学习啦【英语美文欣赏】 编辑：韦彦 发布时间：2016-09-14
There are two ways of thinking of history. There is, first, history regarded as a way of look¬ingat other things, really the temporal aspect of anything, from the universe to this nib withwhich I am writing. Everything has its history. There is the history of the universe, if only weknew it-and we know something of it, if we do not know much. Nor is the contrast so great,when you come to think of it, between the universe and this pen-nib. A mere pen-nib hasquite a considerable history. There is, to begin with, what has been written with it, and thatmight be something quite important. After all it was probably only one quill-pen or a couplethat wrote Hamlet. Whatever has been written with the pen-nib is part of its history. Inaddition to that there is the history of its manufacture: this particular nib is a 'Relief' nib,No. 314, made by R. Esterbrook and Co. in England, who supply the Midland Bank with pen-nibs, from whom I got it—a gift, I may say, but behind this nib there is the whole process ofmanufacture. In fact a pen nib implies of universe, and the history of it implies its history. Wemay regard this way of looking at it—history as the time-aspect of all things: a pen-nib, theuniverse, the fiddled before me as I write, as a relative conception of history. There is,secondly, what we mat call a substantive conception of history, what we usually mean by it,history proper as a subject of study in itself.
The Props to Help Man Endure
Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.
Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.
The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.
I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work -- a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.
Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.
He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed -- love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.