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Ba Jin’s Essay: “Good-bye, My Ill-fated Motherland!” — modern chinese literature 巴金《“再见罢,我不幸的乡土哟!”》

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◎ 巴 金 Ba Jin


◎ 巴金







“Good-bye, My Ill-fated Motherland!”

Ba Jin

The moment I set foot on the deck of the ship, there began my temporary separation from Chinese soil and a feeling of parting sorrow welled up in my heart. At sailing time, I stood on deck watching the ship receding slowly from the bank until I was out of sight of the towering waterfront buildings and the foreign warships on the Huangpu River. Thereupon I turned round with hot tears in my eyes, murmuring, “Good-bye, my ill-fated motherland!”⑪

Good-bye, my ill-fated motherland! I owe what I am to the upbringing you have given me during the past 22 years. I have spent every day of my life in your warm bosom and under your loving care. You have given me joy and sorrow as well as food and clothing. This is where my close relatives were born and brought up and where I have friends here and there. You gave me a wide variety of happiness in my early childhood, but you have also been the source of my sorrow ever since I began to understand things.

Here I have witnessed all sorts of human tragedy. Here I have come to know the times we live in. Here I have undergone untold sufferings. I have been struggling, fighting and, time and again, found myself on the brink of destruction and covered all over with cuts and bruises. I have laid to rest, with tears and sighs, some of my close relatives — relatives victimized by old feudal ethics.

Here, besides beautiful mountains and rivers and fertile farmland, we have ghastly prisons and execution grounds as well. Here bad people hold sway while good people suffer and justice is trodden down underfoot. Here people have to wage a savage struggle in order to win freedom. Here man eats man. O the numerous terrible scenes! O the numerous sad memories!

O the grand Yellow River! O the mysterious Yangtse River! Where on earth are your glories of the past? O my native land! O my people! How can I have the heart to leave you?

Good-bye, my ill-fated motherland! Much as I hate you, I’ve got to



①“心里自然装满了悲哀和离愁”可译为my heart was filled with the natural sorrow of parting、I was seized with the sadness of parting、a feeling of parting sorrow welled up in my heart等,现采用最后译法,因前两者侧重“状态”,最后译法侧重“动作”,能更好地表达作者踏上甲板时随即产生的情绪。

②“望着船慢慢地往后退离开了岸”可译为watching the ship moving slowly backwards to tear itself away from the bank或watching the ship receding slowly from the bank,后者较简练,故采用之。

③“岸上高大的建筑物”可译为the tall riverside buildings或the towering waterfront buildings,现选用后者。

④ 这是一首叫做《断头台上》的歌子的第一句,这首歌在旧俄时代西伯利亚的监狱里流行过,据说是旧俄政治犯米拉科夫所作。

⑤“这二十二年来你养育了我”译为I owe what I am to the upbringing you have given me during the past 22 years,其中I owe what I am是增益成分,既表达原文的内涵,又满足造句的需要。此句也可译为I have been under your loving care for 22 years或You have been rearing me for 22 years,但皆不如头一种译法可取。

⑥“在我有了知识以后”不宜直译为since I began to have knowledge,因这句的意思应为“自从我懂事以来”,故译ever since I began to understand things。

⑦“在这里人们在吃他的同类的人”亦即“在这里人吃人”,故译Here man eats man。

⑧“你们的伟大的历史在哪里去了?”意即“你们过去的辉煌哪里去了?”,故译Where on earth are your glories of the past?。

⑨“我的心怎么能够离开你们!”意即“我怎么舍得离开你们!”,故译How can I have the heart to leave you? 或How can I find it in my heart to leave you?。

⑩“我恨你,我又不得不爱你”如译I love you as much as I hate you或I love you though I also hate you,皆有欠缺,现译Much as I hate you, I’ve got to love you as ever,其中Much as作“虽然”解,等于Although; as ever作“照常”解,原文虽无其词而有其意。

⑪ The first line of the song The Guillotine said to have been composed by a Russian political convict in tsarist Russia and once popular among prison inmates in the then Siberia.

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