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现代大学英语精读(第2版)第六册:U12 Notes on the English Character(5)

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They had this extraordinary appreciation of fact that we shall notice again and again. When disaster comes, the English instinct is to do what can be done first, and to postpone the feeling as long as possible. Hence they are splendid at emergencies. No doubt they are brave—no one will deny that—bravery is partly an affair of the nerves, and the English nervous system is well equipped for meeting physical emergency. It acts promptly and feels slowly. Such a combination is fruitful, and anyone who possesses it has gone long way toward being brave. And when the action is over, then the Englishman can feel.

英国人注意的是我们应该一再注意的事实。当灾难来临时,英国人的本能是去做最先能做的事,并且尽量推迟感情的到来。因此英国人在紧急情况下异常镇静。无疑他们是勇敢的,这一点毋庸置疑,但是勇敢的性情归功于神经而英国人的神经系统是为身体上的紧急情况而准备的。它(英国人的神经系统)行动迅速,感觉迟缓。这二者的结合的确有用,具备这一结合的人多半都很勇敢。动作结束时,英国人才会有感觉。
There is one more consideration—most important one. If the English nature is cold, how is it that it has produced a great literature and a literature that is particularly great in poetry? Judged by its prose, English literature would not stand in the first rank. It is its poetry that raises it to the level of Greek, Persian, or French. And yet the English are supposed to be so unpoetical. How is this? The nation that produced the Elizabethan drama and the Lake Poets cannot be a could, unpoetical nation. We can't get fire out of ice. Since literature always rests upon national character, there must be in the English nature hidden springs of fire to produce the fire we see. The warm sympathy, the romance, the imagination, that we look for in Englishmen whom we meet, and too often vainly look for, must exist in the nation as a whole, or we could not have this outburst of national song. An undeveloped heart—not a cold one.
这里有一个更重要的结论一最重要的一点。如果英国人天性冷漠,他们如何能够创造出伟大的文学,尤其是诗体文学?就散文而言,英国文学不是一流的;是诗使得英国文学与希腊、波斯或法国文学齐名。然而英国人却被认为不解诗情画意,原因何在?拥有伊丽莎白时期的戏剧和湖畔诗人的民族绝不是一个冷漠、无诗情画意的民族,冰不能生火。因为文学总是以民族特征为基础,所以,英国特性中肯定隐藏着激情的源泉,这样才会创造出我们读到的火一般的文学作品。我们常常在周围熟悉的人身上寻找热情的同情心浪漫、想象力,但往往无功而返。然而,这些品质肯定存在于英国整体民族之中,否则我们不可能有如此热情奔放的英国国歌只是一颗发育不全的心,而不是一颗冷酷的心。
The trouble is that the English nature is not at all easy to understand. It has a great air of simplicity, it advertises itself as simple, but the more we consider it, the greater the problems we shall encounter. People talk of the mysterious East, but the West also is mysterious. It has depths that do not reveal themselves at the first gaze. We know what the sea looks like from a distance: it is of one color, and level, and obviously cannot contain such creatures as fish. But if we look into the sea over the edge of a boat, we see a dozen colors, and depth below depth, and fish swimming in them. That sea is the English character—apparently imperturbable and even.
问题在于英国人的性格并不容易理解。英国人的性格彰显着简约的气质,它标榜自己简明,然而我们越探究它,遇到的问题就越多。人们往往认为东方是神秘的,其实西方也是神秘的,乍一看东西方都不会展现自身的本质。我们知道从远处看海是什么样子:颜色单一,水面平平,似乎里面不可能有鱼类动物生存。但是,如果我们沿船舷向海底望去,我们会看到十几种颜色,海水一层深似一层,鱼儿在里面游来游去。大海犹如英国人的性格特点看似波澜不惊,实则不然。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
appreciation [ə.pri:ʃi'eiʃən]

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n. 欣赏,感激,鉴识,评价,增值

 
promptly [prɔmptli]

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adv. 敏捷地,迅速地

 
fruitful ['fru:tfəl]

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adj. 多产的,富有成效的

 
imperturbable [.impə'tə:bəbl]

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adj. 沉着的,泰然自若的,镇静的

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contain [kən'tein]

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vt. 包含,容纳,克制,抑制
vi. 自制

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mysterious [mis'tiəriəs]

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adj. 神秘的,不可思议的

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postpone [pə'spəun]

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vt. 延期,推迟

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combination [.kɔmbi'neiʃən]

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n. 结合,联合,联合体

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bravery ['breivəri]

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n. 勇敢

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produce [prə'dju:s]

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n. 产品,农作物
vt. 生产,提出,引起,

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