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Companionship of Books 书为友  

2013-08-10 10:00:38|  分类: 学习园地 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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  Companionship of Books
  by Samuel Smiles

  A man may usually be known by the books he reads as well as by the company he keeps; for there is a companionship of books as well as of men; and one should always live in the best company, whether it be of books or of men.
  A good book may be among the best friends. It is the same today that always was, and it will never change. It is the most patient and cheerful of companions. It does not turn its back upon us in times of adversity or distress. It always receives us with the same kindness; amusing and instructing us in youth comforting and consoling us in age.
  Men often discover their affinity to each other by the love they have each for a book --- just as two persons sometimes discover a friend by the admiration which both have for a third. There is an old proverb: "love me, love my dog." but there is more wisdom in this: "love me, love my book." The book is a truer and higher bond of union. Men can think, feel, and sympathize with each other through their favorite author. They live in him together, and he in them.
  "Books," said Hazlitt, "wind into the heart; the poet's verse slides in the current of our blood. We read them when young, we remember them when old. We feel that it has happened to ourselves. They are to be had very cheap and good. We breathe but the air of books."
  A good book is often the best urn of life, enshrining the best that life could think out; for the world of a man's life is, for the most part, but the world of his thoughts. Thus the best books are treasuries of good words, the golden thoughts, which, remembered and cherished, become our constant companions and comforters. "They are never alone," said Sir Philip Sidney, "that are accompanied by noble thoughts."
  The good and true thought may in times of temptation be as an angle of mercy purifying and guarding the soul. It also enshrines the germs of action, for good words almost always inspire to good works.
  Books possess an essence of immortality. They are by far the most lasting products of human effort. Temples and statues decay, but books survive. Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh today as when they first passed through their author's minds ages ago. What was then said and thought still speaks to us as vividly as ever from the printed page. The only effect of time has been to sift out the bad products; for nothing in literature can long survive but what is really good.
  Books introduce us into the best society; they bring us into the presence of the greatest minds that have ever lived. We hear what they said and did; we see them as if they were really alive; we sympathize with them, enloy with them, grieve with them; their experience becomes ours, and feel as if we were in a measure actors with them in the scenes which they describe.
  The great and good do not die ever in this world. Embalmed in books, their spirits walk abroad. The book is a living voice. It is an intellect to which one still listens. Hence we ever remain under the influence of the great men of old. The imperial intellects of the world are as much alive now as they were ages ago.


  书为友
  (英)塞缪尔·斯迈尔斯(苏格兰作家,1812-1904)

  观其友而知其人,同样,察其所读之书亦能知其人,只因书与人一样,也能做人之友。而人总应择其最佳者为友,无论是书还是人。
  一本好书可以成为人的挚友,古往今来,恒久不变。所有朋友中,书本最为耐心而又令人愉悦。我们身处逆境灰心沮丧时,书本并不变脸抛弃我们,始终如一,友爱接纳。我们年轻时,书本给我们以欢娱和陶冶;我们年迈时,又予我们以慰藉和鼓励。
  人们常常因同爱一本书而精神共鸣--正如两个人有时因共同仰慕另外一个人而彼此成为朋友。古谚云:“爱屋及乌”,而“爱其人,也爱其珍爱之书”这句话里却含有更多的哲理。书是更忠诚更高尚的情感纽带。人们可以通过共同喜爱的作者而相知相契,息息相通。他们的思想与作者的思想水乳交融,密不可分。
  黑兹利特曾说:“书香轻拂沁心灵,诗行轻滑渗血液。青春时所读之书,垂暮时仍然会回想,仿佛就在身边发生。书籍价廉物美,我们就在书香中呼吸。”
  一本好书往往就是作者的人生结晶,里面蕴藏着他穷其一生的求索成果。因为人一生的世界大多就是其思想的世界,故而最优秀的书籍也就是至理名言和辉煌思想的富藏。这些思想若能铭记在心,就成为我们永久的朋友和永恒的慰藉。菲利普·悉尼爵士说过:“与高尚思想为伴的人永不寂寞。”
  在我们感受诱惑时,美好纯真的思想如同仁慈的天使,净化卫护着我们的灵魂,并蕴含着我们行动的萌牙,因为美好的思想总能激励我们美好的行为。
  书籍永生,是人类劳作最最长久的成果。庙宇会坍塌,雕像会朽败,书籍却经久长存。伟大的思想不会因时间的流逝而失其光辉,一如千百年前最初在作者脑海中出现时那样清新。往昔的论述和思想今天仍然在书页上鲜明有力地展现在我们面前。时间的唯一作用就是淘汰低劣之作,只有真正优秀的作品才能与世长存,流芳千古。
  书籍把我们带入最优秀的人群之中,把我们带入到人间一切最伟大的思想家面前,我们聆听其话语,领会其成就,仿佛他们仍然活在人间。我们与他们灵犀相通,悲喜与共,他们的人生体验变成我们自己的人生体验。我们仿佛感觉到,我们是在作家描绘的人生舞台上,与他们同台演出。
  伟大和美好的思想在这个世界上永不会消亡。载之于书籍,这思想传诸四海,而书籍就是活着的声音,是我们至今仍在倾听的真知灼见,因而我们永远沐浴在逝去伟人的思想中。与千百年前一样,人世间无与伦比的智慧如今仍然熠熠生辉。
  (操凤琴 译)
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