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Of Love (论爱情) --Bacon(培根)


    THE stage is more beholding to love, than the life of man. For as to the stage, love is ever matter of comedies, and now and then of tragedies; but in life it doth(1) much mischief; sometimes like a siren(2),sometimes like a fury(3). You may observe, that amongst all the great and worthy persons (whereof the memory remaineth, either ancient or recent) there is not one, that hath been transported to the mad degree of love: which shows that great spirits, and great business, do keep out this weak passion. You must except, nevertheless, Marcus Antonius, the half partner of the empire of Rome, and Appius Claudius(4), the decemvir (古罗马十大执政官之一)and lawgiver; whereof the former was indeed a voluptuous(骄奢淫逸的) man, and inordinate (放纵的,过分的); but the latter was an austere(简朴,严肃的 and wise man: and therefore it seems (though rarely) that love can find entrance, not only into an open heart, but also into a heart well fortified, if watch be not well kept.


    It is a poor saying of Epicurus(5),Sates magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus;as if man, made for the contemplation(沉思冥想) of heaven, and all noble objects, should do nothing but kneel before a little idol,and make himself a subject, though not of the mouth (as beasts are), yet of the eye; which was given him for higher purposes.


    It is a strange thing, to note the excess of this passion, and how it braves(冒险,敢做) the nature, and value of things, by this; that the speaking in a perpetual(永远的,重复的) hyperbole(夸张), is comely in nothing but in love. Neither is it merely in he phrase; for whereas it hath been well said, that the arch-flatterer, with whom all the petty flatterers have intelligence, is a man's self; certainly the lover is more. For there was never proud man thought so absurdly(愚蠢,荒谬) well of himself, as the lover doth of the person loved; and therefore it was well said, that it is impossible to love, and to be wise. Neither doth this weakness appear to others only, and not to the party loved; but to the loved most of all, except he love be reciproque. For it is a true rule, that love is ever rewarded, either with the reciproque, or with an inward and secret contempt.


    By how much the more, men ought to beware of this passion, which loseth not only other things, but itself! As for the other losses, the poet's relation doth well figure them: that he that preferred Helena, quitted the gifts of Juno and Pallas. For whosoever esteemeth too much of amorous affection, quitteth both riches and wisdom.(6)


   This passion hath his floods, in very times of weakness; which are great prosperity, and great adversity; though this latter hath been less observed: both which times kindle(点燃,照亮) love, and make it more fervent(炽热的,强烈的), and therefore show it to be the child of folly. They do best, who if they cannot but admit love, yet make it keep quarters; and sever it wholly from their serious affairs, and actions, of life; for if it check once with business, it troubleth men's fortunes, and maketh men, that they can no  ways be true to their own ends.


    I know not how, but martial men are given to love: I think, it is but as they are given to wine; for perils(危险) commonly ask to be paid in  leasures.


    There is in man's nature, a secret inclination and motion, towards love
of others, which if it be not spent upon some one or a few, doth naturally spread itself towards many, and make the men become humane and charitable; as it is seen sometime in friars(修道士).


    Nuptial(婚姻的,婚礼的) love maketh mankind; friendly love perfecteth it; but wanton(不负责任的,蛮横放肆的)love corrupteth, and
embaseth it.



(1)古英语,现在写成“does", "th" 在古英语中用在现在时单数第三人称动词后,如文章后面出现的"maketh","corrupteth"等
(2) 古希腊神话,传说地中海有魔女,歌喉动听,诱使过往船只陷入险境。
(3) 传说中的复仇女神,"fury",狂怒,就是由此而来。
(4) 安东尼,恺撒部将。后因迷恋女色而战败被杀。克劳底亚,古罗马执政官,亦因好色而杀。
(5) 埃辟克拉斯(前342--前270年),古罗马哲学家。
(6) 古希腊神话,传说天后赫拉,智慧之神密纳发和美神维纳斯,为争夺象征“最美的人“的金苹果,请特洛伊王子评判。三神各许一愿, 密纳发许以智慧,维纳斯许以美女海伦,天后许以财富。结果王子把金苹果给了维纳斯,这就是著名的“特洛伊战争”的祸端。



  弗兰西斯 ·培根(1561~1626),英国文艺复兴时期最重要的散作家、哲学家。他不但在文学、哲学上多有建树,在自然科学领域里,也取得了重大成就。培根是一位经历了诸多磨难的贵族子弟,复杂多变的生活经历丰富了他的阅历,随之而来的,使他的思想成熟,言论深邃,富含哲理。 《新工具》是培根的主要哲学著作之一,首次发表于1620年。培根本计划写一部大书,名为《伟大的复兴》,分为六个部分,《新工具》是其中的第二部,但未能完成。 
  从 《培根随笔集》的 “论真理”、“论死亡”、“论人的天性”等篇章中,可以看到一个热爱哲学的培根。从“论高官”、“论王权”、“论野心”等篇章中,可以看到一个热衷于政治,深谙官场运作的培根。从“论爱情”、“论友情”、“论婚姻与独身”等篇章中,可以看到一个富有生活情趣的培根。从“论逆境”、“论幸运”、“论残疾”等篇章中,可以看到一个自强不息的培根。从“论作伪与掩饰”、“论言谈”等篇章中,可以看到一个工于心计、老于世故的培根。     



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