Essay on Regretting
by Jiang Yan of South Dynasties
Let me watch the battlefield plain: wild weeds entwining bones and trees
before tombs gathering ghosts. At this stage of life, is it imperative to
talk of Providence? I am thus a born regretter, being stunned to no end.
I think of the ancients regretful of such death. As for Emperor of Qin holding
sword and lords marching westward. At last he conquered all the states under
heaven and united languages and measures. Mt. Hua became city wall and Purple
Abyss deep pond (moat). Although his ambition fulfilled, his wish by force
never ended. Just after he used turtle and crocodile as beams, he traveled
to the seaside to see the sun down. But once his soul left his body, his
palace hearse was pulled out (to his tomb) in the evening.
When King Zhao was captured, he was sent to Fangling. His heart throbbed
at dusk and his spirit rose at dawn at bidding farewell to his gorgeous
concubines and beautiful women and at losing his pompous golden coach and
jade chaise. As he was about to drink the wine served, his sorrow filled
his chest. He could never overcome his regret for thousand autumns and myriad
As general Li surrendered to the northern tribe, his name was in disgrace
and he himself was wronged. He drew out his sword to strike at a pillar,
lamenting his own solitary shadow and ashamed of his lonely soul. His feelings
went out to his nation, but his heart remained in Goose Gate. He tore off
a piece of cloth to write a letter on it and tied it on the foot of a wild
goose. He vowed to return the favor of Han Dynasty. When morning dew came
all at once, what could be said while shaking hands?
When Concubine Ming left, she raised her head to Heaven and heaved a sigh.
The Purple Terrace was too far and Passes extended without an end. Soughing
winds suddenly arose and the sun hid in the west. Wild geese in Long were
few, flying, and clouds over Dai had little color, showing. She wanted to
look at the emperor, but how could she fulfill her wish? She would end her
life like withering weeds in the strange region.
As to Jingtong having given offense, he was dismissed from office and went
home. He shut himself up, no longer receiving guests. He closed his door,
and decided never to be at court again. He faced his wife and played with
children. He did not stand on ceremony before dukes and courtiers. He held
special views about literature and history. He harbored an ambition, but
nowhere to realize it. His regret had no end.
When Ji Kang was thrown into prison, he put on agitated airs. He drank
scummy wine at sunset and laid out the plain zither in the morning. The
autumn day was bleak and chilly. The floating clouds were dim and dark.
Although he had unusual will like brilliant afterglow, he got into the long
night without the sunrise.
There might be lonely courtiers shedding tears, unfilial sons being downhearted,
demoted officials roaming on the sea or exiled to cold Long area. Such
persons, once hearing sad winds rise, would weep blood soaking the gown.
They also experienced hardship and regret, and ended their lives for nothing
like sinking into smoke. As for horse hoof prints and coach traces overlapping
each other, and yellow dust whirling on the ground, and songs and music sounding
everywhere, all finished like smoke vanishing and fire extinguished, or bones
buried by springs underground.
Be it so! When autumn winds arise surprisingly, spring grass will wither;
but when autumn winds subside, spring grass revives. Gauze and satin will
no longer exist; ponds and houses will disappear; zithers and lutes will
become dust; mounds and graves will be leveled. There has been death since
time of yore. There's never without regret and wailing choked.
Essay on Parting
by Jiang Yan of southern dynasties
What's most gloomy to the soul is the parting experience. Moreover, Qin
and Wu are the remotest states. Yan and Song are a thousand miles apart.
When spring moss begins to grow or autumn winds suddenly arise, travelers,
therefore, will be heartbroken with all sorts of miserable emotions. Winds
sough in weird sounds. Clouds spread wide with quaint colors. The boat's
at the waterside, as if frozen there. The coach's at the hillside, as if
hindered on the long journey. As the oar's deliberately rowed, how can the
boat go fast? The horses neigh in cold ceaselessly. Cover up golden goblets;
who cares for drink now? Put aside the zither; tears wet the front bar on
the coach. Households at home lie in sorrow as if at a loss. Sunlight on
the wall moves downward with its color sinking. Moonlight on the pavilion
moves up with its brilliance reflected. When seeing red orchid bearing dews
and perceiving green Chinese catalpa covered with frost, when walking round
the high house shutting up emptiness and touching silk drapery feeling so
cold, one can know the traveling person should be wandering even in the dream
and can guess his parting soul should be hovering afar. Therefore, the feeling
of parting is the same, but conditions are of thousands.
Having tall horses with silvery saddles and crimson coaches with carved
axis ready, the host and the guest drink for parting in the tent outside
east capital as if bidding the guest farewell in JinGu Garden, where zithers
were played in a gloomy tune, fifes and drums on display, and heartbreaking
songs of Yan and Zhao saddened beauties around, where pearls and jade gleam
colorfully in late autumn and gauze and brocade show splendor in early spring,
where horses alarmed by loud music raise their heads in chewing fodder
and fishes with ruddy scales jumped high from deep creeks, and where tears
were shed when parting and hearts broken when thinking of solitary journey.
There are swordsmen ashamed of not repaying those for their kindness and
young knights intending to return favors as in events happening in Han Kingdom,
in the lavatory of Zhao Kingdom, in the palace of Wu Kingdom and in the
marketplace of Yan Kingdom. They either deserted their loved ones, or left
their own countries, or shed tears in final farewell, or wiped bloody eyes
staring at each other. They rode away at full gallop without looking back,
only rising dusts seen in the wake. They wanted to repay favors using swords
without intention of going to the nether world for any price in exchange.
But when bells and drums boomed, the color on the face changed. The heart
stopped beating at the death of her own flesh and blood.
If there is no peace on the border, people join army bringing bows and arrows.
The Liao River is unlimited and Mount Yanmen towers into clouds. When the
wind into the bower feels warm and the grass in fields smells sweet, when
the sun rises in the sky so radiant and dews on the ground glitter with
multi-tinge, when scarlet dusts mirror a brilliant tint and green mists look
hazy and smoky, and just as hands are raised to hold branches of peach and
plum trees, parting is very much unbearable, especially with a beloved one,
tears wetting the gauze skirt.
As for departure for the remotest states, how can reunion be possible? Looking
at tall trees in homeland and saying the eternal goodbye on the northern
bridge, people around the parting person have their souls touched by distress,
and friends and relatives weep bitter tears. They can arrange boughs on
the ground to sit imparting their regret and show their sorrow by drinking
wine. Just on the day when wild geese in autumn fly south and when white
frost fall on earth, the parting person grieves and groans at zigzag spots
among distant hills and proceeds on and on alongside the long river.
If you live to the west of Ming River and my home is located in Heyang,
we bask in morning sun rays with jade on our dress and sit together round
an evening brass incense burner. When you go a thousand miles away with
a tied ribbon, it's pitiable for a fair herb to beget scent in vain. I feel
ashamed facing the zither in my quiet boudoir and let the yellow silk curtain
darken the high tower. Spring palace shuts out green color of moss; autumn
canopy's steeped in moonlight; summer bamboo mat's so cool and the day turns
to dusk too slow; the flame in winter lamp is like staying congealed and
the night is so long. Weaving my song into a silky letter exhausts my tears
in sobbing and writing a rondeau poem makes my lone self miserable.
If there's a Taoist on Mount Hua, who takes the elixir of life, he becomes
an immortal. His talent is great, but he still studies. His art reaches
a great stage, but not yet to the utmost. He keeps busy in making divine
pills and ignores everything else. He's firm in determination to finish them
in a brass cauldron. Then he rides on a stork into clouds or astride a phoenix
to heaven. He can travel a myriad miles in a short time and has a brief
separation as if a thousand years elapsed in the human world. Since mortals
look upon parting seriously, he takes leave of the host lingeringly.
Under heaven there's a poem of Chinese herbaceous peony and a song of a
beauty. There are girls in Sangzhong of Wei State and damsels in Shanggong
of Chen State. When spring grass turns verdant and spring water ripples
green, how can the anguish be endurable as seeing you off at Nanpu? When
autumn dew looks like pearl and autumn moon like a round jade, when the moon
is bright and dew is white, and when time comes and goes, I'm thinking of
you again and again after separation from you.
Therefore, people involving in parting are of various sorts, and situations
and reasons for parting are greatly different. If there's separation, there
will be regret, full of regret, which makes people's will lost, spirit terrified,
heart agonized and bone tormented. Even if there are superior articles
of Yuan and Yun, and excellent writings of Yan and Le, or even if there are
men of letters in JinGui and men of talent in Lantai, and even if there
is the best essay like Lingyun or best repartee like in Diaolong, who has
the ability of describing the current conditions of separation or depicting
the feelings of eternal parting?
[ 本帖最后由 海外逸士1 于 2012-9-20 06:40 AM 编辑 ]