井源

[文学翻译] 一个小小的建议

發布於

原著:〔英〕乔纳森•斯威夫特

翻译及注释:井源

Jonathan Swift(1667-1745)


A Modest Proposal

一个小小的建议

For preventing the children of poor people in Ireland,

from being a burden on their parents or country,

and for making them beneficial to the publick.

为了防止爱尔兰穷人的孩子,

成为他们父母和国家的负担,

并且还要让他们对大众有益。

It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabbin-doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in stroling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants who, as they grow up, either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country, to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes.

对那些穿过这座大城[1],或是到乡下游历的人来说,当他们看见街道上、大路上还有木屋门前挤满了女乞丐,后边还跟着三个四个或六个小孩儿,全穿得破破烂烂,不断向每一位行人乞求施舍,那可真是一件悲哀的事。这些母亲,她们无法通过工作来求得本分的生活,被迫把时间全花在到处奔波上,为她们不能自理的婴儿乞求食物。而当婴儿长大时,要么因为找不到工作变成窃贼,要么离开亲爱的祖国,为西班牙的觊觎者[2]战斗,或是把自己卖到巴巴多斯[3]。

I think it is agreed by all parties, that this prodigious number of children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom, a very great additional grievance; and therefore whoever could find out a fair, cheap and easy method of making these children sound and useful members of the commonwealth, would deserve so well of the publick, as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.

我想各方人士都会认同,这么多被母亲——时常也是父亲——抱在怀里,背在背上,或是跟在父母脚后的小孩儿,处于王国当下的糟糕状况中,真是受了份额外的罪。因此,无论什么人能够找到一种公平便宜又简单的方法,让这些孩子成为联邦健康有用的人,都将值得公众为他作为这个国家的守护者而立一尊雕像。

But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the children of professed beggars: it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the whole number of infants at a certain age, who are born of parents in effect as little able to support them, as those who demand our charity in the streets.

但我的想法,远非局限于单单供养那些职业乞丐子女:那是个要大得多的范围,应当涵盖了一个特定年龄的所有婴儿——他们出生在父母实际无力抚养的家庭,他们的父母就像那些街上需要我们施舍的人一样。

As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of our projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken in their computation. It is true, a child just dropt from its dam, may be supported by her milk, for a solar year, with little other nourishment: at most not above the value of two shillings, which the mother may certainly get, or the value in scraps, by her lawful occupation of begging; and it is exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for them in such a manner, as, instead of being a charge upon their parents, or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall, on the contrary, contribute to the feeding, and partly to the clothing of many thousands.

就我个人而言,已经在脑海中就这个重要的问题思考了很多年,也曾深思熟虑权衡过我们计划者的一些方案,可我总发现他们在计算中存在巨大的谬误。的确,一个刚从母体中出生的孩子,大概靠母乳就可以活过一年,不用什么其它营养:那是最多不超过两先令的价值,为母的大约肯定能得到,亦或是不超过为母的通过合法乞讨所得的残羹的价值。在他们恰好一岁时,我请求给他们提供这么一种方法,因而他们就不会成为父母和教区的负担,余生也不会缺衣少食。相反,他们应当会对成千上万的人的吃饭问题,一部分还能对穿衣问题做出贡献。

There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will prevent those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women murdering their bastard children, alas! too frequent among us, sacrificing the poor innocent babes, I doubt, more to avoid the expence than the shame, which would move tears and pity in the most savage and inhuman breast.

我计划中还有另一个巨大的好处,即可以阻止那些自主堕胎,就是那种妇女谋杀她们私生子的恶劣行为。唉!这在我们当中再常见不过了,牺牲的可是可怜无辜的孩子。我想,她们更想逃避的是花费,而并非羞耻。那种行为在最野蛮最非人的心中也能产生泪水与怜悯。

The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and a half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple, whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couple, who are able to maintain their own children, (although I apprehend there cannot be so many under the present distresses of the kingdom) but this being granted, there will remain a hundred and seventy thousand breeders. I again subtract fifty thousand, for those women who miscarry, or whose children die by accident or disease within the year. There only remain a hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents annually born. The question therefore is, How this number shall be reared and provided for? which, as I have already said, under the present situation of affairs, is utterly impossible by all the methods hitherto proposed. For we can neither employ them in handicraft or agriculture; they neither build houses, (I mean in the country) nor cultivate land: they can very seldom pick up a livelihood by stealing till they arrive at six years old; except where they are of towardly parts, although I confess they learn the rudiments much earlier; during which time they can however be properly looked upon only as probationers; as I have been informed by a principal gentleman in the county of Cavan, who protested to me, that he never knew above one or two instances under the age of six, even in a part of the kingdom so renowned for the quickest proficiency in that art.

这个王国的人口通常算作一百五十万,我又算了算可能大概有二十万对夫妇妻子能够生育。这里面我除去三万能够养活自己孩子的夫妇,(尽管我认为在王国当下的窘境中,不可能有这么多)就这么算吧,还余下十七万能够生育的。我再减去五万流产或是孩子一年内死于非命和疾病的妇女。现在只剩下十二万穷人家每年出生的孩子了。那么问题来了,这些个数目的孩子该怎样抚育供养?正如我之前所说,在当下的情形中,截至目前所有提议的方法均完全不可行。因为我们无法让孩子从事手工业和农业;他们既不造房子,(我是指在乡下)又不开垦荒地[4]:六岁之前,他们基本上不可能靠偷窃谋生,除非已经具备了偷盗能力。尽管我承认他们早就学习了那些基本功, 但在那段时间,恰当地说,他们只能被看作试身手罢了。 因为卡凡郡[5]的一个大绅士曾告诉我,即便在王国以最熟练那项技艺而著称的地区,他也从来没听讲过六岁以下孩子的一两个例子。

I am assured by our merchants, that a boy or a girl, before twelve years old, is no saleable commodity, and even when they come to this age, they will not yield above three pounds, or three pounds and half a crown at most, on the exchange; which cannot turn to account either to the parents or kingdom, the charge of nutriments and rags having been at least four times that value.

我们的人贩子告知我一个男童或女童,十二岁之前是卖不动的,即便小孩儿到了这个年纪,在交易中卖出去也不会赚得超过三镑,或者最多不超过三镑带半克朗。这对于父母和王国来说都没有用,伙食和破衣裳的花费都至少是那钱的四倍。

I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.

因此我现在该提出愚见,但愿不会遭到任何一点反对。

I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasee, or a ragoust.

一位身处伦敦见多识广的美洲熟人告知我,一个被悉心照料健康的周岁小孩儿,是最美味可口、健康有益的食物,无论是炖着吃、烤着吃、烘着吃还是煮着吃;而且我确信他们做成油焖肉或是蔬菜炖肉也都一样的好。

I do therefore humbly offer it to publick consideration, that of the hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle, or swine, and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore, one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in sale to the persons of quality and fortune, through the kingdom, always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump, and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt, will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

因此我要毕恭毕敬把这个想法交给公众考虑,之前算出来的十二万小孩儿中,两万或许可以保留育种,其中只有四分之一是雄性,比绵羊、肉牛和猪预留的都要多。我的理由,就是这些小孩儿很少是婚姻的果实,毕竟我们这些野蛮人是不怎么考虑这种情况的。因此,一个雄性配四个雌性就很足够了。剩下来的十万,或许可以在一周岁的时候,卖给整个王国既有身份又有钱财的人,并且还要不断劝说母亲在最后一个月让孩子喝足奶,这样他们就会长得胖一些,肥美得足以端上菜品丰盛的餐桌。招待朋友时,一个小孩儿可以做成两道菜。只跟家人吃饭时,前肢或者后肢就能做成一道合适的菜,加点胡椒加点盐,在第四天煮过后就会非常美味,尤其是在冬天的时候。

I have reckoned upon a medium, that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, encreaseth to 28 pounds.

我平均算下来,一个小孩刚出生时重12磅,一年内,照顾得说得过去的话,就会长到28磅。

I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.

我承认这种食物稍微有点贵,因此它就会非常适合地主。那些地主已经吞噬了大部分的父母,似乎也很有权力吃掉那些小孩儿了。

Infant’s flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in March, and a little before and after; for we are told by a grave author, an eminent French physician, that fish being a prolifick dyet, there are more children born in Roman Catholick countries about nine months after Lent, than at any other season; therefore, reckoning a year after Lent, the markets will be more glutted than usual, because the number of Popish infants, is at least three to one in this kingdom, and therefore it will have one other collateral advantage, by lessening the number of Papists among us.

婴儿肉一年到头都有卖,但在三月及其前后一点更加充足。因为有一个严肃的作者[6],同时也是一位著名的法国外科医生告诉我们,鱼是促进生育的食物,所以在罗马天主教国家,四旬期九个月以后,会有比其他时节更多的孩子出生。因此,算算四旬斋后的一年,市场与平时相比就会供应过剩,因为天主教婴儿的数目,在这个王国与剩余的相比至少是三比一,因此这又有一个附带的好处,就是可以减少我们当中教皇党人[7]的数目。

I have already computed the charge of nursing a beggar’s child (in which list I reckon all cottagers, labourers, and four-fifths of the farmers) to be about two shillings per annum, rags included; and I believe no gentleman would repine to give ten shillings for the carcass of a good fat child, which, as I have said, will make four dishes of excellent nutritive meat, when he hath only some particular friend, or his own family to dine with him. Thus the squire will learn to be a good landlord, and grow popular among his tenants, the mother will have eight shillings neat profit, and be fit for work till she produces another child.

我计算了一下照料一名乞丐孩子的费用(所有的村民、劳工还有五分之四的农民我都做了计算),包括破衣裳在内,大概两先令一年。并且我相信,没有哪个绅士会因为花十先令买了一个宰好的肥美婴儿而发牢骚。我说过,找个朋友或是和家人一起吃饭时,一个婴儿可以做成四道极有营养的荤菜。这样,乡绅也会学着做一个大地主,在他的租户中越来越受欢迎。母亲也将得到八先令的净利,生下一个孩子之前一直可以工作。

Those who are more thrifty (as I must confess the times require) may flay the carcass; the skin of which, artificially dressed, will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen.

对那些更节俭的人来说(我必须坦白是在有需求的时候),可以剥掉婴儿的皮。皮经过精良加工,可以制成女士们的优质手套和优雅绅士们的凉靴。

As to our City of Dublin, shambles may be appointed for this purpose, in the most convenient parts of it, and butchers we may be assured will not be wanting; although I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs.

就我们的城市都柏林而言,屠宰厂或许可以为了这个目的,建在城市最便捷的地方。至于屠夫,我们可以相信也是不会少的。但我更建议买活的小孩儿,宰杀后加佐料弄熟,就跟我们烤猪时一样。

A very worthy person, a true lover of his country, and whose virtues I highly esteem, was lately pleased in discoursing on this matter, to offer a refinement upon my scheme. He said, that many gentlemen of this kingdom, having of late destroyed their deer, he conceived that the want of venison might be well supplied by the bodies of young lads and maidens, not exceeding fourteen years of age, nor under twelve; so great a number of both sexes in every county being now ready to starve for want of work and service: and these to be disposed of by their parents if alive, or otherwise by their nearest relations. But with due deference to so excellent a friend, and so deserving a patriot, I cannot be altogether in his sentiments; for as to the males, my American acquaintance assured me from frequent experience, that their flesh was generally tough and lean, like that of our schoolboys, by continual exercise, and their taste disagreeable, and to fatten them would not answer the charge. Then as to the females, it would, I think, with humble submission, be a loss to the publick, because they soon would become breeders themselves: and besides, it is not improbable that some scrupulous people might be apt to censure such a practice, (although indeed very unjustly) as a little bordering upon cruelty, which, I confess, hath always been with me the strongest objection against any project, how well soever intended.

有一个我非常敬重的人,他既非常富有,又是个真正的爱国者,最近很乐于谈论此事,为我的方案提供了一些改良建议。他说,这个王国的许多绅士,近来把他们的鹿都杀了。他设想鹿肉的短缺,大可用十四岁以下十二岁以上少男少女的肉替代。各个郡这么多少男少女没活儿没工作可干,将要挨饿。他们要是活下来,就会由父母安排,或是交给他们最近的亲戚安排。可是,尽管我对这么一位棒极了的朋友,一位值得赞赏的爱国者有着应有的尊重,却也无法完全同意他的改良建议。因为就少男而言,我的那个美洲熟人告诉我,根据多次经历,他们的肉差不多又糙又柴,就像我们这里学童的肉一样,由于不停锻炼,所以尝起来不太好吃,而把他们喂肥又不上算。就少女而言,窃以为吃了是大众的损失,因为不久她们就可以自己繁衍。而且,还有可能一些正直的人会去谴责这种行为,(尽管确实很不公正)认为这行为近乎于残酷。我也承认,任何计划中出现的残酷都是我最强烈反对的,无论它的本意有多么好。

But in order to justify my friend, he confessed, that this expedient was put into his head by the famous Psalmanaazor, a native of the island Formosa, who came from thence to London, above twenty years ago, and in conversation told my friend, that in his country, when any young person happened to be put to death, the executioner sold the carcass to persons of quality, as a prime dainty; and that, in his time, the body of a plump girl of fifteen, who was crucified for an attempt to poison the Emperor, was sold to his imperial majesty’s prime minister of state, and other great mandarins of the court in joints from the gibbet, at four hundred crowns. Neither indeed can I deny, that if the same use were made of several plump young girls in this town, who without one single groat to their fortunes, cannot stir abroad without a chair, and appear at a playhouse and assemblies in foreign fineries which they never will pay for, the kingdom would not be the worse.

不过,还是要为我的朋友辩解一下。他承认这种权宜之计是有名的撒玛那扎[7]告诉他的,撒玛那扎是福尔摩沙的原住民,后来在二十多年前来到了伦敦。他在交谈中告诉了我的朋友,说在他的国家,任何年轻人碰巧被处死时,刽子手都会把躯体当作上等的美味卖给有身份地位的人。在他那个时候,一个十五岁的姑娘因企图毒死皇帝被钉死在十字架上,她丰腴的身体从绞架上一块块切下来,以四百克朗的价格卖给了皇帝的宰相和宫中其它的高官。我当然也不能否认,我们这座城里有些丰腴的年轻姑娘,她们尽管什么钱也没有,却不坐轿子绝不出行,却穿着绝不付账的外国华服出现在剧院和人群之中,对她们要是采取同样的措施,王国也就不会更糟了。

Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern about that vast number of poor people, who are aged, diseased, or maimed; and I have been desired to employ my thoughts what course may be taken, to ease the nation of so grievous an incumbrance. But I am not in the least pain upon that matter, because it is very well known, that they are every day dying, and rotting, by cold and famine, and filth, and vermin, as fast as can be reasonably expected. And as to the young labourers, they are now in almost as hopeful a condition. They cannot get work, and consequently pine away from want of nourishment, to a degree, that if at any time they are accidentally hired to common labour, they have not strength to perform it, and thus the country and themselves are happily delivered from the evils to come.

一些悲观的人非常关心那些数目巨大的穷人,他们年老、多病,还有伤残。我也曾绞尽脑汁地想,用什么办法才能清掉这些国家的巨大拖累。但我现在却一点不为那事感到痛苦,因为众所周知,由于寒冷、饥饿、污秽、寄生虫,他们每天都在死去,然后腐烂,跟所能合理预想的一样快。对年轻的劳工来说,他们现在也处于这种好似充满希望的情形之中。他们找不到工作,结果因为营养不良而变得憔悴,以至于他们碰巧受雇,却也无力干活。这么一来,国家和那些人他们自己就会很幸福地脱离即将到来的不幸。

I have too long digressed, and therefore shall return to my subject. I think the advantages by the proposal which I have made are obvious and many, as well as of the highest importance.

我已经离题太远了,现在该言归正传。我认为我建议的好处是显而易见,是非常多,同样也是特别重要的。

For first, as I have already observed, it would greatly lessen the number of Papists, with whom we are yearly overrun, being the principal breeders of the nation, as well as our most dangerous enemies, and who stay at home on purpose with a design to deliver the kingdom to the Pretender, hoping to take their advantage by the absence of so many good Protestants, who have chosen rather to leave their country, than stay at home and pay tithes against their conscience to an episcopal curate.

首先,如我之前所说,它会大大减少教皇党人的数量。教皇党人数量每年都在疯涨,因为他们是国家主要的生育者。他们也是我们最危险的敌人,因为与待在国内昧着良心把什一税[9]交给主教副牧师相比,新教徒更愿意选择出国,教皇党人则有意待在国内,利用许多善良的新教徒不在的时机,谋划把王国分给觊觎者。

Secondly, The poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own, which by law may be made liable to a distress, and help to pay their landlord’s rent, their corn and cattle being already seized, and money a thing unknown.

第二,更贫穷的租户将拥有属于他们自己值钱的东西,在困难时可以依法偿付,帮他们把租金付给东家。因为他们的谷子和牛早已被拿走,钱更是不知道的东西。

Thirdly, Whereas the maintainance of a hundred thousand children, from two years old, and upwards, cannot be computed at less than ten shillings a piece per annum, the nation’s stock will be thereby encreased fifty thousand pounds per annum, besides the profit of a new dish, introduced to the tables of all gentlemen of fortune in the kingdom, who have any refinement in taste. And the money will circulate among our selves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture.

第三,因为抚养两岁及两岁以上小孩儿的费用每人每年不会少于十先令。所以,我的建议除了能带给王国所有口味刁钻的有钱绅士桌上一道新菜这个好处外,国库也会因此每年增加五万镑的收益。并且,那些钱还会在我们自己当中周转,商品也完全是由我们自己栽培自己制造的。

Fourthly, The constant breeders, besides the gain of eight shillings sterling per annum by the sale of their children, will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year.

第四,不断生育的人,不仅每年卖他们的小孩儿能挣八先令,第一年之后的抚养费也免除了。

Fifthly, This food would likewise bring great custom to taverns, where the vintners will certainly be so prudent as to procure the best receipts for dressing it to perfection; and consequently have their houses frequented by all the fine gentlemen, who justly value themselves upon their knowledge in good eating; and a skilful cook, who understands how to oblige his guests, will contrive to make it as expensive as they please.

第五,这种食物还能大大增加小酒店的生意,老板肯定会谨慎谋得最好的食谱让菜做得完美。这样所有对美食有品位的优雅绅士就能不断光顾他们的店。而且一个厨艺高超又懂得照顾客人的厨师,肯定会把菜做得奢侈一些好取悦客人。

Sixthly, This would be a great inducement to marriage, which all wise nations have either encouraged by rewards, or enforced by laws and penalties. It would encrease the care and tenderness of mothers towards their children, when they were sure of a settlement for life to the poor babes, provided in some sort by the publick, to their annual profit instead of expence. We should soon see an honest emulation among the married women, which of them could bring the fattest child to the market. Men would become as fond of their wives, during the time of their pregnancy, as they are now of their mares in foal, their cows in calf, or sows when they are ready to farrow; nor offer to beat or kick them (as is too frequent a practice) for fear of a miscarriage.

第六,这也会大大撮合人们的婚姻。对于结婚,所有明智的国家要么用奖励来鼓励,要么用法律和刑罚来强迫。母亲确信可怜的婴儿的生活费将由大众通过某种形式提供,而留给她们的只有每年的收益没有花费,她们对孩子也会更加关爱体贴。不久我们就会看到在已婚妇女中产生一种良性竞争,看谁能够为市场提供最肥美的小孩儿。在她们怀孕的时候,男人也会非常爱护他们的妻子,就像他们现在对待怀着马驹的母马、怀着牛犊的母牛和临盆的母猪一样,不会打也不会踢(这是再平常不过的举动),因为害怕流产。

Many other advantages might be enumerated. For instance, the addition of some thousand carcasses in our exportation of barrel’d beef: the propagation of swine’s flesh, and improvement in the art of making good bacon, so much wanted among us by the great destruction of pigs, too frequent at our tables; which are no way comparable in taste or magnificence to a well grown, fat yearling child, which roasted whole will make a considerable figure at a Lord Mayor’s feast, or any other publick entertainment. But this, and many others, I omit, being studious of brevity.

还可以说出其他的好处。例如,桶装牛肉的出口量会多几千头牛。猪肉产量也会增加,熏肉工艺也会提高。猪的大量死亡,让我们桌上总是缺了那些东西。但那些东西在口味与外观方面也远比不上长得健康肥美的周岁小孩儿,小孩儿整只烤熟后,就算放在市长大人的或者任何公众的宴席上,也是非常像样的。除了这点,还有许多其他好处,但为了从简起见,我都省略了。

Supposing that one thousand families in this city, would be constant customers for infants flesh, besides others who might have it at merry meetings, particularly at weddings and christenings, I compute that Dublin would take off annually about twenty thousand carcasses; and the rest of the kingdom (where probably they will be sold somewhat cheaper) the remaining eighty thousand.

除了那些可能会在欢乐会,特别是婚宴和洗礼会上吃婴儿肉的人,假定这座城还有一千户人家是婴儿肉的长期顾客,我算了算都柏林每年将会出售两万只婴儿。剩余八万将在王国其余各地(可能婴儿会卖得多少便宜些)出售。

I can think of no one objection, that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged, that the number of people will be thereby much lessened in the kingdom. This I freely own, and was indeed one principal design in offering it to the world. I desire the reader will observe, that I calculate my remedy for this one individual Kingdom of Ireland, and for no other that ever was, is, or, I think, ever can be upon Earth. Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: Of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound: Of using neither clothes, nor houshold furniture, except what is of our own growth and manufacture: Of utterly rejecting the materials and instruments that promote foreign luxury: Of curing the expensiveness of pride, vanity, idleness, and gaming in our women: Of introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence and temperance: Of learning to love our country, wherein we differ even from Laplanders, and the inhabitants of Topinamboo: Of quitting our animosities and factions, nor acting any longer like the Jews, who were murdering one another at the very moment their city was taken: Of being a little cautious not to sell our country and consciences for nothing: Of teaching landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants. Lastly, of putting a spirit of honesty, industry, and skill into our shopkeepers, who, if a resolution could now be taken to buy only our native goods, would immediately unite to cheat and exact upon us in the price, the measure, and the goodness, nor could ever yet be brought to make one fair proposal of just dealing, though often and earnestly invited to it.

我想不出任何可能被采用来反对我建议的理由,除非提出来说王国的人口数量将因此大大减少。我直接承认吧,这正是供之于世的一个重要计划。我希望读者会注意到,我谋划这个对策为的只是爱尔兰这个独立的王国,不为任何其他过去、现在、未来可以出现的国家。因此不要跟我谈其他的权宜之计[10]:给外出者征收每磅五先令的税;不准用国产以外的衣服家具;坚决抵制助长外来奢侈风气的布料和乐器;处理好我们女人的傲慢、虚荣、怠惰、赌博带来的高昂花费;推广养成小气、节俭、节欲习惯的方法;学会爱国,就是我们连拉普兰德人[11]和托皮南博[12]的居民都不如的地方;消除我们的怨恨与纠纷,别再学着犹太人,他们可是在城市沦陷危急关头互相残杀[13];保持小心谨慎,不要白白出卖我们的国家与良知;教地主学着对租户慈悲一点。最后一点,让我们的小店老板们有一点诚信、勤劳、明辨的思想。因为假如现在决定只能买国产货,他们就会立刻联合起来在价格、数量、质量上欺骗敲诈我们。尽管人们经常诚挚请求,他们却从提不出什么关于交易的合理建议。

Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, till he hath at least some glympse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.

所以我再重复一遍,在能看到一线希望,就是有人真心诚意尝试付诸实践之前,别来跟我讨论这些权宜之计。

But, as to myself, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal, which, as it is wholly new, so it hath something solid and real, of no expence and little trouble, full in our own power, and whereby we can incur no danger in disobliging England. For this kind of commodity will not bear exportation, and flesh being of too tender a consistence, to admit a long continuance in salt, although perhaps I could name a country, which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it.

但是,对我自己而言,我已经厌倦于多年来贡献好高骛远大而无当的设想,最终对成功也完全绝望了,然而现在却又很幸运想到了这个建议,因为是全新的建议,所以有它的稳妥扎实脚踏实地,不费钱又不费事,全权掌握在我们自己手中,不会引起英格兰当局任何不满。因为这种商品不能出口,肉质太嫩经不住长时间的盐渍,不过或许我能报出一个国家,不用盐也很高兴吃光我们的所有国民[14]。

After all, I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion, as to reject any offer, proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally innocent, cheap, easy, and effectual. But before something of that kind shall be advanced in contradiction to my scheme, and offering a better, I desire the author or authors will be pleased maturely to consider two points. First, As things now stand, how they will be able to find food and raiment for a hundred thousand useless mouths and backs. And secondly, There being a round million of creatures in humane figure throughout this kingdom, whose whole subsistence put into a common stock, would leave them in debt two million of pounds sterling, adding those who are beggars by profession, to the bulk of farmers, cottagers and labourers, with their wives and children, who are beggars in effect; I desire those politicians who dislike my overture, and may perhaps be so bold to attempt an answer, that they will first ask the parents of these mortals, whether they would not at this day think it a great happiness to have been sold for food at a year old, in the manner I prescribe, and thereby have avoided such a perpetual scene of misfortunes, as they have since gone through, by the oppression of landlords, the impossibility of paying rent without money or trade, the want of common sustenance, with neither house nor clothes to cover them from the inclemencies of the weather, and the most inevitable prospect of intailing the like, or greater miseries, upon their breed for ever.

说到底,我也并不是非要坚持我的意见,不让其他博学之士提出来同样无害、省钱、简易又有效的建议。但是,在那种建议该提出来反对我的方案,并给出更好的之前,我希望提议者能够充分考虑好两个点。第一点,现在这种情况下,怎么才能给十万张没用的嘴和十万副没用的身子找到食物和衣服。第二点,算上那些职业乞丐,还有实际上也是乞丐的大部分农民、村民、劳工,以及他们的妻儿,整个王国有整整一百万人模人样的家伙,把那些人的生活费全加在一起,也还有两百万镑的债务。我希望那些不喜欢我提案,并还有可能大胆尝试解决问题政客,他们先问问这些小孩儿的父母,现在会不会认为在自己一周岁时,按我的方法当食物卖掉是一件大好事,因为那样就可以避免他们后来所经历的种种永恒的不幸,即地主的压迫,因没钱没生意而付不起的租金,正常食物的缺乏,没有抵御恶劣的天气的房子与衣服,还有最无法逃脱的命运就是,后代要永无止境承受同样甚至更悲惨的苦难。

I profess in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavouring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the publick good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich. I have no children, by which I can propose to get a single penny; the youngest being nine years old, and my wife past child-bearing.

我诚心坦白,我竭力推广这个必要的事业,不涉及任何一点我的个人利益,因为没有什么比来让我国人民幸福更激励人的了:促进我们的贸易,养育婴儿,救济穷人,给富人带来些快乐。我没有孩子可以卖上一便士,最小的一个都九岁了,而且我的妻子也已经过了生育的年龄。

注释:

[1]指都柏林。

[2]指斯图亚特王朝的詹姆斯二世(James II,1633-1701),1689年被驱逐出英国,因为他和他的后裔是天主教徒,所以到天主教国家西班牙避难。

[3]位于加勒比海,当时许多贫穷的爱尔兰人被迫到美洲谋生。

[4]卡凡郡(Cavan),当时爱尔兰最贫穷的一个地区。

[5]英国对爱尔兰农业实行严格的管控。

[6]拉伯雷——原注。拉伯雷(Francois Rabelais),法国讽刺作家,《巨人传》(Gargantua et Pantagruel)的作者——译注。

[7]教皇党人系新教教徒对天主教徒的蔑称。

[8]乔治·撒玛那扎(George Psalmanazar),一个著名的法国文学骗子,声称自己来自福尔摩沙(Formosa,今台湾岛),他的著作《福尔摩沙的历史与地理描述》( An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa)描述了他们的宗教习俗:每年有18000名男童牺牲给神灵,并且教区居民还要生吃他们的心脏。

[9]什一税系欧洲基督教会向居民征收的宗教捐税。

[10]这些“权宜之计”实际上是正经的建议,斯威夫特在他其他的作品中提到过几项。

[11]欧洲靠近北极拉普兰德地区的居民。

[12]指巴西的土著部落。

[13]古罗马的提图斯(Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus,39-81),于公元70年攻陷耶路撒冷的第二圣殿。

[14]委婉指代英国。

原文出处:古登堡计划(The Project Gutenberg):

www.gutenberg.org/files/1080/1080-h/1080-h.htm

译注主要参见学者Jack Lynch的注释:

www.jacklynch.net/Texts/modest.html#15

喜歡我的文章嗎?
別忘了給點支持與讚賞,讓我知道創作的路上有你陪伴。

看不過癮?

一鍵登入,即可加入全球最優質中文創作社區