The Duty of Happiness




“If a man is unhappy, this must be his own fault; for God made all men to be happy.”----Epictetus



Life is a great gift, and as we reach years of discretion, we most of us naturally ask ourselves what should be the main object of our existence. Even those who do not accept “the greatest good of the greatest number” as an absolute rule, will yet admit that we should all endeavour to contribute as far as we may to the happiness of our fellow-creatures. There are many, however, who seem to doubt whether it is right that we should try to be happy ourselves. Our own happiness ought not, of course, to be our main object, nor indeed will it ever be secured if selfishly sought. We may have many pleasures in life, but must not let them have rule over us, or they will soon hand us over to sorrow; and “into what dangerous and miserable servitude does he fall who suffers pleasures and sorrows (two unfaithful and cruel commanders) to possess him successively?”[Seneca]



     I cannot, however, but think that the world would be better and brighter if our teachers would dwell on the Duty of Happiness as well as on the Happiness of Duty; for we ought to be as cheerful as we can, if only because to be happy ourselves, is a most effectual contribution to the happiness of others.



Everyone must have felt that a cheerful friend is like a sunny day, which sheds its brightness on all around; and most of us can, as we choose, make of this world either a palace or a prison.



There is no doubt some selfish satisfac­tion in yielding to melancholy, and fancying that we are victims of fate; in brood­ing over grievances, especially if more or less imaginary. To be bright and cheer­ful often requires an effort; there is a certain art in keeping ourselves happy: and in this respect, as in others, we re­quire to watch over and manage ourselves, almost as if we were somebody else.



Sorrow and joy, indeed, are strangely interwoven. Too often

            “We look before and after,

               And pine for what is not:

             Our sincerest laughter

               With some pain is fraught;

            Our sweetest songs are those

               That tell of saddest thought.” [Shelley]









As a nation we are prone to melancholy. It has been said of our countrymen that they take even their pleasures sadly. But this, if it be true at all, will, I hope, prove a transitory characteristic.  “Merry England” was the old saying, let us hope it may become true again. We must look to the East for real melancholy. What can be sadder than the lines with which Omar Khayyam opens his quatrains [quoted from Whinfield's translation]:

    英国人似乎很容易流于感伤。有人说,英国人就是欢乐时也离不开悲伤。这话如果属实,我希望也只是一种短暂的特征。“欢乐英伦”是一句老话,让我们希望它会再度成为实话吧。真正的悲伤还得在东方寻找。在一首长篇四行诗的开头,奥马.凯亚姆道出最令人伤感的句子[引文取自温费德 的英译]


“We sojourn here for one short day or two,

And all the gain we get is grief and woe;

And then, leaving life's problems all unsolved

            And harassed by regrets, we have to go ;




                还被遗憾困扰, 我们必得离去;”


or the Devas' song to Prince Siddartha, in Edwin Arnold's beautiful version:

"We are the voices of the wandering wind,

Which moan for rest, and rest can never find.

Lo! as the wind is, so is mortal life―

A moan, a sigh, a sob, a storm, a strife."

E.阿诺德的优美的译本中, 我们还找到德哇斯赠给悉达多王子的诗歌:






If indeed this be true, if mortal life be so sad and full of suffering, no wonder that Nirvana ― the cessation of sorrow ­― should be welcomed even at the sacrifice of consciousness.



But ought we not to place before our­selves a very different ideal ― a healthier, manlier, and nobler hope?

    但是,我们就不应该在我们跟前摆放一个迥然不同的理想—— 一个更为健康,更为勇敢,更为高贵的希望吗?


Life is not to live merely, but to live well. There are some “who live without any design at all, and only pass in the world like straws on a river: they do not go; they are carried,” [Seneca]―but as Homer makes Ulysses say, “How dull it is to pause, to make an end, to rest unburnished; not to shine in use― as though to breathe were life!”

    生命不仅仅是为了活着,而且是需要活得好。有些人“活着没有任何计划,活在这个世界只是像河上漂流的草秆:他们并未行进;他们是随波逐流,”[引自塞内加] ——正像荷马尤利西斯代为说出的话, “停下、结束、休息而无作为,是多么无聊, 虚应故事而一无表现——好像呼吸就是生命!”


Goethe tells us that at thirty he resolved “to work out life no longer by halves, but in all its beauty and totality.”

                     Im Ganzen, Guten, Schonen

                 Resolut zu leben.”



Life indeed must be measured by thought and action, not by time. It certainly may be, and ought to be, bright, interesting, and happy; and, according to the Italian proverb, “if all cannot live on the Piazza, everyone may feel the sun.”



If we do our best; if we do not mag­nify trifling troubles; if we look resolutely, I do not say at the bright side of things, but at things as they really are; if we avail ourselves of the manifold blessings which surround us; we cannot but feel that life is indeed a glorious inheritance.



Few of us, however, realise the wonder­ful privilege of living, or the blessings we inherit; the glories and beauties of the Universe, which is our own if we choose to have it so; the extent to which we can make ourselves what we wish to be; or the power we possess of securing peace, of triumphing over pain and sorrow.



Dante pointed to the neglect of opportunities as a serious fault:

                                               “Man can do violence

To himself and his own blessings, and for this

He, in the second round, must aye deplore,

With unavailing penitence, his crime.

Whoe'er deprives himself of life and light

In reckless lavishment his talent wastes,

And sorrows then when he should dwell in joy.”










Ruskin has expressed this with special allusion to the marvellous beauty of this glorious world, too often taken as a matter of course, and remembered, if at all, almost without gratitude. "Holy men," he com­plains, "in the recommending of the love of God to us, refer but seldom to those things in which it is most abundantly and immediately shown; though they insist much on His giving of bread, and raiment, and health (which He gives to all inferior creatures): they require us not to thank Him for that glory of His works which He has permitted us alone to perceive; they tell us often to meditate in the closet, but they send us not, like Isaac, into the fields at even; they dwell on the duty of self-denial, but they exhibit not the duty of delight;" and yet, as he justly says elsewhere, “each of us, as we travel the way of life, has the choice, according to our working, of turning all the voices of Nature into one song of rejoicing; or of withering and quenching her sympathy into a fearful withdrawn silence of condemnation.”

    这个光辉的世界神奇美丽,我们往往把它视为当然,就是有时记得世界这么神奇美丽,也几乎是不予感激;鲁斯金曾经用特别的典故来表达这一点。他埋怨说,“圣徒们在说明上帝给予我们爱的时候,很少提到最能立刻显示爱的事物;虽然他们不断地谈到他赐给我们食物,衣服和健康(上帝准会把这些赐给所有低下的生命体);对于上帝创造的辉煌只有我们能够领略的事实,他们没有要求我们感谢上帝;他们时常告诉我们在密室默祷,而没有在傍晚时把我们遣送到野外,像对付以撒那般;他们三番四次总是阐述自我抑制之必要,而没有表达出欢乐是责任;”  可是,他在别处很正确地说出,“我们在人生之道路迈进的时候,每个人都可以按照自己的活动方式有所选择,或是把大自然的一切声音谱写为欢乐的歌声,或是摧残和熄灭大自然的同情,让她做出可怕的和谴责性的规避的沉默。”


Must we not all admit, with Sir Henry Taylor, that "the retrospect of life swarms with lost opportunities"? "Whoever en­joys not life," says Sir T. Browne, "I count him but an apparition, though he wears about him the visible affections of flesh."



St. Bernard, indeed, goes so far as to maintain that "nothing can work me damage except myself; the harm that I sustain I carry about with me, and never a real sufferer but by my own fault."

    的确,圣伯纳甚至坚持,“除了自己之外, 没有什么可以损伤我; 因我而发生的伤害由我担负,如果不是我自己的过错,自己就不会是真正的受害者。”


Some Heathen moralists also have taught very much the same lesson. "The gods," says Marcus Aurelius, "have put all the means in man's power to enable him not to fall into real evils. Now that which does not make a man worse, how can it make his life worse? "



Epictetus takes the same line: "If a man is unhappy, remember that his un­happiness is his own fault; for God has made all men to be happy." "I am," he elsewhere says, "always content with that which happens; for I think that what God chooses is better than what I choose." And again: "Seek not that things should happen as you wish; but wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a tranquil flow of life. . . . If you wish for anything which belongs to an­other, you lose that which is your own."

    厄匹克特泰的想法相似:“如果人们不快乐,要记住各人的不快乐是各人自己的过失;因为上天是要让全人类快乐的。” 他在另处说,“我总是对事情的发生感到满意;因为上天的选择比我自己的选择好一些。”他还说:“不要寻求事物按照我们的愿望而发生,而是愿望事物就是那么发生的,这样,我们可确保一生平安顺利……。如果你希望拥有他人的任何东西,你就会失去自己的所有。”


Few, however, if any, can I think go as far as St. Bernard. We cannot but suffer from pain, sickness, and anxiety; from the loss, the unkindness, the faults, even the coldness of those we love. How many a day has been damped and darkened by an angry word!



Hegel is said to have calmly finished his Phaenomenologie des Geistes at Jena, on the 14th October 1806, not knowing anything whatever of the battle that was raging round him.



Matthew Arnold has suggested that we might take a lesson from the heavenly bodies.



" Unaffrighted by the silence round them,

Undistracted by the sights they see,

These demand not that the things without them

Yield them love, amusement, sympathy.

Bounded by themselves, and unobservant

In what state God's other works may he,

In their own tasks all their powers pouring,

These attain the mighty life you see."











It is true that

"A man is his own star;

       Our acts our angels are

For good or ill,"

and that "rather than follow a multitude to do evil," one should “stand like Pom­pey's pillar, conspicuous by oneself, and single in integrity.” [Sir T. Browne]  But to many this would be itself most painful, for the heart is "no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them.” [Bacon]





他还说过,“与其跟随众人作恶,”我们“应该像庞培的柱子那么耸立,卓然超群,诚正突兀。”  但是,对于许多人来说,这样的孤立其本身就是最痛苦的,因为我们的心“不是脱离其他土地的孤岛,而是跟那些土地相连接的大洲。”[引自培根]


If we separate ourselves so much from the interests of those around us that we do not sympathise with them in their suffer­ings, we shut ourselves out from sharing their happiness, and lose far more than we gain. If we avoid sympathy and wrap our­selves round in a cold chain armour of self­ishness, we exclude ourselves from many of the greatest and purest joys of life. To render ourselves insensible to pain we must forfeit also the possibility of happiness.



Moreover, much of what we call evil is really good in disguise, and we should not “quarrel rashly with adversities not yet understood, nor overlook the mercies often bound up in them.”[Sir T. Browne]  Pleasure and pain are, as Plutarch says, the nails which fasten body and soul together. Pain is a warning of danger, a very necessity of existence. But for it, but for the warnings which our feelings give us, the very bless­ings by which we are surrounded would soon and inevitably prove fatal. Many of those who have not studied the question are under the impression that the more deeply-­seated portions of the body must be most sensitive. The very reverse is the case. The skin is a continuous and ever-watchful sentinel, always on guard to give us notice of any approaching danger; while the flesh and inner organs, where pain would be without purpose, are, so long as they are in health, comparatively without sensation.

不仅如此,许多我们称为不幸的事,其实是好事的化身,我们不应该“跟尚未了解的苦难,轻率地争拗,也不该忽视苦难之中时常带来的福恩。”[引自布朗爵士] 正如蒲鲁塔克所说,欢乐和痛苦是把身心连接在一起的钉子。痛苦是预告危险的,是生存的一种不可或缺的必需品。如果没有痛苦,如果不是我们的感觉给予我们这些警告,围绕我们周遭的福祉不久就不可避免地变成致命的根源。许多未研究过这一问题的人,总觉得位于身体比较深处的部分一定是最为敏感。事实正好相反。皮肤是不断维持警戒的哨兵,一直在守卫,警告任何到来的危险;肌肉和内脏就无需要感到痛楚,只要还算健康,就比较没有感觉。


"We talk," says Helps, "of the origin of evil; . . . but what is evil?  We mostly speak of sufferings and trials as good, per­haps, in their result; but we hardly admit that they may be good in themselves. Yet they are knowledge ― how else to be acquired, unless by making men as gods, enabling them to understand without ex­perience. All that men go through may be absolutely the best for them ― no such thing as evil, at least in our customary meaning of the word."

赫尔普斯说,“我们谈到不幸的来源;….  但是,什么是不幸?我们说到痛苦和磨炼是好的,大多是就它们的效果而言;但是我们很少承认它们本身就是美好、就是善。它们就是知识否则我们无从获取知识,除非让人们变为神,使他们无需体验就能领悟。人们所经历的一切,都绝对是自己最好的 ‘不幸’或‘邪恶’是不存在的,至少就我们对这个词语的习惯意义而言。”


Indeed, “the vale best discovers the hill,”[Bacon] and "pour sentir les grands biens, il faut qu'il connoisse les petits maux."[Rousseau]

的确,“溪谷最能发现丘陵”[引自培根],“要享受大恩大福必得体验小灾小难。” [引自卢梭]


But even if we do not seem to get all that we should wish, many will feel, as in Leigh Hunt's beautiful translation of Filicaja's sonnet, that­



"So Providence for us, high, infinite,

Makes our necessities its watchful task,

Hearkens to all our prayers, helps all our wants,

And e'en if it denies what seems our right,

Either denies because 'twould have us ask,

Or seems but to deny, and in denying grants."








Those on the other hand who do not accept the idea of continual interferences, will rejoice in the belief that on the whole the laws of the Universe work out for the general happiness.



And if it does come­―

 “Grief should be

Like joy, majestic, equable, sedate,

Confirming, cleansing, raising, making free:

Strong to consume small troubles; to commend

Great thoughts, grave thoughts, thoughts lasting to

the end.”[Aubrey de Vere]









If, however, we cannot hope that life will be all happiness, we may at least secure a heavy balance on the right side; and even events which look like misfortune, if boldly faced, may often be turned to good. Oftentimes, says Seneca, "calamity turns to our advantage; and great ruins make way for greater glories." Helmholtz dates his start in science to an attack of illness. This led to his acquisition of a microscope, which he was enabled to purchase, owing to his having spent his autumn vacation of 1841 in the hospital, prostrated by typhoid fever; being a pupil, he was nursed without expense, and on his recovery he found himself in possession of the savings of his small resources.



“Savonarola,” says Castelar, “would,  under different circumstances, undoubtedly have been a good husband, a tender father; a man unknown to history, utterly powerless to print upon the sands of time and upon the human soul the deep trace which he has left; but misfortune came to visit him, to crush his heart, and to impart that marked melancholy which characterises a soul in grief; and the grief that circled his brows with a crown of thorns was also that which wreathed them with the splendour of immortality. His hopes were centred in the woman he loved, his life was set upon the possession of her, and when her family finally rejected him, partly on account of his profession, and partly on account of his person, he believed that it was death that had come upon him, when in truth it was immortality."



It is, however, impossible to deny the existence of evil, and the reason for it has long exercised the human intellect. The Savage solves it by the supposition of evil Spirits. The Greeks attributed the misfortunes of men in great measure to the antipathies and jealousies of gods and goddesses. Others have imagined two divine principles, opposite and an­tagonistic ― the one friendly, the other hostile, to men.

无论如何,我们无法否认邪恶的存在,其理由一直以来就在激使人们运用智慧。野蛮人的解决办法是假定有邪魔恶怪。古希腊人大抵把人类的不幸,归诸于神祗们的排斥和妒嫉。其他人想象出两大至高原则,相反和敌对—— 一个对人友善,一个对人仇视。


Freedom of action, however, seems to involve the existence of evil. If any power of selection be left us, much must depend on the choice we make. In the very nature of things, two and two cannot make five. Epictetus imagines Jupiter addressing man as follows: "If it had been possible to make your body and your property free from liability to injury, I would have done so. As this could not be, I have given you a small portion of myself."



This divine gift it is for us to use wisely. It is, in fact, our most valuable treasure. “The soul is a much better thing than all the others which you possess. Can you then show me in what way you have taken care of it? For it is not likely that you, who are so wise a man, inconsiderately and carelessly allow the most valuable thing that you possess to be neglected and to perish.” [Epictetus]



Moreover, even if evil cannot be alto­gether avoided, it is no doubt true that not only whether the life we lead be good and useful, or evil and useless, but also whether it be happy or unhappy, is very much in our own power, and depends greatly on ourselves. “Time alone relieves the foolish from sorrow, but reason the wise,” [Ibid.] and no one was ever yet made utterly miserable excepting by himself. We are, if not the masters, at any rate almost the creators of ourselves.

进一步说,即使不幸或邪恶不能够完全避免,我们所过的生活是美好而且有所作为、或是不幸而一无作用,甚至是生活快乐或者不快乐,主要是操在我们的权力范围之内,而且大部份要依靠我们自己。“只有时间能把愚蠢人从忧愁中释放出来,但是理智可使明智人得到解脱,”[同上]  除了自己之外,没有人能使自己极度悲苦。如果我们不是自己的主人,无论如何就几乎是自己的创造者。


With most of us it is not so much great sorrows, disease, or death, but rather the little "daily dyings" which cloud over the sunshine of life. Many of our troubles are insignificant in themselves, and might easily be avoided!



How happy home might generally be made but for foolish quarrels, or misunderstandings, as they are well named! It is our own fault if we are querulous or ill-humoured; nor need we, though this is less easy, allow ourselves to be made unhappy by the querulousness or ill-­humours of others.



Much of what we suffer we have brought on ourselves, if not by actual fault, at least by ignorance or thought­lessness. Too often we think only of the happiness of the moment, and sacrifice that of the life. Troubles comparatively seldom come to us, it is we who go to them. Many of us fritter our life away. La Bruyere says that "most men spend much of their lives in making the rest  miserable;" or, as Goethe puts it :

" Careworn man has, in all ages,

Sown vanity to reap despair."






Not only do we suffer much in the anticipation of evil, as "Noah lived many years under the affliction of a flood, and Jerusalem was taken unto Jeremy before it was besieged," but we often distress ourselves greatly in the apprehension of misfortunes which after all never happen at all. We should do our best and wait calmly the result. We often hear of people breaking down from overwork, but in nine cases out of ten they are really suffering from worry or anxiety.



"Nos maux moraux," says Rousseau, "sont tous dans l'opinion, hors un seul, qui est le crime; et celui-la depend de nous: nos maux physiques nous detrui­sent, ou se detruisent. Le temps, ou la mort, son t nos remedes."



        "Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,

              Which we ascribe to heaven." [Shakespeare]


             我们却说来自上天。” [引自莎士比亚]


This, however, applies to the grown up. With children of course it is different. It is customary, but I think it is a mistake, to speak of happy childhood. Children, however, are often over-anxious and acutely sensitive. Man ought to be man and master of his fate; but children are at the mercy of those around them. Mr. Rarey, the great horse-tamer, has told us that he has known an angry word raise the pulse of a horse ten beats in a minute. Think then how it must affect a child!



It is small blame to the young if they are over-anxious; but it is a danger to be striven against. “The terrors of the storm are chiefly felt in the parlour or the cabin.” [Emerson]



To save ourselves from imaginary, or at any rate problematical, evils, we often incur real suffering. "The man," said Epicurus, "who is not content with little is content with nothing." How often do we “labour for that which satisfies not.” [Seneca]  More than we use is more than we need, and only a burden to the bearer. We most of us give ourselves an immense amount of useless trouble; encumber our­selves, as it were, on the journey of life with a dead weight of unnecessary bag­gage; and as "a man makes his train longer, he makes his wings shorter." [Bacon] In that delightful fairy tale, Alice through the Looking-Glass, the "White Knight" is de­scribed as having loaded himself on start­ing for a journey with a variety of odds and ends, including a mousetrap, in case he was troubled by mice at night, and a beehive in case he came across a swarm of bees.

为了挽救想象之中、或者无论如何只是构成问题的不幸,我们常常惹来真正的痛苦。伊壁鸠鲁说,“不能满足于少量的人,不会对任何东西感到满足。我们常常“为了不能满足自己的东西而费尽心力。”[引自塞内加]  超过我们所用的就是超过我们的需要,因而对于拥有人就是负担。我们大部份人总给与自己大量的无谓的麻烦;这好比是在人生的旅途上带着没有需要的沉重的行李,为自己增加负累;“人们要是把尾巴拉长了,就会把翅膀弄短。”[引自培根]   在《(艾丽丝进入)镜中世界》那个可爱的童话中,“白衣骑士”被描写为在开始旅途时肩负着形形色色的各种东西,包括夜间如有需要可以对付鼠患的捕鼠器,以及万一遇到群集的蜜蜂时可派用场的蜂房。


Hearne, in his Journey to the Mouth of  the Coppermine River, tells us that a few days after starting on his expedition he met a party of Indians, who annexed a great deal of his property, and all Hearne says is, "The weight of our baggage being so much lightened, our next day's journey was much pleasanter." I ought, how­ever, to add that the Indians broke up the philosophical instruments, which, no doubt, were rather an encumbrance.

在他所著的《铜矿河口之旅》中,赫恩告诉我们说,在他开始远征的几天之后,他遇到一伙印第安人,他们吞并了他许多财物,赫恩对这件事所说的全部的话只是,我们的行李减轻了不少,我们次日的旅程愉快得多了。”  但是,我应该补充说,印第安人把实验仪器打破了,无疑是一种阻碍。


When troubles do come, Marcus Aur­elius wisely tells us to "remember on every occasion which leads thee to vex­ation to apply this principle, that this is not a misfortune, but that to bear it nobly is good fortune." Our own anger indeed does us more harm than the thing which makes us angry; and we suffer much more from the anger and vexation which we allow acts to rouse in us, than we do from the acts themselves at which we are angry and vexed. How much most people, for instance, allow themselves to be distracted and disturbed by quarrels and family disputes. Yet in nine cases out of ten one ought not to suffer from being found fault with. If the condemnation is just, it should be welcome as a warning; if it is undeserved, why should we allow it to distress us?

每当困难来临而让我们苦恼之际,奥瑞琉斯明智地告诉我们,“要记住善用这条原则:困难不是恶运,而勇敢地对付它却是好运。” 我们的愤怒,比之引起我们愤怒的事情,确实造成更多的伤害;有一些行为会激使人们恼怒,我们若容许这类行为激使我们恼怒,让我们受害更多的就是那些恼怒。例如,多少人为了口角和家庭争吵而让自己困扰不已。十之八九,我们不应因为受到挑剔而痛苦。如果挑剔有道理,我们应该把它视为警告加以欢迎;要是不值得重视,为什么要让它使我们苦恼?


Moreover, if misfortunes happen we do but make them worse by grieving over them.



“I must die,” again says Epictetus. “But must I then die sorrowing? I must be put in chains. Must I then also lament? I must go into exile. Can I be prevented from going with cheerfulness and con­tentment? But I will put you in prison. Man, what are you saying? You may put my body in prison, but my mind not even Zeus himself can overpower."



If, indeed, we cannot be happy, the fault is generally in ourselves. Socrates lived under the Thirty Tyrants. Epic­tetus was a poor slave, and yet how much we owe him!



"How is it possible," he says, "that a man who has nothing, who is naked, house­less, without a hearth, squalid, without a slave, without a city, can pass a life that flows easily? See, God has sent you a man to show you that it is possible. Look at me, who am without a city, without a house, without possessions, without a slave; I sleep on the ground; I have no wife, no children, no praetorium, but only the earth and heavens, and one poor cloak. And what do I want? Am I not without sorrow? Am I not without fear? Am I not free? When did any of you see me failing in the object of my desire? or ever falling into that which I would avoid? Did I ever blame God or man? Did I ever accuse any man? Did any of you ever see me with a sorrowful countenance? And how do I meet with those whom you are afraid of and admire? Do not I treat them like slaves? Who, when he sees me, does not think that he sees his king and master?"



Think how much we have to be thankful for. Few of us appreciate the number of our everyday blessings; we look on them as trifles, and yet "trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle," as Michelangelo said. We for­get them because they are always with us; and yet for each of us, as Mr. Pater well observes, "these simple gifts, and others equally trivial, bread and wine, fruit and milk, might regain that poetic and, as it were, moral significance which surely belongs to all the means of our daily life, could we but break through the veil of our familiarity with things by no means vulgar in themselves."



"Let not," says Isaak Walton, "the blessings we receive daily from God make us not to value or not praise Him because they be common; let us not forget to praise Him for the innocent mirth and pleasure we have met with since we met together. What would a blind man give to see the pleasant rivers and meadows and flowers and fountains; and this and many other like blessings we enjoy daily."



Contentment, we have been told by Epicurus, consists not in great wealth, but in few wants. In this fortunate country, however, we may have many wants, and yet, if they are only reasonable, we may gratify them all.



Nature indeed provides without stint the main requisites of human happiness. "To watch the corn grow, or the blossoms set; to draw hard breath over plough­share or spade; to read, to think, to love, to pray," these, says Ruskin, "are the things that make men happy."

对于人的幸福的主要必需品,大自然的确是毫不吝啬地供应。鲁斯金说,“观看玉米生长,或是花朵结出果实;犁田或锄地时用力吸气;阅读、思索、爱他人、祈祷,” 这些“都是令人快乐的事。”


"I have fallen into the hands of thieves," says Jeremy Taylor; "what then? They have left me the sun and moon, fire and water, a loving wife and many friends to pity me, and some to relieve me, and I can still discourse; and, unless I list, they have not taken away my merry countenance and my cheerful spirit and a good conscience. . . . And he that has so many causes of joy, and so great, is very much in love with sorrow and peevishness who loses all these pleasures, and chooses to sit down on his little handful of thorns."

 “我陷入贼人的魔掌内,”  J. 泰勒说,“那又怎样呢?他们给我留下了太阳和月亮,火和水,一个贤妻和怜悯我的众多朋友,还有一些人救助我,而且我还能谈话;除非我愿意,他们没有把我欢欣的外貌、愉快的精神和善良的意识夺走。….一个具有如此之多、况且又如此重要的原因从而感到欢乐的人,自然是非常爱怜那些悲伤和乖戾的人,他们丧失了这些乐趣,选择在自己的一小撮荆棘丛坐下。”


“When a man has such things to think on, and sees the sun, the moon, and stars, and enjoys earth and sea, he is not solitary or even helpless.” [Epictetus]



Paradise indeed might,” as Luther said, "apply to the whole world." What more is there we could ask for ourselves? "Every sort of beauty," says Mr. Greg in The Enigmas of Life, "has been lavished on our allotted home; beauties to enrapture every sense, beauties to satisfy every taste; forms the noblest and the loveliest, colours the most gorgeous and the most delicate, odours the sweetest and subtlest, harmonies the most soothing and the most stirring; the sunny glories of the day; the pale Elysian grace of moon­light; the lake, the mountain, the prim­eval forest, and the boundless ocean; 'silent pinnacles of aged snow' in one hemisphere, the marvels of tropical lux­uriance in another; the serenity of sun­sets; the sublimity of storms; everything is bestowed in boundless profusion on the scene of our existence; we can conceive or desire nothing more exquisite or perfect than what is round us every hour; and our perceptions are so framed as to be consciously alive to all. The provision made for our sensuous enjoyment is in over­flowing abundance; so is that for the other elements of our complex nature. Who that has revelled in the opening ecstasies of a young Imagination, or the rich marvels of the world of Thought, does not confess that the Intelligence has been dowered at least with as profuse a beneficence as the Senses? Who that has truly tasted and fathomed human Love in its dawning and crowning joys has not thanked God for a felicity which indeed 'passes understanding.' If we had set our fancy to picture a Creator occupied solely in devising delight for children whom he loved, we could not conceive one single element of bliss which is not here."

路德说,“整个世界的确可以说就是天堂乐土。” 还有什么更多的东西我们可以替自己要求的呢?“各种各类的美,” 革瑞格先生在《生命之谜》中说,“都在我们的家庭之内应有尽有;迷惑每一个感觉的美,满足每一种口味的美;最高贵和最可爱的模样,最艳丽和最精致的彩色,最甜美和最微妙的气味,最令人舒畅也最让人激动的和谐:日间阳光的灿烂;天上月色的幽雅;湖、山、原始森林、无垠海洋;在这一半地球上的“静寂积雪的顶峰”,在另一半地球的炎热的密茂的奇观;日落的安详;暴风雨的庄严;我们生存之境地的每一事物都赋有无穷的丰沛;我们所能想象和欲求的东西,随时都在我们周遭;我们的知觉和意识对这一切从来就是非常敏感的。上天供给我们感官享受的东西真是丰盈大量;所提供以餍足我们复杂性格的其他欲求也一样。年轻人诗篇的开头散发出的狂喜,思想世界又那么丰赡令人惊讶,哪一个曾经对这对那着迷过的人没有承认过,“理智”所获得的丰厚陪嫁至少跟情欲所得一样的多。曾经真正尝试和探测过人间之爱的初恋和热恋的人们,没有不为了一种“超出了解”的福祉而感谢上天。如果我们把想象指向一位创造者,他忙碌完全是为了他喜爱的孩子们设计欢乐,我们就无法想出有任何福祉的什么元素,竟然不存在这个世界。”            (全文完)


译者说明:本文取自  The Pleasures of Life  首篇,英文原著于1887年初版,风行一时,从译者手头现有的1891年版本可以看到,该著每年都曾多次重印及增补,可以相信本文是比较可靠的文本。作者卢伯克爵士(Sir John Lubbock, 1834-1913)在19世纪末的英国也是名重一时的,他早年是从男爵[后来敕封为 1st Baron Avebury  首任诶布利男爵”] 、又身为国会议员、皇家学会会员、民法博士、法学博士,原书上他还有三个头衔:伦敦商会主席、伦敦工人学院校长,以及伦敦郡议会主席;综合20世纪两本参考书的简介,他的身份可以简单地称为作家、博物学家、银行家和政治家。



 Arnold, Edwin   E.阿诺德(1832-1904),英国诗人和报人。

 Arnold, Matthew  M.阿诺德(1822-1888),英国诗人和评论家。

 Bacon  培根(1561-1626),英国哲学家、散文家和实验科学创始人。

 Browne, Sir T.  布朗爵士(1605-1682),英国医师及作家)。

 Dante  但丁(1265-1321),意大利诗人,是《神曲》的作者。

 Emerson  爱默生(1803-1882),美国思想家、散文作家和诗人。

 Epictetus  厄匹克特泰(55?-135?),古罗马奴隶出身的哲学家。

 Epicurus  伊壁鸠鲁(342?-272B.C.),古希腊享乐主义倡导者。

 Goethe  歌德(1749-1832),德国诗人、戏剧家、小说家和哲学家。

 Hegel  黑格尔(1770-1831),德国古典唯心主义哲学家。

 Helmholtz  亥姆霍兹(1821-1894),德国物理学家。

 Homer  荷马(古希腊公元前十世纪的史诗诗人,是《奥德赛》和《伊利亚特》的作者)。

 Jupiter  朱庇特(罗马神话中统治诸神主宰一切的主神,相当于希腊神话中的宙斯)。

 La Bruyere  ,拉布鲁耶尔(1645-1696),法国作家。

 Leigh Hunter利亨特(1784-1859),英国著作家。

 Luther  路德(1483-1546),德国人,欧洲宗教改革运动家。

 Marcus Aurelius 马可.奥瑞琉斯(121-180),罗马皇帝和斯多葛派哲学家。

 Michelangelo  米开郎基罗(1475-1564),意大利雕塑家、画家、建筑师和诗人。

 Noah  诺亚(基督教《圣经》故事人物,洪水灭世后人类的新始祖)。

Omar Khayyam 奥马.凯亚姆(1048?-1122?),波斯诗人。

 Pater, Walter Horatio  裴特(1839-94),英国批评家和作家。

 Plutarch 蒲鲁塔克(46-120?),古罗马传记作家。

 Rousseau 卢梭(1712-1778),法国思想家和文学家。

 Ruskin 鲁斯金(1819-1900),英国作家和艺术评论家。

 Savonarola  萨沃纳罗拉(1452-1498),意大利宗教和政治改革家。

 Seneca 塞内加(c4B.C.- 65A.D.),古罗马哲学家、政治家和剧作家。

 Shakespeare  莎士比亚(1564-1616),英国剧作家和诗人。

 Shelley 雪莱(1792-1822),英国浪漫派诗人。

 Siddartha, Prince 悉达多王子(印度公元前6世纪佛教创始人释迦牟尼的本名及尊称)。

Socrates  苏格拉底(469?-399B.C.),古希腊哲学家。

Taylor, Jeremy  J.泰勒(1613-67),英国圣公会高级教士和神学家。,

Ulysses  尤利西斯(古罗马史诗《奥德赛》中的英雄Odysseus 的拉丁文名)。

Walton, Isaak  沃尔顿(1593-1683),英国作家。

 Zeus  宙斯(希腊神话中的主神)。