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【双语】First Snow

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千缘 发表于 2019-11-22 02:54:06 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
First Snow

初雪

John Boynton Priestley

约翰·波以顿·普里斯特莱



When I got up this morning, the world was a chilled hollow of dead white and faint blues. The light that came through the windows was very queer, and it contrived to make the familiar business of splashing and shaving and brushing and dressing very queer too. Then the sun came out, and by the time I had sat down to breakfast, it was shining bravely and flushing the snow with delicate pinks. The dining-room window had been transformed into a lovely Japanese print. The little plum-tree outside, with the faintly flushed snow lining its boughs and artfully disposed along its trunk, stood in full sunlight. An hour or two later, everything was a cold glitter of white and blue. The world had completely changed again. The little Japanese prints had all vanished. I looked out of my study window, over the garden, the meadow, to the low hills beyond, and the ground was one long glare, the sky was steely, and all the trees so many black and sinister shapes. There was indeed something curiously sinister about the whole prospect. It was as if our kindly countryside, closed to the very heart of England, had been turned into a cruel steppe. At any moment, it seemed, a body of horsemen might be seen breaking out from the black copse, so many instruments of tyranny, and shots might be heard and some distant patch of snow be reddened. It was that kind of landscape.

今早我起来时,整个世界简直成了一座冰窟,颜色死白缥青。透入窗内的光线颇呈异状,于是连泼水、洗漱、刷牙、穿衣等这些日常举动也都一概带上异状。继而日出,待我用早膳时,艳美的阳光把雪映得绯红。餐室的窗户已被幻变为一幅迷人的日本花布。窗外幼小的梅树一株,正粲粲于满眼晴光之下,枝柯覆雪,风致绝佳。一二小时之后,一切已化作寒光一片,白里透青。周围世界景物顿殊。适才的日本印花布等已不复可见。我探头窗外,向书斋前面的花园、草地以及更远的低丘眺望,但觉大地光晶耀目,不可逼视,高天寒气凛冽,色作铁青,周围的一切树木也都呈现阴森可怖之状。真的,周围的整个景象的确有一种难以名状的可怖气氛。仿佛我们这块近在京畿的可爱郊原竟霎时变成一片严酷的旷野。仿佛随时随刻都能瞥见一批批武夫作为暴政的工具从那黑魆的丛林背后跃马杀出,都能听到枪杀之声,而远处一片土地上白雪遂被染作殷红。此时周围正是这种景象。



Now it has changed again. The glare has gone and no touch of the sinister remains. But the snow is falling heavily, in great soft flakes, so that you can hardly see across the shallow valley, and the roofs are thick and the trees all bending, and the weathercock of the village church, still to be seen through the grey loaded air, has become some creature out of Hans Andersen. From my study, which is apart from the house and faces it, I can see the children flattening their noses against the nursery window, and there is running through my head a jangle of rhyme I used to repeat when I was a child and flattened my nose against the cold window to watch the falling snow:

现在景色又变了。刺目的炫光已不在了,恐怖的色调也不见痕迹。但雪却下得很大,大片大片,纷纷不止,因而浅谷的那边已看不清楚,屋顶积雪很厚,树木都压弯了,村里教堂顶上的风标此时从阴霾翳翳的空中虽依然可见,早已成了安徒生童话里的事物。从我的书房(书房在家中房屋对面)我看见孩子们正把他们的鼻尖压在窗户玻璃上,这时一首儿歌遂又萦回于我的脑际,因为这歌正是我小时把鼻尖压在冰冷的窗户上来观雪时所常唱的。歌词是:

Snow, snow faster:

White alabaster!

Killing geese in Scotland,

Sending feathers here!

雪花快飘,

白如石膏,

高地宰鹅,

这里飞毛!



This morning, when I first caught sight of the unfamiliar whitened world, I could not help wishing that we had snow oftener, that English winters were more wintry. How delightful it would be, I thought, to have months of clean snow and a landscape sparkling with frost instead of innumerable grey featureless days of rain and raw winds. I began to envy my friends in such places as the Eastern States of America and Canada, who can count upon a solid winter every year and know that the snow will arrive by a certain date and will remain, without degenerating into black slush, until Spring is close at hand. To have snow and frost and yet a clear sunny sky and air as crisp as a biscuit – this seemed to me happiness indeed. And then I saw that it would never do for us. We should be sick of it in a week. After the first day, the magic would be gone and there would be nothing left but the unchanging glare of the day and the bitter cruel nights. It is not the snow itself, the sight of the blanketed world, that is so enchanting, but the first coming of the snow, the sudden and silent change. Out of the relations, for ever shifting and unanticipated, of wind and water comes a magical event. Who would change this state of things for a steadily recurring round, an earth governed by the calendar? It has been well said that while other countries have a climate, we alone in England have weather. There is nothing duller than climate, which can be converted into a topic only by scientists and hypochondriacs. But weather is our earth’s Cleopatra, and it is not to be wondered at that we, who must share her gigantic moods, should be for ever talking about her. Once we were settled in America, Siberia, Australia, where there is nothing but a steady pact between climate and the calendar, we should regret her very naughtinesses, her willful pranks, her gusts of rage, and sudden tears. Waking in a morning would no longer be an adventure. Our weather may be fickle, but it is no more fickle than we are, and only matches our inconstancy with her changes. Sun, wind, snow, rain, how welcome they are at first and how soon we grow weary of them! If this snow lasts a week, I shall be heartily sick of it and glad to speed its going. But its coming has been an event. Today has had a quality, an atmosphere, quite different from that of yesterday, and I have moved through it feeling a slightly different person, as if I were staying with new friends or had suddenly arrived in Norway. A man might easily spend five hundred pounds trying to break the crust of indifference in his mind, and yet feel less than I did this morning.

所以今天早上我初次望见这个不很常见的银白世界时,我不禁衷心希望这里的雪能多下几场,这样我们英国的冬天才能更增添几分冬天味道。我想,如果我们这里经常是个冰雪积月、霜华璀璨的景象,而不是像现在这种苦雨凄风永无尽期的阴沉而乏特色的日子,那该多么令人喜悦啊!我于是羡慕起我那些居住在美国东部各州和加拿大的友人来了,他们那里年年都能指望上一个像样的冬天,都能说得出降雪的准确日期,并能保证,直至大地春回之前,那里的雪绝无退化为黑色泥浆的可能。既有霜雪,又有晴朗温煦的天空,而且空气又非常凉爽清新——这在我看来实在是很大的快乐。但马上我又觉得这样还是不行。不消一周人们就会对它感到厌烦。甚至一两天后魔力便会消失,剩下的唯有白昼那种永无变化的耀眼阳光与刺骨严寒和凄凉的夜晚。看来真正迷人的地方并不在雪的本身,不在这个冰雪覆盖的景象,而在它的初降,在这突然而静悄的变化。正是从风风雨雨这类变幻无常和难以预期的关系之中才会出现这种以降雪为奇迹的情形。谁又肯把眼前这般景色拿去换上一个永远周而复始的单调局面,一个全由年历来控制的大地。有一句说的好,别的国家都有气候,唯有英国才有天气。其实天下再没有比气候更枯燥乏味的了,或许只有科学家和疑病症患者才会把它当作话题。但是天气却是我们这块土地上的克里奥佩特拉,因而毫不奇怪,人们为它巨大情绪变化所左右,总不免要对她窃窃私议。假如一旦我们定居于亚美利加、西伯利亚或澳大利亚――而那里气候与年历之间早已有成约在先,我们即使仅仅因为失去她的调皮,她的胡闹,她的狂忿盛怒与涕泣涟涟也会深感遗憾。那时早晨醒来将不再成其为一种历险。我们的天气也许有点反复无常,但我们自己也未必比它好多少,实际上我们的反复与她的无常恰好相配。谈起日、风、雪、雨,它们起初是多么受人欢迎,但是曾几何时,我们便对它们产生厌倦。如果这场雪下上一周,我肯定会对它厌烦得要死,巴不得它能早些离开才好。但它的降临却是一件大事。今天这一天即具有着一种风味,一种气氛,全然不同于昨天,而我活动其中,也使我感到自己与此前略有不同,恍如与新朋相晤,又恍如忽抵挪威。一个人尽可以为了打破一下心头的郁结而所费不赀,但论及感受,恐仍不如我今日午前感受之深。



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