用的方子,就是她想像自己一遍一遍地重复一些琐碎事,直到她对生活的单调感到厌烦而进入梦乡。

  Discussing the question, some times ago, with an old friend, she gave me her never-failing remedy for sleeplessness, which was to imagine herself performing some trivial action over and over again, until, her mind becoming disgusted with the monotony of life, sleep drew the curtain.

  她最喜欢的方法就是想像墙上的一幅画没有挂正,然后着手将它摆正。

  Her favourite device was to imagine a picture not hanging quite plumb upon the wall, and then to proceed to straighten it.

  我尝试了这种方法——尽管把画挂正并不是我的习惯——但毫无效果。

  This I tried —though putting pictures straight is no habit of mine—but it was of no avail.

  我可以毫不困难地想像出墙上有一幅画,也可以很熟练地移动几下,但这么一来我想到了一般的画,然后我又想到了我和朋友T君一块参加的画展,他说了什么,我又说了什么,接着我又想到了T君最近过得如何,他的儿子是否还在上学。

  I imagined the picture on the wall without difficulty, and gave it a few deft touches, but this set me thinking of pictures in general, and then I remembered an art exhibition I had attended with my friend T. and what he said, and what I said, and I wondered how T. was faring these days, and whether his son was still at school.

  如此继续下去,直到我发现自己沉浸在奶酪、招魂术和落基山脉的遐想之中——但仍没有睡意!

  And so it went on, until I found myself meditating on cheese, or spiritualism, or the Rocky Mountains—but no sleep!

  然后又想像到在《解放的普罗米修斯》中描述的那个地狱边缘的某个地方,那个充满了人类梦想和愉快想像的模糊地带,有着阴沉可怕的幽灵,一幅画歪挂在鬼影般的墙上。

  Somewhere in that limbo which Earth describes in Prometheus Unbound, that vague region filled with Dreams and the light imaginings of men, is the dreary phantom of an unstraightened picture upon a ghostly wall.

  就让它呆在那里吧,因为我再也用不着它了。

  And there it shall stay, for I have no further use for it.

  但我对能找到某种加速睡眠的方法没有完全放弃希望,还看到了一线希望。重读兰姆的书信集时(这不是第一次,但愿也不是最后一次),在他写给骚塞的便条中,我看到了下面这段话:“在我办公室里有一位H先生,他从早到晚不停地写啊说啊,但总也超不出肉体和物质现实那一套!当我晚上睡不着时,我就想像着和H先生就一假设的题目进行对话,在幻想中一直和他无聊地扯下去,直到我大笑或是睡着为止,我发现这方法很灵验……”。

  But I have not yet given up all hope of finding some way of hastening the approach of sleep. Even yet there is a glimmer, for re-reading (not for the first, and, please Heaven! not the last time) Lamb''s letters, I came upon the following, in a note to Southey; “But there is a man in my office, a Mr. H., who proses it away from morning lo night, and never gets beyond corporal and material verities! . . .

  这方法可能行得通,我们都认识一些H先生式的人,他们的谈话毫无想像力,又缺乏智慧,听了就像服了鸦片一样。今天晚上我将不再进行诸如数跳篱笆的山羊和摆正挂歪了的画之类的毫无价值的想像,而去召唤一个极度无聊、乏味的家伙来对话。

  When I can''t sleep o''nights,I imagine a dialogue with Mr. H,upon a given subject and go prosing on in fancy with him,nil I either laugh or fall asleep. I have literally found it answer. . . “There is promise in this,and we all have our Mr. H. whose talk,bare of anything like fancy and wit,acts upon us like a dose of lau-danum . This very night I will dismiss such trivial phantasies as jumping sheep and crooked pictures,and evoke the phantom of a crushing, stupendous Bore.

本文转载链接:《高级英语》课文逐句翻译(11)

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