高英 Lesson 7

With a clamor of bells that set the swallows soaring, the Festival of Summer came to the city Omelas, bright-towered by the sea.随着一阵钟声响起,燕子被惊动飞往高处,奥米勒斯城的夏日欢庆节开始了,这是一个白塔映日的海滨城市。

The rigging of the boats in harbor sparkled with flags.港口中停泊的船只上飘扬着旗帜。

In the streets between houses with red roofs and painted walls, between old moss-grown gardens and under avenues of trees, past great parks and public buildings, processions moved. 游行队伍向前移动着,穿过街道旁红顶彩墙的房屋,穿过长满厚厚苔藓的花园和一条条林荫大道,穿过一座座大公园和公共建筑。

Some were decorous: old people in long stiff robes of mauve and grey, grave master workmen, quiet, merry women carrying their babies and chatting as they walked. 一些人端庄得体:其中有穿着紫色和灰色硬长袍的老者,有严肃的工头,有安静而快乐的妇女,她们带着孩子,边走边聊。

In other streets the music beat faster, a shimmering of gong and tambourine, and the people went dancing, the procession was a dance. 在其他街道上,音乐敲击声更大,铜锣喧天,人们跳起舞来,整个游行队伍都载歌载舞。

Children dodged in and out, their high calls rising like the swallows' crossing flights over the music and the singing. 孩子们跑进跑出,他们高高的叫喊声如同燕子的叫声,盖过了音乐和歌唱声。

All the processions wound towards the north side of the city, where on the great water-meadow called the Green Fields boys and girls, naked in the bright air, with mud-stained feet and ankles and long, lithe arms, exercised their restive horses before the race. 所有的游行队伍向着城市的北面蜿蜒而行,在那儿有一个称为绿野的海边草原,男孩和女孩光着身子,脚上和脚踝沾满了污泥,手臂修长而柔软,正在对那些躁动不安的马进行赛前训练。

The horses wear no gear at all but a halter without bit. There manes were braided with streamers of silver, gold, and green. 那些马没有戴马具,只是被套上了不带嚼子的缰绳。马鬃上绑着一些银色,金色和绿色的饰带。

They flared their nostrils and pranced and boasted to one another; they were vastly excited, the horse being the only animal who has adopted our ceremonies as his own. 它们张着鼻孔,昂首阔步,彼此炫耀着;它们极度高兴,因为马是将人类的庆祝仪式看作自己的仪式的唯一动物。

Far off to the north and west the mountains stood up half encircling Omelas on her bay. 远处,群山半包围着奥米勒斯城北部和西部的海湾。

The air of morning was so clear that the snow still crowning the Eighteen Peaks burned with white-gold fire across the miles of sunlit air, under the dark blue of the sky.


There was just enough wind to make the banners that marked the racecourse snap and flutter now and then. 正好有足够的风力使得标记跑道的横幅随风飘扬着并时而发出噼啪声。

In the silence of the broad green meadows one could hear the music winding through the city streets, farther and nearer and ever approaching, a cheerful faint sweetness of the air that from time to time trembled and gathered together and broke out into the great joyous clanging of the bells. 在静寂辽阔的绿色草原上,人们可以听到音乐声蜿蜒穿过城市街道,时远时近,犹如阵阵令人振奋的香风扑面而来。音乐声时而颤抖,时而汇集,混入了欢快的钟声中。

Joyous! How is one to tell about joy? How describe the citizens of Omelas? 欢快!人们是如何描述欢快的呢?奥米勒斯的市民是如何描述它的呢?

They were not simple folk, you see, though they were happy. But we do not say the words of cheer much any more. All smiles have become archaic.你是知道的,奥米勒斯城的市民不是一群头脑简单的人,尽管他们很幸福。但是我们再也不提快乐之类的话了,所有的欢笑都已经变得过时了。

Given a description such as this one tends to make certain assumptions. Given a description such as this one tends to look next for the King, mounted on a splendid stallion and surrounded by his noble knights, or perhaps in a golden litter borne by great-muscled slaves. 听到这样的描述,人们往往会作出一些推断;听到这样的描述,人们接下来往往会寻找一位骑着种马,由一群贵族骑士护卫或由力气大的奴隶用金轿子抬着的国王。

But there was no king. They did not use swords, or keep slaves. They were not barbarians. I do not know the rules and laws of their society, but I suspect that they were singularly few. 但这儿没有国王。他们既不舞剑,也不养奴隶。他们不是野蛮人。我不了解他们社会的规则和法律,但我推测他们的规则很少。

As they did without monarchy and slavery, so they also got on without the stock exchange, the advertisement, the secret police, and the bomb.


Yet I repeat that these were not simpr folk, not dulcet shephrs, noble savages, bland utopians. They were not less complex than us. 但我重申一下,这些人并不是头脑简单的人,他们不是温厚善良的牧羊人,不是自诩高贵的野蛮人,也不是平淡乏味的空想家。他们的头脑并不比我们的简单。

The troubr is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. 问题是我们有一个坏习惯,这种习惯被一些学究和老成的人所推崇,那就是认为幸福是一种愚蠢的东西。

Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.只有痛苦才能使人变得聪明,只有邪恶才能引发人的兴趣。艺术家的叛逆就是拒绝承认邪恶的陈腐和痛苦的无聊。

If you can't lick 'em, join 'em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. 如果不能战胜他们,就加入进来吧。如果它伤害人,就再被它伤害一次吧。但是赞赏绝望就是谴责快乐,接受暴力就失去了对其他一切事物的控制。

We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe a happy man, nor make any celebration of joy. How can I tell you about the people of Omelas?我们几乎失去了一切,再也不能描述一个快乐的人了,也不能有任何庆祝欢乐的活动了。我该如何向你讲述奥米勒斯城的人呢?

They were not naive and happy children-- though their children were, in fact, happy. They were mature, intelligent, passionate adults whose lives were not wretched. 他们不是天真快乐的孩子——即使他们的孩子实际上很快乐。他们是成熟、机智而富有激情的成年人,生活过得还不错。

O miracle! But I wish I could describe it better. I wish I could convince you. Omelas sounds in my words like a city in a fairy tale, long ago and far away, once upon a time. 简直就是奇迹!但我希望能把它描述得更好些。我希望我能说服你,我口中的奥米勒斯城听起来就像很久以前存在于童话故事中的一个遥远的城市。

Perhaps it would be best if you imagined it as your own fancy bids, assuming it will rise the occasion, for certainly I cannot suit you all. 如果你可以发挥自己的想象力去想象一下它的样子是最好不过的。因为我的描述并不能符合所有读者的口味。

For instance, how about technology? I think there would be no cars or helicopters in and above the streets; this follows from the fact that the people of Omelas are happy people. 比如那的科技是什么样子的?我认为街道上没有来往的汽车,空中没有盘旋的直升飞机,因为奥米勒斯城的人们是幸福快乐的

Happiness is based on a just discrimination of what is necessary, what is neither necessary nor destructive, and what is destructive. 幸福基于这样的基础之上,即分辨出什么是必需之物,什么是既不必需也无危害之物,以及什么是有害之物。

In the middle category, however-- that of the unnecessary but undestructive, that of comfort, luxury, exuberance, etc.- they could perfectly well have central heating, subway trains, washing machines, and all kinds of marvelous devices not yet invented There, floating sources, fuelless power, a cure for the common cold. 然而,在第二类中——那些既不必需也无危害之物,那些给人以舒服、奢侈、活力等的享受之物——他们完全可以拥有供暖系统、地铁、洗衣机和其它各种各样尚未问世的了不起的发明,如流动光源、无燃料动力和治疗普通感冒的方法。

Or they could have none of that: it doesn't matter. As you like it. One thing I know there is none of in Omelas is guilt. 或者他们可能没有这些东西:但是并不重要。你按照自己的意愿想象就好。我认为奥米勒斯城有一样东西确实没有,那就是犯罪。

But what else should there be? I thought at first there were no drugs, but that is puritanical. 但是那还应该有什么其他的东西呢?我认为首先是没有毒品,但那样的生活又显得太清教徒式了。

For those who like it, the faint insistent sweetness of drooz may perfume the ways of the city, drooz which first brings a great lightness and brilliance to the mind and limbs, and then after some hours a dreamy languor, and wonderful visions at last of the very arcane and inmost secrets of the Universe, as well as exciting the pleasure of sex beyond all belief; and it is not habit-forming. 对于那些喜欢它的人,城市的街道上弥漫着“德鲁斯”那淡淡而持续的香味,“德鲁斯”首先使头脑变得十分聪明,使四肢变得十分轻巧,然后数小时内使人处于梦幻般的慵懒状态,最终给人带来关于宇宙奥秘的奇妙景象和难以置信的性交快感,而且它不易使人上瘾。

For more modest tastes I think there ought to be beer. What else, what else belongs in the joyous city? The sense of victory, surely, the celebration of courage. 对于口味没那么重的,我认为应该提供啤酒。还有什么呢?还有什么是属于这个欢乐的城市的呢?胜利的感觉,当然还有对勇气的庆祝。

But as we did without clergy, let us do without soldiers. 但是既然我们不需要神职人员,那么我们也不需要士兵。

The joy built upon successful slaughter is not the right kind of joy: it will not do; it is fearful and it is trivial. 建立在成功的杀戮的基础上的欢乐不是真正的欢乐:这种快乐要不得,它是恐怖的,是微不足道的。

A boundless and generous contentment, a magnanimous triumph felt not against some outer enemy but in communion with the finest and fairest in the souls of all men everywhere and the splendor of the world's summer: this is what swells the hearts of the people of Omelas, and the victory they celebrate is that of life.奥米勒斯人的内心拥有巨大的满足感和胜利感,这些胜利不是击败外敌的胜利,而是世界上心灵的美好与夏日的壮丽产生共鸣的胜利,他们庆祝的是人生的胜利。

I really don't think many of them need to take drooz. 说实话,我认为他们中的许多人不需要服用“德鲁斯”。

Most of the processions have reached the Green Fields by now. A marvelous smell of cooking goes forth from the red and blue tents of the provisioners. 现在,大部分的游行队伍已经抵达了绿野草坪。炊事班的红色和蓝色帐篷里散发出烹饪的绝妙味道。

The faces of small children are amiably sticky; in the benign grey beard of a man a couple of crumbs of rich pastry are entangled. 小孩子可爱的脸蛋上由于吃东西弄的黏黏的,一位慈祥的老人的白胡子上黏着油酥点心的几片碎屑。

The youths and girls have mounted their horses and are beginning to group around the starting line of the course. 小伙子和姑娘们已经骑上了马,聚集在赛道的起跑线附近。

An old woman, small, fat, and laughing, is passing out flowers from a basket, and tall young men wear her flowers in their shining hair. 一位老妇人,长得又矮又胖,放声大笑,从篮子里取出花发给他们,高个子的年轻人将花戴在闪闪发亮的头发上。

A child of nine or ten sits at the edge of the crowd, alone, playing on a wooden flute. 一个九十岁样子的孩子独自坐在人群边上,吹奏着木笛。

People pause to listen, and they smile, but they do not speak to them, for he never ceases playing and never sees them, his dark eyes wholly rapt in the sweet, thin magic of the tune. 人们停下来听着,露出微笑,但是没有跟那个孩子说话,因为他一直不停地吹奏,从来不看他们,他那双乌黑的眼睛全神贯注于美妙动听的旋律上。

He finishes, and slowly lowers his hands holding the wooden flute. 他吹完了,缓慢放下了握着木笛的双手。

As if that little private silence were the signal, all at once a trumpet sounds from the pavilion near the starting line: imperious, melancholy, piercing. 笛声一停,场上顿时出现了片刻寂静,这仿佛是一个信号,紧接着从起跑线附近的亭子里穿出了傲慢、忧郁、刺耳的号声。

The horses rear on their slender legs, and some of them neigh in answer. 马儿扬起瘦长的前腿,有一些还嘶鸣着作为回应。

Sober-faced, the young riders stroke the horses' necks and soothe them, whispering, “Quiet, quiet, there my beauty, my hope... ” 镇静的年轻赛马者抚摸着马的脖子,轻声细语的安慰它们:“乖,乖,我的美人,我的希望……”

They begin to form in rank along the starting line. The crowds along the racecourse are like a field of grass and flowers in the wind. The Festival of Summer has begun. 它们开始沿着起跑线排成一行。赛马跑道沿线的人群就像风中的花草。夏庆节开始了。

Do you believe? Do you accept the festival, the city, the joy? No? Then let me describe one more thing. 你相信吗?你相信这个节日,这个城市和其中的快乐吗?不?接下来再让我向你描述一件事情。

In a basement under one of the beautiful public buildings of Omelas, or perhaps in the cellar of one of its spacious private homes, there is a room. 在奥米勒斯城一座漂亮的公共建筑物的地下室里面,或许是在一座宽敞的私人住宅的地窖里面,有一个房间。

It has one locked door, and no window. A little light seeps in dustily between cracks in the boards, secondhand from a cobwebbed window somewhere across the cellar. 只有一个紧锁着的门,没有窗户。一丝充满尘埃的光线从墙板上的缝隙里穿进来,间接来自地窖某处结满蜘蛛网的一个小窗户。

In one corner of the little room a couple of mops, with stiff, clotted, foul-smelling heads, stand near a rusty bucket. The floor is dirt, a little damp to the touch, as cellar dirt usually is. 在这个小房间的一个角落里,有几把拖把立在一个生锈的桶旁,拖布硬硬的,结成了块,臭烘烘的。地是泥土地,碰上去有些潮湿,地窖里的土通常都是这样的。

The room is about three paces long and two wide: a mere broom closet or disused tool room. 这个房间有三步长两步宽:就是一个杂物室或者是被弃用的工具间。

In the room a child is sitting. It could be a boy or a girl. It looks about six, but actually is nearly ten. It is feeble-minded. 这个房间里坐着一个孩子。分不清是男孩还是女孩,看上去有六岁左右,但实际上快十岁了。它有些弱智。

Perhaps it was born defective, or perhaps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect. 或许是天生有缺陷,或许是由于恐惧,营养不良和被忽视而变得愚钝。

It picks its nose and occasionally fumbles vaguely with its toes or genitals, as it sits hunched in the corner farthest from the bucket and the two mops. 它缩头弓身地坐在离桶和两把拖把最远的角落里,抠着鼻子,偶尔无意识地摸着脚趾或生殖器。

It is afraid of the mops. It finds them horrible. It shuts its eyes, but it knows the mops are still standing there; and the door is locked; and nobody will come. 它害怕拖把,觉得它们很可怕。它闭上眼睛,但它知道拖把仍然竖立在那儿;门锁着;没人来。

The door is always locked; and nobody will come. The door is always locked; and nobody ever comes, except that sometimes-the child has no understanding of time or interval-sometimes the door rattles terribly and opens, and a person, or several people, are there. 门一直锁着,没有来过,除非有时——这个孩子不知道时间和时间间隔——有时门嘎吱作响,开了,会进来一个人或者几个人。

One of them may come in and kick the child to make it stand up. The others never come close, but peer in at it with frightened, disgusted eyes. 其中一个人可能会进来,踢一下这个孩子,让它站起来;其他人从不接近,而是用惊恐而厌恶的眼神向里面窥视着。

The food bowl and the water jug are hastily filled, the door is locked, the eyes disappear. 盛事物的碗和盛水的罐子被匆匆装满,然后门被锁上,人们纷纷离开。

The people at the door never say anything, but the child, who has not always lived in the tool room, and can remember sunlight and its mother's voice, sometimes speaks.


“I will be good,” it says. “Please let me out. I will be good!” They never answer. The child used to scream for help at night, and cry a good deal, but now it only makes a kind of whinning, “eh-haa,eh-haa,” and it speaks less and less often. “我会好好表现的,”它说::“请放我出去吧。我会好好表现的。”他们从来不作回答。孩子过去会在夜里大声尖叫着救命,哭得很厉害的,但现在只能发出“哎——啊,哎——啊”的呜咽声,而且话也说得越来越少了。

It is so thin there are no claves to its legs; its belly protrudes; it lives on a half-bowl of corn meal and grease a day. It is naked. 它瘦得腿上没有小腿肚,肚子凸出来;它一天吃半碗玉米和一点动物油。

It is naked. Its buttocks and thighs are a mass of festered sores, as it sits in its own excrement continually. 它赤身裸体,屁股和大腿都长满了溃烂的疮,因为 它经常坐在自己的粪便里。

They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas. Some of them have come to see it; others are content merely to know it is there. 奥米勒斯人知道它待在那儿。这些人来看过它,有些人只要知道它在那就够了。

They all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of scholars, the skill of their masters, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child's abominable misery.


This is

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