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On His Being Arrived to the Age of Twenty-Three


How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth(1),

Stolen(2) on his wing(3) my three-and -twentieth(4) year!

My hasing days fly on with full career(5),

But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th(6).

Perhaps my semblance(7) might deceive the truth

That I to manhood am arrived so near(8);

And inward ripeness(9) doth much less appear,

That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th(10).

Yet, be it less or more,or soon or slow(11),

It shall be still(12) in strictest measure even(13)

To that same lot,(14) however mean or high,

Toward which Time leads me,and the will of Heaven(15);

All(16) is, if I have grace to use it so,

As ever in my great Task-Master's(17) eye.



满二十三周岁

时间啊,这窃取青春的巧贼,竟这样

迅速地用双翅运走了我的二十三岁,

我的逝水年华匆匆地过去,

但我的暮春却不曾开花结蕾;

我的面貌也许还不够苍老,

但是我确已接近成人的年岁,

我的内心更显得不够成熟,

远不如那些及早立业的同辈;

但不管我成熟迟早,或快或慢,

这和我既定的命运——那时间与天意

要领我达到的命运(无论是贵贱)——

仍然会严格符合,不爽毫厘。

只要我好自为之,一切都还是

在我的严厉主人监督的眼里。


注释:

(1)the subtle thief of youth:此时Time的同位语。时间被称为subtle(狡猾的),因为它偷走青春岁月是人们不知不觉的。蒲柏(Alexander Pope)也曾说过,“Time the thief of life.”
(2)Stolen:与hath(第1行)一起构成谓语。
(3)on his wing: at flying speed 以飞快的速度
(4)three-and-twentieth:twenty-third
(5)with full career:at full speed全速的
(6)But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th:正常结构是:But my late spring shew'th no bud or blossom(但是我迟到的春天却没有现出花蕾),这里的花蕾指伟大的作品。shew'th即sheweth或shows. (来源:英语交友 http://friends.englishcn.com)
(7)semblence:外表。据说弥尔顿看起来比他的实际年龄要小。
(8)That I to manhood am arrived so near:正常的结构是:That I am arrived so near to manhood.以That 引导的这一子句是truth(第5行)的同位语,am arrived:have arrived.
(9)inward ripeness:内心的成熟
(10)That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th:正常的结构是:That endu'th some more timely-happy spirits,给与了某些在时间上更为幸运的人,即较早成熟的人(如莎士比亚)。以That引导这一子句用作定语,修饰inward ripeness(第7行)。endu'th即endoweth或endows,赐予;spirits:人。
(11)be it less or more, or soon or slow:此行中or出现三次,这里有两组选择,即(a)whether it be less or more,不论是多还是少;(b)whether it be soon or slow,不论是快还是慢。在(a)中,开头的whether被省略;在(b)中,开头的or即whether,在whether后,用虚拟语气。
(12)still:always,forever
(13)even:equal相应的,相等的
(14)that same lot:指上帝指定给我的命运。
(15)and the will of Heaven:and the will of Heaven(leads me)。
(16)All:对此有不同解释,其中有一种认为All指ripeness(第7行)。
(17)great Task-Master;指上帝。弥尔顿在把这首诗附寄给一位朋友的信中说:“Those that were latest lost nothing when the Master of the vineyard dome to give every man his hire”(“当葡萄园的主人来给每个人的工钱时,来得最晚的人没有失去任何东西”)。信中所指的是《圣经 马太福音》(20)中葡萄园工人的比喻。故事说,有一个葡萄园的园主雇请工人来葡萄园工作,有的工人早到,辛苦了一整天,有的工人迟来,只工作了一小时,但最后得到同样数量的工钱。弥尔顿借用这个比喻来表达大器晚成之义,暗示立志写出伟 大作品的决心。
最后两行大意是说,诗人内心的成熟,也就是他的才华,只要他有雅量去善加利用(if I have the grace to use it so),或者说,只要他不卑不亢,不骄不躁,很好地利用他的才华(不论来得是多是少,是快是慢),那么其最终结果在上帝看来(in my great Task-Master' eye)都将会与较早成熟者的成果同样伟大。

   
 
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