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英国语文BOOK 5 LESSON 10 The frigate-bird 军舰鸟 (中英对照+mp3)

LESSON 10 The frigate-bird

第十课 军舰鸟

What bird is this? It is the little ocean-eagle, first and chief of the winged race, the daring navigator who never furls his sails, the lord of the tempest, the scorner of all peril—the man-of-war or frigate-bird.(1)

这是一种什么鸟呢?它是再早的、也是最主要的一种有翼海鹰,是从不收帆的勇敢的领航员,是冲破暴风雨的主宰,是嘲笑一切危险的无畏勇士——军舰鸟。

Here we have a bird which is virtually nothing more than wings: scarcely any body—barely as large as that of the domestic cock—while his prodigious pinions are fifteen feet in span! The great problem of flight is solved and overpassed, for the power of flight seems useless. Such a bird, naturally sustained by such supports, needs but allow himself to be borne along. The storm bursts; he mounts to lofty heights, where he finds tranquillity. The poetic metaphor, untrue when applied to any other bird, is no exaggeration when applied to him: literally, he sleeps upon the storm.

事实上,这种鸟的最大的特点就是它的翅膀;它的肢体几乎只有一只家养的公鸡那么大,可是它那惊人的羽翼在展开时竟然有的15英尺长!它在飞行是几乎没有任何麻烦和障碍,因为飞行的力量似乎对它毫无用处。有了这种天生的本领,军舰鸟只需要让自己顺势而为即可。当暴风雨袭来时,它能迎面冲向新的高度,从而寻找到属于自己的安宁。某些诗意化的隐喻,若用在其他的鸟类身上便不真实,可是对它来说一点也不夸张;从字面上来看,它毫不畏惧暴风雨。

When he chooses to oar his way seriously, all distance vanishes: he breakfasts at the Senegal;(2) he dines in America.

当它认真地选择自己的飞行路线时,所有的距离都消失了——它可以在非洲的塞内加尔吃早餐,然后到美国吃午餐。

Or if he thinks fit to take more time, and amuse himself on route,(3) he can do so. He may continue his progress through the night uninterruptedly, certain of reposing himself. Upon what? On his huge motionless pinion, which takes upon itself all the weariness of the voyage; or on the wind, his slave, which eagerly hastens to cradle him.

或者,如果它想多花点时间在路上,消遣一下,当然也可以如此。它还可以整夜不间断的飞行,并且确保自己能得到充分休息。凭借什么呢?凭借它那巨型静止的双翼——它们承担了所有航程中的疲倦;或者凭借风——它的从动装置——急切的想要在空中托起它。

Amid the glowing azure of the tropics, at incredible altitudes, almost imperceptible in the dim remoteness, we see him triumphantly sweeping past us—this black, solitary bird, alone in the waste of heaven; or, at the most, at a lower elevation, the snow-white sea-swallow crosses his flight in easy grace!

热带地区的灼热碧空中,在令人难以置信的海拔高度,在昏暗遥远到几乎无法察觉中,我们能看到它耀武扬威得在我们头顶上一掠而过——这只孤独的黑色大鸟,在无尽的天空中独行;或者,最多在比较低的纬度,雪白的海燕优雅从容地与它交相飞过!

On looking at him closely, you perceive that he has no feet. At all events, his feet, being exceedingly short, can neither walk nor perch. With a formidable beak, he has not the talons of a true eagle of the sea.

一旦你近距离观察它,就会认为它并没有脚。无论怎样,它的脚的确非常短,既不能走路也不能在树木上栖息。由于已经拥有了可怕的喙,它便不再需要拥有像老鹰那样的利爪在海上猎食了。

Thence arises his life of uncertainty and hazard—the life of a corsair(4) and a pirate rather than of a mariner.

因此,它的生命中充满着不确定性和危险——更像强盗或海盗的生活,而不像是水手的生活。

The immense and superb apparatus of his wings becomes on land a danger and an embarrassment. To raise himself, he needs a strong wind and a lofty station—a promontory, a rock. Surprised on a sandy level, on the banks, the low reefs where he sometimes halts, the frigate-bird is defenceless; in vain he threatens, in vain he strikes, for a blow from a stick will overcome him.

它那超大型的宽大的翅膀也是其在陆地上的一个危险和困窘。为了便于顺利起飞,它需要强风和高地——海角或一块高耸的石头上。令人惊讶的是,在它偶尔停留的沙滩上、岸堤和低珊瑚礁上,军舰鸟就完全无助了;它的威胁、它的攻击在陆地上统统都失去了效力,因为一根棍子便可以制服它。

At sea, those vast wings, of such admirable utility in ascent, are ill fitted for skimming the surface of the water. When wetted, they may over-weight and sink him. And thereupon, woe to the bird!

然而,在高空中令人羡慕的巨翼,却并不适用于在海面上滑行。一旦被打湿,它们可能会因为过重而沉入水中。于是,灾难就会降临到可怜的它身上!

And yet, what shall he do? His food lies in the waters. He is ever compelled to draw near them, to return to them, to skim incessantly the hateful and prolific sea which threatens to engulf him.

那么,它该怎么办呢?它的食物就在水中。它总是被迫去靠近它们、反复接近它们,还要冒着随时被海水吞没的危险,连续掠过那个可恶而又物产丰富的海面。

Thus, then, this being, so well armed and winged, superior to all others in power of flight and vision as in daring, leads but a trembling and precarious life. He would die of hunger had he not the ingenuity to create for himself a purveyor, whom he cheats of his food. His ignoble resource, alas! is to attack a dull and timorous bird, the noddy, famous as a fisher. The frigatebird, which is of no larger dimensions, pursues him, strikes him on the neck with his beak, and constrains him to yield up his prey. All this takes place in the air. The noddy drops the fish; but the frigate-bird catches it before it can reach the water.

因此,这种有着良好装备和超大双翼的生物,尽管其飞行本领和视力超越其他动物,尽管其胆量非凡,却终日过着担心受怕的危险生活。如果它没有给自己找到一个可以提供食物的供应商,就会饿死。唉,可叹啊,军舰鸟那不光彩的一面就是去攻击一只迟钝又胆小的鸟——以“渔夫”之名著称的燕鸥。军舰鸟追赶着体型并不大的小鸟,用自己的鸟嘴去攻击它的颈项,迫使它放弃自己的食物。这整个的过程都是在空中进行的,燕鸥终于丢下了嘴里的鱼;可是,军舰鸟却在鱼即将落入水中之前抓住了它。

—Jules Michelet

——儒勒·米什莱

译文属小E英语原创,未经允许,不得转载。

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