Mon, Apr 08, 2019 - Page 9 News List

USING IDIOMS 活用成語

King Lear and the Fool in the Storm, by William Dyce.
《暴風雨中的李爾王和弄臣》。威廉‧代斯作。

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
照片:維基共享資源

Chinese practice

種瓜得瓜,種豆得豆

周而復始

If you sow melon seeds, you get melons, if beans, you get beans;

come full circle and start again

(zhong4 gua1 de2 gua1, zhong4 dou4 de2 dou4)

(zhou1 er2 fu4 shi3)

威廉‧莎士比亞的悲劇《李爾王》中,葛羅斯特伯爵之嫡子埃德加將他同父異母的弟弟,即伯爵狡詐的庶子愛德蒙殺成重傷。愛德蒙垂死時,兩兄弟說到命運和天理。埃德加說,葛羅斯特伯爵變成瞎子,是上天對他通姦的懲罰,這通姦的慾望,也把愛德蒙帶到這世上。愛德蒙也同意這話,說道:「Th’hast spoken right, ‘tis true. The wheel is come full circle, I am here.」(這話說得對,這是真的。輪子是圓的,這就是為何現在我落到這下場。)他說的「wheel」,指的是「wheel of destiny」(命運之輪)。愛德蒙說「I am here」,意思是指命運之輪完成了它的因果循環。

這就是「to come full circle」(完整的循環,現意為重新回到原位)這句話的由來。在《李爾王》劇中,它指的是人無法逃脫命運的必然性。雖然愛德蒙做了一些非常惡毒的事,但是「full circle」並不一定表示他會直接因此受到懲罰。在現代英語中,「full circle」也不再有無法逃避之命運的含義;它單純是指一個歷程已經完成,緊接著就重新開始。

我們的所作所為,無論好壞,都要受上天的評斷──這便是「you reap what you sow」(種甚麼因,得什麼果)這句話所表達的意思。若你做好事,就會有好事發生在你身上;若你做了壞事,那你就只能等著壞事發生。這句話出自《新約聖經》〈加拉太書〉第六章第七節,此處所描述的上帝是正義的主持者。這段經文寫道:「Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.」(不要自欺,神是輕慢不得的。人種的是甚麼,收的也是甚麼)〔新國際版英譯、和合本中譯〕。

中文裡也有一句話和它意思相通,也是運用種植的比喻。明末作家馮夢龍(西元一五七四~一六四五年)在白話短篇小說集《喻世明言》第二十九卷中寫道:「假如種瓜得瓜,種荳得荳,種是因,得是果」(如果你種下瓜〔的種子],那麼你會收成到瓜;如果你種豆,就會得到豆。種植是原因,收成的作物是所造成的後果)。此句表達的不是上帝的審判,而是因果循環、報應不爽的業力。這句話明確指出人必須對自己行為所造成的結果負責。

現代英語中另一個常見的片語是「what goes around comes around」(善有善報、惡有惡報),它表示一種命運、業力或天理的運作,縱使不一定是由某位神所掌控。「what goes around comes around」明顯運用了一種循環的概念,但並沒有《李爾王》中的「come full circle」那種命運註定的意思;它完全是指發生在你身上的事,是對你所作所為的某種償還──或許是好事,但主要是壞事。

「what goes around comes around」是相對較新的語言,首見於保羅‧克朗普一九六二年的小說《燃燒吧殺手,燒燒吧!》,且是貫穿全書的主題。這句話不只出現一次,而是出現了八次。

耐人尋味地──這肯定不是刻意為之──這本小說裡的「coming full circle」,也是跟瞎眼有關──第二十四章提到有個人物被警察毆打,打到失明了。敘述者聽聞,感到椎心的內疚,但為了要合理解釋這件事,便說:「But what goes around comes around, big daddy, so you pulled down what your hand called for, I thought.」(但因果循環,報應不爽,老爹,所以你拿下你的手所要的東西,我想。)這句裡的「you pulled down what your hand called for」並非成語,但它令人聯想起一個俄國諺語,其意為「As the call, so is the echo」(發出什麼聲音,就有什麼回聲)。

最後,若要表達某個進程完整走過一遍,緊接著便重新開始──且沒有任何因果關係、業力、道德或懲罰的意味──可用成語「周而復始」來表達,字面意思為循環一周回到起點又再開始,其義同「come full circle」現今的含義。

(台北時報林俐凱譯)

人類製造的塑膠用品,分解成塑膠微粒後進入食物鏈中,結果又被人吃進肚裡,真可謂種瓜得瓜、種豆得豆。

(Plastics break up into plastic microbeads and then enter the food chain, and are ingested by humans. Talk about reaping what you sow.)

古人認為每個季節都有一定的工作要做,春耕、夏耘、秋收、冬藏,如此周而復始,糧食便不虞匱乏。

(For the ancients, each season had a specific task: plowing in spring, weeding in summer, harvesting in fall and storing away in winter, and then the process started anew. This way they would never want for food.)

英文練習

come full circle;

what goes around comes around;

you reap what you sow

In William Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear, Edgar, the Duke of Gloucester’s legitimate son, fatally wounds his half-brother Edmund, the duke’s scheming illegitimate son. As Edmund lies dying, the brothers speak of destiny and divine justice. Edgar talks of how the duke himself had been blinded as divine punishment for the adulterous lust that led to Edmund’s birth. Edmund agrees, saying “Th’ hast spoken right, ‘tis true. The wheel is come full circle, I am here.” The “wheel” refers to the “wheel of destiny.” When Edmund says “I am here,” he means that the wheel of destiny has completed its circuit.

This is the origin of the phrase “to come full circle.” In the play, it means that you cannot escape the inevitable workings of destiny. Although Edmund is guilty of some pretty nefarious behavior, coming “full circle” doesn’t necessarily imply he is being punished directly for those deeds. In modern English, the phrase no longer carries the meaning of inescapable fate, either. It simply means that a process has reached completion, only to begin again.

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