H 2015-11-18 11:07:30

2016-02-26 15:23:38 H

BY Dr. Natalia Vesselova

“Beside the Shepherd” starts with a biblical allusion, a reference to the Book of Isaiah: “Beside the shepherd dreams the beast / Of laying down with lions.”【1】
This part of the Scriptures holds a special personal meaning for the poet. As a boy, he studied The Book of Isaiah under the guidance of his grandfather Rabbi Klonitzky Kline; Cohen recollects that “sometimes the whole evening would be spent on one or two lines” and that he “was interested in Isaiah for the poetry in English more than the poetry in Hebrew”; Isaiah “remained a lasting influence on Cohen’s work and forms one of several core texts for his literary and theological development” (Nadel Various Positions 13).
圣经中这个部分对于诗人来说具有特色的个人意义。作为一个男孩,他在他的祖父(Rabbi Klonitzky Kline)的指导下学习《以赛亚书》;科恩回忆说"常常整个晚上都花在一两行上",他“对英文翻译的以赛亚诗歌的兴趣更胜过希伯来文写的诗”;以赛亚留下一个永久的影响在科恩的作品并形成了对于他的文学和神学发展的多个核心内容。

The second quatrain of the poem also alludes to Isaiah: “Glory, Glory, shouts the grass.”
This personification recalls Isaiah’s phrase “All flesh is grass” (40:6).[2] Another quotation from the Prophet reads, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the Word of our God stands for ever” (Isaiah 40:8); [3]it points to the transitory nature of human beings as opposed to God’s word. What happens in Cohen’s poem contradicts Isaiah, as a physical sensation momentarily experienced by flesh overcomes the Word:

Naked running through the mansion
The boy with the news of the Messiah
Forgets the message for his father,
Enjoying the marble against his feet.

“The message” appears fragile, and the poem (as well as the book) ends with a man making an assumption that the Messiah has come: “Well finally it has happened, / Imagines someone in another house.” The coming of the Messiah, the teleological event of Judaism awaited by religious Jews, is represented in the poem as an accomplished fact of an unspecified recent past which occurs without being recognized; the message is either forgotten or imagined.

As the book’s title suggests, comparing mythologies is its central task. As a part of its fulfillment, the poem “Pagans” contains both a reference to the story of Golem, a legendary being made from clay by East European Cabbalists, and to the Greek myth of Galatea, a marble statue brought to life by its creator’s love. In accordance with the volume’s name, Cohen “compares” classical Greek and mystical Jewish mythologies by putting them side by side.
正如书的名称表示的,比较神话是其重要的任务。作为实现的一部分,诗歌《异教徒》既包含了对石人故事的引用(传说由犹太神秘哲学者制造), 也包含了希腊神话伽拉忒亚(一座大理石雕像在它的创造者的爱中得到生命)。根据书的名字,科恩通过把它们并列“比较”了古典希腊神话和神秘的犹太人神话。

The speaker makes a creature “from grass,” using both the help of “Greek heroes” and the “perverted [...] Golem formula.” Unlike his predecessors, he does not succeed: the creature neither loves him as Galatea, nor has the ability to die at the master’s command as the Golem. His magic fails: “I fear I will never find / the formula to let you die.” The past once again triumphs over the present, as “each burnt paper” the speaker turns to in search for the proper spell refuses to reveal its secrets.

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them
”(Isaiah 11:6).
【2】40:6 有人声说,你喊叫吧。有一个说,我喊叫什么呢。说,凡有血气的,尽都如草,他的美容,都像野地的花。
The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
【3】 40:8草必枯乾,花必凋残,唯有我们神的话,必永远立定。
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.