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英文翻譯練習:My Books – George Gissing
撰文者: Wayne 發表日期: February 4, 2010 – 7:44 am

♣ (版主執筆翻譯英文) ♣

Dozens of my books were purchased with money which ought to have been spent upon what are called necessaries of life. Many a time I have stood before a stall, or a bookseller’s window, torn by conflict of intellectual desire and bodily need.

我購買的多數書籍,所用之款原本應用於所謂的生活必需品。我曾多次駐足在書攤或者書店的櫥窗前面,心智渴望與肉體需求在內心交戰。

 

At the very hour of dinner, when my stomach clamored for food, I have been stopped by sight of a volume so long coveted, and marked at so advantageous a price, that I could not let it go; yet to buy it meant pangs of famine.

我晚餐時刻雖飢腸轆轆,卻會因為看到某本書而駐足停留。書是我夢寐以求的,價格又如此誘人,我著實不忍坐失良機。然而,我一旦購書就必須忍飢挨餓。

 

My Heyne’s Tibullus was grasped at such a moment. It lay on the stall of the old bookshop in Grodge Street – a stall where now and then one found an excellent thing among quantities of rubbish.

我便是在那種情形下購買漢尼編寫的《提布盧斯詩集》。這本書原本擺在谷吉街一家老書店的書攤上,偶爾可以從那裡的一堆廢物中尋到寶物。

 

Sixpence was the price – sixpence! At that time I used to eat my midday meal at a coffee-shop in Oxford Street, one of the real old coffee-shops, such as now, I suppose, can hardly be found. Sixpence was all I had – yes, all I had in the world; it would purchase a plate of meat and vegetables.

書要價六個便士 – 六個便士!我當時經常在牛津街上的一家咖啡店吃午餐。這家可是道地的咖啡店,如今很難再找到這種店了。我當天只有六便士 – 沒錯,我就只剩那麼多,但那些錢足以買一盤肉與青菜了。

 

But I did not dare to hope that the Tibullus would wait until the tomorrow, when a certain small sum fell due to me. I paced the pavement, fingering the coppers in my pocket, eyeing the stall, two appetites at combat within me. The book was bought and I went home with it, and as I made dinner of bread and butter I gloated over the pages.

我隔天雖可收回一小筆欠款,心中卻擔憂《提布盧斯詩集》會被人搶先買走。於是,我在人行道上踱步,一邊撥弄口袋的銅幣,一邊盯著眼前的書攤,兩種欲望在心中交戰不已。最後,我掏錢將書買回家。當我以麵包與奶油準備晚餐時,我翻閱著書,心中竊喜不已。

 

In this Tibullus I found pencilled on the last page: “Perlegi¹, Oct. 4, 1792.” Who was that possessor of the book, nearly a hundred years ago? There was no other inscription. I like to imagine some poor scholar, poor and eager as I myself who bought the volume with drops of his blood, and enjoyed the reading of it even as I did. How much that was I could not easily say.

這本《提布盧斯詩集》的書末有一行鉛筆字跡:「1792 年 10 月 4 日閱畢。」到底誰在將近一百年以前擁有這本書?除此之外,我並未發現其他的題詞。我認為有位跟我一樣窮困但是熱切的學者,曾經不惜血汗錢購買此書,同時也跟我一樣沉浸於閱讀此書的樂趣。然而,這種讀書之樂卻難以描摹。

註解 1. Perlegi = I have read it through

 

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