江苏省仪征中学
 
【名著阅读】红字 第十八章(上)

来源:英语教研室  时间:2021-09-18
 
Chapter 18 A FLOOD OF SUNSHINE
第十八章 一片阳光

ARTHUR DIMMESDALE gazed into Hester"s face with a look in which hope and joy shone out, indeed, but with fear betwixt them, and a kind of horror at her boldness, who had spoken what he vaguely hinted at, but dared not speak.
阿瑟·丁梅斯代尔凝视着海丝特的面孔,他的神情中确实闪烁着希望和欣喜,但其中也夹杂着畏缩,以及对她的胆识的一种惊惧,因为她说出了他隐约地暗示而没敢说出的话。

But Hester Prynne, with a mind of native courage and activity, and for so long a period not merely estranged, but outlawed, from society, had habituated herself to such latitude of speculation as was altogether foreign to the clergyman. She had wandered, without rule or guidance, in a moral wilderness; as vast, as intricate and shadowy, as the untamed forest, amid the gloom of which they were now holding a colloquy that was to decide their fate. Her intellect and heart had their home, as it were, in desert places, where she roamed as freely as the wild Indian in his woods. For years past she had looked from this estranged point of view at human institutions, and whatever priests or legislators had established; criticising all with hardly more reverence than the Indian would feel for the clerical band, the judicial robe, the pillory, the gallows, the fireside, or the church. The tendency of her fate and fortunes had been to set her free. The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers- stern and wild ones- and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.
但是,海丝特·白兰天生具有勇敢和活跃的气质,加之这多年来不仅被人视如陌窖,而且为社会所摒弃,所以就形成了那样一种思考问题的高度,对牧师来说简直难以企及。她一直漫无目标地在道德的荒野中徘徊;那荒野同这荒林一样广漠、一样错综、一样阴森,而他俩如今正在这幽暗的林中进行决定他们命运的会谈。她的智慧和心灵在这里适得其所,她在荒漠之处自由漫游,正如野蛮的印第安人以林为家。在过去这些年中,她以陌生人的目光看待人类的风俗制度,以及由教士和立法者所建立的一切;她几乎和印第安人一样,以不屑的态度批评牧师的丝带、法官的黑袍、颈手枷、绞刑架、家庭或教会。她的命运发展的趋向始终是放纵她自由的。红字则是她进入其他妇女不敢涉足的禁区的通行证。耻辱,绝望,孤寂!——这些就是她的教师,而且是一些严格粗野的教师,他们既使她坚强,也教会她出岔于。

The minister, on the other hand, had never gone through an experience calculated to lead him beyond the scope of generally received laws; although, in a single instance, he had so fearfully transgressed one of the most sacred of them. But this had been a sin of passion, not of principle, nor even purpose. Since that wretched epoch, he had watched, with morbid zeal and minuteness, not his acts- for those it was easy to arrange- but each breath of emotion, and his every thought. At the head of the social system, as the clergyman of that day stood, he was only the more trammelled by its regulations, its principles, and even its prejudices. As a priest, the framework of his order inevitably hemmed him in. As a man who had once sinned, but who kept his conscience all alive and painfully sensitive by the fretting of an unhealed wound, he might have been supposed safer within the line of virtue than if he had never sinned at all.
而在牧师那一方面,却从来没有过一种经历会引导他跨越雷池一步;虽说只有一例,他曾经那么可怕地冒犯了其中最为神圣的戒条。但那只是情感冲动造成的罪过,并非原则上的对抗,甚至不是故意而为。从那倒霉的时日起,他一直以病态的热情,小心翼翼地监视着自己的,不是他的行为——因为这很容易调整——,而是他的每一丝情绪和每一个念头。当年,牧师们是身居社会首位的,因此他只能更受戒律、原则甚至偏见的束缚。身为牧师,他的等级观必然也会限制他。作为一个一度犯罪、但又因未愈的伤口的不断刺激而良心未泯并备受折磨的人,他或许会认为比起他从未有过罪孽反倒在道德上更加保险。
Thus, we seem to see that, as regarded Hester Prynne, the whole seven years of outlaw and ignominy had been little other than a preparation for this very hour. But Arthur Dimmesdale! Were such a man once more to fall, what plea could be urged in extenuation of his crime? None; unless it avail him somewhat, that he was broken down by long and exquisite suffering; that his mind was darkened and confused by the very remorse which harrowed it; that, between fleeing as an avowed criminal, and remaining as a hypocrite, conscience might find it hard to strike the balance; that it was human to avoid the peril of death and infamy, and the inscrutable machinations of an enemy; that, finally, to this poor pilgrim, on his dreary and desert path, faint, sick, miserable, there appeared a glimpse of human affection and sympathy, a new life, and a true one, in exchange for the heavy doom which he was now expiating. And be the stern and sad truth spoken, that the breach which guilt has once made into the human soul is never, in this mortal state, repaired. It may be watched and guarded; so that the enemy shall not force his way again into the citadel, and might even, in his subsequent assaults, select some other avenue, in preference to that where he had formerly succeeded. But there is still the ruined wall, and, near it, the stealthy tread of the foe that would win over again his unforgotten triumph.
这样,我们似乎就明白了:就海丝特·白兰而论,这备受摒弃和耻辱的整整七年的时间,只不过是为此时此刻做好准备而已。但阿瑟·丁梅斯代尔可不同!倘使象他这样一个人再次堕落的话,还能为减轻罪行作何辩白呢?没有了;除非可以勉强说什么:他被长期的剧烈痛苦压垮了;他的头脑已经被自责折磨得阴暗和混乱了;他要么承认是一名罪犯而逃走,要么继续充当一名伪君子而留下,但他的良心已难以从中取得平衡;为了避免死亡和耻辱的危险,以及一个敌人的莫测的诡计,出走原是合乎情理的;最后,还可以说,这个可怜的朝圣者,在他凄凉的旅途中,倍感昏迷、病痛和悲惨的折磨,却瞥见一道充满仁爱和同情的闪光,其中有崭新和真实的生活,可以取代他目前正在赎罪的沉重的命运。如果把那严酷而伤感的真理说出来,那就是:罪孽一旦在人的灵魂中造成一个蹿隙,今世便万难弥合。当然,你尽可以用心守望,以防敌人再度闯进禁地,甚至还可以预防他在随后的袭击中选择另一条比他原来成功的突破曰更好的途径。但是,那断壁颓垣仍然存在,敌人就在附近暗中移动,试图再次获得难忘的胜利。

The struggle, if there were one, need not be described. Let it suffice, that the clergyman resolved to flee, and not alone.
如果这算是一场激争,那是无须描述的。只消一句话就足够了:牧师决心出走,但不是一个人。

"If, in all these past seven years," thought he, "I could recall one instant of peace or hope, I would yet endure, for the sake of that earnest of Heaven"s mercy. But now- since I am irrevocably doomed-wherefore should I not snatch the solace allowed to the condemned culprit before his execution? Or, if this be the path to a better life, as Hester would persuade me, I surely give up no fairer prospect by pursuing it! Neither can I any longer live without her companionship; so powerful is she to sustain- so tender to soothe! O Thou to whom I dare not lift mine eyes, wilt Thou yet pardon me!"
“在这过去的七个年头中,”他想着,“如果我还能回忆起有过瞬间的宁静或希望,我也会看在上天的仁慈的诚意上忍受下去的。可是如今,我既已命中注定无法挽回,又何必不去捕捉已经定罪的犯人临刑前所能得到的那点慰藉呢?或者说,象海丝特规劝我的那样,如果这是一条通往美好生活的途径,我踏上它肯定不是舍弃什么光明的前程!何况,没有她的陪伴,我再也活不下去了;她对我的支撑是那样有力,她对我的抚慰是那么温柔!啊,我不敢抬眼仰望的天神啊,你还肯再饶恕我吧!”
"Thou wilt go!" said Hester calmly, as he met her glance.
“你就走吧!”海丝特说,当他迎到她的目光时,她是那么安详。

The decision once made, a glow of strange enjoyment threw its flickering brightness over the trouble of his breast. It was the exhilarating effect- upon a prisoner just escaped from the dungeon of his own heart- of breathing the wild, free atmosphere of an unredeemed, unchristianised, lawless region. His spirit rose, as it were, with a bound, and attained a nearer prospect of the sky, than throughout all the misery which had kept him grovelling on the earth. Of a deeply religious temperament, there was inevitably a tinge of the devotional in his mind.
这决定一旦做出之后,一般欣喜异常的色彩便将其跳动的光辉投射到他胸中的烦恼之上。这种振奋人心的决定对于一个刚刚逃脱自己心灵禁锢的囚犯来说,有如踏上一片未受基督教化的、尚无法律管理的荒土,让他呼吸到那旷野的自由空气。他的精神就此一下升腾起来,比起被悲惨心境压得匍匐在地时,更近地看到了天空的景色。他是一个深具宗教气质的人,因此他的情绪上便必然会染上虔敬的色调。

"Do I feel joy again?" cried he, wondering at himself. "Methought the germ of it was dead in me! O Hester, thou art my better angel! I seem to have flung myself- sick, sin-stained, and sorrow-blackened-down upon these forest-leaves, and to have risen up all made anew, and with new powers to glorify Him that hath been merciful! This is already the better life! Why did we not find it sooner?"
“我重新尝到喜悦了吗?”他对自己诧异地叫道。“我还以为喜悦的胚胎已经在我心中死掉了呢!,海丝特,你可真是我的好天使呢!我似乎已经把我这个疾病缠身、罪孽玷污和忧愁满腹的人抛到了这林中落叶之上,再站起来时已经脱胎换骨,周身充满新生的力量来为仁慈的上帝增光!如今我这条生命已经好得多了!我们怎么没有早点想到这一步呢?”

"Let us not look back," answered Hester Prynne. "the past is gone! Wherefore should we linger upon it now? See! With this symbol, I undo it all, and make it as it had never been!"
“咱们不要回头看了,”海丝特·白兰回答说。“过去的已经一去不复返了!现在我们又何必去留恋呢?瞧!我取下这个标志,也就同时取下了与此相关的一切,就象从来没发生过这件事一样!”

So speaking, she undid the clasp that fastened the scarlet letter, and, taking it from her bosom, threw it to a distance among the withered leaves. The mystic token alighted on the hither verge of the stream. With a hand"s breadth farther flight it would have fallen into the water, and have given the little brook another woe to carry onward, besides the unintelligible tale which it still kept murmuring about. But there lay the embroidered letter, glittering like a lost jewel, which some ill-fated wanderer might pick up, and thenceforth be haunted by strange phantoms of guilt, sinkings of the heart, and unaccountable misfortune.
她一边这样说着,一边解开别着红字的胸针,从胸前取下红字,远远地抛到枯叶之中。那神秘的标志落在离小溪不远的地方。只消再飞这几指宽的距离,红字就会落进水里,那样的话,小溪除去连续不断地喃喃诉说着的莫测的故事之外,又要载着另一段哀怨流淌了。但那个刺绣的红字落在岸边,象一颗遗失的珠宝似的闪闪发光,某个倒霉的流浪者可能会把它拣起来,从此便会被神秘的罪恶幽灵、沉沦的心灵和难言的不幸所萦绕了。
 
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