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英文翻譯練習:Invictus by William Ernest Henley
撰文者: Wayne 發表日期: September 15, 2011 – 3:37 pm

版主最近看了電影Invictus》(打不倒的勇者),劇情描述南非民選總統曼德拉如何透過奇蹟似的足球賽化敵為友,替南非解決長久以來的種族對立問題。

版主查了網路才明瞭英文電影名稱的意思。喔,原來如此!這部電影的片名是有歷史典故的,Invictus 在拉丁文中是表示 unconquered (永不屈服/永不言敗/永不倒下)。英國詩人威廉‧亨利 (Willaim Ernest Henley, 1849-1903) 曾以此為名,寫了一首激勵人心的詩 Invictus 《永不屈服》,鼓勵人不屈不撓,即便命途多舛,也要奮力搏鬥,掌管自己的人生。

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Invictus
《永不屈服》

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

覆我周身乃暗夜,
四極昏黑如幽壑。
各方神祇皆感謝,
為我不屈之魂魄。

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

身陷險惡困境中,
我不皺眉不叫喊。
命運棒打威嚇中,
頭破血流卻昂然。


Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

此處怒與淚之上,
恐怖陰影暗伏圍,
歲月恐嚇之險象,
我將無懼且無畏。


It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

無視天國門多窄,
不懼冊載之罰懲,
我乃命運之主宰,
我乃靈魂之統領。

(說明) 這首詩的中譯是參照刁卿蕙部落格的譯文。刁小姐的文字功力高深版主借用她譯文的韻腳,並且稍加修改字句。網友若想參考原譯文,請前往:
英詩漢譯賞析: 《不屈》的靈魂 – 刁卿蕙 的部落格 – udn部落格

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translation

刁卿蕙的部落格還放了詩畫家鄭燮與明朝名將于謙的詩,內容皆氣勢磅礡,以豪氣干雲的口氣抒發昂揚的鬥志。

《題竹石》- 鄭燮

「咬定青山不放鬆,立根原在破岩中。千磨萬擊還堅勁,任爾東西南北風。」

《石灰吟》- 于謙

「千錘萬鑿出深山,烈火焚燒若等閑。粉身碎骨渾不怕,要留青白在人間。」

translation

這首英詩有幾處稍難理解,下面是美國人對本詩的詮釋:

(1)
Darkness is a metaphor for evil, and perhaps depression, “The Pit” is Hell. The writer, in thanking the Gods for his “unconquerable soul” is meaning that whatever bodily adversity he faces, his soul will remain unconquered.
The second verse repeats the theme, the body may be broken, but not the spirit (Fell = bad or evil).

The third verse talks about the “Place of wrath and tears” meaning the physical world (Cf the Burial Service from the book of common prayer, refering to life as “this vale of tears” (Wrath = anger) and also the “Horror of the Shade” which is a poetic expression for Death (Shade = a ghost or spirit) and even faced with both of these the writer is unafraid.

“Strait the gate” is a biblical reference (Strait = narrow). The last two lines repeat the main theme, that a person is responsible for their self, whatever happens in life.

(2)

The use of “clutch” to mean “a high-pressure situation or critical moment” was definitely popularized in sports, particularly baseball, where the term was in use by the 1920s. A poster to the mailing list of the American Dialect Society a few years ago suggested that the usage may have been drawn from the famous poem “Invictus” by the English poet W.E. Henley, which contains the line “In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud” (“fell” meaning “cruel or fierce,” as in “one fell swoop”). Inasmuch as “Invictus” (Latin for “unconquered”) was part of the standard English curriculum in many schools of the period, it’s certainly possible that the word simply popped into the mind of a sportswriter and grew from there.

(3)

“Invictus” by William Ernest Henley is a quite eloquent poem with its expressive words and many interpretations. The lines of this poem may require deep focus on the one true meaning of the poem. However, the legit meaning of “Invictus,” I believe, lies between the lines. The words have meanings, but meanings that won’t contribute to the definition to the poem itself. It requires an interpretation of the meaning of the words together to find the hidden information that lies between the lines. William Ernest Henley uses figurative language and personification in this poem. The reason this poem was written is not yet sure. However, it was written while Henley was in a hospital bed recovering from a leg amputation in 1867 because of tuberculosis. Coming back to the interpretation and focusing on the title, which has a great contribution to the interpretation, Invictus, means unconquerable. Given that bit of information, it is assumed that the poem has something to do with being unconquerable or invincible.

The first stanza of “Invictus” is “OUT of the night that covers me, black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.” William Ernest Henley is implying someone’s life being surrounded by the darkness of their life. Every aspect of their life is like the ‘pit’ or hell. However, they express their story of how they overcame their troubles and how they feel that nothing can get in their way anymore.

In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeoning of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.” This is the second stanza; small, but meaningful. The poet is describing someone who has had a hard life. They have encountered many troubles and circumstances, but have never given up pushing through them. After their life has been beaten down, they are still strong and hopeful. ‘Bludgeoning’ has the definition of beating or forcing down. Henley is implying that someone has been beaten down, but they are still capable and full of endurance to conquer the troubles of the life ahead of them.

The third stanza says, “Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.” These lines of ‘Invictus’ explain how the individual differentiates the fact that there will be circumstances in the future that he cannot prevent from happening. However, the past troubled years has prepared the individual for the future ones. The approaching years must stand and be ready to find the person unafraid and ready to overcome the hardships that the forth comings will provide.

“It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishment the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” William Ernest Henley finishes his poem with this last and famous stanza. These words are basically interpreting how a person is the controller of their own life. Whatever they encounter in life, or whatever life throws at them, they are the ‘captain of their soul;’ they can manage their own life. Life is a struggle and is not absolute. However, with the authority that they have over their life, they can proceed on the road of their choice. They are the master of their fate, and the captain of their soul.

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