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培根散文第8章—Of Marriage & Single Life 论结婚与独身

时间: 04-04     手机版

8 of marriage & single life 论结婚与独身

he that hath wife and children, hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediment to great enterprises, either of virtue, or mischief. certainly, the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men; which both in affection, and means, have married and endowed the public. yet it were great reason, that those that have children, should have greatest care of future times; unto which, they know, they must transmit their dearest pledges. some there are, who though they lead a single life, yet their thoughts do end with themselves, and account future times impertinences. nay, there are some other, that account wife and children but as bills of charges. nay more, there are some foolish rich covetous men, that take a pride in having no children, because they may be thought so much the richer.
有妻与子的人已经向命运之神交了抵押品了;因为妻与子是大事底阻挠物,无论是大善举或大恶行。无疑地,最好,最有功于公众的事业是出自无妻或无子的人的;这些人在情感和金钱两方面都可说是娶了公众并给以奁资了。然而依理似乎有子嗣的人应当最关心将来,他们知道他们一定得把自己最贵重的保证交代给将来的。有些人虽然过的是独身生活,他们的思想却仅限于自身,把将来认为无关紧要。并且有些人把妻与子认为仅仅是几项开销。尤有甚者,有些愚而富的悭吝人竟以无子嗣自豪,以为如此则他们在别人眼中更显得富有了。

for perhaps, they have heard some talk; such an one is a great rich man; and another except to it; yea, but he hath a great charge of children: as if it were an abatement to his riches. but the most ordinary cause of a single life is liberty; especially in certain self-pleasing and humorous minds, which are so sensible of every restraint, as they will go near to think their girdles and garters to be bonds and shackles.
也许他们听过这样的话:一人说,“某某人是个大富翁”,而另一人不同意地说,“是的,可是他有很大的儿女之累”,好象儿女是那人底财富底削减似的。然而独身生活底最普通的原因则是自由,尤其在某种自喜而且任性的人们方面为然,这些人对于各种的约束都很敏感,所以差不多连腰带袜带都觉得是锁链似的。

unmarried men are best friends; best masters; best servants; but not always best subjects; for they are light to run away; and almost all fugitives are of that condition. a single life doth well with church men: for charity will hardly water the ground, where it must first fill a pool. it is indifferent for judges and magistrates: for if they be facile, and corrupt, you shall have a servant five times worse than a wife. for soldiers, i find the generals commonly in their hortatives, put men in mind of their wives and children: and i think the despising of marriage amongst the turks, maketh the vulgar soldier more base. certainly, wife and children are a kind of discipline of humanity: and single men though they be many times more charitable, because their means are less exhaust; yet, on the other side, they are more cruel, and hard hearted (good to make severe inquisitors), because their tenderness is not so oft called upon. grave natures, led by custom, and therefore constant, are commonly loving husbands; as was said of ulysses; vetulam suam praetulit immortalitati.
独身的人是最好的朋友,最好的主人,最好的仆人,但是并非最好的臣民;因为他们很容易逃跑,差不多所有的逃人都是独身的。独身生活适于僧侣之流,因为慈善之举若先须注满一池,则难于灌溉地面也。独身于法官和知事则无甚关系,因为假如他们是易欺而贪污的,则一个仆人之恶将五倍于一位夫人之恶也。至于军人,窃见将帅激厉士卒时,多使他们忆及他们底妻子儿女;又窃以为土耳其人之不尊重婚姻使一般士兵更为卑贱也。妻子和儿女对于人类确是一种训练;而独身的人,虽然他们往往很慷慨好施,因为他们底钱财不易消耗,然而在另一方面他们较为残酷狠心(作审问官甚好),因为他们不常有用仁慈之处也。庄重的人,常受风俗引导,因而心志不移,所以多是情爱甚笃的丈夫;如古人谓攸立西斯:“他宁要他底老妻而不要长生”者是也。

chaste women are often proud and forward, as presuming upon the merit of their chastity. it is one of the best bonds, both of chastity and obedience, in the wife, if she think her husband wise; which she will never do, if she find him jealous. wives are young men's mistresses; companions for middle age; and old men's nurses. so as a man may have a quarrel to many, when he will. but yet, he was reputed one of the wise men, mat made answer to the question, when a man should marry? a young man not yet, an elder man not at all. it is often seen, that bad husbands have very good wives; whether it be, that it raiseth the price of their husband's kindness, when it comes; or that the wives take a pride in their patience. but this never fails, if the bad husbands were of their own choosing, against their friends' consent; for then, they will be sure to make good their own folly.
贞节的妇人往往骄傲不逊,一若她们是自恃贞节也者。假如一个妇人相信她底丈夫是聪慧的,那就是最好的使她保持贞操及柔顺的维系;然而假如这妇人发现丈夫妒忌心重,她就永不会以为他是聪慧的了。妻子是青年人底情人,中年人底伴侣,老年人底看护。所以一个人只要他愿意,任何时候都有娶妻底理由。然而有一个人,人家问他,人应当在什么时候结婚?他答道:“年青的人还不应当,年老的人全不应当”。这位也被人称为智者之一。常见不良的丈夫多有很好的妻子;其原因也许是因为这种丈夫底好处在偶尔出现的时候更显得可贵,也许是因为做妻子的以自己底耐心自豪。但是这一点是永远不错的,就是这些不良的丈夫必须是做妻子的不顾亲友之可否而自己选择的,因为如此她们就一定非补救自己底失策不可也

 

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