這首詩是敘述者(這邊我假定就是葉慈本人)、他愛的女人與其美麗的友人,三個人的聊天對話實錄。他們聊到了三件事情:寫詩、美貌、愛情;這三件事之間有重要的共通點,就是都受了「亞當的詛咒」(詩名)。

亞當在伊甸園中偷吃了蘋果被上帝驅逐,他的生活從本來每天到處玩耍變成要自食其力(這不就是孩子長大必經的過程嗎?)辛勤耕耘才能讓自己與夏娃溫飽。

我們身為他的後代,也是逃不了這個宿命,什麼都要努力耕耘才有收穫。葉慈說寫每行詩可能都要花好幾個小時,只是看起來似乎很容易;要想出那些音韻,需要費多少的功夫,但卻經常被銀行家、老師、教士與殉道者覺得詩人是閒閒沒事做的人。(第一詩節)

然後那位美麗的友人也說了:「雖然學校沒教,但身為女人就是知道:只有懶女人沒有醜女人。」(第二詩節)

接著葉慈扯到愛情這話題上,說戀人們費功夫從美麗的古書中引用詩句來取悅對方,真是一點用都沒有。(第三詩節)其實他這段話是針對他愛的女人(很可能就是
Maud Gonne)說的,告訴對方他的受挫感。

在最後一個詩節,詩人有個想法,他想向
Maud說:「妳是如此美麗,而我費盡心力去愛妳。表面上似乎很快樂,但其實我們就像空洞的月亮一樣,有個疲憊的心。」

看完這首詩有兩個感想:那有什麼辦法呢?人家
Maud意思已經很明白了呀,誰叫你一直強要來勒(攤手)。還有,做什麼事情都是需要努力的阿...(咦,變勵志文了?)。

 

 

Adam's Curse

by W.B. Yeats

 

We sat together at one summer's end,

That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,

And you and I, and talked of poetry.

I said, 'A line will take us hours maybe;

Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought,

Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.

Better go down upon your marrow-bones

And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones

Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;

For to articulate sweet sounds together

Is to work harder than all these, and yet

Be thought an idler by the noisy set

Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen

The martyrs call the world.'

 

And thereupon

That beautiful mild woman for whose sake

There's many a one shall find out all heartache

On finding that her voice is sweet and low

Replied, 'To be born woman is to know--

Although they do not talk of it at school--

That we must labour to be beautiful.'

 

I said, 'It's certain there is no fine thing

Since Adam's fall but needs much labouring.

There have been lovers who thought love should be

So much compounded of high courtesy

That they would sigh and quote with learned looks

Precedents out of beautiful old books;

Yet now it seems an idle trade enough.'

 

We sat grown quiet at the name of love;

We saw the last embers of daylight die,

And in the trembling blue-green of the sky

A moon, worn as if it had been a shell

Washed by time's waters as they rose and fell

About the stars and broke in days and years.

 

I had a thought for no one's but your ears:

That you were beautiful, and that I strove

To love you in the old high way of love;

That it had all seemed happy, and yet we'd grown

As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.

 

【喬安納說】

這首詩收錄在楊牧編譯的《葉慈詩選》中。文章中的翻譯是我隨意翻的。

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