真正惡做


  • 《真正惡做》 A hard task

招子庸作,金文泰譯

「真正惡做,嬌呀汝曉得我苦心無。日夜共汝癡埋重慘過利刀。近日見汝熟客推完,新客又不到。兩頭唔到岸,好似水共油撈。早知道唔共你住得埋,不若唔相與重好。免使掛腸掛肚,日夕咁心操。勸汝的起心肝尋過好佬,共汝還通錢債,免使到處受上期租。河底下雖則係繁華,汝見邊一個長好到老。究竟清茶淡飯都要揀過上岸正為高。況且近日火燭咁多,寮口又咁惡做,河廳差役終日係咁嗌嘈嘈。唔信汝睇各間寮口部,總係見賒唔見結,白白把手皮撈。就俾汝有幾個女都養齊,好似話錢債易做,恐怕一時唔就手就墮落酆都。雖則鴇母近日亦算有幾家係時運好,贖身成幾十個女,重有幾十個未開鋪。想到結局收場未必真係可保。況且百中無一個的境遇實在難遭。汝好心撥埋尋着地步,唔怕冇路,回頭須及早,好過露面抛頭在水上蒲。」

 

 

Truly ‘tis a hard task. Fairest! Can you interpret my bitterness of heart?

It is more hazardous to toy with you day and night than handle a sharp knife;

Therefore of late I see your acquainted friends draw back, while no new guests arrive.

These and those alike stand aloof, even as water at feud with oil.

Betimes I learned that I could not live with you. So ‘tis better never to meet you at all,

Lest, heart-bound and love-tied, morning and evening my soul should throb with passion.

I entreat you, take heart of grace! Seek for some good fellow!

That with his aid you may pay off your debts, and escape meeting on all sides creditors who exact rent from you in advance.

Though the river-side bowers are bright and gay, whom have you seen live there in even fortune till old age?

In fine, though honest fare be simple, yet would you fain find one to bring you high and dry ashore.

Moreover, of recent days fires have been so frequent, and the flower-boats drive but scant a trade;

While the Marine Magistrate and his Police wrangle so noisily all day long.

You doubt me? Then glance at the ledgers in each flower-boat;

You will but see debts, no payments; a sordid skinflint pittance.

So, though you foster many girls till grown to nubile years, thinking, as it were, that you will readily pay off your debts;

Yet, I fear me, in a moment they will slip from your hands; so will you sink to hell.

Though maybe of late a few foster-mothers have met with good fortune,

Yet some tens of maidens have ransomed themselves, while other ten have not yet been handselled ‘twixt the sheets.

If you turn to the game’s ending and the final scene, there is no warrant of sure success.

In a hundred cases, not one meets hindrance on the road to ruin.

Prithee, withdraw from evil, set your mind in order, seek for a place of refuge!

Fear not lack of a road,

But be convert betimes!

For ‘tis better so, than to be as the duckweed which flaunts its face and filings its head from the water.

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