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论自恋

2010-08-19    来源:未知    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Narcissus; or Self-Love
Francis Bacon

Narcissus is said to have been a young man of wonderful beauty, but intolerably proud, fastidious, and disdainful. Pleased with himself and despising all others, he led a solitary life in the woods and hunting grounds; with a few companions to whom he was all in all; followed also wherever he went by a nymph called Echo. Living thus, he came by chance one day to a clear fountain, and (being in the heat of noon) lay down by it; when beholding in the water his own image, he fell into such a study and then into such a rapturous admiration of himself, that he could not be drawn away from gazing at the shadowy picture, but remained rooted to the spot till sense left him; and at last he was changed into the flower that bears his name; a flower which appears in the early spring; and is sacred to the infernal deities — Pluto, Proserpine, and the Furies.

In this fable are presented the dispositions and the fortunes too, of those persons who from consciousness either of beauty or some other gift with which nature unaided by any industry of their own has graced them, fall in love as it were with themselves. For with this state of mind there is commonly joined an indisposition to appear much in public or engage in business; because business would expose them to many neglects and scorns, by which their minds would be dejected and troubled. Therefore they commonly live a solitary, private, and shadowed life; with a small circle of chosen companions, all devoted admirers, who assent like an echo to everything they say, and entertain them with mouth-homage; till being by such habits gradually depraved and puffed up, and besotted at last with self-admiration, they fall into such a sloth and listlessness that they grow utterly stupid, and lose all vigour and alacrity. And it was a beautiful thought to choose the flower of spring as an emblem of characters like this: characters which in the opening of their career flourish and are talked of, but disappoint in maturity the promise of their youth. The fact too that this flower is sacred to the infernal deities contains an allusion to the same thing. For men of this disposition turn out utterly useless and good for nothing whatever; and anything that yields no fruit, but like the way of a ship in the sea passes and leaves no trace, was by the ancients held sacred to the shades and infernal gods.

Notes:
fastidious: choosing only what is good; hard to please
disdainful: (n. distain) feeling that sb/sth is not good enough to deserve one’s respect; contempt
solitary: living alone; fond of being alone
all in all: of supreme importance
nymph: 1. (Gk and Roman mythol.) minor goddess living in rivers, trees, hills etc.;
       2. (esp. in poetry) young woman, esp. a beautiful one
study: thing worth observing; unusual sight
rapturous: (n. rapture) showing intense delight
infernal: of hell
deity: god or goddess
disposition: person’s natural qualities of mind and character
grace: give honor or dignity to sb/sth
as it were: used to comment on the speaker’s own choice of words, which may give only an approximate meaning 
indisposition: feeling of unwillingness to do sth.
neglect: giving no or not enough care or attention to
scorn: strong contempt (feeling that sb/sth is completely worthless and cannot be respected)
dejected: (adj.) depressed; sad
assent: agree
echo: reflection and repetition of a sound, e.g. from a wall or inside an enclosed space
homage: things said or done to show great respect
depraved: (adj.) morally bad; corrupt
puff up: swell with air, e.g. puffed up with pride (very proud)]
besotted: (adj.) made silly or stupid, esp. by love
sloth: idleness
listless: having no energy, vitality, enthusiasm
alacrity: prompt and eager readiness
allusion: indirect reference

 

About the author:
Francis Bacon (1561-1626): English statesman, philosopher and essayist. In natural philosophy he completed the break from the medieval scholastic method, laid down for the first time a classification of natural sciences, and founded a new inductive method of reasoning which challenged traditional authority and prepared the way for modern experimental science.

 



 

论自恋
培根
杨自伍译

那喀索斯,人称风度翩翩美少年,惟性情高傲,锱铢必较,蔑视一切,令人不堪。自我陶醉,目无余子,常出没于林泉猎场,优游岁月,与世人不相往来;有俦侣二三,如鱼得水;行踪所至,仙女跬步不离,芳名厄科。朝夕如此,一日偶至清泉一泓,时值晌午,天气炎热,遂卧躺泉边;俯观水中倒影,始而不觉凝神观照,继而自我恋慕,如痴如狂,谛视自家面貌若隐若现,良久不去;出神入定,有如树木扎根,直至感觉消失;终于变作水仙,名曰那喀索斯;水仙早春开花;遂为冥府诸神之祭品——普鲁托,普罗赛朵皮娜,复仇三女神。

尔辈自觉造化赋予美貌,或别具天赋,故不假自身勤奋,煞有介事自怜自爱,此辈中人性情命运,预言之中暴露无遗。如此心境者,每每无意出现于大庭广众之下,或以营生为务;因营生未免多受冷落鄙夷,怀抱如此心境则沮丧烦恼。故尔辈一生独来独往,与世暌离,黯然无光;交游挑剔,门户狭隘,彼此五体投地,一呼众和,同声相应,口角春风应酬同好;习性相染,久而久之,品性沦丧,趾高气扬,最终沉迷于自我崇拜,坠入懒散萎靡之境地,从而变得绝顶愚蠢,活力锐气丧失殆尽;以春天水仙为同类性格之标志,堪称绝妙,事业开创之际一帆风顺,为人称道,风华正茂时豪情满怀,盛年时则俱为泡影。水仙成为冥府之祭品,寓意亦在于斯。如此性情者,终于毫无用处,一无所能;凡事无所结果,有如沧海行舟,飘然而过,不留痕迹,古人遂奉为阴魂与地狱神明。



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