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2012年12月27日 星期四

LAUGHTER, 1920. part 3

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LAUGHTER, 1920.


By Max Beerbohm


出處

At least, I say I do so. In point of fact, I have merely smiled. Twenty years ago, ten years ago, I should have laughed, and have professed to you that I had merely smiled. A very young man is not content to be very young, nor even a young man to be young: he wants to share the dignity of his elders. There is no dignity in laughter, there is much of it in smiles. Laughter is but a joyous surrender, smiles give token of mature criticism. It may be that in the early ages of this world there was far more laughter than is to be heard now, and that aeons hence laughter will be obsolete, and smiles universal — every one, always, mildly, slightly, smiling. But it is less useful to speculate as to mankind's past and future than to observe men. And you will have observed with me in the club-room that young men at most times look solemn, whereas old men or men of middle age mostly smile; and also that those young men do often laugh loud and long among themselves, while we others — the gayest and best of us in the most favourable circumstances — seldom achieve more than our habitual act of smiling. Does the sound of that laughter jar on us? Do we liken it to the crackling of thorns under a pot? Let us do so. There is no cheerier sound. But let us not assume it to be the laughter of fools because we sit quiet. It is absurd to disapprove of what one envies, or to wish a good thing were no more because it has passed out of our possession.



至少我是這麼說。事實上,我只僅僅微笑。廿年前,十年前,我會大笑,然後跟你講我只僅僅微笑。一個很年輕的人通常不滿其年輕,他也不會表現出年輕。他希望表現出其長輩的莊重威嚴。大笑亳不莊重,而微笑則有之。大笑只是開心的投降,而微笑則是成熟評論的象徵。在世界的早期,或許大笑比今日較常聽到,千世之後,大笑將近絕跡,而微笑普及。每個人,總是溫和而輕柔地微笑。然而預測人類的過去與未來並不如觀察今人來得有用。在夜總會裡,你將與我一同觀察到,年輕人多半時候看來都很嚴肅,而老人或中年人多半在微笑。並且,年輕人確實經常在自己的群體裡高聲長笑,而我們其他人中最快樂的,即使在最愉快的情況下,亦甚少超過我們慣常的微笑。那種大笑對我們很刺耳嗎?我們是否把他比擬做在鍋底下爆裂的荊棘(薛習按:英語俗語有把傻子的笑聲比做鍋下爆裂的荊棘的說法,所以此處用以指代)?就讓我們這麼做。再沒有更歡愉的聲音了。但我們不要因為我們安靜坐著就把那視為傻瓜的笑聲。就因為我們妒嫉或不再擁有而不認同,是荒謬的。

merely [記憶法] [`mɪrlɪ; 'miəli] 僅僅,只
professed [記憶法] [[prə`fɛst] 自稱的,假裝的
content [記憶法] [kən`tɛnt; kən'tɛnt] 滿足[於…]的[with]
dignity [記憶法] [`dɪgnətɪ; 'dignəti] 端莊 [莊重], 威嚴
joyous [記憶法] [`dʒɔɪəs; 'dʒɔiəs] <<形容詞>> (文語)= joyful
surrender [記憶法] [sə`rɛndɚ; sə'rɛndə]投降, 放棄
aeon [記憶法] [`iən; 'i:ən] 千萬年(=eon), 永世, 萬古, 極長的時期
obsolete [記憶法] [`ɑbsəˌlit; 'ɔbsəli:t] 廢棄的, 落伍的,老式的,過時的
speculate [記憶法] [`spɛkjəˌlɛt; 'spɛkjulɛit] 思索,沉思,推測
solemn [記憶法] [`sɑləm; 'sɔləm] 一本正經的,嚴肅的
habitual [記憶法] [hə`bɪtʃʊəl, -tʃʊl; hə'bitjuəl, -tʃul]習慣性的,慣常的
crackling [記憶法] 連續的爆裂 [辟啪] 聲
thorn [記憶法] [θɔrn; θɔ:n] 荊棘, 刺, 針
envy [記憶法] [`ɛnvɪ; 'ɛnvi] 嫉妒,羨慕
passed out 離去