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HomeModern Chinese EssaysHe Wei's Essay: The Last Lap-- modern chinese literature 何为《最后一圈》

He Wei’s Essay: The Last Lap– modern chinese literature 何为《最后一圈》

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最后一圈

何为

70年代后期,收阅萧乾同志的一封信,他说“要跑好人生的最后一圈(1)”。当时怦然有所触动,一直记得这句话。年前读他的《八十自省》(2)一文,自谓“这一圈跑了大半,离终点不会太远了”。更是令人感慨万千,不胜惆怅。算一下他的最后一圈,长达十余年,很长,也很有成绩,殊堪庆幸。以他的坚毅顽强和旷达,其“终点”线设在21世纪,是完全可预期的。从人生道路上的最后一圈,想到马拉松超长距赛跑。古希腊人在马拉松地方战胜敌军(3),一名士兵为了迅速传递捷报,一鼓作气跑毕四万二千一百九十五米(4)的路程,到了雅典后就力竭死去。他带去胜利的信息,他又是长途跋涉的胜利者,后人将这一距离的竞赛项目称为马拉松赛跑,作为纪念(5)。

马拉松赛跑是考验人的意志(6)和力量的竞技运动。长跑者在同一起跑线出发。一眼望不到尽头的跑道上,强者与弱者的差距逐渐拉开。最后一圈是拼搏的时刻(7)。第一个到达终点的优胜者,迎来阵阵掌声和热烈欢呼,屏幕上闪耀着他创造的纪录。

然而,跑道上也有这样的场面:拖着疲惫不堪的双腿,苦苦挣扎着,摇摇欲坠几乎昏厥的身子,终于奋力冲过封锁线,那是多么激动人心的时刻!纵或是最后一名,也是一位胜利者,同样赢得热情的鼓励和赞许的掌声。人们为长跑者坚韧不拔的精神深深感动了。

人的一生好比马拉松赛跑。人人都有最后一圈,这一圈通常属于人生道路漫长的老人。七老八十的人,穿过艰难的世途(8),穿过芸芸众生,穿过重重障碍,于是到了人生的最后一圈。

这一圈路程有长有短,跑得有快有慢。有的人稳健有力,从容不迫;有的人歪歪扭扭,步子不正;有的人拖拖沓沓,蹒跚不前。也有跑入歪道的人,或跑不快还要挡道的人,或不按竞赛规则乱跑的人,都是注定要失败的。

谁能跑好这最后一圈,谁就是胜利者。

The Last Lap

He Wei

Back in the late 1970s,I received a letter from Xiao Qian[1],in which he said,“I shouldn’t slacken off on this last lap of my life.”I was deeply touched and have remembered his words to this day.Last year,when I read his I’m an Octogenarian,in which he said,“Having covered more than half of this lap,I’m now close to the finishing line,”I was even more touched and seized with a feeling of sadness.To my great delight,however,his last lap,having lasted,as I figure out,for more than a decade now,is very long and fruitful.Judging by his strong will and broad-mindedness,the finishing line should undoubtedly be somewhere in the coming 21st century.Meanwhile,the last lap of human life has reminded me of the marathon race.According to legend,when the ancient Greeks defeated the invaders at Marathon[2],a Greek soldier is believed to have run non-stop from Marathon to Athens,a distance of 42,195 metres,to announce the Athenian victory at the battlefield.Unfortunately,after making the announcement,he dropped dead from exhaustion.He was not only the courier carrying news of the Greek victory,but also the winner of the record journey.Now the long-distance foot race of the same distance has been named after the Battle of Marathon to commemorate the legendary feat of the Greek soldier.

The marathon race is a sports event testing man’s endurance and strength.Runners start from the same starting line and on the seemingly endless track the gap gradually widens between the strong and the weak.The last lap always witnesses the runners going all out to win success.The first to reach the finishing line is showered with warm applause and acclamation while the new record he or she has created is flashing across the screen.

Nevertheless,we also see this moving scene:An exhausted runner,dragging a pair of weary feet and staggering as though about to fall into a faint,barely manages at long last to hit the finishing line after a desperate struggle.Oh,what a stirring moment!He may be the last,yet he is also a winner.He likewise deserves spectators’ warm encouragement and approving applause.People are deeply moved by his tenacity.

Human life can be likened to the marathon race.All people,especially the aged who have already seen much of life,have the last lap.Septuagenarians and octogenarians are on the last lap of their lives after experiencing the twists and turns of life’s journey,meeting human beings of all descriptions and going through one obstacle after another.

The last lap may be long or short; the runners may be fast or slow.Some may run with firm and steady steps and self-possession; some may run very unsteadily and out of step; some may be sluggish and run with faltering steps.What is worse,some may resort to dishonest practices; some,being slow themselves,may purposely stand in the way of others; some may run without adhering to the rules of the competition.Such people are doomed to failure.

Whoever acquits himself well on the last lap is a winner.

[1] Xiao Qian(1910-1999),famous writer,journalist and translator of literary works.

[2] Marathon,village of ancient Greece,on the east coast of Attica,some 25 miles northeast of Athens.

《最后一圈》是著名散文家何为写于1993年的一篇随笔。作者引用作家萧乾的话,把人生的晚年比作马拉松长跑的最后一圈,鼓励老年人保持晚节,跑好最后一圈,力求老有所为,发挥余热。

注释

(1)“要跑好人生的最后一圈”译为I shouldn’t slacken off on this last lap of my life,是从反面叙述,其中slacken off是成语,作“松劲”、“懈怠”解。此句也可译为I should make a success of this last lap of my life或I should acquit myself well on this last lap of my life等。

(2)“《八十自省》”除译I’m an Octogenarian外,也可译为I’ve Completed My 80th Birthday。

(3)“古希腊人在马拉松地方战胜敌军……”译为According to legend,when the ancient Greeks defeated the invaders at Marathon…,其中According to legend(据传说)是译文中的增益成分,原文虽无其词而有其意。

(4)“四万二千一百九十五米”可译为42,195 meters或42.195 kilometers。

(5)“作为纪念”意即“纪念该希腊士兵的传奇功绩”,故译to commemorate the legendary feat of the Greek soldier。

(6)“人的意志”本可译为man’s will,今根据上下文,按“人的耐力”译为man’s endurance,似更确切。

(7)“最后一圈是拼搏的时刻”可译为The last lap always witnesses the runners going all out to win success或The last lap is always when the athletes exert themselves to the utmost to win the race。

(8)“艰难的世途”译为the twists and turns of life’s journey,其中twists and turns是成语,意为“曲折变化”、“艰难”等。此句也可译为the difficult journey of life。

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