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Autumn in Peiping – Yu Dafu – part1

Autumn, wherever it is, always has something to recommend itself. 

秋天,无论在什么地方的秋天,总是好的;


In North China, however, it is particularly limpid, serene and melancholy. 

可是啊,北国的秋,却特别地来得清,来得静,来得悲凉。


To enjoy its atmosphere to the full in the onetime capital, I have, therefore, made light of travelling a long distance from Hangzhou to Qingdao, and thence to Peiping.

我的不远千里,要从杭州赶上青岛,更要从青岛赶上北平来的理由,也不过想饱尝一尝这“秋”,这故都的秋味。


There is of course autumn in the South too, but over there plants wither slowly, the air is moist, the sky pallid, and it is more often rainy than windy.

江南,秋当然也是有的,但草木凋得慢,空气来得润,天的颜色显得淡,并且又时常多雨而少风。


While muddling along all by myself among the urban dwellers of Suzhou, Shanghai, Xianmen, Hong Kong or Guangzhou, I feel nothing but a little chill in the air, without ever relishing to my heart's content the flavour, colour, mood and style of the season.

一个人夹在苏州上海杭州,或厦门香港广州的市民中间,混混沌沌地过去,只能感到一点点清凉,秋的味,秋的色,秋的意境与姿态,总看不饱,尝不透,赏玩不到十足。


Unlike famous flowers which are most attractive when half opening, good wine which is most tempting when one is half drunk, autumn, however, is best appreciated in its entirety.

秋并不是名花,也并不是美酒,那一种半开、半醉的状态,在领略秋的过程上,是不合适的。

It is more than a decade since I last saw autumn in North. 

不逢北国之秋,已将近十余年了。


When I am in the South, the arrival of each autumn will put me in mind of Peiping's Tao Ran Ting with its reed catkins, Diao Yu Tai with its shady willow trees, Western Hills with their chirping insects, Yu Quan Shan Mountain on a moonlight evening and Tan Zhe Si with its reverbrating bell.

在南方每年到了秋天,总要想起陶然亭的芦花,钓鱼台的柳影,西山的虫唱,玉泉的夜月,潭柘寺的钟声。


Suppose you put up in a humble rented house inside the bustling imperial city, you can, on getting up at dawn, sit in your courtyard sipping a cup of strong tea, leisurely watch the high azure skies and listen to pigeons circling overhead. 

在北平即使不出门去吧,就是在皇城人海之中,租人家一椽破屋来住着,早晨起来,泡一碗浓茶,向院子一坐,你也能看得到很高很高的碧绿的天色,听得到青天下驯鸽的飞声。


Saunter eastward under locust trees to closely observe streaks of sunlight filtering through their foliage, or quietly watch the trumpet-shaped blue flowers of morning glories climbing half way up a dilapidated wall, and an intense feeling of autumn will of itself well up inside you.

从槐树叶底,朝东细数着一丝一丝漏下来的日光,或在破壁腰中,静对着像喇叭似的牵牛花(朝荣)的蓝朵,自然而然地也能够感觉到十分的秋意。


As to morning glories, I like their blue or white flowers best, dark purple ones second best, and pink ones third best. It will be most desirable to have them set off by some tall thin grass planted underneath here and there.

说到了牵牛花,我以为以蓝色或白色者为佳,紫黑色次之,淡红色最下。最好,还要在牵牛花底,教长着几根疏疏落落的尖细且长的秋草,使作陪衬。

Locust trees in the North, as a decorative embellishment of nature, also associate us with autumn. 

北国的槐树,也是一种能使人联想起秋来的点缀。


On getting up early in the morning, you will find the ground strewn all over with flower-like pistils fallen from locust trees. Quiet and smellless, they feel tiny and soft underfoot.

像花而又不是花的那一种落蕊,早晨起来,会铺得满地。脚踏上去,声音也没有,气味也没有,只能感出一点点极微细极柔软的触觉。


After a street cleaner has done the sweeping under the shade of the trees, you will discover countless lines left by his broom in the dust, which look so fine and quiet that somehow a feeling of forlornness will begin to creep up on you. 

扫街的在树影下一阵扫后,灰土上留下来的一条条扫帚的丝纹,看起来既觉得细腻,又觉得清闲,潜意识下并且还觉得有点儿落寞。

The same depth of implication is found in the ancient saying that a single fallen leaf from the wutong tree is more than enough to inform the world of autumn's presence.

古人所说的梧桐一叶而天下知秋的遥想,大约也就在这些深沉的地方。

2016-06-23

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