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Abraham Cowley--Of Avarice 汉译

2015-12-23    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Abraham Cowley--Of Avarice 汉译

Of Avarice

Abraham Cowley

There are two sorts of avarice: the one is but of a bastard kind, and that is, the rapacious appetite of gain; not for its own sake, but for the pleasure of refunding it immediately through all the channels of pride and luxury; the other is the true kind, and properly so called; which is a restless and unsatiable desire of riches, not for any farther end or use, but only to hoard, and preserve, and perpetually increase them. The covetous man, of the first kind,is like a freedy ostrich, which devours any metal; but it is with an intent to feed upon it, and in effect it makes a shift to digest and excern it. The second is like the foolish chough, which loves to steal money to hide it. The first does much harm to mankind; and a little good too, to some few: the second does good to none; no, not to himself. The first can make no excuse to God, or angels, or rational men, for his actions: the second can give no reason or colour, not to the devil himself, for what he does; he is a slave to Mammon, without wages. The first makes a shift to be beloved; ay, and envied, too, by some people: the second is the universal object of hatred and contempt. There is no vice has been pelted with good sentences, and especially by the poets, who have pursued it with stories and fables, and allegories, and allusions; and moved, as we say, every stone to fling at it: among all which, I do not remember a more fine and gentleman-like correction than that which was given it by one line of Ovid:

Desunt luxuriae multa, avaritiae omnia.

Much is wanting to luxury, all to avarice.

To which saying, I have a mind to add one member, and tender it thes;

Poverty wants some, luxury many, avarice all things.

Somebody says of a virtuous and wise man, ‘that having nothing, he has all: ’ this is just his antipode, who, having all things, yet has nothing. He is a guardian eunuch to his beloved gold: ‘audivi eos amatores esse maximos, sed nil potesse. ’ They are the fondest lovers but impotent to enjoy.

And, oh, what man’s condition can be worse
Than his, whom plenty starves, and blessings curse;
The beggars but a common fate deplore,
The rich poor man’s emphatically poor.

I wonder how it comes to pass, that there has never been any law made against him: against him, do I say? I mean, for him: as there are public provisions made for all other mad-men: it is very reasonable that the king should appoint some persons (and I think the courtiers would not be against this proposition) to manage his estate during his life (for his heirs commonly need not that care) : and out of it to make it their business to see, that he should not want alimony befitting his condition, which he could never get out of his own cruel figures. We relieve idle vagrants, and counterfeit beggars; but have no care at all of these really poor men , who are (methinks) to be respectfully treated, in regard of their quality. I might be endless against them, but I am almost choked with the superabundance of the matter; too much plenty impoverishes me, as it does them.




世上有两种贪婪:一种仅仅是貌似的贪婪, 那是一种贪得无厌地获取的欲望;倒不是为了自身的缘故,而是为了可以享受一种通过各种方式来显示骄傲与奢侈的一次性归还的乐趣。另一种则是实实在在、名副其实的贪婪;这才是一种永无安宁、永不知足的追求财富的欲望,根本不是出于任何进一步的目地或是为了功利,而是只是为了积聚、贮藏和无休无止地增加财富。前一类中的老饕,就像一只贪食的鸵鸟,它吞食地上一切坚硬之物,它是有意从中得到滋养,实际上它也确实千方百计地把东西消化和排泄掉。后一类人则是愚笨的红嘴山鸦,它之喜欢偷钱,仅仅是为了将钱藏起来而已。前者对人类危害甚大,然而对少数人也是有些好处;而后者则对任何人都一无好处,包括他自己。前者无法为自己的行为向上帝或天使或明白事理的人寻找借口;而后者对于自己的所作所为无法向魔鬼说明原委或是加以粉饰:他成了财神玛门的奴隶,一个得不到报酬的奴隶。前者想方设法使自己让人爱戴,甚至让人嫉妒;后者则是人们普遍仇恨和蔑视的对象。没有一种恶行像它那样受到优美的文字的攻击,尤其是受到诗人的攻击,他们用故事、寓言、讽喻、典故来追击它;而且像我们所说的那样,唤起每一块石头向它掷击:在所有这些文字中,我不记得有哪一句比奥维德的一行诗句更精致,更文质彬彬:




有人说起一个善良而聪明的人,“虽然一无所有,但却拥有一切;”与之相反的是,拥有一切的人,却一无所有。他是一个阉人,看守着他所喜爱的金钱:“audivi eos amatores esse maximos, sed nil potesse.” 他们是深情的恋人,却失去寻欢的能力。



(汪义群 译)

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