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【名人家书】富兰克林致赫伯德小姐

2015-04-23    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

本杰明•富兰克林(1706—1790),美国著名的政治家、社会活动家、科学家、发明家。1706年1月27日,他生于波士顿一个工人家庭,由于家境贫寒,只上了两年学就辍学当了学徒,12岁时到他大哥的印刷所里当学徒,长期从事印刷工作,同时刻苦自学。他曾化名投稿,报纸编辑以为文章“出自名家手笔”。作为政治家,在美国和世界历史上,他与许多重要事件有关。他在北美独立战争中起了重大作用,是美国的创建人之一,参与起草了《独立宣言》和美国宪法。

本篇是富兰克林在弟弟约翰逝世之后,写给约翰第二任妻子与前夫所生的女儿赫伯德小姐的信。

I condole with you. We have lost a most dear and valuable relation. But it is the will of God and nature, that these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life. This is rather an embryo state, a preparation for living.
我要向你深表哀悼。我们失去了一位非常可爱、可贵的亲人。这是上帝和自然的旨意,当灵魂进入天堂的时候,躯体就要被置入黄土。或者说它是胚胎的发育期,是新生命的准备阶段。

A man is not completely born until he is dead. Why then should we grieve, that a new child is born among the immortals, a new member added to their happy society? We are spirits. That bodies should be lent us,while they can afford us pleasure, assist us in acquiring knowledge, or in doing good to our fellow creatures, is a kind and benevolent act of God. When they become unfit for these purposes, and afford us pain instead of pleasure, instead of an aid become an encumbrance, and answer none of the intentions for which they were given, it is equally kind and benevolent, that a way is provided by which we may get rid of them. Death is that way. We ourselves, in some cases, prudently choose a partial death. A mangled painful limb, which cannot be restored, we willingly cut off. He who plucks out a tooth, parts with it freely, since the pain goes with it; and he, who quits the whole body, parts at once with all pains and possibilities of pains and diseases which it was liable to, or capable of making him suffer.
一个人在死的那一刻才算得到真正的诞生。既然不朽的天堂诞生了一个新婴儿,他们幸福的社会里又增加了一名新的成员,我们为什么还要悲伤呢?我们都是精灵。无比仁慈智慧的上帝行善施恩,赐予我们躯体,让我们享受快乐的生活;帮助我们获取知识,让我们造福于人类。当我们的躯体无法适应这些目的——不能提供给我们快乐,反而让我们痛苦;不能给我们帮助,反而成为我们的累赘——当它们无法完成上帝当初托付的使命时,依然恩惠仁慈的上帝准备了一个办法,让我们摆脱躯体。死亡就是上帝所准备的解脱办法。我们自己有时也会明智地选择一种局部的死亡。受伤疼痛的手脚,已经无法复原,我们会心甘情愿地把它切除。要拔牙的人,也会毅然跟它分手,因为拔掉之后痛苦就会随之消失。一个人如果完全脱离躯壳,就会立刻解脱掉一切痛苦以及引起痛苦和疾病的根源。

Our friend and we were invited abroad on a party of pleasure, which is to last for ever. His chair was ready first, and he is gone before us. We could not all conveniently start together; and why should you and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow, and know where to find him?
我们的朋友和我们自己早就受到邀请去参加一次欢乐的宴会,这是一场永远不散的宴会。他的坐席早已准备好了,所以他会先我们一步而去。我们不可能都很方便地一同前往;既然不久之后我们就要随他而去,并且知道到哪里可以找到他,那我们又为什么因此伤心呢?

B. Franklin
本•富兰克林



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