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文学作品汉译:Francis Bacon - Of Marriage and Single Life

2014-09-18    来源:en84    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

文学作品汉译:Francis Bacon - Of Marriage and Single Life

文学作品汉译:请欣赏培根作品《Of Marriage and Single Life》

Of Marriage and Single Life

Francis Bacon

HE THAT hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men; which both in affection and means, have married and endowed the public. Yet it were great reason that those that have children, should have greatest care of future times; unto which they know they must transmit their dearest pledges. Some there are, who though they lead a single life, yet their thoughts do end with themselves, and account future times impertinences. Nay, there are some other, that account wife and children, but as bills of charges. Nay more, there are some foolish rich covetous men, that take a pride, in having no children, because they may be thought so much the richer. For perhaps they have heard some talk, Such an one is a great rich man, and another except to it, Yea, but he hath a great charge of children; as if it were an abatement to his riches. But the most ordinary cause of a single life, is liberty, especially in certain self-pleasing and humorous minds, which are so sensible of every restraint, as they will go near to think their girdles and garters, to be bonds and shackles. Unmarried men are best friends, best masters, best servants; but not always best subjects; for they are light to run away; and almost all fugitives, are of that condition. A single life doth well with churchmen; for charity will hardly water the ground, where it must first fill a pool. It is indifferent for judges and magistrates; for if they be facile and corrupt, you shall have a servant, five times worse than a wife. For soldiers, I find the generals commonly in their hortatives, put men in mind of their wives and children; and I think the despising of marriage amongst the Turks, maketh the vulgar soldier more base. Certainly wife and children are a kind of discipline of humanity; and single men, though they may be many times more charitable, because their means are less exhaust, yet, on the other side, they are more cruel and hardhearted (good to make severe inquisitors), because their tenderness is not so oft called upon. Grave natures, led by custom, and therefore constant, are commonly loving husbands, as was said of Ulysses, vetulam suam praetulit immortalitati. Chaste women are often proud and froward, as presuming upon the merit of their chastity. It is one of the best bonds, both of chastity and obedience, in the wife, if she think her husband wise; which she will never do, if she find him jealous. Wives are young men’s mistresses; companions for middle age; and old men’s nurses. So as a man may have a quarrel to marry, when he will. But yet he was reputed one of the wise men, that made answer to the question, when a man should marry,—A young man not yet, an elder man not at all. It is often seen that bad husbands, have very good wives; whether it be, that it raiseth the price of their husband’s kindness, when it comes; or that the wives take a pride in their patience. But this never fails, if the bad husbands were of their own choosing, against their friends’ consent; for then they will be sure to make good their own folly.

论结婚与独身

弗朗西斯·培根

夫人之有妻儿也不啻已向命运典质,从此难成大事,无论善恶。兴大业,立大功,往往系未婚无儿者所为,彼辈似已与公众结亲,故爱情产业并以付之。按理而论,有子女者应对未来岁月最为关切,因已将至亲骨肉托付之矣。独身者往往思虑仅及己身,以为未来与己无关。有人则视妻儿为负债。更有贪而愚者,以无儿女为荣,以为如此更可夸其富足。此辈或曾闻人议论,一云此人为大富,另一则云否也,其人有多子负担,其财必损。然独身之原因,最常见者为喜自由,尤其自娱任性之人不耐任何束缚,身上褡带亦视为桎梏。未婚者为最好之友、最好之主、最好之仆,然非最好之臣,因其身轻易遁也,故亡命徒几全未婚。未婚适合教会中人,因如先须注水于家池则无余泽以惠人矣。然对法官行政官等则无足轻重,彼辈如收礼贪财,劣仆之害五倍于妻。至于士兵,余尝见将军以渠等妻儿所望激励之,而土耳其人鄙视婚姻,故其士兵更为卑劣。妻儿对人确为一种锻炼。单身者本可心慈过人,因其资财少耗也,实则由于不常触其心肠,反而更为严酷(因而适为审判异端之官)。庄重之人守规不渝,为夫常能爱妻,是故人云优利息斯“爱老妻胜过不朽也”。贞节之妇自恃节操,不免骄纵。欲使妻子守贞从夫,夫须有智;如妻疑夫猜忌,则断难听命矣。妻子者,青年之情妇,中年之伴侣,老年之护士也,故如决心结婚,须善择时。昔有智者答人问何时可婚,曾云:“青年未到时,老年不必矣。”常见恶夫有良妻,是否由于此辈丈夫偶尔和善,更见其可贵,抑或此类妻子以忍耐为美德欤?可确言者,如妻子不顾友朋劝告而自择恶夫,则必尽力弥补前失。

(王佐良 译)

论结婚与独身

有妻与子的人已经向命运之神交了抵押品了;因为妻与子是大事底阻挠物,无论是大善举或大恶行。无疑地,最好,最有功于公众的事业是出自无妻或无子的人的;这些人在情感和金钱两方面都可说是娶了公众并给以奁资了。然而依理似乎有子嗣的人应当最关心将来,他们知道他们一定得把自己最贵重的保证交代给将来的。有些人虽然过的是独身生活,他们的思想却仅限于自身,把将来认为无关紧要。并且有些人把妻与子认为仅仅是几项开销。尤有甚者,有些愚而富的悭吝人竟以无子嗣自豪,以为如此则他们在别人眼中更显得富有了。也许他们听过这样的话:一人说,“某某人是个大富翁”,而另一人不同意地说,“是的,可是他有很大的儿女之累”,好象儿女是那人底财富底削减似的。然而独身生活底最普通的原因则是自由,尤其在某种自喜而且任性的人们方面为然,这些人对于各种的约束都很敏感,所以差不多连腰带袜带都觉得是锁链似的。独身的人是最好的朋友,最好的主人,最好的仆人,但是并非最好的臣民;因为他们很容易逃跑,差不多所有的逃人都是独身的。独身生活适于僧侣之流,因为慈善之举若先须注满一池,则难于灌溉地面也。独身于法官和知事则无甚关系,因为假如他们是易欺而贪污的,则一个仆人之恶将五倍于一位夫人之恶也。至于军人,窃见将帅激厉士卒时,多使他们忆及他们底妻子儿女;又窃以为土耳其人之不尊重婚姻使一般士兵更为卑贱也。妻子和儿女对于人类确是一种训练;而独身的人,虽然他们往往很慷慨好施,因为他们底钱财不易消耗,然而在另一方面他们较为残酷狠心(作审问官甚好),因为他们不常有用仁慈之处也。庄重的人,常受风俗引导,因而心志不移,所以多是情爱甚笃的丈夫;如古人谓攸立西斯:“他宁要他底老妻而不要长生”者是也。贞节的妇人往往骄傲不逊,一若她们是自恃贞节也者。假如一个妇人相信她底丈夫是聪慧的,那就是最好的使她保持贞操及柔顺的维系;然而假如这妇人发现丈夫妒忌心重,她就永不会以为他是聪慧的了。妻子是青年人底情人,中年人底伴侣,老年人底看护。所以一个人只要他愿意,任何时候都有娶妻底理由。

然而有一个人,人家问他,人应当在什么时候结婚?他答道:“年青的人还不应当,年老的人全不应当”。这位也被人称为智者之一。常见不良的丈夫多有很好的妻子;其原因也许是因为这种丈夫底好处在偶尔出现的时候更显得可贵,也许是因为做妻子的以自己底耐心自豪。但是这一点是永远不错的,就是这些不良的丈夫必须是做妻子的不顾亲友之可否而自己选择的,因为如此她们就一定非补救自己底失策不可也。

(水天同 译)

论结婚与独身

有妻室儿女者对未来已只有听天由命,因妻室儿女乃成就大业之妨碍,不管要成就的大业是善是恶。无可否认,最有益于公众的丰功伟业历来皆由无妻室或子女的人始创,这些人在感情上已娶了公众,并用他们的钱财替公众置了嫁妆。但按理说有子女的人对将来应最为关心,因为他们知道得把自己最心爱的孩子留给将来。世上有这样一种人,他们虽然过独身生活,但却一心只想自己,认为将来与己无关;世上还有一种人,他们认为妻子儿女不过是应付的账单;更有甚者,有些愚蠢而贪婪的富翁竟为没有子女而扬扬得意,他们可能以为这样一来他们就更为富有,也许他们听过这样一段对话,有人说“某某某是个大富翁”,另有一人则不以为然,“是呀,可他有一大堆孩子要养”,仿佛子女会减少那人的财富似的。不过选择独身的原因多半都是为了自由,对某些自悦而任性的人来说尤其如此,因为这种人对任何约束都极为敏感,以致他们或许会把腰带或吊袜带也视为羁绊。独身者往往意味着挚友、恩主或仆,但并不尽然都是忠顺的臣民,因他们无牵无挂,可远走高飞,而且浪迹他乡者差不多都是独身。僧侣修士很需要过独身生活,因为须先施于家人的博爱很难普度众生。各级法院法官独身与否无关紧要,因如若他们易被人左右并贪赃枉法,始作俑者多半是幕僚而不是妻子。至于士卒兵丁,笔者发现将帅激励部下时总爱让他们想到家小;同时笔者亦认为,土耳其人对婚姻之不尊重使他们的士兵变得更为卑劣。毋庸置疑,妻室儿女意味着一种人性的磨练。独身者虽因花销较少二常常慷慨施舍,但在另一方面他们却更为残忍冷酷(宜作审讯官吏),因为他们的柔情不常被唤醒。性情庄重者因奉习俗为圭臬而能忠贞不渝,故通常皆为情深意笃的丈夫,就像传说中的尤利西斯,他宁要年迈的妻子而不愿获得永生。贞洁的女人往往骄矜自负,桀骜不驯,仿佛她们因其贞洁之德而有恃无恐。让妻子觉得丈夫明智是使其既贞洁又顺从的最有力保证,但若是妻子发现丈夫忌妒多疑,她就绝不会认为丈夫明智。妻乃青年者的情人、中年者的伴侣、暮年者的护士;所以只要一个人喜欢,他任何时候娶妻都有道理。但有位被称作智者的人,却另有高见,他在被问及当何时娶妻时说:“年少时尚不宜,年长时则不必。”世人常见劣夫偏娶上贤妻,这个中缘由或许是劣夫们偶尔一露的好心更显珍贵,或许是那些贤妻爱为自己的忍性而感到自豪;但只要那些劣夫们是贤妻们未经亲友同意而自行作出的选择,这种婚姻就绝不会失败,因为要是失败的话,贤妻们就将不可避免地证明自己愚蠢。

(曹明伦 译)



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