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The American Crisis by Thomas Paine 中英对照


The American Crisis by Thomas Paine : THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER," and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God. Whether the independence of the continent was declared too soon, or delayed too long, I will not now enter into as an argument; my own simple opinion is, that had it been eight months earlier, it would have been much better. We did not make a proper use of last winter, neither could we, while we were in a dependent state. However, the fault, if it were one, was all our own *(1) ; we have none to blame but ourselves. But no great deal is lost yet. All that Howe has been doing for this month past, is rather a ravage than a conquest, which the spirit of the Jerseys, a year ago, would have quickly repulsed, and which time and a little resolution will soon recover. I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent. Neither have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that He has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils; and as I do not, I cannot see on what grounds the king of Britain can look up to heaven for help against us: a common murderer, a highwayman, or a house-breaker, has as good a pretence as he. 'Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them. Britain has trembled like an ague at the report of a French fleet of flat-bottomed boats; and in the fourteenth [fifteenth] century the whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back like men petrified with fear; and this brave exploit was performed by a few broken forces collected and headed by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen, and save her fair fellow sufferers from ravage and ravishment! Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered. In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world. Many a disguised Tory has lately shown his head, that shall penitentially solemnize with curses the day on which Howe arrived upon the Delaware. As I was with the troops at Fort Lee, and marched with them to the edge of Pennsylvania, I am well acquainted with many circumstances, which those who live at a distance know but little or nothing of. Our situation there was exceedingly cramped, the place being a narrow neck of land

between the North River and the Hackensack. Our force was inconsiderable, being not one-fourth so great as Howe could bring against us. We had no army at hand to have relieved the garrison, had we shut ourselves up and stood on our defence. Our ammunition, light artillery, and the best part of our stores, had been removed, on the apprehension that Howe would endeavor to penetrate the Jerseys, in which case Fort Lee could be of no use to us; for it must occur to every thinking man, whether in the army or not, that these kind of field forts are only for temporary purposes, and last in use no longer than the enemy directs his force against the particular object which such forts are raised to defend. Such was our situation and condition at Fort Lee on the morning of the 20th of November, when an officer arrived with information that the enemy with 200 boats had landed about seven miles above; Major General [Nathaniel] Green, who commanded the garrison, immediately ordered them under arms, and sent express to General Washington at the town of Hackensack, distant by the way of the ferry = six miles. Our first object was to secure the bridge over the Hackensack, which laid up the river between the enemy and us, about six miles from us, and three from them. General Washington arrived in about three-quarters of an hour, and marched at the head of the troops towards the bridge, which place I expected we should have a brush for; however, they did not choose to dispute it with us, and the greatest part of our troops went over the bridge, the rest over the ferry, except some which passed at a mill on a small creek, between the bridge and the ferry, and made their way through some marshy grounds up to the town of Hackensack, and there passed the river. We brought off as much baggage as the wagons could contain, the rest was lost. The simple object was to bring off the garrison, and march them on till they could be strengthened by the Jersey or Pennsylvania militia, so as to be enabled to make a stand. We staid four days at Newark, collected our out-posts with some of the Jersey militia, and marched out twice to meet the enemy, on being informed that they were advancing, though our numbers were greatly inferior to theirs. Howe, in my little opinion, committed a great error in generalship in not throwing a body of forces off from Staten Island through Amboy, by which means he might have seized all our stores at Brunswick, and intercepted our march into Pennsylvania; but if we believe the power of hell to be limited, we must likewise believe that their agents are under some providential control. I shall not now attempt to give all the particulars of our retreat to the Delaware; suffice it for the present to say, that both officers and men, though greatly harassed and fatigued, frequently without rest, covering, or provision, the inevitable consequences of a long retreat, bore it with a manly and martial spirit. All their wishes centred in one, which was, that the country would turn out and help them to drive the enemy back. Voltaire has remarked that King William never appeared to full advantage but in difficulties and in action; the same remark may be made on General Washington, for the character fits him. There is a natural firmness in some minds which cannot be unlocked by trifles, but which, when unlocked, discovers a cabinet of fortitude; and I reckon it among those kind of public blessings, which we do not immediately see, that God hath blessed him with uninterrupted health, and given him a mind that can even flourish upon care. I shall conclude this paper with some miscellaneous remarks on the state of our affairs; and shall begin with asking the following question, Why is it that the enemy have left the New England provinces, and made these middle ones the seat of war? The answer is easy: New England is not infested with Tories, and we are. I have been tender in raising the cry against these men, and used numberless arguments to show them their danger, but it will not do to sacrifice a world either to their folly or their baseness. The period is now arrived, in which either they or we must change our

sentiments, or one or both must fall. And what is a Tory? Good God! what is he? I should not be afraid to go with a hundred Whigs against a thousand Tories, were they to attempt to get into arms. Every Tory is a coward; for servile, slavish, self-interested fear is the foundation of Toryism; and a man under such influence, though he may be cruel, never can be brave. But, before the line of irrecoverable separation be drawn between us, let us reason the matter together: Your conduct is an invitation to the enemy, yet not one in a thousand of you has heart enough to join him. Howe is as much deceived by you as the American cause is injured by you. He expects you will all take up arms, and flock to his standard, with muskets on your shoulders. Your opinions are of no use to him, unless you support him personally, for 'tis soldiers, and not Tories, that he wants. I once felt all that kind of anger, which a man ought to feel, against the mean principles that are held by the Tories: a noted one, who kept a tavern at Amboy, was standing at his door, with as pretty a child in his hand, about eight or nine years old, as I ever saw, and after speaking his mind as freely as he thought was prudent, finished with this unfatherly expression, "Well! give me peace in my day." Not a man lives on the continent but fully believes that a separation must some time or other finally take place, and a generous parent should have said, "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;" and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty. Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America. Her situation is remote from all the wrangling world, and she has nothing to do but to trade with them. A man can distinguish himself between temper and principle, and I am as confident, as I am that God governs the world, that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives, and the continent must in the end be conqueror; for though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire. America did not, nor does not want force; but she wanted a proper application of that force. Wisdom is not the purchase of a day, and it is no wonder that we should err at the first setting off. From an excess of tenderness, we were unwilling to raise an army, and trusted our cause to the temporary defence of a well-meaning militia. A summer's experience has now taught us better; yet with those troops, while they were collected, we were able to set bounds to the progress of the enemy, and, thank God! they are again assembling. I always considered militia as the best troops in the world for a sudden exertion, but they will not do for a long campaign. Howe, it is probable, will make an attempt on this city [Philadelphia]; should he fail on this side the Delaware, he is ruined. If he succeeds, our cause is not ruined. He stakes all on his side against a part on ours; admitting he succeeds, the consequence will be, that armies from both ends of the continent will march to assist their suffering friends in the middle states; for he cannot go everywhere, it is impossible. I consider Howe as the greatest enemy the Tories have; he is bringing a war into their country, which, had it not been for him and partly for themselves, they had been clear of. Should he now be expelled, I wish with all the devotion of a Christian, that the names of Whig and Tory may never more be mentioned; but should the Tories give him encouragement to come, or assistance if he come, I as sincerely wish that our next year's arms may expel them from the continent, and the Congress appropriate their possessions to the relief of those who have suffered in well-doing. A single successful battle next year will settle the whole. America could carry on a two years' war by the confiscation of the property of disaffected persons, and be made happy by their expulsion. Say not that this is revenge, call it rather the soft resentment of a suffering people, who, having no object in view but the good of all, have staked their own all upon a seemingly

doubtful event. Yet it is folly to argue against determined hardness; eloquence may strike the ear, and the language of sorrow draw forth the tear of compassion, but nothing can reach the heart that is steeled with prejudice. Quitting this class of men, I turn with the warm ardor of a friend to those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out: I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but "show your faith by your works," that God may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear as a ray of light. Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to "bind me in all cases whatsoever" to his absolute will, am I to suffer it? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king or a common man; my countryman or not my countryman; whether it be done by an individual villain, or an army of them? If we reason to the root of things we shall find no difference; neither can any just cause be assigned why we should punish in the one case and pardon in the other. Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America. There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to guard equally against both. Howe's first object is, partly by threats and partly by promises, to terrify or seduce the people to deliver up their arms and receive mercy. The ministry recommended the same plan to Gage, and this is what the tories call making their peace, "a peace which passeth all understanding" indeed! A peace which would be the immediate forerunner of a worse ruin than any we have yet thought of. Ye men of Pennsylvania, do reason upon these things! Were the back counties to give up their arms, they would fall an easy prey to the Indians, who are all armed: this perhaps is what some Tories would not be sorry for. Were the home counties to deliver up their arms, they would be exposed to the resentment of the back counties who would then have it in

their power to chastise their defection at pleasure. And were any one state to give up its arms, that state must be garrisoned by all Howe's army of Britons and Hessians to preserve it from the anger of the rest. Mutual fear is the principal link in the chain of mutual love, and woe be to that state that breaks the compact. Howe is mercifully inviting you to barbarous destruction, and men must be either rogues or fools that will not see it. I dwell not upon the vapors of imagination; I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as A, B, C, hold up truth to your eyes. I thank God, that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it. While our army was collected, Howe dared not risk a battle; and it is no credit to him that he decamped from the White Plains, and waited a mean opportunity to ravage the defenceless Jerseys; but it is great credit to us, that, with a handful of men, we sustained an orderly retreat for near an hundred miles, brought off our ammunition, all our field pieces, the greatest part of our stores, and had four rivers to pass. None can say that our retreat was precipitate, for we were near three weeks in performing it, that the country might have time to come in. Twice we marched back to meet the enemy, and remained out till dark. The sign of fear was not seen in our camp, and had not some of the cowardly and disaffected inhabitants spread false alarms through the country, the Jerseys had never been ravaged. Once more we are again collected and collecting; our new army at both ends of the continent is recruiting fast, and we shall be able to open the next campaign with sixty thousand men, well armed and clothed. This is our situation, and who will may know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils- a ravaged country- a depopulated city- habitations without safety, and slavery without hope- our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians, and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented. COMMON SENSE. December 23, 1776. ________________________________________ Notes *(1) The present winter is worth an age, if rightly employed; but, if lost or neglected, the whole continent will partake of the evil; and there is no punishment that man does not deserve, be he who, or what, or where he will, that may be the means of sacrificing a season so precious and useful. Back to the Text 3 Whom is the author praising? Whom is the author criticizing? 4 What do you think of the language? 3 Paine is praising those who stand “it”, it referring to “the service of their country”. In the meantime, Paine is criticizing those who shrink from the service of their country in this crisis. 4 The language is plain, impressive and forceful. Paine himself once said that his purpose as a writer was to use plain language to make those who can scarcely read understand. … and to fit the powers of thinking and the turn of language to the subject, so as to bring out a clear conclusion that shall hit the point in question and nothing else.

这是考验人的灵魂的时代。

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------在美国独立战争期间,潘恩写了以《北美的危机》爲题的系列文章,分爲十六小册,发表于 1776-1783 年之间。他给这些小册子标题爲《常识》 。其中第一篇发表于 1776 年 l 2 月 23 日,以满腔热情号召人们爲自由而战。以下便是这篇文章的摘要。华盛顿将军下令向他在福 吉谷士气低落的军队宣读这篇振奋精神的檄文。 尽管潘恩的爱国著作卖出了千万册,潘恩却依然身无分文,因爲,爲了使他的文章能够被广 泛印发,让人阅读,他拒绝接受任何版税。潘恩是世界上最伟大的政治宣传家之一。1787 年, 他回到欧洲, 希望能争取人们对他在费城附近建一座横跨斯凯基尔河的大桥的计划感兴 趣。然而,他很快就被法国革命迷住了。1791 年,他发表《人的权利》 ,捍卫法国革命,批 判埃德蒙.伯克写的《对法国革命的反思》 。伯克作了回答。1792 年,潘恩发表《人的权利》 第二部, 批判君主政体, 鼓吹消灭贫困、 文盲和失业的政策。 英国政府禁止潘恩的激进建议, 并企图逮捕他, 但潘恩从英国逃到法国。 在那儿他被选进国民议会。 尽管他保卫过法国革命, 但他还是批评恐怖时期, 并设法救国王的性命。 由于他这样做, 法国人把他关在牢里近一年。 潘恩写的《理性时代》(两部分,1794 和 1795 年)使他遭到各处正统宗教狂者的刻骨仇恨。 1802 年,潘恩回到美国。1809 年,在纽约市去世。

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------这是考验人的灵魂的时代。 在当前的危机中, 精壮的战士和乐天的爱国者会在爲国家服务的 责任面前畏缩不前, 但今天能坚持战斗的人应当得到全体男女的爱戴和感激。 专制制度就像 地狱一样,是不容易被打破的,但是我们可以堪慰的是:斗争越是艰巨,胜利就越光荣。轻 易获得的东西,我们并不珍重;一切事物的价值在于它是来之不易的。上天知道怎样给它的 货品定出适当的价码。如果对自由这样神圣的东西反而索价不高,那岂非咄咄怪事。凭军队 来推行其专制制度的不列颠公开宣布她有权利(不但课税)而且“在一切情形下对我们进行全 面约束” ,如果那样约束我们还不叫奴役的话,那世上就不存在奴役这回事了。其实他们这 种说法本身也是亵渎神明的,因爲他们所说的那种无限权力只能属于上帝…… 我和任何人一样,没有什麽迷信。但我内心深处一向认爲,而且现在还是这麽认爲,一个曾 殚思竭虑,想尽一切妥善的办法,屡次真诚地寻求避免战争之灾难的民族,万能的上帝是不 会听任他们横遭兵刃的洗劫的。 我没有那麽多异教徒的思想, 还不至于认爲上帝会放弃对世 界的主宰,把我们交给魔鬼发落。既然我并无上述想法,我也就看不出不列颠国王将能以何 种理由仰对上天求助以加害于我们: 一个声名狼藉的凶手、 拦路抢劫的匪徒和破门而入的强 盗都会找到一个跟他一样堂皇的借口。 然而有时惊惶失措竟会这麽快蔓延全国, 看来真是令人吃惊。 各个国家和各个时代都有过类 似的例子:不列颠听说法国平底船队到达的消息时曾像打摆子一样发抖。在十四世纪,英军 全体将士对法兰西王国进行一番洗劫之后被赶回, 竟吓得目瞪口呆, 而这番英雄业绩只是由

一位叫贞德的妇女率领拼凑的散兵游勇所干的。但愿上天也啓发 新泽西的某个女子去鼓舞 她的同胞奋起,拯救她受苦受难的同胞,使他们免遭蹂躏劫掠之苦…… 我不是对少数人,而是向全体呼吁;不是对这个州或那个州,而是向每一个州呼吁;呼吁你 们迅速奋起,前来助战,全力以赴,共襄大业,况且生死存亡,在此一举,因而所聚兵力宁 可太多,不可太少。让我们昭告后世,在这只有希望和美德才能坚持下去的隆冬季节,我城 乡居民,爲共同的危难而惶恐不安,纷纷挺身而出,联合退敌。且莫道几千人已经丧生,请 拿出你的几万人来,不要把当前的负担推给上帝,要“用实干表现你的信心” ,这样上帝才 会保佑你。地不分东西,人不分贵贱,是祸是福,总会降临到你们每个人头上的。不论是远 是近,是家乡还是边疆,是富人还是穷人,喜则同喜,忧则同忧。此时此刻无动于衷的心便 是死的。他的孩子们将以血咒駡他的怯懦,因爲他在只要付出一点便可拯救全体,使他们获 得幸福的紧要关头退缩了。我爱能在危难中微笑的人;我爱能从痛苦中聚集力量的人;我爱 能通过深思变得勇敢的人。临阵逃脱是小人的行径。而一位天性坚毅,行爲不背良心的人, 将会坚持原则。至死不渝。在我看来,我推理的思路像一线光一样笔直透明。我相信即使把 全世界的财富都给我,也无法诱使我去支持一场侵略战争,因爲我认爲这是屠杀。但是,假 如一名盗贼破门闯入我的住宅,烧毁我的财物,杀死我或威胁要杀我,或屋子里的其它人, 并要我“在一切情况下受约束”于他的绝对意志,难道我要甘受其害吗?不管干这事的是国 王还是平民,是我的同胞还是外国人,是单个暴徒还是一支军队,那对我有什麽差别?归根 到底一点差别都没有,因爲,对于这些罪行,我们在一种情况下要惩罚,而在另一种情况下 又要赦免,那是不公正的。就让他们把我叫作叛逆吧,非常欢迎,我毫不在乎。但是,我如 果去向一个迟钝的、顽固的、卑劣的、兽性的家伙表示忠心,从而使我的灵魂沦爲娼妓一样 肮脏,那就会使我遭受魔鬼一样的痛苦。而当末日来临时,这种人就会向荒山野岭哀号,寻 求托庇, 惊恐万状地从北美的孤儿、 寡妇、 和被屠杀者面前逃走。 要是我接受这种人的怜悯, 我也同样会感到可怕的。 有些情况无论用什麽言词来描述都不会过份, 这便是一个例子。 有些人对威胁着他们的邪恶 不能充份认识,他们希望敌人在胜利后会大发慈悲,且以此来安慰自己。期望那些不顾正义 的人大发慈悲,真是愚蠢至极。而且在以征服爲目的的地方,即便慈悲也只不过是战争的一 种诡计。狐狸的狡猾跟豺狼的暴皮同样凶残。我们对两者都应当保持同样的警惕…… 感谢上帝,我无所畏惧。我看不出有什麽真正值得畏惧的理由。我对目前的局势一清二楚, 对将来的出路了如指掌……只要我们坚持不懈,不屈不挠,我们就有希望得到光荣的结果。 胆小伯事,屈膝投降,其结果只好悲惨地接受各种灾祸──国家惨遭蹂躏,城市人口锐减, 人民居无安所,备受奴役而无希望,我们的家园将变成黑森雇佣军的营房和妓院,以后还得 养活一大堆弄不清谁是他们父亲的孩子。面对这样一副情景,能不痛哭流涕!如果时至今日 竟还有哪个没有头脑的劣种不相信这话,那就让他去受罪,别爲他悲伤……

(责任编辑:周建定)


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