T. S. Eliot

Four Quartets : Little Gidding

I

Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.
When the short day is brightest, with frost and fire,
The brief sun flames the ice, on pond and ditches,
In windless cold that is the heart’s heat,
Reflecting in a watery mirror
A glare that is blindness in the early afternoon.
And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or brazier,
Stirs the dumb spirit: no wind, but pentecostal fire
In the dark time of the year. Between melting and freezing
The soul’s sap quivers. There is no earth smell
Or smell of living thing. This is the spring time
But not in time’s covenant. Now the hedgerow
Is blanched for an hour with transitory blossom
Of snow, a bloom more sudden
Than that of summer, neither budding nor fading,
Not in the scheme of generation.
Where is the summer, the unimaginable
Zero summer?
If you came this way,
Taking the route you would be likely to take
From the place you would be likely to come from,
If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges
White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.
It would be the same at the end of the journey,
If you came at night like a broken king,
If you came by day not knowing what you came for,
It would be the same, when you leave the rough road
And turn behind the pig- sty to the dull fa?ade
And the tombstone. And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfilment. There are other places
Which also are the world’s end, some at the sea jaws,
Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city –
But this is the nearest, in place and time,
Now and in England.

If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.
And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.
Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
Is England and nowhere. Never and always.

II

Ash on an old man’s sleeve
Is all the ash the burnt roses leave.
Dust in the air suspended
Marks the place where a story ended.
Dust inbreathed was a house –
The wall, the wainscot and the mouse.
The death of hope and despair,
This is the death of air.

There are flood and drouth
Over the eyes and in the mouth,
Dead water and dead sand
Contending for the upper hand.
The parched eviscerate soil
Gapes at the vanity of toil,
Laughs without mirth.
This is the death of earth.

Water and fire succeed
The town, the pasture and the weed.
Water and fire deride
The sacrifice that we denied.
Water and fire shall rot
The marred foundations we forgot,
Of sanctuary and choir.
This is the death of water and fire.

In the uncertain hour before the morning
Near the ending of interminable night
At the recurrent end of the unending
After the dark dove with the flickering tongue
Had passed below the horizon of his homing
While the dead leaves still rattled on like tin
Over the asphalt where no other sound was
Between three districts whence the smoke arose
I met one walking, loitering and hurried
As if blown towards me like the metal leaves
Before the urban dawn wind unresisting.
And as I fixed upon the down-turned face
That pointed scrutiny with which we challenge
The first-met stranger in the waning dusk
I caught the sudden look of some dead master
Whom I had known, forgotten, half recalled
Both one and many; in the brown baked features
The eyes of a familiar compound ghost
Both intimate and unidentifiable.
So I assumed a double part, and cried
And heard another’s voice cry : ‘What! are you here?’
Although we were not. I was still the same,
Knowing myself yet being someone other –
And he a face still forming; yet the words sufficed
To compel the recognition they preceded.
And so, compliant to the common wind,
Too strange to each other for misunderstanding,
In concord at this intersection time
Of meeting nowhere, no before or after,
We trod the pavement in a dead patrol.
I said: ‘The wonder that I feel is easy,
Yet ease is cause of wonder. Therefore speak:
I may not comprehend, may not remember.’
And he: ‘I am not eager to rehearse
My thought and theory which you have forgotten.
These things have served their purpose: let them be.
So with your own, and pray they be forgiven
By others, as I pray you to forgive
Both bad and good. Last season’s fruit is eaten
And the fullfed beast shall kick the empty pail.
For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
Bur, as the passage now presents no hindrance
To the spirit unappeased and peregrine
Between two worlds become much like each other,
So I find words I never thought to speak
In streets I never thought I should revisit
When I left my body on a distant shore.
Since our concern was speech, and speech impelled us
To purify the dialect of the tribe
And urge the mind to aftersight and foresight,
Let me disclose the gifts reserved for age
To set a crown upon your lifetime’s effort.
First, the cold friction of expiring sense
Without enchantment, offering no promise
But bitter tastelessness of shadow fruit
As body and soul begin to fall asunder.
Second, the conscious impotence of rage
At human folly, and the laceration
Of laughter at what ceases to amuse.
And last, the rending pain of re-enactment
Of all that you have done, and been; the shame
Of motives late revealed, and the awareness
Of things ill done and done to others’ harm
Which once you took for exercise of virtue.
Then fools’ approval stings, and honour stains.
From wrong to wrong the exasperated spirit
Proceeds, unless restored by that refining fire
Where you must move in measure, like a dancer.’
The day was breaking. In the disfigured street
He left me, with a kind of valediction,
And faded on the blowing of the horn.

III

There are three conditions which often look alike
Yet differ completely, flourish in the same hedgerow:
Attachment of self and to things and to persons, detachment
From self and from things and from persons; and, growing
between them, indifference
Which resembles the others as death resembles life,
Being between two lives – unflowering, between
The live and the dead nettle. This is the use of memory:
For liberation – not less of love but expanding

Of love beyond desire, and so liberation
From the future as well as the past. Thus, love of a country
Begins as attachment to our own field of action
And comes to find that action of little importance
Though never indifferent. History may be servitude,
History may be freedom. See, now they vanish,
The faces and places, with the self which, as it could, loved
Them,
To become renewed, transfigured, in another pattern.
Sin is Behovely, but
All shall be well, and
All manner of thing shall be well.
If I think, again, of this place,
And of people, not wholly commendable,
Of no immediate kin or kindness,
But some of peculiar genius,
All touched by a common genius,
United in the strife which divided them;
If I think of a king at nightfall,
Of three men, and more, on the scaffold
And a few who died forgotten
In other places, here and abroad,
And of one who died blind and quiet
Why should we celebrate
These dead men more than the dying?
It is not to ring the bell backward
Nor is it an incantation
To summon the spectre of a Rose.
We cannot revive old factions
We cannot restore old policies
Or follow an antique drum.
These men, and those who opposed them
And those whom they opposed
Accept the constitution of silence
And are folded in a single party.
Whatever we inherit from the fortunate
We have taken from the defeated
What they had to leave us – a symbol:
A symbol perfected in death.
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching.

IV

The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror

Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre –
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.

V

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea’s throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter’s afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

四、小吉丁

仲东的春天是它自己的季节
漫漫永昼而到日落却一片湿润,
悬在时间中,在极圈和回归线之间。
当短暂的白昼因为寒霜和火成为最明亮的时刻,
匆促的太阳点燃了地上和沟里的冰,
在无风的冷冽中那是心的热,
在一面似水的镜子里
映照出一道刺目的强光,
在就是晌午时分之所以令人眩目而一无所见。
灼热的光比柴枝的火更烈比火盆更旺,
激起麻木的精神:没有风,只有圣灵降临节的火
在这一年的黑暗时节。在融化和结冰之间
灵魂的活力在颤抖。没有大地的气息
或者有生命之物的气息。这是春天季节
但不是在约定的时间之内。现在树篱
因为雪花短暂开放而一时满身素白,
一次比夏花绽放更突然的花开,
既未含葩待放也不会凋零谢落,
不在世代蕃衍的计划之内。
夏天在哪里?那不可想象的
零度的夏天?

如果你到这里来,
选择你可能选择的路线
从你可能出那里来的地方来,
如果你在山楂花开的时候到这里来,
你会发现五月里,树篱又变白了,
飘散这迷人的甜香。
到旅程的终点都一样,
如果你像一位困顿的国王夤夜而来,
如果你白天来又不知道你为何而来,
那都一样,当你离开崎岖的小径
在猪栏后面拐向那阴暗的前庭和墓碑的时候。
你原先以为是你此行的目的
现在不过是意义的一层贝壳,一层荚
只要有什么目的能实现的话,目的才破壳而出。
或者是你原先根本没有目的
或者是目的在于你是想象的终点之外
而在实现的过程中已经改变。另有一些地方
也是世界的终点,有的在海的入口
或者在一片黑暗的湖上,在沙漠中
或者在一座城市里——
但是在地点和时间上,这里是最近的地方,
现在和在英格兰。

如果你到这里来,
不论走哪条路,从哪里出发,
在哪个地方或哪个季节,
那都是一样:你必须抛开
感觉和思想。你到这里来不是为了证明什么,
教诲自己,或者告诉什么新奇的事物
或者传送报告。你到这里来
是到祈祷一向是正当的地方来
俯首下跪。祈祷不只是
一种话语,祈祷者头脑的
清醒的活动,或者是祈求呼告的声音。
死者活着的时候,无法以言词表达的,
他们作为死者能告诉你:死者的交流思想
超乎生者的语言之外是用火表达的。
这里,无始无终的瞬间的交叉点是英格兰,
而不是任何其他地方。决不而且永远。

一个老人衣袖上的灰
是焚烧的玫瑰留下的全部尘灰。
尘灰悬在空中
标志着一个故事在这里告终。
你吸入的尘灰曾经是一座宅邸——
墙、护壁板和耗子。
希望和希望的死亡,
这是空气的死亡。

在眼睛之上,在嘴巴里
有洪水和干旱,
止水和死沙
在争斗着谁占上风。
坼裂的失去元气的泥土
张目结舌地望着徒然无益的劳动,
放声大笑而没有欢乐。
这是土的死亡。

水和火取代
城镇、牧场和野草。
水和火嘲弄
我们拒绝奉献的牺牲。
水和火也必将腐蚀
我们遗忘的圣殿和唱诗席的
已经毁坏的基础。
这是水和火的死亡。

在黎明来临前无法确知的时刻
漫漫长夜行将结束
永无终止又到了终点
当黑黝黝的鸽子喷吐着忽隐忽现的火舌
在地平线下掠飞归去以后
在硝烟升腾的三个地区之间
再没有别的声息只有枯叶像白铁皮一般
嘎嘎作响地扫过沥青路面
这时我遇见一个在街上闲荡的行人
像被不可阻挡的城市晨风吹卷的
金属薄片急匆匆地向我走来。
当我用锐利而审视的目光
打量他那张低垂的脸庞
就像我们盘问初次遇见的陌生人那样
在即将消逝的暮色中
我瞧见一位曾经相识、但已淡忘的已故的大师
突然显现的面容,我恍惚记得
他既是一个又是许多个;晒黒的脸上
一个熟识的复合的灵魂的眼睛
既亲密又不可辨认。
因此我反复了一个双重角色,一面喊叫
一面又听另一个人喊叫:“啊!你在这里?”
尽管我们都不是。我还是我,
但我知道我自己已经成了另一个人——
而他只是一张还在形成的脸;但语言已足够
强迫他们承认曾经相识。
因此,按照一般的风尚,
双方既然素昧平生也就不可能产生误会,
我们在这千载难逢,没有以前也没有以后的
交叉时刻和谐地漫步在行人道上作一次死亡的巡逻。
我说:“我感到惊异是那么轻松安适,
然而轻松正是惊异的原因。所以说,
我也许并不理解,也许不复记忆。”
他却说:“我的思想和原则已被你遗忘,
我不想再一次详细申诉。
这些东西已经满足了它们的需要:由它们去吧。
你自己的也是这样,祈求别人宽恕它们吧,
就像我祈求你宽恕善与恶一样。上季的果子
已经吃过,喂饱了的野兽也一定会把空桶踢开。
因为去年的话属于去年的语言
而来年的话还在等待另一种语调。
但是,对于来自异域没有得到抚慰的灵魂,
在两个已变得非常相像的世界之间
现在道路已畅通无阻,
所以当我把我的躯体
委弃在遥远的岸边以后
我在我从未想到会重访的街巷
找到了我从未想说的话。
既然我们关心的是说话,而说话又驱使我们
去纯洁部族的方言
并怂恿我们瞻前顾后,
那么就让我打开长久保存的礼物
褒美你一生的成就。
首先,当肉体与灵魂开始分离时,
即将熄灭的感觉失去了魅力
它那冷漠的摩擦不能给你提供任何许诺
而只能是虚妄的果子的苦涩无味。
第二,是对人间的愚行自知表示愤怒的
软弱无力,以及对那不再引人发笑的一切
你的笑声受到的伤害。
最后,在重演你一生的作为和扮演的角色时
那撕裂心肺的痛苦;日后败露的动机所带来的羞愧,
还有你一度一位是行善之举,
如今觉察过去种种全是恶行
全是对别人的伤害而产生的内疚。
于是愚人的赞扬刺痛你,世间的荣誉玷污你。
激怒的灵魂从错误走向错误
除非得到炼火的匡救,因为像一个舞蹈家
你必然要随着节拍向那儿跳去。”
天色即将破晓。在这条毁损的街上
他带着永别的神情离开了我,
消失在汽笛的长鸣声中。

有三种情况发生在这同一片树篱,
往往貌似想像其实截然不同:
对自身、对物和人们的依附,
从自身、从物和人们的分离;以及在这两者之间
产生的冷漠,它与前两种相似,犹如死与生相似,
处于两种生涯之间——不绽开花朵,处于
生的和死的苦恼之间。这正是记忆的用处:
为了解脱——不是因为爱得不够
而是爱超乎欲望之外的扩展,于是不仅从过去
也从未来得到解脱。这样,对一个地方的爱恋
始于我们对自己的活动场所的依附
终于发现这种活动没多大意义
虽然决不是冷漠。历史也许是奴役,
历史也许是自由。瞧,那一张张脸一处处地方
随着那尽其是能爱过它们的自我
一起,现在它们都消失了,
而在另一种模式下更新,变化。

罪是不可避免的,但是
一切终将安然无恙,而且
时间万物也终将安然无恙。
如果我又一次想起这个地方,
又一次想起那些人,他们并非全都值得称道,
既非直系亲属也非性情和善之辈,
却是一些具有特殊才能的人,
他们都受了一种共同的思潮的感召,
而联合在把他们分裂为营垒的斗争中;
如果我在黄昏时分想起一位国王,
想起三个和更多的人被处决在绞刑架上
还有一些死后默默无闻的人
在其他地方,在这里和国外,
我也想起一个双目失明悄然死去的人,
为什么我们纪念这些死去的人
就该胜于纪念那些濒临死亡的人呢?
这不是重新去敲响往昔的钟声
也不是召唤一朵玫瑰的幽灵的咒语。
我们无法复活那些古老的派别
我们无法恢复那些古老的政策
或者跟上一面古老的皮鼓敲击的鼓点。
这些人,和反对他们的那些人
和那些他们反对的人
如今都接受了无声的命令
归入一个单一的团体。
不管我们重幸运的人们继承到什么

我们已经从失败的人们取得了
他们不得不留给我们的一切——一种象征:
一种在死亡中得到完善的象征。
因此,通过动机的纯化
凭着我们祈求的理由
一切终将安然无恙,而且
时间万物也终将安然无恙。

鸽子喷吐着炽烈的恐怖的火焰
划破夜空,掠飞而下
烈焰的火舌昭吿世间
它免除了死者的过错和罪愆。
那仅有的希望,要不就是失望
在于你对焚尸柴堆的选择或者就在于柴堆——
通过烈火从烈火中得到涤罪。

是谁想出这种折磨的呢?是爱。
爱是不熟悉的名字
它在编织火焰之衫的那双手后面,
火焰使人无法忍耐

那衣衫绝非人力所能解开。
我们只是活着,只是悲叹
不是让这种火就是让那种火把我们的生命耗完。

我们叫做开始的往往就是结束
而宣告结束也就是着手开始。
终点是我们出发的地方。每个短语
和每个句子只要安排妥帖(每个词都各得其所,
从它所处的位置支持其他的词,
文字既不羞怯也不炫耀,
新与旧之间的一种轻松的交流,
普通的文字确切而不鄙俗,
规范的文字准确而不迂腐,
融洽无间地在一起舞蹈)
那么每个短语每个句子都是一个结束和一个开始,
每首诗都是一篇墓志铭。而任何一个行动
都是走向断头台,走向烈火,落入大海
或走向一块你无法辨认的石碑的一步:
而这就是我们出发的地方,
我们与濒临死亡的人们偕亡:
瞧,他们离去了,我们与他们同行。
我们与死者同生:
瞧,他们回来了,携我们与他们俱来。
玫瑰飘香和紫杉扶疏的时令
经历的时间一样短长。一个没有历史的民族
不能从时间得到拯救,因为历史
是无始无终的瞬间的一种模式,所以,当一个冬天的下午
天色渐渐暗淡的时候,在一座僻静的教堂里
历史就是现在和英格兰。

由于这种爱和召唤声的吸引
我们将不停止探索
而我们一切探索的终点
将是到达我们出发的地方
并且是生平第一遭知道这地方。
当时间的终极犹待我们去发现的时候
穿过那未认识的,忆起的大门
就是过去曾经是我们的起点;
在最漫长的大河的源头
有深藏的瀑布的飞湍声
在苹果林中有孩子们的欢笑声,
这些你都不知道,因为你
并没有去寻找
而只是听到,隐约听到,
在大海两次潮汐之间的寂静里。
倏忽易逝的现在,这里,现在,永远——
一种极其简单的状态
(要求付出的代价却不比任何东西少)
而一切终将安然无恙,
时间万物也终将安然无恙
当火舌最后交织成牢固的火焰
烈火与玫瑰化为一体的时候。

发表评论

电子邮件地址不会被公开。 必填项已用*标注