飛蛾之死
The Death of the Moth

弗吉尼亞·沃爾夫
Virginia Woolf

白晝出沒的飛蛾,準確地說,不叫飛蛾;它們激發不起關于沉沉秋夜和青藤小花的欣快意念,而藏在帷幕黝暗處沉睡的最普通的“翼底黃”飛蛾卻總會喚醒這樣的聯想。“翼底黃”是雜交的產物,既不像蝴蝶一般色彩鮮艷,也不像飛蛾類那樣全身灰暗。盡管如此,眼前這只蛾子,狹狹的雙翼顯現著枯灰色,翼梢綴有同樣顏色的一圈流蘇,看上去似乎活得心滿意足。這是一個令人神清氣爽的早晨。時屆九月中旬,氣溫舒適宜人,而吹過來的風已比夏季涼冽。窗戶對面,犁耕已經開始。鏵片過處,泥土被壓得平整,顯得濕漉漉又烏油油。從田野以及更遠處的丘陵,一股勃勃生機撲面而來,使雙眼難以完全專注于書本。還有那些白嘴鴉,像是正在歡慶某一次年會,繞著樹梢盤旋,遠遠望去仿佛有一張綴有萬千黑點的大網撒開在空中。過了一會,大網慢慢降下,直到林中的每一處枝頭落滿黑點。隨后,大網突然再次撒向天空,這一回,劃出的圓弧更大,同時伴以不絕于耳的呱呱鴉噪,似乎一會兒急急騰空而去,一會兒徐徐棲落枝頭,乃是極富刺激性的活動。
Moths that fly by day are not properly to be called moths; they do not excite that pleasant sense of dark autumn nights and ivy-blossom which the commonest yellow-underwing asleep in the shadow of the curtain never fails to rouse in us. They are hybrid creatures, neither gay like butterflies nor sombre like their own species. Nevertheless the present specimen, with his narrow hay-coloured wings, fringed with a tassel of the same colour, seemed to be content with life. It was a pleasant morning, mid-September, mild, benignant, yet with a keener breath than that of the summer months. The plough was already scoring the field opposite the window, and where the share had been, the earth was pressed flat and gleamed with moisture. Such vigour came rolling in from the fields and the down beyond that it was difficult to keep the eyes strictly turned upon the book. The rooks too were keeping one of their annual festivities; soaring round the tree tops until it looked as if a vast net with thousands of black knots in it had been cast up into the air; which, after a few moments sank slowly down upon the trees until every twig seemed to have a knot at the end of it. Then, suddenly, the net would be thrown into the air again in a wider circle this time, with the utmost clamour and vociferation, as though to be thrown into the air and settle slowly down upon the tree tops were a tremendously exciting experience.

一種活力激勵著白嘴鴉、掌犁農夫、轅馬,影響所及甚至連貧瘠的禿丘也透出了生氣。正是這種活力撩撥著飛蛾鼓翅,從正方形窗玻璃的一側移動到另一側。你無法不去注視它;你甚至對它產生了一種莫名憐憫。這天早晨,生命的樂趣表現得淋漓盡致又豐富多樣,相比之下,作為一只飛蛾浮生在世,而且是只有一天生命的飛蛾,真是命運不濟。雖則機遇不堪,飛蛾卻仍在盡情享受,看到這種熱情不禁引人唏噓。它勁兒十足地飛到窗格的一角,在那兒停了一秒鐘之后,穿越窗面飛到另一角。除了飛到第三然后又是第四角,它還能做什么呢?這就是它能做的一切,雖然戶外丘陵廣袤,天空無際,遠處的房屋炊煙繚繞,海上的輪船不時發出引人遐思的汽笛聲。飛蛾能做到的事,它都做了。注視著它的時候,我覺得在它羸弱的小身體里,仿佛塞進了一縷纖細然而冼煉的世間奇偉的活力。每當它飛越窗面,我總覺得有一絲生命之光亮起。飛蛾雖小,甚至微不足道,卻也是生靈。
The same energy which inspired the rooks, the ploughmen, the horses, and even, it seemed, the lean bare-backed downs, sent the moth fluttering from side to side of his square of the window-pane. One could not help watching him. One was, indeed, conscious of a queer feeling of pity for him. The possibilities of pleasure seemed that morning so enormous and so various that to have only a moth’s part in life, and a day moth’s at that, appeared a hard fate, and his zest in enjoying his meagre opportunities to the full, pathetic. He flew vigorously to one corner of his compartment, and, after waiting there a second, flew across to the other. What remained for him but to fly to a third corner and then to a fourth? That was all he could do, in spite of the size of the downs, the width of the sky, the far-off smoke of houses, and the romantic voice, now and then, of a steamer out at sea. What he could do he did. Watching him, it seemed as if a fibre, very thin but pure, of the enormous energy of the world had been thrust into his frail and diminutive body. As often as he crossed the pane, I could fancy that a thread of vital light became visible. He was little or nothing but life.

然而,正因為它微不足道,正因為它以簡單的形式體現了從打開的窗戶滾滾涌進并在我和其他人大腦錯綜復雜的狹縫中沖擊而過的一種活力,飛蛾不但引人唏噓,還同樣令人驚嘆,使人感到似乎有誰取來一顆晶瑩的生命之珠,以盡可能輕盈的手法飾以茸羽之后,使其翩躚起舞,左右飛旋,從而向我們顯示生命的真諦。這樣展示在人們的面前,飛蛾使人無法不嘖嘖稱奇,而在目睹飛蛾弓背凸現的模樣的同時,看它妝扮著又像背負了重荷,因此動作既謹慎又滯重,人們不禁會全然忘記生命是怎么一回事。人們倒是會又一次想到,生命若以另一種不同于飛蛾的形態誕生將可能變成什么,而這種想法自會使人以某種憐憫的心情去觀察飛蛾的簡單動作。
Yet, because he was so small, and so simple a form of the energy that was rolling in at the open window and driving its way through so many narrow and intricate corridors in my own brain and in those of other human beings, there was something marvellous as well as pathetic about him. It was as if someone had taken a tiny bead of pure life and decking it as lightly as possible with down and feathers, had set it dancing and zig-zagging to show us the true nature of life. Thus displayed one could not get over the strangeness of it. One is apt to forget all about life, seeing it humped and bossed and garnished and cumbered so that it has to move with the greatest circumspection and dignity. Again, the thought of all that life might have been had he been born in any other shape caused one to view his simple activities with a kind of pity.

過了一會,飛蛾像是飛得累了,便在陽光下的窗沿上落停。飛舞的奇觀已經結束,我便把它忘了。待我抬起頭來,注意力又被它吸引了去,只見它在試圖再次飛起,可是因為身體已太僵直,要不就是姿態別扭,而只能撲閃著翅膀,落到窗玻璃的底部。當它掙扎著往頂部飛時,它已力不從心了。因為我正專注于其他事情,所以只是心不在焉地看著飛蛾徒勞的撲騰,同時,無意識地等著它再一次飛起,猶如等著一臺暫時 停轉的機器重新開始而不去深究停轉的原因。也許撲騰了七次,飛蛾終于從木質窗沿滑下,抖動著雙翅,仰天掉在窗臺上。它這種絕望無助的體位喚回了我的注意,我頓時意識到飛蛾陷入了困境,它的細腿一陣亂 蹬,卻全無結果,它再也無法把身體挺直。我手持一支鉛筆朝它伸去,想幫它翻一個身,然而就在這時我認識到,撲騰失敗和姿態別扭都是死之將至的表征。于是,我放下了鉛筆。
After a time, tired by his dancing apparently, he settled on the window ledge in the sun, and, the queer spectacle being at an end, I forgot about him. Then, looking up, my eye was caught by him. He was trying to resume his dancing, but seemed either so stiff or so awkward that he could only flutter to the bottom of the window-pane; and when he tried to fly across it he failed. Being intent on other matters I watched these futile attempts for a time without thinking, unconsciously waiting for him to resume his flight, as one waits for a machine, that has stopped momentarily, to start again without considering the reason of its failure. After perhaps a seventh attempt he slipped from the wooden ledge and fell, fluttering his wings, on to his back on the window sill. The helplessness of his attitude roused me. It flashed upon me that he was in difficulties; he could no longer raise himself; his legs struggled vainly. But, as I stretched out a pencil, meaning to help him to right himself, it came over me that the failure and awkwardness were the approach of death. I laid the pencil down again.

細腿又抖動了一次。我像是為了尋找飛蛾與之搏斗的仇敵,便朝戶外望去。那兒發生了什么?大概已是中午時分。田疇勞作業已停止。原先的奔忙已被靜止所取代。鳥兒飛往小溪覓食;轅馬立停。但是,那股力量依然聚集在那兒,一股冷漠超然、非人格化、不針對任何具體對象的力量。不知出于什么原因,與枯灰色的小飛蛾作對的,正是這股力量。試圖抗拒這股力量,全然無用,我所能做的,唯有看著飛蛾軟弱的細腿作出非凡的掙扎,抵拒那漸漸接近的毀滅偉力。毀滅偉力,只要它愿意,本可埋沒整個一座城池;除了城池,還可奪去千萬人的生命。我知道,與死神作搏斗,世間萬物都無取勝的可能。雖說如此,因為筋疲力竭而小憩之后,細腿又抖動起來。這最后的抗爭確屬英勇超凡,而掙扎又是如此之狂暴,飛蛾竟然最終翻身成功了。當然,你定會同情求生的一方。與此同時,在無人過問也無人知曉的情況下,這微不足道的小飛蛾為了維持既無他人重視也無他人意欲保存的生命,竟對如此巨大的偉力作出這樣強悍的拼搏,這更使人受到異樣的感動。不知怎么的,我又一次見到了那晶瑩的生命之珠。雖說意識到一切全是徒勞,我重又提起鉛筆。然而正在這時,確鑿無誤的死亡征狀出現了。蛾體先是松馳下來,旋即變得僵硬。搏斗告終。這微不足道的小生命死了。看著飛蛾的尸體,看著這股巨大的偉力把這么一個可憐巴巴的對手捎帶著戰勝,我心頭充滿了驚詫感。幾分鐘之前,生命曾顯得那樣奇譎。如今死亡也是同樣的奇譎。飛蛾端正了身體,安安靜靜躺在那兒,端莊而毫無怨尤。哦,是的,它好像在說,死神畢竟比我強大。
The legs agitated themselves once more. I looked as if for the enemy against which he struggled. I looked out of doors. What had happened there? Presumably it was midday, and work in the fields had stopped. Stillness and quiet had replaced the previous animation. The birds had taken themselves off to feed in the brooks. The horses stood still. Yet the power was there all the same, massed outside indifferent, impersonal, not attending to anything in particular. Somehow it was opposed to the little hay-coloured moth. It was useless to try to do anything. One could only watch the extraordinary efforts made by those tiny legs against an oncoming doom which could, had it chosen, have submerged an entire city, not merely a city, but masses of human beings; nothing, I knew, had any chance against death. Nevertheless after a pause of exhaustion the legs fluttered again. It was superb this last protest, and so frantic that he succeeded at last in righting himself. One’s sympathies, of course, were all on the side of life. Also, when there was nobody to care or to know, this gigantic effort on the part of an insignificant little moth, against a power of such magnitude, to retain what no one else valued or desired to keep, moved one strangely. Again, somehow, one saw life, a pure bead. I lifted the pencil again, useless though I knew it to be. But even as I did so, the unmistakable tokens of death showed themselves. The body relaxed, and instantly grew stiff. The struggle was over. The insignificant little creature now knew death. As I looked at the dead moth, this minute wayside triumph of so great a force over so mean an antagonist filled me with wonder. Just as life had been strange a few minutes before, so death was now as strange. The moth having righted himself now lay most decently and uncomplainingly composed. O yes, he seemed to say, death is stronger than I am.

(陸谷孫 譯)