忽必烈汗

Samuel Taylor Coleridge是英國浪漫時期的一位著名詩人,他的詩風以其充滿奇幻想像聞名;再讀他的作品時,甚至會有看鬼故事的感覺。我自己對Coleridege的作品的喜愛,甚至超過同時期的拜倫,也許是因為我個人喜歡看鬼故事吧。這次便以Kubla Khan(忽必烈汗)這首詩來讓大家略窺大師的風範。
 

Kubla Khan
(忽必烈汗)這首詩據詩人本身說法(在當時出版,內容前附有作者的附注),有一個特殊的創作背景。曾經一次他在因為身體不適(Coleridge的健康狀況不是很好),服用了醫師開的止痛劑(應該是鴉片)後,一邊看著Purchas(中古時期的一位旅行作家)的遊記Pilgrimage,就逐漸慢慢睡去,在夢中看到的景象。而這也給了詩人一個很好的發揮空間,因為在夢中,一切超現實的景象都是有可能發生的,對於讀者來說,也更能夠接受詩人文字所帶來的狂想。
 

p.s. 不過嚴格上來說,這個作品就是在作家吸毒時,創作出來的作品,Coleridge是因為生病才這樣,請好孩子不要模仿

 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772-1834


現在請大家先欣賞詩作:

Kubla Khan
, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 


In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!

The shadow of the dome of pleasure

Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

A damsel with a dulcimer

In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me
That with music loud and long
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

ca. 1797-98



詩的內容以忽必烈汗在名為Xanadu的地方,蓋起了一座圓頂宮殿作為開始;接著說起裡面的風景。在詩文第12行到第28,提到在宮中森林裡、西洋杉樹叢底下,有著一處深達地底的裂縫,並帶入了超現實的意象形容它;之後這個裂縫湧出了泉水,敘詩者也一樣用了強烈幻想色彩來形容。詩文第29、30行甚至提起了夢的預知功能。



接著,令人在意的是第37行到最後,敘詩者竟然從第三人稱敘述轉變成第一人稱敘事。至於裡面的內容的部分,前面是在說明詩人的功用;而後面的部分,則是在說明詩人的地位。


整體來說,最值得讀者思索的部分有幾項:Q1第12~28行敘詩者為什麼用超現實筆法形容那處裂縫?Q2圓頂宮殿(dome)和林中地上的裂縫(chasm)的對比與其意義?Q3第37行到最後為什麼敘詩者會從第三人稱變成第一人稱敘事,內容的部分有沒有什麼意義?




1. 超自然現象(Supernatural)


最需要注意的是敘事者說那裂縫(chasm)是一個 "romantic chasm"。


在Coleridge的論文Biographia Literaria,超自然(Supernatural)是與romantic有所關聯的;Biographia Literaria Capter 14 有提到 "my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic"。 而這首詩中,描述chasm的手法就正好是所謂的supernatural


第14~16行,敘事者甚至帶入了鬼故事的情節──"A savage place! As holy and enchanted / As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted / By woman wailing for her demon-lover!"──讓讀者對於這個chasm的印象更是有著一種不可言喻的魔力,是人類無法觸及的領域。接下來,這種魔力甚至化為一種激情(agitation),並且以 「充滿活力的泉水(mighty fountain)」為象徵;這泉水後來,還流入了Alph River、流入Big Cavern,進入了人類無法觸及的深處。



2. 圓頂宮殿與裂縫(Dome and Chasm)


圓頂宮殿和地上裂縫的關係,能從第5~11行中能夠看出些線索來。這六行的內容,一開始先提到圍城中的景色,比如說肥沃的土地(fertile ground)、有著蜿蜒小溪的花園(gardens bright with sinuous rills)、花開馥郁的林木(incese-bearing tree)等等。


其中最重要的是在蓋上宮殿前就有的森林(ancient forest)和人為的園子(greenery)被處置在一起;這就把讀者的思路引到後來第12~28行的超自然力量,並且作為比較。


一直到第29行的忽必烈汗的預知夢,才點出了人為事物的轉眼成空,與那超自然力量的深不可測。然而細細看下去,31~36行卻描述著屬於人為事物的 "sunny pleasure-dome"和屬於超自然力量的 "caves of ice"會合在一起後,最後變成了一種奇蹟(a miracle of rare device)。

 

3. 詩人的地位

自37行開始,敘詩者轉變成了第一人稱,至於內容看起來也跟前文的描述沒有太大的關係。37~41行,敘詩者自述,一個他曾經看過的靈視(vision):一位Abyssinian(現在的衣索比亞)maid 自彈杜西莫琴(dulcimer,類似揚琴)並且以自己的歌聲和之。


而繼續讀到42~48行,這才把整首詩的前後給串起來:這裡敘事者說到了詩人的功用,他可以以文字重現37~41的少女演奏出的天籟,並進一步說到他更可以以文字憑空創造出一座宮殿(I would build that dome in air),而且知道他所作出的文字的人,也可以看到那座宮殿、以及35、36行所說的奇蹟(It was a miracle of rare device, / A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice)。


Coleridge的Biographia Literaria Chapter 14文章最後所提到詩人的功用: "The poet, described in ideal perfection, brings the whole soul of man into activity...He diffuses a tone and spirit of unity that blends and fuses, each into each, by that synthetic and magical power to which we have exclusively appropriated the name of imagination." 以這段文字為輔佐說明,這首詩的主角不是忽必烈、不是pleasure-dome、不是deep romantic chasm、更不是mighty fountain,而是身為詩人、第37行之後的敘事者。


為了提高詩人的地位,本詩最後六行,甚至說詩人本身就像是希臘神話中的酒神Dionysus;除了49~52行的內容描述著一種降靈儀式,形容詩人作詩的癡狂,而第53、54行描述詩人是被以 "honey-dew" 和 "milk of Paradise"餵食長大的,剛好和Dionysus的神話有所吻合。因此,詩人的神化,就在這一連串的自然與超自然的狂想中完成了。
 

Dionysus



Citation:

Kubla Khan
 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Norton Anthology English Literature 8th Edition Volume2
Biograpia Literaria Chapter 14
 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Norton Anthology English Literature 8th Edition Volume2

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