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英国语文BOOK 5 LESSON 5 The prairie on fire 起火的大草原(中英对照+mp3)

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LESSON 5 The prairie on fire (I)

第五课 起火的大草原(1)

The Prairies.—Between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains there is a vast extent of grassy plains called Prairies. The soil is fertile and the vegetation luxuriant; and before their occupation by the white man the tall grass waved in the wind over the wide expense, resembling the rolling of an emerald ocean. These plains furnished food for countless herds of buffaloes, elks, antelopes, and other animals that feed on herbage. They moved continually to and fro in vast masses, as the seasons changed and the state of the pasture drove them to new fields.

北美大草原——在密西西比河与落基山脉之间,有一个巨大的长满绿草的平原,称为“北美大草原”。这儿土壤肥沃,植被茂盛;这儿曾居住着白人,高高的绿草在风中自由摆动,就像滚动的翡翠的海洋。这些平原为无数的牛群、麋鹿、羚羊及其他的食草动物提供了食物。它们随着季节及牧场的状况移到新区域生长。

Different regions of the prairies had different characters. The wide undulating plains, frequented by buffaloes and covered with grass, were called Rolling Prairies, from their general resemblance to the long, heavy swell of the ocean, when subsiding after a storm; and Dry Prairies, because they were generally destitute of water. These were the most common and extensive.

草原的不同区域有不同的特点。宽阔的起伏的平原,常常被水牛觅食,被草覆盖的区域被称为“翻滚的草原”,它们看似风暴退去后,长长的沉重的鼓起的海洋;“干燥的草原”常常缺水,它们是最常见,范围也最广的草原区域。

Other regions abounded in springs, and were covered with shrubs and bushes. These were called Bushy Prairies.

其他地区在春季很旺盛,并覆盖着灌木丛和灌木林。它们称为“灌木林草原”。

Lastly, there were the Alluvial or Wet Prairies, which were covered with rich verdure and gorgeous flowers, and which in the rainy season were frequently overflowed.

最后,还有“冲积土或者湿地平原”,被丰裕的草木和华丽的花朵覆盖,在雨季常常都会溢出。

Sometimes a prairie was set on fire, either accidentally or by design. Such a prairie on fire was one of the most terrible things in nature. The ocean of flame rolled onward and onward before the wind, with irresistible might, devouring everything that lay in its path. Droves of wild horses, buffaloes, antelopes, rushed madly before the advancing flames, beasts of pray forgetting their enmities in the midst of the common danger. Crowds of vultures and other birds of prey followed the course of the fire, and seized upon the carcasses which the flames had not completely consumed.]

有时平原会起火,或者偶然或者有意为之。这样的平原起火在自然界是一件很恐怖的事。火焰的海洋向前翻滚,在风之前翻滚,势不可挡,吞没了它沿途经过的一切。野马、野牛和羚羊在火焰到达之前疯了似的奔跑,它们在共同的危险面前,忘记了彼此之间为敌人的事儿。成群的秃鹰和其他鸟类跟着火苗觅食,它们抓住那些没有被火海完全吞噬的腐肉。

The sleep of the fugitives lasted for several hours. The trapper(1) was the first to shake off its influence, as he had been the last to court its refreshment. Rising just as the gray light of day began to brighten that portion of the studded vault(2) which rested on the eastern margin of the plain, he summoned his companions from their warm lairs, and pointed out the necessity of their being once more on the alert.

逃亡者沉睡了许久。设陷阱的捕兽者是最早收到它的影响的。他将同伴们从温暖的住宅中唤醒,指出必须警戒。

"See, Middleton!" exclaimed Inez, in a sudden burst of youthful pleasure, that caused her for a moment to forget her situation, "how lovely is that sky; surely it contains a promise of happier times!"

“看,米德尔顿!”伊内兹呼唤道,她爆发出一阵年轻的笑,这使她瞬间忘记了自己的处境,“天空多么可爱啊,这预示着将有更幸福的时光!”

"It is glorious!" returned her husband. "Glorious and heavenly is that streak of vivid red; and here is a still brighter crimson. Rarely have I seen a richer rising of the sun."

“多华丽啊!”她丈夫回答道。“耀眼的红色条纹是华丽和神圣的,这仍然有更明亮的红色。我很少看见这么强烈的太阳的升起。”

"Rising of the sun!" slowly repeated the old man, lifting his tall person from his seat with a deliberate and abstracted air, while he kept his eye riveted on the changing and certainly beautiful tints that were garnishing the vault of heaven. "Rising of the sun!—I like not such risings of the sun. Ah's me! the Indians have circumvented(3) us. The prairie is on fire!"

“太阳升起来了!”那个男人慢慢地重复这话,从座位上看起来,他看到弥漫的空气,他的双眼被正在改变的,美丽的色彩装饰着的天穹吸引了。“太阳正在升起!——我不喜欢太阳这样升起。啊!这印度人在骗我们,这不是太阳升起,这是草原着火了!”

"Oh, dreadful!" cried Middleton, catching Inez to his bosom, under the instant impression of the imminence of their danger. "There is no time to lose, old man; each instant is a day. Let us fly!"

“哦,多可怕!”米德尔顿哭喊,抓住伊内兹的怀抱,面临突如其来的紧急危险,米尔的顿说“不能浪费时间,每一瞬间都是一天,让我们快走!”

"Whither?" demanded the trapper, motioning him, with calmness and dignity, to arrest his steps. "In this wilderness of grass and reeds, we are like a vessel in the broad lakes without a compass. A single step on the wrong course might prove the destruction of us all. It is seldom danger is so pressing that there is not time enough for reason to do its work, young officer; therefore let us await its biddings."

“去哪儿呢?”捕兽者说,他打着手势,冷静并庄重地制止了他的步伐。“在这片广阔的草和芦苇丛中,我们就像在宽阔的湖中的小船,而且没有指南针。一步走错可能就会导致我们所有人全军覆没。少量的危险是如此紧迫的以至于没有时间做工作,年轻的长官,因此,让我们等待它的来临吧。”

"For my part," said Paul Hover, looking about him with an unequivocal expression of concern, "I acknowledge that should this dry bed of weeds get fairly into flame, a bee would have to make a flight higher than common, to prevent his wings from being scorched. Therefore, old trapper, I agree with the captain, and say, Mount and run!"

“我认为”保罗说,他用担心的眼光看着他,“我明白一床干干的草大面积燃烧起来,一只蜜蜂也会比往常更勇敢地反抗来避免自己的翅膀被烧焦。因此,我同意首领说的,跑!”

"Ye are wrong—ye are wrong;—man is not a beast, to follow the gift of instinct, and to snuff up his knowledge by a taint in the air or a rumbling in the ground; but he must see, and reason, and then conclude. So, follow me a little to the left, where there is a rising in the ground whence we may make our reconnoitrings."

“你们是错的——你们是错误的——人们不是野兽,跟随冲动的天性,呼入空气中的污点或者在地上跑出隆隆声。我们必须看,并思考,然后得出结论。所以,跟我到左边一点的地方,那儿地势是上升的,从那儿我们去勘察一下。”

The old man waved his hand with authority, and led the way, without further parlance,(4) to the spot he had indicated, followed by the whole of his alarmed companions. An eye less practised than that of the trapper might have failed in discovering the gentle elevation to which he alluded, and which looked on the surface of the meadow like a growth a little taller than common.

老人带着权威地挥舞他的手,没再说话,带着大家向他标识的位置前进,跟着他的是惊慌的伙伴们。比捕兽者缺乏经验的人或许没发现,他暗指的地方,那儿的草长得普通的草要高些。

When they reached the place, however, the stunted grass itself announced the absence of that moisture which had fed the rank weeds of most of the plain, and furnished a clew to the evidence by which he had judged of the formation of the ground hidden beneath. Here a few minutes were lost in breaking down the tops of the surrounding herbage—which, notwithstanding the advantage of their position, rose even above the heads of Middleton and Paul—and in obtaining a look-out that might command a view of the surrounding sea of fire.

当到达那个地方,他们才发现矮小的草丛并没有像往常滋润大片草原的水珠。折断周围草丛的时间浪费了许多,尽管如此,他们位置处于甚至比米德尔顿和保罗的头顶还高所带来的优势,可以一眼望见火海。

The examination which his companions so instantly and so intently made, rather served to assure them of their desperate situation than to appease their fears. Huge columns of smoke were rolling up from the plain, and thickening in gloomy masses around the horizon. The red glow which gleamed upon their enormous folds, now lighted their volumes with the glare of the conflagration, now flashed to another point, as the flame beneath glided ahead, leaving all behind enveloped in awful darkness, and proclaiming louder than words the character of the imminent and rapidly approaching danger.

他的同伴迅速并专注地做得检查是为了安抚他们绝望的情绪。巨大的浓烟从草原上滚滚而来,厚重的阴暗环绕着地平线。闪着红光的火焰团向另一边滚去,滚过之处留下的尽是一片乌黑,发出隆隆声,预示着迫在眉睫的危险。

"This is terrible!" exclaimed Middleton, folding the trembling Inez to his heart. "At such a time as this, and in such a manner!"

米德尔顿说“这太可怕了”。他紧紧抱着伊内兹。

"The gates of heaven are open to all who truly believe," murmured the gentle wife.

“天堂之门会向真诚地相信它的人敞开的”温柔的妻子喃喃地说。

"This resignation is maddening! But we are men, and will make a struggle for our lives!—How now, my brave and spirited friend;—shall we yet mount and push across the flames; or shall we stand here, and see those we most love perish in this frightful manner without an effort?"

“顺从实在令人发狂!我们是人类,我们要为自己的生存反抗!­——现在,我勇敢和激情的朋友们——我们是应该在火中攀登向前,还是看着我们最爱的那些人、物死去而不做任何努力?”

"I am for a swarming-time and a flight before the hive is too hot to hold us," said the bee hunter, to whom it will be at once seen that the half-distracted Middleton had addressed himself.—"Come, old trapper, you must acknowledge this is but a slow way of getting out of danger. If we tarry here much longer, it will be in the fashion that the bees lie round the straw after the hive has been smoked for its honey.(5) You may hear the fire begin to roar already; and I know by experience that when the flame once gets fairly into the prairie grass, he is no sloth that can outrun it."

捕蜂人说“我同意在密集的热火包围我们之前反击。”他看见走神的米德尔顿对捕兽者说“来吧,老捕兽者,你必须意识到这个尽管缓慢却能让我们脱离危险的方法。在这呆的时间越长,蜜蜂就会因为蜂箱被烟熏而倒在稻草中了。你可能听到之前火咆哮的声音了,而且根据经验我知道一旦火焰进入草原的草丛,就太难逃出去了。”

"Think you," returned the old man pointing scornfully at the mazes of the dry and matted grass which environed them, "that mortal feet can outstrip the speed of fire on such a path?"

“你想想”老人蔑视地指着干燥的包围着他们的草说“人类的脚怎么可能跑得过燃烧的火焰呢?”

"What say you, friend doctor?" cried the bewildered Paul, turning to the naturalist with that sort of helplessness with which the strong are often apt to seek aid of the weak, when human power is baffled by the hand of a mightier Being;—"what say you? Have you no advice to give away in a case of life and death?"

“你说什么呢,博大精深的朋友?”保罗喊道,他转向毫无希望的博物学者,当人们的力量受到更强的人的阻碍时,总希望从弱者那儿得到帮助。——“你说什么?你并没有给出面临生死的建议!”

The naturalist stood, tablets(6) in hand, looking at the awful spectacle with as much composure as though the conflagration had been lighted in order to solve the difficulties of some scientific problem. Aroused by the question of his companion, he turned to his equally calm though differently occupied associate, the trapper, demanding with the most provoking insensibility to the urgent nature of their situation—"Venerable hunter, you have often witnessed similar prismatic experiments(7)—"

博物学者站起来,手里拿着牌匾,冷静地看着可怕的景观。被他同伴的问题激起,他转向和他一样镇定但立场不同的捕兽者。——“珍贵的猎人,你经常见识过类似棱镜的实验——”。

He was rudely interrupted by Paul, who struck the tablets from his hand with a violence that betrayed the utter intellectual confusion which had overset his equanimity.(8)

他被保罗粗鲁地打断了,保罗从他手里粗鲁地打碎了牌匾,此举使得他不再冷静。

QUESTIONS

问题

For what did Inez and her husband mistake the red streak on the horizon? Who undeceived them? Whom did he suspect of firing the prairie? For what purpose? What did most of the travellers advise? Who opposed this? Where did he lead the party?

为什么伊内兹和她丈夫误把地平线上红色条纹认为是太阳在升起?谁让他们清醒过来?他怀疑是谁点着了草原?出于什么样的目的?大多旅行者建议什么?谁反对?他带领队伍到了哪儿?

译文属小E英语原创,未经允许,不得转载。

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