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翻译随想(1)| 失落的领袖

阅读本文大约需要: 6 分钟

翻译的时候,总是会有一些新奇的思想跳出来,于是不得不暂时停下来,细细追究一番。慢固然是慢了,但为了避免成为流水线上被物化的客体,还是有必要保持阅读、写作、咖啡和闲暇的时光。

早晨起来赶工,预备下午去看望朋友,晚上去听贺照田兄讲“大海变成高山之后——哥德巴赫猜想”。中午预备动身,发现朋友的档期已经没有了,只能下一次再去见王总了。于是停下来写点文字。


使徒行传一共28章,第15章显然是文本的中心,也是全书最重要的一章。从这一章开始,彼得退场,保罗成为主要角色,甚至巴拿巴也隐身了,乃是教会前世今生的分野之处。

Bruce老人家在评论保罗和巴拿巴之争时,有这样一段文字:

It is a pity that the dispute was allowed to generate such bitterness; it might not have done so but for the memory of the incident at Antioch when “even Barnabas,” as Paul says, followed Peter’s example in withdrawing from the society of Gentile Christians. After that, it is doubtful if Paul and Barnabas could ever be so happy in their association as they had once been. The old mutual confidence had been damaged and could not be restored: “never glad confident morning again.”

拙译如下:

这一争端引发了如此的苦毒,真是一件可怜的事情;如果不是保罗无法忘怀巴拿巴在安提阿的表现——按照保罗的说法,“甚至连巴拿巴”也随从彼得的榜样,与外邦人基督徒隔开,这事或许不会变成这样。从此之后,保罗和巴拿巴还能不能像从前一样合作愉快,就成为一件可疑的事情。过去的彼此信任一旦破坏,就很难恢复:never glad confident morning again.

最后这句话,天外飞仙,没有脚注出处。这样的地方,就是该译者下工夫的地方了。


经过google,维基百科,百度搜索,网易阅读等诸般工具,发现如下:

  1. 这是英国诗人Robert Browning的诗句,语出“The Lost Leader”。
  2. 这首诗是献给诗人华兹华斯的。
  3. 这是一首讽刺诗,献给桂冠诗人华兹华斯……为了一点臭钱,为了桂冠诗人的名号,你投靠的政治和权力,抛弃了诗歌。你就别再回来了,回来也不会像从前一样。

The Lost Leader

by Robert Browning

               I

Just for a handful of silver he left us,

Just for a riband to stick in his coat—

Found the one gift of which fortune bereft us,

Lost all the others she lets us devote;

They, with the gold to give, doled him out silver,

So much was theirs who so little allowed:

How all our copper had gone for his service!

Rags — were they purple, his heart had been proud!

We that had loved him so, followed him, honoured him,

Lived in his mild and magnificent eye,

Learned his great language, caught his clear accents,

Made him our pattern to live and to die!

Shakespeare was of us, Milton was for us,

Burns, Shelley, were with us—they watch from their graves!

He alone breaks from the van and the freemen

— He alone sinks to the rear and the slaves!

II

We shall march prospering—not through his presence;

Songs may inspirit us—not from his lyre;

Deeds will be done—While he boasts his quiescence,

Still bidding crouch whom the rest bade aspire:

Blot out his name, then, record one lost soul more,

One task more declined, one more footpath untrod,

One more devils’-triumph and sorrow for angels,

One wrong more to man, one more insult to God!

Life’s night begins: let him never come back to us!

There would be doubt, hesitation and pain,

Forced praise on our part—the glimmer of twilight,

Never glad confident morning again!

Best fight on well, for we taught him—strike gallantly,

Menace our heart ere we master his own;

Then let him receive the new knowledge and wait us,

Pardoned in heaven, the first by the throne!

(1843-1845)

Bruce作为一位英国绅士,似乎默认Browning就像李白杜甫那样,是可以不经注释就可以引用的“床前明月光”或者“桃花潭水深千尺,不及汪伦送点钱”。

而这里所引的这句诗,Never glad confident morning again, 暗指保罗作为巴拿巴曾经的跟随者,如今因为跟彼得一起不和外邦人基督徒吃饭一事,不再像从前那样信任巴拿巴,所以才有为带不带马可出门的今日之争。

这些东西,若没有背景知识,翻译出来毫无韵味,读者大概也是雾里看花,水中捞月而已。于是在翻译的时候,笺注如下:

“不再是欢乐自信的晨光!”(译注:这是诗人勃朗宁[Robert Browning]讽刺华兹华斯[William Wordsworth]的诗“失落的领袖”里的一句。译文取自凌风的翻译)。


顺便说一下,这首诗的汉译如此(仅仅摘录最后几句译文):

生命的暗夜開始了:請他不要再回到我們中間!   那裏準會有疑惑,痛苦和彷徨, 借我們有名的頌讚—微光的昏黃,   不再是歡樂自信的晨光! 我們來教導他好好打一仗—英勇的攻擊吧,   在我們征服他之前威脅我們的心房; 然後讓他接受新知識且等我們,   先到主寶座前,得赦免進入天堂。

这是翻译得不太理想的诗歌,关键的问题在于对主语和宾语的理解不精确,或者为了押韵而因文废义。我的散文体意译大体如下,难得寻找押韵和音节契合:

生命的暗夜开始了:让他再不要回来我们中间!在我们会有怀疑、犹豫和痛苦,甚至强迫的赞美——仿佛黄昏的微光,但绝不再有欢乐自信的清晨。我们教他如何好好地战斗——但在指教他之前,让我们通过无畏的攻击先整理我们自己的心;就让他在主的宝座前蒙赦免,在等待中知晓我们新的进展吧。

Life’s night begins: let him never come back to us!

There would be doubt, hesitation and pain,

Forced praise on our part—the glimmer of twilight,

Never glad confident morning again!

Best fight on well, for we taught him—strike gallantly,

Menace our heart ere we master his own;

Then let him receive the new knowledge and wait us,

Pardoned in heaven, the first by the throne!


《教会》杂志过刊近来重发了杨安溪先生的“神在中国的手”摘录,实在是值得一读。可惜没有全文发表,网上寻找也不易。乘着闲暇有时,我就简单重读了一遍,也算是大得安慰。若要在网上读,或者可以去这里:神在中国的手。这事以后再找机会讨论了。

不过,这篇长文里提到多少“失落的领袖”呀!

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