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【名人家书】本杰明富兰克林致姐姐 (双语)

2015-04-10    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训
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London,September16,1758

Dear Sister,

I received your favour of June 17.I wonder you have had no letter from me since my being in England. I have written you at least two, and I think a third before this,and what was next to waiting on you in person,sent you my picture. In June last I sent Benny a trunk of books,and wrote to him;I hope they have come to hand,and that he meets with encouragement in his business. I congratulate you on the conquest of Cape Breton,and hope as your people took it by praying,the first time,you will now pray that it may never be given up again,which you then forgot. Billy is well,but in the country. I left him at  Tunbridge Wells,where we spent a fortnight,and he is now gone with some company to see Portsmouth. We have been together over a great part of England this summer and among other places,visited the town our father was born in,and found some relations in that part of the country still living.

Our cousin Jane Franklin,daughter of our uncle John,died about a year ago. We saw her husband,Robert Page,who gave us some old letters to his wife,from Uncle Benjamin. In one of them,dated Boston,July 4,1723,he writes that your uncle Josiah has a daughter Jane,about twelve years old,a good-humoured child. So keep up to your character,and don't be angry when you have no letters. In a little book he sent her,called“None but Christ,”he wrote an acrostic on her name,which for namesake's sake,as well as the good advice it contains,I transcribe and send you.

“Illuminated from on high,

And shining brightly in your sphere.

Ne'er faint,but keep a steady eye,

Expecting endless pleasures there.“

“Flee vice as you'd a serpent flee;

Raise faith and hope three stories higher,

And let Christ's endless love to thee

Ne'er cease to make thy love aspire.

Kindness of heart by words express,

Let your obedience be sincere,

In prayer and praise you God address,

Nor cease,till he can cease to hear.“

After professing truly that I had a great esteem and veneration for the pious author,permit me a little to play the commentator and critic on these lines. The meaning of three stories higher seems somewhat obscure. You are to understand,then,that faith,hope,and charity have been called the three steps of Jacob's ladder,reaching from earth to heaven;our author calls them stories,likening religion to a building, and these are the three stories of the Christian edifice. Thus improvement in religion is called building up and edification. Faith is then the ground floor,hope is up one pair of stairs. My dear beloved Jenny,don't delight so much to dwell in those lower rooms,but get as fast as you can into the garret,for in truth the best room in the house is charity. For my part,I wish the house was turned upside down;'tis so difficult(when one is fat)to go upstairs;and not only so,but I imagine hope and faith may be more firmly built upon charity,than charity upon faith and hope. However that my be,I think it the better reading to say——

“Raise faith and hope one story higher.”

Correct it boldly,and I'll support the alteration;for,when you are up two stories already,if you raise your building three stories higher you will make five in all,which is two more than there should be,you expose your upper rooms more to the winds and storms;and,besides,I am afraid the foundation will hardly bear them, unless indeed you build with such light stuff as straw and stubble,and that,you know,won't stand fire. Again,where the author says,

“Kindness of heart by words express,”

strike out words,and put in deeds. The world is too full of compliments already. They are the rank growth of every soil,and choke the good plants of benevolence,and beneficence;nor do I pretend to be the first in this comparison of words and actions to plants;you may remember an ancient poet,whose works we have all studied and copied at school long ago.

“A man of words and not of deeds

Is like a garden full of weeds.“

It is a pity that good works,among some sorts of people,are so little valued,and good words admired in their stead:I mean seemingly pious discourses,instead of humane benevolent actions. Those they almost put out of countenance,by calling morality rotten morality,righteousness ragged righteousness,and even filthy rags——and when you mention virtue,pucker up their noses as if they smelt a stink;at the same time that they eagerly snuff up an empty canting harangue,as if it was a pose of the choicest flowers:So they have inverted the good old verse,and say now

“A man of deeds and not of words

Is like a garden full of——“

I have forgot the rhyme,but remember 'tis something the very reverse of perfume. So much by way of commentary.

My wife will let you see my letter,containing an account of our travels,which I would have you read to sister Dowse,and give my love to her. I have no thoughts of returning till next year,and then may possibly have the pleasure of seeing you and yours;taking Boston in my way home. My love to brother and all your children,concludes at this time from,dear Jenny,your affectionate brother.

B.FRANKLIN


亲爱的姐姐:

我已收到你6月17日的来信。我很诧异,自我到英格兰后你再也没有收到我的任何信。我至少给你写过两封,而且在这封信之前还有第三封,紧接着在去看了你之后,我又给你寄去了我的照片。六月份我给本尼寄去了一箱书,还给他写了一封信;我希望他悉数收到,并希望他工作有长进。祝贺你征服了布里敦角,希望正如你的人民第一次通过祈祷得到了它一样,现在你们将祈祷它永远再也不会被丢弃,然后忘却这一切。比利很好,现在在乡下。我把他留在了滕布里奇韦尔斯,我们在那呆了两周,现在他又与别人结伴去参观朴次茅斯了。今年夏天我们一起游览了英格兰的大部分地区,其中,我们还参观了我们的父亲出生的小镇,并找到了一些在那个地区仍然健在的亲戚。

我们的表妹简•富兰克林,约翰叔叔的女儿,一年前去世了。我们见到了她的丈夫罗伯特•佩奇,他给了我们一些本杰明叔叔写给他妻子的信。在其中一封1723年7月4日写于波土顿的信中,他写到你们的叔叔乔赛亚有一个女儿名叫简,大约12岁,是一个快乐的孩子。因此请你保持这种性格,没有收到信也不要生气。在叔叔送给她的一本书名为《独一无二的耶稣》的薄书里,他以她的名义写了一首离合体诗。现在我把它抄录下来并寄给你,不仅因为你与她同名的缘故,而且因为其中包含了忠告。

“高高地照亮着,

在你的领地上明亮地闪耀着

不要迷迷糊糊,要全神贯注,

期待那里无尽的欢乐。

邪恶逃走了,就如同你驱走了恶魔;

把信仰和希望提高到三层楼之上,

让耶稣对你无尽的爱

从不停止激励你的爱。

去用语言表达善良的心,

让你的顺从成为一种真诚,

在祈祷中,赞美上帝的话语,

不要停止,直到上帝停止聆听。“

坦诚地说我对虔诚的作者怀着无限的尊敬和敬佩,接下来请允许我给这几行诗做一点注释和评论。“三层楼之上”其意似乎有点模糊不清。不过,你知道人们一直把忠诚、希望和慈悲称作雅各天梯的三级台阶,从地球伸向天堂;我们的作者把宗教比喻成楼房,于是把三级台阶称之为三层楼,而忠诚、希望和慈悲就是基督教圣殿的三层楼。因此宗教的升华就是渐进和顿悟。忠诚便是第一层,希望是第二层。我亲爱的詹妮,不要太满足于住在低层楼,而要尽可能迅速地上到顶层楼,因为事实上房子里最好的房间是慈悲。在我看来,我倒希望房子翻个个,因为上楼梯太难了(当一个人太胖时),不仅如此,我想还因为希望与忠诚较之于慈悲建立在忠诚与希望之上是更为牢固地建立在慈悲之上。无论怎样,我想这样说妥当一些——

“把忠诚与希望提高一层”。

我大胆地改正了它,当然我这样改变是有道理的;因为当你已上到两层楼时,如果你把你的楼房增高三层,总共就造了五层,比应该有的多了两层,这样上面的房间则更多地暴露于风雨之中;除此之外,恐怕地基也难以承受,除非你真的是用那些如此轻的材料诸如稻草和头发去建造,但你知道那是经不住火的。另外,作者说,

“用语言表达心灵的仁慈,”

删去“语言”一词,换上“行为”。这个世界充满了恭维,这些恭维在每一块土地上犹如杂草丛生,窒息掉慈善和德行这样的好植物。我并没有自命是第一个把言语和行为比做植物的;你或许记得一位古代诗人,很久以前在学校里,我们都读过并抄录过他的作品。

“一个只说不做的人

就像是长满杂草的花园。“

很遗憾一些好作品在某些人群中受到冷落,相反一些好的言辞却受到了赞美:我指的是那些似乎虔诚的演讲,而不是人类的仁慈行为。几乎令人局促不安的是那些人称道德为腐败的道德、正直为褴褛的正直,甚至是充满了污秽的褴褛——一提到美德,他们就皱起他们的鼻子,好像嗅到了一股臭味;与此同时,他们空话连篇,仿佛那是一种最好的花环。因此,他们把好的古诗前后颠倒,改写成:

“一个只做而不说的人

就像是花园长满了——“

我已忘记那句尾的韵脚,但记得那绝对不是什么好话。评述就这么多。

我妻子会给你看我的信,其中有我们旅行的记叙,希望你把信读给道斯妹妹听,代我向她问好。我想明年回来,这样可能有幸见到你和你们一家;并在返回时取道波士顿。向哥哥和你的所有的孩子问好。亲爱的詹妮,我就此搁笔,爱你的弟弟。

本•富兰克林

于伦敦

1758年9月16日



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