安东尼·伯吉斯

Consider these translations, by James Legge (1861) and Anthony Burgess (1958), of parts of the Confucian Analects.

Book IV, Ch. 4

Original: 「苟志於仁矣,無惡也。」

Legge: ‘If the will be set on virtue, there will be no practice of wickedness.’

Burgess: ‘If a man be really bent on human-heartedness then he cannot be wicked.’

Book IX, Ch. 28

Original: 「知者不惑,仁者不憂,勇者不懼。」

Legge: ‘The wise are free from perplexities; the virtuous from anxiety; and the bold from fear.’

Burgess: ‘A wise man is not perplexed, nor is a human-hearted man unhappy, and a courageous man is never frightened.’

I particularly like the choice of the word ‘human-hearted’ for 仁. With this I think Burgess conveys the intended sense, that of humaneness as well as virtue.

Burgess’s renderings are to be found in his novel The Enemy in the Blanket. The character Father Laforgue, a missionary ‘who had been ten years in China, four of them in prison’, is an admirer of the Analects. The character Hardman, who is preparing to convert to Islam, enters the priest’s house. ‘Hardman sat on one of the two hard chairs and saw on the table an open book which he knew to be the Analects of Confucius, row after falling row of ideograms preserving — outside phonetic change and above dialectal differences — that eminently seductive and dangerous common sense of old China.’

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