佳文共赏:马克·吐温「密西西比河上的生活」

Summer Sunrises on the Mississippi

by Mark Twain

One can never see too many summer sunrises on the Mississippi. They are enchanting. First, there is the eloquence of silence; for a deep hush broods everywhere. Next, there is the haunting sense of loneliness, isolation, remoteness from the worry and bustle of the world. The dawn creeps in stealthily; the solid walls of the black forest soften to grey, and vast stretches of the river open up and reveal themselves; the water is smooth, gives off spectral little wreaths of white-mist, there is not the faintest breath of wind, nor stir of leaf; the tranquility is profound and infinitely satisfying. Then a bird pipes up, another follows, and soon the pipings develop into a jubilant riot of music. You see none of the birds, you simply move through an atmosphere of song which seems to sing itself. When the light has become a little stronger, you have one of the fairest and softest pictures imaginable. You have the intense green of the massed and crowded foliage nearby; you see it paling shade by shade in front of you; upon the next projecting cape, a mile off or more, the tint has lightened to the tender young green of spring; the cape beyond that one has almost lost colour, and the furthest one, miles away under the horizon, sleeps upon the water a mere dim vapour, and hardly separable from the sky above it and about it. And all this stretch of river is a mirror, and you have shadowy reflections of the leafage and the curving shores and the receding capes pictured in it.

Well, this is all beautiful; soft and rich and beautiful; and when the sun gets well up, and distributes a pink flush here and a powder of gold yonder and a purple haze where it will yield the best effect, you grant that you have something that is worth remembering.

马克·吐温(Mark Twain1835.11.30~1910.4.21

美国作家、演说家,真实姓名是萨缪尔·兰亨·克莱门(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)。“马克·吐温”是他的笔名,原是密西西比河水手使用的表示在航道上所测水的深度的术语。代表作品有小说《百万英镑》《哈克贝利·费恩历险记》《汤姆·索亚历险记》等。

「密西西比河上的生活」是马克·吐温早期的一部自传体小说。就像是一位密西西比河的探索者,他不断观察丰富的河面变化,学习辨识潜在的危险。其实是马克·吐温成为作家之前的理想就是成为职业舵手。他曾拜师学艺,不断学习有关河流的知识,观察在河流上发生的一切,培养自己在河流上的敏锐度。

今天选摘的这一段“日出”,能够看到他是以怎样诗化的语言和细密的观察去描述一条河上的风景的。优美、节制又不乏活泼自然的英文完全是同类写作的典范。

最后分享马克·吐温最耳熟能详的一句名言,与君共勉。

永远要像你不需要金钱那样地工作,永远要像你不曾被伤害过那样地爱,永远要像没有人在注视你那样地跳舞,永远要像在天堂那样地生活。