《中西诗在情趣上的比较》英译

Comparing Chinese and Western Poetry (Excerpt) 中西诗在情趣上的 […]

Comparing Chinese and Western Poetry (Excerpt)

中西诗在情趣上的比较(节选)

Zhu Guangqian

朱光潜

 

1 Most Western poetry about relationships between people centers on love. Although there are many Chinese poems on love, this does not outweigh all other relationships.

西方关于人伦的诗大半以恋爱为中心。中国诗言爱情的虽然很多,但是没有让爱情把其他人伦抹煞。

2 Friendship between equals and the relationship between prince and minister are not very important themes in Western poetry, but in Chinese poetry they occupy a position almost equal to love. To take away the emotions of loyalty, patriotism and humanitarianism from the poetry of Qu Yuan, Du Fu and Lu You would be to deprive it of its most characteristic traits. It was the custom of critics in the past to read into love poetry a message of loyalty or patriotism. For instance, ancient commentaries on the Book of Songs regarded many poems about sexual love as political satires. Of course, this procedure sometimes gave rise to rather forced interpretations. Recently some critics have gone to the opposite extreme, imposing love themes on genuinely patriotic poems. For instance, works like the Li Sao are regarded by some critics as love poems. This also seems to me a forced reading. Scholars familiar with Western poetry, seeing how important love is in Western poetry, have concluded that it must be equally important in Chinese poetry. They fail to realize that in fact the social conditions and attitudes towards human relationships are very different between East and West. In traditional China love was not in fact as important as modern Chinese people may imagine. On a general estimate, there are more poems on friendship than on love between the sexes in Chinese poetry, and occasional poems dedicated to friends often occupy the greater portion of a poet's collected works. The friendships between poets like Su Wu and Li Ling, the Seven Masters of Jian'an, Li Bai and Du Fu, Han Yu and Meng Jiao, Su Dongpo and Huang Tingjian, and Nalan Chengde and Gu Zhenguan have been a favorite topic of discussion over the ages. On the other hand, despite the friendship that existed between Goethe and Schiller, Wordsworth and Coleridge, Keats and Shelley, and Verlaine and Rimbaud, there are very few poems in these poets' collected works which celebrate the joys of friendship.

朋友的交情和君臣的恩谊在西方诗中不甚重要,而在中国诗中则几与爱情占同等位置。把屈原、杜甫、陆游诸人的忠君爱国爱民的情感拿去,他们诗的精华便已剥丧大半。从前注诗注词的人往往在爱情诗上贴上忠君爱国的徽帜,例如毛苌注《诗经》把许多男女相悦的诗看成讽刺时事的。张惠言说温飞卿的《菩萨蛮》十四章为“感士不遇之作”。这种办法固然有些牵强附会。近来人却又另走极端把真正忠君爱国的诗也贴上爱情的徽帜,例如《离骚》《远游》一类的著作竟有人认为爱情诗。我以为这也未免失之牵强附会。看过西方诗的学者见到爱情在西方诗中那样重要,以为它在中国诗中也应该很重要。他们不知道中西社会情形和伦理思想本来不同,恋爱在从前的中国实在没有现代中国人所想的那样重要。中国叙人伦的诗,通盘计算,关于友朋交谊的比关于男女恋爱的还要多,在许多诗人的集中,赠答酬唱的作品,往往占其大半。苏李[1]、建安七子、李杜、韩孟、苏黄、纳兰成德与顾贞观诸人的交谊古今传为美谈,在西方诗人中为歌德和席勒,华兹华斯与柯尔律治,济慈和雪莱、魏尔伦与兰波诸人虽亦以交谊著,而他们的集中叙友朋乐趣的诗却极少。

3 There are several reasons why love is not as important in Chinese poetry as it is in Western poetry. First, although the state is superficially the basis of Western society, in practice the emphasis is on the individual. Love is a matter of the utmost consequence in an individual's life, and therefore it is pursued to the utmost, even at the risk of excluding other relationships. To speak of a poet's love life often seems to speak of his whole life, particularly in more recent times. In Chinese society, although the family is theoretically the basic unit, in practice the emphasis is on public service. Men of letters often spent the greater part of their lives as officials living far from home, and it was common for their wives to remain behind in a distant province. During the day they were not in contact with women but with colleagues and other men of letters.

恋爱在中国诗中不如在西方诗中重要,有几层原因。第一,西方社会表面上虽以国家为基础,骨子里却侧重个人主义。爱情在个人生命中最关痛痒,所以尽量发展,以至掩盖其他人与人的关系。说尽一个诗人的恋爱史往往就已说尽他的生命史,在近代尤其如此。中国社会表面上虽以家庭为基础,骨子里却侧重兼善主义。文人往往费大半生的光阴于仕宦羁旅,“老妻寄异县”是常事。他们朝夕所接触的不是妇女而是同僚与文字友。

4 Second, the West has been influenced by medieval concepts of chivalry. In consequence, women occupy a fairly high position in society and are relatively well educated, so that they can enjoy the delights of learning and aesthetics on the same level as men. The pleasures of friendship that in China men could only find in the company of other men can in the West frequently be found in the company of women. The position of women in Confucian China, on the other hand, was rather low. Conjugal love usually arose out of ethical considerations, and the pleasure of shared ideals and aspirations was in practice quite rare in marital life. In addition, one's goal in life in Chinese society was the attainment of high official rank, and to spend too much time in the company of women was seen as shameful by Confucians.

第二,西方受中世纪骑士风的影响,女子地位较高,教育也比较完善,在学问和情趣上往往可以与男子忻合,在中国得于友朋的乐趣,在西方往往可以得之于妇人女子。中国受儒家思想的影响,女子的地位较低。夫妇恩爱常起于伦理观念,在实际上志同道合的乐趣颇不易得。加以中国社会理想侧重功名事业,“随着四婆裙”在儒家看是一件耻事。

5 Third, there is a considerable difference between Western and Eastern concepts of love. Western people attach great importance to love: “Love reigns supreme.” Chinese people have great respect for marriage but little regard for love, and true love is often seen as profligacy. Only people who are frustrated and bored with life and the world would openly express a preference for women and song. Romantically-inclined emperors like Yangdi of the Sui Dynasty and Li Yu of the Southern Tang are objects of universal condemnation. We may say that whereas Western poets want to realize life in love, Chinese poets often only seem to while away their life in love. Chinese poets have their feet planted more firmly on the ground: Love is love and nothing more. Western poets can see a little higher and wider, to elements of philosophy and religious sentiment in love.

第三,东西恋爱观相差也甚远。西方人重视恋爱,有“恋爱最上”的标语。中国人重视婚姻而轻视恋爱,真正的恋爱往往见于“桑间濮上”。潦倒无聊,悲观厌世的人才肯公然寄情于声色,象隋炀帝李后主几位风流天子都为世所垢病。我们可以说,西方诗人要在恋爱中实现人生,中国诗人往往只求在恋爱中消遣人生。中国诗人脚踏实地,爱情只是爱情;西方诗人比较能高瞻远瞩,爱情之中都有几分人生哲学和宗教情操。

6 This is not at all to say that Chinese poets are incapable of profound emotion. Most Western love poetry describes love before marriage, so that there are many poems in praise of the beloved's appearance and expressing passionate desire; Chinese love poetry, on the other hand, describes love after marriage, so that the finest examples are usually on separation or mourning the wife's death. Western poetry is best at “desire”-Shakespeare's sonnets and the shorter poems of Shelley and Browning are triumphs of expressions of desire. Chinese poetry is best at “complaint”-the poems “The Burdock” and “The Cypress Boat” (from the Book of Songs), “Far Away Twinkles the Herdboy Star” (from Nineteen Old Poems), “Festive Song” by Cao Pi, “The Dissolute Woman” and “Autumn Longings” by Emperor Yuandi of Liang, and “Remember Me Long,” “Resentment” and “Spring Longings” by Li Bai are triumphs of “complaint.” Speaking very generally, we may say that Western poetry excels at directness, profundity and elaboration, whereas Chinese poetry excels at indirectness, subtlety and simplicity.

这并非说中国诗人不能深于情。西方爱情诗大半写于婚媾之前,所以称赞容貌诉申爱慕者最多;中国爱情诗大半写于婚媾之后,所以最佳者往往是惜别悼亡。西方爱情诗最长于“慕”,莎士比亚的十四行体诗,雪莱和布朗宁诸人的短诗是“慕”的胜境;中国爱情诗最善于“怨”,《卷耳》、《柏舟》、《迢迢牵牛星》,曹丕的《燕歌行》,梁玄帝的《荡妇秋思赋》以及李白的《长相思》、《怨情》、《春思》诸作是“怨”的胜境。总观全体,我们可以说,西诗以直率胜,中诗以委婉胜;西诗以深刻胜,中诗以微妙胜;西诗以铺陈胜,中诗以简隽胜。

 


[1] 苏李,是西汉苏武、李陵二人的合称。

 

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