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文学作品汉译:William Henry Hudson - Birds

2014-10-14    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训
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文学作品汉译:William Henry Hudson - Birds



William Henry Hudson

For some time past I had been ascending a low, broad, flat-topped hill, and on forcing my way through the undergrowth into the open I found myself on the level plateau, an unenclosed spot overgrown with heather and scattered furze bushes, with clumps of fir and birch trees. Before me and on either hand at this elevation a vast extent of country was disclosed. The surface was everywhere broken, but there was no break in the wonderful greenness, which the recent rain had intensified. There is too much green, to my thinking, with too much uniformity in its soft, bright tone, in South Devon. After gazing on such a landscape the brown, harsh, scanty vegetation of the hilltop seemed all the more grateful. The heath was an oasis and a refuge; I rambled about in it until my feet and legs were wet; then I sat down to let them dry and altogether spent several agreeable hours at that spot, pleased at the thought that no human fellow-creature would intrude upon me. Feathered companions were, however, not wanting. The crowing of cock pheasants from the thicket beside the old road warned me that I was on preserved grounds. Not too strictly preserved, however, for there was my old friend the carrion-crow out foraging for his young. He dropped down over the trees, swept past me, and was gone. At this season, in theearly summer, he may be easily distinguished, when flying, from his relation the rook. When on the prowl the crow glides smoothly and rapidly through the air, often changing his direction, now flying close to the surface, anon mounting high, but oftenest keeping nearly on alevel with the tree tops. His gliding and curving motions are somewhat like those of the herring-gull, but the wings in gliding are carriedstiff and straight, the tips of the long flight-feathers showing a slight upward curve. But the greatest difference is in the way the head is carried. The rook, like the heron and stork, carries his beak pointing lance-like straight before him. He knows his destination, and makes for it; he follows his nose, so to speak, turning neither to the right nor the left. The foraging crow continually turns his head, gull-like and harrier-like, from side to side, as if to search the ground thoroughly or to concentrate his vision on some vaguely seen object.

Not only the crow was there: a magpie chattered as I came from the brake, but refused to show himself; and a little later a jay screamed at me, as only a jay can. There are times when I am intensely in sympathy with the feeling expressed in this ear-splitting sound, inarticulate but human. It is at the same time warning and execration, the startled solitary's outburst of uncontrolled rage at the abhorred sight of a fellow-being in his woodland haunt.

Small birds were numerous at that spot, as if for them also its wildness and infertility had an attraction. Tits, warblers, pipits, finches, all were busy ranging from place to place, emitting their various notes now from the tree-tops, then from near the ground; now close at hand, then far off; each change in the height, distance, and position of the singer giving the sound a different character, so that the effect produced was one of infinite variety. Only the yellow-hammer remained constant in one spot, in one position, and the song at each repetition was the same. Nevertheless this bird is not so monotonous a singer as he is reputed…

By and by I had a better bird to listen to--a redstart. A female flew down within fifteen yards of me; her mate followed and perched on a dry twig, where he remained a long time for so shy and restless a creature. He was in perfect plumage, and sitting there, motionless in the strong sunlight, was wonderfully conspicuous, the gayest, most exotic-looking bird of his family in England. Quitting his perch, he flew up into a tree close by and began singing; and for half an hour thereafter I continued intently listening to his brief strain, repeated at short intervals--a song which I think has never been perfectly described. "Practice makes perfect" is an axiom that does not apply to the art of song in the bird world; since the redstart, a member of a highly melodious family, with a good voice to start with, has never attained to excellence in spite of much practising. The song is interesting both on account of its exceptional inferiority and of its character. A distinguished ornithologist has said that little birds have two ways of making themselves attractive--by melody and by bright plumage; and that most species excel in one or the other way; and that the acquisition of gay colours by a species of a sober-coloured melodious family will cause it to degenerate as a songster. He is speaking of the redstart. Unfortunately for the rule there are too many exceptions. Thus confining ourselves to a single family--that of the finches--in our own islands, the most modest coloured have the least melody, while those that have the gayest plumage are the best singers--the goldfinch, chaffinch, siskin, and linnet. Nevertheless it is impossible to listen for any length of time to the redstart, and to many redstarts, without feeling, almost with irritation, that its strain is only the prelude of a song—a promise never performed; that once upon a time in the remote past it was a sweet, copious, and varied singer, and that only a fragment of its melody now remains. The opening rapidly warbled notes are so charming that the attention is instantly attracted by them. They are composed of two sounds, both beautiful--the bright pure gushing robin-like note, and the more tender expressive swallow-like note. And that is all; the song scarcely begins before it ends, or collapses; for in most cases the pure sweet opening strain is followed by a curious little farrago of gurgling and squeaking sounds, and little fragments of varied notes, often so low as to be audible only at a few yards' distance. It is curious that these slight fragments of notes at the end vary in different individuals, in strength and character and in number, from a single faintest squeal to half a dozen or a dozen distinct sounds. In all cases they are emitted with apparent effort, as if the bird strained its pipe in the vain attempt to continue the song.



相当一段时间以来,我一直在攀登一座低矮宽阔的平顶小山; 当我拨开灌丛,又出现在空地时,我已经置身于一片平坦高地,一片四望空旷,到处石楠与零星荆豆杂生的地方,其间也有几处稠密的冷杉桦木之类。在我面前以及高地的两侧,弥望尽是一带广野。那地亩田垄时有中断,惟独那惊人的青葱翠绿则绵延不绝,这点显然与新近降雨丰沛有关。依我看来,南德文郡里的绿色实在未免过多,色调的柔和与亮度也到处过趋单一。在眼睛饱餍这种景色之后,山顶上那些棕褐刺目的稀疏草木反而有爽心怡目之感。这块石楠地宛如一片绿洲与趋避之地;我在那里漫步许久,一直弄得腿脚淋湿;然后我又坐下来等脚晒干,就这样我在这里愉快地度过了几个小时,高兴的是这里再没有人前来打搅。不过鸟类友伴并不缺乏。路边丛薄间一只雄雉的鸣叫似乎已在警告我说我已闯入了禁猎地带。或许这里的禁猎并不严格,因力我便看到我所熟识的食腐肉乌鸦出来为它的幼雏觅食。它在树上稍停了停,接着掠我而过,便不见了。在这目前季节,亦即在初夏时期,当飞起时,是很容易同它的近亲白嘴鸭分别清楚的。前者在出来巡劫时,它在空中的滑翔流畅而迅速,并不断地改变着方向,时而贴近地面,继而又升腾得很高,但一般保持着约与树齐的高度。它的滑翔与转弯动作略与鲱鱼鸥相似,只是滑翔时翅膀挺得直直,那长长的翎翮尖端呈现一条稍稍上翘的曲线。但最主要的区别还在飞行时的头部姿势。至于白嘴鸭,则像苍鹭与鹤那样,总是把它的利喙笔直地伸向前面。它飞时方向明确,毫不犹豫;它简直可说是跟着它自己的鼻子尖跑,既不左顾,也不右盼。而那寻觅肉食的乌鸦则不停地转动着它的头部,好像只海鸥或猎兔狗那样,忽而这边,忽而那边,仿佛在对地面进行彻底搜查,或集中其视力于某个模糊难辨的事物。



(高健 译)

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